The rustling sound of papers common in university classrooms sets the mood for the third week since the opening of classes’ Monday morning. When their professor first started passing the paper, everyone shot up to complain and groan about what they thought was an unannounced quiz. It’s the kind of exclamation you only get from those of the higher years, this particularly being third years, due to being used with college life and familiarity with peers and the faculty alike.
The professor only sighs, looks over the communication major class they are assigned to, and says, “Just read it before reacting!" Mumbling to themselves, they add, “This is exactly why we need this type of course requirement.”
COURSE TITLE: Visual Communication
YEAR LEVEL: THIRD
GENERAL INSTRUCTIONAL OBJECTIVES (GIO): The main goal of the Weekly Vlogging Buddy System output is to enhance teamwork and camaraderie between students under the AB Communications program resulting into long-lasting connections and interpersonal development even after graduation.
SPECIFIC INSTRUCTIONAL OBJECTIVES (SIO):
- To partner in pairs and produce a weekly vlog of the students spending time together,
- To showcase technical skills in camera work and editing,
- To encourage creativity of students in regards to coming up with new content each week,
- To foster connections between students that will be remembered even after graduation and aide in their future career paths in each industry they choose to work in,
- To expand the student portfolio of undergraduates belonging in the department,
- To apply knowledge of communication through a visual medium.
- Submission of a weekly vlog to the class adviser (NOTE: students with undeclared concentrations and/or majors please see the department head).
- Tasks will be accomplished until the final term and submissions are expected to be on time.
PLEASE SEE NEXT PAGE FOR THE RUBRIC.
As expected, violent reactions toward the project are voiced out reverberating from each corner of the room.
“For the entire semester?!”
“What if I don’t like my partner though? Like what if I decide midway I don’t like them?”
“Wait, are we not choosing our partner?”
“Wow, the college itself is forcing us to make friends. How low can we actually get?”
The professor simply waits for the racket to die down. It’s better than butting in and trying to get their voice heard over the noise of hyperactive college students vexed over a sudden addition to the course requirements.
And it’s only 10 in the morning.
“As stated, the goal of the project is to encourage students to form bonds with each other. It would be useless if we allow you to pair up with your friends, wouldn’t it? You cannot change partners midway. It may sound fun but don’t forget this is still graded and an academic requirement. Now, shall we start the roulette for pairs?”
The ability of the students to find something to get mad about each time provides some sort of entertainment for the professor. The obvious disgust and elation towards certain partners are transparent on their faces.
When they catch some students trying to converse, they say with a commanding tone, “No changing of pairs! If I forgot about you and you don’t have one yet please tell me now!”
“The absentees I guess?” A student sitting in front pipes up helpfully.
Another difference between freshmen and juniors in university is their attendance. It is no surprise when you walk into a senior class to find half of the class missing compared to the wanting of pleasing authoritative figures the first years still possess.
“Jungkookie and Seokjin-sshi aren’t here!” A last row student shouts.
So that is why they are acting more like zoo animals today. It’s always chaos without Kim Seokjin around.
The professor takes their pen and easily writes it down.
LIST OF PAIRS FOR W.V.B.S
26.) Jeon Jungkook & Kim Seokjin
“Wait,” The professor asks the ever kind students of the front row, “Do you know where they are?”
“Seokjin-sshi is in a council meeting representing the department.”
“Jungkookie said the basketball team has a practice game with another school today!”
Ah, yes. Our very responsible student leader and the school’s star athlete. Alright, I guess they are excused for today’s lecture.
“Can anyone of you relay this to Seokjin-sshi?”
The professor knows better than to ask for Jungkook to be the receiver of the news.
Reiterating their earlier thoughts, freshmen all want to please, and that is good and all, but the faculty knows the older students better.
Jungkook, the student who miss classes due to his sports affiliations, is always on the cusp of failing if only he isn’t the school’s pride and joy.
Seokjin, a third year who single-handedly blaze through each semester with stellar marks and the youngest in their college’s rich history to represent the entire department of fine arts in the university student council. The faculty heard of him vying for the most coveted seat of UC President, and with his spotless record, might actually win.
It’ll be interesting to see what these two students come up with.
The high that comes with winning, whether it be practice games or official match-ups, is always amplified when surrounded by people sharing the same sentiments.
Jungkook’s laughter is only a part among the others’ who are outright chortling due to Taehyung’s antics.
Taehyung bends his knees, pretends to dribble, and shoots an invisible ball somewhere far. “It was like that!”
“Are you talking about how number 11 stole the ball from you and did it like that?”
“What the hell, I’m talking about me.”
Walking ahead of them in a letterman jacket is Yoongi. His bleached blonde hair complements the red sweatband around his head, strands being ruffled by the wind.
“Yoongi! Tell them about my three pointer!”
“Now you’re just being delusional Tae…”
Yoongi ignores them, hands inside his pants' pocket and the other gripping the strap of his gym bag hanging off his shoulder.
The athletes' dorm comes into view, and Yoongi lets out a sigh of content, thoughts of lounging in bed with noise cancelling headphones the only thing in his mind. The noise cancelling part is a must with Jungkook and Taehyung being his roommates.
A familiar figure standing at the entrance of their dormitory stops Yoongi in his tracks.
This prompts the rest of the basketball team trailing behind him to halt and quiet down.
“What’s he doing here?” Taehyung squeaks out. “What did you guys do now?”
Jungkook audibly groans. Yoongi can imagine him rolling his eyes and crossing his arms across his chest. Jungkook, the guy friendly with almost everyone he cross paths with, does not get along well with said person they are eyeing.
Kim Seokjin’s no nonsense tone has them all flinching. Yoongi just wants to sleep.
“I’m talking to you, Jeon Jungkook.”
At the mention of the other’s name, Yoongi resumes walking but less languidly and with more speed. Taehyung appears beside him, an unspoken agreement between them that whatever this is about, they have to pretend their third roommate does not exist for a while.
Once inside, Yoongi glances back to where Jungkook is left alone with Seokjin. Based on the movement of his lips, he says, “What do you want, Kim?” The boredom and obvious dislike on Jungkook’s face is foreign to the boy’s overall cheery persona.
“Do you think it’s a confession?” Taehyung wonders out loud.
The absurdity of it prompts a response out of Yoongi despite his aversion toward Taehyung’s out-of-touch musings.
“How did you even come up with that? No one hates Kim more than Jungkook does, and Jungkook is the nicest person I know.”
“I thought I’m the nicest person you know.”
“Why the hell are you making it about you?”
Taehyung’s boxy smile meets Yoongi’s narrowed eyes. “All that hatred must be getting repurposed into something else.”
“You are delusional, Tae.”
The entrance swings open, and the two look up to find Jungkook scratching the back of his head and a scowl marring his features.
“The stick up that guy’s ass is actually so long it must be messing with his brain.” Jungkook growls out, walking past the two of them. His heavy footsteps echo in the close to empty hall.
Taehyung covers his mouth but does not suppress his laughter. “It’s so fascinating that the first thing he thinks of is Kim’s ass.”
“You’re so weird for hyper focusing on that.”
Catching up to Jungkook jamming his pointer finger repeatedly on the elevator button, Yoongi clears his throat and asks, “What did you guys talk about?”
Jungkook glares at the button, unrelenting on his continuous pressing of it. “Apparently, we both missed the same class and are now partners for a project. He wants me at the caf in ten minutes to start on it.” Jungkook finally stops the torture on the button, turning sideways to face Yoongi, and his habit of running his hand through his hair whenever he’s frustrated comes out. “Who even starts a project this early on? And we just got back from a game! I don’t know, let me rest? He’s the most inconsiderate person, seriously.”
As the current captain of the basketball team, Yoongi had the opportunity to meet Seokjin, a prominent figure in the political and leadership scene in their campus, several times. Yoongi keeps to himself that he thinks Seokjin is considerate, and that Jungkook is actually very lucky to have him as his partner in whatever project they are having.
“You should just go with him already instead of wasting ten minutes.” It’s Taehyung who says it, catching up to them and resting his forearm on Yoongi’s shoulder.
“Nah, he only said that to make sure I come on time. I want to take a shower already; schoolwork can wait.”
Taehyung and Yoongi glance at each other, an unspoken conversation happening rapidly between them.
He’s the inconsiderate one.
Yoongi exits the bathroom while rubbing a white towel on his wet hair. The air conditioning on blast makes him shiver, hands coming up to rub his sweatshirt covered arms.
The bed next to his and the one across are both occupied by his roommates who are fast asleep.
Taehyung’s hand is peeking from underneath the covers while Jungkook sleeps flat on his back, wet hair clinging on the pillows, hands clasped atop his stomach, and mouth hanging open.
Glancing at the clock, Yoongi’s eyes widen at the time.
An hour has passed.
Walking over to Jungkook, Yoongi shakes him awake. The younger does not budge but the furrowing of his eyebrows encourage Yoongi to try harder.
Jungkook groans and blindly reaches for Yoongi to stop. He speaks incoherently, and Yoongi has to strain his ears to hear Jungkook’s mumbling.
“Leave me alone…”
Sighing, Yoongi grabs his wrist and pulls him up. “Kim Seokjin’s going to kill you if you don’t get up right now.”
Jungkook falls back down the bed, turning his back to Yoongi and covering his head with a pillow.
Yoongi hears him say, “Not if I get him first…”
“Just get up! You can’t afford to get low grades no matter how talented you are in shooting hoops! Do I have to pull out the student athlete handbook on you again?”
Jungkook lets out a long suffering sigh but does sit up in bed. “Yoongi-hyung,” He says with eyes half-open, “He’s already getting on my nerves and we haven’t even started the project yet. Besides, I don’t even know what this project is!”
Copying Jungkook’s tone, Yoongi sarcastically replies with, “That’s exactly why you should be thankful you became his partner. You’re always so lost when it comes to school. Think of this as a blessing in disguise and stay in his good graces.”
The cafeteria is five minutes away from the student dormitories. Matter of fact, it is right in front of it.
Jungkook walks into the building normally and in no rush. He’s dressed down in a black windbreaker with blue shorts and so flippantly casual. He easily spots Seokjin. He’s the only person in the cafeteria with a laptop in front of him and hunched down writing something.
Pulling the chair from across Seokjin, Jungkook sits down and drops his keys and wallet noisily.
“You’re late.” Seokjin says without looking up from his papers.
Jungkook chooses to ignore the statement. “What project is it this time?”
Being in the same major and in their third year, the two of them have been in the same group projects when the professor chooses to do the member assignments.
Seokjin is always the leader, and Jungkook a contributor. Jungkook doesn’t think of himself to be lazy, the kind of group member who sends his outputs late, it’s just that Seokjin has unbearable standards and rips apart anyone whenever they are a minute later than his set deadline.
The animosity between the two of them is mostly set aside due to their vehement and blatant ignorance of the other.
Jungkook knows when exactly he started hating Seokin, but that’s a rumination for another day. Right now, he just wants to get this over with.
Seokjin puts his pen down, a super fine black ink ballpoint pen with the tip 0.3 centimeters thin. He pulls a sheet of paper buried underneath the other stacks, all fastened with a white paperclip, and hands it to Jungkook.
“I assume you know how to read?”
Jungkook rolls his eyes. “Now that is just unnecessary.”
“Your lateness is unnecessary.”
Jungkook reads the paper over, reacting loudly at the objectives laid down for the project.
“No, I refuse to work on something like this,” He shakes the paper fisted around his fingers and gestures toward Seokjin, “With someone like you.”
Seokjin stiffens. He laughs humorlessly. “I should be the one saying that.”
“I’ll have a word with the professors about this.”
“Give it up. They won’t budge. All of our classmates in the class are already paired except for us. It’s logical we ended up as partners since we were both missing earlier.”
“So you’re fine on being partners with me? Because I certainly am not!”
Seokjin glares at him, eyes narrowing from behind the stylish metal-framed prescription glasses Jungkook has seen him wear from time to time. Seokjin usually wears contacts, only donning them in the after hours. Not that Jungkook is aware of whatever it is Seokjin does, but living inside school and running or seeing each other eating dinner around the vicinity happens a lot.
“I don’t have to be fine with it to do it. Honestly, I should be the one complaining about getting someone like you.”
“What is that supposed to mean?”
“It means the same thing as what you meant when you said it earlier. Now, stop wasting your breath and work with me. What can you contribute?”
Jungkook sets the paper down and crosses his arms over his chest. “Am I not allowed to ask you the same thing?”
This seems to particularly tick Seokjin off because he’s now staring at Jungkook in disbelief. He smiles, the kind of smile customer service employees have perfected when dealing with unreasonable clients. “You know how capable I am. Not to toot my own horn, but everyone does. As for you, all I know about you is that you only know how to make three-pointers and that you are insufferable.”
The first part of his last statement makes Jungkook smirk. “So you watch my games?”
Seokjin scoffs. “I don’t have time for that. If I wanted to see how the human body’s physiological functions are applied, I would simply tune into National Geographic.”
“What the fuck are you—”
Jungkook settles down in defeat. He hates how Seokjin gets a rise out of him so effortlessly. He could be standing there simply breathing and Jungkook would take it as an insult. Granted, he does have good reasons to hate on the other. Well, that’s what Jungkook likes to tell himself whenever he sees Seokjin around campus or in class.
“I’m one hell of a videographer.”
Seokjin brightens up instantly, his smile looking a bit more genuine. “Okay, noted. Do you know how to edit videos?”
It’s Jungkook’s turn to scoff and smile sarcastically at the other. “I’m a third year student majoring in the communication arts, of course I know how to edit videos.”
“What do you use?”
“Vegas and Premiere Pro, mainly. Sometimes After Effects. I took a course in animation last semester so I also dabbled in Blender.”
Jungkook savors the slightly impressed expression on Seokjin’s face. He can’t help adding, “I’ve seen your vids. The free iMovie stock song you use is, how should I put it, real simple.”
“Simple is a perfectly good background music!”
“Keep telling yourself that.”
Seokjin rummages for the small notepad he brings everywhere inside his backpack. Jungkook peers over to watch Seokjin write down the editing softwares he mentioned.
“So I’ll be doing the editing and camera work. What can you offer to the table?”
“I can edit and shoot too. I’ll think up the content, maybe come up with a script so you can at least sound intelligent on camera.”
“With all due respect, you are always so needlessly rude.”
Seokjin sighs, takes his glasses off, and rubs the bridge of his nose in frustration. Jungkook gets a glimpse of the indentations left behind by the nose pads. He puts them on again, and this time, looks absolutely serious.
“Look, the main objective of this project is to implement and foster acquaintanceship and camaraderie between students. We need to look friendly in the vlogs or we’ll be graded lowly.”
“Are we graded based on objectives?” Jungkook asks, genuinely confused.
“Are you actually for real? The entire point of objectives is to tell us what our professors expect us to learn and do!”
“I’ve always thought they were just a bunch of extra paragraphs to prolong syllabuses and modules.”
Seokjin mutters under his breath and starts fixing his things. Jungkook manages to hear him say, “I bet this idiot doesn’t even read the syllabus…”
“Why would I need to read the syllabus?”
Seokjin pauses to stare at him blankly. He sighs again, deeply and with a tone of judgment. “You should be thankful you have me.”
Seokjin comes up with the big idea to film in the school’s grandstand where the sunset is at its prettiest and a bunch of greenery are planted.
When Seokjin tells Jungkook to introduce himself while recording with his phone on a backdrop of lilac-colored flowering vines, Jungkook refuses and says, “So you’re trying to kill me? I’m allergic to flowers!” to which Seokjin shouts back, “How am I supposed to know that?!”
Walking around campus, Jungkook suggests they eat at the snack bar just outside the university and film there instead.
“I can’t eat anything with potatoes. I’m allergic to them.” Seokjin deadpans.
Jungkook, for once, feels sympathetic over it. “Okay, what about pasta? The newly opened Italian place next to it?”
“I’m allergic to garlic.”
“Are you allergic to everything?!”
“Says the one allergic to flowers of all things!”
“Seasonal allergic rhinitis is a serious condition affecting many people!”
“Stop making it sound life-threatening when it isn’t, Jeon.”
“I’m not the one with an allergy toward essential food groups! Imagine eating soup and suddenly keeling over because it has garlic and potatoes. I’m really embarrassed for you.”
“You do know I won’t die if you throw a potato at me.”
“Ah, so we actually see eye to eye on some things. I’m glad you’re aware I’m super close to hurling stuff at your direction.”
They end up in a convenience store, ramyeon packets being noisily ripped open and the contents dumped in boiling hot water.
Their inability to decide on a place to sit down and shoot something at took up too much time, and before they knew it, nighttime came. They did their introductions for the vlog at a random red bricked wall near the campus gates, and when Jungkook readied to walk back to the dormitories, Seokjin grabs the back of his jacket and drags him for dinner and more filming.
The 24 hour convenience store is where they settle with, the two of them shooting down each other’s suggestion of where they should eat.
Jungkook frowns at his instant ramyeon.
Taehyung sent a picture of a close-up of samgyeopsal and a photo of him, Yoongi, and the rest of the basketball team members in their groupchat, and Jungkook replies with several thumbs down and red-faced angry emojis to express his dismay on being left out.
I could be eating pork belly and drinking soju right now.
Seokjin on the other hand is eating from his own ramyeon cup with enthusiasm.
Look at him. He looks at his food nicer than he does with me.
The steam from the paper cup tries its best to entice Jungkook into a better mood, but only leaves his nose and forehead warm.
“No, no, no!”
The suddenness of it prompts Jungkook to look up from his sad cup of noodles. Seokjin’s body is half turned, eyes glued to the windows getting wet thanks to the rain.
“The weather app said it wouldn’t rain!” Seokjin exclaims, hurriedly taking his phone out of his pocket to probably check on said weather app.
Jungkook ignores his rambling and goes back to his noodles. The cold weather makes him feel a bit better about his meal. He hears Seokjin curse in the middle of slurping his noodles, and he almost chokes at how pronounced it was. He imagined Seokjin to always be calm and collected, so his shock isn’t really surprising. He takes the stack of tissues the cashier handed him earlier and wipes the corners of his mouth.
“It’s just rain. The dormitory is only fifteen minutes from here.”
Seokjin glares at him. “I don’t like getting wet. I get sick easily. If you want to leave you can go ahead. I’ll wait it out.”
Rolling his eyes, Jungkook takes a big serving of his noodles and slurps them into his mouth noisily.
“We’re in a convenience store. Just buy an umbrella.”
“That is not economical.”
Just to piss Seokjin off, Jungkook pulls the zipper of his windbreaker up to his neck. He eats his noodles with enthusiasm, and every time he meets eyes with Seokjin watching him with lips curled in disgust, Jungkook’s eyes crinkles reminiscent of crescent moons in glee.
Finishing the soup of his cup noodles, Jungkook lets out a sound of satisfaction at the meal. Seokjin toys with his own food, head resting on his palm and unconsciously pouting.
Jungkook looks left and right, unsure what else to do. They were supposed to take videos of them eating and fake interacting, but his earlier sour mood probably made Seokjin careful. Seeing as they are now the opposite, Jungkook scratches the back of his head at the awkward atmosphere.
Why is he so upset about the weather?
“Hey, uh, what if I just buy an umbrella and we share?”
Jungkook expected an adverse reaction towards his kindness. He even had a comeback prepared in case Seokjin says something that irks him again.
Instead, Seokjin looks up from his cup noodles and shrugs. “Do whatever you want.”
Not needing any further prodding, Jungkook gets up from the bench and takes his empty cup noodles with him to throw in the trash. He walks up the front of the store and grabs the cheapest umbrella on display. It has a white handle and the canopy made of transparent cheap plastic.
When the cashier personnel rings it up, Jungkook winces at the amount. Opening his wallet, he winces some more. This umbrella could’ve been one meal. He thinks about just running back to the dorm. Maybe he can hand Seokjin his windbreaker, or he can just leave him here.
Nope. Mom didn’t raise you that way no matter how much of a dick he is.
So Jungkook sucks it up, pays for it, and comes back to their table. He remains standing, one hand inside the front pocket of his jacket.
Seokjin glances at the umbrella first, then cranes his neck up to Jungkook.
“Expensive isn’t it?”
Resisting the urge to roll his eyes again, Jungkook holds it over the other threateningly. “Yes, it fucking is. Do you want to share or do I whack you with it?”
Seokjin cackles and stands up. His cup noodles are still half-full but he closes the lid, grabs his bag, and slides it over his shoulder.
Passing by him, Seokjin says, “How do you know I like that sort of thing?” He laughs after saying so, and Jungkook watches him dump the cup noodles into the bin with wide eyes.
Shuddering at the sudden shift in attitude, he runs to catch up with Seokjin who is already pushing the glass doors and exiting the store.
Once outside, Seokjin sighs loudly and repositions his bag by hanging it on his front.
Jungkook raises a brow in question.
Seokjin catches him doing so.
“I cannot let my laptop and papers get wet. My bag isn’t exactly waterproof.” He explains, patting said object.
Jungkook holds his hand out automatically. “Give it to me.”
“Your important stuff. I’ll keep it inside my windbreaker. There’s an inner pocket big enough to fit your shit.”
Seokjin keeps his pride up by exclaiming, “My laptop is not shit!” He’s already opening his bag and taking out a brown clipboard so thick the papers inside peek through the sides.
“This is more important than my laptop and less heavy.” He tells Jungkook, waving said clipboard in the air.
Jungkook grabs it from him and opens the front cover. “Oh, the notarized forms for the field trip?”
“Yes. Which reminds me, you still haven’t submitted yours, and the deadline is tomorrow.”
“You gave it two weeks ago, Kim. Cut me some slack.”
“Exactly? I gave it two weeks ago?”
“Well, I lost it. Just give me another one.” Jungkook closes it with a thump. He balances the umbrella between his thighs to open his jacket.
“I did. I gave a copy to your roommate because you always lose them.”
Jungkook opens the wide inner pocket and slips the folder in, making the jacket protrude in a way that makes him grin childishly at the funny look. Unconsciously puffing his chest up, it’s only then he realizes what Seokjin said.
“Wait. Which roommate?”
“The tall one.”
“Taehyung is the most irresponsible person ever.”
Seokjin blinks slowly at him. “You drain my energy so much, Jeon, I swear. I’ll send you the file and you can print it yourself.”
“That’s cool and all, but one,” Jungkook is back to holding the umbrella and unclipping the front of it. “I’m pretty sure we aren’t friends anywhere on social media. And two, I don’t have a printer.”
At this point, Seokjin isn’t even hiding how tired and over he is with every word that comes out of Jungkook’s mouth.
“Fine. I’ll print it for you and give it to you tomorrow morning. You being in the same year as me with no printer and no sense of direction is such a mystery. Aren’t you Virgos supposed to be clean and organized?”
“Hey, I am organized! How do you know I’m a Virgo though?”
“I’m the one who types out the birthday calendar for all the student residences inside the campus.”
“You mean the one on the bulletin board?”
“Oh. That’s cute.”
“No, it’s not. It’s literally grunt work.”
“Is that why you’re running for president?”
Seokjin seems to cheer up when Jungkook mentions this. “Not just president; the president of the undergraduate council.” Seokjin’s eyes sparkle as he says this, lips curving up into a smile that distracts Jungkook for a while.
“If you manage to win as a junior, then my dreams of being named team captain isn’t too far off.”
Seokjin laughs. “Do you only have basketball in your mind 24/7?”
Other people would breathe a sigh of relief that the atmosphere between such testiness and animosity has lightened up a bit, but the two only felt more awkward about it.
Clearing his throat, Seokjin takes the initiative and says, “Well? Are we going to stand here all night?”
Jungkook walks first, holding the umbrella out over the edge of the small roof and clicking it open. Seokjin joins him, hissing when his bare arms get hit by the rainwater.
They adjust their stance every second, Jungkook pausing to look at Seokjin with a mix of disbelief and irritation every time the other hits his arm.
“I’m getting wet!” Seokjin says loudly. The rain drowns out his voice.
The third time it happens, Jungkook ultimately stops and stares at the ground while biting his lip. Seokjin glowers at him, waiting for the person holding his shelter from the rain to get moving.
Without warning, Jungkook wraps his arm around Seokjin. He pulls the slightly taller male closer to his chest, almost wrapping half the other’s body to him.
“What are you doing?!”
“You keep complaining about your shoulder getting wet!”
“Is it my fault I have amazingly wide shoulders?!”
“I didn’t even say anything!”
Despite the glower Seokjin is giving him, he ends up encircling his arm around Jungkook’s waist when the downpour hits harder. “Are we going to start walking or are you waiting for me to get sick?”
“Your lips are as big as my head.”
The suddenness of it surprises both of them.
The disbelief show on Seokjin’s face and tone. “Are you insulting me?”
Jungkook clears his throat and looks ahead. “If I am, will you get mad and walk into the rain without an umbrella?”
Seokjin scoffs, unconsciously straightening his posture to make himself bigger.
Jungkook loses his hold on the umbrella for a second.
He grumbles, pulls Seokjin closer until they are almost facing each other, steadies the umbrella above their heads, and tightens his grip on Seokjin’s shoulder. “Stop moving!”
“Hey, listen to me. First of all, I’m always irritated by you, so getting mad now won’t make a difference. Second, I could’ve just waited at the store until the rain stopped. I’m only standing here with you because you bought the umbrella and I felt bad! You know what, I’m actually going back to buy my own—”
Jungkook starts walking, giving Seokjin no choice but to follow his lead. “Do you like hearing yourself talk this much?”
Seokjin keeps talking back.
Every now and then, when Seokjin says something rude and Jungkook counters with something ruder, his eyes slide down Seokjin’s mouth in anticipation of what he has to say next.
They’re really as big as my head.
Kim Seokjin sent you a friend request.
a few seconds ago
421 mutual friends
Jungkook crashes down his bed with his phone on hand while staring at the latest notification he received on Facebook. He instantly presses confirm without much thought and throws the phone somewhere over his bed and rolls around to bury his face on his pillow.
The rain is unyielding, and here in the safety of his empty dorm room, it is soothing.
Not even a minute passes by and his phone buzzes again. He blindly reaches for it and gets comfortable laying on his stomach.
It opens the moment his face comes into view without him seeing the notification preview.
Opening Messenger, the latest unread notification is unsurprisingly from Seokjin. Clicking on it, Jungkook’s eyes scan the block of text.
He regrets opening it now.
It’s an entire paragraph of Seokjin repeating all the plans they made earlier for the project.
Mumbling to himself, Jungkook says, “I’m not reading all that.”
He instead clicks on Seokjin’s picture, a photo of him with light colored hair and taken on what seems to be a fishing boat. Arriving on Seokjin’s profile, Jungkook scrolls down. He doesn’t post much, and half of it are just people tagging him in official school photos or events. A familiar icon catches his eye, and Jungkook hurriedly scrolls back to it.
Kim Seokjin is listening to Let's Get Lost by Carly Rae Jepsen — SPOTIFY
Jungkook bursts out in laughter. It seems that Seokjin isn’t aware of it, seeing as it was posted around two weeks ago. Jungkook presses on the thumbs up button and chooses the heart emoji from the pop up that appears.
Expectedly, Seokjin messages him about it. Feeling up to replying now, Jungkook clicks on the message notification as soon as it arrives.
what the hell?
stop stalking me
where’s my field trip form thing
i already told you i’ll hand it over tomorrow morning
hello? did you read what i sent?
no you didn’t
what do you expect
give me the sparknotes version
tomorrow. you and me. 8 am. we’re filming.
yes. we have class at 10. it’s the most reasonable meeting time.
jeon we haven’t filmed anything to last us 15 mins
just work with me
the rest of the week you have to film your morning routine too since it’s an introduction vid
i’ll be doing it too of course
and may i remind you, you still need to get your field trip form notarized
i’ll be expecting that by 12
what, is your planner filled with basketball practice or something
nah our practice starts at five in the afternoon and only on tues thurs and sats
like normal people do you know
and a planner? loooooool
you do not own a planner?
and you do?
you’re the embodiment of a type A person huh
you must at least have a calendar
yeah it’s on my phone homescreen 🤔
how did you know 🤔
you are weird.
how do you know what you are supposed to do the entire day then?
uh? i get out of bed? figure it out along the way?
The next day arrives with Jungkook noisily moving around the room waking Taehyung and Yoongi up who both curse at him.
“WHY ARE YOU SO LOUD IT’S SEVEN IN THE MORNING.”
On the bed beside Taehyung’s, Yoongi grabs the round brown stuffed toy he keeps on the foot of his bed and throws it over, hitting Taehyung smack dab on the face.
“Shut up, you’re as noisy as him.” Turning to Jungkook who is sitting on his desk and blow drying his hair in front of a brown wooden portable mirror, Yoongi asks, “Why the fuck are you awake and showered? It’s seven in the fucking morning.”
“Appreciate you guys’ belief in me, but it’s actually almost eight.”
The digital mirror on Yoongi’s bedside table flashes the time: 7:58 AM.
“What the hell is going on with you?” Yoongi mutters before dragging his grey comforter over his head and going back to sleep.
Ignoring his roommates, Jungkook turns the blow dryer up to the highest setting. He drops the round brush he was using to tame his hair, settling instead to grabbing fistfuls of sections and almost burning his scalp with how close the nozzle is.
Brushing his hair back, he stands up and grabs his black backpack, waterproof unlike Seokjin’s, he thinks to himself while snickering. He checks himself out one last time.
Black shirt underneath a three-toned jacket with the top being blue, the middle block mustard in color, and the last black. His normal jeans are paired with the new shiny shoes he wasted half his allowance on when the first week of the semester started, and the reason why he’s been sticking to sad convenience store food. Earrings, rings, and his favorite chain bracelet on his wrist.
Jungkook opens his phone to take a picture for his Instagram story. He’s distracted by numerous notifications from Seokjin asking where he is. He ignores it and focuses on taking a good picture. Deeming it bait-worthy of heart reactions, Jungkook hits the add to story button and finally starts walking out the room.
Exiting the athlete’s dorm, Jungkook spots Seokjin standing nearby, eyes glued to his phone and tapping on the screen aggressively. He confirms the receiver of the messages is no other than him when his phone buzzes inside the pocket of his jeans.
Seokjin looks up and scowls at him. Jungkook blatantly ignores it.
“You’re nine minutes late.”
Stopping in front of the other, Seokjin hands him what he instantly recognizes is the field trip form. He accepts it and instantly folds it in half. Seokjin looks at the once perfect paper with zero creases now folded in two and being inserted inside Jungkook’s backpack.
After closing his bag and regaining his posture, Jungkook says, “Only for nine minutes. If you round it off I’m still on time.”
“No, if we round it, you are actually late by ten minutes.”
“That does not sound right.”
“How do you not understand basic arithmetic?”
“Exactly why I’m in the liberal arts department.”
“No, Jeon. Understanding how to round numbers is basic. Even kids in the first grade know this.”
“Alright, I get it; you’re those people who can do math.”
“I would not be surprised if you cannot count up to ten.”
“Don’t have to. The only important ones are two and three.” Jungkook smirks, feeling smart about the reference he made.
With a mocking tone, Seokjin shots back, “Alright, we get it, you only care about basketball.”
It takes them five more minutes to leave the front yard and choose what to do. They decide on breakfast, Seokjin leading the way to a cafe outside the campus premises. Jungkook doesn’t bother complaining about Seokjin’s choice. He doesn’t really eat breakfast, usually still asleep by this time.
The cafe is familiar to Jungkook in a sense that he sees it a lot on other people’s social media posts. It’s at the end of the block away from the campus main gate and definitely situated further away from the convenience store they were just at for dinner. There are round tables outside where some store patrons are smoking. They sit on a table at one side of the room, leather brown couches forcing them to eat facing each other.
Jungkook slouches on his seat, hands resting behind his head and arms raised, thighs spread, and nonchalantly looking around. He appreciates the early morning lighting, something he usually doesn’t see. He turns his head around to find Seokjin, complaints about how slow he is taking with ordering already forming and waiting to be said.
Seokjin is standing by the front, the second in the queue, but instead of meeting his eyes, Jungkook is greeted by the lens of Seokjin’s camera focused on him. He straightens up suddenly and clears his throat in embarrassment. Glancing again to Seokjin, the other already turned the camera off and is ordering.
Returning to the table, Seokjin kicks Jungkook on the ankle and gestures for him to take the camera hanging on his shoulder.
“Start rolling before I sit down.” Seokjin instructs, waiting for Jungkook to steady the lens.
“So you get to look good while my parts are all stolen shots?”
“Yes, that is exactly the point.”
Jungkook presses the record button and follows Seokjin through the camera’s screen viewfinder. Jungkook realizes that Seokjin planned this. His matching greige cotton hoodie and pants, latte colored puffer jacket, and white shoes complement the cafe’s interior in such a visually pleasant manner that the raw video preview appears ready to post on Instagram.
“You should’ve told me! This is unfair!”
Seokjin tears open the small packet of stevia and pours it over his steaming cup of cold brew. “Told you what?”
“The color palette. You obviously set me up.”
Jungkook zooms in on Seokjin’s hands, focusing on their breakfast.
“But I did tell you? Not my fault you didn’t read what I sent.”
“Fine. I’m choosing next time and I’m not telling you.”
“You can choose later for dinner.”
“We’re still filming?”
Seokjin holds up the other packet of stevia and Jungkook raises his brows in affirmation.
“Yes, Jeon. We are still filming. Again, the entire point of this project is to enforce interpersonal relationships between students.”
“Well, I can’t. I got practice.”
Seokjin dumps the artificial sweetener on Jungkook’s iced cold brew and places it closer to him.
“What time does it end?”
“Ends around nine.”
“So from five to nine?”
“Yup.” Jungkook stops recording and hands the camera back to Seokjin who places it down on the wooden table. “Wait, how do you know it starts at five?”
“You told me yesterday while we were messaging?” Seokjin picks up a cut piece of his thick egg toast with the toothpick plunged in the middle overflowing with the goopy sauce.
Jungkook takes his tall glass cup, the ice cubes clacking together, and stares at it before taking a sip. “Huh. You’re good with the little things too.”
Ignoring Jungkook’s last statement, Seokjin picks up his own coffee cup and blows on it. “Is it important?”
Jungkook gives him an incredulous look. “Is it important— I’m a student athlete? Of course it’s important!”
“Then we’ll have to showcase it in our first vlog submission.”
Pulling his own plate of egg toast close to him, Jungkook takes his time and picks out the one least drenched in sauce. Jungkook waits for Seokjin to add more regarding what he said but the other only continues eating.
Assuming that their conversation about it is over, Jungkook takes his time enjoying the egg toast.
There’s something about eating breakfast, basking in the pretty sunrise, and hanging out with your mortal enemy that has Jungkook feeling like his life is in order.
“I guess I have to come to your practice.”
Jungkook swallows the piece of egg toast without chewing properly and ends up grabbing his iced coffee to help push it down his throat.
“What?” Voice sounding a bit hoarse, he clears his throat and tries again. “Why?”
Seokjin levels him a stare Jungkook has been getting familiar with. “Who's going to film you practicing then?”
Jungkook had a clapback ready, but even to him, it was too full of holes. So instead he says, “I just know that means I’ll also be following you around while you do your… whatever it is you do.”
Seokjin’s eyebrows rise in acknowledgment of Jungkook’s words. “So you at least have some form of critical thinking—”
“That is the idea, yes. I’ll film you while you do basketball, and you’ll film me while I do my duties as department representative.”
“While I do basketball? Why do we even have to do all that? And why do we keep doing your plans? I have ideas too.”
“Okay, what are your suggestions then?”
They stare at each other in silence. Jungkook remains unblinking, and Seokjin sips his coffee with his fingers around the handle.
Seokjin lets out a sound of satisfaction upon drinking, places it back down, and smiles. “As I was saying, we will film each other doing our duties around school. It’s the easiest way to get the best possible grade for this project. Imagine what our peers are coming up with. We don’t have to try hard to make good content compared with the others. We are the pride and joy of our school, and I guess you do basketball, so that in itself is interesting already.”
Jungkook glares at him for the last sentence but doesn’t bite back.
Not yet done with his speech, Seokjin continues on. “If you think about it, we are actually the best paired students for this. A student inclined towards academics and the other with extracurriculars. It’s a good balance.”
“Fine. You can come see me practice.”
“I wasn’t asking if I could come. I will be there whether you like it or not, the same way I expect you to help me with my council duties tomorrow.”
“But we don’t have class tomorrow? Why do you have to drag me while you’re doing voluntary manual labor?”
“Which is exactly the best time to get a lot of filming done.” Seokjin finishes the last of his toast and grabs his backpack, also the perfect shade of brown matching his current wardrobe palette. “I have to go meet with the council. Make sure you give me your form later; duly signed and notarized. There’s a notary public office a good five minutes walk from this cafe.”
“Did we eat here so I can get it signed easily?” Jungkook asks, teasing and sarcastically saccharine in his tone.
Seokjin gets up from his chair and stops in front of Jungkook with the same sarcastic smile he’s been giving his project partner a lot. “Of course. I’m a considerate person after all. Plus, that means you get to hand it to me when we meet for our 10 AM lecture and not later.”
“You said by twelve!”
“I’ll speak with you again during basketball practice.”
Before Seokjin could start walking away, Jungkook mumbles under his breath, “Don’t come complaining to me later if you get embarrassed…”
Seokjin stops in his tracks, turns around, and bends down until he is face to face with Jungkook. “Then I’m very excited.” He says, mouth now forming a full-blown grin.
The proximity surprises Jungkook for a few seconds. His eyes travel from those lips he thinks are as big as his head, and ends to meet Seokjin eye level. He raises his brow unimpressively and looks back blankly. “They will eat you alive.”
Seokjin returns to standing straight, hands inside the pockets of his pants. “I won’t ask; I’ll just see for myself why you are talking in riddles. For now, goodbye Jeon.”
Jungkook turns around just in time to hide his reaction when he finally acknowledges all the stink eyes and glares Seokjin has been sending his way. He doesn’t hold his hand up to cover the shit-eating grin on his face, prompting Taehyung who is stretching next to Yoongi to raise a brow in question toward their youngest starting player. Jungkook raises his hand, brushing the matter off, and walks toward the basket to grab another ball. He runs along, dribbling across the court playfully.
“Why is Seokjin-sshi here?”
Yoongi shrugs, glancing across the side of the court where Seokjin is seated at the very bottom of the bleachers together with the other people who usually watch them practice.
All of them are sitting too close to Seokjin, and he tries to hide the discomfort by politely smiling. He had a camera up earlier, the viewfinder following Jungkook meticulously but it’s now turned off, the strap hanging around his neck.
Their coach blows the whistle and they all gather in front of him. He reminds them of the upcoming away game next week, making everyone promise to come on time for practice on Thursday and the whole day practice on Saturday.
“We’ll orient you on Saturday about the away game! You already know the drill but for the sake of our first years everyone must attend!” Turning to Yoongi, he continues, “Team captain, please stay behind. Same goes for our vice-captain.”
Taehyung waves goodbye to his roommates, laughing at Jungkook pointedly when the other kicks the non-existent dirt on the polished floor when Yoongi catches him trying to escape.
“If you want me to name you captain next year you better start acting like it!” Yoongi scolds him, dragging Jungkook by the arm and into their coach’s office.
Taehyung refills his insulated tumbler by the water fountain. He’s humming a pop song under his breath, fingernails tapping on his sticker filled tumbler without much thought.
“Where did Jeon go?”
Taehyung jumps at the sudden question. Seokjin is standing in front of him, eyes questioning and suspicious at the same time.
“Oh! Uh, Coach had to talk with Jungkookie and Yoongi. Are you waiting for him?”
“Yeah. We’re partners for a really big project.” Seokjin doesn’t bother explaining much, assuming that Jungkook has already told his friends slash roommates. “Why does your Coach need to talk to him as well?”
“Well, um, cause Jungkookie is our vice-captain? There’s an orientation this Saturday, mostly for the first years since we’re going away for four days next week.”
“Wait. Can you repeat that? What do you mean you’re going away for four days?”
Taehyung curses when the water overflows from his tumbler. He throws some of it away, closes the cap, and clears his throat. Seokjin is looking at him intensely, and he realizes suddenly that Jungkook is one brave man for having the guts to banter with Kim Seokjin when he is this intimidating through one stare alone.
“The sports season is starting? The first few games are being hosted by a uni far from here so we need to stay there for a few days?”
“You mean he’s going to leave for—”
A hand on Taehyung’s shoulder stops Seokjin and his bubbling tirade. The other’s attention shifts to the newcomer of their conversation. “Nice to see the people in my life getting along!” Jungkook exclaims, obviously sarcastic.
“Why didn’t you mention you’re leaving next week?!” Seokjin shouts.
Jungkook blinks in confusion. “What does that have to do with you?”
“I don’t know Jeon, maybe everything! How are we filming our videos if you’re gone for four days?!”
“We haven’t even submitted this week’s video, and you’re already thinking that far ahead? Cut me some slack!”
Taehyung takes it as his cue to run. He catches sight of Yoongi exiting their coach’s office and hurriedly removes Jungkook’s hand on his shoulder. “See you in the dorms, Kookie! You too Seokjin-sshi!”
“And why didn’t you tell me it’s usually the players’ girlfriends and boyfriends watching?!” Seokjin reddens when he mentions this. Before continuing, he lowers his voice a bit to not give free gossip to anyone who might be listening in. “They kept asking me about you!”
“I warned you though.”
“No, you didn’t! You were just vague and ominous!”
Seokjin simmers down from his irritation with Jungkook not divulging his schedule, thus ruining his plans for their video next week.
He waits again by the bleachers for Jungkook to finish showering, lost in thoughts on how they can make up for next week’s content with the other missing.
Jungkook approaches him again, loud and complaining about being hungry, while he towel dries his wet hair. He’s dressed down donning shorts and a sweatshirt, gym bag hanging on his shoulder.
Walking back to the dormitories side by side, their shoes, Seokjin still in his sneakers and Jungkook in sliders, hitting the pavement makes every sound minute in daylight echo in the darkness.
“Is the athletes’ pantry not stocked enough?” Seokjin finally asks. Jungkook wouldn’t stop moaning about how hungry and broke he is.
“What do you think? You place a bunch of people with insane metabolism in one place and not expect them to eat and hoard everything?”
“You need to learn how to cook. Or at least prepare simple meals. My roommate and I bought a breakfast machine last year; it changed our entire living situation for the better.”
Eyes narrowing in question, Jungkook lets his curiosity take over for a while. “What’s a breakfast machine?”
“It’s a 3-in-1 toaster. It allows you to cook eggs and brew coffee.”
“What?! My roommates and I only have mountains of ramyeon. Guess it’s that for dinner again…”
Arriving back at the middle of the front yard where the two path separates off into Seokjin’s hall and the athletes' residence, Jungkook lets out a long suffering sigh.
Seokjin rolls his eyes at the other’s dramatic antics. “If you arrive early tomorrow I’ll let you borrow our breakfast machine.”
