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Seokjin meets his first love and ex-boyfriend Jungkook for the very first time in four years.

They say that as you get older, the lack of reaction to certain situations is because you have probably experienced it too many times that you just get used to it. The novelty of something new can only be experienced once in your life, and attachment to it usually causes hurt that follows you like a ghost.

Kim Seokjin was 19 when he met Jeon Jungkook, and it’s a year after that he got his heart broken for the very first time. Seokjin learns from it; survives, hardens, and becomes a better person. He dates many people, gets another boyfriend after three years, and breaks up with him after a year of being together. 

He hasn’t seen Jungkook in four years, never thought he would see him in a crowded bar that is a thousand miles away from where they met the very first time. In a sea of first year medical students mingling, he saw Jungkook outside the bar with a bottle of beer on one hand and a cigarette on the other. 

(When they were together, Jungkook was only 18. Younger than him but also a second year college student. They were under the same department but in different majors; Seokjin in biology and Jungkook in chemistry. They were in the same class for an entire semester and only spoke a week before it ended. Jungkook is friends with his friends, and they would spend the remaining finals week smoking outside of school and panicking about organic chemistry.

Jungkook stole Seokjin’s earphones from his bag, and their mutual friend Jinsang tells Seokjin that its just how Jungkook is. He obtains the thief’s number, his first ever message to Jungkook a string of curses telling him to give back his earphones. Jungkook says he will when they meet again in the new semester. Seokjin waits for it to roll around, cursing everyday that he let an 18 year old chemistry major with butter fingers take his precious earphones from him.

Jungkook would annoy him from time to time, and on a day wherein Seokjin was particularly bored, he actually made the effort to keep the conversation going only to be pleasantly surprised that despite his kleptomaniac tendencies, Jungkook had a good head on him. They liked the same shows, music, games, and even share the same ideologies. Political stances are everything for college kids like them, so when he adds a rainbow emoticon next to Jungkook’s name, and when he starts smiling stupidly to himself as they talk about Cloud Atlas, Seokjin knew he had a crush.

Seokjin returns a week early to his dormitory to fix his enrollment, and Jungkook agrees to meet with him. The earphones remain an excuse. They watched Oldboy on Seokjin’s brand new MacBook Air, and when Jungkook tells him he has not seen a single Bond film, Seokjin makes him sit through every single one that has Daniel Craig in it. By the time he converted the younger, it was already night time and Jungkook couldn’t leave due to the dorm curfews. They shared Seokjin’s tiny bed, and at around four in the morning, he realizes that Jungkook is still awake. Jungkook who probably had enough of the tension and simply kissed him.

Seokjin realizes what love meant two months after becoming official with Jungkook. Within six months of being high on emotion, Jungkook breaks up with him. Seokjin learns about heartbreak too. He learns what it is like going to class drunk or high or both when the hurt in his chest made itself known too loud. Two weeks after the break up, they sleep together one last time before Jungkook starts dating a girl that Seokjin knew was not just a classmate.)

He fail an entire year’s worth of classes, and Seokjin learns what it is like to be at the lowest point in life. He’s stopped cursing Jungkook at this point. If Jungkook did not break his heart, he wouldn’t have become stronger; wouldn’t have met the best friend of his life Min Yoongi who was a year below them. Jungkook graduates before him, and in his final year, Seokjin starts dating someone again. Not a hookup, not a fuck buddy, and not a one night stand; a real boyfriend. He was sure this time around it would be different. But Heesu is wildly immature, he never understood Seokjin’s references nor did he try to. He doesn’t know how to communicate, and depended on Seokjin more than he should. He would walk out when they fight, even when it’s in the middle of the cinema or the street. Seokjin breaks up with him a year later; that was two months ago. Seokjin walks the stage to get his degree, a paper plaque that represents his hard work. Not even a week passes and he’s already back to learning as a first year again, but this time in medical school. He and Yoongi applied to the same school; somewhere far, far away from everywhere else. They refused to leave each other alone, starting their new life as roommates in an apartment that cost thrice their old separate dorm rooms.

Seokjin and Yoongi’s new classmates decided to go to the infamous bars nearby so that they can all warm up to each other; their first week in medical school is over after all. Everyone will learn sooner or later that drinking is a pastime for people like them. Yoongi told him before they arrived that the others probably just want to get him drunk seeing as Seokjin is the prettiest one in their class, no contest. He’s usually narcissistic, but compared to their alma mater that was situated closer to the countryside, their new classmates are mostly city kids. 

“Shut the fuck up, hyung. We’re from the city too, we just studied in the boondocks. Now we’re city kids actually studying in the city again, and you’re the fairest one of all, be proud because I’ am.” Yoongi’s pep talks calm him down similar as to when he has a Marlboro menthol between his lips. 

Yoongi was right when he said that they were interested in him; so interested that the attention starts making him anxious and he ended up having to excuse himself for a smoke outside the bar. Yoongi has completely left him alone on their table to flirt with someone sitting by the stools. From the looks of it, Seokjin might have to find another place to sleep at tonight. It‘s fine with him since that’s just how Yoongi is. He takes someone home at the start of a semester and never does it again until the new one rolls around the corner. Seokjin can take dozing off at a 24 hour convenience store for one night because that is what bros do.

He exits the bar, feeling a bit conscious at how people’s eyes follow him. That's usually how it is for fresh meat like him. It's like the adult version of when the school organizations bombard freshmen to join them. Seokjin has already considered leaving after a smoke, but one of his classmates ordered another plate of pork barbecue, and that is something Seokjin can get behind staying for. 

He pushes through the crowd, only letting out a breathe of relief when he’s somewhere on the side of the establishment with other people smoking. He places the cigarette stick between his lips, fumbles for Yoongi’s lighter that he uses as a tool for picking up girls and guys alike, and lights up.

The lighter says, “Return to me using your left hand if you want to make out.” Seokjin’s amazed by how many people Yoongi pulled with that trick. He calls it his ‘night out lighters,’ always engraving it to a new lighter when the gas runs outs. He handed it to Seokjin earlier before making his way to his conquest of the night, telling him to use it wisely. Seokjin pulls his phone out to look busy, mindlessly scrolling through his gallery with the brightness on low. 

When the nicotine calms him enough, that’s when Seokjin sees him.

He will recognize those eyes anywhere. He could be on his deathbed with a faulty memory and he’s a hundred percent sure he will know those eyes. 

The very first pair of eyes that looked at Seokjin with love, and the same ones that stared at him blankly while telling him that their relationship was over. The same eyes that roamed all over his body a week after breaking up with him just for one last time. 

Jeon Jungkook is someone you do not forget. 

When they were much younger, Jungkook was on the cusp of filling out his features. He leaned on the side of skinny with short hair always cut sharp and contrasting with his face that was still getting rid of the baby fat. 

The Jungkook standing on the other side of the bar might as well be a stranger to Seokjin because this is not the same person that he thinks of when he is reminiscing and turning their memories over his head. 

This Jungkook has a defined jaw with long hair framing his cheekbones. The tips curl at the end, softening the sharpness of his bone structure. This Jungkook is wearing a charcoal gray shirt, a bottle of beer on his hand and a cigarette on the other, while surrounded by so many people all looking at him. He’s got so many ear piercings; something he always said he wanted to do. Seokjin turns around so fast he gets whiplash. The cigarette between his fingers suddenly felt heavy, and he catches himself trembling. 

Seokjin has not felt a new emotion in five years. He thought seeing ex lovers is bittersweet nostalgia, the feeling he gets whenever he watches Gwen Stefani’s music video for the iconic song Cool. But nostalgia for Seokjin felt like getting hit by a brick over the head and having to remain standing. 

He remembers the first line of the song the way he knows there are four blood groups: “It’s hard to remember how it felt before now I’ve found the love of my life.” Seokjin did not get the memo that bittersweet nostalgia can only be experienced when you have found love again, but when he realized that Heesu was not that for him, the emotion just bounced around in his mind palace not knowing where to go. Seokjin remembers it clearly so suddenly, as if someone is putting a side by side cut of his memories with Heesu and Jungkook. Jungkook who wanted to get a matching astrology tattoo with him, and Heesu who can’t remember that Seokjin is a sagittarius. Jungkook who would not get a reference that he makes only to tell him a few days later, “I binged watch all available seasons of Sherlock, hyung. When I say vatican cameos, you stay put and I’ll kiss you, yeah?” 

He gets too lost in his thoughts that Seokjin doesn’t notice the stranger approaching him until they speak. “Can I borrow a lighter?” 

Seokjin mentally smacks his self, and he hands the stranger Yoongi’s lighter without much thought. Seokjin offers the stranger a small smile, just a quirk of the corner of his lips for a semblance of politeness. He suddenly feels too aware of his lips: the line of his lips that is (was?) Jungkook’s favorite part of him. 

Christ, the kid got hot.

The stranger lights up his cigarette, and Seokjin feels compelled to take out another from his box of menthols to accompany the stranger and soothe his fraying nerves. The stranger lights his cigarette for him, using Yoongi’s lighter, and Seokjin would roll his eyes if he wasn’t suddenly so aware of the environment around him. He hands the lighter back to Seokjin who pockets it inside his jeans. Thank god he wore normal skinny jeans and not the ones that showed off his thighs like Yoongi suggested. Seokjin likes having pockets thank you very much. Besides, his white t-shirt, black jeans, and white chucks get-up still got him free shots and food. Shit, food. Seokjin wants to stuff his mouth full of barbecue and not think about other things. Things like maybe, just maybe, Jungkook is now the hot ex and Seokjin the mess. He really did not need this when he’s a bit tipsy from those Jägerbombs he got after Yoongi left him to fend for himself. 

“Your place or mine?”

It takes Seokjin a few seconds to realize that the question is coming from the lighter borrowing stranger who is looking at him with a raised brow. 

“What?”

“Isn’t this the part where we are supposed to make out?” He’s smiling, not arrogant but simply amused. Adults attending graduate school doing undergraduate freshman things sure are a different type of breed. 

“I don’t know you..?” Seokjin trails off, but he isn’t drowning in alcohol unlike other times so it instantly clicks. Oh, my god. He’s going to kill Yoongi for this. “No, oh my god, ew-, I mean not you, shit, I’m sorry, but no. Fuck, sorry.” It makes the stranger laugh, his mouth forming into a shape that reminds Seokjin of a box. He is handsome, now that he is looking at him instead of just staring right through him. 

“Hey, it’s okay. For a good minute there I was almost worried you’d just kiss me the moment I return it to you with my left hand.” 

“Right..” Memories of Yoongi doing exactly that flash through his mind. 

“So.. are we both freshmen in medical school or did I just bother a senior?” 

“The former.” Seokjin instantly feels lighter, the conversation providing a good distraction from his subconscious that just won’t let him rest. “Is this the part where I ask if we’re block-mates?” He throws the phrase back at his companion. 

“We’re not. I would definitely remember someone like you if we are,” A puff and a huff makes the guy pause, “I’m Kim Taehyung.”

“Kim Seokjin.” They smoke in silence, the atmosphere between them better than earlier. 

When they finish, they stub out the cigarette on their foot, nothing now to distract them from looking at each other. “Well, I got to go now. I was about to head home.” Taehyung’s tone almost sounds like a question. 

Seokjin doesn’t waste time and says, “I got food waiting for me inside. Nice meeting you, Taehyung.” 

“Pleasure is mine.” With a nod of his head, Taehyung turns around and Seokjin is left alone again. Feeling a bit better, he turns as well and sees that the crowd gathered around Jungkook has dispersed. He lets out a sigh of relief; from what he doesn’t know. 

Maybe it’s just weird for Seokjin that the person who knows him best, besides Yoongi, is someone who he has not talked to in years. 

Walking back inside the bar earns him more stares. He pays them no mind. Barbecue is the goal and after that, well.. maybe he should’ve taken up Taehyung’s offer. He could've crash a bit in wherever they would go then leave before anything happens.

He is instantly spotted by Yoosung, one of his block-mates. “Hey, Seokjin! Food is here!” 

For the second time that night, Seokjin sees him. This time though, Jungkook is looking back. 

It’s through pure willpower that he manages to move his gaze to Yoosung, a smile gracing his lips. He feels a piercing stare on his back as he circles around their table. Why is Jungkook sitting with them? What business does he have with a bunch of freshmen? Seokjin has cut off his ex-boyfriend on social media, but he is aware that Jungkook proceeded to medical school. He just didn’t know that its the same as his and Yoongi’s. It’s just his luck that his spot is right across Jungkook. 

He’s got another guy with him whose eyes also attach to Seokjin, “Yoosung-ah, you have a really handsome classmate right here!” So that’s why. Jungkook leans back on the wooden chair, gulps down beer from the bottle placed in front of him, and Seokjin takes this as a chance to greet the other guy. “Hello, I’m Kim Seokjin. I’m a freshman too.”

“Wow, the freshmen are all so good-looking and polite! I’m Nam Yonghwa, you can count on me when you need anything.” 

The girls on their table ignore Yonghwa and him, all eyes focused on Jungkook. Seokjin takes a stick of barbecue and starts eating because what else is he supposed to do? 

Jungkook places the bottle down, hands circled around his chest. Yonghwa turns to him, “This brat.. aren’t you going to introduce yourself?”

“...”

“...”

“Jeon Jungkook.”  

For the sake of keeping up appearances, Seokjin nods at him and says, “Nice to meet you.” 

Conversation flows around their table. Seokjin just keeps on eating so that they won’t try talking to him. Jungkook is giving the others clipped responses, earning him worrying glances from Yonghwa. This cold and aloof Jungkook is different from the one he is used to.

“Jungkook-sunbae, our Seokjin actually attended the same university as you during undergrad. Did you know him?” Yoosung asks excitedly. Jungkook tells him that he doesn’t, and Seokjin is thankful but annoyed at the same time. Seokjin lifts his gaze away from the table to the stools and doesn’t see Yoongi or the girl he was chatting up earlier. He’s ate three sticks of barbecue already.

“I’ll just go outside for a smoke break. Ate too much.” Seokjin announces. He could just leave already but he will not. He’ll bury the uncomfortable and awkward feeling until it is Jungkook who leaves. They tell him to go ahead and be careful; Seokjin nods and tries his best to not seem super excited to get away from them. 

Seokjin's back to the spot he was at earlier. He didn’t actually want to smoke, taking out his phone this time to pester Yoongi:

 

Please hear my pleas.

This is the first and last time I will do this.

I’m going home tonight please do not let me see things I do not want to see.

 

“Hey.” 

The owner of said voice is standing right beside him with his hands inside grey joggers. People around them didn’t even try hiding how they ogle.

“Hey.” What else is he supposed to say? Seokjin didn’t want his voice to sound so soft, but it comes out like that. He turns off his phone and puts his hand down. On second thought, maybe he does need a smoke. 

Jungkook’s already lighting one stick up, and Seokjin doesn’t mean to take notice of such a minor detail, but he still smokes the same pack of Marlboro lights that Seokjin used to hate. When they were dating, he would always make Jungkook buy menthols so they could share. He thinks of what Jungkook’s reaction would be like if he finds out that Seokjin can smoke lights now too, courtesy of Yoongi refusing to baby him and buy menthols so they could share that instead. 

The moment he places the cigarette between his lips, Jungkook’s already moving closer to him and lighting Seokjin’s stick. Jungkook sucks on the cigarette perched between his thin lips, and Seokjin hates the way he knows how Jungkook breathes in the nicotine to his lungs. A huff and a puff, a hand through his hair, and a smile directed at Seokjin. Funny how things like this exist in the corners of his mind, waiting to be re-awakened, to remind him of how Jungkook did the same thing at 18. 

“Hope that was okay.” Jungkook says.

“It is. Thanks.”

Seokjin thinks of synergy as the measurement unit of how he close he and another person is. How when he tells Yoongi to meet him for a smoke break after class and there is no need to tell Yoongi a second time; he’s just there with Seokjin’s stick of menthols and his favorite lemon mint candy. Yoongi’s infallibility on knowing what to do when Seokjin is either too drunk or too high to function. Seokjin can reach out a hand during dinner time at a restaurant, whether it be their usual or a new one, and Yoongi knows what condiment to hand him. 

He’s never had that kind of wavelength with Heesu. Seokjin has to tell him things twice, or better yet he will just get ignored over what he says. Seokjin could tell Heesu that one plus one is two and Heesu would say the answer is three just to spite him.

Jungkook is a bit different though. 19 year old Seokjin used to look at Jungkook and sees himself reflected back. Jungkook doesn’t understand him the way Yoongi does because he does not have to; he and Seokjin thought exactly the same way. It wasn’t a connection born out of getting used to each other, but an understanding that only onsets when you and another person are mirror images of one another. They loved each other, beamed the other so brightly they ended up staring right into the sun. When the seeds of hatred and insecurity and doubt blooms, the veins that were wrapped around their necks suffocating their relationship are mirrored too. What the other is they intensify, because that is what happens when you mix what is alike. Jungkook and Seokjin’s inner turmoil swallowed their relationship whole, and it took Seokjin two years before he realized that Jungkook left him because they couldn’t save each other when it is their own hands pulling the other down.

“You want to go home, don’t you?” Jungkook says, breaking their silence. It’s always him who does. 

“Yeah, but my roommate won’t respond. He’s got someone over and I’m supposed to stay out of the way. You know how it is.”

“A roommate? You? Never thought you would get one.”

