Keyboard smashes and curses ring repeatedly in each row of the too cold room. The noise of the PC Bang is something Seokjin missed.
He misses being here every night without worry of the next day and backlogs on lessons.
Behind him, Yoongi is sipping on a jumbo cup of soda from the convenience store while his other hand holds a white plastic bag filled with freshly bought sandwiches and cigarettes.
Perhaps what Seokjin misses are the memories, a time when he was more carefree and lived day to day, and he will always associate it with moments such as this.
Taehyung would’ve been here too except he’s at the vet with Yeontan. He promises to catch up, Yoongi tells him not to, and Taehyung pouts and wails until Yoongi rolled his eyes, smiling softly, and mumbling, “Whatever.”
Seokjin finds them sickeningly in love.
He absolutely adores it.
“There’s your not-boyfriend boyfriend.” Yoongi says from behind him.
Seokjin turns around and reacts in exaggeration simply because he can. “For your information, I’m working hard on changing that. And where? I can barely recognize anyone with this many people!”
Yoongi rolls his eyes and points at the very back row of the PC Bang. “There, you dumbass.”
Rolling his eyes at his best friend, Seokjin stops in the middle of the PC Bang to cross his arms and tell Yoongi, “Why do I get to be your punching bag tonight?”
“Because Tae isn’t here so deal with it.”
Seokjin opens his mouth to tease Yoongi with how in love he is when Yoongi cuts him off.
“There are no more seats in the back. Let’s just stay here.”
They are a row behind from where Jungkook is.
It takes him a while to find the other.
When he does, Seokjin cannot help the smile on his face when he notes how Jungkook still plays the same way; back straight, shoulders set in a line, and compared to the people around him, less raucous.
The monitor shows him playing an FPS game, the screen blaring a large sign every time he gets a headshot.
The continuation of the second semester in Seokjin’s third year of med school starts in a week. He and Yoongi decided to come back early and catch up on schoolwork. Seokjin’s willing to bet the only reason Yoongi agreed is because he misses Taehyung.
Then there’s Jungkook.
He’s graduating in a few months. After graduation comes the post-grad internship. Then, the licensing exam, followed by residency in the specialty of his choice.
It makes him soft, already has him nostalgic about this present moment.
There has been a dull ache in his chest ever since he became aware of the clock ticking and time slipping through his fingers.
The acute awareness that he’s not the only one growing older has honestly done wonders for his character.
Battling between the ideas of an entire life ahead of him versus that life becoming actualized right in front of his eyes is what he’s been mulling over lately.
It’s why when he takes his seat down the rolling chair, when he boots up the PC, and when he grabs the headset and places it over his ears, his stomach drops and his heart pounds, and Seokjin wishes time will slow down to allow him more hours in a day to simply enjoy it.
Shaking away his miserable thoughts, Seokjin takes hold of the mouse, clicks around the screen, and waits for the League client to update.
Beside him, Yoongi’s screen shows the same. Yoongi’s on his phone and noisily tapping on the keyboard. Seokjin takes this as an opportunity and peers across him where Jungkook is.
Jungkook’s game is finished. He’s stretching his arms up in the air, the black shirt he is wearing following his movement.
He’s suddenly reminded of Jungkook wearing an ugly Christmas sweater, sitting on his family’s couch, and the way he kisses Seokjin.
All of that and they remain, as Yoongi likes calling them, not-boyfriend boyfriends. Seokjin himself doesn’t know why.
Truthfully, he’s not bothered by it.
Another truth is that Jungkook is the one waiting on him.
Seokjin gets brought back down to Earth when his phone, nestled in the front pocket of his pink hoodie, vibrates. He pulls it out and purses his lips together so he won’t let out whatever sound bubbles in his throat.
Jungkook sent him a text asking what he’s up to.
Seokjin once more peeks behind the screen of the PC. Jungkook is looking down on something, presumably his phone, while his game loads.
Another text message.
Jungkook throws his phone on the table, cracks his knuckles, and returns in position: the fingers of his left hand hovering above the keyboard and his right holding the mouse.
you’ve been mia the entire day. what are you up to?
i’m at the pc bang btw
Seokjin may have kept the fact that he’s back in the apartments a secret on purpose. He was at first excited over this idea, scenarios playing in his head of how Jungkook will react when he comes knocking at the other’s place unannounced.
Now that he is here, only a few feet away, he has no idea how he’ll approach.
Text him to look behind?
The dilemma, a small problem really, is solved for him when he hears loud and clear Yoongi speaking on the microphone of his headset. “Why are you so shocked I’m online, Jungkook? We are literally behind you.”
A slap on his arm has Seokjin immediately clutching on it, glaring at Yoongi and whisper-screaming, “What?!”
Yoongi’s mouth is set in a straight line, eyes narrowed and directed on him. “You didn’t tell Jungkook we’re here?”
Gaze shifting on the side, Yoongi mumbles, “I’m talking to Seokjin-hyung. He’s right beside me at the row before you. What? Fuck, you guys are sickening.”
Yoongi slaps his arm again, the force of it at least lighter this time around. “He wants to know why you don’t wanna say hi.”
Seokjin opens his mouth for a retort. Yoongi goes back to facing the monitor, grumbling, “Say whatever it is you want to say to him. I’m not acting as the middleman.”
A glance at his screen provokes a sigh from Seokjin. The patch update for his game is still downloading.
He pushes the chair back, gets out of his seat, and quickly makes his way to where Jungkook is.
Rounding the corner, he sees Jungkook speaking on the mic with a grin on his lips.
Probably still talking to Yoongi.
It didn’t matter though when Jungkook catches sight of him. He removes the headset, starts getting up, eyes only on him, and waiting for Seokjin to come closer.
He’s pulled into a hug.
The first thing Seokjin thinks of is that the material of Jungkook’s shirt is comfortably thick. He melts into the hug, the bare skin of Jungkook’s arms warm and sliding against his hoodie.
Everything happens so quickly, a practiced intimacy that can only be born from full comfort with the other.
Jungkook presses a kiss on the side of Seokjin’s head. His hand trails down Seokjin’s arm, stopping to wrap around the wrist. He sits back on the chair, and he’s looking up at Seokjin with eyes sparkling and full teeth showing due to how big the smile on his face is.
“Why didn’t you tell me you’re here?”
Seokjin wishes he had something better to say. He doesn’t, so he comes out with the truth.
“I didn’t know how.”
Jungkook shrugs, all casual but doesn’t distract Seokjin enough from not noticing the hand around his wrist getting bolder and moving to rest on his waist, just enough pressure applied hinting he wants Seokjin to move closer.
He does so without thinking too much of it. He’s looking at the screen, the game almost starting and catching his interest.
“I’m amazed you’re able to keep your rank.”
Jungkook’s attention is also on it. “Mm, it’s easy putting effort into things I like.” Without looking at Seokjin and only the continued force of his hand on Seokjin’s waist, he says, “Hyung, come sit with me.”
The nonchalance of it almost goes over Seokjin’s head.
The affirmation was just about to roll off his tongue when the meaning sinks in and he’s blushing and covering Jungkook’s hand on him with his.
“There are no more chairs.” Seokjin plays off with a laugh.
“Come sit on me.”
Subtlety was never Jungkook’s strong suit.
Seokjin looks around, laughing as Jungkook helps him squeeze into the space between Jungkook and the table.
“If I get picked on for disrupting other people I’m blaming you.”
Seokjin ends up seated on Jungkook’s right thigh, his left forearm resting on top of the chair. His arm is around Seokjin’s body, hand steady on the mouse.
“No complaints about your leg cramping or how heavy I am.” Seokjin says.
The game is already starting.
Jungkook’s response is a hum and nothing more.
Not all games go well. Bad days and bad games are unavoidable.
Around the twenty five minute mark, Jungkook’s character in the game dies for the seventh time. He mumbles a curse word under his breath and buries his head against Seokjin’s side while letting out a drawn out grumble.
With no hesitation, Seokjin pats his head in comfort.
Someone in their team initiates to surrender, and everyone clicks Yes including Jungkook. The game ends and Jungkook sulks in silence, going over his stats while still leaning on Seokjin.
Seokjin finds even these sides of the other adorable. He likes Jungkook; he likes seeing Jungkook win and he still likes him even when he loses. It’s a very superficial thing compared to every obstacle they have been through, but it’s enough for Seokjin to realize he likes these unpleasant parts too.
Maybe this is what it’s about the entire time, accepting failures and the ugliness and being with someone who doesn’t try to change you.
Seokjin has always accepted him, and maybe, what this is about the entire time is Jungkook accepting himself too.
“Hey.” Seokjin runs his palm over and over on the back of Jungkook’s head, slow and soft. “Wanna play together?”
“I like having you here with me.”
Seokjin scoffs at the clinginess. Not to say he doesn’t like it since he finds it cute. “I’m right here. Just at another row.”
Jungkook groans and fully hugs Seokjin, his head hanging low. “But I want you to stay right here. With me.”
“I am with you.”
Jungkook snaps up at him, eyebrow raised. “Are you?”