The ultimatum has Jungkook swerving his head to the other, eyes wide and bright with excitement. “Really?!”
“You need to buy your own ingredients though. Or just pay me for it.”
“Of course it would be like that…”
“Well, goodbye and goodnight Jeon. I’ll meet you here tomorrow again.”
“Still eight in the morning?”
“Fuck, you’re a demon…”
Seokjin laughs and starts walking toward the main entrance of his building without looking back. Jungkook waits for him to disappear inside, and when the door shuts close, starts the journey back to his own room where only depressing cup noodles await.
Before Jungkook could even enter his shared room with his friends slash teammates, he hears a screech that couldn’t be anyone else but Taehyung echoing down the hall.
Pushing the door open, he finds Yoongi in bed on his phone while Taehyung is standing up on his holding the red insecticidal can they usually keep in the bathroom.
“Is there a cockroach again?” He asks, closing the door behind him slowly. He leaves his sliders on their basketball-shaped rug, not bothering to return it on his own shoe rack.
Taehyung ignores him, eyes wide and looking as if it’s about to pop off the socket.
“FUCK! DID YOU HEAR IT?” Taehyung presses down on the nozzle and sprays on one spot around his bed.
Yoongi turns off his phone and shouts at him just as loudly to stop wasting their insecticide. “What do you think will come out of using that?!”
Half-listening on their exchange, Jungkook walks to their small kitchen and starts heating up the water for his instant meal.
“I DON’T KNOW? MAYBE IT’LL GET DIZZY AND PASS OUT? THEN YOU CAN THROW IT OUTSIDE THE WINDOW?”
Jungkook opens one of the cabinets above the sink and grabs the last of his cheese bokki. He mentally thanks past him for saving it for such occasions like this when he’s hungry, broke, and cannot find it in him the strength to go outside campus just to eat dinner.
A loud noise surprises him accompanied by another scream courtesy of Taehyung. “I SAW IT, I SAW IT. IT’S BEHIND MY CLOSET.”
“Okay, I saw it too. Just leave it be; it can smell your fear. Look at Jungkookie, he’s just standing there and not jumping around.” Yoongi sits up from his bed and opens his bedside drawer, grabbing a pair of earphones and pieces of gum he keeps in there.
Jungkook pours the hot water into his cheese bokki, seals it, and turns to the two. “I thought you got over your fear of cockroaches.”
“WHO SAID ANYTHING ABOUT COCKROACHES? IT’S A RAT! CAN YOU NOT HEAR ALL THE SQUEAKING?”
All the feeling in Jungkook’s upper limbs disappear. He chuckles nervously, and looks back and forth toward Taehyung and Yoongi. “Why would there be a rat?”
Yoongi sighs and tuts. “Of course you’re scared too.”
Jungkook laughs again. It sounds so forced that even Taehyung pauses to shoot him a look of understanding. “Rats are disgusting, it’s okay.”
Not giving a care anymore about waiting for two minutes to cook the noodles, Jungkook hurriedly strips back the lid, dumps the hot water down the sink, rips open the cheese powder to add on his still hard noodles, and runs to his bed opposite Taehyung and Yoongi’s with disposable chopsticks gripped on his other hand.
“And you wonder why we have rats when you and Jungkook keep eating on your beds.” Yoongi says while popping a piece of gum in his mouth.
“Yoongi, not rats. RAT. THERE IS ONLY ONE.” Taehyung manages to retort before screaming again and spraying somewhere near his bed.
“Wouldn’t be shocked if its got rat babies everywhere, to be honest.”
The thought of having more than one pest living in their room has Jungkook slurping down on his noodles. He curses his shaking hands and tries to appear nonchalant.
Taehyung eventually sits down on his bed. He’s still clutching the can of insecticide, ears perking up at every little sound. Jungkook relaxes too, tells himself that since he hasn’t seen it for himself, then it might just be Taehyung’s imagination.
“FUCK JUNGKOOKIE IT’S UNDER YOUR BED.”
Jungkook chokes on his noodles out of surprise. Taehyung is standing up again and spraying the insecticide toward his direction.
“TAE STOP WASTING THE DAMN SPRAY.”
“BUT I TOLD YOU IT’S GOING TO GET DIZZY AND WILL EVENTUALLY PASS OUT!”
“YOU KNOW WHO WILL GET DIZZY AND PASS OUT FROM ALL YOUR SPRAYING? ME AND JUNGKOOK. I’M OUT OF HERE.”
Jungkook doesn’t dare get out of bed to get water. He braves through it, coughing and hitting his chest. He tucks his feet under his thighs and pulls his comforter around his legs.
“YOONGI DON’T LEAVE US!”
Taehyung’s pleas fall on deaf ears. Yoongi gets out of bed, walks to the door casually and without fear, then slams it close.
The night passes with Jungkook sitting straight in bed and pretending to be busy on his phone while Taehyung reacts loudly every time he thinks he sees or hears something. He doesn’t comment on it, just lets Taehyung get all of it out. Soon enough, Taehyung drains himself and falls asleep, leaving Jungkook to deal with their rat problem.
do not forget!!! 8 AM!!!
Seokjin’s name flashing at the top of the screen felt like a light at the end of a dark tunnel.
can i sleep at your place
no? that’s so random? what’s wrong with you…
there’s a rat in my room
clearly you must be eating on your bed for that to happen
tae’s already passed out from all the screaming
so now it’s just me here
hahaha no you aren’t
the rat’s still there with you
you’re awful kim seokjin
this is all because you took away our ps4 and massage chairs
that was way back first year
and i still stand with my decision that athletes shouldn’t be allowed such privileges when we are all equally students
are you still not over it?
CAN’T YOU DO ANYTHING?
what, like letting you sleep over my place?
I’M YOUR PARTNER YOU NEED TO CARE FOR MY WELL-BEING AND MENTAL HEALTH
that’s not going to solve anything
you’re going to come back the next morning and the rat will still be there
go to sleep already
we have a lot to do tomorrow
you’re talking about ‘we’ a lot
oh you speak french now?
keep talking smack. i’m not the one with a rat in my room.
Jungkook runs from his bed and into the bathroom at exactly 7 in the morning. When he finishes showering, he faces the obstacles of getting ready, namely running back and grabbing clothes, getting dressed, and not bothering to dry his hair. He wears the most comfortable clothes he could grab quickly; a matching grey sweatshirt and pants, socks, and his new shoes. He grabs his essentials; bucket hat, keys, wallet, and phone, and leaves the room at 7:50 on the dot.
Making his way on the same spot he and Seokjin separated ways last night, Jungkook feels a bit triumphant at getting there before Seokjin does. He would be happier if he wasn’t so sleepy, the thought of the rat jumping him if he so much as close his eyes keeping him up the entire night.
When he spots Seokjin exiting the main entrance of the building right next to Jungkook’s, a look of surprise crosses his features.
Walking up to him, Seokjin’s pleased expression dissolves into a grimace. “You look like you haven't slept the entire night.”
Jungkook shrugs. He’s too lethargic to fight with Seokjin today and on an empty stomach too. “Let’s just go.” He mumbles, trying his best to not look like he is dragging his entire body weight with every step he takes.
Beside him, Seokjin asks in a quieter tone, “Because of the rat?”
“Because of the rat.”
The council office of their college in the campus is a place Jungkook has never been to. Seokjin walks ahead of him leading the way, and he stays behind while holding the camera and recording.
Seokjin talks to the camera about how the student secretary is the one who usually opens the council room but since he always arrive the earliest, he takes it upon himself to set up for the day. Jungkook remains quiet, nodding along appropriately to make Seokjin feel like they are talking to each other.
They walk around the spacious room. Seokjin turns on the wi-fi modem, the air conditioner, and starts up the red coffee machine by the water cooler.
When Seokjin motions for him to stop recording, Jungkook slumps down on the couch by the window with a tired sigh. He reaches out for the beaded string to shut the blinds, groaning in annoyance since it’s too far away for him to reach and he has zero energy to get up from his comfortable spot.
Seokjin does it for him. Jungkook didn’t even hear him move.
“Thanks.” He mumbles, eyes heavy every time he blinks. “What do we do now?”
Seokjin remains standing. He looks around the room before returning his attention to Jungkook. “Well, I need to wait for Namjoon to hand me the forms from the other blocks.”
“Kim Namjoon. He’s our college’s student secretary. He double majors in communications and history, so he floats around the other classes a lot. He helps me when there are big programs coming up like our field trip so I don’t have to harass every single student for their forms.”
“You know I’ve been here for three years and the system still confuses me. Stuff like I know you’re president but of what? Shit’s confusing.” Jungkook yawns right after speaking.
Seokjin hums and shrugs. “Well, to put it simply, every department under our college of liberal arts has a representative. Each college as a whole has a council, consisting of your typical roles like president, vice, secretary, and so on and so forth. The student president of each college acts as the overall representative for the big league: our university student council, and the UC has the same hierarchy. In other words, the person representing the entire undergraduate student body is the UC president. It’s a pretty big deal.”
The confusion shows on Jungkook’s face. Seokjin only rolls his eyes and doesn’t attack him for it. Jungkook appreciates it even though he’s feeling weird about them not bickering every single second.
“And you are…?”
“Representative for the department of communications, president of the college of liberal arts, head of the in-campus student residences committee, and soon, hopefully, if all goes well, UC president.” Seokjin finishes it off with a wistful yet determined smile.
“Are you actually getting paid to do all that?”
“Well, it’s a bit like your basketball scholarship. I don’t pay tuition anymore since all those student leadership discounts and external scholarships stacked up, and they give us an allowance for being in the residence committee.”
Jungkook adjusts the throw pillow cushioning his head. He looks to be in deep thought, mind moving slower than usual. “But aren’t you also on the dean’s list?”
“Jesus. You’re actually quite amazing, huh?”
They stare at each other for a while, Seokjin looking at him in surprise. “Thank you?” He clears his throat and adds, “For a second there I thought you were going to insult me about something.”
“I mean, I still hope you trip or fall down the stairs for what you did during freshman year, but I give credit where credit is due.”
Jungkook’s statement stabilizes the atmosphere back to simmering animosity from awkward compliments.
“And like I told you back in first year, it was the right thing to do.”
“Yeah, yeah, you went after us by exercising an application of marxist criticism on the products of our privilege as student athletes, or whatever. How progressive of you. Can I knock out for a bit while we wait for the other dude?”
“How do you— what?”
Jungkook yawns loudly without shame. Before turning his back to Seokjin for his much needed nap, he says, “That’s what you told me when I asked you why you had to disturb our peace. Couldn’t understand shit about what you said but I was so angry and determined to prove you wrong I studied up on it for weeks. Turns out you were right though, and realizing that you were just made me dislike you more.”
On an unfamiliar but strangely comfortable couch, the external environmental temperature cold while he himself is warm and toasty, is how Jungkook wakes up.
He wakes up the way perfect mornings usually start for him; eyes opening wide and no trace of weariness. The air smells like pumpkin spice, juniper trees, and coffee.
Eyes moving around the room, they land on the burning scented candle placed on the table beside the coffee machine. Secondly, he realizes that thrown over him is a white duvet that pools around his sock-clad feet. Glancing downwards, he finds his shoes neatly placed on the floor.
The last thing Jungkook realizes, now at full consciousness, is that he isn’t alone inside the room he’s in. An unfamiliar back is seated in front of the desktop computer at the other end from where he is sprawled on the couch. The tapping of a mechanical keyboard fills the silence. Jungkook breaks it by getting out of the couch with a grunt, his sore back only making itself known when he sits up.
The stranger turns around, and Jungkook is greeted with a kind smile. “Hi, Jungkook. Had a good rest?”
He nods in response, eyes narrowing at the other.
Before he gets to ask how the stranger knows who he is, the other speaks up again.
“Seokjin said you should message him when you wake up, and that to help you with the microwave because, and I quote directly from him, knowing him he’ll end up breaking it and then find a way to blame and curse me instead, unquote.”
The confusion is clear on Jungkook’s face.
The stranger chuckles and gets up from the office chair to where the small appliances are. “Go text him, I’ll heat it up for you.”
It just confuses Jungkook more. “Wait, heat what?”
“I have food?”
The stranger presses the appropriate buttons, the appliance lighting up and spinning around.
“Seokjin said it’s yours. He dropped it off before going to the council meeting. It should be done by now.”
Jungkook, not knowing what to do or what is happening for the matter, decides to fully get up from the couch. He busies himself by folding the duvet and leaving it on one side of the couch. He sits back down to put on his sneakers, wondering how he managed to get them off. He’s got a lot of questions such as: where is Seokjin, who is this guy, what time it is, and—
The microwave beeps, and when the handle is pulled open, Jungkook’s mouth waters as the smell of something familiar and delicious fills the air.
It is placed on top of the wide table in the middle of the room, and when Jungkook makes his way there to pull up a chair and dig in, all his questions are forgotten at the sight of the bibimbap bowl.
Jungkook doesn’t waste time plopping down on a chair to dig into the meal, his first meal of the day in fact.
As if it couldn’t get any better, the stranger suddenly says, “There’s banana milk in the fridge and samanco in the freezer. Everyone in the council names their snacks so yours should be the one with no label.”
“Are you an angel?”
The stranger laughs, dimples appearing on his cheeks. He goes back to sitting in front of the computer, still looking amused. “No, I’m just the secretary. You should thank Seokjin, not me.”
Jungkook pauses midway a spoonful of bibimbap to look at the stranger in disbelief. “You’re telling me this is all thanks to him?”
The stranger is now the one appearing confused. “Yes?”
“Uh, are we talking about the same Seokjin? Kim Seokjin? Are you sure?”
“When I got here, he was draping that blanket over you. He told me to watch over you while he goes out for a bit, then he returned with your bibimbap and all the other snacks. He had to go because the meeting was about to start so I said I’ll stay behind and wait for you to wake up since I had to do some school work anyway.”
Jungkook stares down his bibimbap, a weird emotion taking over him. To change the subject, he asks, “How long was I asleep?”
“I arrived a few minutes before ten; you were already asleep by then. It’s currently one and some minutes in the afternoon.”
The door to the council room swings open, the two inside swiveling their heads in response to the sound.
Seokjin balances the heavy stack of papers on his arms with one hand, foot on the door keeping it open. The other guy runs up to him and takes half of the papers, free hand holding the door open for Seokjin to pass through.
“Thanks, Joonie.” He mumbles while panting. He places the papers down with a thud down the same table Jungkook’s eating at, and up close, Jungkook notices the redness on his face and the sweat falling from his temples.
Their eyes meet when Seokjin looks back. “Oh.” He tries to steady his breathing, lips parted and quietly taking in gulps of air. “Jeon. You’re awake.”
Jungkook nods in response. Seokjin nods back and immediately focuses his attention on Joonie, who places the papers on the desk.
“What happened?” The other asks Seokjin.
“Some idiot put the wrong date on the notary form. Council won’t accept a single paper until that one stupid form is fixed.”
“What? They should’ve just taken it.”
“I know. I got it fixed, no worries. Just super fucking tired of running around so I thought I’d catch my breath first.”
“Fixed? Don’t tell me you went and got it done with your own money.”
Seokjin shrugs, his lips curving into a tired smile. “Doesn’t matter. I’ll leave in a bit. I promised to get it done by two.”
“No, you always do this! You always go the extra mile unprovoked!”
Seokjin is forced down the chair next to Jungkook’s who is watching their exchange instead of eating.
“Just stay here and rest. I’ll go bring it to them.” To Jungkook, he says, “Can you make sure to not let him do anything school related for a bit?”
Seokjin makes a noise of complaint while Jungkook nods his head enthusiastically.
Taking the stacks of paper, Joonie nods his head at Jungkook and rolls his eyes at Seokjin. “You know you won’t shrivel up and die if you ask people for help, right?”
When the door closes and Joonie disappears, Seokjin’s head drops down the table. Jungkook notices the trembling of his shoulders.
Jungkook places his spoon on top of the bowl. He looks around for the fridge, a medium-sized red thing, and pulls it open to find it stocked and as Joonie said, all labeled. He pulls open the freezer and finds all sorts of frozen delights. The lone Samanco is his favorite variant, the red bean flavor, and he wonders how even in buying food, Seokjin manages to execute it perfectly.
Sitting back down on the chair, Jungkook places it near Seokjin’s head. It prompts Seokjin to rest his cheek on the table instead, eyes moving towards it.
“You can have my ice cream. You need it more than me.”
Seokjin huffs, but he’s also smiling, so Jungkook tells himself he’s doing the right thing even though he really wanted to be the one who gets to eat it.
“I bought it, so technically, it’s mine.” Seokjin pushes it to Jungkook, then moves his hand to cushion his cheek still resting on the tabletop. “How sweet of you though.” He manages to still say it with a hint of sarcasm albeit less than what Jungkook is used to.
“Did Namjoon tell you the banana milk is also yours?”
“So that was Namjoon? And yeah, he did.”
“Okay. Give me ten and we can do our project.”
Jungkook tuts at Seokjin’s words. He takes a mouthful of bibimbap first, swallows, then says, “No, you heard Namjoon. He said to make sure you don’t do anything school related.”
Seokjin scoffs. “You didn’t even know his name before I said it.”
“You let me rest so I’m returning the favor. Let’s just take the day off.”
“Jeon, if we don’t get anything done today that means we have to meet up again tomorrow.”
“And? We live here inside the campus, meeting up is no problem. I’m not going anywhere, don’t worry.”
“Do I have to be the one to remind you that you have practice tomorrow?”
“It’s fine. I’ll hang off you the entire day, follow you around and film while you do your thing.”
“And you’re okay with that? You don’t have anything better to do?”
Jungkook sighs in irritation at Seokjin’s stubbornness. “Yes, I already said it’s fine.”
Seokjin sits up straight and stretches his arms up in the air, body relaxing into a slump with a sigh of contentment. Jungkook resumes his focus on eating, strangely happy over the turn of events. He attributes it to finally getting some sleep.
While eating, he hears the tapping sound of Seokjin’s phone keyboard. When it keeps continuing without pause, he peeks over and immediately moves his hand to try and grab it from Seokjin’s hand.
“I said no doing schoolwork!”
Seokjin keeps a tight grip on it, snarling at Jungkook. “No, you didn’t! Namjoon did!”
“Give it over!”
It ends with Jungkook’s hand covering Seokjin’s own still keeping a hold on his phone. When Jungkook squeezes, Seokjin shouts out, “That hurts! Stop it!”
Jungkook pulls their hands closer to his side. “Not until you promise you won’t do anything school related. Just… I don’t know, google how ketchup was made or something.”
“I was not doing school work!”
“Kim. I’m not blind.”
“Jeon. I really wasn’t.”
“Then why did I see the words residence and dorm and checklist?”
“Because it’s the grocery list for the upcoming month’s pantry restock. I need to get it approved first before they release the money!”
“That’s school related!”
“Is it school related if I say I actually enjoy doing it?”
“I think you enjoy everything that has to do with school.”
“You’re right, but seriously, this isn’t related to school.”
Jungkook raises a brow challengingly. He pulls again on Seokjin’s hand, and the force of it causes the other to almost fall down. Seokjin catches himself on time, his free hand going down the table for support.
“Jungkook, stop it!”
Funnily enough, it’s what causes Jungkook to loosen his grip on the phone, allowing Seokjin to finally pull back.
“You— you said my name.”
Seokjin’s brows furrow in confusion, head unconsciously tilting to the side. “Is that a statement or a question?”
“It sounds… weird.”
Seokjin guffaws, and just to rile Jungkook up, repeats it again. “Jungkook, Jungkook, Jungkook. Jeon Jungkook.”
“Stop! It’s really—”
“Really what, Jungkook?”
“Can you just go back to being formal, Seokjin?”
The name rolls off his tongue nicely. It’s not weird at all, and hearing Seokjin say his name isn’t as well, but the way Seokjin says it makes it sound different when it’s literally his name, something Jungkook has been hearing his entire life and before he was even conscious of it.
Seokjin plays it off with a chuckle. “Oh. You’re right. It’s kinda weird.”
Awkward silence resumes. Such silences seem to be filling up the air between them lately.
Jungkook returns to eating, and Seokjin goes back to tapping on his phone while eating the fish-shaped ice cream with his other hand.
Jungkook is at this point back to laying down on the couch watching a Youtube video about tartiflette that popped up in his recommendations while sipping on his banana milk. Seokjin breaks the silence and says, “Wanna leave now?”
“And go where?”
“I’m going back to the dorm.”
“Okay, I’ll go back too.”
Walking through campus is something Jungkook secretly enjoys. He likes it more when there are no classes, and he can simply enjoy the environment while people watching. There’s no rush to be anywhere, and honestly, he just likes how it reminds him of his independence compared to when he was younger and living with his family. Beside him, Seokjin’s expression mirrors his. His eyes are subtly moving around to focus on little things like how the trees canopy and shield them from the afternoon sun, the air cool compared to when outside the campus, the black brass street lamps lining each intersection of pathways, and the dried brown leaves gathering on the ground signifying the start of the season of falling.
Their dormitories come into view, both similar in style but so different inside. It was more different back in first year, Jungkook muses, before Seokjin decided to ruin the student athletes’ secret fun plus privileges.
“What the hell?” Jungkook says out loud.
The residents of the athlete’s dorm are standing outside, all in varying states of dress and undress. Some are in pajamas, others tapping their feet in irritation with backpacks or gym bags slung over their shoulders.
There’s a white van parked in front of the courtyard right by the building, another weird sight. Joining the rest of the crowd, the two of them stand outside while Jungkook tries to peak at whatever is happening inside.
Jungkook hears Seokjin say, “Oh, they’re still here?”
“What’s going on?” Jungkook asks, thoroughly confused.
Seokjin only shrugs. “The exterminators.” He blinks innocently at Jungkook, like it doesn’t have anything to do with him when Jungkook knows that whenever something happens in the dorms, it has everything to do with Kim Seokjin.
The last time this happened was when their PS4s, fiber optic Internet, and the leather massage chairs, were confiscated back in first year. Jungkook remembers that day clearly, but right now, there’s another matter at hand.
“If I agreed to let you sleep over last night, we would be able to film today, yes, but your rat will still be there.” Seokjin explains plainly. “I called the extermination team last night to deal with it; a short-term solution to a long-term problem.”
The doors to their building open, and shrieks are heard at the sight of the yellow box the exterminators were carrying.
Jungkook is at a loss for words. He keeps looking back towards his dorm and back to Seokjin who is watching the commotion boredly, arms crossed and definitely not acting like he just saved Jungkook the trouble of sleepless nights.
Remembering the scenario from earlier about the forms for their upcoming field trip, Jungkook asks, “Did you pay for it with your own money?”
Seokjin scoffs, glaring at him. “It’s paid courtesy of the funds set aside for us in-campus residents. Now you see how the old head of the dorm committee was wasting money on your dumb student athlete privileges? Where did you think the pantry appliances we got back in first year were from?”
“I thought they felt bad they took away our stuff.” Jungkook mumbles weakly. He continues looking at Seokjin, but he’s suddenly all too aware of Seokjin, and how much he didn’t know Seokjin is making his and other people’s lives easier.
Ah. Shit. Fuck. Shut up brain. This emotion disappeared back in first year!!! QUIT IT.
Seokjin laughs, eyes crinkling and shoulders shaking. “Jeon, you’re such an airhead.” When his laughter dies down, it leaves a red flush on his cheeks, and Jungkook wonders if that happens often.
Or where it continues and stops.
Shut up. Get a grip. You’re such a loser.
“See you tomorrow, Jeon. And for god’s sake, stop leaving unfinished food in your room to prevent future rodent infestations, okay?”
here’s the google drive link to every video we shot this week
if you need help with editing just message me
are you in practice
i can edit for this week and you can do next week’s if you’re too busy
ok if you say so
will it be done by 9 tonight
i get out of practice at 9
do you practice the entire day on saturdays???
not really but there’s an away game next week so
you sure you don’t want me to do it?
well if you want to so badly…
we need to submit sunday night
yeah, yeah i’ll get it done
coach calling me out i gotta go
why are you sending question marks hahaha
go away already
and done editing
did a great job if i say so myself
i know you wanna look it over and be the one to submit so i’ll just send you the link
don’t expect me to respond in 12 hrs i’m gonna zzzz
Seokjin wakes up at exactly six in the morning. It’s a Sunday, so he allows himself the extra thirty minutes of sleep compared to his usual schedule during weekends.
His phone buzzed repeatedly around three in the morning, and even though it woke him up a bit, he kept his eyes shut and continued dozing off.
Sitting up in bed, he sees that it’s from Jungkook along with an unlisted YouTube link. He reaches out the side of his bed for his laptop on the desk, turns it on, and copies the link to his browser.
He turns up the volume a bit, and hits play.
WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU
WHY WOULD YOU USE THIS SONG
SEND ME THE FILE ASAP I’M CHANGING THE SONG
JEON WAKE UP AND CHANGE IT
good morning to you too
i messaged you at 6?
it’s already 2 in the afternoon?
i told you i’m zzzz-ing out
i bet you’re gonna put something like
happy not knowing by crj
shut up and fix it
codeine crazy is a perfectly good song
NO IT ISN’T YOU PRIMITIVE PEA-BRAINED JOCK
i edited it good though didn’t i 😌
CHANGE THE SONG
The buzzing of Jungkook’s phone causes his music to pause. He grumbles out loud while his ring tone blares through his airpods.
Ignoring it, Jungkook continues his early morning jog in the five star hotel he’s staying at along with Taehyung, Yoongi, and the rest of the team.
When it stops ringing, his music resumes. Uncaring about his surroundings, Jungkook sings along to Astrothunder and keeps his pace. Whoever is calling does not relent, robbing Jungkook the opportunity of belting out the chorus. He curses and resigns to finishing his seventh lap around the perimeter without any music.
He removes his airpods and stuffs them inside the pocket of his windbreaker. The caller is persistent, and it makes Jungkook want to ignore them more.
On the elevator ride back to his suite, Jungkook finally takes his phone out to check who it is. Instead of being greeted by his wallpaper of a quote from Michael Jordan, he is instead greeted by the Messenger app notifying him of an incoming video call.
Jungkook is quick to understand the situation when he sees the name of his persistent caller. It makes him want to ignore the other some more, get them angry and irritated the same way he was. It’s childish, but the caller already calls Jungkook other names, so he might as well.
He taps the keycard on the handle, turns the door open, and jumps into the humongous bed with the softest white sheets.
As vice-captain, Jungkook gets the privilege of having his own room. Yoongi’s own suite is just down the hallway, and Taehyung is stuck with a roommate a few floors down.
He settles against the headboard, free arm stretched and hand behind his head while the bottom half of his body is comfortably sprawled underneath the thick duvet.
Finally, Jungkook answers the call and is met with Seokjin squinting at him from the other side of the screen.
“You miss me already?”
“Did you just wake up?”
Jungkook shakes his head and runs a finger through his hair to show Seokjin how sweaty he is. “Morning run.”
Seokjin makes a face of disgust. “And you have the gall to complain about looking bad in our shots. I’m amazed you’re up before eight though.”
The basketball team left the school at around 9 PM yesterday. They arrived in the hotel at two in the morning, and the digital clock placed on Jungkook’s bedside table tells him it’s Monday and there are only a few minutes left before eight.
“What do you want, Kim?”
“Did you read what I sent you last night? Nevermind, of course you didn’t. I was thinking that while you are away we should—”
“We should Facetime, talk about our days, and screen record it. I’ll ask someone to record me while in the game, probably the benched players. I’ll record around the hotel too. And you’re making your roommate Jumin or whoever help you on your end while you do nerd stuff.”
Seokjin’s eyebrows shot up afterwards. Jungkook has learned the past week that he does said action a lot whenever Jungkook surprises him about the most mundane of things, like remembering what Seokjin says, or not being late. It says a lot about what he thinks of Jungkook, but at the same time, Jungkook finds it amusing that Seokjin’s standard for him is so low he gets impressed with the most bare minimum of things.
“I’m impressed,” Jungkook laughs at Seokjin’s predictability, “And it’s Jimin, not Jumin. You can’t even remember names properly.”
“Can I go now?”
“Am I holding you up?”
“Yes, you know you are.”
Seokjin laughs, another thing he’s been doing a lot lately. Jungkook’s starting to think he’s funny, but when he mentions this to Taehyung and Yoongi, they look at him with lips curled in disgust and a shake of their heads.
“Okay, I’ll hang up now. Don’t forget to get your games filmed.”
“We don’t have one today. We’re just going to train and watch the other schools, but sure, I’ll get some footage.”
The last thing Seokjin says before hanging up is, “That’ll work. I’ll call again later.”
The day passes quickly for Jungkook.
The basketball gymnasium of the university they are at isn’t as big as theirs. Most of the players are more interested in walking and touring around the school, but Yoongi, despite his height compared to the other players, stands by the door with a glare and shouts out punishment laps.
When he catches Jungkook and Taehyung trying to escape, he drags the both of them by the ear and forces them to shoot three pointers and run a lap after each shot. Every time they missed, Yoongi made them run double the laps around the court.
While running four laps for two misses, Jungkook’s phone vibrates in his pocket. He takes it out, sees a notification from Seokjin, and curses out loud for forgetting to film.
Kim Seokjin sent you an attachment
“NO PHONES WHILE TRAINING!” Yoongi shouts from the other side of the gymnasium.
Jungkook ignores him and opens his phone, still running but slower this time.
here’s a google drive with our lessons for the day
i know you’re exempted from the homework but i uploaded it too
you better be filming
The gesture surprises him. Nobody really sends him the lessons, much less the homework, since as Seokjin put it, he is exempted from them when in official away-games.
He stops running right by Yoongi who pointedly glares at him. Thumbs press down on the screen to type out his reply.
It’s not like he’ll be opening and studying them, and he would have said so just to get into Seokjin’s nerves, but the other sent it to him out of his own accord. He’s reminded of the rat fiasco and the realization that Seokjin looks out for everyone, so he’ll settle with a thanks today.
He still won’t open it though.
“Hey, you’re my friend and all, but stop slacking around. Set a good example as vice captain!” Yoongi says with his arms crossed over his chest.
Instead of saying anything, Jungkook opens his camera and hands it to Yoongi. “Film me and make sure I look cool.”
“What the hell?”
“It’s for my project.” Jungkook resumes running, motioning for Yoongi to start recording.
Confused, Yoongi raises the phone up and clicks the big red button on the side of the screen.
Jungkook turns around, jogging backwards. He raises a thumbs up to his face and sends a toothy grin plus wink towards the camera before running again normally.
It’s his last three pointer to make and the punishment will be over. Jungkook has to make it count, especially since he is being filmed. He takes a ball from the cloth basket, all casual and cool dribbling it between his legs, and shoots.
The ball hits the backboard, spins around the rim for a while, and eventually falls down the net.
He holds back the loud hoot he would’ve let out if he wasn’t behind the lens of his phone. Instead, he only raises his brows, crinkles his nose, and starts on his last lap.
When he comes up Yoongi’s way, the other’s expression breaks his cool persona.
Yoongi is looking at him with his upper lip curling in disgust, eyes staring at him in judgment. He stops recording and hands the phone back to Jungkook.
“You’re such a loser.” Yoongi sighs, shaking his head when Jungkook skims through the video, watching his three pointer in full. “It’s like you’re a freshman again trying to impress their crush.”
Jungkook only laughs. “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
Gaze still on his phone, Jungkook opens Messenger again to show his partner a teaser.
You sent an attachment
we’re getting a 4.0 just for how amazing i am
Seokjin is quick to view his message. Instead of replying, he only gets a mocking laughing emoji reaction. Jungkook bursts out in laughter, and when he closes his phone, he is met with Yoongi giving him a look similar to pity.
Looking left and right, Jungkook asks, “What?”
“You’re so whipped.”
Jungkook’s response is a furrowing of his brows in confusion. “I still have no idea what you’re talking about.”
Seokjin’s voice echo inside Jungkook’s suite. He hurriedly gets out of his chair from where he was narrating his day with the help of the script Seokjin wrote. He takes the banana milk he bought from earlier out of the mini fridge and lays down the bed.
While popping the straw into the lid, he hears some rustling around over Seokjin’s end. It's already 9:30 PM, and by the looks of Seokjin’s background, he’s still at the study area in the dorms.
When Jungkook takes his phone from the table, back settling on the humongous bed’s headboard and sipping on his drink, he sees Seokjin writing something down on a thick notebook. He’s wearing his prescription glasses, the metal frame hanging on the bridge of his nose in such an attractive manner that even Jungkook’s pettiness dissolves into objective appreciation.
“What are you doing?”
Seokjin doesn’t look up, still jotting something down. “Writing on my planner.”
Jungkook continues watching him while drinking the banana milk.
Minutes pass and Seokjin speaks up again. “You can hang up already if you want.”
The thought has indeed crossed his mind, but Jungkook is so very bored with nothing to do except wait for tomorrow’s game, so he doesn’t hang up. Instead, he asks, “What time do you wake up?”
“That early? Damn, you’re a machine.”
Seokjin rolls his eyes. He puts his pen down, closes the planner, and reaches for his phone that was situated away from him. “I’m hanging up. I’ll call you again tomorrow after your game.”
Sipping noisily on his drink, a metaphorical light bulb turns on above Jungkook’s head. “Say, is it alright if you call me tomorrow when you wake up?”
The quality of the video call is impressive. It accurately shows every reaction Seokjin makes whenever Jungkook opens his mouth, especially up close like this.
Before Seokjin could ask why, Jungkook beats him to it and says, “We have to leave early tomorrow. I’m usually late.”
Seokjin clicks his tongue. “Of course you are. Fine, I’ll call you. Do you need me to be relentless or to just call once?”
“Until I answer the phone.”
“Relentless it is. Alright, goodnight Jeon. Nice work.”
The ringing and vibrating of Jungkook’s phone against the hardwood bedside table jolts him awake.
First games always has him sleeping late, a combination of excitement and fear keeping him up. He fell asleep at 1 in the morning watching Samsung reviews even when almost everything he owns is from Apple. This lead to him going on the website and adding a bunch of things to his cart and doing a list of the pros and cons of hitting checkout and going into debt. At the end, he removed all the items and finally went to sleep.
With his body still comfortable under the hotel’s expensive comforter, Jungkook rests his cheek on the pillow and groggily reaches out to turn on the lampshade and grab his phone that is still ringing.
Without giving it much thought, he swipes on the screen to answer it. He’s too out of it yet to be surprised that it’s a video call and not a normal phone call.
Jungkook blinks at the screen, notes how his hair is sticking up in different places compared to Seokjin who is sipping what looks to be tea from a plain white mug and his hair wet.
“Finally, you’re awake. It's almost six.”
With his brain to mouth filter still not working, he grumbles out in a sleep-laced deep voice, “You’re showered already?”
Seokjin pauses mid-sip of his tea. He blinks at the screen and glances somewhere beyond his phone, looks back, and blinks some more. “Oh. Um. Yes.” He takes another gulp, eyes downcast like he is trying to figure out some problem that suddenly cropped up in his mind.
Jungkook rolls over and lays down on his back, arm stretching fully and holding out the phone to the ceiling. He scratches his neck, yawning and making keening sounds.
“Aren’t you getting up?”
Hearing Seokjin speak makes him realize he closed his eyes again.
“You made me wake you up? For your big game?”
“Oh, right. Thanks Kim. Bye.”
“At least get up first before hanging up.”
Groaning, Jungkook sits up from bed. Squinting at the camera, he sees Seokjin’s cheeks puffing out like he’s trying to hold back a laugh.
“Are you happy now?”
“Not until you send me that footage.”
Jungkook is the one who ends up chuckling. It pushes him to a state of full on awareness, the sleep and fatigue finally shaking itself off from him.
“Goodluck with the game.” Seokjin’s voice is soft. His eyes are a bit wide, half of his face covered by the mug he is drinking from.
Feeling a bit kind, Jungkook nods and spares him a smirk. “Thanks. And for waking me up too. I’ll let you know how it went.”
“I don’t really care though.”
And just like that, Jungkook is laughing and jumping out of bed.
The study area in the regular students’ dormitory is once again empty. It’s almost ten at night, and while one might imagine it would be full, there are so many more options around the university to study with a better ambience such as the library, coffeehouses, or study cafes.
Seokjin himself prefers the library, but since he has to call Jungkook up to ask about his day and the game, purely for their project of course, the study area in the dormitory where no one bothers going is the best choice.
He presses screen record, clicks the video call button, and was about to place it down when to his surprise, the screen immediately shows Jungkook, the call being answered on the first click.
The screen is dark, a lampshade the only thing shedding light on his partner on the other end of the line. Jungkook is laying down the hotel bed, cheek mushed on a white pillow and face blank. His eyelids are heavy, the kind of tired different from when he didn’t sleep the entire night because of the rat in his room.
Seokjin picks up on the atmosphere quickly.
He blinks at the screen, once, twice. He pushes his glasses resting on the bridge of his noise higher to buy more time.
Asking straight out what happened is more his style, except he and Jungkook aren’t particularly close, so he pretends that the glumness Jungkook is emitting in waves isn’t obvious to him.
“How was your day?” When he asks, Seokjin keeps eye contact and features smoothed in a neutral expression.
Jungkook shrugs. “We lost.”
Seokjin could guess as much.
“Don’t worry I still have videos. I already uploaded them on the Drive.”
Seokjin unintentionally snaps at him too quickly. “That’s not what I meant.”
Jungkook only sighs. “Okay. Can we get this over with?”
Seokjin stops screen recording. “You don’t have to talk about it on record. It’s fine.”
The surprised expression he receives switches to suspicion. “You’re not pitying me are you?”
Scoffing, Seokjin places his phone on the metal stand he brought with him. “I’m not that insensitive. Your sulking expression won’t look good on the vlog.”
Jungkook stares. Seokjin does the same, arms crossed over his chest.
After a while, he hears the other say, “We went straight to practicing after the game. We’ll be doing it tomorrow again. I understand but I’m just really tired.”
Seokjin didn’t expect the explanation, didn’t even ask for one. Jungkook, just like their morning call, once again rolls on his back and holds the phone with one hand and facing him straight.
Not knowing how to respond, Seokjin can only say, “I guess I’ll wake you up tomorrow too.”
Jungkook laughs in a low tone. It doesn’t reach his eyes and is over quickly. “Sure. Thanks.” Pursing his lips together, Jungkook continues speaking. “What about you? How was your day?”
Seokjin double checks the edge of his phone screen before saying, “Jeon, I stopped recording.”
The statement has Jungkook’s brows furrowing in confusion but only for a second. He seems to mull over this for a while.
“So… how was your day?”
Seokjin blinks at him in confusion, once again at a lost for words. “I went to class?” Clearing his throat, Seokjin decides to ignore the unusualness of their situation. “Did council duties. Studied in the library.”
“I submitted the budget and grocery list for the dorms’ pantry restock.”
“Did you add samanco and banana milk? I like those.”
“Yes. Not because you like it though.”
Jungkook grins at that. “I mean, did you add a lot? The other athletes always steal my share.”
“It’s for everyone so I can’t help you with that.”
Jungkook moves again. This time, he has his arm bent and laying on the bed, the side of his head resting on a closed hand. “What if you double the quantities?”
Seokjin has no idea where their conversation is going anymore. He guesses Jungkook is talking to him as a distraction from the disappointment of losing today’s game, so Seokjin sucks it up and obliges. “I can always buy extras if there is leftover money. I just have to submit the receipts.”
“Will you buy extra samanco and banana milk if I win tomorrow?”
The wide-eyed and expectant look being directed at him, Seokjin decides, is better than the sulking one. In all honesty, he’d even prefer it if Jungkook is acting like his normal bratty and sarcastic self.
“Okay,” Jungkook whoops, lays on his stomach and moves the phone closer to his face. Seokjin can clearly see the prominent mole under his lip. Hastily, he adds, “Only if you win.”
They return to awkward silence. Seokjin feels like it with how Jungkook is smiling up at him. With this angle, he can see Jungkook’s legs moving up and down, the top of his foot hitting the back of his knees and the bed.
“What are you going to do now?”
Seokjin glares at the other for cutting him off. “I’m going to study.” Not knowing what else to add, Seokjin says, “...bye?”
Jungkook raises a brow in puzzlement. “Why?”
“Because… I’m going to study.”
“You said you studied earlier.”
“I know. I’m going to study again.”
“Can I watch you study?”
The question is the last thing Seokjin expected the other to ask. “What?”
“You can go study. I’ll just… I don’t know. Just leave your camera on.” The way Jungkook speaks is in a whisper even though he is obviously alone in the hotel room. It’s weird for Seokjin to hear him being careful with his words. The hopeful expression on Jungkook’s face is a first as well.
It should make him feel weird because it is weird. Yet at the same time, Seokjin gets it. He knows what it’s like to lose, and he is very familiar with the disappointment that accompanies it, especially when it's failing on the things you care about. It makes him think of Jimin and how his roommate of three years know just by the slump of his shoulders that Seokjin is mentally beating himself up when he can’t live up to the standards he impose on himself. Jimin would invade his space, make him laugh or force him to put notes and textbooks down or forget student leader duties for a while. Despite what other people may think of him, Seokjin is only human as well, and he understands that companionship is the easiest way to pick oneself up after a failure.
So instead of calling Jungkook out for acting out of character, Seokjin opens his bag, grabs his laptop, and sets it in front of him.
He doesn’t say anything more.
When he glances to the screen, Jungkook is still watching him, face now serene and none of the anxiousness and gloom.
Seokjin couldn’t concentrate at all the first five minutes. He would keep glancing away from his laptop and to his phone. Jungkook has shifted his intense gaze away from him, now simply staring up the ceiling and flat on his back. Soon enough, he forgets Jungkook is there on the other end of the line. Sometimes, Jungkook shifts around in bed and Seokjin would look up and see his back. He would face the camera again, this time drawing circles on the mattress, seemingly in deep thought.
Finishing up the pubmat for an event the student council is hosting next week, Seokjin turns off his laptop and isn’t surprised to find Jungkook already asleep. He fixes his bag, trying to be quiet even though he’s sure Jungkook wouldn’t wake up. Taking his phone from the stand, Seokjin watches him for a while.
Jungkook’s sleeping on his stomach, face turned to the side, arms above his head and hugging a pillow. It makes him think of Jimin who sleeps curled on his side. Seokjin sleeps flat on his back and with his hands resting on his stomach. He remembers Jimin telling him it freaked him out when they first started out as roommates, convinced Seokjin was a vampire of some sorts.
Seokjin ends the call. He wonders if when he wakes Jungkook up tomorrow, he’ll still be asleep in the same position.
Seokjin moves around the room in silence. He grabs the bottle of sunscreen from his study desk and sits down the bed.
The sudden, “Why am I looking at the dorm ceiling?” makes him turn to where he left his phone on the bedside table.