“Me too. But Yoongi is my best friend, so I tolerate him. He’s as bad as me when it comes to personal boundaries.”  That makes Jungkook chuckle. Oh, he knows how bad it is. Seokjin would start timing him when he was nearing the 24 hour mark allowable to staying in his dorm, giving Jungkook the stink eye and saying with no subtlety that he should leave him alone soon. 

The cigarette on his mouth seems to burn faster than what he’s used to. Seokjin needs to hold on to something to ground himself, and he knows he’ll pass away quicker than most because of his bad habits, but he would grit his teeth through the awkwardness than smoke another. At this point, he really just wants to go back to his bed that he isn’t used too yet, and read shitty poetry he’s got saved on his phone to at least make use of all the misplaced energy tonight has given him.

“I’ll see you around.” Seokjin gives himself a pat on the back because he managed to not make that sound like a question. 

“Where are you gonna go?” Jungkook on the other hand doesn’t read the room. It annoys Seokjin a bit; they both know Jungkook absolutely understands what Seokjin means between the lines, but here he is with his hands in his pockets flexing muscles 18 year old Jungkook did not have and making conversation with a Seokjin who looks exactly the same.

Seokjin lets out a breathy laugh, the one he does when what he actually wants to do is stare off into the distance like there is a hidden camera and say, ‘Are you guys seeing this?’

“I’m not really sure. Probably wait it out by the 7Eleven downstairs the condominium building.”

“Wait, is that where you dorm? The one just across school?”

Seokjin should have known. It's the nicest place in the block; just right across the college and hospital with a 7Eleven, Starbucks, and a few restaurants at the first and second floor lobby. Rent is super expensive for him and Yoongi, so they had to share a room together. “You live there too don’t you?”

Jungkook laughs, and Seokjin notices how he doesn’t cover his mouth when he does anymore. 

“That entire building is occupied by the students of our school. 80% of the time someone is from there, even the professors.”

Seokjin can tell what is coming next, and it’s a sweet gesture really, but what will happen to him when Yoongi hears about it? A scolding, that’s what. Or maybe not, Yoongi encourages him to always make mistakes after all. Something about learning best when life kicks you in the balls for all your wrong decisions. 

“I’ll see you around?” Seokjin repeats it but ends up phrasing it as a question. 

“Is it okay if I join you? I’ve been wanting to leave too.” 

There’s no reason to say no. It’s just Jungkook. Jungkook who was the very first to take Seokjin to bed, the one who would bring him food from home when Seokjin spends his money on something at the start of the week and has to live off noodles for the rest because he’s broke, and god, just it being Jungkook should be enough for him to turn him down.

A voice in his head says, “That was the Jungkook of the past. Why are you acting virginal? You literally had a hoe phase for two years and cried over many other guys. You fell in love again even though it was with an ass named Heesu, and most importantly, the one you love the most is Kim Seokjin. Now, say yes and let him walk you home because we are too pretty to die in these dirty streets.” 

“Okay, sure.”

“Just let me say bye to Yonghwa. Wait for me, please. I promise I’ll be back.” Jungkook’s walking back inside the bar, and Seokjin scowls at his retreating figure. He almost has better shoulders now. Almost. A petty part of him wanted to argue and say, “You told me that before, asshole. Next thing I knew you were dating that Jieun girl you told me not to worry about.” 

Seokjin checks his phone. Still no response from Yoongi. 

 

Yoooooooooongi

REPLY TO ME YOONGI!!!!!!!

Yoongi I’m about to walk home with my ex-boyfriend and maybe sit with him in a too bright convenience store!!!!! Do you know how that sounds???? Like the bad indie movies we put on as background noise Yoongi!!!!!!! 

 

Of course there is no response. He shouldn’t blame Yoongi for leaving him alone tonight, but it was the other who dragged him here. 

Seokjin’s trying to not count down the time of when Jungkook would come back and they would go home together. They will walk together, talk some more, and quite possibly bring up the question Seokjin wouldn’t know how to answer. He shoos it off his mind. The clock tells him that it’s 2:16 am, five minutes has passed since Jungkook told him to wait. What if he lied? What if he’s not coming back and Seokjin is going to look like the fool who got asked to wait twice by the same person who never came back? God, he will kill Jungkook. He should have. But Jungkook’s not like that. He’s an ass and a bit of a bully but never to Seokjin. Jungkook was that sappy 'mean to everyone but a baby to his baby'  type of boyfriend. Ex-boyfriend. Seokjin needs a smoke, and at this point, not nicotine. 

A honk startles him from his thoughts. There is a black Jeep Wrangler in the middle of the road. People are looking, not at the car, but to see who will step in it. Seokjin doesn’t move from his spot, also curious. His eyes appreciate the car despite not knowing shit about them. He thinks to himself that city kids really are different. Then he sees it. 

GCF

A supercut plays in his mind of all the times he accompanied Jungkook to a PC Bang, playing the entire night away while Seokjin watches Buzzfeed Unsolved on the computer next to his. Most of the time he would bring homework with him or his lecture notes to study because unlike Jungkook, Seokjin actually needs to exert effort on his academics.

GCF, ranked Challenger in the League of Legends Korean server

GCF, ranked Grandmaster in Overwatch

GCF, ranked Immortal in DOTA2 

Call of Duty, Fortnite, PUBG, CSGO, Rainbow Siege 6, and more. At one point, Jungkook was one of the top players in Candy Crush on a global leaderboard. He excels in everything, especially games, and Jungkook always use the same in-game name: GCF. 

He feels light-headed as he walk towards the looming car. Everyone’s going to see him get in Jungkook’s chariot of darkness and be whisked away for the night, can already hear the churning of the rumor mill. ‘First year Kim Seokjin and golden boy Jeon Jungkook leaves the bar together in a rush, do they know each other?’ 

Jungkook reaches over to open the door for him, and Seokjin is grateful because he took one look at the handle and knew he would make a fool of himself trying to figure out how to open the damn door. He tries his best to enter the car as gracefully as possible, the steps higher than what he is used to in regular cars. Seokjin and Yoongi both have licenses, and Yoongi is even permitted to drive motorcycles and trucks and whatnot, but neither of them own a car. Five years ago Jungkook didn’t have one too, not even a license. They used to talk about how someday Jungkook will learn to drive and he and Seokjin can go to all the places they wanted to see. 

“Congrats on the car. And getting your license.” Seokjin says. Jungkook looks surprised for a second, only to smile. 

“Thank you,” Jungkook turns on his seat to reach behind Seokjin’s head for the seat belt, “There we go.” And then the car starts moving and Seokjin wonders if it’s too late to say no and go back inside the bar, maybe eat more barbecue. He pulled the move on Seokjin, the move that Seokjin squeals about when he’s reading shoujo manga. The Jungkook in his memories never even bought him flowers, always food or something practical like highlighters. 

The condominium complex isn’t that far away from the bar, it was a ten minute walk at best, so they arrive at their destination in less than five minutes. No words were exchanged between them, Jungkook’s eyes on the empty road and Seokjin’s outside the window. Jungkook parks at the basement, the place packed with cars except for one empty spot. Seokjin heard that beside the expensive rent, the parking space cost top dollar as well. The guard on duty doesn’t even stop them, obviously knowing who Jungkook is. 

Jungkook moves the gear shift to reverse, and without saying anything else, puts his arm behind Seokjin’s seat to start parking. Seokjin keeps his eyes on Jungkook’s left hand on the steering wheel because he’s sure that if he looks at Jungkook right now, he will lose it. Call him a simple man, but when guys reverse park and puts their arm behind the seat, Seokjin just wants to give it all up. When he’s done, Jungkook takes a moment to put the gear shift back to drive before shutting the engine off.

“Sorry about that,” Jungkook ruffles Seokjin’s hair, “Too dark to see from the mirrors.” It was a simple thing, a thing even Yoongi does when he’s sheepish or feels overly fond over Seokjin, but this is just unfair. 

“Why are you apologizing? It’s your car.” He mumbles, unbuckling his seat belt. “Yeah, but I might have made you uncomfortable, I don’t know.” 

Seokjin throws caution out the window to stare incredulously at the other. “You’re telling me that after touching my hair?”

“Ah, sorry, hyung. I thought I still have hair touching privilege.” Jungkook looks amused and obviously not sorry at all. This is Jungkook’s charm at full force; something that only he possessed. He gives you a big grin, eyes crinkling into crescents, and you are compelled to let him get away with things. Seokjin is well aware of it, he was a victim to it after all. Who in their right mind would date someone whose first impression was stealing your earphones? 

“You don’t. Only Yoongi can touch my hair now.” Seokjin opens the door, the inside interior at least more normal than the alien handle on the exterior. He waits for Jungkook to exit the car, still grinning to himself. He runs his hands through his hair, the strands still falling stubbornly over his forehead. Seokjin wants to tell him to leave his hair alone, but the voice in his head mocks him about it. Leave his hair alone because it’s annoying how good it looks?

Seokjin’s never been to the parking lot. When he and Yoongi moved in, the moving truck was upstairs and people watched them struggle with their furniture bringing it up to the 14th floor. Seokjin took up the role of apologizing for the inconvenience since Yoongi doesn’t care about stuff like that

“Is Yoongi someone you’re dating?” Jungkook asks him when they get into the elevator. The door closes, and Jungkook presses the button to the roof deck. “Why are we going to the roof deck?” Seokjin ignores the question and presses the button to his floor. 

“Thought you said you can’t go back there right now.”

“Oh. Right. I told you already, Yoongi’s my best friend, we’re not like that. My best friend who is getting his dick wet and has locked me out of the apartment. I was agreeable to it but now I just want to lay down somewhere soft.”  

Jungkook only hums, the unspoken reply materializing in Seokjin’s brain. Jungkook was his best friend once, and they were like that.

The elevator stops at the 14th floor, opening and closing. Feeling awkward about it, Seokjin speaks up, “Where’s your floor at?”

“The 28th.”

The elevator buttons stop at the 27th, and Seokjin realizes that Jungkook meant the penthouse floor because of course, that’s where he will be. 

The roof deck isn’t empty. It's an open-air space with a bunch of plants smack dab in the middle fenced with a granite marble slab forming a rectangle that serves as benches. People are sitting on the slab smoking, some seems to be studying, and there are some leaning through the glass fence separating them from free-falling through the air. 

The two newcomers decide to sit on the farthest end of the slab where it’s just them. It’s where the night lamps are brightest, deterring couples from arguably the best spot in the roof deck. 

Seokjin takes out his cigarette box, fiddling with it. He always smoke too much when he drinks, but the cold air and the nice view would be a good background when he feels the mint on his throat.

“You wanna hit my pen with me?” 

The offer from Jungkook surprises him, but he nods instantly. It hasn’t been a long time since he smoked the good stuff; he woke up yesterday with a fresh bowl on his rose quartz pipe courtesy of Yoongi. Smoking with Jungkook was his first foray into it. One day, he brings a plastic container with space cakes to Seokjin’s dorm and asks the older if he trusts him. Seokjin was 19, young and game for everything. After an hour and a half, he and Jungkook were slow dancing off-beat to Bed Peace as if it was the most romantic song that ever existed, just giggling to each other. That day, Jungkook took so many of his firsts. First time to get high, his first time, becoming Seokjin’s first boyfriend, and hearing the words “I love you” and actually believing it. 

Jungkook fishes the pen from his pocket. It looks just like Yoongi’s, except it's matte black and Yoongi’s is a plain metal one. 

“Do you just carry this with you?” Seokjin asks, taking the pen from Jungkook and hitting it several times before giving it back. Jungkook watches him, his eyelids a bit heavy. “I don’t like drinking heavily anymore.” Jungkook says. Seokjin grumbles a, “True that,” and straightens his back. He has his hands on the slab, stretching his back and neck. He feels the delicious curl of THC in his bloodstream going straight to his brain, and Jungkook is hitting the pen beside him, blowing smoke rings that Seokjin sees disappear into the starless night sky. 

Seokjin closes his eyes to enjoy the quiet both in his brain and surroundings. Jungkook seems to have other ideas.

“I’ll just come out with it,” His voice is so low that Seokjin would not have heard him if it wasn’t for the indica strain helping his mind to focus, “It’s a pleasure to see you again, Seokjin-hyung.” 

He doesn’t say anything, but he struggles to keep himself upright. His legs are starting to feel like jelly, and Seokjin wants.. music. Just so happens that Jungkook has the nicest voice he’s ever heard. It’s unfair really, how he excels in everything. 

Seokjin’s moved on from him so long ago that he only feels nostalgic toward the experiences they shared. The loving, the hurting, and the storm that rained on him for a year. He's been clean of Jungkook for so long. Hell, he's still dealing with his break-up with Heesu who keeps trying to contact him with the most creative ways since he blocked him everywhere on social media. 

Seokjin opens his eyes, and Jungkook’s right there looking at him. Just waiting. He looks at this person, the catalyst for Seokjin to change his life. Jungkook loved him. He loved Seokjin so much that sometimes it drives him to tears  knowing that a person has loved him so much that it hurt. Seokjin is thankful that at least once in his life, even for just a while, he was loved. It was the one thing he was sure about, a hundred percent, even after the break-up: he was loved. And because of that, Seokjin was able to recognize that the love he needed to be unbreakable had to come from himself. 

Without hard feelings, he says, “It’s good to see you too, Jungkookie.” 

Chapter Text

4 Years Ago

2nd Semester, a month after The End

Seokjin loses himself whenever he and Jungkook fight. To him, it feels like the world is closing in and the ground is falling on his feet. His mind cannot stay put. He only has Jungkook to lean on, and when they fight, then there is no one left for him. 

It has been four days since he decided to officially get over Jungkook; a month already from when they actually broke up. He thought it would be too loud in his own head, but there is just silence. Jungkook left and he took everything with him. Seokjin’s been living off cigarettes and water bottles for days now. Sometimes, he eats some cup noodles to stave off the hunger, but it ends up tasting weird on his tongue.  

It started with a fight in public. 

Seokjin sees Jungkook at the 7Eleven nearby their campus smoking with his classmates. Jungkook stands up to greet his boyfriend; they had a good time last night. They were fighting over the weekend because of something Seokjin doesn’t even remember anymore. It didn’t matter. They were okay again. But then Seokjin sees her . They were sitting on the benches outside 7Eleven, and Jieun was right in the middle with Jungkook on her left and their classmate Jinsang on her right. The other chemistry majors who smoked were there as well, all talking animatedly. 

When Jungkook approached him, Seokjin dragged him to the side, Seokjin’s back turned on the group. 

“Why the fuck are you with her?” Seokjin goes on auto-pilot during these moments. Just memories of Jungkook talking about how he used to like Jieun, that Jieun is one of the four girls in the chemistry department and the rest were males, that Jungkook thought she was cool because she didn’t mind him smoking too much. 

Jungkook looked at him with confusion. They were so happy last night, and this Seokjin is so different. “Hyung, we’re classmates. We hang out.” Jungkook said weakly. 

Seokjin felt like he was possessed, because he shoves Jungkook on the chest so hard that he almost falls, “And what about me? You know how I feel about her, Jungkook. This is bullshit.” Seokjin walked away, and when he was standing in front of his dorm, he realized that Jungkook did not follow him. 

The night passed with no message from Jungkook. Three days later, he asked Jungkook over text if they were over, and he said yes. Seokjin broke down, felt numb, thought it was a joke, and more. He was experiencing so many emotions that he needed to get out of his dorm room. He left his space and was found in the corridor by Kim Namjoon, a first year medical student studying in their school’s College of Medicine. He lives in the room next to Seokjin and found him shaking on the floor in the hallway. 

Namjoon majored in psychology for his pre-med, and he took it upon himself to be Seokjin’s personal therapist. Seokjin thinks that it is his way of saying that they are friends. He remembered Namjoon asking him if he has anyone to call for help and he said, “Nobody because the one person who I rely on fucking left me.”

It was the truth. Seokjin did not make any close friends during his first year, too busy studying than being social. He took more class load than the other students, and his schedule did not coincide with his block-mates. Seokjin’s only friend was Jungkook, who he apparently broke up with. Remembering that made him cry harder. Namjoon finally took pity on him, bringing Seokjin inside his room and giving him some water.

The next day after his breakdown and the breakup texts with Jungkook, Seokjin asks him if it was possible for them to still be friends. Jungkook relents, going as far as telling Seokjin that they’re cool.

Give me a few weeks. Wait for me, I’ll come back. I just want to be alone, is what Jungkook texts him.

Seokjin goes back to class, failing quizzes and never handing assignments. He was one of the best students in class, so it was unexpected behavior. When his professors start asking him if there’s a problem, Seokjin would say he’s just going through something. The worried glances directed at him become too much that Seokjin stops coming to class altogether. All he would do anyway was stare at his phone, waiting for Jungkook to reply to his texts as he tries to pretend that everything was normal.

It was Namjoon who told him that he saw Jungkook and Jieun walking to the bus station together with their hands entwined. He refused to believe it until Namjoon said, “I didn’t want to do this but here. I took a picture.” Seokjin had to apologize to Namjoon for ruining his night by breaking down again and in Namjoon’s bed of all places. After that, he stops bothering Jungkook with his texts. Funny how the moment he does it, the day passes and night time comes bringing a Jungkook stoned out of his mind to his dorm. 


A week after The End 

Seokjin was in Namjoon’s room when it happened, unaware that Jungkook sneaked in his room because he couldn’t go home in that state. Seokjin, at that time, was being forced to read a book on healing by Namjoon when his phone rang. His heart jumped to his throat upon seeing the caller ID that he never bothered changing:

J~K~

“Why are you calling me?”