What Jungkook probably expects is for him to laugh, to pull his hair and make some excuses. The implication of such words have been teased and thrown around so much that this weird mating ritual, as Yoongi refers to it, has gone on for too long.
It’s time to nip this in the bud, Seokjin thinks.
“Does my boyfriend need to have me on him every single second?”
Jungkook’s eyebrows furrow in confusion. His hair, long and unruly yet soft and silky, doesn’t hide the play of emotions across his face.
“No…” Jungkook starts to say, trailing off and mulling over his response. “Your boyfriend doesn’t need that.” It almost sounded like a question.
Seokjin chuckles and gets up from Jungkook’s lap. “So can my boyfriend be good and let me play?”
Understanding dawns on Jungkook’s face, and breathlessly, he manages to answer. “Yeah. He can do that.”
Seokjin walks away. Jungkook waits until he’s back in his spot, wide eyes following him.
As soon as Seokjin is back on his chair, Yoongi rolls over near him, a grim look on his face. “You do know I heard all that through the mic.”
The tips of Seokjin’s ears instantly redden. He ignores Yoongi and clicks around his screen randomly. “So?”
“I’m glad you’re both in the right place to be together.”
Seokjin’s bottom lip juts out when he looks at his best friend. “Yoongi…”
“And I also wanted to say that I didn’t know you can be smooth. Unromantic, but smooth.”
“You’re gonna add heart emojis next to his name now, hyung?”
Yoongi’s boisterous laughter fills their row as Seokjin pinches him in response.
The elevator ride going up the 14th floor is filled with silence. The three passengers have talked enough during their games or cigarette breaks, and it’s already way past midnight.
The familiar ring of the elevator stopping has Yoongi breaking the quiet with, “Goodnight, JK!” before hightailing out of there.
Seokjin’s getting ready to go out, the same words on the tip of his tongue, when Jungkook grabs his arm.
“Hyung. Wanna come bother me for the rest of the night?”
The intense look on Jungkook’s eyes has Seokjin’s mind wandering elsewhere.
A territory that has been treaded yet not visited for a long time.
It makes him burn, and of course this path will be revisited since they are together again, but Seokjin didn’t expect everything to happen in a span of a few hours.
He’s not averse to the idea.
Not at all.
So Seokjin nods and allows Jungkook to close the elevator door, the metal box going higher and higher, until Jungkook is pulling him out of the elevator and into his apartment.
All of Seokjin’s assumptions disappear in the dust.
He’s sitting on Jungkook’s couch and watching Netflix with his supposed boyfriend, a soap opera period show filled with drama and Shakespearean shade.
They aren’t even snuggling, only sitting next to each other with their feet up.
Jungkook’s chewing on a lemon mint candy, and with an embarrassed sigh, Seokjin leans over the coffee table and takes a piece of candy from the snack bowl and slowly tears it open.
“I promise, hyung. It’s going to get really interesting. Well, I think so?” Jungkook assures him.
His silence must be coming off as disinterest over the show. Seokjin thinks it’s better that way than Jungkook knowing he was imagining them doing something else and the small wave of disappointment that comes with it.
“If you really don’t like it we can watch something else.”
“No, it’s not that! I’ve been meaning to watch this too. It’s just—” Seokjin purses his lips together.
Jungkook waits for him to continue, eyebrows raised up. “Just…?”
“Do you want to make out instead?”
Perhaps it’s not only Jungkook who lacks subtlety.
Perhaps it is the both of them.
Jungkook places the remote down, laughing softly. Seokjin keeps his resolve up, he’s already embarrassed enough from having to voice out everything that led to this moment.
“Of course we can.” Jungkook shifts on the couch until he is facing Seokjin. He’s still sitting cross-legged, hands clasped together and looking at the other with an amused smile.
Seokjin does the same, his limbs feeling heavy and not listening to what his brain is telling them to do.
Finally facing each other, Seokjin waits for something to happen. He’s hoping Jungkook goes for it. He remembers Christmas Eve and how everything fell into place without them saying anything outright.
The holiday magic has died and Seokjin is left with only guts and shamelessness.
Jungkook does not move from his spot. To prove his nonchalance, he places his elbow on top of his leg and cradles his chin with the open palm of his hand. He’s waiting for Seokjin to lead and Seokjin only stares at him.
The turmoil inside Seokjin’s head must show on his face because minutes pass and Jungkook giggles, turns to the side, shakes his head, and goes back to staring again.
The groan from Seokjin is relished by Jungkook. “This is so awkward.” He mumbles, covering his face with his hands so he doesn’t have to be subjected under Jungkook’s intense gaze and teasing face.
“I love the curve of your lips.”
Seokjin stills at the sudden compliment.
A hand touching the side of his head, a carbon copy of his earlier ministrations while comforting Jungkook, makes him stiffen. Seokjin thinks this is anything but comforting. Jungkook is stroking his hair, fingernails applying light pressure on his scalp.
“You’re so expressive with your mouth.” Jungkook continues on. “You’re always unconsciously pouting or biting down, and when you do, the color changes from pink to red.”
The tip of Jungkook’s index finger traces the shell of Seokjin’s ear. It has Seokjin shivering, and when he peeks through his fingers still covering his eyes, his breath catches in his throat at how close Jungkook actually is.
Jungkook sighs and warm air fans over his skin.
“Red like your ears.” The hand on said appendage drags down, tracing his jaw. “Red like everywhere else on your body when you’re really worked up.”
Jungkook meets him eye to eye. His other hand wraps around Seokjin’s wrist, only resting there and not prying it off Seokjin’s still-covered face.
“Do I get you worked up, hyung?”
Both of Jungkook’s hands are now around Seokjin’s wrists. He allows himself to be pliant, lets Jungkook remove them and look at him closely.
“Because you do that to me so effortlessly. You don’t even need to ask for kisses; I think about kissing you all the time, enough for the both of us.”
Jungkook rubs their noses together, lips touching but not pressing. Seokjin squirms when Jungkook licks his lips and he feels it against his own.
“But I do love it when you ask.”
A quick kiss is pressed on Seokjin’s forehead. Jungkook moves away and uncrosses his legs, feet planting back on the ground.
“Let’s keep watching?”
Seokjin painstakingly sits back properly. He’s contemplating whether to kiss or kick his boyfriend sitting next to him, looking unaffected. Jungkook has the gall to appear clueless, smiling and blinking at him innocently when he knows firsthand what he caused.
Throwing propriety out the window, Seokjin swiftly straddles Jungkook, earning a surprised, “Woah okay,” from him. His legs are folded in half, knees on either side of Jungkook’s sides, and hands fisting the collar of Jungkook’s shirt.
“You annoy me so much.”
Wrapping his arms around Seokjin’s waist, Jungkook pulls him closer against his chest. “Damn. I still do?”
It’s the last thing Jungkook manages to say. Seokjin kisses the words off his mouth, and he doesn’t remember anymore what he was worried about in the first place, or why he felt awkward about it.
It’s a bit clumsy, and it’s supposed to be that way. Seokjin’s sure they have time to once again relearn the correct angles. The hands squeezing his waist has him squirming.
Seokjin fists Jungkook’s hair in his fingers, holding him in place. He pulls away, mouth parted and panting. Jungkook is the same, eyes lidded and blinking rapidly.
“That was nice.” Seokjin blurts out.
Jungkook agrees with a grin. “It was.”
“I want to sleep in my bed tonight.” Seokjin admits.
Jungkook only shrugs. He leans over and kisses the side of Seokjin’s mouth. “Not with me?”
“No. We can meet tomorrow instead. Or I guess later. I have no idea what time it is.”
“Alright. It’s a date?”
Seokjin smiles brightly, eyes crinkling like crescent moons. “Okay.”
Jungkook insists on dropping Seokjin off his apartment. It’s a ride down filled with shoving and stolen kisses, laughter and trying to find a spot where the security cameras can’t see them.
When the elevator door opens, Jungkook bends his knees in front of Seokjin, gesturing for him to jump on his back.
“Hurry up before the door closes.”
“Why are you acting like a teenager?!” Seokjin exclaims despite complying with Jungkook’s antics.
The elevator door does close.
Seokjin wraps his legs around Jungkook’s waist, his arms around the other’s neck. Jungkook’s standing up straight, hands supporting Seokjin’s thighs.
“Now what?” Seokjin grumbles.
Jungkook walks over the elevator keypad and Seokjin presses the button for him.
Stepping out, Jungkook doesn’t let him down, only keeps on walking toward the direction of the apartment.
“We’re too old for this.” Seokjin sighs out even when he is actually content staying like this.
“We’re not that old. And even if we are, don’t you like the idea that we’ll still do things like this?”
It’s rare seeing couples in the serious romance films, the ones where you learn and you hurt and you cry about it for years, acting childish and lost in their own little world. These actions are reserved for bad Netflix summer rom-coms, where you don’t have to think too hard and the kissing scenes always appear perfect.
In a teenage romance indie movie, this is the part where a heart-thumping song plays in the background.