It takes Seokjin several calls before Jungkook answers, so this has him jumping and reaching out for his phone. The noise makes Jimin turn in his sleep.
Holding the phone on his hand, he’s surprised to see Jungkook already showered and wearing what Seokjin is familiar with as the basketball varsity’s official jersey over a black shirt. He has a white towel over his head and he’s rubbing it on the strands carelessly.
“You’re up early.” Seokjin mumbles in surprise. He didn’t even have time to dry his hair properly.
Jungkook grins at him, teeth baring and nose scrunching. “Nothing like a loss to make the comeback more exciting.”
The optimism surprises him. It surprises him more that he and Jungkook share the same sentiment. Seokjin allows himself to chuckle, “I agree.” Jungkook hums, still rubbing on his hair with the towel. As an afterthought, he adds, “Goodluck with the game.” It comes out softer than when Seokjin imagined it in his head.
Jungkook is surprised for a second. His reaction morphs quickly into a happy one. “Thank you.” He clears his throat and promises, “I’ll keep you posted. And take videos of course.”
Seokjin nods. “Okay. You do that.”
After the call ends, Seokjin finally notices the heat spreading in his chest. He sits in silence for a while, looking down at his lap. Shaking his head, he opens his phone again and looks for a song to play, in a low volume of course since Jimin is still asleep, while he gets ready for the day.
Kim Seokjin is listening to Stay Away by Carly Rae Jepsen — SPOTIFY
The movements Seokjin has been exhibiting the past two hours are now familiar to Jimin. He looks up from his textbook, Principles of Anatomy and Physiology by Tortora and Derrickson, to find Seokjin doing exactly what he expected.
Seokjin lowers the screen of his laptop for a while, grabs his phone laid down next to it, opens it, sighs when he discovers his phone isn’t broken; it’s really not just ringing. Then, he goes back to his laptop with a slump on his shoulders and unconsciously pouting at the screen.
Jimin’s eyes narrow in suspicion.
They both don’t have classes on Wednesdays. It became their designated study day, or when they don’t have anything to do, the day they would leave the campus premise to either eat somewhere a bit better than cafeteria food or watch a movie. Since their first exams start next week, they are here instead of catching up on new cinema releases. It’s usually Jimin who dozes off, the one who Seokjin tuts at when he catches Jimin going from innocently checking his phone to playing games.
Seokjin doesn’t obsessively check his phone like this. When Seokjin’s phone vibrates on the wooden library desk they are situated on, he immediately grabs it.
Jimin watches the corner of Seokjin’s lips curl upwards, thumbs flying across the screen and noisily tapping on his keyboard screen. His suspicion rises. He wants to ask, he really does, but Seokjin acted like this before only for it to be that Seokjin’s proposal to the UC was approved over all the other college reps.
Another hour passes. Jimin ultimately forgot about it, too engrossed with memorizing the muscular system for his upcoming exam, when Seokjin’s phone vibrates again. This time, it goes off continuously.
Jimin watches his roommate and best friend dive towards his bag and takes out earphones that he hurriedly plugs on the phone and the buds in his ears. He watches Seokjin school his expression into one of indifference. Jimin inwardly rolls his eyes at this.
With the mango yellow highlighter between his fingers, Jimin pretends to highlight another page while his attention is entirely on Seokjin’s mysterious call.
“Do I have to revise the grocery list for your snacks or not?”
The opening statement makes Jimin pause. He glares at the uneven highlight his surprise caused.
“Cool.” Seokjin says.
Jimin thinks it is more than cool with how Seokjin’s face lights up with pride.
Seokjin scoffs, his sparkling eyes betraying his words and tone of voice. “Fine. Congratulations, Jeon.”
No one can really blame Jimin when he chokes on his spit, the control he has on the highlighter slipping. There is now an ugly yellow line extending from where he was highlighting and ending on the margins of the page.
Jeon? As in, Jeon Jungkook? The ace athlete of the basketball varsity, Seokjin’s classmate, partner on a project, and the one who hates him with such weird passion Jimin secretly thinks it borders on obsession?
(“Wow, that guy really hates you.” Jimin tells Seokjin while they eat dinner in the cafeteria, his eyes on the athlete dormers who are queuing in line to get their food.
Jeon Jungkook is shooting what can only be a death glare towards their direction.
Seokjin shrugs and continues eating his cheese tteokbokki. “It’s okay. He irritates me just as much.”
“You? Irritated by someone?”
Seokjin has his hand raised in mid-air, chopsticks between his fingers. His eyes are cast upwards like he is deep in thought. He only looks down to get another piece of tteokbokki.
“He rarely attends our classes but the professors can’t really fail him. Varsity jocks and all that.”
“So you hate that he’s getting by easily?”
“Maybe? He’s just so… obviously disinterested with everything else besides basketball, and he still finds time to dislike me.”
“Seokjin-ah, I think he has a crush on you.”
Seokjin laughs, eyes turning into pretty crescents. Jimin wouldn’t be surprised if Jeon Jungkook does. Seokjin is the picture perfect poster boy of conventionally attractive.
Present time, Jimin watches Seokjin direct all his attention on the video call with Jungkook.
The soft and nice tone Jimin’s only ever heard directed towards him and a few select people shocks him the most. “It’s okay. Enjoy your celebratory dinner. No need to call up later. Yes, I’m recording this. What, it’s good footage! No. Nope. Jeon, no. Bye.”
Seokjin removes the earphones, carefully folding the wires with a ridiculous smile on his face that he didn’t let show earlier. He doesn’t glance up at Jimin once. Instead, he goes back to whatever it is he’s working on his laptop and doesn’t check his phone again.
Once the project he was working on finishes rendering, Seokjin lets out a satisfied sigh. He stretches his arms above his head, moving his shoulders up and down, getting rid of the stiffness that formed due to perpetually being bent down his laptop.
Jimin is still out, and it’s almost eleven at night. When they left the library at seven and ate at the cafeteria, his roommate and him parted ways: Seokjin heading back to their dorm room while Jimin exits the campus for a much needed date with the PC Bang , according to the other.
Seokjin is left with nothing to do. Literally. He dislikes studying in advance, something that surprises people who don’t know him well. Projects, essays, and homeworks on the other hand are something he always finish weeks in advance. He already made a revised version of the grocery list for the pantry restock, citing team morale boosts and whatnot for the athletes on his note as to why he was changing it at the last minute. It didn’t really matter though. The school administration trusts him more than necessary, and would probably approve it without a second thought.
He told Jungkook earlier they didn’t need to record for tonight, the one from this afternoon of him announcing their win enough. He took lightly how fast he got used to the routine of calling Jungkook up at night and in the morning that his mind has already unconsciously made time for it. Now that it’s not happening, he feels lost and bored out of his mind.
Taking this as his chance to relax and unwind, Seokjin lays down in bed on his stomach and closes all school related softwares. He opens Safari, types Netflix on the address bar, logs into the account he shares with Jimin (his user’s icon is Princess Carolyn while Jimin’s is Mr. Peanutbutter), and clicks on a random Queer Eye episode.
While in the middle of a touching scene, Seokjin’s phone starts ringing. The first person he thinks of is Jimin, the other probably asking if he wants anything from the convenience store.
Grasping for his phone buried somewhere under his pillows and comforter, Seokjin’s eyes widen at the caller’s name.
It’s a video call from Jungkook.
He taps on the green icon and is once again greeted by Jungkook’s face up close with only the lampshade open.
From what Seokjin can see, Jungkook is wearing a white shirt with the sleeves bunched up on one side. He’s laying down the bed in a similar fashion as Seokjin, his arm flexed and showing off muscles Seokjin never expected him to have (he should’ve though, Seokjin tells himself, Jungkook is an athlete). On his head is a black bucket hat with the iconic Supreme logo stitched in the middle.
Seokjin waits for Jungkook to say something, but when the other only blinks at him in wait, Seokjin opens his mouth and asks, “Why are you calling?”
Jungkook’s blinking goes rapid, confusion crossing his features. “Are we not supposed to record?”
“I told you earlier we didn’t have to.”
“Oh. I forgot.”
Seokjin finally notices the redness on Jungkook’s face. He didn’t need to be beside the other to tell he probably smells like alcohol.
“Did you drink?”
Jungkook is taken aback at how easily Seokjin predicted it. The reaction has his eyes rolling.
“Yeah. We celebrated by getting samgyeopsal.”
“Lots of soju, huh?”
Jungkook laughs. He settles more comfortably in bed. His muscles still manage to be distracting. “We won and are going home tomorrow, so Coach let us drink.”
Seokjin stops himself from bringing up their project. He’ll let Jungkook have his moment.
“It’s well-deserved. You won two games back to back, after all.”
Jungkook grins. “And I was named MVP on the second game.”
There is something about people who excel and get excited in what they are good at that gets to Seokjin. He’s pretty sure it’s not that complex of an attraction, leans more toward admiration, but he never really thought of Jungkook to be one of those people. He always viewed him as some kind of musclehead who lives in the moment, and okay it might be accurate, yet he is also more than that. He’s reminded of the Jungkook from last night who was sulking over their loss and the Jungkook of this morning hungry for victory.
It reminds Seokjin of himself.
“Again, congratulations Jeon.”
Jungkook giggles at the praise. “Okay. Thanks.” The fake humble response elicits a laugh from Seokjin as well.
Silence ensues again. This time, it doesn’t feel awkward. He watches Jungkook, tipsy and still grinning, scroll on an iPad with a black cover case. He pauses at something and laughs.
“Do you only listen to Carly Rae Jepsen?”
He turns the iPad screen around and shows Seokjin that Spotify has once again violated his privacy by showing what he is listening to on his Facebook timeline.
Instead of waiting for a reply, Jungkook says, “I must admit, I’ve been listening to Dedicated religiously again because of you. I forgot how catchy her songs are.”
Seokjin tries not to fixate on the because of you part. “Wish you had that energy when you edited our last vlog. The sirens from Codeine Crazy are still ringing in my ears.”
Jungkook hums. “Whatever. I’m still one hell of an editor.”
This is the part where it sinks into Seokjin that he and Jungkook are having a normal conversation. They are actually conversing and not spitting back statements to get on each other’s nerves.
Their conversation shifts to what Seokjin’s day was like. Jungkook listens in rapt attention. Seokjin mentions Jimin, and that they spent their day in the library.
“Do you always just study in your free days?” If Jungkook asked this last week, Seokjin would be quick on forming a snarky reply.
“Not really. We like going to pet cafes or the cinema.”
“I didn’t take you as an animal lover.”
That one makes Seokjin level a stare of disbelief on the other.
Jungkook plows on and asks, “Dogs or cats?”
“Dogs, obviously. I don’t have a dog though. Maybe when I graduate, attend law school, and live in my own apartment.”
“I bet you already have it all planned.”
“Of course. He’ll be a pembroke welsh corgi.”
“What will you name him?”
Jungkook bursts out in laughter, his already red cheeks coloring more. Seokjin realizes he just spilled to his not-so-enemy enemy one of his dreams without much convincing.
“Is that how you see your future? Living in a nice apartment with Chubbers?”
“Working in a law firm while living in a gorgeous apartment overlooking the city with my corgi,” Seokjin sighs as he envisions it, “And its Cashmoney Chubbers. You need to say his full name so he can respond to both.”
Seokjin doesn’t think much about his last sentence. The only person he imagined who would meet Cashmoney Chubbers is Jimin. Probably Namjoon as well. He’s not even sure if he’ll remain… acquaintances with Jungkook after their project is over.
Jungkook, the tipsy and all too optimistic guy that he is, nods his head quickly. “Okay, I’ll remember that when I meet him.”
The clock on the wall’s hands are positioned on six and eight. It’s 8:30 in the morning, and Seokjin managed to record around the campus. He likes to call these extra footage time extenders for the vlog project.
Right now, he is sitting inside the council office of their college building. A steaming mug of jasmine green tea is on the table by his hand and laptop opened. He’s the only one there, so he indulges by lighting up the pumpkin spice and juniper scented candle Namjoon keeps. The screen of his laptop shows iMovie along with all the clips he and Jungkook recorded for this week.
He didn’t bother waking Jungkook up. The basketball team are returning today, a five hour trip at most.
The ringing and vibrating of Seokjin’s phone surprises him. At this point though, the caller ID doesn’t. It’s not a video call, just a simple voice-only one. Clicking on answer and pressing it to his ear, Seokjin straightens up in his seat, fingers tapping against the table.
Jungkook is already speaking the moment he answered.
“Why didn’t you wake me up?”
It takes Seokjin aback. “Aren’t you returning today?”
“I overslept and woke up with Tae and Yoongi almost breaking the door down.”
Seokjin stifles his laughter and clears his throat. “They almost left you behind?”
“Because someone didn’t wake me up.” The tone of Jungkook’s voice hint on the scowl probably on his face.
“Well, sorry for not doing so.” Seokjin tells him sarcastically. “I assumed you didn’t need waking up anymore.”
On the other end of the line, Jungkook grumbles. Seokjin hears someone telling him to keep quiet, we’re all trying to sleep here.
“You’re in the bus already?” Seokjin asks.
“Yup. We’ll probably arrive around lunchtime. Are we going to film? I’m tired as fuck, and maybe a bit hungover, so tell me now.”
Seokjin is glad Jungkook brought it up. “Yes, we should. I’m editing right now and we need more footage to get past the minimum time.”
“Alright. I’ll be good by afternoon. I think.”
“We, well I do since you’re exempted and all that, still have classes by afternoon. Dinner?”
“Okay. Dinner. Bye now. Yoongi looks like he’s about to deck me if I don’t stop talking.”
The call immediately ends when Seokjin says “See you later.”
There’s a mirror opposite the wall facing Seokjin. When he looks up, he realizes he was grinning the entire time. It falls off his face when he sees it, and even though he’s alone, looks left and right, clears his throat, and goes back to working on their vlog.
“Did you eat dinner yet?” Jimin asks the moment he enters their room. He’s carrying several worksheets from his histology class. He told Seokjin earlier they can’t eat dinner together since he had to do the aforementioned worksheets with his groupmates, and Seokjin tells him it’s fine because he’s meeting Jungkook later.
He comes back around nine at night, expecting the room to be empty and not with Seokjin laying down in bed watching Modern Family on his laptop.
Seokjin pauses the episode and grumbles out, “No.”
Jimin places his stuff on his bed and joins Seokjin in his who scoots away giving Jimin space.
“Did he ditch you?” Jimin asks casually.
Seokjin shrugs and presses play again. “Probably overslept again.”
Jimin watches as irritation, pettiness, and understanding play on Seokjin’s features while he resolutely keeps his eyes on the screen. Bumping the other’s shoulder, he says, “It’s not too late yet. Let’s go to the convenience store.”
“I don’t want to move.”
Jimin nods in understanding. “I’ll go for you?”
Seokjin sighs and shakes his head. “You just got back, it’s really fine. I’ll berate him about it tomorrow.”
It’s at that moment that Seokjin’s phone starts ringing. He’s not the type to ignore calls, even when the caller ID showing is the person who forgot about dinner plans. Seokjin pauses the show again and answers the call with a, “What?”
“Shit, sorry! I’m really sorry! I just woke up. My alarm didn’t wake me.”
“Yeah, it’s fine. I completely understand.”
Jimin knows Seokjin does understand. Despite missed schedules, he always know when to step back and think about the other person’s situation. It’s what makes him such a good and effective student leader.
“Okay, okay. Let’s go now? There’s some places still open.”
“It’s late. We can get breakfast tomorrow instead.”
“I’m really sorry, Seokjin.”
Jimin may not be able to hear what is being said to his roommate, but the sudden coloring of Seokjin’s cheeks and ears has his brows rising in interest.
He takes a moment to respond.
“Um, it’s potatoes and garlic right? You’re allergic to potatoes and garlic.”
“Not that I know of. Why?”
“Okay, got it. I’ll be quick. Don’t sleep yet!”
The call ends, and Seokjin removes the phone away from his ear to stare at it in scrutiny. Jimin nudges him again. “What did he say?”
“I’m not entirely sure, but I think he’s buying dinner.”
They don’t speak about it again and continue on watching Modern Family. They go through two more episodes, the rumbling of Seokjin’s stomach prompting Jimin to ask him if he’s sure he doesn’t want Jimin to scour for food, even suggesting threatening other dormers for their snacks. That last bit makes Seokjin laugh.
Seokjin’s phone vibrates again. Jimin tries his best not to look over the other’s shoulder as he replies to a text.
“Jimin-ah, I think Jeon is here.”
There’s a knock on the door, and both their heads swivel toward it. Jimin jumps out of bed and hurriedly turns the knob. Pulling it open, he’s face to face with Jungkook dressed in a black sweater, black gym shorts, and black Nike sliders. On both his hands are plastic bags.
“Oh, uh, is Kim, I mean Seokjin, there?”
Jimin moves aside to let Jungkook in. Seokjin, who is still in bed, only looks at the other in surprise.
Jungkook holds the bags up. “I brought dinner.” Turning to Jimin and then back to Seokjin, he sheepishly adds, “Enough for your roommate too.”
Jimin is instantly won over, moving the door wider.
Seokjin gets out of bed as well. “We can eat at the dining hall.” He announces, already changing his room slippers into sliders. “We don’t want anymore rat infestations don’t we?”
Unlike the study area in the dorm that is usually empty, the dining hall isn’t. To Seokjin’s surprise some of the residents look up at their arrival and waved shyly toward their direction saying, “Hi, Jeon-sunbae.”
Said person perks up and waves back. Their smiles and excitement at the athlete’s friendliness die down when Seokjin crosses his arms and stares Jungkook down.
“Oh, right.” Jungkook place the plastic bags down, four in total, on a round table. Jimin stands in wait for the other two before sitting down. Jungkook takes the chair next to Seokjin. Jimin decides on sitting across them. He tries not to grin mischievously at the two taking out the paper box containers.
“That’s the chicken.” Jungkook says, pointing at the one Seokjin is opening. He takes out another box, removes the tape on the lid, and places it in the middle. “That’s the rice. I got more chicken but it has garlic so I asked them to place it it another box.” He gestures to said box, and Seokjin places it by Jungkook’s side.
The other two plastic bags had bottles of water and soda, the last one containing ice cream. Jimin stands to place it in the freezer. He stalls, wondering if he should write their names on it or not since they’ll stay there anyway. While he stands on the other side of the room, he watches the two closely.
Jungkook helps Seokjin with the plastic glove for the chicken. Seokjin says something to him, and he laughs.
Oh wow. Wait until Namjoon hears about this.
Jimin allows them more alone time. He looks for plates and cups, washed them even though they are clean, and only then does he return to the table. He places the utensils down and pours the contents of the green soda bottle in two cups, the other he pushes toward Seokjin.
“Nice. You bought Milkis.”
Jungkook snorts. He opens the chicken box with the garlic flavor, and says, “Because you like Milkis.”
Seokjin gives Jungkook a weird look. “You stalker.”
“The drinks served in all our department’s events are always Milkis. It’s pretty obvious.”
Seokjin takes a piece of chicken, no flavor except for salt and pepper, and asks, “Really?” He’s stifling a laugh, but he is also looking at Jungkook in surprise and wonder.
Jungkook nods. He takes the bottle of water for himself. “Very obvious.”
Only when one pays attention.
Jimin removes the tape on the last remaining box to find mandu.
He always knew Jungkook is a nice guy.
“Jimin-ah, his roommate is also in Biology.”
Jungkook nods in affirmation. “Kim Taehyung?”
Jimin does know him. They have the same histology class, lecture and laboratory. “Really? What a small world.” He wonders if he can interrogate Kim Taehyung for information on what’s up, but the tall student is always busy daydreaming in class. Jimin sees Kim Taehyung in the engineering department waiting for a shorter guy with blonde hair more than in the sciences department.
Jimin helps them with their vlog. He watches them from Seokjin’s phone camera. They remind each other to stop being awful and sarcastic, to play nice and be friendly. Jimin thinks they don’t need to act the part when they are already doing it in real life.
After they finished eating, Jungkook scarfing down at least half of the chicken, Seokjin and Jimin remain seated on the table while they watch Jungkook carry their trash outside the dining hall.
“He’s reliable.” Jimin suddenly says.
It surprises Seokjin. He piles their plates together while Jimin takes the cups. “Sometimes.”
They place it in the dishwasher the same time Jungkook comes back.
“Thanks for dinner.” Seokjin tells him while they walk side by side. “Here I thought we were all broke college kids.”
Jimin chooses to walk behind. He’s texting on his phone, composing a scene-by-scene breakdown essay about what happened and to be sent to his significant other.
“Nah, its ‘cause the school covered everything while we were away. I’m already thinking of what expensive thing to spend the money I have left on.”
“Of course you are.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Why don’t you just save it?”
“There’s no point in saving money.”
“What if you go hungry again?”
“Look, if I buy a nice pair of shoes, I’ll have the choice of being able to wear them every single day of the year while I’ll forget about being hungry in a few hours. It’s an obvious choice.”
“Weirdly enough, I agree.”
Jimin adds that last bit on his text report.
they agree on a lot of things but they like pretending they don’t and i think their way of flirting is pretending they hate each other. do you think that’s healthy? whatever it’s cute i guess. anyways, what’s your bet? when do you think they’ll date?
courtside tango jinkook superiority i think
seokjin this entire chapter: cut the cameras... deadass
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Two different reactions immediately form in Jungkook’s mind as he blinks the sleep away from his eyes.
On his hand is his phone vibrating and ringing.
Someone shouts at him to answer his phone already. It’s probably Yoongi.
The first thought vanished quickly but it was along the lines of, Why is he calling?
The second one is, He’s calling late.
It’s already seven in the morning. Seokjin calls around five thirty or perhaps six, depending on when his ringtone manages to sneak inside his unconscious and shake him awake.
Without giving it much thought he answers the call, presses it to his ear, and falls back down the bed on his side, free arm dangling on the edge.
He heard the sound of a hitching breath.
With his eyes closed like this, Jungkook can easily picture Seokjin with hair on the precipice of drying (it must be dry already, it’s already seven after all), a mug of tea covering half his face, and wide eyes.
“I wasn’t sure what time to wake you.”
Jungkook recalls his schedule for today. It’s Friday, which means that their first class starts at ten. He still has three hours left.
“You don’t have to wake me, Kim. I’m already back in school.”
If he wasn’t so sleepy, Jungkook would add something like, We had dinner last night with your roommate. I’m pretty sure you know I’m back.
Jungkook, despite his mental facilities working half than usual and the silence lulling him to a semblance of REM, speaks again. “You okay?”
He hears laughter, a defensive tone lacing it, and Seokjin hurriedly saying, “Yes! I’m sorry. I forgot.”
Jungkook shifts around the bed. He blindly feels for his other pillow that must be somewhere near his feet. Deeming this a situation that needs his eyesight, he opens his eyes and finds the pillow about to fall on the floor. Sitting up, he takes it, hugs it to his chest, falls back down, and tells Seokjin, “I don’t mind. You can keep calling me up. I’m starting to like waking up early.”
It makes Seokjin laugh. Jungkook doesn’t know what’s funny about it but hearing Seokjin’s unique high-pitched giggles has him smiling too.
“Next thing I know you’ll be asking for help with studying.”
Now that one Jungkook thinks isn’t happening anytime soon. He mumbles, “Not a chance.”
“As I expected. By the way, I finished editing our video. I’ll send you the link so you can watch it before I submit.”
“It’s only Friday and you’re already done? I thought we’d film today too.”
Jungkook, for all intents and purposes, is a person who goes where life takes him. He has no explanation for it, doesn’t really want to think deeply about it, but filming their project whether it be through Facetime or in person is something he’s gotten used to. For the first time in a long time, there is nothing in his itinerary that needs him sticking to a schedule.
Perhaps finding time out of his non-existent schedule to film with Seokjin has kept him grounded.
“There’s no need to film anything. Besides, I have a lot of studying to do.”
“More studying? We’re in the same major but sometimes I feel like we’re learning different things.”
Once again there is silence. Jungkook’s about to prod Seokjin to speak up, but the next words from the other has him sitting up in bed and eyes blowing wide.
“Jeon, you are aware our exams begin next week right?”
Jungkook doesn’t really study. He barely remembers their homework. He usually does it the day or literally hours before the deadline. This obliviousness toward academics has worked in his favor for three years straight, so his methods aren’t changing soon.
Like every student, Jungkook still panics. He should be used to this by now, but it still takes him by surprise.
Seokjin would give him those exasperated stares of his if he were here and Jungkook would say, This is actually the earliest I’ve remembered there are exams.
He’s a bit torn between celebrating the fact that he has three days left before the exams or outright panicking.
Jungkook is at least self-aware that this will lead him to cramming. Those three days will pass and he’ll be facing an examination paper with zero knowledge on what is written.
“If you’re worried about the lessons you missed I sent you everything.” Seokjin’s voice snaps him back to reality.
Maybe it’s time to build good habits.
Without giving it much thought, Jungkook blurts out, “Can we study together?”
“You literally just said a few minutes ago that there is no way you’ll ask for my help.”
“I said study together not help me study.”
“Hm, I guess you did.”
“So… are we?”
“Sure. You can join me and Jimin tomorrow in the library.”
A sigh of relief. Jungkook plops back down the bed. He’s not sleepy anymore thanks to the literal and metaphorical wake up call from Seokjin.
The thought of studying stresses him more than the act itself, a dreadful feeling of having to eventually do it.
There’s something about knowing he’ll study with Seokjin that puts him at ease. Seokjin emits such a dependable aura, and Jungkook would like to experience what it’s like basking in it, thank you very much.
Feeling very satisfied with how quickly he turned the situation around, he says, “You know I’m glad you’re on my side.”
“And you’re kind of useless to me, actually.”
“Hey! I’m trying to be nice! And I’m not useless! I brought you dinner, didn’t I?”
A snort. “You brought me dinner when I missed it in the first place because of you.”
Jungkook pouts. “You said you accepted my apology. And that you understood…” He trails off purposely.
This specific back-and-forth reminds Jungkook of something he doesn’t want to acknowledge.
“Nine on the dot tomorrow in the library. Bye.”
Except the call doesn't end. Jungkook checks the screen and presses it back against his ear. “Bye?”
Seokjin remains on the call.
“Why are you not hanging up?”
“Because I said bye! You hang up.” Seokjin grumbles at him.
The logic of it is lost in Jungkook so instead of hanging up he says, “No, you hang up.”
“What the hell? Just hang up or I will.”
“That’s exactly what I want you to do.”
“Jeon, why are you making hanging up on the phone so difficult?”
Jungkook cackles. He settles more comfortably in bed, arms behind his head and fingers mindlessly running through his hair. “I’m not hanging up.”
“And why not?”
“Because I don’t want to.”
Victory sounds like Seokjin cursing at him. “This conversation has lasted long enough. Goodbye.”
Seokjin doesn’t hang up. He likes that Seokjin doesn’t disappoint.
“Just hang up already!” The whining is starting to make its way into Seokjin’s voice. It’s a rare reaction.
Jungkook finally relents. He immediately ends the call, and when his mind pulls up a crystal clear image of how Seokjin looks when he’s dumbfounded, he chortles so loudly a pillow coming from Taehyung’s direction hits him square in the face.
The thing about having a roommate, especially one who you have been with for three years, is whether they are a spontaneous or structured person, you will still become familiar with how they move that when something is up, changes are noticeable.
Having Seokjin as a roommate, changes are very prominent and distinguishable. He never fails to wake up at 5:30 AM during weekdays and 6:00 AM on weekends. No matter if it’s a holiday, a storm outside coaxing people to stay in bed or an all-nighter, he follows this to a T.
He does it religiously and without fail, so much that Jimin’s own consciousness has adjusted to it. When they were still freshmen, he would wake up in a daze at the early hours to Seokjin moving around the room doing his morning ritual: meditate, shower, and eat breakfast (toast and tea; coffee later when two hours pass).
Jimin woke up this morning at 5:45 AM.
There are three odd things about this.
One, it’s a weekend.
Two, Seokjin wakes up at six on weekends.
Three, Seokjin is already awake and showered and rummaging through his closet, throwing clothes on his bed and separating them into different combinations.
He lets it go. It was still too early.
When Jimin wakes up again, this time with no bleariness and confusion and the sun at least up in the sky already, he passes by Seokjin’s bed where he’s sitting and arranging his bag.
Jimin bends down to wrap his arms around the other’s neck for a hug, mumbles a “Good morning,” and jumps in the shower.
After picking out his clothes for their study out in the library, nothing impressive and can even double as sleepwear, it’s when Seokjin is standing in wait for him while he throws in his laptop, printed powerpoints, and worksheets inside his bag, that he finally notices it.
From the casual but new sneakers, dark slacks, green turtleneck, and the obnoxiously fancy black and white patterned pea coat, Seokjin resembles an actor in a dark academia film set in university.
“Woah.” Jimin whistles out. “You don’t need to impress me too much, you know? We go to the library every weekend.”
Seokjin’s reaction confuses him more. Instead of riding with the joke, his face turns red and he’s mumbling, “Is it too much?”
Jimin is quick to shoo Seokjin’s self-consciousness away by walking up to him and encircling an arm around his waist. “No, no! I love it. You look so handsome! I’ll feel super smug walking around campus with you.”
The smugness and pride dies down when they enter the library and make their way toward their usual table where someone is already seated.
The person in question, whose back is on them, turns around just in time as they approach. He stands up and smiles at them warmly.
Jimin hears Seokjin and the guy greet each other but the initial shock he is experiencing rises every second.
Realization one: the stranger’s clothes suspiciously match with Seokjin except for the different colors and patterns. Still, it meshes well together.
Realization two: the stranger and Seokjin are bickering (something about recording?) but their eyes are both traveling up and down each other’s body in obvious appreciation.
Realization three: the stranger is Jeon Jungkook.
“I can show you our texts! You never said anything about recording you as soon as you enter!” Jungkook complains.
Or, Jimin thinks that’s what the athlete believes he is doing. To Jimin it sounds like he’s being annoying on purpose. The heart eyes he is shooting Seokjin while his words take on a different tone is not very convincing.
“And what do you want me to do? Go outside and enter the library again? It’s a long walk!” Seokjin shots back.
It is not a long walk. And being Seokjin’s best friend of three years, Jimin knows firsthand that Seokjin has done more burdensome things for people compared to walking out the library and re-entering.
Standing between them, in his grey sweatpants and grey sweater with their school’s logo proudly stitched on the front, Jimin has never felt so single.
And I have a boyfriend…
Taking it upon himself to quiet them down before the librarian does, he says, “Didn’t expect you at the library this early!” He lilts the end of his sentence for some much needed friendliness since the two seems adamant on pretending they would rather not be here.
Jungkook pauses. He scratches the back of his head and smiles sheepishly at Jimin. “Oh. He didn't tell you? Sorry for intruding.”
See, Jungkook is nice. Jimin is now a hundred percent sure everything is an act.
Time to get this rolling if I want to win a certain bet.
Grinning, he lays the cheeriness thickly to hide the mischief Jimin knows Seokjin can see through. “He did, no worries. Seokjin is very excited to have you with us today. He even woke up earlier than usual.”
Jungkook blushes. For a second there, Jimin expected him to tease Seokjin about it. He would’ve believed them to still hate each other if he did do that.
Next to Jungkook, Seokjin resembles a bug with how wide his eyes are and his eyebrows pretty much disappearing up his forehead.
Jimin places his bag on the other side of the table and suggests, “I can record you two entering if you want. It’ll look better.”
Jungkook perks up at the suggestion. “Yes, please. I’m editing this time and I already have a vision in my head.”
Jimin notes that Jungkook brought zero belongings related to studying except for a camera. He hands it to Jimin and tells him to, “Just press that button to record.” He drags Seokjin by the arm and as they walk away, Seokjin turns around and shoots Jimin a look that screams, What the hell?
They saunter back in. This time, all animosity is gone and they resemble two casual friends walking and talking jovially.
“It doesn’t look real to me.” Jungkook remarks as the three of them rewatch it. He does a good job furrowing his brows and keeping a critical tone.
Seokjin waits for him to continue explaining. He voiced out earlier how it looks nice and was getting ready to sit down and proceed into what they came in the library for.
“This is our third vlog already. We still act the same way we do as the first one. Others would’ve been more comfortable at this point, you know? I’m just saying that if we’re going for natural, we missed the benchmark completely.” Jungkook explains.
It makes a lot of sense. People who weren’t close before the project would definitely be more friendly and comfortable shooting now after all the time spent together. Seokjin agrees, and Jimin can see the psychology behind it.
“I think I should put my arm around you while walking.”
Jimin blinks slowly at Jungkook whose face is blank and professional. Seokjin considers it. Then, he nods. Like that statement was not suspicious at all.
“Okay, sure. I can act. Jimin, sorry for the trouble.”
Just like that, they walk away talking between themselves.
Through the camera screen, Jimin watches them walk in again.
Except this time around, Jungkook oh-so-casually drapes his arm around Seokjin’s neck, his hand stopping just by Seokjin’s collarbone. Within earshot, you can hear them talking nonsense. To compensate, they move their hands around to give off the idea that an animated conversation is happening. Seokjin takes hold off Jungkook’s hand and pushes it off, the picture perfect scenario of an argument between old friends.
Jimin is at the same time amazed and in disbelief with how obvious and oblivious they are.
Jungkook approves of the shot and they all finally sit down their table.
He really used his authority as director to put his arm around him… I lowkey respect him for that.
Their study session goes better than expected. Jimin honestly thinks Seokjin is having fun with Jungkook around and teaching him. Since he and Seokjin’s concentrations are leagues different, they usually stay quiet and do their own thing.
There’s a different scene every time Jimin looks away from his own work and at them.
Jungkook playing games on his phone.
Jungkook watching Seokjin write. Sometimes he would annoy Seokjin by tugging on his sleeve.
The latest one is Jungkook leaning on Seokjin, arms crossed over his chest, listening intently to what Seokjin is pointing at. He makes eye contact with Jungkook to emphasize a point, and Jungkook looks back, nods, and like clockwork, his gaze would drop down Seokjin’s mouth before going back up.
It’s not like Jimin is judging.
Seokjin snaps his fingers right in front of Jungkook’s face to get his attention. “Do you understand?”
Jungkook wraps his hand around Seokjin’s fingers and holds it tightly. “You’re so rude.”
Okay, Jimin is judging them. He’s very tempted to ask them if he should just leave.
At the same time, he’s going to have a lot of things to hold against Seokjin when he finally realizes what is going on.
Jimin giggles to himself. He’ll realize it soon. Any day now!
Jimin has no particular opinion regarding grocery shopping. Grocery shopping for the pantry restock in the dorm? He has zero feeling or care about it too. Seokjin on the other hand is someone he cares about a lot.
Seokjin enjoys the pantry restock a little too much; from inspecting the pantry and writing down trends on what he notices is left or immediately consumed, making the list, budgeting, and the buying process itself; the pantry restock is Seokjin’s little heaven.
Therefore, by extension, it is safe to infer that Jimin has some care about it.
Ever since Seokjin was made head of the student residences committee, the two of them have been doing the grocery shopping for the pantry together. Three years straight in fact.
“It’s okay, Jiminie. Didn’t you mention you have that big histology exam you need to study for?”
Three years of aching muscles from the number of food, drinks, and other items they needed to buy. They’ve seen the grocery they shop at change from plastic bags to a strictly no plastic policy. The number of items he carried is not a joke. Not to be dramatic but they’ve experienced hell and highwater during certain days.
“But you shouldn’t go alone! Come on, reschedule it. Let the other students starve for a while.”
Jimin returned to the dorms from his first exam of the day, the second one will happen in four hours, ready for an hour long nap and the other three to cram a prelim’s worth of knowledge.
He didn’t give Seokjin any mind when he first saw him. His roommate was rummaging around his desk, taking this and that. It was only when Jimin saw him shoving items in a brown canvas bag that he asked what Seokjin is up to.
Seokjin answered. It wasn’t shocking. Jimin is very familiar with that bag. It’s the one Seokjin uses when they do the aforementioned grocery shopping.
His first reaction was to say he cannot go today with Seokjin who only smiled and said it’s no trouble.
“Oh. Is that what you’re worried about?” Seokjin is already standing by the door. “Jeon’s coming with me.”
The statement is said so nonchalantly. It sounded like he’s been doing grocery shopping with Jeon Jungkook this entire time and not with Jimin. He’s a bit offended and feeling possessive of his best friend. It doesn’t stop the Oh! moment in his head.
Seokjin continues standing by the door blinking at him innocently and the corner of his lips upturned in a confused smile.
Jimin schools his expression and beams. “Be careful, okay? Make him carry everything.”
It makes Seokjin crack up. “That’s the plan.”
The screen of Jungkook’s phone shows Seokjin's deadpan face up close. It zooms to Seokjin’s right eye, then down his lips just in time for Seokjin to say, “Cut the cameras, Jeon.”
“Come on, it’s meant to be funny!” Jungkook exclaims. He does stop recording, laughing loudly while he watches the video.
Seokjin was in the middle of talking about grocery and market trends when Jungkook innocently grabs something from the grocery shelf. Seokjin paused and just stood there glaring at him.
“If I catch you one more time putting something unnecessary in the cart I’m leaving you at the checkout counter to pay for everything.”
The toothy grin on Jungkook’s face does not go away, nor does it stop him from placing down the biscuits he was holding atop the packs of honey butter almond.
A sigh of eternal patience comes out of Seokjin while massaging his temples.
“What, you didn't catch me.” Jungkook argues. “I showed you what I was doing; there’s a difference.”
“Put. It. Back.”
Jungkook ignores him, turning around and walking ahead the aisle of snacks with an increased speed in his steps.
Glaring at the broad back stretched over the pink sweater Jungkook is wearing, Seokjin takes the biscuits and places it back where Jungkook took it from the shelves.
Seokjin pushes the cart and bears with his companion.
They weren’t even supposed to be here, in Snack Aisle Two, but Jungkook insisted they go through every single aisle of the grocery store in case they miss anything on the list.
Seokjin already mentioned twice he knows where to find what he needs and has been shopping here for so long the manager never forgets to give him a special discount every holiday season.
Jungkook waits for him at the end of the corner and peeks at the cart.
“See you didn't have to get mad. You placed it back anyway.”
Scoffing at the illogical statement, Seokjin pushes the cart past Jungkook and ignores the other's whining when he passes by Snack Aisle Three and Four in favor of going to the freezer section.
“Go wait outside if you’re going to keep being difficult.” Seokjin snaps at him. He regrets the venom in his voice the moment it slips out.
Jungkook’s amusement isn’t dettered, and the feeling vanishes as quickly as it manifested. He slows down walking and purposely bumps shoulders with Seokjin, pushing the other and wrapping both his fingers around the handles of the cart.
“Let me be of help.”
Seokjin levels a deadpan look on Jungkook, stopping in front of a backdrop of different types of pancake syrup and crossing his arms in front of his chest. “Your job in the first place was to push the cart.”
Jungkook ignores him and carries on. He starts going back in the direction of Snack Aisle Four. Seokjin grabs his arm and with a show of strength that surprises Jungkook, starts pulling him the other way.
“Stop it!” Seokjin hisses at him. He doesn’t let go of Jungkook’s arm even when they are already standing in front of the freezer section.
Seokjin uses his free hand to open the freezer door, pausing to find where what he’s looking for is.
Jungkook shakes his head at the concentration Seokjin has, and when he looks up, catches sight of their reflection against the foggy fridge door.
Seokjin’s hand still around his arm while he bends down and reads the labels, Jungkook with his own on the cart rails, and a stupid grin on his face.
There’s an old couple passing by in the same position. Their arms are linked together, the grandfather pushing the cart while the grandmother giggles at them.
The grandmother doesn't bother lowering her voice when she exclaims, “Young people these days are so affectionate in public.”
“Why is your face so red?” Seokjin asks humorously. He’s standing up again, hand still around Jungkook’s bicep. He moves some items in the cart, making room for the number of Samanco he drops on the tray reserved for freezer goods. “There’s your ice cream. Hopefully this stops you from acting like an overgrown puppy.”
Jungkook nods quietly, which in turn has Seokjin staring at him weirdly. “Well, I have everything on the list. We can film now.”
“Okay.” Jungkook takes his phone and presses the record button.
They remain rooted in the same position.
“Are you okay?”
Seokjin’s fingers digging on his skin to punctuate the question was the last straw.
“Fuck, can you let go?!”
Jungkook’s outburst surprises the both of them.
Seokjin’s first reaction is to look around and check if anyone is around. Thankfully, they are mostly alone. He does let go of Jungkook and plays off the sudden tense air with a chuckle.
“Okay, sorry.” The sheepiness in Seokjin’s tone is accompanied with a scratch behind his head. He walks past Jungkook to stand in front of the cart, back on the other and looking far away into the vegetable section.
Jungkook realizes what he has done and is already walking up to Seokjin with apologies on the tip of his tongue. “Hey, sorry, I’m really sorry. I didn’t mean to shout.” He takes hold of Seokjin’s wrist, pulling on him so they can face each other. “Here, uh, you can keep holding on to me let’s go.”
Seokjin’s eyes are narrowed and studying Jungkook silently. Jungkook keeps a hopeful and apologetic demeanor. He tugs on Seokjin again who is standing his ground and refusing to move.
Jungkook turns up the charm and holds his arm out. “Come on, please?”
The response he gets is predictable and well-deserved, which is Seokjin rolling his eyes and ignoring him. He walks past Jungkook again and starts pushing the cart, mumbling under his breath, “You are so weird.”
“If you don’t link arms with me…” Jungkook trails off in a threatening voice.
The corners of Seokjin’s mouth lift up at Jungkook’s absurdity.
Given he still refuses to acknowledge Jungkook’s presence, attention remaining on pushing the cart and making his way to the checkout counter, he doesn't really seem mad.
“I’m going to link arms with you instead.” Jungkook finishes off lamely.
Seokjin stops. Jungkook does as well.
There is something about the too-bright grocery store lighting enhancing Seokjin’s brown eyes, Jungkook thinks, that when the other turns to face him, his irises sparkle.
A mixture of a scoff and a laugh exit Seokjin’s mouth. “What is wrong with you?”
Jungkook breathes deeply through his nose. Exhaling, he sincerely answers, “I want to walk down this aisle,” He holds his arm up again and pats it with his other hand, “With our arms linked together.”
“You do know your words can be taken in another context?”
The tips of Jungkook’s ears burn. He swallows the embarrassment down. “Yes.”
Seokjin doesn’t hide his reaction anymore and laughs right at Jungkook’s face. “Look, you didn't hurt my feelings. It’s really fine.”
“Don’t make me get down on one knee here in the condiments aisle.” Jungkook mutters, trying to look serious despite the blush on his cheeks.
The retort catches Jungkook off guard. There is no challenge in Seokjin’s tone but he takes it as such.
“No, Jeon, stop it—”
The hisses from Seokjin fall on deaf ears as Jungkook walks in front of the cart and stands several inches away from Seokjin.