“Where are you?” He knows that tone of voice. Jungkook said those words in that voice so many times, especially when Seokjin takes too long to get out of school and Jungkook is waiting for him.

“I’m in my dorm,” Seokjin ignores the way Namjoon stares at him begrudgingly, “Jungkook, why are you calling me?”

“Why are you lying to me? You’re not in your dorm.”

“I'm literally right here. What the fuck is wrong with you?”

“Stop lying! I’m in your room, and you’re not here. Where the fuck are you really?”

It makes Seokjin stand up from Namjoon’s bed so quickly, rushing back to his room and banging Namjoon’s door against the wall. Namjoon follows after him, lecture notes forgotten. Namjoon yells out, “Seokjin?!” the moment Seokjin opens the already unlocked door to his room. Jungkook’s sitting on his bed with bloodshot eyes. The younger’s appearance makes his heart soften, and Seokjin is calling out to him without even thinking about it.

“JK, what happened?”

Jungkook lays his gaze on Namjoon who was standing by the doorway behind Seokjin. Namjoon’s got his arms crossed over his chest, assessing Jungkook from what he can see. Namjoon already knows that tonight will be a long night.

“Who the fuck is he?”

A long night indeed.

“I’m sorry, sunbae. I can handle this.” Seokjin tells him. Namjoon’s never seen him so calm. So this is Jungkook; the source of Seokjin’s turmoil. Jungkook who, according to Seokjin, is the only boy he sees because the rest look like blurred potatoes, the smartest, and most talented guy he’s ever met. Namjoon would listen with half an ear whenever Seokjin would go off and extoll Jungkook’s perfection when he was just crying about him ten minutes ago. He appears too young for Namjoon to take him seriously. 

“Alright, Jinnie. I’ll just be here if you need me.” 

“Why the fuck is he saying my nickname for you?!” 

Namjoon closes the door behind him, letting out a sigh. “Ah, this phase in life makes me a bit nostalgic..” He’s been through the same thing, most people his age have, so he didn’t protest or force his help to the two. It's an important life lesson he shouldn’t interfere in. If his new friend needs him for the aftermath, then he will be there.

Seokjin’s sitting on his bed while Jungkook lays down, his back on Seokjin. 

“Tell me what’s wrong, JK. I’m here for you.” Seokjin’s sure that if Jungkook is here to complain about Jieun he would still accept him in a heartbeat.

But Jungkook just squirms, letting out a sound of frustration that has Seokjin worried. “Smoked too much with my classmates. I can’t go home like this. Dad’s going to kill me.” 

“You want to spend the night here?” Seokjin’s heart soars. Jungkook may be ignoring him purposefully by not replying to his texts, but it makes him feel better about himself knowing that Jungkook still runs to him when he is faced with a problem. Maybe this is the chance he‘s been waiting for to right the wrongs. 

“Yeah. Is that okay?”

“Of course, JK. I’ll be here.” Seokjin doesn’t even care that he sounded so fond because honestly? He is.

“Who the fuck was that guy?” Jungkook suddenly says, body half-turned towards Seokjin and holding his arm, forcing their eyes to meet.

“He’s my neighbor. Namjoon-sunbae is my friend.”

Jungkook’s lips are pursed, but his mouth is also loose whenever he gets too stoned. “I’m your only friend,” He says with a whine, “I’ve never seen you with him, and you never talked about him.”

Seokjin sighs, his heart beating faster at the same time. Maybe this is a sign that Jungkook still loves him? There’s a reason why they are.. were.. crazy about each other. Seokjin hated Jieun so badly that the dark parts of his mind take over whenever he sees her, or even hears about her. Jungkook rarely gets jealous, but that’s because he successfully had Seokjin wrapped around him. It was always an us situation, never a we or them. Jungkook’s got a monopoly on him, and whenever someone managed to slip past and actually stand beside Seokjin, all he needed to do was whine and pout about it until the older gave in and turned people down on their invitation to hang out. 

(“I’m sorry, but Jungkook said he needed my help.”

“Sorry guys, I have to leave early. Jungkook just texted me that there’s an emergency.”)

Seeing Jungkook waiting for him outside their classrooms was a normal occurrence not just for Seokjin but everyone else. He would greet him, sling his arm around Seokjin’s neck, and stare down the people looking at them.

Seokjin rubs his back, hoping that it gives Jungkook some comfort. It’s how the other would calm him down when he eats one too many edibles and he’s babbling about having to go to the emergency room. “He’s a new friend, Jungkookie.” It doesn’t comfort Jungkook the slightest, just makes him stick closer to Seokjin. 

“You managed to replace me this quickly, hyung. I’m actually offended.”

Seokjin should shoot back that Jungkook is a hypocritical piece of garbage because he knows about Jieun, yet he only smiles. If he doesn’t say anything about it, then it is not real. Seokjin could do that, even just for tonight. Tomorrow, Namjoon can stare at him with pity for his stupidity. 

Jungkook turns on his back, stopping Seokjin’s ministrations. He reaches out to cup Seokjin’s head with both of his hands, bringing him down for a kiss. It’s like someone shot up serotonin through his veins, because Seokjin hasn’t felt this euphoric in days. 

“I miss you. I realized that I do miss you when I woke up this morning and didn’t see a good morning message from you.” Jungkook says, their foreheads touching and eyes burning through each other. 

“Then why did you tell me it’s over?” Seokjin whispers. If he hasn’t already spent weeks crying every single hour, he would have been in tears right now because that’s how he is. He cries when he’s angry, happy, or sad. But he cries the most for Jungkook, because Seokjin knows nothing else except for him.

Jungkook licks his lips before continuing, Seokjin wants to pull away because he knows what is coming. This is it. This is the closure that he needed, and once Jungkook finishes, it will also signal the end of them. He doesn’t though because Jungkook is holding him in place and deep down, way deep, Seokjin knows that this is what he needs. 

“Because we’re bad for each other, hyung. You make me so crazy I lose control. Like something takes over me at the thought of ever losing you, or someone having you besides me. But that’s not me, hyung. I can’t do that; we can’t do that to each other.”

“What about me? Remember a few months ago? I wanted to leave you for this too, told you I needed a break. Why the fuck did you stop me that time? I ate my words so quickly, but here you are doing the same thing, and you’re not letting me have a say in it.” Seokjin prided himself in the way he kept his voice steady. Later, when all is said and done, he’ll take solace in Namjoon’s bedroom and cry his heart out to someone who isn’t Jungkook: he deserves that much.

“I know. I’m sorry for that. I understand what you mean now.” Jungkook pulls him to his chest, and when Seokjin buries his face on Jungkook’s neck, he couldn’t help the dry sob escaping him. “We can’t keep doing this to each other. We have our whole life ahead of us, hyung.”

“Can’t we try? What if we change?” Seokjin knows he is grasping at straws but he can’t do it. A life without Jungkook is something he cannot imagine anymore after experiencing what it’s like with him. 

“We need to let each other go for that to happen.” 

“What about the future? You said you just needed space. Fucking liar.” Seokjin says the last one as mean as he can, but Jungkook only chuckles. Funny how he was comforting the younger earlier but Jungkook now has him in his arms, stroking his head, and leaving kisses on his temples.

“Who knows what will happen in the future? Maybe we’ll meet again when we are better.”

“I love you, Jeon Jungkook. Can’t believe you are leaving me when I love you this much.” 

“I love you too. I love you the most, and I probably will forever.” 

Seokjin snorts, hitting Jungkook’s arm with his hand balled into a fist. “Stupid. Fucking liar. I know about that girl. Fuck you. Seriously.” He burrows deeper into Jungkook’s embrace, maybe he can disappear into it forever. 

“Wanna know something?” Jungkook sounds completely unbothered by the accusations, scratch that, the admittance of Seokjin’s knowledge to his new relationship.

“No, I don’t want to know anything.” He groans, adjusting his position to turn his face to the side, cheek resting on Jungkook’s shoulder. “I’ll tell you anyway.” Jungkook smiles and leans close, kissing Seokjin on the lips for the second time tonight. He moves his arms to encircle them around Seokjin’s waist, and Seokjin wants to break down. Does he really have to do this while breaking up with Seokjin? Act like it’s a normal day and they are snuggled in Seokjin’s bed, homework forgotten? 

“She’s like you, but a downgrade.”

“.. Go on.”

“She reads a lot, but the books she likes are the ones you hate.”

“50 shades?” 

“She loves it.” 

Seokjin lets out a sarcastic gasp, “Oh, god.” It makes Jungkook laugh, arms tightening around Seokjin.

“She’s not that smart. I’m usually the one helping her with homework or a quiz than actually studying. She uses an android.”

The last one makes Seokjin laugh uncontrollably, “What a pity. I hope you’re happy with your choice.”

“She’s nothing against you, Jinnie,” Jungkook continues, “And that’s why I want to be with her.” Seokjin should hit him, he really should. He wants to hit Jungkook until his hand hurts because he does not need to hear this. Maybe if he kicks Jungkook hard enough he’ll come back to reality and realize the bullshit he’s spouting.

“When you confronted me that day about hanging out with her, I was shocked at myself that I let you treat me that way; that I felt guilty for it. I was ready to run after you and apologize for such a simple thing. But I didn’t, because I was disgusted with how much I was willing to sacrifice to make someone else happy. I need someone who allows me to put myself first, not another person. You’re my number one, we both know that, and I-.. I realized that love should not be like that. My priority should still be myself, and with you, I can’t do that because I love you too much. I really thought my feelings for you would mellow out as time goes. It has been six months and I’m still like this.. still willing to give up everything if you ask me for it. I know you won’t because you’re a good person, but the fact that you can scares me. Love shouldn’t be like that. Love shouldn’t be about possession; but when I see you, that is all I want to do. I can’t keep doing that to myself.” 

Jungkook is crying, and Seokjin’s brain produces a chemical response to the scenario that makes Seokjin start crying as well. Jungkook never cried, and even now he’s simply teary-eyed. Seokjin is the one who bawls, he’s always the one crying after all. If he wasn’t so emotional, he’d be wondering about how his body is even managing these tears. Seokjin really thought he cried his eyes dry, but it seems that when it concerns Jungkook, he is capable of going the extra mile no matter how dumb it is.

“I understand- I know- but.. I can’t live without you, Jungkookie. What am I supposed to do now?” Seokjin buries his face into Jungkook’s shoulder, crying into his black hoodie.

“You’ll live, Jin. You will. You can make friends with anyone, go anywhere you want now. You made friends with your neighbor right?”

“You were literally going off about Namjoon-sunbae earlier.” Seokjin sniffs, and there’s another kiss pressed to his forehead. “I know, and see, that’s another example. I shouldn’t be acting like that, but I am. Honestly, I still feel annoyed about it. How come I’ve never seen him before around here? Were you with him earlier?”

“He’s in med school already, so he’s always busy. And yeah, he lets me hang out with him. Probably because if he doesn’t, he won’t be able to study since I apparently have a penchant for theatrics and crying in the hallway just right by his bedroom is one of them. He’s been a really good neighbor.”

“Ugh, seriously? He’s super tall, handsome, and in med school? If you end up dating him I’ll feel really bad about myself, hyung.” 

Jungkook’s distraction works. It makes Seokjin laugh, the hurt in his chest still present but so contrasting to how Jungkook is holding him. “I don’t think I’ll be able to love again.”

“You will, you big baby,” Jungkook couldn’t help snorting as he thinks of how so many people will swarm to Seokjin now that he won’t be around to swat them away, “You know you will.”

“Probably,” Seokjin looks up at him, moving to settle his chin on Jungkook’s chest, “But not like how I love you.”

Despite his insistence to be the cool-headed and mature one, Jungkook grunts in agreement. He stares back at Seokjin, lips curled into a smirk. He looks so proud, so sure of himself, and Seokjin just loves him. He loves Jungkook with his entire heart. 

“That’s right,” He says it with a low voice but Seokjin’s never heard him so clearly, “Never like how you loved me; never like how I loved you.” 


4 Years Ago

Start of the 1st Semester, a new year

2 months after The End

Seokjin thinks that maybe the indifference he feels is thanks to Namjoon. He can’t always bother Namjoon though, so Seokjin becomes familiar with the books in Namjoon’s room and occupies himself with TV shows that he always said he would watch but never did. He hasn’t gone to school since the break-up. His phone hasn’t been charged for days, and Seokjin spends the days mulling everything in his head. At night, Namjoon lets him stay in his room. Seokjin has stopped talking so much about Jungkook now, finally running out of things to say. 

Namjoon sighs as he takes another shot of soju. 

It’s a Friday night, almost midnight actually. Seokjin decided that since it's the weekend, him and Namjoon should go out and get drunk instead of drinking on Namjoon’s bedroom floor and listening to Seokjin’s sad playlists. Namjoon lets himself be dragged to a bar far away from their usual area. It is closer to the city, the concrete jungle just a few more minutes ahead. It is the type of bar that college kids frequent; an open space with more tables outside than inside on the rooftop of an eight-storey commercial building. Namjoon paid for their cab fare, Seokjin promises to pay for the drinks. 

Drinking heavily apparently makes Seokjin remember things associated with Jungkook more than usual. They’ve talked about him so much that Namjoon, who has never even spoken with his friend’s ex, probably knows more about him than other people do. Namjoon’s eyes are on the entrance of the bar, waiting for Seokjin to reappear after excusing himself to the bathroom. He’s been to this place before, and there are actually some students from their university who he knows. Some people from another block, and some from other colleges who recognize Seokjin. Namjoon’s not that worried, but this is the first time that he and Seokjin went out to drink outside the comfort of their dorm so he feels a bit responsible.

Plus the fact that the college junior is extremely good-looking. This is the fourth time that Seokjin excused himself to pee, and everytime he leaves, someone would approach Namjoon and ask if they’re dating. Namjoon would simply say, “My friend is not interested.” The first time it happened people backed off respectfully, but it seems that every time he returns to their table outside, Seokjin’s white polo shirt gets more unbuttoned revealing his collarbones. Namjoon finally spots him, walking a little slower. His usually neat hair is a little wet and pushed back, revealing his forehead. His lips look redder than normal courtesy of that pink cocktail he insisted on getting along bottles of soju. Namjoon hopes that no one would try anything. 

Seokjin’s got his hands inside the pocket of his black jeans, his feet clad in stylish Chelsea boots. As the night sky gets darker, the people in the bar become more inebriated as well, their eyes now looking at Seokjin without shame. The group of friends beside their table who were already drinking before they arrived are now shamelessly talking about Seokjin out loud.

“Come on, dare me. Dare me and I’ll ask for his number.”

“No way, you dare me. Actually, I’ll do it without a dare. What is he so fine for?”

Namjoon rolls his eyes, and one of the guys seems to notice him. He shoots an apologetic smile over to Namjoon, then turns to his two friends. “Hey, cut it out. Besides, I already told you, that guy is Jeon’s. You guys go to different schools, but I’m in the same university as them. I’m not coming to school knowing that I was a bystander while you idiots hit on Jeon’s boyfriend.”

Now that makes Namjoon raise his brow in interest. There’s only one person that guy could be referring to. It seems that some people still think that Seokjin and Jungkook are together, and it is working in Seokjin’s favor. Namjoon wonders how many people here actually go to their school and is aware that Seokjin is, was , dating Jungkook and does not approach him because of it. 

“Jeon’s the guy on Instagram you sent me right? He’s super hot too. Ugh, hot people always end up dating each other. What about us average humans?”

A hand snapping right in front of his face makes Namjoon turn away from the drunk group. Seokjin’s sitting in front of him, smiling at Namjoon, “I’m not interesting enough, Joonie?” It makes Namjoon laugh, “You’re always interesting.” 

Seokjin finally stopped calling him sunbae, the two of them growing closer everyday. Besides being neighbors, they find out that the two of them have a lot in common. Namjoon is also from the city, earned his degree in psychology in some big name university. He graduated magna cum laude of his batch but decides to attend medical school a thousand miles away from his comfort zone. He says that it’s because being closer to nature calms him down. Seokjin tells him, “Well, no shit. It’s all trees here and cow poop.” Only a few from his batch enrolled in the same school, and Namjoon isn’t even close with them. He tells Seokjin that he’s been friendless for an entire semester, his medical textbooks and dying plants being his only companions. Seokjin is actually the first friend he’s made ever since the start of his first year, and Seokjin tells him that they are the same. And since Seokjin always finds a way to insert Jungkook into conversation, he tells Namjoon about how Jungkook on the other hand has many friends who are probably glad he’s hanging out with them again instead of Seokjin.

“How good is your aim?” Seokjin suddenly asks, taking a hit from his lit cigarette that Namjoon didn’t notice. Namjoon crinkles his nose a bit at the smell; he can’t ever get used to Seokjin smoking.

( “You hate my cigarettes but you love the devil’s lettuce. Are you really a med student, Namjoonie?”

“Those are two different things, Jinnie. Now, stop trying to distract me and try the grav already. Didn’t you say you want to try new experiences so that you can make new memories without your ex in them?” )

“I think I know why you’re asking,” Namjoon replies. Seokjin’s grinning in that competitive way of his that Namjoon has familiarised himself with, “And fuck it, lead the way.” Seokjin makes a whooping sound, back on his feet again. He takes one last hit from his cigarette before stubbing it out on the ashtray atop their table.