The beginnings of a strumming guitar, snow falling, and instead of heading home, they will run outside. They will kiss under a blanket of white, and a snowflake will fall on Jungkook’s nose, and when he smiles, his nose will scrunch and the mole underneath his bottom lip will have Seokjin wanting to kiss him again.
Except Seokjin is being carried back his apartment where he will sleep alone on his bed because that is what he wants for tonight.
Maybe tomorrow he’ll want a different thing. It doesn’t matter. He’s sure they have a long time for the both of them. Tonight by himself, tomorrow at Jungkook’s, the next day in his place, and so on and so forth.
There is something about breakfast that Seokjin finds soothing.
He will be the first to admit waking up in the morning is not his strong suit. He’s more used to waking up around noon or the afternoon, especially during holidays.
It doesn't matter to him what he eats in the morning as long as there is coffee accompanying it. The coffee itself can be iced or warm, a fancy cold brew or a plain americano, it didn’t matter.
In all honesty, he expected more ridiculous heart-fluttering scenarios when Jungkook knocked on his door and whisked him away while saying hi to a grumbling Yoongi.
He’s content like this, he supposes.
It’s actually more than enough.
The scenery makes up for the randomness of it.
Jungkook drives them an hour away from the city and nearing somewhere less urban. They stop at a McDonald’s on the side of the road, one of the nicer branches where customers are half the time always travelers stopping for a snack.
Here they are now, eating pancakes and hashbrowns at the back of Jungkook’s car, one car door open, in a backdrop of towering trees and the temperature a few degrees lower.
Jungkook’s standing outside holding a hashbrown pocket and iced coffee. Seokjin is busy drizzling his pancakes with syrup. Jungkook comes closer and dips his hashbrown on the liquid sugar, causing Seokjin to shout at him while swatting his hand away.
“There’s more syrup in the bag.” Jungkook bites down on his hashbrown, eyes smiling while Seokjin glowers at him.
“It’s hard to open and my fingers get sticky.” To prove his point, Seokjin takes his own coffee from the cup holder and holds it out to Jungkook. “It’s sticky.”
Jungkook backs away and turns away from Seokjin. “I’m fine with my own coffee.”
Seokjin rolls his eyes and balances his pancakes on his lap, sipping from the straw and holding it out to Jungkook again.
Crumpling his hashbrown pocket and giving it to Seokjin to throw in the paperbag, Jungkook finally takes it. “It’s not that sticky.” He places both back in the cup holder and proceeds to wipe his finger on Seokjin’s windbreaker.
“Really?” Seokjin gives him a tired stare and goes back to cutting his pancake in long strips.
“Hand me my cigarettes?” Jungkook’s hands are on the roof of the car, his arms stretched and framing each side of his head, hovering over Seokjin and gesturing here and there on where it is.
Seokjin places the plastic fork and knife down. “Just let me eat in peace.”
The cigarette case is thrown behind Seokjin, and upon opening it, finds it half filled with Marlboro lights and the other side with menthols.
“Where’s your lighter?”
“In my pocket.”
Seokjin starts pushing out one tightly packed stick out of the band holding it securely. He pauses in surprise when Jungkook leans close and kisses his cheek. “Thanks, babe.”
“What happened to hyung?”
“Almost everyone is my hyung, but I only have one boyfriend.”
The cigarette is placed between Jungkook’s lips by Seokjin. “It’s weird how easy this transition is.”
Jungkook pulls away from the car and produces a black lighter from the pockets of his jeans. After the first blow of smoke in the air, his attention returns to Seokjin. “Us freely being sappy and sickening?”
“It’s like how I told you before.” Jungkook takes his coffee again, sipping first then continuing where he left off. “I don’t know how to be just friends with you. The transition is easy because now I can actually act around you without second-guessing it.”
Seokjin bites down on his bottom lip. He catches Jungkook looking, is suddenly reminded of what Jungkook said during the ungodly hours of the morning, and immediately stops. He almost forgot about what he’s going to say in favor of thinking he does not want to make out in a McDonald’s parking lot while the sun is still out.
“Do you fear labels?”
Jungkook is quick to shake his head no.
“Me too.” Another strip of pancake drenched in syrup disappears into Seokjin’s mouth. He tries to find the right words and how he’ll go about concerning what he wanted to say while chewing. “It’s either people are ready to commit to you or they don’t. They can like you, love you even, but if they don’t want to be in it fully, then there is nothing you can do. I don’t think it’s such a bad thing when you get the shorter end of the stick.”
Jungkook doesn't even dare try and feign cluelessness. These are the types of conversations reserved for the dark. Seokjin obviously couldn't care less.
“I thought I hurt you.” Jungkook admits. “And I believed you would hate me forever.”
“Why would I hate you for choosing yourself?” Seokjin takes his coffee and sips down in huge gulps. “Actually, nevermind. My younger self would. He was really selfish and thought the world revolved around him, that you owed me devotion and dedication just because you kept hanging around me.”
The crackling sound of burning tobacco and paper is loud in the close to empty parking lot. Every now and then, the morning breeze greets them, ruffling Jungkook’s hair as it continues on its path.
“And despite all that I still loved him.” Jungkook takes a long hit from the cigarette. He blows the smoke upwards. It doesn't disguise the upturning of the corners of his lips. “He’ll always be special to me.”
“Will you still have loved him even if this wasn’t a happy ending?”
“No. I think I deserve better than holding on to someone who doesn't exist anymore.” Jungkook drops the cigarette on the gravel and ashes it with his shoe.
Seokjin immediately hands him a tissue, gesturing for him to pick it up and throw it away properly.
He does it without complaints.
Seokjin finishes eating and places the box inside their makeshift paper bag trash can. He hands it on Jungkook’s awaiting hands who runs off to find the waste containers.
When he returns, Seokjin fusses over, mumbling about how he’ll buy two packs of wet wipes next time he goes grocery shopping with Yoongi so Jungkook also has one in his car and not wasting the ones Seokjin keeps with him.
Jungkook helps him out of the backseat, their hands automatically finding each other and fingers slotting between the gaps.
They walk slowly around the car, their shoes and steps noisy against the ground.
“Hyung, you know—”
“Back to hyung?”
“I’ll reserve the pet names for special moments.”
“Okay, sorry for interrupting.”
“I only wanted to say I’m lucky it all worked out. You always come into my life being exactly what I need.”
Seokjin opens the passenger door easily. He finds it funny how he once thought a car door was intimidating. “Well, what did you need this time around, Jungkook?” He asks, teasing and lighthearted.
Jungkook waits until Seokjin is fully settled inside. He pulls the seat belt strap for him and buckles it too. They stare at each other, waiting for Jungkook to either move or talk.
“To be better.”
The day goes uneventfully.
They simply drove around where the road takes them, stopping at the nearest food chain or obscure restaurant in the deepening countryside whenever they got hungry. At one point, Seokjin was on the steering wheel for at least five minutes until he said the car is too high up and he cannot process seeing where the road goes and stops when the truth is he enjoys watching Jungkook drive more. He sticks on the passenger side, memorizing the turns and bends.
It’s already nighttime, and they are on their way back home. Jungkook’s night drivin playlist has once again made an appearance. The background noise composes of the humming engine and Jungkook’s tapping against the wheel.
“The moon looks really pretty tonight.” Seokjin’s leaning against the car door and gazing out the window.
The city is closer now, skyscrapers and their artificial twinkling lights dotting the darkness. No matter how high up Seokjin is in those kinds of buildings, he never truly catches sight of the moon.
“Did you know full moons have different names for each month?”
Jungkook keeps his eyes on the road, humming instead to signify he is listening. “What’s the name for September?”
“Like the game?”
Seokjin laughs at the instant connection.
“What about December?”
“The cold moon.”
“You know every name for each month?”
Seokjin shrugs. “Only the important dates.”
Seokjin’s attention remains on the celestial body. “We don’t get to see moonlight like this in the city.” Seokjin sighs in longing. “It doesn’t give off its own light though. We think the moon shines but in reality it’s only the surface being illuminated by the sun.”
“That’s romantic. No wonder poets always use them in literature.”
The sentiment has Seokjin turning away from the window and on Jungkook. “I don’t see the connection.”
Jungkook lowers the volume of the music.
“You can’t really look into the sun, right? Unless you’re wearing shades. And even when you do, it’s everywhere. We’re thankful for the sun and for all it is able to do, but we only ever see how beautiful its light is when the moon reflects it back.”
Seokjin is reminded of the many reasons he likes Jungkook. The idea is gorgeous, and it’s even better coming from his mouth.
Jungkook chuckles and stops at a red light. “Reminds me of us actually. It’s complex and imperfect and people may think differently, but I’ve always liked me better when I saw myself through you. My accomplishments and the results are nice, and for a while that’s all I cared about. I thought showing what I’m capable of was all that matters, or it was enough, that I forgot what I felt was important too. Me, as a whole, mattered too.”
The light turns green and Jungkook steps on the gas pedal.
“In a sense, you’re kind of the moon to my sun. You’re like moonlight.”
He wonders if Jungkook remembers how he used to think Seokjin was the sun. He doesn’t bring it up.
The past provided their foundation but it doesn't need to define them.
He keeps it light since Jungkook should focus on driving safely.