Compared to the freezer section, there are some people loitering around the condiment aisle. Middle-aged women, the elderly, and some young adults are starting to get interested in the commotion Jungkook is causing.
Jungkook clears his throat and takes a look around. One would think he is starting to become conscious about his theatrics until he is grabbing a bottle of ketchup and getting down on one knee.
Seokjin is too shocked to move or react.
A squeal and a shout from somewhere near them is heard. “Someone’s proposing in Aisle 29!”
“Will you please stop being stubborn and rely on me from time to time?”
Cheers and more screaming. It didn't even matter that Jungkook is holding out a ketchup bottle to Seokjin whose face rivals the color of said condiment.
“Say yes or I will!”
There are phones up in the air recording the moment. Employees are squealing and Seokjin recognizes the manager of the store in the crowd who gasps before sending him two thumbs up in the air.
“Say yes!” The crowd chants.
“Oh, what the hell— okay, fine. You win Jeon.” Seokjin exclaims.
Everyone waits with bated breath.
The crowd goes wild and echoes his agreement. Seokjin walks over a triumphant Jungkook whose smile rivals the sun and grabs the proffered ketchup bottle.
“You are going to pay for this.” Seokjin mutters to Jungkook while keeping on a happy smile for their audience who wouldn’t stop clapping and howling.
Jungkook gets up from the floor and immediately slots their arms together. “You should’ve just agreed in the first place.”
Seokjin rolls his eyes. “Stop being funny.”
The situation is funny though. It reflects on Seokjin whose cheeks are already hurting from holding back doubling over in laughter.
Jungkook winks at him, high on euphoria and the jostling crowd who has no idea what really is going on. “I like making you laugh, Kim.”
“You said you were only gonna get groceries, not come back married.”
Seokjin continues brushing his teeth and frowns at Jimin who is sitting cross-legged on his bed with a mountain of printed lecture notes in front of him.
After demanding Jungkook to carry and arrange all groceries in every dorms’ pantry as punishment for the grocery fiasco, Seokjin comes back to his dorm room and finds Jimin waiting. He relays what has transpired to his roommate while walking all over the room. Seokjin has showered, dressed in his sleeping clothes, and is brushing his teeth while Jimin watches him pace around with judgment in his eyes.
“I want to be the best man!” Jimin shouts after Seokjin disappears in the bathroom again.
When Seokjin comes back, no more toothbrush and toothpaste hindering him from clapping back, Jimin giggles at the exasperated expression on Seokjin’s face.
“Were you listening when I said he held out a ketchup bottle and the entire store cheered?”
“Yes, and the manager gave you a 29% discount on checkout since it happened in Aisle 29.”
Seokjin continues standing in the middle of the room with his arms crossed over his chest. “All because I wouldn’t link arms with him, Jimin!”
“Well, now.” Jimin pushes his papers to the side and sprawls on his front, the palms of his hand cradling his chin, bent legs swinging back and forth in the air. “Imagine what he would do if you deny him a kiss. Sell his soul to the devil perhaps?”
Seokjin ignores everything Jimin said and plops down his bed copying Jimin’s stance. “He’s ridiculous.”
“I think someone ridiculous matches you well. If we recall your dating track record, you’ve always been into the boring and studious ones.”
Seokjin is miffed and feels a bit offended. “You liked Hoseok!”
Jimin’s teasing swiftly shifts into cheekiness. “Ah, so you are considering him? Jungkook I mean?”
“I’m not having this conversation with you, Jiminnie. You of all people know how much we dislike each other.”
“I think you’re in a one-sided rivalry with him for all the wrong reasons.”
“Jimin. Please. What you said doesn’t even make sense.”
Sighing, Jimin shrugs his shoulders and takes the stapled paper at the top of the pile next to him. “Alright, alright. What are you going to do for the rest of the night? It’s only seven.”
“I’m waiting for Jeon to finish arranging the groceries, then we’ll meet up in the study area and edit.”
“And we’re back to talking about Jungkook!”
A pillow hitting Jimin’s face doesn’t silence the cackles coming out of him.
The study area, as per usual, is empty, so when Seokjin hears footsteps echoing from outside he instantly knows it could be no one else but Jungkook. He tears his eyes away from his laptop where the powerpoint lectures for tomorrow’s exam are opened and toward the door.
Jungkook enters the room carrying a black laptop bag and his phone on one hand.
Seokjin straightens up from where he is sitting on the floor pillow and opens his mouth to ask Jungkook if he made sure to arrange everything properly when the other cuts him off.
The laptop bag is unceremoniously dumped on the wooden study table. Jungkook kicks his shoes to the side and huddles up next to Seokjin, shoving his phone to Seokjin’s face.
“You need to see this.”
Without leaving room for questions, the video plays and Seokjin recognizes the two people on the screen.
The video is tastefully edited, eye-catching and the type of thing you pause to watch while scrolling through social media. The people on screen are in an amusement park and wearing matching animal ear headbands. The music is cheery and fits the atmosphere. Their clothes match too, fitting the color grading tones used for the post-processing. They go through several rides while eating every typical food one can find in an amusement park: milkshakes, cotton candy, fries, and caramel apples. The video ends showcasing the city skyline at the top of a ferris wheel while the two wish the viewers a good week.
They finish watching the video, all fifteen minutes of it, and when the screen turns dark, their scrunched-up faces reflect on the screen of Jungkook’s phone.
“What was that?” Seokjin turns to Jungkook in question and would probably grab him by the collar to shake him if he wasn’t in too much shock.
Jungkook closes his phone, lays it down the table, and stares back at Seokjin with an uncharacteristic serious expression on his face. “That is what one of our classmates submitted for the vlog project. Some of them are uploading it on YouTube.”
Seokjin guessed as much, although it doesn't lessen his surprise. “People are taking the project seriously?”
“Not just seriously. Everyone seems to be making real effort with their vlogs. I asked around and some are even planning on taking an out-of-town trip.”
Seokjin groans and his posture falls. He didn’t plan on slacking off with the project, but he admittedly was banking on his fellow classmates to laze around and submit low-quality content, not this grand production of a vlog that makes it appear they are getting paid for it.
Elbowing Jungkook to get his attention, Seokjin asks with a strain in his voice, “Do you have any ideas then?”
“I don’t know.” Jungkook grips his hair in panic. “Wanna go to Japan?”
Seokjin stifles his laughter because, what the fuck, maybe they should go to Japan. “We’ll figure it out, let’s not worry too much. The week is only beginning.”
“We don’t have a choice, Kim. We need to add that video in the vlog.”
“Me proposing to you in the grocery store.”
Seokjin chokes on his spit and is once again too stunned to respond.
“I forgot to stop recording so I have a video and it’s in a weird angle but I’m sure we can make it work.”
“Are you hearing yourself, Jeon?”
“No, listen. It’s an airtight plan. We can think of it as a storyboard, yeah? We ended up dating because of how much time we spent on the vlogs, we sway the hearts of our professors and they give us good grades, then by the end of it, we break up and our professors will pity us and give us good grades.”
Jungkook’s monologue has Seokjin thinking.
It does sound like a good plan.
No, it’s actually brilliant.
But then again, if he is starting to agree with Jungkook’s crazy schemes, he must really be losing touch with his creative side.
“I’m not reenacting an enemies to lovers cliché with you, Jeon!”
“We’ll only be pretending to date!”
“Well, that’s just the icing on the cake, isn’t it?!”
Jungkook sighs and places both his hands down the table. He takes a deep breath in and directs his eyes on Seokjin.
Reminded of what happened in the grocery store, Seokjin is already shaking his head. “You are about to say something stupid and my answer is no.”
“Then it won’t be fake.”
The air conditioner whirs.
The glare of Seokjin’s open laptop is suddenly blinding.
“What the fuck?” Seokjin croaks out in a whisper.
Jungkook is listing down each of his ideas with his fingers as he speaks. “We can go on a real date. We can watch a movie, eat at a fancy restaurant with pasta, no garlic and potatoes for you, and I don’t know, the arcade? I can try breaking the record on the basketball machine and you can cheer or whatever.”
“Or an escape room. I went to one with Tae and Yoongi but we only fell asleep. I’m sure you’ll solve it though. What do you think?”
Seokjin blinks rapidly and repeatedly opens and closes his mouth, unsure of what to say. He thinks those are good ideas, something he would actually enjoy doing even if it wasn’t for the vlog.
Jungkook waits for him to say something.
In all honesty, Seokjin is still processing the part where Jungkook said it doesn’t have to be fake.
“Can we backtrack for a second here? What do you mean not fake?”
Jungkook grumbles. “Not fake, Kim. As in, we’re going on a date?”
“What does that mean?!” Seokjin hates how his voice lilts at the end but there are more important matters at hand. “Are you saying we are going on a date?!”
“Yeah?” It’s Jungkook’s turn to be confused. “Are we on the same page?”
“I don’t think so? All I’m getting here,” Seokjin gestures with his pointer finger going back and forth between him and Jungkook, “Is that you want us to go on a date. For the vlog.”
“That’s exactly what I’m saying? Why are you so confused?” Jungkook catches the offending finger around his hand. “And stop pointing. I swear, you’re so rude.”
“Wait. Pause. I’m serious. I’ll be asking the questions and you are answering.” Seokjin pulls his hand back and scowls at Jungkook who ruffles his own hair in frustration at Seokjin’s continuous interrogation.
“You want us to go on a date.”
“Watching movies, eating pasta—”
“Yes, no potatoes and garlic for you.”
Warmth rises in Seokjin’s chest every time Jungkook notes to himself Seokjin’s allergies.
“Going to the arcade and perhaps an escape room.”
“You’re just throwing my words back at me, but yes.”
“It’s for the vlog.”
“Okay.” Seokjin braces himself for what has been giving him a headache in the first place. “Only for the vlog, right? It’s a fake date.”
Jungkook’s brows narrow and he’s raising his hands up in the air and slamming it down the table. “Yes and no! How can it be fake if we do go on a date? Why are you so all up— oh.”
Understanding, whatever that may be, dawns on Jungkook’s face and he is back to toothily grinning at Seokjin. “You thought I meant forealsies?”
Seokjin’s irritation explodes to the point that he couldn't keep it to himself. He hits Jungkook on the arm who has the gall to only laugh. “You are not allowed to laugh! I’ve been asking that since the beginning!”
“You’re the one who was acting like you short-circuited! What else am I supposed to call it?”
“How am I supposed to know the difference?! You should’ve phrased it as a date for the vlog and not you asking me out!”
Seokjin’s still scowling and Jungkook continues bursting into giggles. Deciding to ignore Jungkook, Seokjin turns his body away from the other and back on his laptop.
To his annoyance, Jungkook leans closer. His hand rests on the floor and behind Seokjin, flat and supporting his weight as he hovers over Seokjin’s side.
Jungkook rests his chin on Seokjin’s shoulder and despite the two of them being the only occupants in the room, whispers, “Believe me Kim, if I was asking you out, you’d know.” Jungkook chuckles, soft and fleeting, and before he moves away, adds, “And I mean the forealsies kind.”
Seokjin’s ear burns. He stomps on the feeling and his reaction by raising his leg and kicking Jungkook away who kicks him back.
“Why do you suddenly care about the project anyway?” Seokjin mumbles.
Jungkook hums while he sets his laptop up, unraveling the intricacies of his charger. Compared to Seokjin’s MacBook, Jungkook’s laptop has a pure white keyboard and a black rimmed screen. He obviously uses it more for leisure and entertainment than for school purposes.
“It’s more fun than I thought.”
Seokjin sees it as an opportunity to get back at Jungkook for the... weird teasing he’s been doing.
“So you agree? I’m fun to be with?”
Jungkook’s bottom lip juts out in thought. He’s still busy entangling the mess that is his charger. “Sure.”
Thinking it’s the end of it and they can go back to doing their work, Seokjin fixes his posture and starts booting up the videos he already transferred from his phone on his laptop.
“If I don’t enjoy spending time with you I wouldn’t be here.”
Seokjin’s heart drops to his stomach at the simple statement. He glances over at Jungkook who has finished plugging in his charger. His staring must be obvious because Jungkook looks back and raises his brow in question. Jungkook’s lips are pursed, giving Seokjin a view of the mole under his lip that he never noticed.
“What? What will you complain about this time?”
Seokjin’s only response is to kick Jungkook under the table again.
If the ceiling of Jimin and Seokjin’s room had a mirror, Seokjin imagines it would show him laying flat on his back with earphones plugged and covering his ears, hands flat on his stomach, and his face blank and stripped of emotions.
Inwardly, Seokjin is going through emotional turmoil.
Jimin’s still awake, his lampshade open and studying.
Seokjin has been listening to the same song on loop ever since he went to bed.
Oh, if it was only an attraction. How come nobody ever felt this way?
The volume is around 30%, so when Jimin suddenly says, “Stop thinking so hard. You’re distracting me,” Seokjin hears it loud and clear.
Seokjin pauses the music but doesn’t move from his position.
“I think you’re right.”
“I’m right about a lot of things.” Jimin pushes his glasses up his nose. The sound of papers being turned are coming from his direction along with the tapping of fingers against a laptop keyboard. “Be specific.”
Seokjin glowers at the ceiling. Maybe if he glares enough it would crumble and fall over, burying him along with what he is about to admit.
“I think I like Jeon.”
Jimin tuts at him. “What are you going to do about it?”
“Is he doing anything about it?”
“I don’t think he knows he’s flirting with me.”
Jimin laughs, the sound louder in the semi-dark room compared to when it’s broad daylight. “Will you let him know?”
“Talk to me again when the both of you decide to stop being idiots.”
“Okay. Goodnight, Jimin.”
Kim Seokjin is listening to Felt This Way by Carly Rae Jepsen — SPOTIFY
ct jinkook enemies to friends to lovers and now fake dating?
apologies in advance for the gratuitous use of italics
Instead of a boring classroom-based pen and paper test, the visual communication course allows its students to record their vlog projects instead during the subject’s designated day of the rigorous exam week.
Seokjin does not waste time inputting FAKE DATE WITH JEON in his Google Calendar along with the time he expects them to meet plus notes on what they should wear.
There’s even an external link leading to the Adobe Color website where he made a palette of the colors they should use.
Not only does Jungkook have two calendar apps now, his Google Calendar synced with Seokjin’s of course, he also clicks on the palette suggestion and asks Taehyung for help matching the tones and hues with whatever is in his wardrobe. It turns out his clothes are limited to blacks and his orange jacket when the suggested colors called for blues, yellows, and light wash denim. He ends up borrowing a collared sweater from Taehyung, inwardly grimacing at the two smiling daisies stitched on the breastbone.
Jungkook is starting to think of himself as a changed man.
Yoongi laughs and calls him domesticated.
“I look like a nerd!” Jungkook whines, pulling on the slouched fit of the sweater. “I don’t attend training for my muscles to be hidden like this!”
Taehyung rolls his eyes at the dramatics. “Then just wear whatever the hell you want? Unlike you, I actually have an exam to go to. Take it or leave it.”
Jungkook sighs. He stares at himself through the mirror, grumbling once more. “Give me your hair gel. I’ll at least push my hair back.”
“It’s a pomade, Kook! You’re so uncultured.” Taehyung grabs the plastic jar from his desk, the logo on the cap a skeleton with hair. “Are you going for stronger hold or more shine?”
Jungkook, who is still scrutinizing himself in front of their mirror, stares at Taehyung in confusion.
Taehyung stares back, sighs, and gestures toward their bathroom. “Go and dampen your hair. I’ll help you.”
“What?! It just dried!”
“Just go! I needed to leave ten minutes ago!”
Yoongi, who is sitting in bed and casually listening to music, snickers at them. He removes his headphones just to call Jungkook out while he runs to the bathroom.
Jimin looks his best friend up and down, not bothering to hide the judgment in his eyes.
Seokjin is on his phone busily tapping, Jimin assumes he is either texting Jungkook or looking at budget spreadsheets, he can’t tell anymore with Seokjin these days.
He has seen the palette for their fake-date real-date situation, and you would think as the one who suggested it he’d have done a nicer job, but Seokjin is standing in the middle of their room in a cobalt blue sweater, jeans, and white sneakers.
Jimin is reminded of the past weeks when Seokjin dressed like a god.
“You realized Jungkook is the love of your life and now is the time you decided to stop trying?” Jimin voices out. He checks the time on his phone. He still has ten minutes left before he has to run to class.
Seokjin doesn’t look up from his phone when he replies. “Whatever do you mean by that?”
“Admit it, you’re self-sabotaging.”
“How does one self-sabotage in this situation exactly?”
A wide smile appeared on Seokjin’s face. Jimin’s sure now those are spreadsheets he is looking over.
“You’re making sure he won’t like you! I bet you’ll even be extra mean today. Is it because you’re mad you now have a crush on him like everyone else?”
Seokjin clicks his phone shut and turns toward Jimin. He crosses his arms over his chest, then smiles again.
This time in a very eery manner.
Jimin gulps but is not deterred. “This is very Gold Rush of you. What you need is to take a step back and relive the Lover era.”
“Jimin if you don’t stop talking I will No Body, No Crime you.”
“Listen. Seokjin. Best friend of mine. Soulmate. You are better than this. It’s okay to have a crush on dumb jocks. Didn’t you used to like another basketball varsity guy? The music engineering major?”
Seokjin is actually tapping his foot against the floor now. He sighs, then plops down Jimin’s bed so they are sitting next to each other.
“This crush is not good for me, Jimin. I’m not even sure if this is really a crush!”
“What... exactly do you mean by that?”
“Its.” Seokjin lets out an exasperated sigh. “It’s not like I look at him and think of stuff you know. I mean, I know how crushes should feel. I look at him and simply want to hang out with him even when he does irritate me. Or I like it when he leans over and I can tell he uses Downy as his laundry detergent!”
Jimin sighs. He might as well be late for the exam then.
“Okay, what else?”
“By regular people standards, I don’t think I’m in it deep yet. I can’t imagine stuff like… kissing or holding hands. Honestly I feel weird thinking about that. Flustered, sure. But still weird. I really only want to hang out with him because he makes things fun but I also feel that way with you?”
“Look, this is good. This is actually very healthy. He is different from you, thus you can learn a lot from him. Steal some good habits, hm? It’s mutualistic, enriching each other and all that.”
In all honesty, Jimin is just throwing words he heard from when he was watching a documentary about relationships in the animal kingdom.
Seokjin doesn’t look convinced so Jimin adds, “You influence each other for the better! You put stability in his life while he allows you to let loose and have fun. Imagine if you guys date! You can still do whatever you want and it won’t be boring at all because being with him and doing stuff you like is different. Unlike your last relationship which, as you said, being with them was no different than being by yourself.”
This time, Jimin throws in his own boyfriend’s favorite words and phrases whenever he goes off about mental health, fruitful relationships, and his plants.
It works like a charm.
Seokjin ponders over his words for a few more minutes.
Finally, he nods and becomes agreeable to at least treat Jungkook as he normally does and not self-sabotage.
They walk out of the dorm together, Seokjin still in his blue sweater and yellow socks, but at least not in denial or brewing with plans of self-sabotage.
Outside the athletes’ building, they spot Jungkook who is standing next to his roommate Taehyung.
“Have fun kids! Bring Jungkook back before midnight!” Taehyung shouts at them as they walk the opposite direction.
Jungkook gives him a murderous glare, flipping him off when Seokjin turns around.
Jimin sighs while standing beside Taehyung who is exaggeratedly flapping his limbs and waving goodbye.
“Your boy better not hurt my bestie, Kim Taehyung.” Jimin mutters in warning.
Taehyung only laughs. “Ah, so Seokjin-sshi already figured it out?”
“Of course he did. He’s not in the dean’s list for nothing. Jungkook still in denial?”
They begin their walk towards their college building, not even caring anymore that they are late.
Taehyung sighs. “I wish he’s at least in denial. Whenever Yoongi-hyung and I try to bully him into addressing his obvious crush, he pretends he doesn't hear us.”
Jimin sighs to himself.
If he is asked, this enemies to friends to lovers skit is turning into an idiots to lovers running gag.
At this rate, no one will be winning the pot.
Jungkook watches Seokjin enthusiastically smile through the camera while he holds up their movie tickets and one soda cup. He on the other hand is tasked with recording while their bucket of popcorn hangs over his wrist, water bottle held by his free hand.
“We can’t record inside the cinema since that’s illegal, so we will be coming back after the movie. The actor in Somnolent Nova is really handsome and talented; he’s one of my favorites so I’m really excited.”
Jungkook couldn't help quipping up for comedic effect, “More handsome than me?”
Seokjin falters for a second, the kindness and excitement disappearing to make way for irritation.
Jungkook starts laughing and keeps recording.
“He actually is.” Seokjin is looking back at the camera, eyes mischievous. “I really wish we can record the movie for some eye candy. Seeing my partner’s face all the time in these videos is getting really old and boring.”
Jungkook quickly stops recording, narrowing his eyes at Seokjin who is innocently sipping on his soda.
“Lying is bad, Kim. When I edit the video, the truth will come out.”
Scrolling through the videos they recorded, Jungkook deems it enough. They took a lot of aesthetically pleasing shots of their movie tickets, the snack bar, and the cinema hall.
Entering the theater is an experience in itself. Background noise is minimal, and you get these few minutes of ultra silence, where every single sound is amplified in the dark. Their footsteps against the carpeted hallway is describable as soft and resonating against the walls.
The seats Seokjin chose are almost close to the screen. Jungkook complained of course, saying the middle or back row seats are the best.
The last time Jungkook watched a movie in the cinema was with a blind date. He doesn't remember who they were because right after the movie he went back to the dorms, changed into his gym clothes, and went to training. He’s pretty sure they made out and held hands. He’s a firm believer movie theaters are just excuses for people to kiss and cop a feel without actually asking.
Seokjin doesn't seem to share the sentiments. He mentioned earlier while he was being filmed that he enjoys watching movies in the cinema whether it be with his best friend Jimin or by himself.
So here is Jungkook, unsure what he should be doing.
Because if this was any other movie date, he would be pretending to stretch so he can encircle his arm around the other person early on. His tongue would be inside his date’s mouth thirty minutes in the movie, or his hand on their waist and under their shirt.
Jungkook’s pretty sure Seokjin would murder him on the spot if he even tries to lay his head on his shoulder.
Not like he’s planning on doing that anyway.
A tap on his forearm shakes him from his musings.
“Give me popcorn.” Seokjin is already holding his palm out in wait.
Jungkook instead gives him the entire bucket, prompting an eye roll from Seokjin who grabs and settles it on his lap.
Seokjin’s lips are wrapped around the straw of his soda cup.
Jungkook’s pretty sure he’s not even drinking it.
Jungkook repeats the question right back after Seokjin who clicks his tongue in annoyance.
“Is there something on my face?”
Jungkook feels his face burn. He’s thankful for the darkness hiding his embarrassment at being caught during his Strictly Objective Observations of Seokjin and his lips.
He allows his gaze to fall down Seokjin’s mouth one last time, for today that is, maybe the hour, and tells him, “Your face is weird.”
Instead of taking the bait, Seokjin only shoves popcorn in his mouth. He chews slowly, looking at Jungkook in deep thought. When he swallows, he sips on more soda.
The entire thing is hypnotizing and scary at the same time for Jungkook.
“That’s a very weak insult. Are you okay?”
“You’re okay.” Jungkook shots back as if it was meant to be offensive.
Seokjin purses his lips together, holding back his laughter. “Give me your hand.”
“What?!” Jungkook hisses, voice still in a low volume. “Why?” He asks while doing exactly what Seokjin told him to do.
Seokjin takes a bunch of popcorn from the bucket and drops it down Jungkook’s palm. “There.”
Jungkook realizes he is being consoled like a child for his childish remarks. He tells himself he’s not exactly raising the white flag when he sulkily shoves the popcorn in his mouth.
The movie starts and for the first time in a long time, Jungkook actually watches instead of plotting ways he can score with his date.
Seokjin isn’t really his date, even though this is technically one.
Thinking about what this is leaves Jungkook more confused so he ignores it and reaches over for more popcorn.
Their fingers touch.
Of course things fall into place for Jungkook, this perfect set-up that usually leads to discreet kisses when the screen goes dark accompanied by suggestive touches, when he’s not on a real date and is instead with his enemy.
There is also Seokjin’s instant reaction of slapping Jungkook's hand away.
Jungkook’s ready to give him a piece of his mind when Seokjin beats him to it.
“Stop taking all the honey butter. You said you only wanted the cheddar cheese.”
He suddenly remembers that their popcorn bucket has mixed flavors and that technically, Seokjin has a point.
Date or not, enemy or not, Jungkook decides that Seokjin is a mood killer no matter how sexy he thinks the other’s lips are.
Not that he’s also thinking of that.
Seokjin is handsome in an objective manner, not subjectively pretty.
Oh god your thoughts are fucking stupid, Jeon Jungkook, he realizes.
Jungkook dips his hand in the bucket without a care, filling his hand with as much popcorn as he can take.
Predictably, Seokjin becomes aggravated and elbows him, causing Jungkook to lose balance and the popcorn falling on his lap.
Jungkook grins to himself when he hears Seokjin grumbling about how much of a pain he is.
All is right and balanced again.
Seeing as it is still considerably morning and a weekday, thirty more minutes until lunch officially starts to be accurate, the arcade is close to empty save for a couple of children running around while their parents follow after them.
They also pass by a bowling alley, in which Seokjin comments that perhaps they should go there instead of the arcade to fit their retro theme better. Jungkook scoffs and says he’s a basketball player, not a bowler. Seokjin’s reaction is to roll his eyes and continue filming.
The arcade looks good through the camera screen. The neon strips taped on the wall and the glow emanating from the machines themselves are striking, probably more so if it was nighttime and not daylight.
Jungkook proudly slips his membership card to the front desk when they buy their tokens.
The employee managing the cashier recognizes him, all friendly and asking how he and the rest of the team is.
If movies are Seokjin and Jimin’s thing, then going to the arcade is Jungkook’s.
Here, Jungkook feels right at home. No expensive soda and popcorn, infuriatingly handsome movie actors Seokjin looks at with awe, and most importantly, none of those nonsensical thoughts circulating in his brain.
Movie theaters are for dates while the arcade is for friends.
And alright Jungkook will admit to it, only to himself of course, that here at least he has the upper hand over Seokjin.
Ten minutes pass in a blur and Jungkook is slowly coming to terms with the fact that today is not his day.
They decided on playing one game each, then they’ll play together and ask Jungkook’s employee acquaintance to record them. Seokjin chooses the Tetris machine and Jungkook stands behind him while recording, bored out of his mind watching Seokjin press the big red button so that the big red boxes stack on top of each other.
Seokjin apparently forgot to mention he’s a tetris god and ultimately beats the game, earning him a ton of prize tickets.
“What am I supposed to do with all this paper?”
The machine has yet to stop giving Seokjin tickets.
Jungkook gapes at him, almost forgets children are around and he shouldn’t curse. “You get to choose a prize at the counter? Have you never been to an arcade? Or even a carnival?”
“Of course I’ve been to one.”
“So you’ve been to one. I’m guessing only once.”
“Trust me, my childhood isn’t sad like what you’re thinking.”
“Where did you beg your parents to take you then during weekends?”
“The national museum. Oh, it finally stopped.”
Seokjin plucks the tickets and holds them out to the camera, zero elation in his expression. “Now what?”
“Take it to the counter and go choose a prize.”
Seokjin sighs. For someone who won and is about to get something out of it, his disinterest is such a unique reaction for Jungkook.
Truthfully, he finds it funny.
The only reason Jungkook isn’t laughing is because he had this big idea of being the one holding out a bunch of tickets and smiling for the camera, not Seokjin and his hidden Tetris excellence he obviously could care less about.
Seokjin walks ahead and makes his way to the prize counter.
Jungkook follows a few steps back, still filming and glaring daggers at the broad back.
Seokjin stops and lets his gaze wander along shelves stocked with prizes. He turns around to Jungkook, and essentially the camera, until now holding the tickets with both hands and in front of his chest.
“I want that alpaca with a scarf, Jeon.”
Jungkook was expecting him to take a long time choosing a prize. He even pictured a scenario where Seokjin sees nothing he likes and ends up throwing the prize tickets away in the men’s bathroom. He instantly finds what Seokjin is referring to.
The aforementioned alpaca with a scarf has a cute face and the perfect height for hugging against one’s chest.
Jungkook zooms the camera on the stuffed toy using the camera. “You’re missing a few hundred tickets, Kim. The alpaca’s pretty expensive.”
He tries to guess what type of reaction Seokjin will have compared to the two extremes that are his roommates.
Yoongi’s brown, round, cookie stuffed toy was something he chose because it was the cheapest one while Taehyung on the other hand one day took the entire team to play and demanded they all give him their tickets so he can finally take home the stuffed toy alien with a heart for a head.
“Okay.” Seokjin starts walking away from the counter without a second thought.
“Wait, what are you going to do then?” Jungkook asks after him.
Seokjin shrugs. “There’s nothing I can do about it. RJ is only a want and not a need.”
“What the fu— I mean, you already named it! You obviously want it.”
Seokjin shoots him a look of confusion. “That’s exactly what I said? Go do your basketball tricks already so I can film you.”
Jungkook chooses to ignore the second sentence and hands Seokjin his phone.
The basketball machine only gives out prize tickets whenever the top score is beaten. Jungkook knows this because his initials dominate the entire list, except for that sneaky MYG in third place.
He gives Seokjin one last glance before he starts and finds the other has the tickets tucked under his arm. Seokjin motions for him to start playing by giving Jungkook a thumbs up. His eyes catch sight of the god forsaken alpaca with a scarf, RJ as Seokjin named it, and grumbles.
There’s no reason for him to be contemplating this.
There is literally no merit for him if he tries to beat his high score, the one he boasts about as his best, to win more tickets and get Seokjin his stupid alpaca.
Perhaps an amazing clip for this week’s vlog?
More reasons for him to rub his shooting prowess in Taehyung and Yoongi’s face?
Seokjin’s lips curving into a smile when he does get his prize?
Jungkook slams his hand down the start button a bit too harshly.
Yeah, let me forget about that last one.
The three second countdown appears on the screen.
Jungkook presses down his right shoulder with his hand while rotating the limb backwards.
The sound of the buzzer going off transports his headspace into one similar to when he’s playing in the court. His surroundings are muted, eyes only focused on the ring, arms and fingers working together in perfect coordination. He can make sense of the balls through his peripheral vision, and he has no problem picking one after the other, shooting every single one of them perfectly.
Rather than stressing him out, these are the moments when he can actually brood and think. He thinks about how in comparison to what his musings are lately, specifically the ones involving Seokjin, at least the feeling of rubber against his fingertips are familiar.
Jungkook doesn’t think of himself to be sentimental but it’s one of the reasons he plays the sport. Other people play and concentrate on the game, he plays to have some alone time with his mind.
Plus, he’s talented and looks amazing when he clinches three pointers from the sidelines.
The timer reaches zero, and without a break, the fifteen second bonus round begins. All the balls roll out without wait, allowing him to continuously shoot hoops.
There’s a certain art to it, Jungkook believes.
Training and diet pays off when he’s following it strictly. It punishes him when he doesn’t.
This little game is no different. He knows how to control each part of his body to do what he wills it, muscle memory ingrained in his system thanks to years of playing allowing him to not think and just… score.
The buzzer once again blares.
Jungkook’s eyes widen at the realization that, Oh, this is why he’s been thinking such stupid thoughts about Seokjin without actually asking himself why.
He already knows what this feeling towards Seokjin is, an emotion that used to bug him before sleeping and when he wakes up.
Similar to basketball where he doesn’t have to think and only has to shoot because that’s what he’s used to, this weird spell he’s been under causing him to venture into inappropriate thoughts about his partner, his enemy, is because once upon a time he had a crush on Kim Seokjin to the point of absolute brainlessness.
“Wow.” Seokjin’s voice reminds him he’s actually not alone. “I didn’t know you were actually good, good!”
The expression on Seokjin’s face reminds Jungkook of starry-eyed fans from the audience who approach him and the team after victories. He reacts to the praise a few seconds late. He really wishes he didn’t experience this epiphany while Seokjin is around.
Seokjin is so easily impressed. Jungkook wonders how he’ll react when he actually tries.
The tickets coming out of the machine distract Seokjin, moving out of Jungkook’s line of sight and catching them before they fall on the floor.
“Jeon.” Seokjin says his name, not even his first name, and he jumps in surprise. “Hold your phone.” He mutely takes the device from Seokjin, mind blank and at the same time crumbling.
The most accurate description he can give of what his brain looks like right now is that scene in Spongebob with the little Spongebobs running around and setting everything on fire.
Seokjin’s already folding the tickets, his own still tucked under his arm.
“What are you going to do with these? This is a lot.”
“I’m yours now.”
Seokjin blinks at him once, twice, until his pupils blow wide and he’s staring at Jungkook in bewilderment. “What?”
“I mean it’s yours. You can have it. It’s for you.” Jungkook consoles himself that he at least didn’t stammer. He scratches the back of his head and is filled with regret that his hair is pushed back. Even though his bangs sometimes poke his eyes, at least they help shielding him away from embarrassing moments like this.
Seokjin studies him with attentive scrutiny, head tilting to the side.
Jungkook gulps and prays to whichever deity is listening that Seokjin is the type of person who is good at everything but a dumbass when it concerns emotions.
“For me? Why?”
“Because you were missing a couple more tickets for RJ.”
“And you won these… for me?”
Jungkook mentally groans.
Seokin really wants him to spell it out.
At this point, he might as well just add, Yes, Kim! I did! And while we’re at it, I also realized I have a crush on you again despite your flat ass! What do you mean again? Oh yes, haha I forgot! I was batshit insane head-over-heels for you back in first year but you radicalized the dormitory and took away our PS4s so I harbored a grudge on you for two years! It also didn't help that you were so obviously annoyed with me too!
If this was any other person, Jungkook would have no qualms admitting to his feelings and intentions while upping up the ante in his flirtation game.
This is Seokjin though.
The person he spent two years glaring at whenever he catches sight of him in school, the animosity between them growing every time he’s the one catching Seokjin doing the exact same thing.
All that internal monologue and the only word Jungkook manages to get out is, “Sure.”
Jungkook manages to get through their time in the arcade without any more life-turning crises.
Seokjin gets his alpaca, they ask the employee to record them playing air hockey, a game Seokjin wins effortlessly. Jungkook reasons out he lost because he’s distracted, which is true, but Seokjin only shrugs and says, “I didn’t ask.”
They end up in the retro style diner next door.
Jungkook watches Seokjin admire the interior while he records. He’s been here numerous times with the team.
The tiles are checkered black and white, candy red seats are arranged in a row by the windows, vintage memorabilia decorating the walls, and a jukebox playing music from a bygone era. The staff are dressed in a palette of red and white and they move around the diner in turquoise roller skates with pink shoelaces and pink wheels.
The place is packed, and Jungkook is used to waiting for a table or sitting by the bar instead, but of course Seokjin called them up for a reservation.
Jungkook’s current view is Seokjin sitting across him, head whipping around while he studies the posters at the other end of the restaurant.
“I’m definitely coming back here next time”. Seokjin accepts the menu handed to him by a waitress with a thanks. Jungkook does the same and places it down, hand going back up to hold his phone steady.
“It’s not as fun when you’re by yourself though.” Jungkook comments.
Seokjin reads and flips through the menu. “Obviously. I’ll take Jimin with me.”
If they went here hours earlier, right before Jungkook’s acknowledgement of his feelings, he would’ve ignored Seokjin’s words. It makes him want to pout and reach over the table for Seokjin’s hand, or perhaps kick his ankles. He’s thankful he still has some pettiness left in him.
The waitress comes back and takes their order. Jungkook recites his without giving it too much thought. His mind immediately goes to how many hours he has to add in the gym or in training itself to burn it off. He doesn’t mind at all, keeping in shape and training something he has been doing for so long it’s basically second nature to his ethos.
Just when he was about to stop recording, Jungkook noticed a familiar face from the edge of the screen. He instinctively zooms up close, and sees that the person is actually being recorded by their companion, also with a phone, while their hands are joined together on the table.
Jungkook curses under his breath.
The suddenness surprises Seokjin who turns his body around the seat, following Jungkook’s line of vision.
Seokjin only sighs. “This place is lovely and a bus ride away from school; we should’ve expected our classmates would be here too.”
Closing his phone, Jungkook squints over their classmates, also filming for their project, and grumbles out, “I can’t believe they stole our idea!”
Jungkook clicks his tongue in annoyance. “The fake dating scheme! Look at them holding hands and shooting heart eyes at each other!”
Seokjin gapes at him, eyes so wide and mouth parted it’s almost comical. He blushes, from his cheeks to his ears, and Jungkook saves the reaction in his brain for replaying later.
“Okay, first of all, it’s only your dumb idea. Second, I did not agree to said dumb idea. And third, no they didn’t! Because as you like to put it, they are dating forealsies !”
“You mean they are actually together?”
“Jeon, fake dating only happens in fanfiction and reddit stories. They’re obviously together.”
“I’m pretty sure they weren’t when the project began.”
Vanilla and strawberry milkshakes with a single cherry on top are placed in front of them.
Seokjin pulls the vanilla one towards him while Jungkook takes the other.
Taking a sip from his milkshake, Seokjin sighs at the familiar and nostalgic taste before saying, “Well if I have to take a guess, something probably developed between them because of the project. It’s possible with all the time spent working on it.”
Jungkook wonders about that. He wonders if it’s possible for them.
He unconsciously takes the cherry and pops it in his mouth, holding the stem while biting off the fleshy fruit. He places the stem in his mouth right after. He has done this multiple times; it's practically a ritual.
The stem is chewed to encourage malleability, held between teeth until it bends. The tongue does the work of pushing the tips around until it forms a loop, then it’s pulled out and securely tied while doing so.
Jungkook takes a tissue from the dispenser and places it down the table along with the finished cherry knot.
“Their videos are gonna be so elaborate. New couples in the honeymoon stage and all that.” Jungkook drawls.
Seokjin stares at him as if he grew another head. It prompts Jungkook to ask him what his problem is, no trace of malice in his words, and Seokjin’s response is to point at the cherry knot with his index finger.
“What… is this?”
“A cherry knot?”
“I know what it is.”
“Then why are you asking?”
Seokjin rolls his eyes. “I mean how did you do it? I thought those were just myths.”
“Myths?!” Jungkook sputters. “Oh, you mean when people say you’re a good kisser if you can tie a cherry stem in your mouth?”
“That people can actually tie cherry knots.” Seokjin looks at said cherry stem with interest.
“I can teach you.”
It slips out of Jungkook without a second thought. He feels mortified about the implication while at the same time patting himself on the back for being smooth. He’s currently bouncing back between his common response when he likes someone, which is to flirt with them shamelessly while weaponizing his advantages (see: pout and be cute; when that doesn't work he pulls up his shirt sleeves and shows off his muscles), and antagonizing Seokjin because it’s their dynamic.
Jungkook is quick to realize flirting with Seokjin is similar to flirting with a wall.
Seokjin shrugs off his suggestion and eats his cherry. He plucks the stem off and simply lays it down next to Jungkook’s own.
“I already tried doing it before and I can’t. I don’t have the skillset for it.”
Their order arrives, effectively shutting down the cherry knot conversation.
It stays in Jungkook’s mind for the rest of the day. He's sure Seokjin is lying, or if he really can't, there is no way anyone walking this Earth that has been kissed by those lips complained.
“You’re back!” Jimin jumps out of bed, bounding up to Seokjin who is standing by the entrance of their room, the door slightly ajar. “Guess who dropped by to visit us— oh!”
Jungkook stands behind Seokjin, smiling and waving.
Jimin does the same, confused, then his eyes shift toward Seokjin and his eyes practically sparkle.
“And you brought Jungkook with you!”
Seokjin doesn’t move away from the doorway, peering over Jimin’s form to be greeted by a smile that resembles the sun and a greeting of, “Yo, Jin! I’m glad we didn’t miss each other.”
Jungkook startles at the nickname, head whipping toward Seokjin’s direction, then at the person sitting on Jimin’s bed wearing a letterman jacket he doesn’t recognize.
“Hoseok-ah.” Seokjin says the name in a manner Jungkook has not heard before. “Please don’t tell me we were supposed to meet today.” It is said in a humorous way, an obvious inside joke between Seokjin and the stranger.
Now that has Jungkook feeling positively affronted.
Supposed? To meet? Today???
“No, no.” Hoseok laughs, shaking his head. “I had to pass by the dorm administration office, so I thought I’d come say hi. Jimin said you were out on a date though.” Hoseok quickly glances over at Jungkook when he says the word date, then back again to Seokjin.
“Jimin,” Seokjin starts to say, “Is a liar. I was only out for a project.”
Jimin rolls his eyes.
Hoseok raised his eyebrow in question, teasing and playful.
It makes Seokjin laugh.
Jungkook has no idea what’s actually funny, feeling shy and out of the loop.
“I only came back to get my laptop. We’ll be doing our project in the study hall.” Seokjin finally steps inside the room and Jungkook follows suit. He places the paper bag containing his arcade prize on his bed.
It’s his first time actually seeing the inside of Seokjin and Jimin’s room. He would’ve taken his time going over the objects hinting on Seokjin’s personality around the room more if he wasn’t so vexed toward the living and breathing beautiful man who knows how to make Seokjin laugh.
Jungkook stands awkwardly at the foot of Seokjin’s bed, hands inside the pocket of his jeans.
Hoseok nods at him in greeting, still smiling. Jungkook would’ve returned it more smoothly if he didn't feel so intimidated.
Jimin takes it upon himself to ask, “How was the date?”
Jungkook opens his mouth to reply but Seokjin is quick to interject in the middle of rummaging around his bedside desk, “Not a date!”
“We watched a movie. Then we went to the arcade. Ate at a diner.”
Hoseok oohs. “How retro.”
Seokjin gasps in excitement. “That’s what I said! You always get my vision.”
Jungkook does not know what to make of that.
“I asked how it was, not what you guys did!” Jimin wails. He turns his attention on Seokjin. “What TS era?”
Jungkook turns to Seokjin, waiting for the answer even though he has no idea what TS era means.
Seokjin looks at Jungkook, then at Hoseok, and back to Jimin. He sighs. “The valentine’s day soundtrack single.”
Jimin bursts into giggles.
Hoseok hits Jimin’s shoulder. “What does that mean?”
Jungkook’s glad he’s not the only one lost.
“We’re gonna go ahead and finish this thing up. Hoseok-ah, you don’t have to entertain Jimin, you know?”
Jimin shouts an indignant, “Hey! I could say the same thing for Jungkook!”
Seokjin is already walking out and saying his goodbyes, leaving Jungkook with no choice but to follow him.