“Ah, I haven’t played in so long! Jungkook’s really good at it, and we always won.” 

“Yes, yes, Jungkook is good at everything; we’ve gone over that so many times. Tell me what you bet on.”

Seokjin turns his head to smile at Namjoon, “Me, of course.” 

Namjoon’s young self would have panicked right then and there, but his age has mellowed him out. A pipe bowl of Blue Dream before they left the dorm also helps the spontaneity, and he might not be drunk, but he is nearing the threshold of being cross-faded. Seokjin on the other hand is completely running on alcohol, and Namjoon decides that agreeing with him and holding his hand through whatever he wants tonight is safer than holding him back. 

Plus, confidence looks good on Seokjin.

They enter the bar, one of the four tables specially made for beer pong being set up. There are three guys on one side, and two on the other. One of them says, “Now we’re complete!” and Namjoon, despite being an atheist, prays to whichever deity that this was not a set-up. 

“This is my friend, Namjoon. With him, we’re going to win.” Seokjin tells the two guys on their team. They seem friendly enough, introducing themselves and shaking his hand. Namjoon doesn’t bother remembering their names. They say that they’re attending university in the city, a couple of finance majors. 

As they wait for the bar staff to finish pouring beer on the red cups, he pulls Seokjin aside to ask him what the bet specifically is. “They paid for two games already, but it’s a best of three. If we win, they’re buying us a bottle of Jager and paying for our tab! If we lose, the birthday boy wants a kiss.” Seokjin points out said boy to Namjoon with his chin, and Namjoon knows that this is the part where he starts being the responsible sunbae-nim that he is.

“You know it’s never their birthdays, right? And did he really say it like that? A kiss? Kids these days are really weird.” 

Seokjin crosses his arms, looking surprised that it’s not really the birthday boy’s birthday. “Well, he said something like wanting my lips on him, but what else is that supposed to mean?” Namjoon’s eyes widen, and he is so ready to pull Seokjin away, but the game is already starting. He can now kind of see why Jungkook was so protective over Seokjin. 

Namjoon’s the tallest among all of them, so it’s an advantage to their team. Seokjin is also surprisingly good, but the two guys with them could not shoot for shit, and they kept making Seokjin drink half their beer for them. Seokjin, the tipsy fool, keeps accepting the red cups and drinking them. Namjoon has to snatch it away from him, making up excuses that he didn’t want to be left thirsty. The first game finishes quickly, red cups being passed around to bystanders who gathered to watch the game. Namjoon thinks that it has to do more with Seokjin loosening his shirt, combing his slightly long hair back with his fingers, and his lips perpetually stained wet with beer. They barely win, the two guys with them actually managing to take the last cup standing. 

“Can we go for a smoke break?” Seokjin asks out loud. They agree with him, and really, who can say no to him in this state? Namjoon stays planted by Seokjin’s side as they walk outside, hand around Seokjin’s waist. Even with his back on them, Namjoon knows he has eyes glaring holes through his neck. 

Once outside, Namjoon helps Seokjin light his cigarette for him. They’re asking too many questions, like where does he dorm, or does Seokjin know this person who apparently goes to the same school.

“You’re a biology major, right? Do you know Park Jinsang? He’s under the College of Sciences too, but in chemistry. We went to highschool together.”

“Hey, I actually know Jinsang! He’s the friend of.. A friend.” Seokjin smiles, keeping his hands and lips busy by sucking on his cigarette. He glances at Namjoon who stares back as if to say, Friend? Jungkook’s a friend now, huh?

“Really? That’s perfect then! Jinsang’s actually coming here with a bunch of other classmates.”

It makes Seokjin stop, and Namjoon can see the way that his hand holding the cigarette starts to tremble.

The guys continue the conversation with themselves, sounding excited.

“Jinsang’s running super fucking late, man. Has he texted yet?” One of them asks the guy talking to Seokjin. “Don’t worry, they’re pulling up already. Probably going to be here any minute now.”

Seokjin moves a bit closer to Namjoon, and yeah he hates the way the cigarette smoke sticks to his hair and clothes, but it’s Seokjin, so Namjoon lets him. “Joon, you don’t think it's—”

“Speak of the devil! Jinsang-ah!” 

A group of four guys arrive in the rooftop bar, standing by the side near the end of the stairs.

Namjoon has only met him once, but the way Seokjin freezes beside him tells him everything there is to know. He is quick to soothe Seokjin by holding his arm, grounding him by grasping it tightly. “You’re okay, Seokjin,” Namjoon keeps his tone low but firm, “You can do this. I’m right here with you.”

“Don’t you dare leave my side, Namjoon.”

Namjoon chuckles, moving his hand to encircle it around Seokjin’s neck and pulling Seokjin’s back to his chest. “Where else would I go?” 

The first to acknowledge Seokjin is Jinsang, saying, “Seokjin?! What a coincidence to see you here.” Behind him, Jungkook looks at them coolly. Namjoon notices the way his jaw clenches, and it makes him pull Seokjin closer. “Hey, Jinsang.” Seokjin greets, waving at him. One of the guys with them elbows Jungkook who glares at him, motioning to them that they better stop.

“We’ve got a bet going on over beer pong with Seokjinnie.” The guy standing next to Namjoon and Seokjin says, raising his eyebrows suggestively.

“Woochan, you dirty bastard. We all know how good you are at beer pong.” Jinsang accepts the offered cigarette from Woochan while Jungkook looks at the guy hardly. Namjoon thinks that if looks could kill, Woochan would’ve been gone from existence already.

“Plus, our Jungkookie here used to date Seokjin, so don’t act stupid, Woochan-ah.” Jinsang says casually. Namjoon feels a bit thankful towards Jinsang, but this seems to egg Woochan further. He places his cigarette on his lips to extend a hand to Jungkook, grinning widely.

“We met, right? You’re GCF?” 

Jungkook shakes his hand, “I don’t really remember you.”

“I’m Lee Woochan. We played normals in League with Jinsang?”

Jinsang sniggers, blowing out smoke upwards, “He’s the gold hardstuck, Jungkookie.” Woochan shouts out a “Fuck you!” and it makes Jungkook smile. Namjoon’s reminded of a great white shark, despite the many soliloquies Seokjin has done regarding Jungkook’s bunny smile.

“How about I join your little bet? I’ll play for their team.” Jungkook suddenly says, head tilting towards Namjoon and Seokjin to indicate that he wants to team up with them. Seokjin tenses in Namjoon’s arms. He brushes his fingers on Seokjin’s lower left jaw to calm him. Jungkook catches the subtle movement, glancing at them quickly before turning his eyes back on Woochan, “What do you say?”

Jinsang sighs, stepping back a bit to let Jungkook and Woochan speak. 

“The stakes are high in our end. It's a best of three; we already paid for two games, and they already won one off us. If we lose completely, we have to buy Seokjin and his friend a bottle of Jager and pay their tab.” Woochan explains. “Jinsang said you’re some golden boy, and you playing for them might spell our early loss.”

“Then I’ll pitch in on the bet if we lose. What do they have to give you anyway?”

Understanding seems to dawn on Woochan’s face, and he grins from ear to ear, “Seokjin’s mouth.” 

Some of the guys seem to choke on air, and Jinsang is looking at Woochan and Seokjin with wide eyes. “Lee Woochan you crazy fucker, are you serious?” Woochan ignores him, eyes still on Jungkook. “Got anything better to offer?”

“It’s just a kiss.” Seokjin whispers to Namjoon. He’s quietly smoking, eyes on the ground. If Seokjin looked up, he could have seen the way Jungkook grins back at Woochan; all teeth and eyes bright.

“My League account.”

Namjoon doesn’t really play games, so he fails to see why that is supposed to be important, but he understands that it is a big deal seeing as everyone gasps at Jungkook’s declaration. 

“Not your smurf?” Woochan croaks.

“No. I’ll bet over GCF. I’ve been told my account is worth almost a million won, are those high enough stakes for you?”

The mention of a million won makes Namjoon’s head spin, thinking that someone really needs to stop the two. 

“Jeon Jungkook, you will do no such thing.” Seokjin suddenly says, pushing Namjoon’s arm away to walk over to Jungkook. For a second he looks fondly at the other, disappearing again when he says in a light, playful tone, “Come on, hyung. Don’t you trust me?”

Woochan cuts Seokjin off by shouting, “Alright, deal! Kanghui, Jeon’s replacing you.” 

They finish smoking and Woochan is heading back in excitedly. Seokjin waits for Jungkook to finish smoking his freshly lit cigarette, arms crossed over his chest and pouting. Namjoon stays behind too, looking up into the night sky with surprisingly clear eyes to give the other two a semblance of privacy. He can’t help but sigh; Seokjin’s been doing so well. He’s still in love with Jungkook, still so self-destructive, but at least he doesn’t spend his days counting the cracks in his ceiling that much anymore. Namjoon hopes that this sudden meeting won’t ruin Seokjin’s progress.

“Jungkook, what the fuck are you thinking? It’s just a kiss, you don’t have to offer GCF.”

Jungkook stares at Seokjin for a while, like he’s waiting for Seokjin to say something else. “Namjoon-sunbae, you should take care of him more.” He drawls out. Seokjin looks at Namjoon, facial expression screaming ‘What is that supposed to mean?’

Seokjin clicks his tongue in annoyance but tries again, “Come on, I’ll go with you. Call the stupid bet off with Woochan.”

“You don’t think we’ll win?”

Seokjin scoffs, “Of course I know we will win, but what if we don’t? You’ll just hand him your account that you’ve been playing with for years? I’ll give the idiot his kiss and it will be over.” Jungkook ignores him. Seokjin continues pouting and staring Jungkook down. Namjoon gives the orion constellation one last peek in preparation for what he is about to say.

“I should have told you earlier, but Seokjin, I think Woochan meant he wants a blowjob.” Namjoon waits for it, the moment of Seokjin exploding into a rant and demanding that they go home, but it never happens. Instead, he says, “That’s it?” Namjoon’s eyes bulge at the lukewarm reaction. “I don’t give a fuck, take back your offer right now. I know how much that account means to you. No one cares about my end of it, come on.” Namjoon is glad that he’s not the only one taken aback with how Jungkook snorts and says, “Unbelievable,” repeatedly.

Jungkook throws the cigarette away, and gives Seokjin his full attention. “Fine, hyung. Is this how you’re gonna be? Alright then. You know who cares? Me. I fucking care. I’m not letting you near that motherfucker, be it a goddamn kiss or a blowjob, I don’t fucking care. I won’t let you do that.”

Seokjin looks stunned, blinking rapidly at Jungkook and lips slightly parted. He’s about to speak, except Jungkook cuts him off. 

“Don’t say whatever it is you’re going to say. I’m only doing this because I’m a decent fucking human being.” Jungkook walks past him and Namjoon, ignoring Seokjin calling him to come back. “Did you hear him? So what, you’re an asshole I guess for not stopping me?” Seokjin says, trying to find backup in Namjoon by turning them against each other. Namjoon only chuckles, “You know we’re going to win. You have me with you.” 

Seokjin bites his bottom lip, cheeks flushed from the alcohol. Or maybe it is something else, but Namjoon does not want to think in that direction. He reminds himself that Seokjin is doing so well moving on from Jungkook; this one meeting won’t change it that much. Probably.

“He’s so weird,” is what Seokjin settles for, “So weird and confusing.” Namjoon seems to be proving himself wrong, for the wrong reasons, the more time he spends with his neighbor. Seokjin starts walking back inside, and Namjoon has no choice but to follow suit.

Jungkook replaces one of the guys in their team, and they end up deciding to have the other step down as well to make it a fair 3v3. They attract a lot of attention, the three of them downing shots that Jinsang offers. “Let’s go, Jungkook. We gotta catch up with them. You two as well!” Jinsang states, handing him another shot as soon as the glass was handed back. Jungkook accepts it, and the next couple too, with no problem. 

Namjoon and Seokjin clink their shot glasses, Jungkook ignoring them to focus on having as much alcohol in his system. The warmth in Namjoon’s chest soothes his nerves. Seokjin on the other hand, who has been tipsy since earlier, is practically buzzing.

The game finally starts, and Jungkook takes out the cup placed on the furthest left side. Woochan picks up the cup, downing it. Seokjin takes the first cup out, the easiest one. Namjoon woots, and Seokjin laughs. Jungkook rolls his eyes, Namjoon can tell he’s holding back a smile. 

Namjoon is able to take the cup right in the middle, and Seokjin does this weird happy dance that cracks the indifferent mask Jungkook has on. He’s now trying his best to not laugh, and Namjoon feels his chest tighten. Oh god, these two brats do make a cute couple.

The other team takes their turn, and one guy misses their shot. Jungkook takes the beer even though it’s meant for Namjoon, and the chemistry majors watching from the sidelines cheer him on. This makes Jungkook grin, obviously in his element. Jinsang hands him more shots, a mix of soju and Jägerbombs. Namjoon watches in amazement as Jungkook accepts them all, Oh to be young and practically immortal to alcohol..’

 He takes out another difficult cup, the one on the farthest right. Seokjin woops in excitement, and Namjoon can’t help cheering too because Jungkook’s energy and bright smile is super contagious.

When Seokjin is able to take a cup in the middle, Jungkook lets out a laugh of excitement. Seokjin, as if he’s moving on instinct, turns to Jungkook. Jungkook is applauding, “Nice one, Jinnie.” Namjoon takes the cup next to the one Seokjin took down, and when Jungkook asks for a high five, he gives it. Jinsang hands all three of them more shots, already congratulating them for the easy win even though there are still several cups left on the table. 

Woochan and his team get all their shots in, and the three of them clink their red cups in a toast, downing it. Seokjin doesn’t finish his, talking abut how how beer makes him feel like he is drowning when he has to drink it fast. Jungkook takes it from his hands, “I know, I know. I’ll drink it for you.” Seokjin beams, smiling prettily at the other who returns it. Maybe if Namjoon’s vision wasn’t spinning, he would roll his eyes at the two, but he only laughs while accepting the leftover beer in Seokjin’s cup that Jungkook hands off to him. “Here, Namjoon-sunbae,” Jungkook says, “He’s going to keep complaining the entire time, so you gotta help me.” 

Its their turn again. Jungkook takes out another cup in the backline, and Namjoon realizes that he’s doing it so that he and Seokjin would have an easier time. Seokjin claps excitedly, “Ah, you are so good at this JK!” Namjoon fully agrees. 

Seokjin tells Namjoon to go before him, and he completely misses. The other team cackles, Jungkook and Seokjin patting his back. 

“Fuck, the entire world is spinning,” Seokjin says, “I’m going to lose this shot.” He loses the shot, and it's him this time who gets his back patted by his two teammates.

“Don’t mind, don’t mind!” The two say in unison. 

Like the devil he seems to be, Jinsang appears again, this time with a glass of tequila and a slice of lemon for Jungkook and Woochan. “The two of you aren’t drunk enough to play!” He reasons out. The atmosphere is too good to turn it down, and Seokjin laughs at Jungkook’s scrunched face when he shoots the tequila back, sucking on the lemon. 

Woochan and another guy miss their shot, but the last guy gets it. The three of them seem to be excited as well, whooping and hugging each other. When it's their turn again, Hotline Bling starts playing. Namjoon discovers how much Jungkook and Seokjin seem to bond over the song with the way they shout the lyrics at each other, and he can’t deny that he likes it too. Jungkook has the ping pong ball on his hands, poising to shoot. He stops, turns to Seokjin who instantly returns the look. The song continues to blast from the speakers:

Doin’ things I taught you, gettin’ nasty for someone else

You don’t need no one else

You don’t need nobody else

“Jinnie,” Jungkook breathes out, “Goodluck kiss?” 

Namjoon’s inner self is rolling his eyes, but his drunk and extremely cross-faded self whoops with the crowd.

Seokjin stills for a while, but his hesitation is forgotten when he holds Jungkook’s wrist with both hands and brings it up to his lips, kissing the ping pong ball. The crowd loves the theatrics, even Woochan and his friends are shouting, “That’s unfair to us, Seokjin!” Seokjin wraps his arms around Namjoon’s waist, hiding his face on the older’s chest. 

Jungkook takes another cup down, and he turns to pull Seokjin away from Namjoon. “Come on, let sunbae go, it's his turn.” It would have been a believable excuse if Jungkook did not wrap his arm around Seokjin’s neck, his free hand inside the pocket of his blue jeans. Seokjin automatically leans his head to Jungkook’s, then shouting, “Namjoonie, we believe in you!”

Namjoon gets a cup in the backline, and his ears roar at the cheers. He high fives his teammates, and even some random strangers who hand him shots. Namjoon knows at the back of his mind that he shouldn’t accept drinks from strangers, yet here he is accepting gratefully. 

The ball is handed to Seokjin by one of Woochan’s teammates, and Jungkook lets him go. The shot goes in so fast, that the people didn’t have much time to react. Namjoon doesn’t even notice it is over, only realizing it when Seokjin is back in Jungkook’s embrace and Woochan is cursing out loud for missing. The score is at 10-6: five more cups left on Woochan’s side while Namjoon’s have nine remaining and all backlines. They miss all their shots, and Jungkook asks if it’s alright that they try and take it all in one turn. They agree, even Woochan who tells them to just do what they want, “Finish the game already, you little shits.”

“Woochan-ah you’re too drunk to continue this!” Jinsang sniggers by the side.

Jungkook’s bouncing the small orange ball on the table, and he poses as if to shoot, and gets one down. 