“Are you going to start calling me that too?”
The way is now familiar again.
They arrive back in no time.
Before Seokjin even knows it, he’s already pressing the keypad on the elevator of their building to the 14th floor.
“Yoongi’s probably with Tae.” Seokjin says. “Stay with me for awhile?”
“I really love my bed.”
Jungkook rolls his eyes sarcastically. “For your information, I do wash my sheets.”
Seokjin laughs, the sound coinciding with the elevator stopping and opening on his floor. “If you don’t want to come it’s fine.”
“I never said that.”
True to Seokjin’s prediction, the apartment is empty. There’s a pizza box in the small kitchen area with a note plastered on top saying, Went to PC Bang. We ordered extra for you.
“There’s our dinner.” Seokjin opens it and is surprised to find all slices still in place. “Pizza and a movie? We talked so much today, it’d be good for us to shut up for a few hours.”
Jungkook settles on the floor. Seokjin waves his hand and tells Jungkook to go on the bed. “I’m meeting Jimin-hyung tomorrow in the gym. Wanna come with us and burn all these calories together?”
“Funny you say that. We’re meeting Joon tomorrow too.”
Seokjin carries the pizza box to the bed, handing it to Jungkook. He comes back in the kitchen, opens the fridge, and exclaims, “Yoongi seriously loves me.” He takes out a large bottle of Pocari with the same note in Yoongi’s handwriting.
Jungkook automatically uncaps it the instant Seokjin hands it to him. He scoots on the bed, and Seokjin sits down with a groan of content.
“It seems all we’ll be doing in this relationship is eat and smoke together.” Seokjin wraps a slice around a tissue paper, taking it in and trying to identify what kind of pizza it is from all the toppings arranged on top.
Seokjin mentioned watching a movie yet they remain seated on his bed carefully eating pizza and the Pocari bottle being handed back and forth between them. He said they talked too much already, but being around people he genuinely enjoys spending time with stimulate Seokjin’s brain like no other.
They gossip and cackle, hitting each other’s shoulder when someone says something scandalous.
“No, I swear. I was bored one day and decided to stalk him online. Heesu seems really happy in his new relationship.” Seokjin watches Jungkook take out the pieces of olive from his pizza and place it on top of Seokjin’s.
“You think he changed for the better?”
“Hopefully. He caused a lot of headache but I genuinely wish him all the best.”
“Couldn’t be me, hyung.”
“I mean, you did punch him. I don't expect you to think otherwise.”
Seokjin feels irritation that can only be conjured by being in intimate relationships like this.
“So you really won’t kiss me? Because you think I have olive breath?”
Jungkook’s laugh sounds obnoxious to him. He glares and pouts, not really angry.
They can do all the stupid and nonsensical acts that only happens in relationships without consequence. They both know all these petty games are only superficial and for fun.
“I’m not sure what the term is but I’m pretty sure it’s a kink.” Seokjin tries keeping a straight face.
Jungkook appears thoroughly annoyed with him. “It’s not a kink.”
“Really, Dr. Jeon?”
A flush of red creeps on Jungkook’s cheeks. “They call me that when I make my rounds in the hospital. I’m reacting this way because it’s you. Ergo, not a kink.”
Seokjin winks at him. “Sure.”
All the serious and practical topics related to their career path have been discussed in broad daylight.
Out of the blue musings and scenarios are endless and dominate the night.
“I don’t think I’m the jealous type.” Jungkook turns his pizza the other way around so the smooth back of the crust faces Seokjin. He said something along the lines of it tasting better when the first thing the taste buds encounter is the toppings side. “I mean I obviously feel jealousy but I don’t get petty about it. It doesn’t cloud my mind up.”
“You won’t react if I suddenly tell you someone randomly kissed me in the club?”
“Depends if I’m with you when it happens. Either way, I know you can handle yourself.”
The reasoning is rational, and in another context a really sweet thought. Seokjin’s secure with his maturity, and that it’s not that deep, so he reacts in exaggeration, almost shouting, “What will it take then? Me slipping down someone else’s dick in front of you?!”
Jungkook shuts up, his entire expression falling. He side-eyes Seokjin, and the suspicion on his face has Seokjin laughing.
“You don’t have to go that far, hyung. That’s just downright mean.”
Seokjin apologizes in between giggles.
Jungkook pretends to sulk.
When Seokjin returns to bed from throwing away the pizza box and washing his hands, he tackles Jungkook down the bed, caging the other with his arms around Jungkook’s waist and his head resting on Jungkook’s chest.
“That won’t happen anyway.”
Jungkook’s pretense falls and he’s hugging Seokjin back, pulling him up so his head is resting on the same pillow. “I told you I don’t get jealous.”
It’s Seokjin’s turn to act suspicious. “You don’t because you do everything in your power so it doesn’t happen in the first place.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about. Just keep hugging me.”
“We were supposed to watch a movie and be quiet.”
“Be quiet then. You can imagine the movie in your head.”
If he’s being honest, Seokjin doesn’t really care about watching anything. He forgot how peaceful this feeling is; in a familiar bed and surrounded by familiar arms, a warm feeling in his chest that maybe he has it all.
The warmth travels up and down his back, the thick fabric of his blue sweater not doing much on shielding him from the sensation.
“Here lies heaven.” Jungkook suddenly says. “If I remember correctly, that’s what your tattoo says.”
“The real question is: how can I forget?”
Seokjin shudders at the wayward touch, Jungkook’s thumb resting on the bare skin of his hips. Jungkook shifts closer to him, face burying on Seokjin’s neck and his heavy breathing fanning directly against Seokjin’s jaw.
Jungkook spends time feeling his skin, feeling Seokjin’s soft moans and low gasps right on him.
The comforter is hurriedly tossed over their bodies until it’s up their noses. Jungkook pulls away, watching Seokjin’s expression closely. His gaze immediately falls on Seokjin’s mouth. He doesn’t waste time surging forward and pressing their lips together.
It’s different from every kiss they’ve had so far. This one isn’t awkward or with teeth knocking against teeth.
They are both intent on taking each other’s breath away, bodies moving in sync.
Jungkook gets up from laying on the bed to hovering on top of Seokjin. The hands that were once on his back are now divided. One beside his head, the other gripping his thigh.
Seokjin’s fingers entangle in Jungkook’s hair, pulling and urging him closer, while his legs follow unconsciously, feet now rooted on the mattress. His toes curl at every squeeze on his thigh, knees close to giving in, and even when his stomach is twisting into knots at the suddenness and overwhelming want, Seokjin doesn't forget to kiss back. He keeps Jungkook in place, a warning hand on the back of his neck saying everything he cannot get out.
To Seokjin’s great annoyance, Jungkook does stop to pull away. He instinctively chases, and when Jungkook continues moving back, that’s when he narrows his eyes and the grip on Jungkook’s hair turns impatient.
“Hey, I’m not going anywhere. I only have something to ask.”
Their foreheads touch. Jungkook’s not looking at him, eyes downturned and lashes fluttering against his cheek. When his gaze flickers back up Seokjin, he asks in a whisper, “Is this okay?”
Seokjin groans in disbelief. “You ruined the moment by asking me that?”
“Well, answer it.”
Seokjin expects them to return to what they were doing. Jungkook’s chewing on his bottom lip, another question obviously on the tip of his tongue.
“What if I want to go further? Is that still okay?”
The words are said very clearly. Seokjin’s mind is jumbled and he really would rather be kissing than talking in circles, so he throws the question back.
“Like what further?”
The haziness fades. Seokjin’s vision starts to focus again and he notices the faint tinge of blush on Jungkook’s cheeks. He doesn't have to look in a mirror to know he’s the same. Probably redder and perhaps gaping at Jungkook in surprise.
Jungkook’s already rolling over him, once again on the bed. He finds Seokjin’s hand and holds it.
“You can say no.” Jungkook squeezes their hands together in assurance.
“Yoongi and Tae can barge in any minute.” Seokjin lays on his side, eyebrows drawn together and the corners of his mouth downturned.
“Okay.” Jungkook copies him, resting on his side and bringing their joined fingers between them.
“And we ate so much pizza.”
Jungkook tries not to laugh. “Okay.”
“And I don’t want to do it right now.”
“Is it really?”
Jungkook nods, the fondness he feels for Seokjin obvious on his smile and lidded eyes. “Of course. We can take things slow.”
“It’s not that. No one ever really takes things slowly. I simply— I just don’t want to do it right now. I’m sorry.”
“You don’t have to apologize about the things you dislike.” Jungkook reassures him. He brushes Seokjin’s hair back. “And you don’t have to explain either. When you don’t like anything, just say so and we don’t have to do it.”
There’s a realization Seokjin arrives at that has been in the back of his mind the entire time. It’s not that he refused to acknowledge or recognize it.
Loving the second, third, or even the fourth time, as Seokjin discovers early on in life, does not compare to the first time where love is the beginning and the end.
The more he grows, the more he recognizes that in these serious and adult relationships, love is rare.
You’re lucky enough when you find someone who can deal with you, especially when the other person is struggling with themselves too.