The door slams shut and along with it Jimin’s cajoling of, “It’s not too late for you, Jungkook!”
As per usual, the study hall is empty. Seokjin takes it upon himself to turn on the lights and air conditioner while Jungkook takes a seat down their usual table.
Jungkook mentally pats himself on the back for at least waiting until they are sitting in the study hall before he asks, “Who was that?”
Seokjin takes his seat across Jungkook, which disappoints him. He takes out his laptop and makes quick work on opening it.
Jungkook takes his phone out to Airdrop Seokjin the videos.
Glancing at his partner, Seokjin still looks the same.
It’s the delay in response that has Jungkook suspicious because of course it’s just his luck that the day he realizes and admits to his feelings, a phenomena that happened at the same time because he’s not some emotionally constipated YA novel main lead who cannot process emotions thank you very much, is the same day he meets Hoseok.
He’s not insecure, nor does he see Hoseok as competition.
In fact Jungkook wants to be friends with the guy. He’s very likeable and friendly even though they only talked for around five minutes.
It has more to do with the fact that a part of him wishes he had that effortless dynamic with Seokjin too, one oozing with charm and good vibes, the type of connection people see and think the two of you are good together and should be dating if you already aren’t.
Still getting no response, Jungkook kicks Seokjin under the table.
He receives a kick back.
It makes his heart stupidly skip a beat.
“You didn’t answer my question.”
Seokjin finally looks up from his laptop, brows furrowed in confusion. “What question?”
“I asked you who that was.”
Jungkook clicks his tongue in annoyance, palms slamming down the wooden table out of impatience. “The guy! Sunshine smile!”
Seokjin blinks at him several times. “You mean… Hoseok?” Understanding dawns on Seokjin, and he’s barely repressing his laughter at the realization. “I thought you were being rhetorical. You actually don’t know Hoseok?”
The last question has Jungkook scowling.
Was he supposed to?
“Am I supposed to?”
Seokjin chuckles. He clears his throat and straightens his posture, clicking around his laptop before facing Jungkook again. “Hoseok’s the president of the university council. You really don’t know who he is? He’s basically the most popular guy on campus.”
Jungkook wants to retort about how he on the other hand is popular not only in their university but in other schools as well. A tirade of how he has fans nationwide ages 18 to 28 coming to see his games does not really compare to a little in-campus popularity. He doesn’t because he actually doesn’t care, and he’s sure Seokjin doesn’t as well.
“Isn’t that what you’re trying to run as? UC president?”
Seokjin nods, and the reminder of it makes him smile. He drops the topic and tells Jungkook to send him the videos and they work for a while in silence.
It only lasts less than five minutes, Jungkook being the one who breaks it.
“You guys seem close.”
“Because we are.”
Jungkook would have fallen off his chair if he wasn’t gripping the edge of the table in shock at the bluntness. “Wouldn’t that look bad? I mean if you do win the campaign, won’t it look like you won because you guys are on good terms?”
Seokjin snorts. “Not if I do win, when I win.”
“Fine! I was just saying. You guys seem to be really good friends.”
Jungkook is subjected to Seokjin’s heavy gaze. He swallows out of nervousness. It reminds him of freshman year, when Seokjin intimidated the hell out of him. The tense aura lifts away when Seokjin’s shoulders relax.
“I hope so. We used to go out after all.”
“What?!” Jungkook’s outburst surprises the both of them. He continues on, unfiltered. “You? Go out with someone?!”
“You’re saying that with a negative underlying context, Jeon. I'm a bit offended.”
“You mean go out like you went on a date right? Past tense?”
“Okay I’ll speak your language: it was a forealsies date. Past tense, yes. Although not singular. Date as in plural?”
“Is that not what boyfriends do?”
Jungkook literally feels his soul leave his body.
The B word is something he has never been attached to. Curse words starting with B for sure, and Taehyung does call him bestie whenever Yoongi isn’t within hearing range, but he’s never really minded that his dating history consists only of casual commitments and blind dates. He’s never even asked anyone out, he’s always the one getting asked on dates (especially during basketball season).
“But that was history. I’m glad you think we’re on good terms.” Seokjin picks his laptop up and places it in front of Jungkook. The screen shows a storyboard with stock photos. “Now, let’s focus on our theme for next week. Our class field trip is in a few days and everyone will be at the same location so we have to be extra competitive.”
“Why did you guys break up?”
“Differences. I was thinking we can—”
“But you guys seem so alike.”
Seokjin glares at him.
Jungkook’s eyes are wide and waiting.
“We are too alike. There was no difference between us hanging out as friends and being together as a couple. Are you done?”
“I expected you to be the type of person who would enjoy that; being with someone similar to you.”
Seokjin shrugs and pulls his laptop back to him. “I thought so too. Turns out I was wrong.”
Jungkook chews on his bottom lip, this time actually giving his words some more thought. “Who do you think can match well with you then?”
Seokjin is back to staring at him deeply. Jungkook is honestly waiting for him to ask why he’s so curious. He’s thankful Seokjin doesn’t because he has no answer to that question except for the truth.
Do you think we can be good together?
“Someone fun and spontaneous. Someone who will arrange candlelit dinner dates because I’m a romantic but not romantic enough to do it myself. I guess I’m looking for someone I can depend on while we maintain our individuality and independence.”
It sounds good to Jungkook. He won’t simp and say that's exactly what he's been thinking too. He never thought of those things before. His only focus in relationships is that he can have fun with the other person and be himself but perhaps that trait is exactly what Seokjin is looking for.
“What about you, Jeon?” Seokjin’s voice is low, a whisper despite the study hall's occupants only the two of them. “What kind of person are you looking for?”
To reiterate, he really isn’t looking for a specific type of person. It is a bit juvenile to phrase it in such a way but Jungkook, well, he simply wants to vibe.
“A good influence.”
Seokjin shoots a glance toward Jimin’s direction from where he is sitting cross-legged in bed while writing down a list of everything that needs to be packed for the field trip on his laptop. His earphones are plugged in his ears, his favorite artist blaring on loop.
Kim Seokjin is listening to Heartbeat by Carly Rae Jepsen — SPOTIFY
Jimin is laying on his stomach, elbows resting on the mattress, hands closed and under his chin, legs bent and moving up and down, his feet hitting his pillows.
The mischievous upturn of Jimin’s eyes and knowing smile ticks Seokjin off. From time to time, Jimin’s eyes would travel to the stuffed toy alpaca next to Seokjin, and whenever he is caught, would only wiggle his eyebrows up and down.
Seokjin makes a show of pausing the song without removing his earphones.
“So…” Jimin trails off.
“So.” Seokjin deadpans.
Jimin snickers, not bothering to hide the amusement he is getting from Seokjin’s current life predicament.
“Today was a fairytale, huh?”
Seokjin keeps up the mask of indifference for a good ten seconds before he’s pulling the earphones out, closing his laptop, and jumping into Jimin’s bed.
Jimin laughs, obnoxious and loud.
Seokjin’s burden of feigning aloofness throughout the entire day melts away immediately in Jimin’s presence, his best friend providing him this safe space, a promise of no judgement and a listening ear.
He relays everything that happened with Jungkook.
Jimin laughs at the part where Seokjin slapped Jungkook’s hand away when their fingers touched while reaching for popcorn.
“It was an instinctive reaction!”
“Okay, if you say so.”
Seokjin gushes about the arcade and how it was surprisingly fun.
“Did you tell Jungkook you had fun?”
Jimin sighs. “You’re making it so hard for me to be on your side.”
They shout and push at each other when he tells Jimin about watching Jungkook shoot hoops up close with the basketball machine and not missing a single one.
“I didn’t know he’s actually good, Minnie. It was like I was seeing and meeting him for the first time.”
“I’m not really shocked. You’ve always had a thing for basketball players.”
Seokjin groans dramatically. “It was one time! I liked another basketball player one time and you still refuse to let it go.”
“No, no, because what was that you said?” Jimin pushes Seokjin away, dodging the hand trying to cover his mouth. “Min Yoongi is the blueprint, Jimin-ah. ” The dramatic tone Jimin says it with earns him an elbow to his sides.
“Please, I’m begging you to let it go.”
“And you stopped liking him after talking to him in that leadership summit? What was that weirdness about, Seokjin-ah?” Jimin tuts.
Seokjin wraps his arms around Jimin’s neck. He’s not actually choking his best friend to death seeing as said person only laughs.
Suddenly, Jimin gasps and slaps Seokjin’s forearm. “Oh my god. Bestie. Is it because Min Yoongi-sshi is actually really intelligent?”
“If you continue with that train of thought I’ll make sure you sleep with the fishes, bestie.”
“Kim Seokjin’s type are himbos—!” Jimin gets cut off when Seokjin tackles him into the bed. He screams while laughing, and truthfully Jimin can definitely push the other off without breaking a sweat, a feat that has been proven time and time again. He doesn't though, only shrieks and lets Seokjin process his emotions.
They end up red-faced and giggling, backs flat on the bed while staring up the ceiling.
“Remember that movie we watched on Netflix? The one where the female lead charges people to write their essays for them? And then she becomes best friends with the dumb jock?” Seokjin asks, turning on his side so he can look at Jimin.
“We cried so hard during the church scene.” Jimin extends his arm and rests it over Seokjin’s waist. “Is that your himbo-loving origin story?” He teases, earning him a well-deserved smack right on the chest.
Seokjin thinks about it.
Actually ruminates over it.
“I think so.”
Jimin snorts and mutters, “Of course it is. But what about it? Why did you bring it up?”
“I was just thinking about the love letter he wrote in the beginning. I feel like it’s the type of thing Jeon would do.”
“Lord have mercy. This slow burn drama you two have going on is actually killing me. You’re already making up scenarios in your head! Just confess already!”
“Jimin, I’m not even sure if he likes me.”
“So? Also, please. You’re such a liar. I know you know that I know that you know he likes you. Tell me I’m wrong.”
Jimin also turns on his side, waiting for what he knows he will be hearing.
Seokjin laughs, rolls his eyes, and scoffs. “I know he likes me.” A fond expression crosses his face, and Jimin doesn’t even resist the cooing sound that comes out of him. “Although he's really clueless about how obvious he is.”
Jimin moves closer to Seokjin and despite their height difference, pulls the other to his chest. He nuzzles the top of Seokjin’s head with his cheek while patting his back in congratulations.
“Of course Jungkook likes you! I’ll seriously be offended if he doesn’t. Although I do feel bad for his friends, because at least you’re emotionally intelligent and have the capacity to read between the lines.”
Seokjin nods, forehead knocking against Jimin’s jaw. “He was really hung up about Hoseok too.”
“He should be. Hoseok is the perfect man, the magnum opus of chromosomes that ever walked this university. Jungkook's probably wondering right now how he's supposed to win you over when someone like Hoseok is the standard.”
“No science nerd talk. I do agree though.”
Seokjin eventually goes back to finishing his list.
Jimin runs out the room when his boyfriend’s name lights up the screen of his phone and he answers the call with a, “You are going to lose the pot!” which confuses Seokjin for a bit. He shakes it off with a chuckle and focuses again on what he needs to do.
First, a draft list. Then, a simple but colorful pubmat of it that he will be sending to Namjoon for dissemination.
While typing out the details in Photoshop, Seokjin cannot help but let his mind wander. He thinks again of the movie he and Jimin were talking about, imagines Jungkook writing him a love letter like the one in the movie. He imagines Jungkook would at least have better grammar compared to the male lead.
It’s a silly daydream but in a way, kind of realistic.
Dear Kim Seokjin,
I think you're really beautiful but even if you were ugly, I’d want to know you, because you are smart and nice too. It’s hard to find all those things in one person, but even if you were only two of those things, I’d be into it. But you’re like… all three. Just to be clear.
Seokjin laughs to himself, grabs his new bed companion that Jungkook so graciously helped him win, plugs his earphones in, and continues working on the pubmat.
Kim Seokjin is listening to Favourite Colour by Carly Rae Jepsen — SPOTIFY
Jungkook spots Seokjin standing outside the entrance of bus number two, the exterior of it painted a glossy white and their school logo in red. It’s similar to the minibus he usually rides whenever the basketball team is whisked away for their away games.
It’s five thirty in the morning, too early for anyone to care about their appearances. Students pile inside the bus in various states of clothing, some fully in their pajamas.
Seokjin himself is in a plain white shirt, dark jeans, and black sneakers. Instead of contacts, Seokjin is wearing his glasses. His hair is wet, flat, and clinging on his forehead. His eyes are a bit puffy, red like his lips and cheeks. He’s holding a brown clipboard and swiping a pen over it whenever a student enters the bus.
Taking long strides and walking past his classmates dragging themselves forward, the sound of Jungkook’s luggage rolling through the ground spurs him on.
“Good morning!” He greets Seokjin, chirpy and bright. Seokjin blinks at him, and Jungkook blushes at this sleepy and slow Seokjin he has never seen before.
It takes a while but then he receives a smile and a nod. “Good morning.” Seokjin puts a check mark on the box beside Jungkook’s name on the attendance sheet. “You’re excited.”
Jungkook steps to the side, giving way for the others entering the bus. He’s been mentally going back and forth between asking Seokjin to sit next to him and this belief that they will sit together anyway since they still have to film for their vlog project like the rest of the class.
Without looking up from the clipboard, Seokjin asks, “Is there a problem?”
“Nothing!” Jungkook says, a bit too fast for his liking. “Uh, see you?”
Seokjin nods again. “See you.”
Jungkook berates himself for his cowardice. He inwardly groans, mentally kicking invisible rocks as he steps inside the bus as well. He automatically goes for one of the last row seats. He easily slots his luggage in the overhead cabin and ends up helping some of his classmates in the process. It lightens the atmosphere and has Jungkook feeling good about the entire ordeal as they engage in smalltalk. He absentmindedly drops his gym bag on the seat next to his while he listens attentively to the two girls sitting in front showing him what their supposed hotel looks like.
The lights are turned off and everyone quiets down for some much needed rest. Only when the bus starts moving does panic settle in Jungkook’s stomach. He cranes his head over his seat and tries to search for Seokjin. Cursing under his breath, Jungkook opens his gym bag and rummages around for his phone.
where are you
in the bus?
no where are you seated
i’m at the front
like a nerd
i’ll fight with you later i’m going to get some shut eye
fight with me now
jeon i’m required to sit in front with our professors
have fun sleeping next to the profs
what do you want from me???
and i’m sitting next to joon not the profs
they’re just across us
why is he here
because he’s a student? like us? in the same major?
joon is in fact a double major
which by the way i already told you about
we’ll argue later
why do you want to argue so bad???
Ignoring the last message, Jungkook shuts his phone with a grumble and throws it inside his bag. He takes out the varsity hoodie Taehyung painstakingly folded for him and hastily wears it over his black shirt. He’s enveloped by the scent of Yoongi’s perfume his roommates used to douse his hoodie in.
The plan was for Seokjin to sit right next to him, fall asleep on his shoulder, and sequentially, become attracted to him because of how good he smells then fall in love with him.
Jungkook instead falls asleep with his arms crossed over his chest and brewing plans for a comeback. He wakes up for a bit when the sun is high in the sky and he’s forced to drag the curtains over the window with a grunt.
The second time Jungkook wakes up is when the bus stops. He groggily opens his eyes, the noise of his classmates slowly registering in his sleep-addled brain. Pushing the curtains back, he is greeted by a hotel and the sea behind it. The pictures he saw earlier doesn't do the place justice, and it wakes him quicker than anything else.
Jungkook doesn’t waste time helping his classmates bring down their luggage, and their noise nudges the other students to be vocal about their excitement.
The resort has numerous buildings in a palette of white and brown on each side of the humongous lot while a majestic pool and walkway are in the middle. Balconies face each other, and looking north is the beach and what definitely will be a breathtaking view of the impending sunset. The facade is magnificent as well with its open air structure and all the light flowing in.
The students gather by the entrance where Jungkook instantly spots Seokjin who, to his absolute delight, has the stuffed toy alpaca from the arcade clutched under his arm while his free hand drags his luggage. Standing beside Seokjin is Namjoon, the two of them being handed more clipboards and papers by their professors who joined the trip.
Jungkook listens with half an ear about what the professors are saying, his eyes busy marveling over the endless stretch of sparkling blue seawater and white sand through the glass windows.
“Remember we are here for conferences and not just leisure! You will have designated free days, so we please ask you to cooperate during the days you actually have to do work!”
The professor talks more about the conferences they are supposed to attend and the papers they would be answering after each one.
They give the stage to Seokjin, and Jungkook watches, enraptured, how Seokjin adjusts his glasses and talks about… stuff while holding the alpaca plushie and looking all authoritative and serious.
“Due to some asking to room with more than two people, there are two extra rooms left. Namjoon and I spoke with the professors and they agreed to let you guys vote on who you think deserves the solo rooms. Before that, pair up now on who you want as your roommate!”
Namjoon starts distributing the hotel keycards to those who run up to their friends declaring they’ll be together.
“Alright, for our first extra room, we all agree to let Hyun have it because it’s the one closest to the elevators?” Seokjin asks the group. He receives a resounding yes, and said person bounds up to Seokjin, one leg in a cast and walking with crutches. Jungkook recognizes him as one of the taekwondo varsity team members.
A couple of people ask Jungkook if they want to room with him, and he turns them down with a friendly smile. He’s determined this time around. If he can’t sit next to Seokjin in the bus, then he’ll be rooming with him no matter what.
“And for the last solo room, winning by a landslide is Jeon who according to all of you, deserves it for helping you with your luggages, whatever that means. Congratulations, Jeon!”
Their classmates clap and cheer, telling him words of congratulations and that he deserves it. Jungkook stops daydreaming for a second. A solo room means no roommate, and no roommate means no Seokjin. He laughs nervously, thanking the well-wishers.
Maybe he can ask Seokjin to room with him?
Perhaps Seokjin will force his way in and be roommates with him since they still have to film the vlog?
Namjoon makes his way over where Jungkook is standing and hands him his keycard with a smile.
“If you guys need anything, I will be on the floor below everyone else’s with Namjoon. Or you can message either of us and we will help you.”
Jungkook gapes at Namjoon whose eyebrows narrow in confusion at his sudden shift in expression. His surprise morphs into a glare. Jungkook snatches the keycard handed to him and Namjoon looks left and right before going back in front to stand next to Seokjin while shooting Jungkook worried glances.
“Let’s all settle in our rooms and meet each other for lunch. Namjoon and I will be distributing the materials you will be answering for the conferences after so don’t leave your rooms yet before we give it to you. After that, it’s a free day. Everyone, let’s enjoy today!” Seokjin rewards them with a beaming smile, and they cheer at the mention of an afternoon filled with nothing to do.
The students rush towards the elevators. Jungkook bids his time and waits for the crowd to disperse before he makes his way towards the front where Namjoon and Seokjin are in a conversation with their professors, the two nodding their heads diligently to whatever it is they are being told. He waits for their professors to leave before approaching the two who are looking over something on Seokjin’s phone.
Standing behind them, he clears his throat and waits to be acknowledged.
“Are we not recording for our vlog?”
Seokjin is bewildered at Jungkook’s sudden appearance and question. “Of course we are.” He raises a brow at Jungkook’s sour mood, his eyes moving all over Jungkook’s face and trying to decipher what this is all about. “We can meet later?”
“Fine.” Jungkook grumbles without putting up a fight. He feels as if he’s having an out-of-body experience and he’s watching himself ruin everything while screaming at himself to stop and also not being able to shut his mouth.
“Actually.” Seokjin crosses his arms, trapping the plushie against his chest. “Let’s settle this now. What are we supposed to argue about?”
Namjoon clears his throat. He steps back when the two glaring at each other direct their attention on him. “I’ll go ahead and take our luggage in our room?”
“Oh, sure Joonie.” Seokjin relaxes his body in favor of picking up the lone carry-on bag laid on the floor beside his feet.
Jungkook moves on instinct and wraps his fingers around the strap of the bag.
“I’ll do it.”
Seokjin doesn’t let go of the strap and only pulls on it. Jungkook does the same, exerting more force and pulling Seokjin along with it who scowls at him.
An intense staring competition that doesn't even last two minutes happens before Seokjin sighs and allows Jungkook to claim victory over the trivial matter.
Jungkook smiles triumphantly. Seokjin catches him and he immediately purses his lips together. Seokjin studies him for a few seconds, then shakes his head. Jungkook takes note of Seokjin’s amusement and knowing stare. He wonders for a second if Seokjin is aware of what he’s doing or why he is acting the way he is. He realizes he actually doesn't care.
The three of them end up riding the elevator with Namjoon intentionally staying behind them the entire time.
“I actually recorded some clips already.” Seokjin says amidst the silence. “I took a timelapse from when we left the school until we got here.”
“I was asleep the entire ride. Maybe we can take videos around the hotel?”
Their voices are low and bouncing off the four walls of the elevator. Jungkook stands straight and glances over at Seokjin from time to time, not bothering to hide his lingering gaze.
“Joon and I have stuff to do. You can do it now. There’s time left before our lunch schedule.”
“Are you really letting me do it by myself?”
Jungkook means it another context, such that he’s disappointed Seokjin won’t be with him, but the reply he receives has warmth blooming in his chest and spreading across his cheeks.
“I trust you enough to know it’ll be good.”
The elevator doors part upon arrival on Seokjin and Namjoon’s floor.
Seokjin presses the button for the floor above theirs and easily takes his bag from Jungkook’s willing hands. Namjoon walks ahead, hotel keycard in hand and trying to find where their room is.
Before the elevator closes again, Seokjin smiles at him and says, “Thanks, partner.”
Jungkook’s face contorts in surprise, and he must look positively dumbfounded, because Seokjin laughs and runs off with a wave and reminder.
“See you later, Jeon!”
The day goes by filled with nonsensical arguments between Jungkook and Seokjin; most of it initiated by the athlete. They ate lunch in one of the fancy dining halls in the resort. Jungkook followed Seokjin around while he distributed reading materials and whatnot to the other students, trailing behind a few steps back and recording him. They film around the resort until dinner and it was time for them to part ways, in which Jungkook does so with reluctance.
Jungkook’s solo hotel room has two beds. Upon entering, he drops down on one and sighs.
He distracts himself by talking to Taehyung and Yoongi who only bullies him, asking him why he’s messaging when he’s on the beach with a solo room and could be getting some action but is instead texting them. They call him a loser, and Jungkook replies with several angry gifs, all met with laughing emojis and more name-calling.
Jungkook stares longingly at Seokjin’s contact name.
He supposes he is handling things well. He has admitted to himself that he once again developed a crush on Seokjin, his mortal enemy slash partner slash not-friend. He’s actively seeking Seokjin’s company out and tries to keep their dynamic the same to not cause awkwardness. He’s never had a problem regarding crushes, but they weren't Seokjin, so Jungkook reasons out that old tactics are not going to work. Old tactics being flirting with them enough until they get a hint and make the first move or using Taehyung as a wingman to plant ideas in their head such as, “Jungkookie thinks you’re kinda fine. He’s too shy to tell you though.”
Jungkook groans into his pillow and rubs his forehead back and forth, left and right, against its softness.
Distracting himself, Jungkook watches random YouTube videos, becomes invested over a rat clenching its fist in rage or goats attacking humans. Seeing goats reminded him of alpacas, in turn pushing his thoughts back to square one. He’s thinking of Seokjin again. He switches interests and ends up watching early 2000s music videos where the set has nothing to do with the song. The next song recommendation pops up and it’s Call Me Maybe.
Jungkook sits up in bed in frustration. He tucks his feet under his thighs and stares at the wall. He runs his fingers through his hair, grips the strands by the root, and lets out a sound between a cry and moan of frustration.
Deciding that enough is enough, Jungkook dials Seokjin up for a video call. It’s answered within three rings, a simple thing that excites him.
The screen shows Seokjin holding the phone away from his face, arm extended. He’s standing in the middle of his suite, music playing in the background. It’s not a pop bop or anything Jungkook recognizes, more indie rock-and-roll, and Jungkook doesn’t need to be a genius to guess it’s probably Namjoon’s music choice.
Seokjin asks, “Is there anything wrong?” the same time Jungkook opens with, “What’s up?”
“Are you in any sort of emergency?” Seokjin squints at the phone, eyes roaming around the room.
Jungkook pulls the covers of his bed back and slips under it comfortably. He lays on his side, phone on one hand.
“So…” Jungkook begins. “What’s up?”
“I—…” Seokjin clears his throat. He scratches the back of his neck, looking off to the side, then directing his gaze again on the front screen camera. “Joon and I were going over stuff.”
Jungkook restlessly shifts around in bed until he’s leaning on the headboard, one arm raised and hand cradling the back of his head.
“What stuff? Conference stuff?”
Seokjin laughs. He sits down on the bed, and Jungkook grins widely when he spots the alpaca plushie on the bed. He remembers their time at the arcade, and Seokjin may not know it but Jungkook has since labeled it as a forealsies date, thank you very much . He suddenly wants to play now, hands itching to feel rubber and hear the thud of a ball against the metal ring while watching it go down the net.
“Nerd stuff.” Seokjin says with a snort.
It drags Jungkook away from his scattered thoughts.
“So conference stuff?”
Seokjin laughs loudly, and hearing it has Jungkook laughing too. Seokjin covers his mouth with one hand and mumbles, “Sorry, Joon. Should I go out on the balcony?”
Jungkook hears some rustling.
“ It’s okay. Uh, it’s fine with me if he comes over instead? He’s literally a floor above us.”
“Yes! I will come over!” Jungkook shouts before Seokjin could say no. He ends the call and jumps out of bed. Jungkook picks up his luggage, clothes still inside, and rummages for the hoodie sprayed with Yoongi’s expensive perfume. He really hopes this tactic works.
Seokjin stares at his phone because one, he is unsure of what is happening, and two, to avoid Namjoon’s pointed stare.
Sighing, Seokjin faces the other sitting on the bed opposite him.
The glare from Namjoon’s laptop bathe the papers scattered on his bed in a white glow. He’s wearing his glasses, but it doesn't hide the amused glint shining on the brown orbs.
“Out with it, Joon.”
Namjoon bursts out in laughter, places his pen and notepad down, and slaps his hands together to clap loudly. “Can’t believe I will be winning the pot, Seokjin-sshi.”
The sarcastic usage of the formal suffix warrants a deserved snort from Seokjin.
“What’s your bet?”
Namjoon tuts at him. “That is for me to know only.”
“You’re as bad as your boyfriend.” Seokjin mutters.
Phone ringing once more, Seokjin gets up and walks toward the door. Exiting the room, he sees Jungkook standing by the elevator, and when he’s spotted, runs up to where Seokjin is peeking from the doorway. He can practically see the dog ears and wagging tail.
Jungkook is wearing the basketball varsity’s custom-made hoodie. Jimin’s words of, “Kim Seokjin’s type are himbos!” ring in his head. He mentally stomps on the memory and shoves the rising embarrassment down before it shows on his face.
An analysis worth seven pages runs in Seokjin’s head at 200x speed right before Jungkook stands in front of him, an excited grin on his face.
“Hello again, Kim!”
Jungkook likes him.
He… finds Jungkook tolerable.
He has a crush. He’s not in that deep yet , but this bumbling, lovesick, loser attitude Jungkook’s displaying is tugging at his hopeless romantic heart. Jungkook is probably unsure of how to go about his emotions. Seokjin is willing to bet the athlete is used to being the one asked out and not doing anything. He’s also sure Jungkook is unaware Seokjin feels the same way. Add those two up and one gets a Jungkook who refuses to go away in hopes of endearing himself to Seokjin. If this was any other person, Seokjin would be annoyed. The thing is, he has always been annoyed and irritated and every other adjective synonymous to it with Jungkook.
Therefore, the only way from here is up.
Seokjin wonders if this is what it’s like to be on the other end of classical conditioning techniques and at the same time possesses awareness over it.
He opens the door wider and lets Jungkook in.
Jungkook greets Namjoon with a bow and wave, much nicer now compared to the unwarranted glares he has been giving since this morning. Seokjin imagines how the cogs in Jungkook’s head must be turning, alerting him that Namjoon’s not the enemy and is actually a very reliable ally.
The night plays out similar to the first time they reached an understanding; when the basketball team lost during the first day of their away-game and Jungkook asked if he could watch Seokjin study.
Seokjin goes over his to-do for tomorrow with Namjoon. The other students simply need to attend, listen, answer the questions on their booklets about the topics that range from film, photography, journalism, and more, then write essays about what they learned. As members of the student leadership strata, Namjoon and Seokjin not only have to do all of those but are also required to document their class’ activities and progress, collect everyone’s output, make sure all are present in the conferences and not playing hooky, and lead the others regarding the flow of activities. Holding positions throughout the university, including the residences committee in Seokjin’s part, also doesn’t allow them to forget about what they left behind.
In the midst of cutting worksheets, stapling them together, and an unexpected phone call from Hyun asking if he can eat meals in his room instead of having to go to the dining hall, Seokjin finds himself facing the lens of Jungkook’s phone directed on him. He nods at the camera, offers a pleasant smile, for the vlog , he thinks, and goes back to his conversation with the injured athlete on the other end of the line.
“Yes, Hyun. I’ll take care of it. Yes. Go to sleep and don’t stress yourself out. Yes. Goodnight, Hyun.”
The call ends and Namjoon is quick to comment, “Seriously, the athletes always injure themselves whenever we have field trips.”
“Remember when Soojin had a cast on both her arms?”
Namjoon sighs in exasperation. “How can I forget? I had to help her every step of the way for the entire week.”
Seokjin can see from his peripheral vision how Jungkook is shifting around awkwardly, and really, he blames his newfound fondness over the other when he quips, “At least Jeon is reliable and takes care of himself.”
The judging stare from Namjoon is understandable, especially because Seokjin knows he’s holding back a laugh, or worse, outright teasing them.
Jungkook reddens, falters with his hold on his phone, and coughs to cover it up. Seokjin feels Namjoon’s toes digging on his side, and if he didn’t have his own feet planted on the ground, he would’ve kicked Namjoon off the man’s own bed.
“Do you have another pair of scissors?” Jungkook asks, clearing his throat. Seokjin hands him Namjoon’s own, and he ends up helping Seokjin cut the edges off the papers. He sits next to Seokjin, the three of them now on Namjoon’s bed.
The owner of said bed doesn't complain. Namjoon takes his phone from his pocket and pretends to ignore them. Seokjin notices and Jungkook remains oblivious. Not as naive as Seokjin expected since Jungkook insists on sitting close to him, his clothed arm brushing against Seokjin’s bare skin.
They transfer on Seokjin’s bed after finishing with the papers, laying down on their stomachs, and watching another movie starring Seokjin’s favorite actor.
Jungkook’s hands are in front of him, clasped together. His left arm is leaning a bit more wider to the side where Seokjin is. Testing the waters, Seokjin would brush his head against Jungkook’s bicep, then move away slowly to make it seem like an accidental brush. Jungkook would flinch in surprise, square his shoulders, and try to appear bigger. Seokjin tries his best to not let his amusement show.
“Is this your type?” Jungkook mumbles, voice low and feigning nonchalance. He nudges his shoulder with Seokjin’s, chin pointing at the screen when it shows the lead actor.
“The character or the actor?”
“The actor and the character he plays are both objectively and conventionally attractive men. I like him though because he’s a good actor.”
Jungkook scowls and once again bumps their shoulders together. “Okay, but I asked if he’s your type because he seems to be.”
“What exactly is my type?”
“You like guys with pretty smiles and perfect teeth.” Jungkook meets his eye, and he doesn't seem to be aware Seokjin is treated a clear view of a pout and the mole under Jungkook’s bottom lip.
“Didn’t we talk about this before?” Seokjin asks instead.
“Yes but there’s a difference between your type,” Jungkook absentmindedly points at Seokjin when he says this with his pointer finger, “And who you want to date.” Seokjin really shouldn’t be surprised that the aforementioned finger ends up pointing at Jungkook himself.
Seokjin can imagine how Jimin would react if he was here. His best friend would cackle, whack them both over the heads, and expose Seokjin for all that he is.
The movie continues playing. When they get to the part of a very explicit sex scene, Jungkook stiffens and gasps. He casually averts his face away from the screen and to the side only for Seokjin to catch him actually watching discreetly.
Seokjin knows better but he ends up not being able to resist teasing Jungkook by once again leaning his head on Jungkook’s arm. He moves closer until their legs touch, then moves away, pretending it was an accident.
The scene continues on, too long and promiscuous for Seokjin’s taste. He will admit it’s tastefully shot though.
Seokjin sighs while it plays. He eventually moves away again, this time placing his chin atop his forearm and situating himself flat on the bed.
“Jeon.” Seokjin’s proud of himself that it comes out in such a calm manner.
Tilting his head up, Seokjin is suddenly all-too aware of his heart beating against his chest.
If this was a movie, Seokjin decides without second thoughts, this is the part where the lights dim and his favorite song plays.
Hold on now.
This is getting kind of serious.
Jungkook’s eyes drop to Seokjin’s lips. He opens his own mouth, and Seokjin worries he is about to confess while Namjoon is literally across them.
A sigh is the only thing Jungkook lets out. “You’re restless.” He scratches his temple with a lone finger. “Do I make you uncomfortable?” The last sentence is whispered. Jungkook doesn’t lean down when he says it. He doesn’t come closer in case he’s right. He doesn’t even seem to mind that Namjoon might have heard him.
Seokjin shakes his head no. He feels guilty of his actions, so he throws back the question.
“Are you uncomfortable?”
Jungkoook’s response is the same as his along with a smile.
Silence blankets them after that.
Seokjin realizes this is the kind of tranquility lovers enjoy when Jungkook comes closer and rests the side of his head on top of Seokjin’s own.
There’s a phantom itch on Seokjin’s sides, his hands, and his mouth. It’s a trail of places he hopes Jungkook would explore, and if not during this moment, then hopefully soon. He wants to do the same thing, and every part that demands his or Jungkook’s attention leaves him distracted and burning.
The weight of Jungkook against him is more than welcome, Seokjin realizes, and all of a sudden, all at once, he can picture it now. He told Jimin he enjoys the company and nothing more but Seokjin aches and yearns and he is sure now that he does want more.
The forealsies kind.
Jungkook wakes up early the next day and arrives at the dining hall earlier. He doesn’t actually enter and only waits by the entrance until he spots Namjoon and Seokjin exiting from the elevator.
“You’re up early.” Seokjin says instead of returning Jungkook’s cheery morning greeting.
Jungkook says something about how there’s a lot of things to be done today and he wanted to be on top of his game. Seokjin levels a look of disbelief on him. He looks more amused than irritated, and it delights Jungkook.
He is reminded of last night and the realization he had while watching that movie with Seokjin that his partner does like him. He’s unsure yet to what extent, but it boosts his confidence that Seokjin holds some sort of affection towards him.
Jungkook is still fifty-fifty on whether Seokjin likes him the way he does, but one thing he is a hundred percent sure of is that Seokjin’s aware of his feelings. There is no way, he believes, Seokjin doesn’t know the effect he has on Jungkook with the way he kept on teasingly brushing against him.
Two can play that game, Jungkook thinks.
Well, that is, if Namjoon could keep being a team player and give them some space.
Seokjin gets called by one of their professors who are eating their breakfast on another table. Jungkook and Namjoon queue up at the buffet table, Namjoon promising Seokjin he’ll get food for him. It has Jungkook looking back and forth between the both of them, trying not to be miffed over how close the two of them are. He can’t even find fault in Namjoon; the man is tall, tanned, and gorgeous with the deepest dimples Jungkook has ever seen. If that wasn’t enough, he’s smart too.
“Uh, hey Jungkook.” Namjoon breaks Jungkook away from his musings. He coughs awkwardly while automatically moving as they near the food station.
Namjoon laughs at the formality. He clears his throat and tries again. “You don’t have to worry about me you know? I’m actually dating Seokjin’s roommate.”
Jungkook’s head swivels toward Namjoon’s direction, eyes wide and mouth hanging open. “What? Roommate?”
“Yeah. You’ve met Jimin right?”
“Wh— yes! I have. You mean to say—”
“We’re all on your side, Jungkook.” Namjoon smiles in encouragement. He hands Jungkook the other plate supposedly for Seokjin who accepts it with half a mind, still stuck on what Namjoon said in the beginning. “Seokjin likes scrambled eggs. He tends to eat a heavy breakfast because he usually has to skip lunch. Lots of work to be done throughout the day and all that. I’m sure you’ll be acquainted with everything soon enough. That is, when you work the courage up to confess.”
Jungkook nods, tucking the information in a box he keeps in the corners of his mind, where tidbits like Seokjin’s allergies, his inability to tie a cherry knot, and how he hates the rain also reside.
Namjoon gives him an indecipherable look. “If I were you, I would get it done before the field trip ends.” Jungkook would’ve paid that more attention if his imagination wasn’t going on overdrive. He ends up nodding in affirmation over Namjoon’s mysterious suggestion.
“Oh, and one more thing. Jimin let this information slip, and I’m only telling you because it might be useful, but check Seokjin’s Spotify. He’s apparently like an open book there, whatever that means.”
Breakfast is over before Jungkook knows it. He goes through the conferences, lunch time, and more conferences in a blur. He’s too busy going through Seokjin’s Facebook timeline and checking all the times Spotify spilled what he’s listening to for all the world to see. He busies himself with the task of listening to the songs intently and reading the lyrics. He’s super glad Seokjin’s listening history consists almost entirely of Carly Rae Jepsen, the lyrics of her songs straightforward and to the point.
Jungkook establishes a timeline beginning from when their project began. He recalls mentioning a CRJ song during one of their texts, a song that basically talked about denying feelings. Then there’s a song Seokjin had on repeat when Jungkook was away. The following songs leading up to their date and after it all revolve around the subject of realizing one’s feelings.
Night time comes and Jungkook is in his hotel bedroom pacing around. He has come to the conclusion that Seokjin may return his feelings. The percentage has risen to a winnable seventy. The only thing left is to spill his guts out and hope for the best.
If Seokjin rejects him… well, Jungkook may just have to find a way to drown himself in the sea.
The ringing of his phone makes him jump out of his skin. Grabbing it from where it’s on his bed, Seokjin’s caller ID takes over the entire screen.
“Hey, god. Is this a sign?” Jungkook asks out loud.
Having no choice, he answers.
“Where are you, Jeon?”
Jungkook clears his throat before answering. He fixes his hair even though he’s alone and only talking through Seokjin on the phone.
“In my room.”
“What? Why aren’t you at the beach?”
“Joon said you told him to tell me to meet you here to film.”
Jungkook decides he can curse Namjoon out later for the meddling.
“Yes! I did! Uh, I just had to get my camera, you know, it’s too dark to film using our phones?”
Looking around the room, Jungkook catches sight of himself in the mirror already in pajamas. He opens his suitcase with one hand, mentally berating himself for still not hanging his clothes in the closet, and rummages around for something decent.
“It’s actually not that dark. Our classmates are here and some of them are filming too.”
“What?! They keep stealing my ideas.”
Seokjin laughs at that. “Just hurry up and come find me.”
Ending the call, Jungkook throws his phone to the side in favor of throwing his clothes around the bed better.
Jungkook exits his room in a black shirt and shorts, camera hanging around his neck. He runs across the hall, to the elevator, around the lobby, and outside where a long walkway leads to the beach. Taehyung would tut at him when he sees his outfit, and Yoongi would laugh at his nervousness.
Thinking of his friends eases some of the tension away. The sound of the ocean and people milling around with smiles on their faces, whether they be fake or real, while their partners film them, calms him. The air is salty and cold yet still instills warmth, a combination that comforts him immensely.
“Jeon! You’re late!”
Except for Seokjin in shorts apparently.
Seokjin runs up to him in a lilac shirt and dark green shorts, the combination appealing. He’s wearing his glasses already, and Jungkook’s mind brings up a contrast to whenever he has his contacts, all serious and intimidating. He’s always intimidating, Jungkook believes, but not like this.
Not when he’s too busy eyeing Seokjin from head to toe.
Wow. Legs. Shoulders. Neck. Collarbones—
“Any ideas on how we can stand out when everyone's filming in the same spot?”
Jungkook’s mind wanders on an idea that would have Seokjin pushing him into the ocean without remorse. He shoos the thoughts away with a promise to entertain it later when he’s alone and in bed, not when the object of his affections is literally standing next to him.
Seokjin shakes his head. “That’s dangerous.”
“Or you just don’t know how to swim.” Jungkook teases, staying in character. It’s not really hard for him to do. He does like this dynamic he has with Seokjin after all.
Seokjin snorts. “For your information, I know my way around the water.”
“Yes, really. Can we start filming?”
“Okay, uh, I was thinking: we can build a sandcastle?”
Seokjin gapes at him. “Do you not feel the breeze?”
“Attempt to build a sandcastle then. It’ll be funny!”
“You do it.”
A voice in Jungkook’s head that sounds familiarly like Yoongi’s screeches out, “Whipped!”
If Jungkook doubted his crush on Seokjin before, it was more of denial than doubt really, then kneeling down the beach and getting sand between his toes, his eyes, and his hair just so Seokjin can record him while he laughs, the genuine one where it can get squeaky and high-pitched, crushes all those down.
“Stop touching your hair!” Seokjin clutches his stomach with one hand in laughter, the other steadily holding the camera up. “You have so much sand in it already!”
Jungkook stares straight at the camera, glaring at it. He tries to not show his amusement, or god forbid how absolutely whipped he is. Jungkook only sighs and looks down at the sandcastle he’s trying to build.
“This is a sand lump.” He tells the camera. “I’m having so much fun.”
Seokjin stops recording and drops down the sand in front of Jungkook. He tries helping, gives up after a minute, and laughs some more. Seokjin stretches his legs out in front of him, hands flat on his sides, and the camera hanging around his neck.
Jungkook doesn’t waste time crawling over to sit next to Seokjin. He tucks his feet under his thighs and shakes his head around, groaning when he feels sand between the strands.
“I can’t believe I have to shower again!” Jungkook complains, not even bothering to remove the granules in case he only makes it worse.
“Need help?” Seokjin asks.
He’d much rather leave it alone.
Opportunities shouldn’t be wasted though.
Jungkook shifts around until he’s facing Seokjin, head laid down and blushing. He hears the other say, “Oh, wow. There’s a lot.”
Seokjin’s hand comes up his head, deft fingers pulling gently on the strands, then flicking sand to the side.
The sound of crashing waves against the shore and their classmates’ noise are nothing compared to how loud Jungkook’s heart is beating against his chest. It’s cliché, he thinks, but he’s sure Seokjin can hear it with how close they are.
Seokjin holds his head steady with one hand, the pads of his fingers pressing down Jungkook’s scalp.
From this angle, Jungkook can see how Seokjin’s chest rises and falls.
“At this point,” Seokjin mutters, “We won’t get any footage.”
“We can do better next week.”
The agreeable response surprises Jungkook. “You’re not going to complain?”