“JK, can you let me get that one?” Seokjin suddenly asks, pointing to the furthest one on the table. Jungkook grins, nodding excitedly. He hands the ball to Seokjin, who dribbles the ball on the table as well. Namjoon thinks that he should capture a video to watch when he’s sober, so he does exactly that. Seokjin sees him taking his phone out, and he flashes a peace sign to the camera, “Have you pressed record?”

“Yeah, yeah. Do it come on! I want that bottle of Jager already.” Namjoon babbles. He hasn’t been this drunk in forever, and he relishes in the feeling. Seokjin laughs, pointing a finger at the camera knowingly, “Ahhh, drunk Namjoon is so fun. Alright, here we go. The Kim Seokjin special.” A flick of his wrist, and Seokjin shoots it perfectly. People are applauding, and Seokjin takes a bow. Namjoon stops recording, and instantly re-watches it in glee. 

Jungkook takes Seokjin’s face with both hands, knocking their foreheads together. “Baby,” He whispers, “That was fucking amazing.” 

Seokjin giggles, pushing Jungkook away who is laughing. “I’m not your baby, JK.”

“Sure, sure,” Jungkook teases. “Namjoon-sunbae, you want to take a shot at it?” 

He’s already taking the ball while saying, “If I miss, no one laugh.” It makes the crowd laugh more, and Namjoon rolls his eyes playfully. 

Thank God he doesn’t miss. 

Jungkook has the ball again, and it doesn’t surprise anyone that he scores. While Woochan and the rest drink their beer, Namjoon remembers that it’s supposed to be a best of three, “So we win already? No more next game?” He shouts at them, the two guys nod vigorously while Woochan holds up his middle finger as he continuously gulps down the beer. Namjoon decides to take one of their own red cups to drink, shit, he’s just so thirsty.

“Watch this.” He hears Jungkook say. With his back turned, he throws the ball one last time over his shoulder, and the impact of the shot makes the beer slosh around when he gets the last remaining cup.

“Jungkook, you should have let me record!” Namjoon grumbles while the bystanders scream in excitement. “Next time, sunbae!” He replies back. 

They don’t see Woochan plus his friends again for the rest of the night, Namjoon and Seokjin end up sitting with Jungkook, Jinsang, and the two other chemistry majors. 

They share the promised bottle of Jager, all of them having their own can of Red Bull thanks to Seokjin who says that he’s got a ton of cash thanks to Woochan picking up his and Namjoon’s tab. Seokjin’s sitting between Namjoon and Jungkook, the latter has his left arm resting on the top rail of Seokjin’s chair. Namjoon may be drunk off his mind, but he notices how they don’t directly speak to each other for the rest of the night. Jungkook’s staring intently at Seokjin, like he’s going to be blind tomorrow and he needs to commit the other’s face to memory for the rest of his life. Jungkook excuses himself from time to time, busy with a series of phone calls. 

Namjoon impresses the chemistry undergrads when he tells them he’s actually a second year in med school. They ask him for advice on lots of things, and when it's time to leave, Jinsang offers them a ride home, and it just so happens that he has a six-seater. 

Namjoon doesn’t even bother trying to sit next to Seokjin seeing as Jungkook’s already dragged him at the back of the car. The moment Jinsang starts the engine, Namjoon is already dozing off.

He wakes up to Seokjin shaking him awake, and he sees that they are right in front of the dorm. It’s only Jinsang, Namjoon, and Seokjin in the car. Everyone’s been dropped off already to their houses. 

“Thanks for the ride, Jinsang-ah. Is your house nearby?” Namjoon asks, trying to stay steady as he exits the car. “Nah, sunbae. I actually dorm around the area. You’re welcome, and stay hydrated and safe you two.” Namjoon and Seokjin wait for Jinsang to drive away before collapsing on the driveway in front of their dorm. 

“What time is it?” Namjoon asks. Seokjin, weirdly enough, actually looks like he has completely sobered up. “Almost five AM.” 

Silence ensues. Namjoon rests his head on his knees, hugging his legs to his chest. 

“Thank you for tonight, Joonie.” Seokjin suddenly says. 

He doesn’t open his eyes, lids too heavy. Even without looking and his brain fucked up by alcohol, Namjoon can tell there is something wrong. “What happened?” He hears the familiar click of Seokjin’s lighter, and smells the distinct scent of the Marlboro menthols. 

“He was calling and texting Jieun all night.” Seokjin says simply. Namjoon isn’t shocked by the statement, some sober part of him (how small it is doesn’t matter) noticed too. What’s new is the way Seokjin says it. 

Talking about Jungkook falls between 0 and 100 percent. Seokjin either talks about him with so much emotion behind his words, tone, and facial expressions, or he doesn’t talk about his ex-boyfriend at all. It’s a first for Seokjin to mention Jungkook and just sound.. tired. 

Namjoon waits for him to say more. It’s Seokjin after all. There is always more.

“I feel like Cinderella, and that the magic is over.”

Namjoon tells him that he likes the analogy, and Seokjin thanks him with a chuckle. 

“Seokjin,” He begins, “I let you get away with a lot of things because I know you are strong enough to handle them. Tonight was fun though, hm?” 

Namjoon refuses to open his eyes. He can be a better friend later when he’s not so tired. He can open his eyes and comfort Seokjin later. Right now, he stays in position and listens to Seokjin crying softly. “Don’t choke on the smoke.” He mumbles in an afterthought.

“It was fun. Super fun. It just hurts as well, knowing that I’m missing out on so much happiness by not having him by my side.”

Namjoon gets it, so he doesn’t comment on it. Seokjin’s a big boy, he can figure things out for himself. If he wants Namjoon’s opinion on the matter, then he’ll give it to him. 

“It was also fun before he came. I may have more fun when he’s around, but I realized that I can be happy on my own.”

Seokjin’s words make Namjoon smile. He’s proven wrong again by Kim Seokjin; he is making wonderful progress. 


2 Years Ago

“Stop using your phone, or else.” Yoongi doesn’t finish his sentence, letting Seokjin imagine what the threat would be. Seokjin sticks his tongue out at the other but listens and pockets his phone. “Namjoon’s not here yet, let me be.”

The two of them are in Yoongi’s room waiting for the third missing piece of their group. It has been two months since they last saw Namjoon, and the two of them were truthfully sick of seeing each other’s faces every day. A rare opportunity has popped up; a local holiday falls on a Monday, which means that they would have a long weekend. Seokjin and Yoongi already called up their family that they will not be returning this Friday night. Namjoon relents with the pestering of his two best friends, agreeing to hang out all weekend.

Yoongi’s dorm room is the largest one among the three of them. Namjoon and Seokjin remain neighbors, but Yoongi’s place is where they usually hang out. Seokjin’s on his bed, who has his phone out again. “I said stop using it.” Yoongi warns for the last time. He has the PS4 on pause, controller still on his hands and glaring at Seokjin.

“I just texted Namjoon to hurry up! You’re such a grump.” 

“When did Namjoon’s name become Taewoo?” Yoongi says with a snort, face morphing quickly into smugness when Seokjin reddens and throws a pillow at him. “Come on, Seokjinnie. Your best friends are right here. What are you even telling that guy? Thought you said he was boring or something.”

“I just updated him that I’m with friends,” Seokjin shows him their conversation, and the first thing that Yoongi notices is the contact name. “Woo-ah, pink sparkling heart? Seriously? Namjoon and I don’t even have emojis, you traitor.”

“He changed it to that,” Seokjin explains, “I’m just too lazy to remove it.”

“Ah, so you got dicked down that good? Enough to make you let them add emojis?” 

“Min Yoongi, I’ll kill you!” Seokjin jumps from the bed to plop down the couch, ready to kill Yoongi with tickles. He attacks him by the side, and Yoongi throws the controller to the carpeted floor to attack Seokjin as well. He manages to get the upper hand, and Yoongi laughs at how red in the face and out of breath Seokjin looks. “Okay, stop! I’m sorry, I’ll stop texting!”

The door to Yoongi’s room opens, and Namjoon steps in. He’s still dressed in the prescribed white uniform for med students, glasses perched on his nose, and a plastic bag with lemon mint candy and a pack of Marlboro menthols on his hand. “Is he texting Seho again?” Namjoon asks with a teasing grin.

Seokjin says, “I don’t know who that is,” the same moment that Yoongi opens his mouth to tattle on the other, “You’ve been gone too long. He has a new one now.” Seokjin pinches his arm, making Yoongi yelp. They settle on the couch, moving to make room for Namjoon while he takes off his shoes. He hands the plastic bag to Seokjin who thanks him along with the promise to pay Namjoon back later. 

Yoongi gets up from the couch to sit right across his two guests right on his bed. On his bedside table, Yoongi opens a drawer and hands Namjoon a clear bag filled with buds of Namjoon’s favorite plant. “OG for an OG.” He says. Namjoon accepts the bag with exaggerated gratefulness. “Thank you, Yoongi-nim. It’s been so long since I smoked.” Namjoon opens his blue Herschel Little America backpack and fumbles around for a bit to place the baggy somewhere safe. 

Seokjin looks surprised, so he taps Namjoon’s shoulder to get his attention, “When was the last time?”

“This morning.”

It makes the three of them laugh, Seokjin’s chortling makes the two laugh harder.

“Hey, what about me? You’re not going to give me anything?” Seokjin asks with a pout.

Yoongi blinks at him, and Namjoon leans back on the couch. It has been so long since he actually talked to his friends in person and not through text.

“Since when have you paid for your supply? Ever since you attached yourself to me, you never paid for bud ever again. You just go here and smoke with me for free, so why do you need your own?” This makes Seokjin giggle, making kissy faces to Yoongi who pretend to swat the flying kisses before puckering his lips and sending one back. 

“So what’s the plan? We’re just going to bully Seokjinnie all night?” Namjoon asks, reaching over to literally pull on the other’s ear. 

“You guys just hate me because I’m the only one here who gets dick.”

“Maybe that’s because I have a literal girlfriend, you little shit. And, I don’t know, because Namjoon is as straight as straight can be?”

“Anyways,” Seokjin says loudly to cut off Yoongi, making the two laugh some more, “I’m too old to drink outside until it’s ass o’ clock, but young enough to spend hours in the PC Bang. What about you two?”

“He’s got a point,” Yoongi nods to Seokjin in agreement, “PC Bang until the sun rises and then we can get McDonalds?”

“Yes! Pancakes and hashbrowns with extra maple syrup, please.” Seokjin’s standing up from the couch, ready to put shoes on and leave. He’s wearing a pink hoodie too big for him and white, cotton, basketball shorts. “Joon-ah, you’re going to get changed or what?” Yoongi asks him. It makes Namjoon grunt in annoyance, “Ah, I should’ve changed before coming over. You still have some of my clothes here?” 

“I think? Go rummage in the closet.” Yoongi gets up from the bed, motions for Seokjin to throw the black hoodie hanging behind his door to him. Seokjin does, then focuses his attention on Yoongi’s shoe rack. “Can I borrow slippers? I don’t want to put on my sneakers.” 

“Yeah, go.”

Namjoon finds his gray joggers and black DC hoodie in Yoongi’s closet, actually surprised to see it there. “After all this time it was here?”

“Were you looking for something specifically?” Seokjin asks him, picking out the plain black crocs. “Yeah, like my school hoodie or something. Also, are you really going to wear those?”

“They’re comfy, and hating on crocs is overrated.”

“..Suit yourself.”

By the time the three of them are standing outside the streets, Seokjin has already taken a ton of pictures. Seokjin uploads them on his Snapchat while he and Yoongi smoke. Namjoon watches Seokjin check his viewers, and he can’t help snickering at seeing one name, “He’s still watching your stories? Is that why you’re always posting?”

“Who is it?” Yoongi doesn’t bother moving from his spot, hands in his pockets. “Seho.”

Yoongi rolls his eyes at the answer, and Seokjin shouts, “Yah!” before hitting Namjoon’s arm for spilling. “He’s even got the new guy saved as Woo-ah with emojis.” Yoongi adds, eyebrows rising up and going down suggestively.

“Really? It’s that serious already?”

Seokjin ignores his friends as they talk about Seho, Taewoo, and eventually Yoongi’s girlfriend. 

“She’s actually mad at me,” Yoongi confesses, and he smiles at the way Seokjin doesn’t meet his eyes, “Something about how she wanted to come over but I chose my friends.” Namjoon and Yoongi know that Seokjin is dying to make a comment about Yoongi’s girlfriend who was older than all three of them. He doesn’t though, because she and Yoongi were already six months deep in the relationship when they met for the first time. Namjoon and Seokjin sometimes discuss Yoongi's relationship, dissecting its many facets and how it affects Yoongi’s mood. 

To lighten the atmosphere, Seokjin pretended to cover his ears, “Please, stop with all the heterosexuality. My ears are sensitive.” Namjoon puts his hand over his mouth to hide the fact that he’s laughing, but then he’s being dragged by the arm courtesy of Seokjin, and the three of them start walking to the PC Bang.

Seokjin and Yoongi play together while Namjoon opens his Netflix account, looking forward to catching up on The Crown. After about an hour, they ask Namjoon to accompany them to the 7Eleven right across the street to get food. He’s usually careful with what he eats, but Namjoon says fuck it and buys himself a big cup of Cola and ramyeon. Seokjin buys cheese bokki and Dr. Pepper while Yoongi settles for Red Bull and the same brand of ramyeon that Namjoon got.

While they eat, Namjoon listens with half an ear about their games. He’s been friends with Seokjin for two years and Yoongi a year, but he still has no idea how League of Legends work. Namjoon recalls fondly the first time the three of them went to a PC Bang with Yoongi in tow. 

( Yoongi took a glance at Seokjin’s in game friends list and said, “Woah, you’re friends with GCF?” He sounds super amazed, and Namjoon becomes worried for a while. He doesn’t look at them, but he’s already got the YouTube video he’s watching on mute. “GCF is Jungkook. You know, the ex .” Seokjin has told him about Jungkook, recalling the past with Namjoon and explaining why he has to repeat an entire school year while the three of them drink bottles of soju in Yoongi’s dorm. “Ah, seriously? Fuck him then.” Seokjin grins deviously, “Right?” )

Namjoon hates being mushy, but he’s really proud of how far Seokjin has come. He can’t even keep up with the boys he’s been dating lately. Yoongi’s presence really was good for the younger. He used to lie awake at night wondering if Seokjin is really okay, and if he has to interfere this time around: failing one year of school was enough mistakes to last Seokjin a lifetime and he will not have Seokjin doing it again. Yoongi being with him to help control Seokjin’s tendencies to self-sabotage puts him at peace, enabling Namjoon to focus on the hellish life of being a med student in their 3rd year. 

Yoongi finishes eating first. He throws the ramyeon cup in the bin and goes around the store by the fridges. He returns to the cashier carrying a bottle of cold green tea and Pocari plus a can of Red Bull.

“Ah, our Yoongi-ah is so sweet.” Seokjin says beside him, “He knows exactly what we like without asking.”

“And buying without asking.” Namjoon adds.

Yoongi hands it to them, thank yous being given to him which he brushes off. “Those are for later. God knows we’ll be playing till the sun is up.”

He walks straight to the glass doors, stands outside the store with his back on them while he lights a cigarette. Yoongi turns to face them and suddenly makes a heart with his arms over his head, making Namjoon and Seokjin burst into laughter. 

Seokjin returns the gesture, and Namjoon sighs in defeat to hold up two finger hearts. “He’s so cute, so cute.” Seokjin manages to say through his laughter. Seokjin stands up, takes his phone out, and hands it to Namjoon. “Come on, for the snap!” As he runs outside in the middle of the street, Yoongi doubles over in laughter. Seokjin holds both of Yoongi’s arms, mouth moving rapidly. Namjoon can’t hear them but he can imagine what he’s saying. He inputs the passcode to Seokjin’s phone, 1204, and opens the aforementioned app. He’s getting really nostalgic now, remembering when Seokjin’s passcode was 0901. Namjoon never really asked him what the combination meant, but he’s got an inkling on what it’s supposed to mean.

Namjoon takes the picture, taking the liberty to write the caption. 

YoonJin #MoniShoots

While waiting for the photo to upload, Namjoon clicks on Seokjin’s story. There’s a video of when they were in Yoongi’s room sitting and still talking captioned as BEST FRIENDS TIME, a video of them walking out of Yoongi’s dormitory, two solo full-body pictures of Namjoon and Yoongi, and another but with both of them this time. Namjoon shakes his head at the oversharing. Well, if he thinks about it, the posts barely scrape the surface of what they actually do. 

Namjoon’s surprised that the latest upload gets an instant viewer; it hasn’t even been two minutes yet. The name makes Namjoon purse his lips. He simply closes the app and Seokjin’s phone, paying it no mind. Jungkook is a thing of the past, but pretending that he never existed is more unhealthy than simply acknowledging that he influenced Seokjin’s present life greatly. 

The last time Namjoon saw Jungkook was that night he and Seokjin met him at a bar far from their area. Even when in school, Namjoon hasn’t passed by him at all. He’s not sure if he and Seokjin spoke after that, but it doesn’t matter anymore. What matters is the now : that Seokjin has never been happier and content. He’s been dating several guys left and right, his best friends love him a lot, and he is thriving in school again. Seokjin is so different now compared to when Namjoon first met him bawling on the dirty floor of their dormitory right outside his bedroom. Namjoon reckons he is ready for another heartbreak now if it comes.