And even when you’re secure with yourself, filled with love and wisdom and surrounded by friends who only wants the best for you, finding the same in another person who is more than a friend is uncommon.
It’s probably why people long for their youth, when they were free to love without abandon and full-on recklessness.
Love burns and love dies out too.
Seokjin sees it in Jungkook’s patience and his intensity.
The duality makes him giddy and gives him security.
For all his supposed maturity, Seokjin cannot find it in him to say the word he is starting to associate with Jungkook again.
Not yet, at least.
“The movie offer is still on the table.” Seokjin says, soft and slow. “You can choose what to watch.”
Jungkook grins as if Seokjin offered him the world.
The plain vanilla ice cream on a cone is quickly devoured by Taehyung. He explains that based on experience, it starts to drip and melt faster around the seventh minute mark.
Yoongi chides him about getting a cone in the first place. He’s leisurely enjoying his sundae on a cup.
“I hate the spoons.” Taehyung whines.
They’re sitting in their smoking spot at the rooftop of the building, the blank night sky and city noise has Yoongi feeling somber.
“Should I ask why?”
“You already did, honeybear.”
The pet name has Yoongi choking on the ice cream, coughing in reflex. Taehyung hits his back while he pounds on his own chest. When it goes down and his eyes stop watering, he directs his fist on Taehyung’s shoulder.
“I thought we agreed you won’t say that in public.” Yoongi hisses.
Taehyung smiled at him. He uses the tissues that came with their ice cream and dabs it on the corners of Yoongi’s mouth. “I also hate it when you’re gloomy.”
“I’m not. I’m worried for you. There’s a difference.”
“You shouldn’t be, Yoongi-hyung. It’ll be fine. And if it doesn't, well—”
“If it doesn’t then I’m here for you.”
“See? Why would I be worried when you’re on my side?” Taehyung goes back to eating the remnants of his ice cream, focusing on biting down the wafer cone.
Yoongi is made aware of how easy it is to love the person sitting next to him.
Falling for Taehyung was easy too. It was unexpected but nevertheless easy. He cannot wait to meet Namjoon tomorrow with Seokjin and simply talk.
Talk about Taehyung, talk about themselves, and talk about the future.
He doesn’t say anything about his worry or allusions of it anymore.
“Do you think hyung and Jungkook are back?” Taehyung asks, taking it upon himself on changing the topic.
“Yeah. Seokjin’s like a phone battery. He can’t spend an entire 24 hours with someone, and they’ve been out since morning, so he’s probably in the apartment now.”
“What do they even do together?”
Yoongi contemplates on the question. “Honestly? I feel like all they do is eat fast food, smoke, play video games, and talk about high IQ stuff.”
“That’s cute. Very college boyfriends of them.” Taehyung is down the tip of his cone, the best part of the entire treat in his opinion.
“What are we then?” Yoongi sticks the plastic spoon in his ice cream.
“No, I mean, what kind of boyfriends? If they’re the college type, then what about us?”
Taehyung brightens up at the question.
Yoongi groans and swirls his ice cream around. “You look excited. Are we that corny?”
Taehyung wraps an arm around Yoongi, pulling him closer. His hand rests on the side of Yoongi’s head, hair blonde like his.
“We’re the romantics.”
“We like expensive dates and traveling. Aren’t we cute?”
Yoongi takes a spoonful of ice cream and holds it out for Taehyung. He takes the offered sweet without question.
“You don’t have to try and distract me about the thing.”
“Fine. Whatever. I know you’ll end up crying whether it turns out good or bad.”
Pink, blue, and sunrise-colored towers of cocktail are placed on Namjoon, Seokjin, and Yoongi’s table.
It’s not that their group is big on drinking.
In fact, all three of them would choose other substances over alcohol any day.
The nostalgia for the past when they all drank themselves to oblivion appeared to be affecting not only Seokjin though. They all suggested going out for a drink, which again was surprising and at the same time exciting.
The bar they ended up at is the one nearby Seokjin and Yoongi’s school. They met Namjoon downstairs their apartment building, an event in itself. Hugs, shouting, and clinging on each side of Namjoon’s arms are the norm whenever the three of them are reunited.
Eyes low, chins heavy, and walking on jelly legs is how they arrive in the bar.
They’re already fucked up before even getting there. It’s almost second nature to smoke prior to leaving anywhere, and since Namjoon will never touch cigarettes, Yoongi brings out the bong and he and Namjoon take turns inhaling purple kush’s heavy and velvety smoke. Seokjin is handed a joint rolled using watermelon papers, and as he smoked it to the ends while leaning against Namjoon, the excitement for the night ahead of them climbs higher.
Something about drinking with his best friends because they’re all happy and in good places gets to him. He knows he can go through the night taken care of. He knows he’ll wake up tomorrow with a hangover and a superficial promise of never doing it again.
It’s so much different in comparison to drinking because there are sorrows needing to be drowned, wherein you open your eyes and the first thing you do is cry.
Nobody complains about the insane amount of drinks they ordered. Yoongi takes the shot glasses, hands it to Namjoon to be filled, and Seokjin waits for their nachos. His tongue is lodged between his cheek and teeth, an ache that can only be fulfilled by munching down on different textures.
“So.” Namjoon places a frosted shot glass filled with pink liquid in front of Seokjin. “What do people talk about when they’re out drinking?”
“I was thinking the exact same thing.” Yoongi picks up his own glass, the one a gradient mix of yellow and orange, downing it easily.
“It’s easier when someone’s in an awful mood or heartbroken.” Seokjin drinks his own too. “This tastes like bad decisions.”
Namjoon follows their lead.
Yoongi’s already refilling his glass, this time with the blue one. “The orange one is real fruity. I don’t think we’ll get drunk on that.”
Their food arrives, the plate accepted by Namjoon with a thanks. He places it in the middle and immediately takes a piece. Seokjin does the same.
“You guys are free to fight with your boyfriends.” Namjoon clicks his chip with Seokjin’s in mock cheers. “It’ll at least make tonight interesting.”
Among the three of them, Yoongi is probably the heaviest drinker. He doesn't let their glasses go empty. Every time alcohol is downed and glasses return on the table Yoongi instantly takes it, refilling them in whichever cocktail he feels like choosing.
“Jungkook doesn’t get mad.” Seokjin admits with a sigh. “We’d have better luck with Tae.”
“Tae doesn’t get mad either. I’m the one who usually does.”
Namjoon swipes a finger on the wet cocktail tower and rubs his fingertips together in fascination. “Maybe you two should get mad at them then.”
“Oldest first.” Yoongi blatantly ignores Seokjin’s exclamation of how his relationship literally started two days ago. “You’re a dirty liar if you insist you like everything about him.”
Seokjin drinks his shot and even Namjoon’s own. Namjoon only grunts and grabs his glass back.
“I hate it when we play games and he lets me win.”
Yoongi, once again, fills their glasses up.
Namjoon realizes the contents of the tower are equally leveled. He gives Yoongi a look of amazement, and their excitement towards a simple thing should’ve been a sign that they need to pace themselves with the alcohol, and yet Yoongi only keeps going while his two companions drink without a care.
“That’s because you’re a sore loser. You get mad when you lose and you get mad when we let you win. And when you do win by yourself, you’re always gloating.” Yoongi reaches across the table and pats Seokjin’s cheek. “Don’t be mad now.”
The loud laughter from Namjoon distracts Seokjin. “Joon, you’re drunk.”
“He’s not drunk until we hear him recite the brachial plexus in order.”
Seokjin shakes Namjoon by the shoulder, and they giggle together. “Are you drunk, Joonie?”
Namjoon leans over in pretend-whisper. When he replies, Yoongi hears it loud and clear. “Mayhaps.”
Yoongi joins in on the laughter this time.
“I missed you both.” Namjoon slings his arm around Seokjin and gestures for Yoongi to join them on their end of the table.
Yoongi doesn’t bother pretending he doesn’t want to. He sits on Namjoon’s side, head resting on Namjoon’s chest.
“I love the both of you.” Seokjin blurts out. “I love you two the most.”
Yoongi clicks his tongue. The glassiness of his eyes betray his words. “Great. We made the baby cry.”
“And we,” Namjoon ruffles both their hairs, “Love you too.”
The two clinging on Namjoon’s side bicker endlessly. It’s a side to them that only comes out when the three of them are together. Their freedom to let out these childish sides to them, to be able to pretend the future is not daunting, is a comfort only their friendship can provide.
“I’m proud of you two.” Namjoon seems intent on making the both of them cry in this bar while crossfaded off their ass.
“And we’re proud of you! You’re so, so close, Joon. I’m so happy for you.” Seokjin beams up at his best friend, high in more ways than one. A rush of pride and nothing but sincere and honest happiness and love blooms in his chest.
Unbelievable how the first time he met Namjoon was while he was crying on the floor of their dormitory, loud enough to disturb his next-door neighbor who he never met until that day.
Namjoon’s presence in his life was there during all the big changes and character arcs he has been through.
Seokjin is so thankful, so grateful.
The love, patience, and kindness he received from Namjoon and Yoongi has always been enough.