Seokjin pulls on his har, eliciting a yelp of pain from Jungkook. “And I thought you would be pleased.”
Rather than continuing the impending argument, Jungkook takes the high road and allows it to fizzle. Instead, he chooses to say, “You changed, Kim.”
“I can say the same about you.”
Oh. Oh god. We’re having a moment.
Seokjin ruffles his hair. “There. All done.”
Jungkook raises his head and is met with a smile. Seokjin’s glasses reflect the hanging lanterns lighting the beach, stretching from one end to the next.
The two of them are sitting pretty far off from the crowd, where the light isn’t as bright and the water can come up higher any minute without warning.
“Hey, what if we take pictures instead?” Jungkook suggests. “We can do a slideshow format along with the clips, then slap some background music on it.”
Seokjin thinks about it for a few seconds. He shrugs in agreement and removes the camera strap off his neck, handing it to Jungkook. “I’m not good with photographs.”
“You don’t know that.” Jungkook encourages without a second thought.
“I know my strengths and weaknesses pretty well.” Seokjin doesn’t look affected by it. He crosses his arms over his chest, watching Jungkook fiddle around with the camera settings. “I’ll make it up to you next week.”
“Hm, why?” Jungkook clicks the shutter, testing the settings out, then going back to changing them.
“You’ve been picking up the slack ever since we got here. I’ll do better next week.”
“Yeah, well, you’re busy running around doing stuff. I understand.” This time, Jungkook raises the camera up to Seokjin. He watches Seokjin blink in confusion through the viewfinder. “Smile for me, please.” He instructs casually. Seokjin does as he is told, cheeks puffing out in a way that reminds Jungkook of bread.
The shutter goes off again. Despite there being no flash, the photo comes out perfectly when Jungkook turns the camera around and shows Seokjin the result. The focus is on Seokjin while the beach and the lights blur in the background softly. The resolution is definitely high quality. Shadows and highlights appear balanced without the use of editing softwares. The orange glow on Seokjin’s skin appears more dramatic and evocative rather than the harshness it is associated with.
“Oh.” Seokjin blurts out in surprise. “That’s… actually amazing? I didn’t know you’re good at photography.”
“It’s overused but bokeh effects are pretty cool. It’ll look better when the temperature is decreased and the blues and reds highlighted. The shadows are okay but nudging the RGB curve a bit more to the left will make it perfect.”
Raising the camera for another picture, Jungkook closes one eye, looks through the viewfinder, and finds Seokjin silently staring at him.
Realizing his ramblings, Jungkook lowers the camera a bit and sheepishly smiles. “Sorry about that. Didn’t mean to talk your ear off.”
“No, no!” Seokjin quickly says, hands coming up his chest and frantically moving around in defense. “I was just surprised.”
“Surprised that I think of other stuff besides basketball?” Jungkook teases, brow raising playfully.
Seokjin repeats the motion of waving his hands around, eyes wide and blushing. At Jungkook’s loud laughter, he puts his arms down and sighs, shoulders heaving. “You don’t exactly give off the feeling that you care about other stuff.”
“Now you know that I do.” Once again, Jungkook positions himself behind the camera. His cheek presses against it, and he can’t help smiling fondly at Seokjin’s embarrassment, not when his ears and neck are this red. “Another smile, please. And tilt your head a bit to the side for me.”
“Should I throw up a peace sign?”
“Yes, baby.” The words roll off Jungkook’s tongue naturally, and only when Seokjin fumbles does he realize what he said. He covers it by not saying anything. Seokjin does the same and follows his instructions without another peep.
Jungkook gets a bit flirty when he’s behind the camera, sue him. The fact that it’s Seokjin though, and that Seokjin is pretending he didn’t hear it, has Jungkook’s mental faculties doing somersaults. The little Spongebobs in his head are once again running around and setting his memory bank on fire in an attempt to stop the humiliation spreading all over his body.
He shows the photo to Seokjin, he receives more compliments about his photography skills, and the tension dissolves in the air easily.
The next picture Jungkook takes is of the sea, a quick and easy one. He takes one of their classmates milling around, the hotel exterior, and then the sky.
“What else do you think about then? Besides basketball.” Seokjin asks.
Jungkook looks at him while Seokjin has his eyes downcast. He’s playing with the sand, fingers digging deep and producing several holes.
The ocean is relatively in good spirits, not too loud and not dead silent. Their classmates’ laughter and joyous titters adds up to the ambience. The amber-colored glow from the lanterns set a romantic mood. The moon is out and the stars are twinkling unhindered by clouds or city lights.
Jungkook reckons he won’t get an opportunity like this again, and even if he does, everything feels right in the world right now that passing this moment up because of reasons like he’s nervous or scared, perhaps both, will only leave him with regret.
“I think about you too.”
Seokjin stops his digging. He slowly looks up at Jungkook, meeting his eyes. Jungkook really hopes he doesn’t look insincere, or stupid. He’s going to cry himself to sleep if the latter is the case and Seokjin ends up laughing at him.
“So you think about basketball, photography,” Seokjin starts listing it off his fingers one by one. “And me.” He inhales deeply. With the way he is looking at Jungkook, he’s obviously expecting confirmation.
“In that order?”
“Depends if you’re being nice or mean that certain day.”
Seokjin purses his lips. He blinks slowly, smiling in what Jungkook can only call as content.
“What about you? Do you only think about school?” Jungkook hurriedly asks to continue the conversation. He’s also genuinely interested, and the enthusiasm must show on his face because Seokjin doesn’t go all shocked and confused, his default reaction to everything Jungkook does or says these days.
“In a way, yes. I think about the things I have to do for my prior commitments, my UC presidency campaign, and the actual studying part that comes with being a college student.” It’s the answer Jungkook expected to hear. The second part that comes is not. “I think about the future too. Which honesty worries me. So I try to not think about it all the time.”
“Do you… want to talk about it?”
“I don’t know. I guess it’s just anxiety over what will happen after all this is over.”
“Kim, you’re like… really great and self-assured. You’re one of the most amazing people I know, but it’s normal to feel insecure and scared about things, especially when you keep it to yourself and mull about it rather than expressing your worries. Don’t get me wrong though I think you’ll smash it because you’re super smart and— what?”
Jungkook cuts down on his rambling after noticing the look Seokjin is giving him.
It’s fondness, he believes.
Seokjin is looking at him fondly.
It gives Jungkook hope.
Seokjin sighs, this time it’s more of an exhale of breath that sounds like he’s been holding it in for so long. “It’s not my future career I’m worried about. I believe that is something I have control and dominion over.”
“Dominion? Are you planning on taking over the world?”
The laughing fit Seokjin goes through infects Jungkook that they both have to hold their hands up, signing each other to stop, just so their conversation won’t end up derailed.
“Promise you won’t laugh?” Seokjin’s eyes are crinkled, cheeks red, and he’s still emitting these little giggles that he tries to cover up.
“Depends.” Jungkook gasps at the ball of sand thrown at his chest. “Now I really will laugh!”
“I’m serious, Jeon. Please don't.” Seokjin’s expression remains the same though.
Jungkook pretends as if doing so is such a burden for him, only to end up agreeing and promising that he won’t.
“I worry about my relationships.”
“You mean… friendships?”
“No, Jeon, I mean, I worry about my love life.”
Seokjin keeps his head down when he says it. Jungkook is glad for that because he’s now the one blushing hard.
“Your love life.”
“You’re worried about it.” Another sand ball hits Jungkook in the chest. “Kim, I’m just trying to let it sink in!”
“That I worry about normal people things?!”
Another sand ball.
“Yes! Stop hitting me with sand balls or I’ll retaliate and we both know it won’t be fair for you!”
They’re both laughing again, tension gone, and cheeks aching.
“Well, I do. I think about it and I like to assure myself that everything will work out but I’m not the kind of person who leaves things up to fate and— now you’re the one staring at me weirdly.”
“What is there to worry about? No, scratch that. What are you worried about?”
Jungkook watches Seokjin cross his arms over his chest. He sits up a bit straighter and even clears his throat for good measure.
“I have my entire life planned already, Jeon. The best part is I know I can achieve it. I have great friends too. I’m not even actively looking for a significant other. It just scares me that I won’t find the person I imagine myself to be with and I’ll end up settling and become miserable.” Seokjin smiles apologetically. “Too intimate?”
Jungkook shakes his head quickly. “No, no. Those are very real fears. I completely understand. This is just me going off intuition but I guess the first step is narrowing it down?”
“Narrowing what down?”
“What you’re looking for, Kim.”
“Ah, well. I already know what kind of person I want.”
“Let’s hear it then.”
Jungkook is preparing to get his heart broken. He’s waiting to hear Seokjin list down everything that Jungkook isn’t, and he can already imagine moping when he comes back to his room and the dorms. He only hopes Taehyung and Yoongi won’t bully him about it too much.
“I already told you; I want someone to be romantic enough for the both of us because I like that kind of stuff but won’t actually do it.”
“What, that’s it?”
“Too high of a standard?”
Jungkook scoffs. “No, that’s actually too low.” It takes Jungkook his all to not add, I can do that and more, Kim!!! Me!!!! Pick me!!!!!!!!
“Paint me a picture. What is a normal day like with Kim Seokjin’s ideal person?”
The corner of Seokjin’s mouth twitches at the mention of his full name. “I imagine coming home from work with food on the table.” He pauses, the daydreamy quality in his voice forcing another clearing of the throat. “While I’m eating, he would come home to our apartment while our dog, Cashmoney Chubbers, is in his arms. He’d tell me about his day walking our dog and how he played basketball with the kids in the park. Sometimes he would pick me up from the office and whisk me away to a fancy restaurant, and I wouldn't have to worry about a thing, because I trust him and know he has my back.”
Again, Seokjin asks, “Too much?”
The scenario plays in Jungkook’s head. He can see it so clearly he’s sure he can waste hours imagining that kind of life.
And really, why leave it up to his imagination when he can take matters with his own hands and grab the chance to live it?
“I can do that.”
“What?” Seokjin sputters.
“I can be that person for you.” Jungkook bids his own fears and worries goodbye and plows on with it. “I’ll clean the house, cook your dinner, and walk Chubbers mornings and afternoons.”
He’s cut off his tirade with, “It’s Cashmoney Chubbers. He has two names and you need to say both.”
Seokjin’s habit of pointing fingers to punctuate a point resurfaces. Jungkook doesn’t waste time wrapping his hand around it, holding it down against the sand.
He doesn’t let go.
“So rude. You’re so rude, Kim.”
Seokjin bites his bottom lip and shrugs. “Go on. Weren’t you selling me something?”
“Yes, as I was saying; cooking, cleaning, and the dog park. At night, I will wait outside your office and take you to a romantic restaurant where I made dinner reservations. And you won’t have to worry about a thing, because I promise I won’t be a slacker. I have marketable skills, okay? You don’t ever have to worry about a single thing, and even if you do, I promise I won’t be rude, like somebody , and talk it out with you. What do you say?”
Jungkook has approximately five percent of bravery left. If Seokjin makes this any more difficult for him he might actually pass out.
“Are you asking me if you can be my house husband?”
Okay, Jungkook can definitely answer that.
“Well, right now, I'm asking if I can be your boyfriend.”
The finger Jungkook is gripping turns into an entire hand, slotting over the spaces between his own, sand and all. He hears Seokjin sigh, this time not out of exasperation, but contentment.
“There’s something I want to know.”
Jungkook does not have the energy to play twenty questions with Seokjin right now so he tells him exactly that. “Kim, I don’t have the brain capacity to answer questions right now. If you’re not interested, please just turn me down. I promise, I won’t be weird about it. Okay, I’ll hate you for maybe two days but after that I’ll be over it. Hopefully. Depends.”
“When did you start liking me?”
That, Jungkook thinks, is something he can at least answer. He’s just unsure if he should tell the truth, truth or the more casual version of it.
“...when we went grocery shopping.”
“I was right! I knew it!” Seokjin exclaims, giddy and a huge smile on his face. “And I like you too by the way.”
It’s Jungkook’s turn to be in shock.
“Wh— I like you too by the way ?!”
“Why? Do you not like me?”
“Obviously, I do! But what the fuck is that?!” Jungkook shouts.
Seokjin only laughs at his face. “Don’t worry, Jeon. I mean it in the forealsies kind of way.”
A number of emotions clamor their way all over Jungkook’s system, each one demanding to be felt more strongly than the other.
Disbelief, happiness, and relief.
He decides he can be Seokjin’s doting and loving house husband in the future.
For now, he’s content being his foreal partner, the type of person who lets his rude boyfriend Kim Seokjin throw sand balls at his chest; the kind of boyfriend who would beg Seokjin to attend his games then proceed to embarrass him every time he clinches those three-pointers, singling him out from the crowd. He would attend all of Seokjin’s snooze-fest assembly speeches and the school activities he spearheads, then clap as if his boyfriend has administered world peace.
Jungkook has always been confused about what to do with himself, in particular his hands, ever since Seokjin came into his life.
Walking back to the hotel hand in hand may just be the answer.
keep quiet about this or i’ll break your ankles -🐥
(Kim Namjoon +4 others)
siri, play tiny little bows by carly rae jepsen because…
someone just won the pot ⛹️
i did it boys!!!!!!
mission: courtside tango is a SUCCESS 💯
Practice is almost over for the basketball team. Some are laying down on the floor or taking water breaks, most are huddled in the court watching their vice-captain shoot two-pointers consecutively. His ability to be accurate and precise at the same time is impressive, a feat usually forgotten when he’s off the court and goofing around with the rest of the players.
“I heard the vice-captain is finally dating.”
The others ooh at the statement.
“Who's the lucky person?”
“Don’t know. No one has really come down here whenever we’re practicing to cheer for him.”
Standing a few meters away from the gossiping athletes is Seokjin, phone up and filming the aforementioned vice-captain of the basketball team, Jungkook.
Seokjin discreetly glances at the chattering group. He moves a bit closer to them, pretending he’s still focused with recording.
“Good for him, and good for me. Everytime I go on group dates and tell them I’m part of the basketball team, they ask about him instead.”
“I know! My classmates always pester me to ask for his number or introduce them!”
The sound of a whistle being blown sends the players lingering around scampering towards its direction. Jungkook who has been mindlessly shooting finally stops. He joins his teammates huddled around their coach.
Seokjin walks back to the bleachers for his bag. The whistle is once again blown, and finally they are dismissed. Jungkook and Yoongi stay behind, following their coach into his office. Taehyung dashes past him, manages to shout, “Hi, Seokjin-sshi!” before disappearing into the showers.
Living inside one’s head and going through mental gymnastics over liking someone is starkly different compared to doing it in reality.
It has been a week since the beach field trip, therefore, a week has gone by since Seokjin found himself a boyfriend.
There hasn’t been a lot of changes.
Among the things that did include hand holding under the table whenever they’re in the study hall of Seokjin’s dorm and finally saving Jungkook’s number on his phone. The last one was something he always had but never bothered adding to his contacts. It’s also something Jimin scolded him about.
(“You don’t have Jungkook’s number saved when he changed his wallpaper from that gaudy Jordan quote to you?!”
“It freaks me out how you know that when I don’t.”
“At least add a photo of him in your contacts. Maybe a heart emoji?”
“That is so weird. No. Also, which photo of me is he using?”
“The one he took on the beach during your field trip! I feel so sad for him. His boyfriend’s phone wallpaper is a dog!”
“Shut up, Jimin. This is called manifesting. If I stare at a corgi every time I open my phone, it will manifest Cashmoney Chubbers in my life.”
“You don’t believe in manifestations. Just admit you have zero photos of him.”
“Stop micromanaging me. We’re not going to break up over photos. And if we do, then is that not for the best?”
“Sure, Kim Seokjin, but when you do break up with him, do it at a time when I can be the one who wins the pot!”
“We will have the conversation about betting on my personal life another time, but when we do, it will be on my terms!”)
Their little argument ended up with the two of them embracing each other in the middle of the room while whispering apologies to each other. Jimin buys the Milkis, Seokjin orders the pizza and potato wedges, and they end up on Jimin’s bed watching Hairspray, the 2007 version.
From where Seokjin is standing contemplating the mediocrity of the days following up from his and Jungkook’s moment on the beach, he hears a “Hey!” and feet thumping against the polished basketball court making its way toward him. Looking up, Seokjin sees Jungkook doing a little jog and his hair that has now grown long compared to when the semester first began pushed back with a purple headband. There’s an army tag necklace hanging around his neck, the inscription unknown to Seokjin.
It fills him with curiosity.
There is a lot to learn about Jungkook and vice-versa. It’s such a simple thing, yet it’s good enough for Seokjin to tell himself he is willing to make this work.
Jungkook stops in front of Seokjin and grabs his black gym bag. “Is it okay if I shower first? I’ll be quick.”
“Sure. I’ll wait for you.”
Another smile accompanied by eyelashes batting prettily. Jungkook turns around and fans himself with his shirt, pulling on it repeatedly.
Seokjin will definitely make this work.
Jungkook buys him food, has unexpected talents, and also likes dogs. Jungkook is also hot, the basketball team’s vice-captain, popular, and hot. Did Seokjin mention he’s hot? Because he is. Seokjin always wanted to live out a Netflix original romcom, so what is he supposed to do? Screw this up because he’s too shy to physically express emotions? No way. One day, when he becomes a lawyer and is drinking in a snooty private club with his colleagues, not only will he be known as the successful attorney with a beautiful dog and apartment, he also gets to talk about how his man is as perfect as him.
Seokjin shakes the thoughts away. This is why he rarely eats caloric and oily food paired with soda while watching musicals with Jimin. The delusions become way out of control thanks to the triglycerides flooding his bloodstream, or whatever it is Jimin said about the human body.
Really, Kim Seokjin is good with emotions, he thinks to himself sulkily while sitting at the bottom of the bleachers in the gymnasium. The only problem is the expressing part of it.
Seokjin gets lost in a sequence of thoughts that went like this: trying to figure out how to become more intimate with Jungkook, how to show his feelings better, and then ending up on daydreams about them skipping the communication problems and nitty-gritty parts almost every new couple goes through.
“Kim.” Jungkook’s voice has Seokjin looking up with his lips parted in surprise. There’s a hand on his shoulder that was probably shaking him out of his reverie. “Are you alright? I called out your name four times.”
A metaphorical lightbulb turns on atop Seokjin’s head. The first step to intimacy is to say the other’s name. Not Jeon, nor Jeon Jungkook, or insults.
The proper noun, Jungkook’s name, refuses to roll off Seokjin’s tongue.
The two of them stare at each other silently for a while until Jungkook sighs and sits next to him. He drops his gym bag on the floor, carefully because his insulated tumbler would cause such a disturbing noise. He tucks his feet under his thighs and moves backward until his elbows are resting on the edge of the bleachers a row above where they are seated.
“Are we not leaving yet?” Seokjin asks, tone surprised and with a tinge of annoyance. He swears he doesn't mean it.
Jungkook shrugs. He ruffles his wet hair with one hand. “You’re the one who wouldn't move or respond to me.”
“Yes, well, I was thinking about something.” Seokjin huffs and crosses his arms.
Jungkook raises a brow in question. Seokjin feels attacked and cornered by it.
“Keep thinking then. I made you wait so we can stay here until you figure it out.”
Seokjin wants to hug him. He wants to jump his boyfriend and wrap his arms around Jungkook’s waist, then bury his face on his chest.
There shouldn't be a significant or dramatic pause between them to do things they want with each other.
And yet there is.
Jungkook looks so inviting. His arms are literally resting away from his body, torso free for the taking.
The gym is almost empty. Only a couple of student athletes are milling around practicing their three pointers or hanging on the bleachers.
Seokjin’s eyes narrowed into slits, gaze directed on Jungkook. He chews his bottom lip, a habit formed from frustration.
Jungkook, the understanding, kind, and naïve idiot, only smiles in wait.
Seokjin has never felt this pathetic in his life.
Seokjin mentally kicks himself in the back to get the words out. “Can I hug you?”
Jungkook blinks rapidly, smile faltering. It returns just as quickly, except this time it threatens to beat the brightness of the sun.
This was the response Seokjin least expected. He was even bracing himself on getting tackled into the ground. He feels blood rushing to his cheeks, his ears, and down his neck. He voices out his stupefied state with, “Huh?!”
In a flurry of movements, Jungkook picked up his bag, stood up, grabbed Seokjin’s hand, and ran towards the exit while dragging Seokjin behind him.
Seokjin shouts his protests into the darkness lit by the street lamps lining the campus.
A particularly strong breeze has him screaming, “I’m only wearing a cheap silk shirt!”
Jungkook ignores the complaints and laughs at Seokjin’s demise.
Seokjin can only run behind Jungkook who refuses to let his hand go, his view being Jungkook’s back and the black sweater he’s wearing that says Basketball Sports Club on the front and Vice Captain on the back. It is strangely attractive for Seokjin, and he reasons out that it’s why he doesn't scream bloody murder when Jungkook leads them at the back of the university’s outdoor swimming pool changing room where no one is around except for them, the night sky, rusty pipes, and the smell of chlorine.
They stand facing each other, Seokjin panting a bit from the sudden sprint. Jungkook, the menace that he is, as if Seokjin didn't embarrass himself enough by asking, holds his arms out in wait.
Seokjin tells himself he falls into Jungkook’s arms quickly because of how tired he is, mentally and physically. His pride and shyness dissolve the moment he hears Jungkook giggling right next to his ear and the feel of the thick sweater and arms wrapping around him. He hugs Jungkook around the waist, chin resting on Jungkook’s shoulder, and a pout on his lips that he allows since Jungkook can’t see it anyway. He knows all about Jungkook’s obsession with his lips, and Seokjin may have extended the olive branch tonight, but he’s not surrendering all the tricks he has up his sleeve.
“Why do we have to go all the way here?” Seokjin grumbles, hitting Jungkook’s shoulder with his palm. Jungkook’s grip on him tightened, causing Seokjin to almost choke. He hits Jungkook again, this time repeatedly, while telling him to ease off.
“Are you embarrassed of me?” Seokjin hisses, resorting to pinching Jungkook this time.
If anyone’s watching them or is within hearing range, they must be putting on quite a comedic show.
Seokjin can imagine Jimin saying something along the lines of:
Two-young-adults-fighting-behind-the-changing-rooms-while-hugging-each-other TITLE OF YOUR SEX TAPE!!!
“It’s not that I’m embarrassed.” Jungkook answers, his hand resting on the back of Seokjin’s neck, deft fingers massaging the tension away. “What’s mine is mine, that’s all.”
Seokjin pinches him again, a prominent blush spreading across his cheeks. Jungkook only laughs.
“You are weird.”
“Kim, everytime you say that, I imagine you add a heart at the end of the sentence.”
The sky isn’t as bright or filled with stars compared to the beach. The smell permeating the air is chlorine and not salt. Seokjin is pretty sure the rustling he hears aren’t small crabs burrowing in the sand but squirrels scampering in bushes.
“Can we leave now? I don’t want to get caught by security.” Seokjin immediately moves back and Jungkook lets him without complaints.
Jungkook smirks at the insinuation, earning him an eye-roll.
Once again the two of them are back walking along the pathway of the campus. They stick to the sidelines where the street lamps cast their lights the brightest. No hands are being held, but they are walking close enough that every step ends with them brushing shoulders.
“What’s happening in collegiate sports this time around?” Seokjin asks. He grins to himself when he’s able to push Jungkook to the side harder.
Jungkook doesn’t surrender. He hits back with his shoulder just as hard. Seokjin yelps and almost stumbles. Jungkook catches him before he falls, arm wrapping around Seokjin’s shoulder.
“I almost fell!” Seokjin elbows him at the side in retaliation.
“You started it!” Jungkook ends up hanging his arm around Seokjin’s neck. Their paces slow down, and attempts on pushing the other down solid ground halted. “How do you know there’s an upcoming event though?”
“The coach calls you aside for either two things: when there’s a big game or when he scolds you and Kim Taehyung for playing around too much.”
“Yeah, okay, there is a game. It’s going to be held here at school so don’t worry you won’t miss me too much—”
“But Coach really wants us to win to secure a bigger cut of the funding. The baseball and taekwondo team are both having a stellar season, and we don’t want to give up our five star accommodations just so they can have more money set aside for health insurance.”
Seokjin stops in his tracks and gapes at Jungkook. “What? Oh my god. This is freshman year again, when you and the other athletes had unfair privileges.”
Jungkook removes his arm around Seokjin and places both his hands on his waist. “This is a completely different thing! We are getting fancy hotels and candy bars under our pillows based on merit!”
“Are you hearing yourself? Did you already forget about how Hyun spent our field trip in crutches? If they are having a great season, then they deserve that priority funding. Plus, shouldn’t your team also care about that over your fancy hotels?”
Jungkook rolls his eyes and scoffs. “Nike sponsors us. In fact, my wisdom tooth removal was paid for by them.”
Seokjin throws his hands up in the air in disbelief. “Wow! You only care about yourself!”
“Is it bad that I like having a privileged life?!”
“No! What’s bad is when you don’t contribute to helping other people experience that privilege too!”
“Is this another economic ideology I need to learn? Because I would need at least three business days to familiarize myself.”
They glare at each other, waiting for the other to give up. A familiar building greets Seokjin through his periphery, and with one last narrowing of his eye, resumes walking.
Jungkook catches up to him, though in Seokjin’s defense he is setting a normal pace. “Are you really doing this? Walking away from a fight?!”
Seokjin’s annoyance turns into confusion. “No, Jeon. Our dormitories are right there. I don’t want to argue all night outside.”
Looking straight ahead, Jungkook realizes that Seokjin is right. Their dorms are a few steps away from them. He can make out the sight of the volleyball players all decked out in their Mizuno gear entering the athletes’ dorm.
“Where are we arguing then?”
“No, I don’t want to keep arguing with you!” Seokjin unconsciously points at Jungkook who raises a brow at it. “We’ll continue this tomorrow.”
“You’re hot when you’re trying to prove me wrong.” Jungkook admits, casually wrapping his hand around Seokjin’s finger.
“I’m not trying to prove you wrong. You are wrong.” Seokjin snatches his finger back and continues walking back to the dormitory with Jungkook beside him.
The intersection where they part ways forces them into another stop. Seokjin still has a look of judgment on his face, and Jungkook has his jaw and shoulders set in a way that screams everything he hears is passing from one ear to the next.
Jungkook sighs and scratches the side of his forehead. “Are we still meeting for breakfast?”
Seokjin doesn’t look him in the eye but does end up nodding. “Yes.”
“Are we still fighting?”
Jungkook shrugs. He reaches his arm out and pats Seokjin on the cheek. “Okay. Goodnight, babe.” Jungkook turns around. Seokjin gapes at his boyfriend who has the gall to whistle while he walks away.
“What happened to not going to sleep mad at your significant other, Jeon?!” Seokjin’s loudness catches the attention of other students. They scamper away with a simple glance.
Jungkook stops and turns back to Seokjin. They remain standing a few feet away from the other. “But I’m not mad at you.”
“How is that possible? We were shouting at each other!”
“Just because we’re bickering doesn’t mean we hate each other. You also said to continue this tomorrow. I’m beat, so I’m going to sleep.”
“Fine, I’m going too.” Seokjin concedes. Jungkook waves at him, and with a sigh, he adds, “Goodnight! Prepare your arguments well or I’ll make you cry when we resume this debate!”
Jimin watches Seokjin enter their room with a big smile on his face. He’s practically glowing. Before he even gets to ask what happened, Seokjin drops his bag on his bed and says, “You know, I really like hanging out with Jeon.”
Eyebrows furrowing, Jimin turns off his phone and focuses on Seokjin. “Uh… are you not supposed to like hanging out with your boyfriend? Also, was that you guys causing all the ruckus? I heard shouting from outside.”
“We were debating about something.”
Jimin guffaws. “And you didn’t win? You, the actual captain of the debate team?”
Seokjin removes his shoes and sits down on his own bed. “He called me babe and said I’m hot so I decided to go easier on him.”
“You’re becoming weak. That’s so cute.” Jimin giggles at the disgusted expression on Seokjin’s face. “What were you fighting about anyway?”
“Oh, of course.”
“Something about how he has an upcoming game and that they—”
Jimin dramatically gasps, hands covering his mouth. He jumps out of bed and joins Seokjin on his own, invading his space and staring up at Seokjin in excitement. “Game? What game?”
Seokjin’s eyes narrow at the suspicious excitement. “The game is not the point, it’s that if they win they get more chocolate under their pillows. I’m not exactly sure what Jeon means.”
“Fuck them chocolates. Your boyfriend has an upcoming game and you’re not excited?”
It elicits a bit of laughter from Seokjin. “You’re specifically focusing on a tidbit I said in passing and it doesn’t have any real correlation to what I was talking about in the first place.”
“Kim Seokjin, please let us be excited about things popular people in YA novels get excited about. You can giggle over color-coded spreadsheets some other time, but it’s a game! A basketball game! Where your boyfriend will be playing!”
“I truly have no idea what I’m supposed to be excited about.”
Jimin shakes his head and sighs. “Jungkook must really like you. Besides your pretty face and big brain, you have no other redeeming qualities.”
“Stop with the insults and get to the point.”
“Tell Jungkook you’re going to watch his game and you’ll cheer for him. Make a sign and all that. He’ll love it!”
“I’ll have to check my schedule.”
Jimin links their arms together, pouting at his best friend. “You’re awful.”
Seokjin rolls his eyes and tries pulling his arm back to no avail. He sighs in defeat. “While I do admit watching Jeon do his little basketball tricks is appealing to the eyes—”
“You find him hot when he’s playing and get all sweaty, yes, we get it. I’ll take a note out of your book to get through you. Picture the exhilaration of watching your pretty boyfie win his game while the rest of the school cheers too.”
Seokjin purses his lips together. He locks eyes with Jimin who fearlessly looks back, eyebrows wiggling and challenging Seokjin to say something about that imaginary proposition.
“You’re appealing to my ego.”
“I hate your vocabulary. How hard is it to say, that’s a fabulous idea, Jimin. Let’s go cheer for Jungkook, Jimin. This time around you won’t get kicked out when you start booing the opponents unlike when you attend my debates, Jimin! ”
Jimin squeals and tackles Seokjin in a hug. “I’m going to be the best man in the wedding!”
“How did we go from basketball games to marriage?!”
Yoongi rubs the toner on his skin, a fluffy white towel hanging over his wet blonde hair. His mind goes to the upcoming home game and how he has to drag the team again for their pre-game rituals. He glances down at the person laying down on their bed beside him, busily scrolling through their phone.
The screen shows a webpage Yoongi never thought of as something Jungkook would visit during his free time.
“The Economist?” Yoongi asks, prompting Jungkook to look up, then back on his phone.
“Yeah. It’s interesting.”
Yoongi stares at the top of Jungkook’s head for a while. He thinks again of the basketball team’s pre-game rituals: dye it in the name of the Power Rangers. Yoongi recalls Jungkook getting assigned as the Blue Ranger this time around since Taehyung called dibs on the red one.
He arrives on his second thought: Jungkook is in love and he should be the Green Ranger. For reasons.
“Class prez got you bad, huh?”
“I’ve always been interested in the world.” Jungkook easily retorts, ignoring Yoongi’s smirk and continually scrolling on his phone.
“Is he gonna attend the game?”
“I’m not counting on it.”
“Aww. The baby’s upset his baby isn’t coming to support him.”
“Fuck off, Yoongi.”
“What did you say?”
“Fuck off, Yoongi-hyung.”
“Better. Also, just ask him.”
“It’s not that easy. His mind works differently.”
“And you like him.” Yoongi raises a brow at that. “You, a self-proclaimed simpleton.”
Jungkook ignores the insult and sighs. “Yeah. He’s weird…”
Yoongi purses his lips. He resumes rubbing the towel against his hair. “Right. Anyway. Don’t forget about tomorrow. Taehyung’s already bought the temporary dye.”
“Am I the Red Ranger again?”
“No, you’re Blue.”
Jungkook is running on a deadline.
This time around, it’s not a project. He’s actually watching Seokjin work on it. It has to do more with the balance of team rituals and… boyfriend things. He needs to be back in the athletes’ dorm in two hours to get his hair dyed blue, a tradition done by his team for every first home game, practiced since the beginning of time, the foundation of the team itself.
He’s in a café with Seokin, the same one they went to during the beginnings of their project. Seokjin is quietly editing their vlog for the week even though it’s only a Wedneday. Jungkook is watching him, head leaning on Seokjin’s left arm and sipping his iced drink. He adjusts his jacket, and cozies up closer to his boyfriend.
Jungkook dressed nicely today. Taehyung said he looks like his everyday self, an all-black ensemble at that, but Jungkook will insist that he did.
“My game is tomorrow.” Jungkook blurts out. He pats himself on the back at the steadiness of his voice.
“Yes, about that, I need you to send me a list of all the starting player’s favorite colors immediately. Preferably before seven tonight.”
Jungkook’s eyes narrow in suspicion. “Why would you need that?” At Seokjin’s silence, his continuous tapping on the keyboard sounded louder. “Mine’s black.”
“That’s one down, the rest to go.”
“I don’t know about theirs.”
“Just ask them.” Seokjin boredly says, eyes remaining on the computer screen.
“We’re dyeing our hair later. Or using hair spray paint? I’m not sure. It’s tradition to color our hairs after the Power Rangers in every first home game. I know who will be who. Is that good enough?”
Seokjin finally looks at him. His hazel eyes are gleaming and he’s smiling widely. “Yes, thank you, Jeon.”
Seokjin’s eyebrows narrow. “What?”
“Well, can’t you be a bit sweeter?” Jungkook grumbles out, knowing full-well he is being childish.
“Thank… you?” Seokjin smiles again, this time showing his teeth.
The confusion on his face has Jungkook laughing. He takes Seokjin’s face in his hand, fingers digging on Seokjin’s cheeks and making his naturally pouty lips puff out more.
Seokjin glares at him. He crosses his arms and doesn’t try opening his mouth.
Jungkook on the other hand is having the time of his life. He would dive right in and steal a quick peck but he knows Seokjin would straight up beat his ass if he even dares try. Seokjin is the poster child of type A personalities but Jungkook can tell he’d be upset if their first kiss happens in the middle of a café. And speaking of kisses, the idea of kissing Seokjin has been floating in his mind. In the meantime, it’s not really a top priority; he’s sure they’ll get there soon. Right now, what Jungkook wants is for Seokjin to treat him like his boyfriend. Oh, and to get him to attend the basketball game. That one too.
“Thank. You. Jeon.” Seokjin grits out.
“Is this your version of sweeter?”
“What the hell do you want to hear?” Seokjin’s garbled voice is endearing.
Jungkook sighs, feeling his eyes soften and grip on Seokjin loosen. Maybe Yoongi is right. Maybe he is whipped.
“You’re smart. You can figure it out.”
In all honesty, he has no idea what he wants Seokjin to say. He just wants to bicker with him. Jungkook kicks himself inwardly. He should have realized that way back.
Of course, Seokjin exceeds expectations. His eyes light up, coming to an understanding, one that is not Jungkook’s intention in the first place.
“Thank you for telling me which varsity player is which Power Ranger, Jungkook. You’re the best.”
“Jungkook…?” Jungkook chokes out.
Seokjin wraps his hand around Jungkook’s wrist and pulls his limping hand away from his face. “You’re my boyfriend but you need to stop touching my face without permission. The next time you do it, I’ll make sure there won’t be a third.” Seokjin stops mid-rant, noticing the dazed look on the other’s face. “...are you alright?”
“Did you just say Jungkook?”
“Why, do you have other names?”
Jungkook covers his face with his hands and screams into them. He doesn’t bother lowering the volume of his voice. Seokjin apologizes at the stares sent their way. He pries Jungkook’s fingers away, laughing at the baffling situation.
“You can’t just say my name like that!” Jungkook wails. “Years of being called Jeon in that disgusted tone of yours like I’m only a unicellular organism and suddenly, it’s Jungkook?! Unfair. This is unfair. You are so weird. I like you very much.”
"That... is a great insult. Where did you learn that?”
Jungkook’s hands drop to his lap and he shrugs, eyes glassy. “Taehyung. He calls Yoongi-hyung a parameter whenever they fight.”
“A para— you mean a paramecium?”
“Maybe. I don’t know. Can we go back to you calling me by my name again?”
Truthfully speaking, Seokjin said it out of the blue. Jungkook making a big deal out of it is making him panic too.
“No. I don’t want to.”
“You already did it!”
“Well, I don’t want to!”
“I’m your boyfriend, you said so.”
“Only a boyfriend.”
Jungkook gasps. Seokjin raises a brow in challenge.
“Does my grocery store proposal mean nothing to you?” Jungkook exaggeratedly clutches his chest, feigning hurt.
“Why in the world do we keep jumping to marriage? Please, stick to one thing at a time.” Seokjin presses his third and fourth fingers to his temples, massaging them. “If this was the regency era we would’ve been scorned by high society already.”
Jungkook decides this is a particular reason why he likes Seokjin. He doesn't have to try, and Seokjin doesn’t as well, and yet everything feels special. They’re playing around, jumping from topic to topic, and somehow it feels… special.
“You know what would have regency era high society shaking?”
It piques Seokjin’s interest. His eyes are wide, waiting for Jungkook to drop the bomb. Jungkook’s grin is toothy, his nose scrunched. He gently grabs Seokjin’s hand, their fingers slotting together in place.
“A baby. Do you want to have a baby with me?”
“...what in the fuck?” Seokjin croaks out.
The emotions playing on his face are free for everyone to see. Jungkook contains his laughter and tries to not break character while Seokjin’s sanity crumbles. Jungkook can imagine the little Spongebobs in Seokjin’s head, personally he believes they would be Squidwards instead but semantics aside, Seokjin looks like he is close to shutting down.
“Aren’t corgis expensive? Let’s start saving up for one. Chubbers isn’t going to take himself home.” Jungkook rubs circles on Seokjin’s skin with his thumb.
This is the part where Seokjin realizes he’s with the right person. The forealsies kind.
Seokjin sighs, muttering, “How many times do I have to tell you it’s Cashmoney Chubbers. You’re going to make an awful dad.”
Jungkook visibly groans. “Don’t say that! You’re making me want to spend my entire allowance and get Chubbers already!”
Seokjin eyes the crowded gymnasium in surprise. Beside him, Jimin is bouncing on his feet in excitement. They’re both carrying posters of varying colors in their arms, all neatly rolled.
“I know collegiate sports is exciting but I wasn’t aware it’s a big deal.”
Jimin purses his lips together, his eyes sparkling. He clears his throat when Seokjin catches him sneaking a peek on Seokjin’s cheek then back up. “It is exciting. Joon and I watch the home games all the time.”
Seokjin snorts and rolls his eyes. “Oh? Is that how you became friends with Min Yoongi and Kim Taehyung? In good enough terms that you all bet on me and Jeon?”
“It’s Hoseok who introduced us all! And never mind that…” Jimin giggles and raises a brow. “I want to take a picture of you so bad right now. If you let me, it’s going to be my wallpaper.”
“Stop talking or else I’m leaving and hiding in our room.” Seokjin threatens.
It’s ineffective because one, Seokjin is truthfully embarrassed and deflecting; two, Jimin is aware of this.
“You’re going to make Jungkook really happy.”
“I’m literally begging you. Stop talking.”
Jimin peers behind Seokjin at the approaching figure. “Joon-ah!” He waves the other over through a series of body movements, his arms still full of posters.
Namjoon hurriedly takes some of them, allowing Jimin the freedom to link their arms together.
“Hi, Jimin. Hi, Seokjin.”
Namjoon pauses at the latter. He smiles, seemingly proud. “Wow. You’re going to make Jungkook really happy.”
A tight smile appears on Seokjin’s face. If anyone glances over their direction, they would think he’s in pain.
“You two deserve each other.”
Namjoon turns to Jimin questioningly who waves it off. Namjoon leads them towards the bleachers, he and Jimin expertly maneuvering around the crowded bottom of the steps. Walking behind them, Seokjin goes from emitting waves of embarrassment at the drawn number seven on his cheek in blue eyeshadow with orange accents, done courtesy of Jimin, to outright appallment at the number of students who seem to have had the same idea as him. They don’t even spare him a glance, all busy talking among each other while holding the humongous cameras hanging off their necks.
While walking and waiting for people to let him through, Seokjin hands a rolled poster to someone. “Here, it’s for moral support.” He expected them to look at him weirdly, not accept it blindly.
Seokjin watches them roll the poster out and give him a pout.
“Do you have Jungkook-sunbae’s poster? I mean, I love Taehyung-sunbae but Jungkook’s my favorite!”
Seokjin blinks at them in surprise, then glares at them. “No, Jungkook’s poster is mine.”
They grumble and mumble, “Fine.”
Since giving that person one, everyone clamors over Seokjin asking for a poster as well. He thinks the posters aren’t anything special. He had a bunch of extra colorful pasteboards stuffed in the student council room, all matching the basketball players’ designated Power Ranger, and he simply wrote their names, jersey number, and some encouraging words like Fighting!
Seokjin believes that this would be good for their school. In fact, he thinks he should’ve gotten involved with this ages ago since he’s planning to run for a bigger position in the student body government. Sweet victory can overall increase productivity and morale, so with that line of thinking, he decided to go ahead and make posters for all the players.
He hands a mint green poster to someone and when they unfurl it, he hears screams and the sound of people fighting as he walks away hurriedly, the blue poster the only thing left.
“Give me Yoongi-sunbae’s!”
“No, Yoongi-sunbae is mine!”
“That’s a piece of paper not him! Give it to me!”
Spotting Jimin and Namjoon, Seokjin power walks toward them and drops down between the two.
“Why are people acting insane?” Seokjin asks, only now realizing he’s panting for breath.
Jimin turns to him and holds three fingers up. With his other hand, he uses his pointer finger and touches each tip of the raised ones. “The popularity rankings go like this: Captain Min Yoongi, number 8, vice-captain Jeon Jungkook, number 7, and Kim Taehyung, number 5. The rest are extras.”
“You are strangely knowledgeable about this scene.”
Jimin scoffs at him, giving Seokjin a pointed look of judgment. “Joon and I like attending the games like every other basic college boy. The only reason you’re unaware is because you act like you’re possessed by an evil spirit whenever you hear Jungkook’s name.”
“And now they’re dating!” Namjoon beams, patting Seokjin on the back a little bit too strongly.
Scowling, Seokjin pouts in his seat. “Every single one of you is making it seem like I’m the evil character who stole the main lead.”
Jimin nods in agreement, causing Seokjin to look at him in betrayal. “Yeah, you’re like Sharpay and Jungkook is Troy. It shouldn’t have happened.”
“But we both like Sharpay?!”