Seokjin comes back to finish his food while Yoongi stays outside, on the phone with someone. The two inside whisper about how maybe it’s the girlfriend again.

“It’s probably her. Fingers crossed they don’t duke it out too much,” Namjoon groans out while stacking their empty cup of instant ramyeon and cheese bokki on top of each other, “I actually want to stay in the PC Bang and continue watching The Crown.”

“You’re right. Hopefully she doesn’t shout much. That instantly makes him want to drink.” Seokjin really wishes that Yoongi and his girlfriend settle out their differences for tonight. Or as Seokjin has been hoping ever since he met her, to break their relationship off. But he wants to be a good friend, and he of all people knows that relationships are different for everyone. 

When Yoongi pockets his phone and takes out another cigarette stick, Namjoon and Seokjin decide that the coast is clear. Hopefully. “You go ahead,” Seokjin says as they stand up, “I’ll throw this away.” Namjoon only sighs, shoulders drooping down. Must he always be the sacrificial emotional doll just because he graduated with a degree in psychology?

Seokjin takes his time throwing their trash and pretending to look around the store. He peeks outside and sees Yoongi throw his head back in laughter while Namjoon does the same. It makes him grin to himself as he rushes outside the store. “What did I miss?” He asks while taking out his box of cigarettes from the pocket of his hoodie. Yoongi lights it for him, eyes still crinkled in humor. 

“Babies won’t understand.” 

“I'm older than you.” Seokjin says with a glare, not really meaning anything bad by it.

“Only physically,” Namjoon quips in, “Spiritually? You’re like seven.”

“No, I’m not!” Seokjin only even argues about it because he likes seeing the two of them laugh. 

“You have a point,” Yoongi mutters while nodding in agreement, “Because you’re actually two.” It makes Namjoon cackle, and Seokjin only rolls his eyes. 

As he looks at the two most important people in his life double over in laughter at his expense, Seokjin decides that this is what he wants to remember as he gets older. He wants to fill every corner of his mind with memories just like this, because Namjoon and Yoongi aren’t going anywhere. Memories with them can be something he can play in his head over and over again, knowing he can make more. 


A year ago

Seokjin wakes up to a startle. He opens his eyes to a bare chest and a heavy arm around his waist. The sleepiness clouds his mind as he tries to remember what he was doing before falling asleep. It’s a Thursday, so there are no classes. Heesu and him got into a heavy fight last night, prompting Seokjin’s boyfriend to sleepover. They woke up around 11 in the morning for brunch, went back to his dorm, and fell asleep with full stomachs.

Even without looking at the time, he just knew he’s running late. Turning around to grasp for his phone around the bed, he wakes his companion who groans at the sudden erratic movements. It’s just right above his head, vibrating non-stop. His heart drops to his stomach; he is goddamn sure he set his alarm and to the highest volume. 

“Park Heesu did you silence my phone?!”

The accused doesn’t even open his eyes, choosing instead to turn his back on Seokjin and hug the pillow they were sharing under their heads. “It kept on ringing.” 

“For a reason! I told you I have something to do around five!” Seokjin gets out of bed in a panic. His phone continues to vibrate from when he dropped it on the floor, making him more anxious. Seokjin steps inside the bathroom of his dorm room and grabs his toothbrush and toothpaste, hands shaking. He brushes his teeth, gargles some mint mouthwash, and splashes his face with water. Without a care, he bangs the door to run to his closet. A plain black shirt, black sweatpants, and clean socks; simple and comfortable enough. His face can make up for the simplicity. 

Changing into clean clothes, Seokjin glares at the shirtless lump on his bed basking in the afternoon light. If he had more time, he would kick Heesu’s ass out of his bed and probably fight with him about his privacy and boundaries such as overstaying his welcome. Just because they’ve been officially together for two months now doesn’t mean Seokjin is suddenly going all soft and letting people, most of all his boyfriend, invade his space. Not even his best friends Namjoon and Yoongi stay longer than a day. 

Speaking of Namjoon and Yoongi, his phone would stop moving for a few seconds then proceed to vibrate again. Seokjin’s trusty 8000 won white shoes that resemble low cut Chucks are grabbed from the shoe rack by the door and worn. Lastly, a plain white bucket hat is grabbed from behind the door and placed on his head to flatten his bed hair.

He grabs his keys placed on top of his bedside table and picks up his phone still vibrating on the floor. With one last scowl at his boyfriend, Seokjin locks the door and leaves. He runs down three flights of stairs, and at the very bottom right outside the door glaring at him, is Yoongi.

“Please don’t shout at me, I just woke up and am still fragile.” Seokjin pleads, rubbing his eyes cutely at Yoongi who only sighs. “Is it Park Heesu?” 

Seokjin gulps. Yoongi dislikes Heesu and doesn’t try to be civil. Namjoon, who only met Heesu once, was at least polite. “We had a fight so he stayed the night.” Seokjin admits sheepishly. Yoongi, who is newly single, rolls his eyes. Seokjin used to be the one pouting when Yoongi’s (ex) girlfriend was in their area and staying the night, now their roles are reversed. 

“I won’t shout at you, but I will with Park Heesu.” Yoongi tells him seriously. Seokjin smiles at him, cheeks puffing out. “You love me so much.” 

“I do, but that can’t save us from Namjoon’s wrath if we don’t show up in ten minutes at the grandstand.” Without another word, the two start the tedious walk from the dormitories to inside the campus, and to the grandstand. It would probably take them twenty minutes of walking, but Yoongi wants to try being optimistic for once.

They cannot be late to this for the reason that the two of them are the ones who convinced Namjoon to join the football team for this year’s inter-med school sports tournament. Seokjin threw in words like “final year” and “making memories” while Yoongi backed him up with very enthusiastic nods that were just uncharacteristic of him. But it is Namjoon’s final year in medical school, and he may be the reigning king of chess among all other medical schools in the nation, but according to his best friends slash critics, “You need to end the year with a bang. Not with a girl, unless of course you want to since we respect your sexual endeavours, but with joining something where we can be smug and say that you’re our best friend.”

Namjoon is wildly popular among his peers due to his intelligence, looks, and personality. Everyone is counting on him to be the future topnotcher in the board exams, so seeing him in the flesh on a Thursday fresh out of clerkship duty wearing their school colors to play football felt like the second coming. To Seokjin and Yoongi though, Namjoon is shooting lasers with his eyes as he spots the two of them running to the field and into the bleachers.

The two new arrivals ignore the curses directed at them as they elbow their way through the very bottom of the grandstand. The referee blows his whistle, there’s one last glare from Namjoon, and the game begins. 

By the end of the first half of the game, their school is leading thanks to Namjoon. Not particularly because he is the most talented player in the team, but because he is the only one not exhausted from rotations. He’s sitting on the bench with other players for a fifteen minute break, drinking water and talking with his teammates.

Seokjin decides that this is the best time to commence his and Yoongi’s plan. He side eyes Yoongi who is apparently thinking the same thing as they catch the other looking back through their peripheral. 

Clearing his throat, Seokjin says in a voice slightly above the normal pitch, “Wow, number 12 is just so handsome!” 

“Handsome and talented! Do you know who he is?” Yoongi says, his deep voice that is usually quiet being heard clearly by the people around them. 

“Yes, Kim Namjoon! He’s in his fourth year of medical school! Gosh, he’s going to be a doctor but he’s also athletic and hot? Life is so unfair!” Seokjin gushes. People are already looking at them in interest, including Namjoon’s teammates.

On the players’ bench, one of them nudges Namjoon and says, “Aren’t those your friends?” With a heavy sigh, Namjoon stands up to walk towards his so-called “friends” who are currently hitting each other’s arms.

“What the heck are you guys playing at?” He asks exasperatedly. His dimples appear, and the two push it further because Namjoon is not really mad, more like trying to hide how amusing he is finding the entire scenario.

“Oh gosh, Yoongi! Namjoon-sunbae is talking to us!” Seokjin has his fingers poised like he is praying, and Yoongi copies him instantly. “Ah, this is all because we came here on time to cheer him on!” 

Namjoon couldn’t help the snicker that came out of him. He crosses his arms, and looks at his two friends still loudly referring to him as “Namjoon-sunbae.” With a sigh, he tells them that they are forgiven, earning whoops from the two as he walks back to the field. 

It’s an easy win, a game that was dominated by cheers and screams from Seokjin and Yoongi going crazy on the stands everytime the ball was in Namjoon’s possession or whenever he made a goal. They run to the field after the teams’ picture taking, phones out and clinging to Namjoon for selfies. 

Seokjin’s about to snap a selfie with the three of them posing with peace signs when the screen is taken over by a phone call. It makes Namjoon chuckle weakly and has Yoongi rolling his eyes. 

Su-ah 

Seokjin flushes in embarrassment and answers the call immediately, turning his back on the other two. “Come on Namjoon,” Yoongi says out loud, “The singles should stick together.” The statement makes him frown because really, was that supposed to be a brand that made them better than Seokjin who is dating, about to graduate, and generally thriving in life?

“I already told you we watched Namjoon’s game, babe. Yes, it’s done. Wait hold on. Hold on. Shut up for a minute. I said shut the fuck up, Park Heesu. Are you still in my dorm?” Seokjin’s voice rises at every pause, and the two share a look that basically says, ‘Ah, crap.’

They stand awkwardly behind Seokjin as he goes off about how Heesu does not respect his decisions, suddenly backtracking in the middle of his rant to start another argument with his boyfriend regarding Heesu turning his phone off this morning, waking him up late, and making Yoongi wait downstairs.

“Were you seriously waiting for an hour?”

“Not really. My afternoon nap lasted longer than I thought. I arrived five minutes before he came down.”

“Are you going to tell him?”

“Fuck, no.”

“You really don’t like the guy, huh.”

“And you do?” The disbelief in Yoongi’s voice is smothered by Seokjin’s angry ranting and sarcastic usage of the word ‘babe.’

“Well, it’s their relationship not mine. What we know of Heesu is a product of his association with Seokjin, not his essence as a person.”

“His essence-.. Namjoon, you don’t have to be such a saint. You don’t even believe in God.”

Silence. Between the two of them and Seokjin who seems to be listening to whatever Heesu is telling him.

“They’ll break up a week after graduation, maybe two weeks. Seokjin would be overcome with sudden realization that Heesu does not deserve him. You guys will be in med by then and he’ll see that there are so many other guys out there better for him.” 

“Now that’s what I’m talking about.” Yoongi nods his head in approval, glad that Namjoon is finally seeing the light. “I’ll place my bet on a break-up a month after their anniversary. Same reason applies.” 

“That’s harsh, even from you,” Namjoon chides Yoongi who ignores it, “But whatever. I want your white Fear of God shirt if I win.”

“Okay but if I win, I get the black Vetements shirt with the red logo.” 

They shake on it just as Seokjin turns around to announce that “Heesu’s joining us for dinner!” He considers the two who only smile innocently at him, eyes narrowing. “What was that handshake for?”

Yoongi counters with, “Why is he joining Namjoon’s celebratory dinner?” 

“He hasn’t left yet.. And it’s Namjoon’s celebration anyway! Joonie likes Heesu, unlike you. Right, Joonie?” Seokjin gazes optimistically at the oldest who gulps. Was he supposed to just say, “I actually don't. Matter of fact, Yoongi and I just betted on how long your relationship with him will last.”

He crumbles under the intensity of Seokjin’s pout and pretends he doesn’t see Yoongi glaring daggers at him. 

“Okay.”

The field is getting dark enough for the floodlights open, illuminating them and their growing shadows. As they start walking out of the field, they spot Heesu walking towards them.

“I swear to god if he fights with you again about handing the soy sauce, I will not be held responsible for my actions.” Yoongi drawls in a pleasant tone that betrays his words. Seokjin smiles to keep appearances up, “Be nice.”

Heesu nods politely at them in greeting, hands instantly finding Seokjin’s. “Congratulations on the win, Namjoon-hyung,” He closes off a bit while facing Yoongi, “Hey, Yoongi.” Yoongi inwardly laughs at the fear in Heesu’s eyes. Despite being in the same age and year, there is a silent agreement between the both of them that if Heesu hurts Seokjin in any way, Yoongi is ready to throw the punch that Namjoon is too pacifistic to do. Which is probably why he minimizes ‘ playfully teasing ’ Seokjin when he’s around, the coward.

If Yoongi can travel back in time, he’ll prevent his past self from introducing Seokjin to Heesu. He’s the biggest hater of the pair, but he did have a big hand with how they began in the first place. 

Before he met Seokjin, who is a sunbae repeating a school year after failing both semesters,Yoongi hanged out with multiple people from different sections. Heesu is one of them, even sleeping over at Yoongi’s dorm when their class goes out to drink themselves to blacking out. Yoongi’s a good person despite what other people think, so during those many times, he drags a babbling Heesu with him only to meet Seokjin along the way. He met the older student a week ago, yet past Yoongi already liked Seokjin more than Heesu even during those times. Seokjin was outside his own dorm smoking while holding an unopened bottle of Pocari. He greeted Yoongi and offered his help with the lump hanging off Yoongi’s shoulders. As they steadily go up the stairs of Yoongi’s dorm, he knew he made a friend for life in Seokjin. Heesu on the other hand took one look at Seokjin and fell in love at first sight, crushing on Seokjin for so long until he finally asked him out two years after that encounter. Yoongi was against it but doesn’t stop him because it’s Heesu, who was stuck in Platinum at League of Legends and just overall sucked at the game, while Seokjin has dated THE legendary GCF, so what was there to worry about? 

Seokjin apparently has a soft spot for underdogs, seeing as it has been two months since they made their relationship official.

Namjoon paces alongside Yoongi while the couple walks ahead of them, swinging their arms together. The action makes Seokjin laugh, and the two know it is genuine because he’s making that weird but adorable windshield swiping sound that is unique to him.

“They’re kinda cute,” Namjoon says fondly the same moment Yoongi grumbles, “I can’t wait for this to be over.”


2 months ago

Yoongi passes the blunt to Seokjin who takes it without hesitation. He sighs at the ash that fell on his black Vetements shirt, patiently gathering them on his palm to dump it on the ashtray placed on the floor between them. 

The familiar tune of Yoongi’s text tone echoes in the room, mixing with season 3 episode 3 of Chef’s Table that Seokjin never tires of rewatching. It's his Dad, telling him that he just sent Yoongi his allowance for the month. Yoongi doesn’t have to open his bank app to know that his balance just turned from three digits to six. 

“Alright, Seokjinnie. Tell Yoongi-nim what you want to eat. We’re going all out today.” Yoongi stands up and walks to his closet, rummaging for jeans that would match his brand new shirt courtesy of Namjoon. Yoongi decides on his trusty black skinny jeans ripped on the knees.

It has been six days since Seokjin broke up with Heesu, winning Yoongi the bet. Seokjin, bless his soul, looks at Yoongi with sparkling eyes and pure reverence, “Remember that post I tagged you in? The high-end buffet?”

“Get up then because we are going.” Yoongi’s mouth waters as he remembers the number of stations the buffet is said to have. 

“But it’s by the city. I don’t want to ride the bus.” Seokjin whines, hits the blunt, and hits it again. Yoongi’s expression of disbelief makes Seokjin raise his brows. “Unless..?”

“You think we’ll take the bus? Get up and find something to wear in my closet. I still have that unused shirt from Bape. I’ll book us a ride and won’t even look at the fare.” 

Seokjin does get up, hands Yoongi the blunt, and crosses his arms over his chest. “I think I look fine though.” Yoongi looks him up and down: he’s wearing a matching lavender-colored oversized hoodie and sweatpants. “You always do, but right now your get-up versus mine,” Yoongi gestures to himself then at Seokjin, “Screams that you’re my sugar baby and it’s our first date.”

“That is weirdly specific,” Seokjin gives him a worrisome look that Yoongi shrugs at, “But I don’t really care.” He flops down at Yoongi’s bed, arms and legs splayed resembling a starfish. Seokjin hears the rustle of clothes, then the bed dips and the smell of burnt grass becomes closer. 

“Yoongi,” Seokjin’s voice is muffled by the way his face is mushed on Yoongi’s mattress, “Are you sugar dating?” 

There is a quiet, and Seokjin panics for a bit. “Are YOU?” 

“I’m not as rich as you think I am,” Yoongi assures him, “But I probably would be able to if I didn’t have to feed somebody and buy their switch games for them.” The emphasis on somebody makes Seokjin giggle. 

Changing the subject, Seokjin turns around to lay on his back. “Should we bring containers so we can take home food to Joon? He’s killing himself lately with rotations.” For a second, Yoongi seems to seriously consider the idea. “We can get him something on the way home. Not to mention you’ll just make me do it while you focus on eating.” A sound coming from Yoongi’s phone distracts him, making him stand up from the bed.

“Driver in five! I don’t even have shoes on.”

“Come on, come on, come on!” Seokjin’s screaming is not helping him, so Yoongi throws his phone at the other who catches it with a grunt. 

“At least change shoes.” He tells Seokjin in a resigned tone while grabbing the speed fit Balenciagas at the top of his shoe rack. 

Seokjin ignores him and goes straight for the crocs. 

Inside the car, Seokjin makes small talk with their driver about school. He looks young physically, eyes on the road and occasionally glancing at the rear-view mirror while Seokjin chatters about how he and Yoongi are about to graduate school. Yoongi, who is sitting right next to their driver in front, chuckles to himself inwardly at the driver’s awe-struck expression every time he takes a glimpse at Seokjin. 