More than enough.
It exceeded the love he was looking from relationships, and somehow, their combined qualities poured into him too.
Their friendship, Seokjin believes, is the great big love affair in the story of his life.
“Stop crying.” Yoongi grabs a handful of tissues from the table, helping Seokjin blow his nose. “I have something to tell you.”
“What?” The scratchy quality in Seokjin’s voice has him reaching out for another shot.
Yoongi shifts in his seat. Even Namjoon is waiting for him to begin. He moves away, gently lifting Namjoon’s arm away and clearing his throat.
“He’s too shy to tell you, so I’m doing it for him.” Yoongi runs his fingers through his hair. The smile on his face seems tired, as if he’s been keeping a heavy burden for so long.
It’s also filled with hope.
“Taehyung’s quitting med school.”
Sobriety possesses Seokjin enough to get the words through his hazy mind.
“He said he wants to travel around the world, backpack around Europe or Japan, wherever the wind takes him. He told his parents earlier. His Mom’s mad but his Dad fully supports him.”
Namjoon claps his hands once. “Tell him I’m happy everything worked out.”
Yoongi nods, the redness on his cheeks is probably from the alcohol, but it could be because he’s trying so hard to keep the blinding smile off his face. “I’m proud of us and him. It’s a new chapter and it’s scary but— I care for him you know? I trust him fully.”
Seokjin’s quietly rubbing his eyes.
Yoongi stands up from where he’s seated, stands behind Seokjin, and pulls him into a hug. Seokjin holds on to Yoongi’s arms wrapped around his neck, craning his head to the side and looking at his best friend.
To Seokjin, his soulmate came in twos.
“I’m really happy, Yoongi. The two of us barely started on our holiday homework,” Yoongi groans at the mention of it, “But I know it’ll work out? It’ll be fine. Everything will be okay.”
“It will, it always does. Also, if you keep crying, I’ll start crying too.”
Yoongi ends up sitting next to Seokjin and leaning on him, fixing Seokjin’s messy hair while also stealing most of the nachos.
“You aren’t joining Tae, are you?”
“Me? Fuck no. I need to graduate and get that white coat. Who else will finance Taehyung’s whims when his parents throw him out?”
They exit the bar stumbling.
The tower of cocktails were emptied thanks to Namjoon handing away free drinks to every stranger whose eyes linger a little too long on him, Seokjin, or Yoongi.
Namjoon did end up reciting the brachial plexus. Yoongi passes his night out lighters onto Namjoon who read the inscription backwards. At one point, Seokjin exits the bathroom and sat at another group’s table for fifteen minutes until Yoongi found him.
“I’m just saying!” Yoongi loudly exclaims, leaning on Namjoon who is freely hitting the weed pen he keeps in his pocket. “What use are our boyfriends if they don’t pick us up?!”
Seokjin who is on Namjoon’s other side makes grabby hands for the pen. Namjoon holds it out for him, and they all pause their rowdiness while Seokjin takes a deep hit.
Of course since Seokjin had one, Yoongi asks for it too.
“We told them not to bother us though.” Seokjin reminds him.
“Yeah, I know. I’m just saying!” Passing the pen back to Namjoon, he elbows him and asks teasingly, “What about you, Joon? When are you joining the club?”
Seokjin gasps dramatically. “I want Namjoon only for us!”
The silence from said person raises their suspicion.
Namjoon continues hitting the pen.
“Oh, fucking hell. You’re seeing someone aren't you?”
“He is not!”
“I kinda am?”
Seokjin starts on an endless tirade of betrayal, about how their marriage pact when they all hit forty will now never be realized.
“Who is it?” Yoongi almost falls down, and he only laughs while supporting himself up. “I’m too drunk to guess.”
“Joon, if you're dating Dr. Jung, I— well, I have no words for you.” Seokjin babbles on. “Or that guy. The Park Jimin guy. Oh god, Joon… are you dating both?”
Namjoon coughs out the smoke. He never coughs, not even when he’s downing ten hits on a gravity bong.
“Who the hell are those people?”
“Dr. Jung is Jungkook’s cousin. And Park Jimin is part of Joon’s friend group with Jungkook.” Seokjin explains. He tells this information to Yoongi as though the other is a child.
“What friend group with Jungkook? You have other friends besides us?!”
Namjoon doesn’t say anything more. He only drags them both quicker toward the direction of their apartment building.
In the elevator, the case about Namjoon’s relationship is dropped when Yoongi’s phone starts ringing. Seokjin and Namjoon control their laughter, huddling on one side while Yoongi flips them off, voice deep and controlled while he speaks.
The phone call is over quickly. The two on the side waits for Yoongi to say what it is about.
“Tae said he wants to come say hi.”
The elevator stops on their floor, the metal doors parting to reveal Taehyung. He’s in a brown cashmere sweater, reading glasses perched on his nose, and when he catches sight of them, grins so widely it energizes the three immediately.
Shouts of congratulations and more are heard in the hallway.
Namjoon and Seokjin walk several steps behind, allowing Taehyung to help Yoongi walk.
“You guys drank way too much.” Taehyung takes the key from Yoongi and opens their apartment door. He helps Yoongi on his bed while pushing Namjoon and Seokjin inside, the two of them giggling to themselves about how responsible Taehyung has become.
They all ended up in Yoongi’s bed, laying down horizontally and trapping Yoongi between them. Taehyung helps them remove their shoes and fetches them water. It takes him some effort to help them all get up, especially Yoongi who might as well have been asleep.
“Congratulations, Taehyung-ah. I’m happy that you’re in a good place.” Namjoon accepts the water and drinks everything in one go.
Taehyung blushes, nodding. “Thanks, hyung. I aspire to be half as good as you.”
Namjoon hands him back the cup and falls down the bed once more, this time out cold for real.
When Taehyung gets to Seokjin, he cannot help talking first. “Sorry I didn't tell you myself, hyung.”
“No, no!” Seokjin winces at the dryness of his mouth and drinks the water until everything is gone. “I’m really happy for you. We can talk about the other details when we’re less out of it, okay, Taehyungie?”
“I’ll tell you all about it, I promise. Are you sure you don’t want to sleep on your bed?”
Seokjin glances over his side of the bed. “It’s fine. I’ll sit here for a while.”
“I have one more thing to say, hyung.”
“I’m really happy for you too.”
Seokjin blinks in confusion.
When it sinks into him, he smiles up at Taehyung who is waiting for him patiently to hand back the cup.
“Me too, Tae.”
Taehyung leaves and Seokjin’s world has at least stopped spinning enough for him to trip his way towards the bathroom.
He brushes his teeth and splashes water on his face, changes into a random sweater and pajama bottoms he found in his closet. He really wanted to sleep besides Yoongi and Namjoon, but one wrong turn in the supposedly single bed and he’ll end up on the floor.
Soft sheets and softer pillows are within Seokjin’s grasp until the unmistakable knocking on the door makes him jolt. He hurries without thinking too much of it, guessing that it’s Taehyung and he probably left something.
Truthfully, he is still too out of it to think clearly. The few steps it takes to arrive at the door from the middle of the room has him dizzy again.
The door is pulled open and the first thing Seokjin notices is a familiar convenience store plastic bag held by familiar hands.
“Woah. Taehyung didn’t lie when he said you guys were fucked up.”
Jungkook only stands there. He doesn’t push his way in. He waits for Seokjin to take the lead on the decision-making, and when he doesn’t, holds the plastic bag up. “Saved you the trouble of dragging yourself downstairs for a Pocari when you wake up hungover.”
Jungkook takes Seokjin’s wrist and hands him the bag. “There’s enough for the three of you. You can call me if you guys need anything else, okay?”
Seokjin peers down at the bag.
His brain processes the entire scenario with delay.
“You’re here.” It comes out sounding more like a question than a statement.
Jungkook patiently nods. “I am.”
“How was working out with Jimin?”
“The usual. Hoseok-hyung was there too. They asked me to bring you next time.”
The domesticity of it is lost in Seokjin. He would be more excited and nervous if he wasn’t so tired.
“Do you want to come in? Stay for a while?” Seokjin asks out of courtesy.
Jungkook shakes his head resolutely. “You missed them. I can tell even if you won’t say it.” He extends his arm and brushes back Seokjin’s hair, the tips wet from when he tried washing down the high and drunkenness with no avail. He steps forward until he manages to press a kiss on Seokjin’s forehead. “Just tell me when you want to see me again.”
“Okay, I will.” Seokjin slumps forward and he grins when Jungkook catches him. He kisses Jungkook’s cheek lazily, carrying the plastic bag draining his energy.
They stay rooted in the doorway leaning on each other; Seokjin resting his forehead on Jungkook’s shoulder while he is steadied with hands around his waist.
Jungkook speaks in hushed tones, mindful of Seokjin’s current state. “How about you? Did you have fun?”
“Very. I got lost too.”
Jungkook chuckles, amused over his boyfriend’s clipped sentences. “What do you mean lost?”
“In the bar.”
“You were lost… inside the bar?”
Jungkook alternates between rubbing Seokjin’s back or patting it. The rhythm he set has Seokjin ready to doze off.