The filled gymnasium only increases more in number as time goes. Soon enough, it’s the basketball team entering, and Seokjin is torn between breaking out in laughter at their colorful heads or continue staring in mesmerization. He’s quick to recognize Yoongi, his bleached blonde hair now an eye-catching mint green. He takes an extra few seconds to admire how good he looks. Then there’s Taehyung, the red of his hair fiery and metallic. He’s entertaining the people on the bleachers with waves and flying kisses.
The last person Seokjin spots is Jungkook, whose hair is blue. Blue, similar to the color on Seokjin’s cheek, the carefully lined number seven the same as the number written on the back of Jungkook's jersey, and shaded in the same hue. He suddenly feels embarrassed, and Jimin must have noticed how he stiffens in his seat and tries to make himself smaller, because the next thing Seokjin knows is Jimin loudly screaming over the rest of the noise.
Seokjin elbows Jimin’s side who expertly dodges it.
“Joon, don’t just sit there!” Jimin tells his boyfriend who looks between a murderous-looking Seokjin and an equally murderous Jimin.
“Oh! Jin! It’s my first time seeing you in the games!”
The loud voice has the three of them looking up, including a certain vice-captain loitering nearby who perks up at the nickname.
Hoseok sits down beside Namjoon, greeting them individually.
“Yes and I’m already regretting it.” Seokjin ignores the way Hoseok gestures at his cheek, eyebrows wiggling suggestively.
“Speaking of…” Hoseok trails off, allowing Seokjin to follow his line of sight.
Jungkook is running towards them, his blue hair bouncing with every step he takes. “Kim! You came!”
Seokjin wonders if it’s too late to run away.
Hoseok asks, “They still call each other by their last names?”
Namjoon peeks over their friend and shrugs. “It’s a slow burn.”
Seokjin awkwardly waves at Jungkook who comes nearer and nearer the bleachers. Since the four of them are seated in the third row, Jungkook easily finds them. Seokjin can see despite the distance how Jungkook’s eyes widen as he comes closer at the rolled blue poster on his hand and his jersey number written on Seokjin’s cheek.
“You’re— you—” Jungkook stammers, finger pointing at his own cheek. “Is that for me?”
“Do you see any other number seven here?”
Watching them from the sidelines, Hoseok comments, “Wow, you guys weren’t lying when you said bickering is their love language.”
Jimin and Namjoon nod in acknowledgement at the statement.
Ignoring the quips of his friends, Seokjin keeps his attention on Jungkook who is looking at him in a daze.
Seokjin says, “Well, good luck,” the same time Jungkook asks, “Do I get a prize if I win?”
“No.” An unfamiliar glint takes over Jungkook’s usually bright eyes. He presses his lips together, head tilting a bit to the side in contemplation. “I think you know what I want.”
Beside him, Jimin gasps, scandalous. Namjoon and Hoseok echo their oohs and aahs. Seokjin believes Jungkook should be put in jail for the implications he is airing out in public.
“Anyway.” Someone calls for Jungkook to get in the huddle formed by their team nearby the benches. He shouts back that he’ll join in a second. “I love the little seven. Thanks, Kim.”
Jungkook smiles, and Seokjin’s heart skips a beat.
Okay, maybe Seokjin got pretty lucky with Jungkook.
“I’m cheering for you.”
The statement surprisingly rolled off Seokjin’s tongue easily. It’s a new feeling blooming in his chest, this want of seeing this person succeed, a promise beginning to form that he will always cheer for him. Jungkook makes it easy and Seokjin isn’t interested with going through hoops and more mental gymnastics when it comes to relationships.
So they may seem too vanilla, big deal. There’s nothing fancy about them, no grand emotion hanging overhead or declarations of undying love.
The game begins and Seokjin discovers a couple of things: a.) Jungkook is really popular (second to Yoongi; his fans are intense), b.) Jungkook is really good at basketball (everyone is but Seokjin has the right to be biased), and c.) basketball brings out something ugly in him that is at the same time worrying and exhilarating.
Around the end of the second quarter, someone elbowed Jungkook in the face. Seokjin didn't even realize he was standing up from his seat and loudly voicing out their protest along with the angry audience until Namjoon’s booming laughter distracts him and tells him, “You’re just like Jimin. No wonder you guys are best friends.”
Beside him, Jimin is… instigating fights by hurling out comments to the opposition. No wonder Jimin likes watching the games, Seokjin thought. The number of times Jimin got kicked out and banned during his and Namjoon’s debate club events are uncountable.
“That’s a foul!” Jimin yells out.
Seokjin’s unsure if it is or if it’s not, he’s not yet familiar with the rules surrounding basketball. He makes a mental note to study up on it. In the meantime, he’ll agree with Jimin’s observations.
A quickly purpling bruise can be seen on the underside of Jungkook’s jawline. Seokjin turns away and closes his eyes.
“I actually don’t think I can do this. I can’t believe he’s hurt.” Seokjin mumbles.
Hoseok awws and pats him on the back. “He’ll be fine! Come on, Jungkook’s up for a couple of free throws! You wouldn't wanna miss it.”
Jungkook gets both of his free throws in. He makes it seem easy. The smile that showcases his teeth, the kind that scrunches his nose and eyes, gives off a feeling that it’s the easiest thing in the world. Somehow, all of a sudden, he catches Seokjin’s eye. It’s a quick flick to the side, a pause, and then he’s smiling wider and he raises his eyebrows in acknowledgement. Seokjin hears people from the audience scream that it was for them.
“He’s very attractive like this.” Seokjin tells Jimin off-handedly.
“Is he not regularly attractive to you?”
“He is but I’m only starting to internalize it.”
Yoongi and Taehyung are just as impressive.
There’s a certain uniqueness with how each of them move on the court.
Taehyung is very much a team player. He only makes safe plays and always passes to someone nearer instead of being flashy. His height allows him to steal the ball even when the odds are not in his favor.
Yoongi is infinitely attractive while playing. Seokjin keeps getting distracted by him if he is being honest. He knows how indifferent and quiet Yoongi is based on what little interaction they’ve had in the past. He keeps his head down and only opens his mouth whenever he wants to. The way Yoongi plays is reminiscent of street basketball. He’s not afraid to be up in people’s faces, shoot barely out of bounds, and steal the ball whenever possible. He has this arrogant smirk on his lips while playing, and when he makes that scorecard move, he immediately seizes the audience’s hearts by looking at them and waving.
It’s no wonder why Yoongi is the most popular member.
Jungkook is the one that surprises Seokjin the most. His loudness and easygoing persona in real life does not translate into who he is when he’s holding the ball between his fingertips. He’s shockingly fast, and though Yoongi may be the playmaker who pulls something out of nothing, all the fancy shots such as three-pointers and dunks fall under Jungkook’s jurisdiction. His face is uncharacteristically blank, like his body is here and his mind is somewhere else. Unlike Yoongi who takes all his shots despite there being a greater possibility it wouldn’t go in, Jungkook seems to only go for a score when he’s a hundred percent sure it’ll bring in more points.
But then, whenever Jungkook glances towards the right side of the court, eyes quickly finding hazel ones, his seriousness breaks for the fraction of a second. He shakes his head, probably to bring back his concentration.
Seokjin sighs. A strange emotion creeps up in him. For now, he’ll call it… fondness.
Unsurprisingly, their university team wins.
Everyone is happy, including Seokjin. The appeal of these games suddenly makes sense.
He also realizes he owes Jungkook an apology.
This is as important as what Seokjin does around the school. He feels bad about all the times he made Jungkook feel inferior these past years, whether it was intentional or not.
Seokjin patiently waits for the crowd to disperse. Taehyung and Yoongi are doing a good job being their superstar selves, groups of people surrounding them and hanging off their every word. Hoseok, Jimin, and Namjoon on the other hand give him knowing grins and barely hidden giggles after he tells them he’s going to look for Jungkook.
The gymnasium is thankfully closer to the swimming pool. This time around, instead of slinking at the back of the shower rooms, Seokjin sits on a bench by the side facing the pool. He feels a bit silly sitting here after sending a text to Jungkook that they should meet. He makes sure to emphasize that Jungkook showing up isn’t mandatory in case he has something to do with the rest of the team. The seven remaining on his cheek and a bit of the adrenaline still in his bloodstreams has him jittery.
To calm his nerves down, Seokjin opts to take a video of the pool. He took videos of the game earlier under the guise of shooting for their project. The knowing looks his friends give him that they think he cannot see did not faze him.
Right now though it is a bit different. It’ll only be the two of them, and the main focus of this task at hand is Seokjin giving Jungkook his reward.
The sound of footsteps has Seokjin looking up. It’s Jungkook, and his hair is… not blue. It’s back to black and wet, curling and clinging to his temples. He’s in flip flops and black shorts, a fresh white shirt, and the strap of his black gym bag hanging across his chest and settled on his side.
Seokjin’s phone that he was holding to take videos focuses on Jungkook who stops walking and stares at him wide-eyed.
“What are you doing?”
“Recording for our vlog this week.”
“Did you call me here to do our project?”
Jungkook doesn’t look annoyed. In fact, he looks very amused.
Seokjin shakes his head no. “Actually, it’s for your reward.”
“What a way to make it exciting, Kim.”
“It’s worrisome. Wait, that’s the wrong word. It’s just… giving me a bunch of nerves.”
Jungkook sits beside him, his hands resting between his legs. He’s looking at Seokjin in wait. “Don’t worry, it won’t change a lot of things between us, Kim.”
It’s Seokjin’s turn to look at him in surprise. “What? Is that really how you think?”
“Yeah? I mean, I do it with everyone except with you. I don’t even know why we haven’t done it yet. Kim.”
Seokjin’s entire face burns. If it was possible, steam would be escaping his ears because of Jungkook’s audacity right now. “Stop saying my name! And everyone? You do it with everyone? Wow. Just… wow. I truly have no words right now.”
“Oh, so now you don’t even want me to say your surname? Why are we here then?”
Seokjin holds his finger up and takes a deep breath.
Jungkook immediately wraps his palm around it and joints their hand together. Seokjin glares at him and Jungkook does the same.
“Be quiet for a second.” Seokjin grumbles at him. “I… don’t think we’re on the same page.”
“I’m asking for the simplest thing.”
“I'm not sure what it is you actually want. Can you use your words and tell me what it is you’re expecting from me?”
Jungkook’s thumb drawing circles on his skin changes the mood. His cheeks heat up, all of a sudden shy, but keeps his gaze on Seokjin.
“I just want us to start calling each other by our names.”
For the lack of a better word, Seokjin is stunned. This is the last thing he was expecting Jungkook to say. It’s way off what he thought Jungkook wanted.
“Is… that it?”
“What do you mean that’s it? The only time you say my name is when you’re teasing me.”
“You do!” Jungkook rolls his eyes and tugs on Seokjin’s hand. “What did you think I wanted?”
Seokjin attributes his lack of pause and shyness to how he is as a person. His response is instant; no beating around the bush.
“I thought you wanted a kiss.”
Blunt and sharp as Seokjin may be, it doesn’t stop the embarrassment to creep in after saying it out loud.
It’s Jungkook’s turn to sputter and flail.
“Why would I ask that?!”
“Maybe because we are together?!”
“Yeah, but I won’t ask that as a reward! That’s weird! It should only happen if we’re both game for it!”
Seokjin finds it extremely endearing that Jungkook thinks so. He covers his mouth with his free hand to control the instinctive laughter he would’ve let out over their embarrassing realizations.
Jungkook notices and huffs, his face getting redder by the second. “Well? Are you?”
“Am I what, Jeon?”
“Game for it.”
Seokjin lets out the laugh he was holding back. “Which one? Calling you by your name or the other thing?”
“I’m… fine with either.”
“No, you need to choose. Stop being indecisive.”
“Are you going to judge me for my choices?”
“I won’t. You said it yourself. I’m fine with either as well. I’m sure we’ll both get into it in no time.”
“Okay.” Jungkook nods. Seokjin is reminded of a freshly-bathed puppy at his eagerness and how he tries to act like he isn’t. “I want the kiss.”
Seokjin allows Jungkook to savor the moment. He blinks slowly, and the nerves disappear. He leans in, Jungkook’s wet hair tickling him. Seokjin noses on the side of Jungkook’s head and presses his lips on Jungkook’s cheek.
Pulling back, Seokjin says, “Congratulations on winning today. You did a great job. You’re actually amazing, aren’t you, Jungkook?”
Seokjin thinks he might have started noticing Jungkook way earlier than he thought, back when Jungkook who only hurled insults his way admitted he finds Seokjin amazing too. It’s an acknowledgment he receives from a lot of people, but the words coming from Jungkook made it so much more sincere and real. He hopes he can extend that feeling today.
Jungkook grins at him, the curve of his lips and how his eyes shine a combination Seokjin is becoming familiar with.
“Thank you. You did a great job cheering me on too. I’m glad you were there.”
It’s easy for Jungkook to do the same. He leans in and kisses Seokjin’s cheek, the one free from makeup and the number seven. Jungkook lingers in his space, his head now resting on Seokjin’s shoulder and their still entwined hands steady on top of Jungkook’s thigh.
“You’re really talented. I was super impressed.” Seokjin tells him casually.
“Not as great as Yoongi-hyung, but I’ll take it.”
“Your playstyles are very different though. I may not know a thing about sports but I know enough to say that you’re really good, individually and in comparison with others.”
“Hm, I suppose. Still. Don’t think I didn’t notice you cheering loudly for him too.”
Seokjin stiffens up and chuckles nervously. “Well… he’s fun to watch.”
“I knew it. Everyone becomes attracted to him at one point. It’s okay, I forgive you.”
Seokjin nods and hums. He’s definitely never telling Jungkook about that one summer he was attracted to the captain of the basketball team. Taking it upon himself to change the topic, Seokjin pats the top of Jungkook’s hand with his own free one.
“Should we get going?”
“No, let’s stay here.” To emphasize his point, Jungkook clings more on Seokjin’s side, his cheek rubbing on Seokjin’s shoulder.
“We have to do our project, Jungkook.”
It’s apparently Jungkook’s weakness, being called his name like that while he’s near Seokjin and they are holding each other.
And okay, Seokjin mentally sighs in defeat, perhaps it's becoming his as well.
Seokjin wonders if he is living what he keeps seeing in the coming-of-age movies he and Jimin always watch; his very own springtime of youth. He wonders if one day he’ll look back and say, Yes. Yes it was.
Walking hand in hand with his boyfriend inside their university campus, their only worries being what to eat for dinner and how to reach the deadlines of their school requirements.
“Let’s go somewhere exciting next time.” Jungkook says.
Seokjin glances at him and his gaze stays there. It’s Jungkook recording him this time around, the back of his phone focused on Seokjin.
“A movie? Dog café? Something snobby like wine tasting?”
Seokjin perks up and recalls memories of attending trivia nights in the dive bars around the university with Jimin and Namjoon.
“Or trivia night. I’m always third-wheeling with Jimin and Joon.”
“Not your thing?”
“No. But okay.”
“You don’t have to if you don’t want to.”
“I know that.” Jungkook huffs at him. “But you’re my person and I want to be there with you.”
Seokjin contemplates tackling Jungkook to the ground or throwing his phone in the closest body of water. His reaction must’ve been priceless, caught on Jungkook’s phone camera in 4k, because his boyfriend starts laughing loudly enough to have other people walking turn towards their direction in curiosity.
“You’re sickening. You need to be put behind bars.” Seokjin’s words hold no malice. It’s obvious with the way he doesn’t actually let Jungkook’s hand go.
“Says the person who likes pop songs and rom-coms.”
Seokjin doesn’t necessarily admit defeat. He’s aware of what he told Jungkook before, of how he does like romance and everything that goes with it, so he keeps his mouth shut and swallows down his complaints.
“So. Trivia night? Think you can keep up?”
Jungkook pretends to think about it. “Do you actually need me for my brain or just to show off your hot boyfriend?”
“Are you gonna get hurt if I answer truthfully?”
“Nope. I already know the answer.” Jungkook smirks and pauses for dramatic effect. “You need me for both.”
Seokjin’s inner voice, who again strangely sounds like Jimin, laughs and taunts him.
Kim Seokjin likes himbos!
“Yeah. I do. The way you think is very… interesting.”
“You’re holding my hand while we walk. Your thinly-veiled insults don’t hurt me.” Jungkook sing-songs, swaying their arms in exaggeration.
The weather is getting better lately. Seokjin has been shedding his sweaters in favor of cotton shirts and button-ups. The air isn’t bitingly cold and slowly turning gentle. Soon enough, the university walkways will be lined with cherry blossoms and he’d be finding pink petals in his hair every time he passes by a shiny surface and gets a glimpse of his reflection.
Springtime of youth.
It’s strangely fitting.
Jungkook’s hand is warm, and so is his smile.
Seokjin isn’t the kind of person who voices out statements without experience or experimentation, but he’s pretty sure Jungkook would be tolerable in the summer, during fall, and even in winter.
this was supposed to showcase both jk's basketball game and sj's school presidency campaign but it got too long so we'll visit the latter some other time
Jungkook is running late.
Actually, he isn’t. It’s just that to Seokjin, being on time means lateness and actually being late means death.
He’s sprinting through the campus, decked out in a white shirt, grey jacket, and grey joggers, his new black and white sneakers more for fashion than running making him wince at every step on the pavement. It’s not hurting his foot, it has to do more with the shoes being expensive and he’s ruining them for his boyfriend who will glare and grumble at him anyway.
The little Spongebobs in Jungkook’s head whose voice sometimes resemble Yoongi’s don’t chide him anymore for being whipped.
Jungkook arrives outside the door of the student council room. He takes a quick second to catch his breath before pushing the door open.
“You’re late!” Seokjin hisses.
The bags under his eyes are getting darker and more prominent as the days go. His hair is sticking up in different directions, a feature that says a lot about the mental state of Seokjin and the people around him.
Jimin usually doesn’t let Seokjin come out of their room looking this disheveled, especially with the current situation at hand.
The situation being: it’s their last year in university and, according to Seokjin, his last chance of being elected as the university council’s president.
After Seokjin’s loss last year, which isn’t really one seeing as he was eliminated for being a junior and not a senior, the one thing that has been on Seokjin’s mind is claiming the title this year.
Almost everyone agrees that Seokjin will win anyway, especially considering who his opposition is. Despite all that assurance, Seokjin refuses to roll over and wait for the results. He wants to make sure that almost everyone flips to a resounding everyone.
It’s why despite the glare and harsh tone, Jungkook only grins at him with pride. He places down the plastic bags filled with varying snacks and another with five bottles of Milkis. One for Jungkook who has become their little team’s errand boy, one for Jimin who raises his head in acknowledgement at Jungkook’s presence while he works on his homework, one for Namjoon hunched over his laptop and working on posters and flyers, and two for Seokjin who makes grabby hands at the plastic bag.
Seokjin is sitting on one end of the table from where Jungkook is standing. The glare of Seokjin’s laptop casts a shadow on his form. He’s been straining himself so much that lately he doesn't bother changing from his glasses to his contact lenses.
“He’s being insufferable again,” Jimin says, eyes still on his worksheets. “Can you do your thing where he calms down and stops spiraling every ten minutes?”
“We promise to not look,” Namjoon pipes in.
Jungkook doesn't need to be told twice.
“I’m not spiraling! I’m only laying down the numerous ways everything can be ruined—”
Seokjin’s tirade is cut off when Jungkook rounds the table and easily swoops down to wrap his arms around Seokjin’s waist, effortlessly pulling the other up the chair.
“What are you doing, Jeon?!”
Despite his verbal protests, Seokjin remains unmoving, his arms hanging off Jungkook’s forearms, his body slouched and feet dragging across the floor.
“Take your time with him!” Jimin shouts at them.
Jungkook voices his agreement and exits the student council office with Seokjin still refusing to cooperate with him. Before the door closes, he hears Namjoon saying, “They’ve been together for almost a year and they still call each other with their surnames.”
At the back of their department’s council office, essentially the back of the liberal arts building, is a brick-red plant box where Jungkook settles his boyfriend on. Seokjin glares at him but doesn’t move. Instead, he crosses his arms over his chest. He’s unconsciously pouting too, and Jungkook couldn’t help swiping his thumb under the jut of Seokjin’s plump bottom lip.
Seokjin quickly slaps Jungkook’s wrist away. Stubbornly, he reiterates, “I am not spiraling.”
Jungkook sits beside him, his arm going around Seokjin’s waist again. He squeezes Seokjin’s side. The elbow he receives as response is expected. Jungkook easily evades the sharp hit.
“We just want you to calm down,” Jungkook explains. “It’ll all work out.”
Seokjin allows himself to be brought closer to his boyfriend, his head now against Jungkook’s chest.
From above Seokjin, Jungkook is pressing kisses to his head, the smacking sounds loud and obnoxious that he couldn't help but laugh.
“What is this supposed to accomplish, Jungkook?”
Hearing his name fall from Seokjin’s lips when they are alone still has butterflies fluttering in Jungkook’s stomach.
“To help you relax.”
Seokjin rolls his eyes yet lets Jungkook press on. The kisses are dangerously going down every time Jungkook’s lips land on his face. The closest he gets is at the corner of Seokjin’s mouth.
“We know you’ll ace this,” Jungkook assures the other.
“Your opinion is invalid because you have bias.”
“It’s not about me having bias for you. You’re overqualified and there isn’t anyone more fitting to be president than you are.”
The smile making its way on Seokjin’s face is soft. His cheeks and sparkling eyes have Jungkook wondering why he ever thought the other menacing.
Seokjin elbows him again, this time lightly, while letting out a sound that is between a snort and a giggle. “Stop gassing me up.”
Jungkook rolls his eyes. They both know Seokjin likes it. They also know it’s true.
“I’m not. I simply believe in you.”
“I believe in you too. Thanks to you, the people who don’t care about school politics are voting because the pretty and popular basketball varsity captain told them so.”
The sentence is said without malice. Seokjin is now smiling brightly, the gleam in his eyes shifting from pretty boy second male lead to outright villainous.
“You’re a supervillain,” Jungkook tells him. He sounds too enamored for it to be considered insulting.
Seokjin’s nose scrunches. “Does that mean you’re my sidekick?”
“Depends. Would you go crazy if the heroes take me?”
“No? Minions come in dozens.”
Almost a year of being together and they still don’t miss out on the opportunity to rile each other up.
“Keep talking back and I won’t be your obedient little minion during the rally.”
“Nonsense. You like it when I talk back, Jeon.”
Silence passes. There’s a beat and a rest, eyes gazing into each other, palms sweating, and an intensity that seems to only get stronger as the days go by sizzling in the atmosphere. After all, it’s hard being alone together like this when they both live with roommates. Between stolen kisses and not-so-innocent touches in the library or in the less crowded areas of study cáfes, the tension is frankly reaching it’s breaking point.
“Nobody better start taking their clothes off.”
The deep voice is unmistakable and a sound they both haven’t heard in a while.
Yoongi is walking towards them from the end of the hall. He has a deep blue tie hanging off the collar of his crisp white work shirt tucked into straight black slacks. The heels of shiny, black, leather shoes against the pavement is a satisfying click. Formal getup aside, Yoongi’s head of hair remains the same bleached blonde.
Jungkook is quick to shout, “Why are you here?!” He’s immediately scooting closer to Seokjin, arm instinctively circling around Seokjin’s waist.
Yoongi sits next to Jungkook, nonchalant and lazily blinking at him.
“To support my baby for the election.” Yoongi peeks over Jungkook’s shoulder and smiles. “I meant Tae, of course. Not Seokjin-ah.”
“Seokjin-ah?!” Jungkook repeats, the gasp of disbelief and loudness of voice prompting Yoongi to laugh.
“I see you still don’t call him by his first name.”
Jungkook opens his mouth to retort back but is elbowed by Seokjin, forcing him to clutch his side in pain.
Seokjin takes this chance to wave at Yoongi with a pleasant smile. “Hello, Yoongi. How is work treating you?”
Yoongi shrugs, arms crossing over his chest. “It’s alright. Besides having to wear these kinds of outfits, the production company is pretty lenient.”
“The last time we saw each other you were still applying at several studios. It’s amazing that you were hired right after graduation.”
Jungkook recovers from the blow to his stomach and raises his head to glare at Yoongi. “Taehyung’s at the dorm. Please. Leave us alone.”
“Seems to me like you two should be the ones at the dorm. You know. Alone. ”
After a couple more jibes from Yoongi, he finally leaves. He lays his hand on top of Seokjin’s head affectionately and bids him goodbye. Jungkook shouts at him again to leave, pulls Seokjin closer to him until the both of them almost fall to the ground, resulting in Seokjin also shouting at Jungkook.
Walking back inside to the student council room, one can hear Jungkook proclaiming, “I see the way you look at Yoongi-hyung!” to which Seokjin argues back, “I was staring at your back the entire time!”
They come back into the council room shouting about how perhaps Seokjn wants Jungkook to go blonde like Yoongi, to which Seokjin bites back that he doesn’t think it’ll suit Jungkook anyway. Jungkook pouts and pushes Seokjin away, grumbling about his boyfriend’s half-assed apologies.
Jimin and Namjoon exchange looks of understanding because whatever it is Jungkook does, whether it be arguing with Seokjin or the things he does in private, it always seems to work on calming down Seokjin’s nerves.
Soon enough, they’re piling out of the room carrying laptops and heavy stacks of paper. Walking in the campus, Namjoon plants himself beside Seokjin, the both of them talking fast and in terms Jungkook cannot grasp. Jimin forces papers into the hands of unsuspecting students, blinding them with a charming smile and reminding them to, “Vote for Kim Seokjin! The right Kim!”
The election rally is being held in the gym. There are surprisingly a lot of people. Seokjin guesses it’s because of his opposition and the mascot of his own campaign (Jungkook).
Taehyung waves them over. He’s already standing behind the wooden lectern and fiddling with the microphone. Yoongi is found sitting at the very front talking with some students who are all huddled around him with stars in their eyes. Even though he already graduated, Yoongi’s charm bounces off the room in waves.
Seokjin greets Taehyung with a nod. “Good luck with your platform presentation. May the best man win.”
“Thank you, Seokjin-sshi, but I know you will win anyway,” Taehyung admits sheepishly without malice.
“You don’t know that. Popularity often beats out level-headedness.” Seokjin side eyes Jungkook who rolls his eyes at him. Jungkook wishes them both luck and goes into the crowd with Namjoon and Jimin, the latter busy elbowing people out of the way so he can set the video camera and tripod on the aisle.
The student council adviser arrives and settles down the crowd. They shoot Taehyung a look of worry while smiling brightly toward Seokjin.
“May I present your university council presidential candidates: Kim Taehyung and Kim Seokjin! Without further ado, we will begin the presentation of our candidates’ platforms. Kim Taehyung-sshi, please take the stage.”
The audience hears Taehyung mumble, “How can I carry the stage by myself?” before he stumbles toward the podium.
The lights of the gymnasium are turned off, the overhead lights centering on Taehyung. His boxy smile and protruding cheeks all-too innocent and screaming naivety.
“I would like to take this opportunity to invite everyone to join the basketball club.”
Seokjin, who is sitting behind the podium, stops recalling all his talking points and pauses, focusing on Taehyung and listening intently like everyone else in the room.
“I decided to run as president for fun, and apparently it is not. Please sign up for tryouts. Thank you!” Taehyung blows a kiss to the crowd and they clap and cheer as if he didn’t just declare he isn't part of the election anymore.
The icing on the cake is when he rushes back to the podium and hurriedly says, “Also please vote for Kim Seokjin-sshi!”
Seokjin easily finds Jungkook clapping and grinning. His boyfriend gives him two thumbs up after meeting his eye, and Seokjin’s instinctual response is to glare because Jungkook obviously knew Taehyung was going to concede his candidacy. He’s half-glad and half-annoyed that Jungkook kept that piece of information to himself. He would have spared Seokjin a couple of headaches if he did but thinking that he had competition pushed him to do better.
Nerves don’t get to Seokjin. He takes them by their necks and turns them into pretty little bows. Suffice to say, his own speech is a breeze. The claps resound in their gym, along with Jimin and Jungkook’s loud cheering. Namjoon, his appointed handler of the powerpoint playing behind Seokjin, gives him a thumbs up. Seokjin remains standing knowing he has this in the bag, and that he couldn’t have done it without the people surrounding him.
The next part of the rally deals with the question and answer portion. The questions thrown toward Seokjin are easy. The rest of it passes by in a blur, and Seokjin himself is already preparing to leave the stage, when a familiar face jogs up toward the microphone standing in the middle of the aisle, and taps it with his finger.
Seokjin is torn between smiling at the sight of Jungkook or panicking because what is Jungkook even going to ask him? His mind goes toward the worst scenarios but are quickly shaken away. He trusts Jungkook; the other won’t mess this up for him.
“Hi, I’m Jeon Jungkook. I’m from the liberal arts department. You might know me better as a part of the basketball team.”
The audience either giggle or say hello back.
“Well, specifically, I’m the captain of the basketball team.”
Among the cheering and laughing crowd, Yoongi who is sitting next to Taehyung, outright rolls his eyes.
“I actually don’t have a question for Kim Seokjin-sshi.” Jungkook rubs the back of his head sheepishly. Despite it, his palm wraps around the mic and he continues. “But I do have something to say.”
Seokjin can only watch Jungkook continue talking, curious with what it is he will say.
“I first met Kim Seokjin during first year. He didn’t know who I was, and it probably took months before he remembered my name, but the day before the first day of classes, I saw him. Everyone was anxious or nervous about the new environment except for him. I liked him… until he infiltrated the athletes’ dorm because apparently our committee rep was wasting the budget on stuff like playstations and massage chairs.”
The latter part is a familiar story to Seokjin. He was there after all. Jungkook makes it sound so dramatic when all he did was find discrepancies on the budget while he was in the committee room and reported it to the school administration. In a technical sense, he didn’t really enter the athletes’ dorm and took everything by force.
It’s the beginning that surprised him. He didn’t know Jungkook knew him before then.
“Not gonna lie I still think my anger towards him was valid,” Jungkook quips. “Plus, he would glare at me all the time in class.”
Seokjin suppresses his laughter regarding that one. All the times Jungkook didn’t attend class or was in the cusp of failure but still passed simply because of his athletic prowess really irritated him.
“And then last year, during our third year, we ended up being partners for a project. We had to shoot a weekly vlog and it basically forced us to spend every waking moment together. Even when we’re apart, we had to talk. But I’m not here to tell you how I realized I kinda, maybe, still found him hot through the years; I’m here to tell you why Kim Seokjin is obviously the best choice for the university council presidency.”
Jungkook used to tell Seokjin about when he experiences a certain strong emotion, there are little Spongebobs running inside his head in panic. He didn’t really understand what Jungkook meant by that until now. Except for Seokjin, instead of Spongebob, it’s Squidward with his eye twitching.
Standing a couple of feet away from him, Jungkook meets his eye and has the audacity to wink. The immediate scoff from Seokjin is again another instinctive response. It warms him though. There’s something blooming right in the middle of his chest climbing up to his face and ears, and Seokjin is sure that if Jungkook was standing a bit more closer, he would be teasing him for it.
“There was a rat in the dorm. Not just the athletes’ dorm in general, but inside our room. Me, Tae, and Yoongi-hyung.”
The twitching of Seokjin’s eye intensifies. The twinkling in Jungkook's own becomes brighter. He clears his throat and continues on.
“I texted him, our precious candidate Kim Seokjin, if I could sleep over at his because…rodents obviously. He said no which is completely understandable. I couldn’t sleep the entire night, and we were supposed to meet the next day for our project. We went to our department’s council room and I ended up falling asleep on the couch. When I woke up…Kim Seokjin wasn’t there, but he bought me food.”
Seokjin remembers that day. He can recall the dark undereyes, defeated tone, and Jungkook’s usual energetic self and form deflated. Buying Jungkook food is not a shining example of his merits as a leader, Seokjin thinks, and he really hopes Jungkook did not lead the entire room on only to end his little monologue about how Seokjin bought him ice cream.
“It should have sinked in to me by then that Kim…he cares. He cares in his own cold, clinical, rational way. I was grateful for it, of course. I can remember how my chest warmed and everything feels light; just like how I feel right now because, spoiler alert, we ended up dating.”
The crowd laughs, hooting and clapping, while Jungkook bows and thanks them. Clearing his throat, Jungkook hushes them and moves onto the next sequence of his recollection.
“I honestly forgot about the rat in my room on the way back. It’s how Kim Seokjin is. He’s dependable and he makes you feel like there is no way you will fail or fall. He’s someone you can count on. Arriving back at the dorm, I was surprised to find the exterminators. Apparently, even though Kim refused to let me sleep over, he called them up to take care of the problem once and for all. He said… I could have gotten some sleep if he allowed me in his room, but at the end of the day, the rat would still be there. He phrased it as a short-term solution to a long-term problem. ”
Technically speaking, Seokjin is already the USC president since Taehyung already dropped out of the race. It only sinks in that this is a well-deserved victory when Jungkook shoots him a smile conveying everything Seokjin never knew he needed or could get from Jungkook; confidence, pride, and most importantly, trust.
If Jungkook thinks that being with Seokjin feels like nothing will go wrong, then on Seokjin’s end, being with Jungkook is a never-ending victory.
The rest of the last semester of Seokjin’s last year in college passes through marked by several speeches and a cramp on his right arm that won’t go away with the number of papers he had to sign. The graduation ceremony is a couple of hours away, Seokjin’s last day in university, yet duties still plague him.
He’ll be delivering the graduation speech, bag a couple (ton) of leadership and academic awards, and then…
A prominent oof comes out of Seokjin after a hard chest basically crashes on his back, arms draping around his front covered in the same silk black robes he is wearing. The person’s chin rests on top of his head. Seokjin falls a bit, his front hitting the table.
“You’re still busy over that?”
“Stop bothering me. I came here to finish it. And to answer your question, yes.”
The dorm’s study hall is the first place that came to Seokjin’s mind after reading his speech over and deciding that it still needs a little something.
“Maybe it’s you who just want the peace and quiet.”
“Then what are you doing here?”
Jungkook stands up and settles on the seat opposite Seokjin. He leans forward on his elbows and tries to make out the words written down on Seokjin’s notebook.
“I’m the moral support,” Jungkook proudly announces this. After several more tries of reading the words backwards, he gives up and instead stares at Seokjin. “I came here for something else actually.”
“Of course you did. Spit it out.”
Jungkook only smiles, all teeth and eyes crinkled. “Curious?”
The Seokjin from freshman year would think the Seokjin of this present is possessed if he knew Seokjin is smiling and endeared with Jungkook’s antics.
Jungkook waves his hand off in the air. “Later. You’ll see it later. Come find me after the ceremony.”
There’s a couple seconds of silence that passes before Seokjin spoke again. “Did you get me a dog as a graduation present?”
“Are you disappointed I didn’t?”
“Good. Because I didn’t.”
Seokjin tries to contain his laughter. He can tell Jungkook really didn’t. Jungkook is the kind of person who cannot keep surprises. He would’ve spilled about it weeks ago if he really did. The sulking expression on Jungkook’s face is telling of what he’s thinking to Seokjin: he thinks he didn’t reach Seokjin’s expectations.
“I think my parents are getting me a dog.” Seokjin closes his notebook and puts his pen down. He smooths his palm on the front, feeling the leather underneath. “Or something more practical.”
“I love your parents.”
Seokjin snorts. “They like you more than they do their own son.”
It’s a story for another day. It brings too much warmth and joy to Seokjin when he remembers bringing Jungkook home and vice versa. It’s a memory he likes to keep close.
“My parents definitely like you more; they told me themselves. I bet my mom will cry along with me when we break up.”
"So are you saying we’ll be together for a long time?”
Seokjin realizes he’s been distracted. The burning nerves and anxiety-inducing churning his stomach has been doing since he woke up today? Gone. Jungkook’s knowing grin after it sinks in tells Seokjin it was his plan all along.
Sighing, Seokjin takes his notebook and pen with one hand and stands up.
“You win. Let’s go and graduate?”
Jungkook stands up too but doesn't move from his spot.
“If you’re about to say something sickening…”
Seokjin is promptly cut-off by what is a saccharinely sweet mumbled, “We’ll still be together, right?”
“I mean, this isn’t our ending right?” Jungkook scratches on his cheek, nervous and blinking rapidly up at Seokjin. “We won’t be those people who break up after college… right?”
Seokjin makes a note of asking Jungkook’s mom if she dropped him numerous times as a child.
“We’re moving into our own apartment in a week and you’re asking me that?”
The reminder makes Jungkook grin. “Oh, right.” He bounds up to Seokjin and has the gall to tell Seokjin to hurry up, his arm around Seokjin’s neck and an unknown tune being happily hummed under his breath.
“What if this was my plan all along? Tie you down with the house, then a dog, then a—”
“Jeon, if that is your plan, then you’re not doing a very good job.”
“Just say you’re disappointed I didn’t get you a dog.”
“I’m disappointed you didn’t get me Cashmoney Chubbers.”
Jungkook pouts. “...are you really?”
“No. It’ll be harder to leave you if you did.” Seokjin’s loud laughter echoed in the dormitory hallway alongside Jungkook’s gasp.
They exit the dormitory pointing fingers and hitting each other. Jimin is the first one to find them. He scolds them for playing around and drags Jungkook away after Namjoon appears and does the same with Seokjin.
The first half of the graduation ceremony is a bore for the students. Seokjin tries to not show that he is trying his best to not fidget.
Diplomas are given. Round plaques of gold hanging arounds necks extend the ceremony a bit. Seokjin himself had to stand on stage for a good three minutes because the entire half of the paper had his name. Jungkook wins an award too, Athlete of the Year, and everyone cheers a bit more louder for the beloved star of the basketball team.
Finally, it’s time for the big speech. Seokjin walks toward the podium, an object he has been familiar with before he even knew the English word for it, and allows his clammy hands to rest on the polished wood.
He sees his parents in the crowd sitting beside Jungkook’s family. Meeting them is a story for another day. The story we are telling right now is this, and so Seokjin shifts his gaze, and finds Taehyung who is beside Jimin. Namjoon is somewhere with their classmates. Standing at the sidelines is Yoongi, still blonde and perfect with Hoseok whose proud smile is directed at him. There are so many stories that could’ve been told through these people alone.
The last person Seokjin finds in the audience before he opens his mouth is Jungkook. It’s a bit unfair to say that their eyes met in this crowded room since almost everyone is looking at him.
“My fellow graduates.” Seokjin inhales and exhales dramatically. “It’s amazing that we can say that now, right? We have gone from telling relatives or other people that we’re in college majoring on this and that, to now being able to say that we are done with it. We all started out as freshmen who couldn’t differentiate classmates, professors, and college buildings. We kept our heads down on our freshmen booklets trying to find where our classrooms were. Now, we will leave this place with so many memories embedded in each corner of this university. It is sad to go but it is also an assurance that no matter where we may end up after this, new beginnings will always get happy endings, even if it was not the one we were hoping for.”
The general and forthcoming greeting is over. Seokjin did not earn the right to stand here and address his graduating batch to not use it as an opportunity to uplift specific people in his lives.
“All the love to the people who supported me in my education; my family, but let me make it about the people present here right now. I’ll begin with Park Jimin.”
Seokjin keeps his gaze on Jimin’s general direction.
“Jimin, you are my best friend. You always knew when to push and when to pull. You’ve been with me since the beginning, and we basically lived together. The pains of being in university weren't as heavy thanks to having someone like Park Jimin to share it with. Let’s continue sharing the same Netflix account, okay?”
The atmosphere turns light-hearted after that, cheers and laughter ringing around.
“This person is my reliable partner and designated seatmate plus roommate whenever we go on field trips. Joon, thank you for always letting me know it’s alright to share burdens.”
This graduation speech is something Seokjin always knew he would deliver. He knew he would always thank Jimin and Namjoon. Including this last person was something completely unexpected.
“And lastly… this person. A person who tells me all the time that I’m his person. When I want to ask him, did you eat today? what comes out of my mouth is, get up I’m hungry. There is this certain awareness, an enlightenment, that I have been experiencing every day when it comes to this person. He has taught me several things, and if he was able to share it with everyone, then maybe the world would be a happier place. Personal things are best kept between us, but he likes these big and extravagant gestures, so Jungkook, thank you for being my partner, in more ways than one. Frankly, you weren’t the best, but you were the one I needed.”
Seokjin waits for the audience to settle down. He tries to not roll his eyes at how the people clap Jungkook on the back or his boyfriend’s response to all the cajoling and cheers.
“We all have special memories here. If I had to choose one…it would be the study hall. I'll keep to myself why. We will one day look back at this moment and all the other moments we’ve had in college. We will always have bits and pieces of regrets or this itching feeling of wanting to come back and redo it again. Everyone will move on and perhaps when tomorrow comes the us of today will not be the same as the next day. All those times we were queueing up in a long line or rushing to our classes…we will miss those times and wish we slowed down and had a closer look of everything surrounding us; the trees, the air, the buildings, and most especially, the people who made those days that we will long for bearable.”
There are students who are getting teary-eyed. Some are seeking out their friends and lacing their hands together.
“Once again, congratulations to all of us. May we look back with nostalgia and happiness, and move forward in peace. And to my friends, you did really well. Mission courtside tango really is a success!”
After the ceremony, while Seokjin is holding a bouquet of flowers given to him by his parents, a familiar hand drags him away. He shouts in surprise but his parents only wave goodbye to him. They must be aware of this, Seokjin thought.
It’s Jungkook, because of course it’s him, and the giggles Jungkook’s letting out are so infectious Seokjin couldn’t find it in him to complain about something.
“Where are we going?!” Seokjin shouts.
“You said it in your speech. You have a special place here, right?” Jungkook looks back at him. He slows down a bit, finding time to link their hands together while running past other students.
It’s not surprising to find the study hall empty. The air conditioner inside is running and the lights are turned off. Entering, Jungkook tuts at Seokjin when he tries turning on the lights.
“Go sit down and don’t touch anything!” Jungkook instructs, forcing Seokjin down on a beanbag. Seokjin places the flowers beside him on the floor, curiosity taking over him. He watches Jungkook move around the room.
Soon enough, there’s a portable projector behind them while a blank white screen flashes on the wall opposite from where Seokjin is seated. Jungkook pulls another bean bag across the floor and plops down on it. He whips his head to the side where Seokjin is already looking at him with a raised brow.
The first thought that comes in Seokjin’s mind when Jungkook cups his face with his palms and pulls him closer to plant a kiss on his temples is that, He sure doesn’t waste time.
“I lied to you,” Jungkook mumbles, the words not matching his too-sweet tone.
Seokjin immediately pulls back in confusion. “...huh?”
“Not like that!” Jungkook assures, laughing at how the confusion morphs into a murderous glare. Seokjin pinches his side and Jungkook only laughs harder, body sinking into the bean bag. “I don’t mean it in a bad way!”
“Then what do you mean?” Seokjin hisses at him. “What kind of sick plot twist are you about to reveal?”
“Remember when you asked me about when I started liking you during our beach field trip? I told you it began in the grocery store.”