Yoongi opens his phone to check how long until they arrive at the restaurant when a notification pops up.

 

Namjoon, MD

How are you guys? Has he spoken to you about he-who-must-not-be-named?

 

Yoongi wasn’t present for the Tragic Year of Kim Seokjin , as Namjoon calls it. He knows bits and pieces about said year, and really, he doesn’t want to put Seokjin in a position in which he has to recall it despite how much assurance he gives Yoongi that it’s okay. 

It’s hard for Yoongi to imagine that the Seokjin in the stories Namjoon tells him about is the same one sitting behind him. Namjoon talks about a Seokjin who Yoongi wishes he could comfort back then, but he is also thankful for the Seokjin of the present. 

He’s entertaining the driver with numerous college anecdotes, looking like he didn’t just break up with Park Heesu who is his longest relationship to date, a few days ago. Seokjin told them through a series of messages sent to their groupchat, apparently doing the breaking up via text as well.

Yoongi turns his head around to look at Seokjin who is now explaining to the driver the process about becoming a doctor. He’s never looked better, Yoongi reflects. It appears that the heaviness on his shoulders looming over him has been lifted, hell, Seokjin is glowing . No wonder the driver keeps stealing glimpses at him. 

Self-love looks so good on Kim Seokjin.

 

 NamGiJin GC

I have an announcement to make.

I just broke up with Heesu.

It suddenly struck me while I was arguing with him.

I sent him this film trailer, and he didn’t watch it. 

Just proceeded to talk about how he’s stressed about homework. You know, the usual. He talks about homework in that insinuating way of his; when he wants me to do it for him, the fucker. 

I sulked over it, told him that he never cares about what I say. 

Then I began imagining dating someone who would listen to me, care about my hobbies because I’m interesting as fuck. Who I won’t have to hold myself back for, because I do that for him a lot. I should have known months ago, when I stopped bringing him along to dinners with you guys; when the silence in my room was preferable to his presence. 

So I did it. 

Just texted him that I’m done. 

We broke up once already, and nothing happened. And you two have been around since the beginning of our relationship; you guys know how I am. I always speak up when there’s something wrong, when he does something I don’t like, or god, even my own mistakes. I bring everything up, and I put myself through hell waiting for him to do something about it. For a year. We’ve been together for a year but nothing has changed. 

I told him I love myself too much to stick around with someone who I have to reduce myself for. 

Little fucker said that I should choose us, not me. 

Can you imagine? Fucking bullshit. 

Anyways, come down for a smoke Yoongi. I tried knocking on Joonie’s door but it seems like he’s asleep. 

Also,

Love you both.

Chapter Text

Orange and green.

Orange the shade of persimmons when it finally matures at the end of autumn, and green identical to moss growing on stone walls and pathways everywhere in the mountainous farmlands.

Jungkook has spent his childhood holidays in the deeper parts of the countryside: when he says countryside he means no electricity, and neighbors living miles away distanced by stretches of land. People ask him where he obtained his undergraduate degree from and instantly imagine the boondocks, and he finds it funny explaining to them that yes, there are malls, coffee shops, and PC Bangs there just like in every other place. 

Which is why despite having more nature than the nearest city, Jungkook’s alma mater isn’t exactly a palette of orange and green.

The colors of choice made him glance, but the face makes him stare. 

He still remembers how it felt that day.

Disbelief that this guy is his classmate; that he wore an orange sweater and green sweatpants to school, wonder and amusement at how his beautiful face lets him get away with the awful fashion choice, and finally, a feeling of needing to act. 

There’s only one week left in the semester, and Jungkook cannot believe his misfortune that he meets the love of his life while half of the class smoke the stress of organic chemistry finals away outside a 7Eleven. 

So Jungkook dips his hand in the side pocket of Kim Seokjin’s backpack and steals his earphones.


Jungkook’s cheeks are starting to ache from smiling so much. Maybe God does exist, because some deity up there seems to have favored him and decided to show Kim Seokjin the light. Seokjin’s first message to Jungkook was filled with expletives, but it’s okay. He did steal the other guy’s earphones so he deserves that.

He’s been trying to make conversation with Seokjin for days now, and he finally decided to bless Jungkook with a positive reply. Jungkook sent him a picture of a freshly bathed Gureum, who after taking the picture, immediately shook his entire body wetting Jungkook’s pajamas. But that didn’t matter, because as he sat there at the floor of his bathroom, he can officially say that this is it. 

This is the day. The day Kim Seokjin will fall for his wily charms, and soon, hopefully, on his dick. The thought of that one makes him laugh so loudly that Gureum ran out of the bathroom, leaving the wet towel by Jungkook’s feet.

Jungkook’s only tried going on an acid trip once, but is it just him or does the world look more vibrant? 


Thief From Chem Dept.

hey

he said i should text you again today

 

Who did?

 

god :) 

 

LOL What.. 

Please leave me alone.

 

seokjinnie

I dreamt about you. 

Even in my dreams you’re annoying me.

 

 

was i wearing designer clothes or nah

 

Omg I hate you so much.. 

Why am I even speaking with you..

You know what keep my earphones.

You clearly need it more than me..

 

wait what does that mean?

hyung?

seokjinnie-hyung???

heeeeeeeey

baby, what did you mean by that?

tell me more about the dream, im listening

 

nvm i need it back

 

hmm lol

 

what????

 

why are u suddenly typing in lowercase

 

because i can?

 

u liked that didn’t you

the idea of being my baby

 

You are literally a year younger than me. 

 

ahaaaaaa

 

Jeon Jungkook, you’re a menace.

 

J~K~

i mean i’ve seen cloud atlas of course but it isn’t the best nor my fave

 

How dare you.

What’s your favorite movie then?

 

ratatouille :D

 

Okay, fair.

 

seokjinnie

So you mean to tell me you’re this cocky when you only dated one girl? 

And numerous one night stands under your belt?

 

hey, we lasted for like 2 yrs! 

besides.. i’m not the one who’s a virgin

 

Virginity is a social construct.

 

of course! i’m just sayin.. 

you keep talking to me like i’m a child but i definitely have more experience than you..

plz don’t get offended…

 

I’m not offended.

And you’re right. I apologize for that.

Well, are you interested in anyone in your class?

 

you :D

 

Haha. We are in different majors, let alone the same class.

Well, only for that one time last sem lol.

Can’t believe we never talked until the end of it.

 

why won’t you believe me :(

 

Oh please. You never liked anyone in your class?

 

well, yeah of course

there aren’t many people in chem but everyone’s cool

 

Like who? 

 

uhhh well i used to like jieun? for quite a while too

 

Ooooh interesting. Tell hyung more.

 

u just want dirt on me

but its ok bcus at least ur replying :D

 

Now you’re making me feel bad.

Not bad enough though. So go on.

 

she’s the batch representative, and i was the class prez last term

so we used to hang around a lot during 1st yr

not by choice but due to the responsibilities

jinsang and her knew each other back in highschool so he told me lots of stuff about her

apparently she works to support herself through college bcus her dad died

she’s super kind and going through a lot and still does well in school

i really liked that about her

i was going to ask her out but i didn’t

idk felt like she was too good for messing around with me, or whatever

jinsang said i was just being a coward. he might be right

hyung?

you still there?


Uncertainty is said to be represented by yellow mixed with green and blue. Jungkook’s annoyed that it’s the exact color combination his phone case has. 

He’s not really sure if he said anything wrong since it was Seokjin who asked in the first place, but the unresponsiveness to his messages is leaving him anxious. He feels nervous as he opens his phone and clicks the call button on Seokjin’s contact. 

Besides texting each other almost everyday, this would be the first time he actually speaks with Seokjin.

Using his voice.

Saying words. 

Jungkook feels himself go green at the thought. He’s about to end the call but Seokjin picks up and the call timer shows 0:00. He places it against his ear, and waits for Seokjin to speak but all he hears as confirmation that his phone did not malfunction is the sound of breathing on the other end.

“Hyung? Are you there?”

“You’re the one who called me. Am I supposed to be the one to start the conversation?”

His heart starts pumping faster at hearing Seokjin’s voice. He’s heard Seokjin laugh, extremely adorable and five over five stars, but Seokjin talking directly to his ear is something else entirely. 

Jungkook turns on his back, head hitting his pillow. He’s been in bed since earlier but now he feels completely aware of the surroundings. Was his room always this white?

“We’re still meeting tomorrow right? Unless you’re really giving your earphones away to me.” He hears Seokjin scoff, and suddenly, Jungkook doesn’t know what to do with his free hand while the other grips his phone; an ugly yellow, green, blue rubber case. 

The case of uncertainty. Hah.

“Why are you laughing to yourself? And to answer your question, yes. We can meet at my dorm after we both finish enrolling.” 

“Okay, then.”

Jungkook settles his hand on his chest, fiddling with his dark green cotton shirt. “Why did you stop replying?” With a surge of cheekiness and bravery, he adds, “Did you get jealous?”

He learns that Seokjin is honest to a fault, and that when given the opportunity goes off into rants with varying levels of pitch and tone. 

“Did you get jealous?” Seokjin repeats mockingly, “What am I supposed to feel then Jeon Jungkook? You’ve been flirting with me since the beginning of vacation, and I might have found you charming, and maybe if you asked me out properly instead of sending me pictures of your dog, I would maybe say yes, but really? You’re so annoying. A menace. Straight up Shakespearean menace!”

Jungkook’s clutching his shirt like a lifeline, lips pressed together in a line to stop himself from saying something embarrassing, or god forbid, letting out a squeal. He really should have recorded this call so he can dissect each word Seokjin just said. He opens his mouth to speak, ready to ask Seokjin out right then and there, but he’s cut off instantly.

“How dare you do this to me, you brat! I suppose I’m okay to mess around with then, huh? I hate you. You’re not even cuter than me, Jeon Jungkook. I pity Gureum for having you as his caretaker.”

Jungkook doesn’t know what to feel, so instead of filtering his words, he just says everything on the tip of his tongue. “Hyung, I’m so happy right now because you actually remember Gureum’s name. And yes, I whole-heartedly agree that you’re cuter than me. You’re the absolute cutest, Jinnie-hyung, but what do you mean by messing around with you? I’m super serious about you. Serious enough that I stole your earphones even though I could have gone to jail. That’s how serious I’am; I’ll march right into a cellar if there’s a chance that you would give me the time of day, hyung.”

“You just texted me that you didn’t pursue that girl you liked because she’s too good to mess around with, according to you. I have screenshots of it, so don’t even think about getting out of this. Also, I don’t think people have gone to jail over earphones. And why would I not remember Gureum? You send me pictures of him several times a day, I’m severely attached already.”

Jungkook runs his hand through his hair, not sure where to begin. Or how he’s going to end this call. What he needs right now is a smoke, that’s what he needs. He jumps out of bed and takes his box of Marlboro reds over lights; it’s a Marlboro reds situation after all. 

“Yah, JK! Are you even listening?”

“Of course, I’ am. Just needed a cigarette. Also, JK? We’re giving each other nicknames already?” 

He pushes the door to his bedroom’s balcony with his shoulder, uncaring of the cold night air. His trusty lighter and ashtray are atop the balcony’s marble ledge, right next to the spot where he likes sitting on to smoke. Jungkook places his phone down for a second to climb up the ledge. He takes out a cigarette from the barely used box of reds, lights it, and takes a hit. With calmed nerves, he picks up the phone again.

“I’m back.”

“…Are you fucking serious?”

“Umm, yeah? I told you I needed a cigarette. Why? Don’t tell me you just confessed your love while I wasn’t listening.” He teases. The silence has Jungkook blushing, and maybe he should have just took his trusty Marlboro lights. These reds are not helping the way he is starting to shake at the possibility of what he said to be true.

“I guess you’ll never know then. Like Schrödinger’s cat but I know the truth and it’s a you problem only.” Seokjin cackles, already sounding lighter compared to his ranting from earlier. 

“Hey!” Jungkook finds himself shouting, “Don’t joke about that! Did you really?!”

“Stop shouting, JK. What if you wake your neighbors up?”

Jungkook rolls his eyes at the deflection. “Did you or did you not?” 

“That is the question.”

Jungkook likes him so much; he’s grown to like Seokjin beyond the surface in a matter of weeks. He wonders what it would be like in a month.

“Hyung,” He enunciates the word in his gentlest and softest tone, “I only go after things I like. Same goes with people. I suppose you can say I didn’t like her that much, hence why I never tried asking her out.”

Seokjin clears his throat noisily on the other end of the line. Jungkook takes a hit from his cigarette, ashes it, and takes another hit. He tongues the inside of his left cheek, wondering if he should go for it. He did say he goes after the things he likes. “Wanna have phone sex? Clear the air out before we meet tomorrow?”

He hears the sudden intake of breath, and something dropping on the floor. Jungkook pulls the device away from his ear and mouth to laugh in realization that Seokjin got so shocked he lost his grip on his phone. 

“That isn’t how you do.. phone sex.” Seokjin mumbles to the phone the same time Jungkook presses it to his ear. He’s surprised that the other is even entertaining the topic, expecting Seokjin to call him names then drop the call for good. “Oh? How would you know?” 

Jungkook should’ve seen it coming, that as he peels away at the layers that is Kim Seokjin, he will end up finding that Seokjin is everything he likes in a person; everything he dreamed about and more. He’s always had good taste and intuition. 

“I’m a virgin, not a prude. And I’m only 19, it’s normal to have some experiences but not the actual thing.” Seokjin tells him with a steady voice. Jungkook stubs the cigarette out and lets his now free hand to dangle over the balcony ledge. “How was it then? Was it to your liking?” Jungkook asks, purely trying to make conversation and not insinuate anything by it. 

“Yeah. It was fine. Kind of awkward at the beginning, but I’m glad I didn’t chicken out on an experience.” Seokjin sounds like he is discussing the weather and how nimbus clouds are formed. 

Their conversation has made several turns but Jungkook is invested into anything that has to do with discovering how Seokjin’s mind works. Truthfully, if his stances and intelligence turned out to not be of Jungkook’s taste, he would have lost interest in Seokjin already. 

“You’re comfortable talking with me about these things?” Jungkook asks to make sure. He voiced the earlier statement to tease and make light of the subject, but the atmosphere instead shifted into something that felt clinical, something personal. “I do apologize for the off-hand comment if I offended you in any way. I just assumed that we think the same regarding it; that conversations about sex should be normalized and not seen as something to shy around about.”

“Wow," Seokjin begins, “That’s the most intelligent thing I’ve heard from you. From anyone in a long time actually.” It makes Jungkook smile; he does like being complemented. “And you don’t have to worry. I was not offended, I know it wasn’t meant to be one. I’ll even take it further and accept it as a compliment.”

“Am I allowed to make more comments then? I promise to at least be a bit classy about it.” Jungkook waits for Seokjin to respond with bated breathe. He starts drawing circles on his thigh to distract him. 

The line’s still quiet. He thinks that it’s okay, only a minute or two has passed. If Seokjin tells him no, he’ll take it in stride. He’s a smart boy, he can flirt all night without needing to make it sexual or suggestive. And Jungkook does want to flirt all night, he wants to talk to Seokjin non-stop despite the promise of meeting tomorrow in person.

“You may,” Seokjin finally says, “Thank you for asking.” 

Jungkook couldn’t help the way he reacted to the affirmation; a feeling of victory at the given consent and a lick on his upper lip with his tongue at the thought that Seokjin said yes.


Seokjin’s never seen Oldboy, and Jungkook has never seen a single Bond film. 

Together they watch said movies in the quiet of Seokjin’s dorm room, trying to fit the both of them in his single bed and lying on their stomachs. The air felt electric, but around an hour or two, Jungkook is surprised by how comfortable it is to have Seokjin leaning onto him compared to the awkwardness from earlier when they were actively trying their best to leave some space between their bodies.

Later, when Seokjin announces that “Holy shit it’s past 11 and we have curfew!” and Jungkook replies with “Why?” and a face devoid of mischief, he listens and watch as the other paces around the room while explaining that the dorm has a curfew when students go on vacation for safety purposes. Of course Jungkook knows about it, Jinsang dorms around the area too after all.

“Then, I can’t get out?” Jungkook asks, and he gives himself a pat on the back that his voice doesn’t betray the truth. 

“Yeah. I guess you’re stuck here with me.” Seokjin grumbles one last time in defeat before going back to the bed and sitting on the edge. Jungkook’s already made himself comfortable in it, lying on the bed like a cat.

Jungkook turns on his side, eyes roaming up to Seokjin who looks super annoyed that he forgot about the curfew. “Hey,” He bumps his forehead on Seokjin’s back to get his attention, “More like you’re stuck with me.”

He watches from a view below of how Seokjin does this thing where his lids fall half-open and his lips stretch into what could only be described as fondness. Maybe Jungkook’s half in-love already.

“I’ll be good, I promise,” Jungkook fits himself into the space between Seokjin’s arm and waist, smiling up at him, “And we haven’t seen Skyfall yet. I thought we’re watching all the Bond films?”

“I suppose.. Plus, Skyfall is way better than Quantum of Solace. We really need to see it after that disaster to clear the air, as you like putting it.”

Jungkook couldn’t help the grin on his face when he hears the word we. His hand goes up instantly to cover his mouth, and Seokjin raises a brow at it. 

“You look like a bunny when you smile.” 