“It took them hours to find me.”
“Hours? You’re joking.”
“Am not. Okay, I am. Only for fifteen minutes.”
“That’s still long. Where were you?”
Seokjin sighs. Jungkook’s warmth and the continuous smalltalk is lulling him better than anything else. “Another table.”
“Did anyone there hit on you?”
“I thought you don’t get jealous Jeon Jungkook.”
“Using my full name? They must’ve been smitten then.”
“As they should.”
Jungkook hides his face on Seokjin’s neck, tampering down his reaction in case he wakes the other two occupants in the room. “Come on, I’ll take you to bed.” He takes the bag from Seokjin, kicks his slippers to the side, and pulls them inside the room.
“While there are others in the room? Kinky.”
This time, Jungkook laughs loudly.
A groan from Yoongi stops them in their tracks.
“Yoongi, it was Jungkook.” Seokjin announces. Yoongi doesn’t open his eyes nor does he move.
Jungkook looks at his boyfriend in disbelief. “You sold me out.”
Seokjin shrugs, giggling soundlessly. He almost trips, Jungkook’s grip on him tightening with alarm.
“Get in the bed now, please?”
While Seokjin struggles with his comforter, Jungkook places the Pocari inside the fridge. He helps Seokjin spread the comforter around him. Seokjin watches him move around, eyes on the floor.
“Tae cleaned up.” Seokjin guesses it’s what Jungkook is trying to do.
“Okay, that’s good.”
“Can you leave a Pocari on my desk?”
Jungkook’s already moving back toward the fridge.
Seokjin finds it attractive, how Jungkook is taking care of him and being attentive.
“There’s another thing I want.”
Bravery fueled by substances doesn’t take away from the fact that such actions are ruminated on while in a better state of mind.
It’s easier for Seokjin to let the words spill out rather than keeping it in him. Maybe when he wakes up he’ll think differently.
“I was the one who said we should never bring up the past.” Seokjin does not look at Jungkook. He keeps his eyes everywhere beside the other’s own. “But for old time’s sake… vatican cameos?”
Jungkook’s exhale of relief is deafening. He’s moving with abandon, feet light on the floor. His limbs are one step forward, already reaching out. The Pocari bottle is dropped on the bedside table. He has one knee propped up the bed, body bent and kissing Seokjin on the forehead.
Chaste and quick.
Seokjin repeats it.
One on his cheek.
Jungkook cheats and kisses the tip of Seokjin’s nose.
“Sorry. I think it’s stupid that we only chose four places. I’ll kiss you everywhere if given the opportunity.”
Seokjin tilts his head sideways for the third verse of this song they know so well.
The phrase is said by Jungkook this time, mumbled and impatient, right against Seokjin’s lips that he feels each syllable on him. He kisses Seokjin, soft and open-mouthed.
Seokjin kisses back languidly, his heightened and tremulous senses enjoying the stimulation.
Every time he is allowed space to breath, his mouth remains parted. If he was less sleepy and inconsiderate, he’d ask Jungkook if he can sleep over his place.
All the undertones and implications can be discerned from such a simple statement.
“I should go.” Jungkook doesn't sound like he wants to.
“Can you lock the door?”
Seokjin’s on the precipice of falling into deep sleep. He’s been holding on for so long now.
“Jungkook.” His voice sounds garbled to his ears. “Goodnight.”
Fingers run through his hair. Seokjin’s so tired that he’s unsure whether the touch lasted for an hour or it was a matter of seconds.
The last thing he remembers are words that even his sleep-addled mind reacted to.
In the darkness of the room, Jungkook kisses him one last time for this moment. If he heard the sentence while he was awake, he would undoubtedly blush from head to foot.
He hopes it will be like this for a long time.
It’s too early to mention the heaviness of forever, a word he has only associated with his best friends, but whenever he closes his eyes, or even when they are open, thinking about the future includes Jungkook in it too.
“Goodnight, moonlight. I’ll be back when the sun shines.”
The next day began early. Too early for Seokjin and Yoongi’s taste. They ate toast with bottles of Pocari next to them while Namjoon breathed down their necks, berating them about doing schoolwork. The mention of it in passing apparently stuck with him despite all the alcohol and weed in their system.
The two of them complain loudly while dutifully doing it. It reminds them of times that have passed when this was the norm.
Namjoon leaves after they eat lunch, kimchi jjigae, kimchi kimbap and heaps of soybean soup.
Taehyung meets them after. He follows them into their apartment, helps them replace bed sheets and immediately falls down Yoongi’s bed. Seokjin lays sprawled on his own, back turned away and watching the Netflix series he and Jungkook were watching the other night.
He hears Taehyung and Yoongi talk in murmurs, understanding dawning on him when particular words and phrases are said between them.
Seokjin’s already texting Jungkook if he can swing by his place instead.
The reply comes twenty minutes later, an affirmative. He switches the iPad off and only brings his phone and keys. He bids the two goodbye, and locks the apartment door.
Taehyung is leaving soon.
Not even soon.
Taehyung is leaving later at midnight and the clock is ticking.
He’ll give them all the privacy they need. Yoongi will surely miss him, and he does not say it out loud but Taehyung has been a permanent fixture in their lives for almost four years now, two of those spent being in a relationship with Yoongi, but he’s sure Yoongi is thinking of this upcoming change with dashes of anxiety and worry.
Seokjin soon finds himself outside Jungkook’s door. He knocks only to be polite. The passcode on the keypad remains the same.
Entering, he hears the unmistakable sound of a video game. He kicks his shoes, still the same bright pink crocs, on the side and enters. The curtains aren’t fully closed, afternoon light peeking here and there.
The first thing Seokjin sees is the large screen of the television, an online RPG playing on the screen. Jungkook’s back is on him, wireless headphones covering his ears. His feet rests on the table. Clicks and presses on the console are also heard.
Seokjin bounds up to him, instantly pulling Jungkook on his chest with a hug while he stands behind the couch.
Jungkook removes the headset, throwing it to the side. His character on the screen stops moving.
“Final fantasy.” Jungkook puckers his lips for a kiss. Seokjin ignores it and presses one on his cheek instead.
“Did you eat lunch?”
“Yeah. Brushed my teeth too.”
Seokjin pretends to contemplate on that.
The console joins the headset. Jungkook angles his head and kisses Seokjin properly.
“You’re annoying.” Jungkook tells him. Seokjin only rolls his eyes.
Seokjin lets go and joins him on the couch, legs bent to the side and knees on Jungkook’s lap. Jungkook takes the console again and rests his elbow on top of Seokjin’s thighs.
“He did. Not without being a dictator first and forcing me and Yoongi to do our homework.”
“Yoongi-hyung’s with Taehyung, I presume?”
Seokjin sighs. “They’re in the room.”
“How nice of you.”
Seokjin is reminded of why Taehyung is there.
In a few hours it will become reality.
Jungkook pauses the game. “School starts in a few days.”
Seokjin’s not really upset about it, although there is something about the people in his life steadily moving on to their greater purposes that stirs up bittersweet emotions in his chest.
“He’s not coming back. We’re accompanying him to the airport.”
“We’ll figure it out.”
Jungkook takes his hand and squeezes it for comfort. “Is he happy?”
Seokjin squeezes back. “Very.”
“Then I’m happy for him too.”
Jungkook slaps his hand down Seokjin’s thigh, motioning for him to move over. He gets up from the couch and disappears into the kitchen. He comes back in no less than five seconds, and as though he never moved, returns their bodies into its prior position.
“Give me a kiss.” Jungkook’s already leaning forward for what he asked.
Seokjin guffaws and dodges. “Why?”
Jungkook huffs. “Because I’m your boyfriend and I want one.”
“That reason will get old fast.”
Seokjin does kiss him. He pours into it the assurance of, You don’t have to ask but I like that you do.
A heavy and metallic object is thrusted on his hand. It distracts Seokjin from the lips intent on keeping his attention on the kiss. His head drops down to look at it. Jungkook is relentless, trailing a burning and electric path on his cheek.
It’s the keys to Jungkook’s car.
Seokjin places his hand on Jungkook’s chest, signaling him to stop. The other does but with reluctance.
“Why?” Seokjin turns it over his palm. The smart key is matte black and simple, an object he has seen inserted in the ignition so many times.
“You know why.”
“Yeah, but… are you sure?”
“Of course. I trust you.”
The character on the screen continues off in their adventure. Seokjin would probably be watching gameplays the entire afternoon on Youtube if he wasn’t interested in that new Netflix series. This kind of activity is the norm for him. He exclaims loudly and reacts with interest in everything happening on the screen. He even points out the things Jungkook missed while exploring the virtual world.
An hour passes.
Seokjin has shifted around the couch numerous times that when he does it again, Jungkook side-eyes him. Seokjin notices, amused. Jungkook’s mouth is set in a line. He’s obviously displeased yet won’t say anything about it.
A flurry of more inane movements follows and Jungkook has yet to react. A pillow is placed down his lap without warning, causing him to raise his hands in pause, console still in hand. Seokjin lays his head down on it, feet on the couch’s armrest. He pulls on Jungkook’s forearm and places it on top of his chest.