Seokjin nods, eyes narrowed at Jungkook.
“I lied. It didn’t start there.”
Seokjin’s expression goes back to confusion. His big brown eyes are blinking up at Jungkook, eyelashes fluttering against the skin of his cheek. Jungkook’s playful expression melts to make way for a soft and fond smile.
“I liked you way back in first year. I liked you the moment I saw you and… it really bruised my ego because you were so hostile and would glare at me all the time and be sarcastic 'cause I had such a big, head-over-heels, loser behavior, crush on you.”
It was the last thing Seokjin expected to hear. It takes a moment for the information to sink in. Jungkook doesn’t give him a break and continues.
“Funny.” Jungkook pokes the side of Seokjin’s cheek with the tip of his forefinger. “You’re in disbelief and confused right now when you’re always so confident and self-assured, just like the first time I saw you.”
Seokjin pulls back and covers his face with his hands, the back of his palm facing Jungkook.
“No... 'cause… what the heck is this?” Seokjin mumbles. “You’re being so nice. This is so weird.”
Jungkook rolls his eyes and wraps his hand around Seokjin’s wrist, prying them off his face. “You said you wanted someone romantic so stop deflecting!”
Miraculously, Seokjin doesn’t bite back and allows Jungkook to invade his space despite their separate bean bags. Jungkook rests his head on Seokjin’s shoulder, clicks something on his phone, and the display on the wall changes.
“What is this?” Seokjin asks in a whisper.
Jungkook only shushes him.
A song Seokjin is familiar with starts playing.
I tried your mouth and I can’t come back
“Namjoon told me about how your Spotify listening history is more honest than you. This is what you were listening to, weren’t you?” Jungkook looks up at Seokjin with a smirk.
“Listening to when what?”
“When you realized you like me.”
Jeon Jungkook and Kim Seokjin’s weekly vlog project, like every endeavour in their life, was a success. It’s one of the projects Seokjin truly exerted effort into, and so when the screen starts playing a clip of him and Jungkook back when they first started filming, he immediately recognizes it.
It’s a clip of something that wasn’t included in the final edit. They were doing their introductions and they both kept complaining about something that they ended up having to redo it over and over.
“Remember that day?” Jungkook asks. “You were so worked up because it rained and you didn’t have an umbrella.”
The rest of the video plays with Felt This Way as the background song. There’s a lot of unused clips that Seokjin didn’t even know existed. What had him glancing suspiciously at Jungkook, the other faux innocently looking away from Seokjin’s burning gaze, are the numerous close ups Jungkook apparently did on his lips.
“I can’t believe you kept all this.”
“I’m a hoarder.”
“...you shouldn’t be proud of that.”
The song is starting to lower in volume. It’s an indication that the video is over. Seokjin is admittedly impressed and touched. He’s getting ready to stand up and leave, maybe give Jungkook a kiss because this graduation gift is right up Seokjin’s alley, but then Jungkook straightens his posture and wraps an arm around Seokjin, a gesture saying that he should remain seated.
The music completely fades.
Seokjin jumps up in surprise and Jungkook laughs loudly.
“Someone’s proposing in Aisle 29!”
The clip keeps moving and is shot in an awkward direction, and yet Seokjin is quick to realize it’s the same supermarket he frequents.
Seokjin knows what is coming next. A part of him wants to cover his ears in embarrassment while the other, in all honesty, wants to relive it again.
“Will you please stop being stubborn and rely on me from time to time?”
The video continues playing but with the sound muted. It’s Jungkook, the one with Seokjin, who said it. He’s looking at Seokjin and waiting for a response.
“I already am, Jungkook.”
Jungkook grins at him. “Really?”
Seokjin shrugs. He’s too fond and charmed right now to find it in him to get mad. “Yeah. You know I am.”
“You’ll rely on me when we move in together?”
“You’ll rely on me and know that I can handle myself after graduation?”
“I know you can. You’re very capable.”
Seokjin earns a quick peck for being honest.
“Okay…” Jungkook trails off. He purses his bottom lips together and continues. “Will you rely on me to take care of our baby?”
Another world-turning moment. Seokjin blinks repeatedly and lays a hand on Jungkook’s chest.
“Are you saying what I think you’re saying?”
“I don’t know, Seokjin. Am I?”
“But you never said anything to me! Not a peep! And you can’t keep secrets!”
“That’s what the rest of the guys are for. I probably talked their ears off about it.”
“Hey, Jeon Jungkook.” Seokjin taps his chest for good measure. “I’ll actually be really angry if you’re lying.”
“Why would I lie about Cashmoney Chubbers?”
“Stop! Shut up. What the fuck? You’re lying. This cannot be real.”
Jungkook glares at him. “You better not be cursing like that around him.”
Seokjin still thinks that there is no way Jungkook is telling the truth, and yet he’s covering his mouth with his hand and nodding.
“Let’s say you’re telling the truth—”
“Where did you get the money? You’re always buying new shoes whenever you get your allowance.”
“I already told you! My parents like you more than me. They helped me get Chubbers.” Jungkook crosses his arms across his chest, staring at Seokjin, and daring him to call everything a bluff.
“You don’t understand, Kook. I’ll cry if you’re lying, and you know I don’t cry.”
The nickname flies past without notice from Seokjin.
“I’m not! You’ll start living with us next week after we move in anyway. Sorry about that by the way. He met me first so that means he loves me more.”
“You really were serious,” Seokjin says incredulously. “You’re really tying me down with the house and the kid.”
Jungkook bursts out in laughter at the look on Seokjin’s face. “Yes, I am.”
The video edit Jungkook made is apparently far from over. Another familiar tune starts playing: the stock song Simple from iMovie, the same song Seokjin uses repeatedly and the one Jungkook teased him about during their first sit-down meeting about their vlog project.
The video plays and it’s a slideshow of corgi stock photos taken from the Internet filled with exaggerated and funky MS Powerpoint transitions. Seokjin watches the slideshow, suddenly excited for the next week to come when he can finally meet the love of his life. He won’t tell that to Jungkook though. Okay, fine, they can be equals in Seokjin’s heart. Along with Jimin, of course.
“Are you excited?” Jungkook asks. The mask of coolness has evaporated, and he is once again asking a simple question loaded with so much more.
“Very. We’ll do great.”
“My future is uncertain compared to you,” Jungkook blurts out. “Are you sure you’re okay with that?”
Now that it’s laid down for Seokjin to pick apart and scrutinize, he throws away the tough love and this time, is the one who leans over to lay his head on Jungkook’s shoulder.
“You can be whoever you want to be. I like you for you, not for who you can be or could be.”
“I like you a lot too.”
“I sure hope you do,” Seokjin teases. “We wouldn’t want Cashmoney Chubbers to grow in a household devoid of love.”
The video ends. They place the bean bags back in place. Jungkook picks up the portable projector while Seokjin turns off the air conditioner. It’s routine for them to do this after every time they hang out in the study hall. It’s melancholic to think that this’ll be the last time they’ll do it.
“I guess it’s not that sad that we’re leaving this place.” Seokjin says outloud.
“Hm?” Jungkook hums in question, busy with folding the projector and stand.
“I think I mentioned the study hall in my speech because of you, and it’ll be fine because we’ll still be together after everything is over.”
Jungkook could’ve teased Seokjin about his sentimentality. There are a bunch of quips he could’ve said but this is the one he chooses.
“Have I told you that your lips are as big as my head?”
Seokjin raises a brow in challenge. He looks Jungkook up and down, smirking and crossing his arms over his chest. “Which head?”
Be it purposely annoying each other or one-upping the other in regards to the punchline, they always end up meeting halfway. It doesn’t matter who closed the distance or initiated it.
On a bigger scale of things, it didn’t even matter that it took years for Jungkook’s crush to take fruition, or that it was their common friends who helped orchestrate their relationship from the shadows.
Kim Seokjin, university student council president and all-around student leader, will always have a weakness for people like Jeon Jungkook, team captain and star athlete of the basketball team.
Apparently, something more did develop between these two opposites whose only similarity is their hatred towards each other. It wasn’t exactly filled with obstacles or life lessons that would stick with you, but it also wasn’t a walk in the park. It’s more of a tango.
“Let’s go meet Chubbers?” Jungkook asks, his excitement obvious.
“It’s Cashmoney Chubbers,” Seokjin grumbles back. “He’s here?”
They’re walking hand in hand, the flower bouquet in Seokjin’s free hand and the portable projector on Jungkook’s own.
Jungkook didn’t have to answer the question. Waiting outside the dormitory are their friends; Jimin is carrying a fluffy blob of brown and white that the rest are fussing over.
Seokjin stops walking and pulls Jungkook back.
“What? What is it?”
Jungkook sighs fondly. Seokjin knows if his hands weren’t occupied, Jungkook would wrap his palm on the back of his neck and give it an assuring squeeze.
“I lied again.”
Seokjin clicks his tongue. This time, he doesn’t let it fool him.
“My future isn’t uncertain.”
Taehyung spots them and waves his hands above his head in greeting. “Jungkookie! Seokjin-sshi!”
Jungkook leans over and continues the sentence right against Seokjin’s reddening ear. A different type of noise, the kind where there is no room for negativity, fills their space. Jimin passes off the blob to Seokjin, and finally, for the first time, he gets to hold Cashmoney Chubbers in his arms.
The corgi is still a puppy. Chubbers’ immediate instinct is to seek out Jungkook whose arm automatically stretches toward the dog to scratch behind the large ears.
“He’s the one I’ve been telling you about, baby,” Jungkook coos at the puppy. “He’s really loud but he’s also really pretty. Now that I’m thinking about it, he’s just like you.”
Their friends laugh at the statement while Seokjin himself rolls his eyes. Conversations here and there pop-up among them. Hoseok’s asking if he can visit them from time to time. Namjoon and Jimin are talking about how they are obviously the automatic uncles. Taehyung, Yoongi, and Jungkook are in a serious conversation about custom Jordans for dogs.
Jungkook and Seokjin meet each other’s eyes.
Seokjin looks away.
Jungkook does too.
No one mentions the reddening of their cheeks and the obvious emotion swimming in their irises.
My future isn’t uncertain. After all, I’m very sure about you.
The apartment Seokjin and Jungkook share has seen several changes.
It supposedly has two bedrooms but one was later transformed into Jungkook’s studio. It has gone from barely furnished to a set-up of colorful geometric interiors. There was once a time they slept in a bed that couldn't fit the both of them with Chubbers either at the foot of said bed or between them. Now, the corgi has his own spot in the living room that matches the rest of the furniture.
It’s a Monday morning.
The apartment is empty.
After a few more minutes, Jungkook pushes the main door open with Chubbers in tow, his pristine grey sweater from this morning now covered in sweat. He takes it off and leaves it on the wood paneled floor, reminding himself to put it in the wash before Seokjin gets home or else he wouldn’t hear the end of it.
Jungkook plops down on the centerpiece of their living room, a tufted aqua blue velvet sofa that would have Seokjin shouting if he catches Jungkook there without taking a shower first.
Chubbers stays on the floor, sitting on his hind legs. He’s staring at Jungkook who stares back and rolls his eyes.
“If you tell Kim, I won’t get you those gourmet cookies you like so much.” Jungkook threatens. “Come on, he won’t know, right buddy?” Chubbers takes one more moment of hesitancy before running up to Jungkook and jumping on the sofa. He lays down next to Jungkook, big head and bigger ears on Jungkook’s thigh.
Jungkook’s hand automatically goes to the corgi’s head, stroking behind the ears. He fishes his phone from the pocket of his gym shorts. His wallpaper, a photo of him and Seokjin with Chubbers during their college graduation, is barely seen due to the amount of notifications and reminders. His synced Google Calendar with Seokjin takes up more space compared to the work emails and reminders Jungkook has.
“Shit. We forgot to get milk.” Jungkook mutters, scrolling through the notifications without actually clicking on one. Chubbers stiffens and looks up at him, boba ball eyes wide. Jungkook’s hand goes to the corgi’s ears. “Oops. Sorry for cursing, baby.”
Rather than going to the nearest store or even getting groceries delivered, Jungkook Facetimes one of his top contacts. The line connects quickly, and the screen shows a deadpan Taehyung who greets him with, “I’m not your personal assistant.”
“Yes, but you’re Chubbers’ doctor.”
“It means if we have problems you must come to our rescue.”
Taehyung’s in the clinic, specifically the break room. Jungkook can see steam from Taehyung’s morning tea evaporating in the atmosphere.
“Did he forget the milk?”
Jimin’s face joins the screen, pushing Taehyung away who gives up and hands the other veterinarian the phone.
“How did you know?” Jungkook asks, squinting at the screen.
“Seokjin said you would. Now, where’s my favorite dog in the world?”
Jungkook grumbles but he does relent, angling the phone downwards so Jimin can see Chubbers.
“Are you going to help or not?” Jungkook lets Chubbers paw at the screen, uncaring that he might end up scratching it.
“Joon’s doing our groceries today. Seokjin already texted him. He’ll drop it off at your place.” Jimin pauses. “Are you sitting on the couch after your morning run?”
“No.” Jungkook says boredly, all while clearly sitting and leaning on the couch.
Jungkook let’s Jimin gush over Chubbers for a few more minutes before hanging up, nonchalantly replies with a, “Yeah, yeah,” when Jimin threatens him about telling on Jungkook to Seokjin about the couch.
Right after, he lays down completely with Chubbers on his chest, the corgi dozing off like Jungkook when the buzzer rings. Jungkook laughs at how Chubbers’ ears perk up at the noise.
“That never gets old, babe.” Jungkook snickers, brushing back the large ears. He gets up the couch, Chubbers jumping down on the floor and settling there while Jungkook goes to the hallway. He buzzes Namjoon up who arrives in exactly three minutes, carrying several canvas bags, no plastic in sight, and a baguette peeking out from the one on his shoulder.
Jungkook steps aside to let Namjoon in who says, “Jungkook if you say—,” the moment Jungkook exclaims, “You’re the best member of the wives club, Joon-hyung!”
“Don’t let Yoongi-hyung hear you say that.”
“So you agree that Yoongi-hyung is the house husband?”
“Didn’t you say the other day that you think it’s Taehyung?”
“I still think it’s Taehyung.”
Namjoon, who has laid down the bags on the dining table, pauses in the middle of looking for the milk. He stares at Jungkook, sighs, and resumes his search. “You’re a very good communicator.”
“Well, it would be embarrassing if I wasn’t seeing as I slaved over my degree for four years.”
Namjoon makes an Ah! sound and pulls out a carton with big blue letters written in front saying, Oat Milk.
“Do you drink this?” Namjoon asks, already doubting the answer to his own question.
“Kim said it’s good for me.”
“You and Jimin-sshi suit each other perfectly.”
Namjoon doesn’t hang around much longer. He lives down the block in another apartment complex that features a larger space but with smaller windows. Seokjin refuses to live in a place where the sun doesn’t burn Jungkook’s eyelids in the morning while he’s in deep sleep. Namjoon says hello to Chubbers, using the dog’s full name of course, and bids Jungkook goodbye, ignoring Jungkook’s quip of, “I’ll see you at the house husband meeting next weekend!”
House husband jokes aside, Jungkook does have work. As a tenured video editor who mostly works at home (or in cafés), work hours are non-existent, an arrangement that works perfectly for him.
Or, their life.
It has long been their life, and less of mine or yours.
Their daily schedule revolves around Seokjin waking up at the crack of dawn, going to work at the law firm where he has been at for almost two years, Jungkook getting roused by the sun spilling through floor to ceiling windows, and getting breakfast at the nearby bakery after walking Chubbers or playing basketball in the park. Jungkook would have his laptop out working on whatever it is the people in the production company sent him, then around 4:30 in the afternoon, he’d run down their apartment complex with Chubbers, start up the car, and pick Seokjin up from work. The last one doesn’t always happen since for some strange reason Jungkook doesn’t understand, Seokjin likes riding the train back home. Yoongi and Taehyung tease him that it’s to get time away from him, but Jungkook let’s it pass from one ear to the next.
This isn’t to say their relationship is without flaws.
Seokjin is a perfectionist but he’s also realistic, and Jungkook is a couch daydreamer but even his head isn’t that far up the clouds.
There are times when stubbornness or pride wins. Sometimes days can go and the brightly lit apartment feels dark, and yet they are still here.
Still the same person they come home to at the end of the day. Perhaps it’s because of stubbornness and pride too that they’re still together despite their differences; an unending drive to make it work, to prove that they are right for choosing each other.
Thinking deeply isn’t exactly something Jungkook can boast as his best trait. Jungkook can boil the years down to a very simple and surface-level statement: if he could go back in time and do it all over again, there is no one in the world he’d propose to in a grocery aisle with a bottle of ketchup except Seokjin.
Jungkook gets wrapped up editing a promotional video for a popular artist’s music comeback and doing chores or laying down on the floor after a shower playing fetch with Chubbers. At 4:30 in the afternoon, the alarms Jungkook set on his phone rang.
Chubbers walks ahead towards the door, sitting down and waiting on Jungkook who grabs the car keys and a windbreaker. He attaches the retractable leash on Chubbers’ collar, slips on his running shoes, and exits the apartment. Jungkook’s phone rings again, and instead of it being one of his alarms, it’s a text from Seokjin saying, No need to pick me up today.
Jungkook pouts at the screen.
“Chubbers-ah, do you think he’s cheating on us? Got another family or something? Blink twice if you think so.”
The corgi, who is really an unreliable source of predictions and judgment, blinks up twice at Jungkook who gasps.
“Come on, let’s wait for Kim downstairs.”
The two end up sitting outside the front steps of their apartment building, the other people who live in the complex saying hi to them, mostly Chubbers, and giving the dog many pets.
Seokjin appears as soon as the sun begins to set, bathing the street in an orange light. He’s cool and casual in a light brown leather coat, his blue tie peeking at the collar. He’s nonchalantly walking, sipping on a drink that Jungkook knows is iced chamomile with honey syrup. He stops walking, and he stifles a laugh at the sight of Jungkook and Chubbers on the steps waiting for him.
“Why are you both here?”
Jungkook lets Chubbers go, and the dog immediately runs up to Seokjin who easily swoops the dog up with one arm and to his chest. He joins Jungkook on the steps and lets Chubbers down, holding onto his leash and letting the corgi run around in circles, disturbing walkers who coo at him.
The cup of iced chamomile is offered to Jungkook before he could even ask. He leans down, sipping the liquid through the green straw, eyes still on Chubbers who is now fascinated over a blue butterfly flying overhead.
“How was your day?” Seokjin asks.
The simple question reminds Jungkook of how domestic they are.
“Went to the park. Did work. You?”
Seokjin shrugs. “Work.” He whistles and Chubbers comes running, sitting obediently in front of the two. Seokjin’s hand goes up the corgi’s head, scratching the back of his ears.
“Did you embarrass Daddy at the park today?” Seokjin snickers at the immediate groan it gets out of Jungkook.
“I told him to sit and he wouldn’t. The neighborhood kids I play ball with laughed at my face.”
"That's because you need to say his full name."
Jungkook wraps his arm around Seokjin, his hand dangling over the other’s shoulder. They continue watching Chubbers play around, entertaining himself with the world, big brown eyes fascinated over every little thing.
“You’re heavy,” Seokjin grumbles. He heaves his shoulders up, making Jungkook’s arm move with it.
Jungkook pinches him lightly. “I’m your boyfriend.”
Seokjin snorts. He removes Jungkook’s arm, earning him loud complaints. He links their arms together, the side of his head resting on Jungkook’s shoulder, his hair tickling Jungkook’s neck.
“I’m your boyfriend, not your maid.”
“You forgot to cook dinner, didn’t you?”
Seokjin sighs and angles his head up to look at Jungkook who is already looking back at him. “And you also forgot the milk.”
The sheepish tone makes Seokjin laugh. He checks his watch, a plain one with a black leather strap. “Food delivery is coming in fifteen minutes.”
“You already ordered?”
“I knew you would forget. That new project you’re working on must be taxing.”
The smile on Jungkook’s face comes up instantly.
Intensity is overrated anyway.
Domesticity is better.
“How long do you think I would survive without you?” Jungkook wonders.
“You think so little of me!”
“A week and three days.”
“That’s exactly what I think.”
Seokjin laughs loudly, hitting Jungkook’s arm. “You’ll do fine without me.”
“Fine is lame.”
“It’s better with you around.”
“You’re not too bad yourself, Jeon.”
They wait for takeout to arrive: sushi, sake, and three slices of blueberry cheesecake. They go back up to their apartment; Chubbers in Seokjin’s arms while Jungkook’s own hands carry the plastic bags of food.
Another person joins them in the elevator ride, a woman dressed in office attire who stands at the side and presses the button to the floor above theirs. Seokjin silently stands still while Jungkook is bent down to be eye level with Chubbers, talking nonsense to the dog, grinning and his nose scrunching, giggles coming out of him at their dog’s reaction to his actions.
Seokjin catches the woman smiling at the sight. They meet eyes, and she nods smally at him. He smiles back. He wonders what she’s thinking about.
Do they look as happy as he feels to other people?
He hopes so.
They eat the sushi in the living room while a cheesy chick flick movie from Netflix (he’s still sharing an account with Jimin) plays in the background. Jungkook asks Seokjin if Chubbers can eat sushi, in which he gets slapped over the head for.
Jungkook searches it on Google and excitedly exclaims, “Dogs can eat sushi!”
“Just because they can doesn’t mean they should.”
Seokjin sits on the couch sipping his sake while Jungkook is on the floor painstakingly removing anything that might be bad for Chubbers from his maki roll. He offers it to the corgi who takes one sniff and immediately turns away. Seokjin watches them from the corner of his eyes, holding back his laughter as Jungkook pouts.
“Baby,” Jungkook says in exasperation. “I had such a hard time removing all the cucumbers.” He offers it again to Chubbers who extends his paw and basically slaps Jungkook on the wrist.
Jungkook lays down on his stomach. He keeps trying to feed the sushi to Chubbers who plainly ignores him. Sighing, Jungkook ends up eating it himself. After he swallows, Chubbers’s ears perk up in interest, now moving closer to Jungkook.
“Oh, so now you want it?” Jungkook grumbles. He sits up again, picks the dog up, and settles him on his lap. He grabs another maki roll and resumes the process of picking the cucumbers away. He feeds it to Chubbers who doesn’t put up a fight. Jungkook looks up at Seokjin in triumph, the toothy grin on his face contagious enough that Seokjin’s eyeroll is accompanied with a smile on his lips.
The movie ends.
Jungkook and Chubbers are both asleep, the fluff ball in Jungkook’s arms while the other has his head thrown back on the edge of the couch, mouth open.
Seokjin chuckles softly at the sight. He gets up and starts cleaning up, segregating the trash because he’s a good resident, and washing their glass cups by hand. He walks back and forth from the bedroom and bathroom, laying his pajamas out and grabbing a towel. He quickly showers and brushes his teeth. He stares at his reflection in the mirror, his skin pink from the hot water and hair rubbed dry.
Silence is something Seokjin is intimately familiar with.
In silence, whether it be in the mornings when he wakes up before the sun is up in the sky or when he’s commuting in a cramped train, he gets to be thankful. He gets to think about his life and how everything led to this, how silence is a placeholder until he’s back to living in the moment.
Exiting the bathroom, Seokjin walks back to the living room where his phone that was left on the coffee table lights up. Chubbers wakes up and easily jumps away from Jungkook. Seokjin’s hand runs through his fur while the dog passes by him to go to his doggy bed.
Picking up his phone, he sees that it’s a text from Hoseok.
My calendar alerted me for tomorrow! Happy anniversary to you and Jungkook, Seokjin-ah!
Seokjin types back a thank you. He sends a photo of himself and throws in a peace sign. Hoseok reacts quickly to it with a heart and tells Seokjin he’s excited to meet him next week for their biweekly brunch.
His and Jungkook’s.
Seokjin places his phone down and stares at his boyfriend of seven years snoozing on the floor. He’ll wake Jungkook up in a few. If he keeps sleeping on the floor like that, he’ll wake up with a stiff neck and Seokjin would never hear the end of his complaints.
Reaching his hand out, Seokjin runs his hand through Jungkook’s hair. He’s a heavy sleeper so it induces no action from him. Seokjin thinks he grew into his features really well. Tracing his pointer finger down Jungkook’s sharp and humanly impossible jawline, Seokjin couldn’t help but giggle.
The other day, Jungkook fell asleep on the couch with his laptop in front of him. He forgot to eat dinner but made sure Chubbers did. Seokjin was crouching down like this too, watching him snore softly, tired from work and catching up on deadlines.
It’s safe to say this is the life he always wanted.
He shakes Jungkook awake with his hand on the other’s shoulder.
Jungkook’s eyes open, sleep-addled and taking in his surroundings.
“Go take a shower,” Seokjin tells him. “Then come to bed.”
Jungkook lets out a sound between a groan and an affirmation. Seokjin helps him stand up, and he sighs when instead of going to the bathroom, Jungkook sits down on the couch and goes right back to sleep.
Seokjin clicks his tongue and raises his legs from the ground. He digs his feet on Jungkook’s stomach who whines at the pressure, his wrist wrapping around Seokjin’s ankle and holding it in place on his lap.
“I said go shower.”
Jungkook mumbles something unintelligible.
Living with Jungkook for six years allows Seokjin to decipher the string of sounds he let out: "Later."
“Are you going to keep sleeping here?”
“Jungkook, it’s our anniversary in two hours.”
Seokjin squeaks when the hold on his leg tightens and he finds himself laying on his back and staring at the ceiling. Air is knocked out of him as Jungkook drapes himself all over Seokjin; arms around his waist, Jungkook’s head on his chest, and legs holding him down.
“You’re keeping count?” Jungkook asks.
“Yes, so that when we break up, I know how much I’m suing you for.”
“That’s only for married people.”
Seokjin keeps quiet and doesn’t reply.
Jungkook turns to face him, chin digging on Seokjin’s sternum.
“You wanna marry me, Kim?”
Seokjin hopes Jungkook doesn’t hear how his heart starts beating louder against his chest. He moves around until one of his hands are free, allowing him to push back Jungkook’s hair away from his forehead. He wishes he can see what it’s like long, but he’s also the first to bark at Jungkook to get a haircut.
“We can’t get married. There can’t be two Kims in this house. Or Jeons.”
“Or Kim-Jeon. Jeon-Kim?”
“I will punch you in the face if you say that again.”
Jungkook sighs dramatically. “What are we supposed to do?”
Seokjin snorts. “Not get married, obviously.”
A raised brow is what Jungkook gives him. A challenge. Jungkook gets like this about everything; they both do. Two competitive idiots for all the wrong reasons. Or, that’s what Yoongi and Jimin like to say.
“You’re not getting out of taking a shower.” Seokjin tells him instead. “Get up and go to the bathroom.”
Jungkook lets out a drawn-out defeated sigh and finally gets up. Seokjin misses his warmth already. Because he can, Seokjin drags him back down the couch. Jungkook laughs loudly and allows Seokjin to hug him, this time burying his head on Jungkook’s chest and throwing his leg over Jungkook.
“Kim,” The love he hears in Jungkook’s voice is practically dripping that Seokjin would've barfed if it wasn’t directed to him. “You’re clingy lately.”
Ignoring the observation, Seokjin digs his face deeper into Jungkook’s shirt. “You’re taking a shower.”
“I am. I will. But you’re not exactly letting me.”
There are kisses being pressed on Seokjin’s forehead. Jungkook is making it harder for Seokjin to let go. Soft, gentle, and really, really, full of love.
Seokjin wants to pack his bags and go to a weekend spa to let himself remember what it’s like to not adore a person this much.
With Jungkook on speed dial.
Because he needs to make sure Chubbers is okay.
Jungkook cups his face, a silly smile on his lips, and kisses Seokjin’s nose. His fingers are cold against Seokjin’s warm face because of the air conditioner on full blast.
He absolutely needs to get away.
Away from moles under bottom lips, sparkly eyes, and his pretty boyfriend who he’s absolutely and positively in love with.
On the other hand, being away from Jungkook to have a spa trip with Jimin and Hoseok means he’ll come back more in love.
But then he’d have to deal with Hoseok enchanting service crews and flirting with everyone around him while Jimin obsessively checks on his phone to make sure Namjoon hasn’t set their apartment on fire. Taehyung would be upset he wasn’t invited, and when they do invite him, that means he’ll bring Yoongi along. Jimin would get jealous and demand he bring Namjoon too, and Seokjin would be left with no choice but to add Jungkook to the list.
There’s no escaping each other even in daydreams, it seems.
“What are you thinking about?”
“We should go on vacation with the rest of the gang.”
Seokjin loves not just Jungkook but all his friends. Their friends, to be exact. His little world has gotten so much bigger without him noticing.
“I’m sleepy, Jeon.”
“I’ll shower after you fall asleep.”
Seokjin pretends to not like that idea.
Their seventh anniversary falling on a weekend is a blessing.
Years of being together does bring monotony. They spent their fifth anniversary apart because it was in the middle of Seokjin’s bar exam review. Last year, they booked an AirBnB an hour away from the city and left Chubbers in Jimin and Namjoon’s care. Nothing extravagant, but not that tasteless that they don’t do anything anymore.
Seokjin sleeps in until eleven. He did wake up when Jungkook jumped out of bed, was greeted with, “Happy anniversary, Seokjin,” and a kiss. Seokjin says it back, or he thinks he did, it’s probably unintelligible mumbling that Jungkook heard instead.
He fully gets his bearings at eleven though. He gets out of bed and leaves it be, citing his and Jungkook’s anniversary as an excuse to not clean up obsessively after himself.
Exiting the bedroom, he comes to find it… clean. Not that it wasn’t before, but living in the same place for years with someone like Jungkook, one can instantly tell the difference. He’s the only one in the apartment. No weekend or special occasion can stop Jungkook from jogging in the park with Chubbers and playing basketball with the neighborhood kids.
Seokjin makes himself coffee. It’s a machine that only he uses.
Coffee now, tea later.
A lot of things haven’t changed.
While waiting for the coffee machine to finish preparing his drink, Jungkook comes back. He’s sweaty. Chubbers is walking behind him in tow.
“What did you do?” Seokjin asks. He’s already moving around and opening cupboards to fill Chubbers’ food bowl.
Jungkook shows off the canvas bag he’s carrying.
“Got you breakfast.”
They end up on the dining table, Seokjin’s steaming coffee mug in front of him while Jungkook peels back the paper wrapping and pushes the croissant to Seokjin.
“What are we doing today?” Seokjin asks in between bites.
Jungkook’s on his phone typing something out. Seokjin peeks and sees it’s an e-mail. Of course, Jungkook responds to work emails through his phone. Seokjin knows he leaves those Sent from my iPhone placeholders and doesn’t delete them. That’s just how he is.
“I got tickets to an art exhibit from work.”
Jungkook says it very casually. He’s still on his phone. Seokjin studies him for a while and couldn’t help but let out a chuckle. Jungkook finally looks up, eyebrows raised in question.
“You don’t wanna go?”
“I do. It’s just… we used to go to arcades. Not museums.” Seokjin sips his coffee and places the mug down, the collision between marble and wood releasing a thumping sound in the air. “A lot has changed.”
Jungkook considers it and ends up shrugging. “We can still go to the arcade.”
“I know that,” Seokjin purse his lips and sighs. “You hate museums.”
“You like museums,” Jungkook plainly states. He absentmindedly reaches across the table to hold Seokjin’s hand, slotting his fingers through the spaces between Seokjin’s own. “So we’re going.”
Humans are made to love, Seokjin thinks.
His independence and self-sufficiency is something he's proud of, but humans are made to love each other.
If they aren’t, then holding hands shouldn’t feel this right.
At the mention of his name, Jungkook, who went back to typing on his phone with one hand, gives Seokjin his full attention.
The smile Jungkook gives him is nothing new.
Bright, shows his front teeth, crinkles his eyes and nose.
Depicts everything they feel with one look.
Humans are made to love each other, simply because they are brimming with it.
The art exhibit is thankfully portraiture and not abstract. The latter is something Seokjin avoids and Jungkook simply doesn’t understand. They leave Chubbers in Jimin and Namjoon’s care on the way to the gallery.
Jungkook is dressed in a colorful windbreaker and sweats along with expensive sneakers, his camera hanging around his neck. The casualty reminds Seokjin that some things do remain the same. On the other hand, he’s in a brown turtleneck and a billowing softer brown coat. The difference between their styles has him stifling a laugh. They are definitely an open book.
Jungkook focuses on taking photos here and there while Seokjin exerts the effort to read the description written on the side of each art piece catching his interest.
Seokjin automatically smiles every time Jungkook snaps his fingers in his direction. He would look up to the camera directed on him, the shutter goes off, and he would go back to reading. He loosens up enough to link arms with Jungkook, reenacting cliches as they slowly walk through the hallways.
“I never cared about the appeal of pop art,” Seokjin says.
“It’s nice, I guess,” is Jungkook’s nonchalant reply. “Surface level enough for me to get it.”
Younger Seokjin would be appalled that the man he’s walking arm in arm with would say such things. Present him only laughs and even voices out his agreement.
They notice another couple in the museum. One is in all black and leather, head covered by a cap, a facemask obscuring half his face. The other is in all white and shiny black shoes. The white blazer is buttoned halfway, v-line dipping to reveal a black mesh shirt. The one in white is talking to someone who has a staff ID hanging on their neck. They have men in suits surrounding them, complete with in-ears and stern postures. They seem important and high-profile.
Passing by, they hear talks about buying certain pieces and a private showing. They hear the guy in leather tell the other in white to get whatever his heart desires, prompting Jungkook and Seokjin to pinch each other as a signal.
Once they’re in a significant distance, Jungkook nudges him and says, “Wow.”
“Rich people are built different,” Seokjin plainly states, earning a laugh from Jungkook.
“Imagine going to the supermarket though. Put in the cart whatever you want, darling. My credit card is limitless.” Jungkook says, imitating the stranger's drawl from earlier.
Seokjin laughs loudly, earning him several looks. He apologizes and covers his mouth with his hand, and it only serves to have Jungkook laughing just as loudly.
Clearing his throat, Seokjin takes on a haughty tone. “It doesn’t matter, love. I own the supermarket. Have all the mustards you like.”
They continue their charade, giggling to themselves and ignoring the art pieces on the wall.
The gallery has an open bar, bottles of wine spotted on every table where people are seated.
They ignore it and head straight to the exit.
There’s a corndog truck at the other end of the street with a flurry of good reviews on Yelp. Sitting under a red and white umbrella on plastic chairs and their corndogs on top of a plastic table is how they find themselves.
“I’m glad we aren’t like that,” Jungkook suddenly says in the middle of covering his corndog with mustard.
“You’re glad we’re poor?”
They laugh again, unmindful of their noise that blends in with the rest of the customers. The paper cup filled with vanilla cola and ice that Seokjin was sipping on wetting his palm and fingers.
Instead of sitting on the chair across Jungkook, Seokjin drags it and settles right next to the other, body leaning closer to his boyfriend than he usually does whenever they're out in public like this.
“Not exactly that.” Jungkook licks his thumb clean of the excess mustard before continuing with his train of thoughts. “I like doing the groceries and walking Chubbers in the park, you know?”
The sun shines brightly in the sky despite the cool weather. Seokjin squints a bit because of it as he stares at Jungkook who this time is intent on dumping the entire bottle of ketchup on his corndog.
Softly, Seokjin tells him, “I like it when you pick me up from work. Even when we have to speed up because the tank is close to empty because you forgot to get it filled again.”
Jungkook grins sheepishly and cozies up closer to Seokjin.
“I hate washing the dishes.”
Seokjin snorts. “I know.”
“But it’s fine if I’m washing your plates. You’re always forgetting to eat, especially when work is giving you hell, so it means you didn’t forget and you ate on time.”
Seokjin bites the paper straw of his drink. A thought comes up in his mind of something he never realized and wouldn’t notice due to how normalized it has become.
“It gets on my nerves when you use up all the hot water at night.”
Jungkook shrugs, unapologetic. He finally takes a bite of his corndog. Unsurprisingly, ketchup and mustard catch on the entire outline of his upper lip. Seokjin takes the tissues on the table and dabs it away while Jungkook chews and swallows.
“I stay inside the shower with you until you get used to it!” Jungkook exclaims before taking another bite of his corndog.
Seokjin blushes and shushes him. The people in the corndog stand really don't need to hear about that part.
“Besides, we have a shower heater now.”
They do. Jungkook bought it after receiving his first salary. Thinking back on it, Seokjin remembers how weird he felt that he was in school while Jungkook was earning money. He was the one in charge of paying things around the house, insisting Seokjin focus on law school and that he could pay him back after he gets that big-time lawyer money.
It’s not exactly that sweet, now that Seokjin is really thinking about it. Jungkook explicitly told him to just repay him with his body, and even though it was a joke, he ended up kicking Jungkook out of their apartment. Jungkook ended up sleeping at Taehyung and Yoongi’s that night.
Their first year of living together definitely had its up and downs.
Here they are now, eating corndogs on the sidewalk for their seventh anniversary.
The truck that has been blaring pop music before they arrived does not disappoint. The beginnings of Felt This Way has Jungkook putting his corndog down and hitting Seokjin’s arm with the back of his hand.
“Yeah, yeah, it’s our song.”
Jungkook shakes his head, brows furrowed in disagreement. “No, our song is Best I Ever Had by Drake.”
Seokjin shoots Jungkook a look of disbelief. “I can’t believe you just said that. And if it’s our song, then I should have a say in it.”
“And what? I’m not letting you say our song is a Drake song.”
“But it can be a Carly song?”
“Yes, Jeon. It can be.”
Jungkook picks up his corndog again and resumes eating. Seokjin believes it’s the end of the conversation. Hopes. Of course, it’s not. Jungkook leans closer to him and asks with his manipulative wide eyes, “Deja vu?”
“Just because it’s a J. Cole song doesn’t make it better. That’s not even a love song!”
Jungkook grins and bumps his shoulder with Seokjin. “You know the artist though.”
“I’m familiar with your workout playlist. And not by choice.”
They return home all too quickly.
It’s no bother.
Down to its barest, an anniversary is simply any other day. Nothing different except marking that they’re still together, growing older together; still irritating each other like no one can.
“Should we pick up Cashmoney Chubbers?” Seokjin asks while removing his coat and hanging it over the couch.
Jungkook’s already jumping down on said couch and gesturing for Seokjin to join him. Seokjin slaps his hands away but walks around it and sits right on Jungkook’s stomach who only lets out an oof.
Wrapping his arms around Seokjin’s waist, Jungkook manhandles Seokjin down with him, getting some of Seokjin’s hair in his mouth in the process. Seokjin laughs at him. He gives up under Jungkook’s unrelenting affection, hugging Jungkook back and encircling his arms around Jungkook’s neck.
“Let our baby be.” Jungkook mumbles against Seokjin’s sweater. “We’ll pick him up tomorrow.”
The warm hands going underneath his sweater and settling on the bare skin of his back is too familiar an action that Seokjin is completely unfazed by it. He looks down the top of Jungkook’s head, blowing down the strands that just wouldn’t lay flat.
“I want another dog.”
Jungkook looks up at Seokjin from under him. “Is this the equivalent of straight people asking for another child?”
“I think so?”
Jungkook hums and tightens his hold on Seokjin. “I want a big dog. Like a husky. An athletic one. Chubbers is too listless like you. Sometimes he just watches while I run around the park.”
Seokjin knows that. He goes with them during the weekends. He’d have a book on one hand and Chubbers’ leash on the other while they sit on a park bench and wait for Jungkook to burn off the energy he never seems to run out of.
“What about a golden retriever?”
“Perfect. It’s settled. I want a golden retriever.”
Seokjin’s petting of Jungkook’s hair shifts to pulling on his ear endearingly. He trails off, mumbling to himself, “Another golden baby…”
“Just like me?”
Seokjin smiles widely.
What a mundane and stupid conversation they’re having.
He won’t have it any other way.
“Yeah. Just like you.”
An unrelated thought pops up in Seokjin’s mind. He wants a remote-controlled bluetooth speaker. Moments like these deserve a cheesy pop song playing in the background. He can order one later online and pretend it’s his anniversary gift to Jungkook, just like how Jungkook pretended the year before that the protein shake subscription was for Seokjin.
His name. It’s still weird hearing it from Jungkook despite being together for so long. It’s one of the things that never fails to give him sparks of love. A reminder that there is a clear line between Jungkook and other people, that Jungkook is his and he’s special.
Saying each other’s names has such a weighty meaning for them. It’s grounding and exudes security.
Many people call him by his name, but no one says it like Jungkook does and vice versa.
He is Jungkook’s Seokjin.
The hold Jungkook has on him impossibly tightens.
“I love you very much.”
Jungkook is noisy about every little thing. He shouts at the television screen whenever his favorite basketball team loses, and he screams along with Seokjin while they watch horror movies. He’s not embarrassed to talk about how he feels, whether Seokjin would like to hear about them or not. He leaves no stone unturned. He’s a very good and effective communicator. It’s an enviable skill.
Yet, he rarely tells Seokjin he loves him.
And he doesn’t really need to because Seokjin knows he does.
He says I love you and it’s as if he turned on the lights when Seokjin didn’t even know it was dark.
Jungkook saying his name and telling him he loves him is a knockout. Monotony and domesticity has nothing against it.
Seokjin finds it hard to say it back every time Jungkook does. Which is weird, considering he’s usually the one telling Jungkook he loves him. In passing, before he falls asleep after a tired day, when Jungkook hands him a towel in the bathroom because he forgot, or something as simple as throwing away the trash.
So what does Seokjin do? He does what he does best: one up Jungkook.
“I’m glad we’re still together, Jungkook.” Seokjin moves down the couch until they're at eye level. He leans closer and kisses Jungkook with a smile on his lips. “There’s no one I’d rather put up with for the rest of my life.”
The sun goes down, bathing them and the apartment in its orange glow; the most beautiful time of the day.
Seokjin doesn’t know how long they lay there, hands cupping each other’s faces and kissing like the first time they moved in and couldn’t keep their hands off each other. A realization that it’s just them now, and it will be them forward, and it will keep being that way through the best and the worst.
“Do you wanna watch our old vlogs while eating ice cream?” Jungkook asks in the middle of rubbing his nose against Seokjin’s, his eyes closed.
The sunset is painted right against Jungkook’s eyelids. Seokjin has never seen a prettier sight. He’s glad he has his back from the window so he gets to see this.
“Let’s watch my versions.”
Seokjin instinctively scoffs. “You mean your edits with all the rap music?”
“I’m telling you! It’s so much better than your music choice. The transitions hit perfectly.”
No one grates on Seokjin’s nerves more than Jungkook does.
And there is definitely no other person in the world Seokjin is willing to put up with except Jungkook.
—the tango continues, even outside the court
ct jinkook forever and ever they will never break up not on my watch
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