This new position allows Seokjin a front view of Jungkook. His attention is on the screen, scowling about things Seokjin vaguely understands. One side of his hair is pushed back, the other tucked behind his ear. The earrings are quite distracting, especially the only stud piece versus numerous hoops.
A particular action on screen causes Jungkook’s mouth to twitch. Minutes pass and he’s grinning again. He’s too into what he’s playing, Seokjin thinks. His distractions are fruitless, and this only serves as encouragement for Seokjin to up the ante. He’s unsure where this will go but he has some ideas.
Seokjin sits up once again, chin on Jungkook’s shoulder so he’s facing away from the screen, and arms around his neck. He hears Jungkook sigh and feels a kiss on the side of his head.
“What do you want, hyung?”
“I can’t, I’m playing.”
Seokjin takes it upon himself to show that he can by looping Jungkook’s arm around his waist.
Time passes like this.
Seokjin cranes his head to watch the screen. His eyes fall down every now and then on the spot on his back where his tattoo is. He wonders if Jungkook is aware he’s been pressing down on it. He pushes his body away and studies Jungkook’s face. His observation does not go unnoticed.
It’s the same lips that kissed him where his tattoo is.
Seokjin feels good in Jungkook’s arms.
He knows how good Jungkook can make him feel if he lets him.
The knots in his belly melt and transform into tiny flames. His mind encourages this change, bringing up memories that pushes the burn to travel down below his navel and up where it displays on his face as a flush.
We really mirror each other, Seokjin thinks. That, or Jungkook can read his mind.
The expression on Jungkook’s face can only be described as want. The open desire tugs on his vulnerability.
“Tell me.” Jungkook noses on his jaw, following the sharp and defined line until he’s directly whispering in Seokjin's ear. “Are you feeling what I’m feeling?”
A prompt nod is the only thing Seokjin can do.
“I said tell me. I want to hear you say it.”
Seokjin takes his time and deflects. He hopes it turns Jungkook impatient. He likes the build-up after all. “You said you’re playing.” He pushes Jungkook’s hair back and away from his face, watches it fall back in place perfectly.
“You think I’ll choose my games over you.” Jungkook says slowly. His upper lip curls at the end of the sentence. He scoffs, a smile of incredulousness taking over him for a second.
“What else does my boyfriend need to hear?” Seokjin presses their foreheads together. He enjoys the effect he has on Jungkook. He’s willing to bet that if he kisses him right now, he’ll taste the impatience and rapidly decaying self-control on Jungkook’s tongue.
These games as foreplay were once upon a time second nature to him, during days when he was reckless and slept with anyone who looked at him differently.
Has he told Jungkook about those days?
He’s not sure.
“What about you, Jungkook? Tell me what’s on your mind.”
Jungkook tilts his head to the side. The sudden gentle smile is disarming. He cups Seokjin’s cheek, tender and filled with care. “You wouldn’t wanna know.”
If Jungkook’s plan was to pique Seokjin’s curiosity then it works like a charm. “Well now I want to.”
“Do you really?”
Jungkook laughs at the frustration lacing Seokjin’s voice.
“I picture us in bed; your jaw locked because you can’t stop giving me head. I’m thinking about my head between your thighs while I stare into your eyes.”
Saying such words while wearing a mask of sweetness should be considered vulgar.
“I’m asking you again, hyung. Are you feeling what I’m feeling?”
Driving at night, specifically midnight, is both a blessing and a curse.
Seokjin’s an okay driver.
He’s not like Yoongi who prefers speeding with his motorcycle or Jungkook who sometimes zooms through intersections as if he’s in a street race.
The roads are empty and well-lit but it is still dark. He forces Taehyung and Yoongi to sit in the back, telling them to not worry about a thing. From the rearview mirror, he sees Taehyung with his head on Yoongi’s chest, their hands intertwined and eyes closed.
The music playing is on a low volume. It’s his own night drivin playlist and not Jungkook’s, although there are some tracks from the original and iconic one he definitely added in his version.
Since there is close to zero traffic, they arrived at the airport within an hour.
Seokjin hugs Taehyung goodbye, and he does get a bit teary-eyed.
He tells them he’ll wait in the car, allowing Yoongi to walk Taehyung inside. He watches them disappear inside, Yoongi carrying one of Taehyung’s bags. Their arms are around each other, hands tucked in the back pocket of the other’s pants.
Seokjin’s phone ringing echoes in the car and disrupts the music for a second. Taking it from the dashboard, he laughs at what is written on the text bubble preview.
is my baby okay?
you better be treating her right
Thanks for asking. I'm fine as well .
why are you replying???
don’t text and drive
I’m waiting for Yoongi in the car.
Letting them have much needed babe time before Tae leaves.
i need that too
I’ll hand you the keys later and you can have as much time with your monster truck as you want.
no no my other baby
You have three, I believe.
What a player.
ok but seriously
don’t park yet
let’s go drive around
You want me to pick you up with your own car?
stop pretending you don't like it
Where are we going?
it doesn't matter where we go
You are only allowed to say one corny thing at a time.
Now we’re talking.
Yoongi comes back, eyes red-rimmed. He joins Seokjin in the passenger seat, and he asks if it’s alright with Seokjin to sleep over at Jungkook’s tonight so he can have the apartment to himself. Seokjin agrees without a second thought. He knows when to give Yoongi his space and when he has to break those stubborn walls down.
They don’t bother with actual conversation. Seokjin only asks Yoongi to change up the music for him, the tracks in his playlist switching into the songs from the purple strawberries redux album they’ve both been into lately.
It puts Yoongi in a better mood, fingers tapping on his thigh alongside the beat.
The drive back is even quicker since Seokjin’s now familiar with the directions.
Yoongi looks confused when Seokjin stops right in front of the building and not in the basement parking lot. He doesn’t ask, only says goodnight and tells him to be safe.
Rather than texting Jungkook he’s downstairs and waiting, Seokjin takes a deep breath and takes everything in.
What was once a new place has once again turned into home. The buildings and shops have changed throughout the years, and he cannot remember everything, but he’s sure he tried all of them at one point.
The elevators move too slow around eight in the morning or five in the afternoon. When it rains, his white uniform always stains a muddy grey. He’s still in school and has yet to worry too much about the future. Some his age are already working or starting different chapters in their lives. He’s admittedly going about it slow, medical school hardships aside. On the outside, it must seem like his life is set for him. Most of them in the same boat as him are simply drowning in what they do best; studying and waiting until they are next in line.
The future isn’t as scary though.
He has Yoongi. He has Taehyung. He has Namjoon. His parents are passive but supportive, a relationship he is thankful for.
And of course.
He has Jungkook.
Jungkook who was his first love, then an ex-boyfriend, a questionable friend, and now they are together again.
Looking at their timeline in summary, it must appear dramatic and messy. He’s lived it though, and he thinks they were just… looking for peace while trying not to get lost in each other.
He thinks about the tomato plant that started out as a joke but ended up being important. Almost symbolic. He thinks of his tattoo that manages to still shock him when he gets a glimpse of it. His earring that matches Jungkook’s isn’t particularly surprising, he feels and sees it everyday after all; it’s the background story behind it that gets to him.
He tries to recall everything from the past every once in a while. Not to compare, but to reminisce how far things have come.
Five minutes of introspection has passed.
He texts Jungkook to come down. He waits longer than he expected, and just when impatience was setting in, he sees Jungkook coming out of the building wearing something colorful for once.
Seokjin chuckles at the reversal. He’s the one on the driver’s seat in all black while Jungkook’s donning a pink sweater.
He berates Jungkook for taking too long. His complaints die in Jungkook’s mouth, kissing him and holding his face with both his hands, thumbs caressing his cheeks.
Seokjin will discover later the reason why Jungkook is late.
They’ll arrive back in Jungkook’s place with takeout, and he’ll sit on Jungkook’s couch watching Netflix while Jungkook plays on his PC. Seokjin will hear curses and loud laughter. At one point he’ll glare at Jungkook’s direction because of how arrogant he sounds when he’s winning. He’ll smoke outside Jungkook’s balcony, careful not to blow the smoke in the tomato plant’s direction.
Jungkook will appear by the door to tell him, “Can you turn off my PC? I’m going to shower.” He will disappear before Seokjin can wonder out loud why he has to do it when Jungkook has been sitting in front of it for hours.
He’ll ash out his cigarette, come inside, make his way to Jungkook’s computer, and see a file smack dab on the center of the screen.
HEY HYUNG READ PLEASE.pdf
Seokjin’s heart will start racing, and when he opens it, the words they have been saying this entire time without physically saying so will take over him from head to toe that he’ll start feeling lightheaded.
He’ll be looking at a corny yet not-shitty poetry that rhymes, and he’ll see photos of him, photos of them, and photos of the places they went to these past days.
All in color.
And Seokjin will remember the poem once forgotten, a poem whose sentiment still rings true, of times when they saw each other as the world when an entire universe exists within them.
I see love in everything because I found it in you.
I’m beginning to find it in myself too.