His face instantly drops. “I know. I don’t like it.” He turns away, suddenly feeling very shy and aware of their closeness when he was basking in it earlier. Seokjin doesn’t say anything else, just hums and lays down beside the other on his bed. 

“So are we watching or having a therapy session? I know nothing about the human mind professionally, but I did take Psych 101 last year. And I’ve seen all the Ghibli films.”

“What does the Ghibli films have to do with therapy?” Jungkook tries to imagine the connection between Spirited Away and the insecurity he feels over his teeth. 

Seokjin’s looking at the ceiling, trying to string together the right words. “I think people who cried while watching Grave of the Fireflies are more human than the rest of us. Or if they understand the message of Princess Mononoke and Castle In The Sky in that there really is no good or bad. People who recognize that present actions require a root cause from the past are kinder. You see people and the things they do, and you try to understand the whys behind it rather than deciding if it is good or bad. What standard of it is even used to decide such a thing?”

“Hyung, you have a lovely way with words,” Jungkook finally faces him, eyes wide and confusion evident on the brown orbs, “But I have no idea what the fuck you’re saying.”

It makes Seokjin laugh. The kind of laughter that dusts his cheeks a shade of pink. Jungkook still has no idea what the other meant, but he laughs alongside Seokjin. He didn’t mean to be funny, but Seokjin laughs like it’s the funniest thing he’s ever heard and Jungkook wants to be able to keep bringing out this side of him.

“Okay look, Studio Ghibli films touch on so many themes. Environmentalism, feminism, and pacifism. One of the things that are prevalent in the movies is that the supposed bad guys in the beginning aren’t really bad guys. They make us want to examine these characters more than what their narrative is supposed to be. We see their motives and think that they are definitely the antagonist, but they are so much more than that.”

Jungkook feels sheepish, still not seeing the point. Here’s another thing he discovers about Seokjin: he is eternally patient when it matters.

“Sorry, I said so many things. You must think I’m pretentious now.” Jungkook shakes his head at that. Better pretentious than someone empty-headed.

“Jungkook, all I really wanted to say is that, there must be a reason why you don’t like the way you smile. I’m not going to sit here and tell you that you shouldn’t say that about you so I can feel good about myself that I like something you’re insecure about. Don’t get me wrong, I find it absolutely adorable, but I’m not in any position to tell you what to love and not love about you. I’m sure there’s a reason why you hate it, and that’s okay. Soon, you’ll see past it in your own pace.”

Jungkook looks at Seokjin, who is smiling at him shyly.

That day, he learns that kindness comes in the form of 19 year old Kim Seokjin in a soft pastel pink sweater, body laid down beside him and reflecting what Jungkook always wanted to see in himself.


He is hyper focused on the cornflakes floating in a bowl of milk before being disrupted by the sudden ripples. A dipping spoon is held precariously between Seokjin’s forefinger and thumb. 

Jungkook can’t see his face, but he knows it is Seokjin. He’s the only person Jungkook knows who eats cereal for dinner.

There’s a cigarette burn on the skin right below the nail of his forefinger, a red blister stark against his pale skin. 

Jungkook remembers the mark but not how it transpired. It probably had something to do with him because Seokjin is careful, yet with Jungkook he is careless. Most likely it happened while they were drunk, and he tried to plant a kiss on Seokjin because that’s what he loves doing sober or not, and Seokjin possibly was smoking a cigarette and tried holding it from a safe distance while Jungkook kisses him senseless, burning himself in the process.

Yeah, that was the most likely scenario.


Jungkook loves the way the golden afternoon sun kisses the side of Seokjin’s face as it seeps into the window inside the room.

He peeks again at Seokjin, sitting in front of his desk with legs crossed, uncaring about the magic hour. 

Five minutes ago he was in Jungkook’s arms reading some book that he would glance at from time to time. He was surprised at first to see some pages highlighted since he took Seokjin as the type to care deeply about line creases on the spine of a book.

(“I can buy another one, but that overwhelming emotion of wanting to highlight something so profound is forever.” Seokjin explains, turning a page. 

“You thought that poem about rollercoasters is profound?” Jungkook asks, a laugh about to bubble in his throat. 

“If I wasn’t into corny and shitty poetry, then your chances of making me like you would’ve been slim.”)

His musings are interrupted when Seokjin stands up from the chair. “Hey, turn off my laptop for me. I have to catch my professor by 5:30 to hand these in.” He takes the stack of papers on his desk and runs out the room without bothering to lock the door. 

Jungkook lounges for a minute or two before getting out of Seokjin’s bed. He takes hold of the laptop screen and tilts it backwards to see it properly. Fingers on the touchpad, Jungkook drags the cursor to the upper left to shut it down. 

As he does, he sees it. A file smack dab in the middle of the screen with the words,

HEY JK READ PLEASE.pdf

Jungkook never clicked on anything so fast. He settles himself into the desk chair, feet tucked underneath his thighs and a big grin on his lips. He laughs at the beginning, but it quiets down into a chuckle as he feels himself blushing at what Seokjin wrote. 

“What the fuck Kim Seokjin,” He breathes out, eyes looking around for the post-it notes Seokjin keeps on his desk, “I’m so in love with you, Kim Seokjin.” 

It’s neon yellow, a new set Seokjin bought just a week ago. He takes the only working black marker in the pen holder, and writes his response.


They’re sitting outside Seokjin’s dorm, taking full advantage of the new wooden bench the caretaker had placed next to the small door leading to the lobby. 

Jungkook is wearing his favorite black shirt with the oversized sleeves and grey basketball shorts. Seokjin on the other hand is in Jungkook’s navy blue hoodie and their school’s gym pants. 

In the space between them, lies a box of Marlboro menthols, lemon mint candies, and a newly bought lime green BIC lighter. Its color is vibrant against all the muted tones and the backdrop that the starless night sky provides. 

Jungkook doesn’t really like Marlboro menthols, preferring the lights or even reds, but Seokjin refuses to smoke anything else so that’s what he buys so they can share. When it comes to his boyfriend, there’s a lot of things that Jungkook doesn’t mind.

His boyfriend.

This surreal creature sitting beside him smoking and watching groups of drunk college kids walk up their own dormitories at the other side of the street. Seokjin laughs when one trips as the others struggle to open the door, and Jungkook laughs too because he loves it when Seokjin does. 

Both of their elbows are resting on the wooden bench’s top rail, not touching each other at all. Jungkook has never felt so close and intimate with him.

“Anyway, what was I talking about, Jungkookie?” 

“The reason why edibles give a stronger high despite our body absorbing more cannabinoids through smoking.” Jungkook supplies. He brushes his fingers on Seokjin’s shoulder back and forth, amazed at how it makes the hoodie appear smaller at the top but dangles off him as if it's oversized on the waist and wrists. 

“Ah, the conversion of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol to 11-hydroxy-tetrahydrocannabinol in the liver! As I was saying—..” Seokjin babbles off, and Jungkook listens with rapt attention. 

Being a chemistry major, he finds it attractive how Seokjin can pronounce mouthfuls of chemical nomenclature but can’t draw a benzene ring to save his life. He thinks it’s because Seokjin is majoring in biology, and they’re always memorizing plant and animal scientific names, and classifications.

“Baby, what’s the scientific name of a banana?” He asks randomly.

Seokjin looks at him with narrowed eyes, “Which.. one?”

“I don’t know. Are there different bananas?”

Seokjin now looks positively affronted. “There are around 70 species of bananas under genus Musa, you can’t just ask me if there are different bananas, JK! Me! Do you want me to recite every single one?!” Jungkook would have said yes for the fun of it, but Seokjin would take it as a challenge and really do it. That’s another thing he loves about Seokjin, how competitive he is over things he is passionate about.

“Okay, baby, relax. I’m sorry I asked. What about peaches?” He really hopes there aren’t a hundred different types of peaches.

Prunus persica.”

Maybe it's the way Seokjin’s lips move when he says words that originate from a dead language, maybe his voice, or maybe the sole reason that his intelligence backs up his handsome face so well that has Jungkook wanting to kiss the words right from his mouth.

“Why are you asking anyway?” Seokjin picks up the box for another stick and Jungkook motions for one as well. Seokjin lights his, and holds the lighter to Jungkook who leans down a bit towards the flame. 

He runs his hands through his hair, and when he notices Seokjin staring, grins at him. “I like the way you say things.”

“What’s the ATP derivative used for the signal transduction pathway called again?” Seokjin asks innocently.

Jungkook replies lightning fast, not in wants of impressing Seokjin, but because the answer comes to him easily like breathing. “Cyclic adenosine monophosphate.” 

Jungkook inhales deeply and takes the cigarette from his lips, holding it between his forefinger and thumb. At the stunned look on Seokjin’s face, he raises his brows and smirks, “You find that sexy?”

“Hell, yes.”


Jungkook has been to this particular coffeeshop so many times but the moment he enters with Seokjin in tow, he feels as if he has never stepped foot inside the establishment.

Seokjin makes him feel things that are new, and at the same time compels him to see places and go through emotions like it’s the first time. He wonders what it would be like to have Seokjin by his side, discovering and experiencing new places together.

He really wishes he knew how to drive.

For now, Jungkook is fine with their routine.

Someday, on a Wednesday afternoon perhaps, he will text Seokjin out of the blue that they are going somewhere, telling the other to get dressed. Seokjin will ask, “What kind of clothes?” and not where Jungkook is taking him, because that’s how much they trust each other. Jungkook will tell him to wear his best formal clothes, then he will drive them to a burger joint somewhere in the city where the sky isn’t as blue and the main source of light are from skyscrapers and stoplights. Seokjin will get mad at first, but he’ll also be the one insistent on taking pictures because it can’t get any better than that: him and Jungkook in a tux eating burgers and fries.

Jungkook reminds himself to start looking up driving classes. In the meantime, he can dream about it over coffee and Seokjin complaining about his chemistry classes that Jungkook promises to help him with.


Jungkook returns the stink eye that Jinsang sends his way a few feet away the gymnasium. The reason he’s here in the first place is because Seokjin begged him to join. Seokjin, who should be here with him wearing the same uncomfortable and itchy red polo shirt, is at home. Not the dormitory, but his actual house with his family. He’s been feverish since Friday, and Jungkook paid for his cab ride home so he wouldn’t have to ride the bus. Seokjin didn’t even kiss him goodbye, just a one-arm hug and off he went

They’ve been texting continuously of course, and Jungkook sighs again. It's weird to start the week without having his boyfriend with him. Seokjin told him to stop texting and focus on the event, this event that he wanted no part of in the first place.

College of Sciences Student Council Health Drive is what the hanging banner says. He doesn’t see the point of their college doing this since the allied health majors do something similar to it almost every week. Jungkook can see Seokjin’s interest in it though, he did mention that he wanted to continue and pursue medicine.

He was actually surprised to find Jinsang in the gymnasium who tells him, “How would you know? You’re always with your boyfriend these days.” Jungkook grins at that word. Four months of dating and it still makes him feel giddy.

Jungkook sighs again. What else is he supposed to do?

People are filtering in and out of the gym after going through the many booths or check-up points. All of them would exit carrying a bag containing OTC drugs, supplements, sanitary products, a t-shirt, and some food. Jungkook knows because he got assigned with the souvenir bags and the packing. He’s currently sitting at the corner with the rest of his committee members, all of them except him on their phone. Seokjin should’ve been there at the history taking booth. Jungkook was actually looking forward to seeing people stare up at Seokjin in wonder at how handsome he is, and watch him be in his element.

“Why the long face?” The empty chair beside him is pulled away from its position, and he turns to see Jieun. Well, he’s not surprised to see her here. She’s the representative of their batch after all; always active in school events and activities if she’s not organizing them herself.

Jungkook smooths his hand on the long table he’s been leaning on, fixing the crinkles of the white table cloth. Seokjin would have a fit if he sees them talking, but they’re classmates, it can’t be avoided. “This is boring.”

“Helping people is boring?” There’s no malice in her tone, just amused and maybe interested. He sighs and leans back on his chair to scan the crowd. The student council invested a lot in the event, using funds to transport the people from low-income areas with a private bus.

“Look, it’s a noble pursuit, but it’s not my thing.” Jungkook doesn’t bother explaining his side. Some people like Seokjin for example have already decided with their future. Seokjin wants to serve, wants to help people in any way possible. Jungkook, well, he majored in chemistry because he’s good at it. He likes games and he’s good at them, but like his major, he doesn’t want to go further than casually enjoying them.

Jieun stands up from her seat, and Jungkook is glad that she’s leaving.

“Come with me.”

Or not.

“No. I like sitting here on my ass, thanks.”

“Come on, Jungkook. You really would rather sit here sighing all day than doing actual work?” Jieun is relentless, it comes with the whole leadership thing she has going for her. Jungkook pouts at her, and she only rolls her eyes. She starts walking, and with one last exasperated sigh, gets up and follows her.

Jieun leads them to an area with two other people who upon seeing them approach, lets out a sigh of relief. They are standing outside a medical tent, and Jungkook feels like he should’ve just ran the moment Jieun approached him.

“Jieun! Thank fuck you’re here. Can we go take a break now?”

“Yes, sunbae-nim. My friend volunteered to help us.”

The two seniors turn to Jungkook in surprise. “Oh, thank you. Our committee didn’t expect this many people. We can finally go and eat.” He nods, not really knowing what to say, and watches them scamper away.

“It’s two in the afternoon.” He says in surprise. Jieun shrugs, motioning for him to enter the tent. He instantly spots two people sitting by the bed. One is an adult male, the other a small child with his parents. The parents light up as soon as they enter, faces calming down quickly.

“You remember first-aid camp last year?” Jieun asks him, grabbing a first-aid kit for her and Jungkook all placed by the entrance. He nods his head, of course he does. He hated first-aid camp, but Jungkook is Jungkook so he goes home promising to never doing it again with his first-aider certification and an award for being the best one in class. “This is just like that. You go take care of the kid, I’ll be with the older guy.”

Jieun hands him the packet of examination gloves, and Jungkook wears them properly without thinking too much about it. Jieun is smiling at him, “You’re already better than those who actually want to pursue the calling.”

Jungkook rolls his eyes. “I’m good at the technical part. I lack the part where you need heart.” Jieun’s smile lingers, “Just try.” She turns to leave him and approaches the lone guy moaning about something Jungkook doesn’t hear. With a sigh, he walks up to the family of three.

“Good afternoon,” He greets with a smile, “What happened here?”

The mother steps up to explain, gesturing to her son’s leg. “He was so excited to see the university that he ended up tripping before we even entered the gym. We’re actually here for the free check-ups, but no one is available to babysit Hyun so we decided to bring him along.”

Jungkook only blinks at what he guesses is the bloodied gash on the kid, Hyun’s, right knee. The father is holding a gauze pad against it to stop the bleeding. He thinks of the rocky pathway leading inside the gym and winces inwardly. He smiles comfortingly at the parents, “I’ll patch Hyun up. You should do what you came here for.”

They agree quickly, and Jungkook wonders about their situation. They came all the way here for something he thinks should be free and accessible, so it must be a hard life for the family. He switches his attention to Hyun who is watching him with fear.

“No need to be scared, pretty sure this isn’t your first time. I used to get them a lot when I was a kid too.”

“It still hurts.” Hyun says petulantly. Jungkook laughs, pulling on the stool situated near the bed and sitting on it. He opens the first-aid kit and feels momentarily proud of himself that he still knows exactly what to do. He picks up the bottle labeled as iodopovidone, thinking of how easy this seems to be when you’re backed with knowledge of chemistry. Seokjin hates chemistry, he remembers in amusement.

He removes the gauze, humming quietly to himself as he gets to work. Jungkook thinks of it as a game; wet a cotton swab with the liquid antiseptic, remove the gauze, apply the antiseptic to the abrasion, and wrap it up with another gauze. It’s so simple that he imagines it as stage one of the game.

“Hyung-nim, are you a doctor?”

Hyun disturbs his thoughts, and the question makes him chuckle. “No. Hyung-nim is not, and does not want to be one.”

“But why? You’re really good at it!”

“I just cleaned your wound and dressed it. I’m sure your Mom can do the same thing.”

“Nah, she always cries when I get wounds like this. But hyung-nim is so good at! You looked so confident that I didn’t feel scared.” Hyun says in wonder, looking at Jungkook with shining eyes.

Jungkook feels a tug on his chest as he looks back at the kid. It felt like something clicked in his head, he’s just not sure what.

Later, Hyun gets picked up by his parents who thank him profusely. Jungkook feels embarrassed about it, but proud at the same time. He spends the rest of the afternoon looking after people; minor cuts and bruises from mostly children. He does his work in the same clinical and professional but off-hand manner that has the kids and parents asking if he’s in medicine or studying to be one. He’s never received so much gratitude and praise as today. When he tells them that he’s not interested with being a doctor, he gets the same reaction as Hyun, all in various ways.

(“It would be a shame. You have a calming presence.”

“I think if you were my doctor, I would feel at ease.”

“You could have said that you’re already a doctor and we would believe you!”)

The event finally comes to an end.

Jungkook watches by the side as the seniors from earlier clean up. They thanked him profusely, saying that they should all go and celebrate. Jungkook says yes, feeling particularly happy about how the day went.

Jieun stands next to him with an expression of knowingness. “I knew you were good at everything, but this felt different.”

“In what way?” He asks. Jungkook’s not even tired. He’s been on his feet for three hours but he feels like he can keep doing it longer if asked of him.

“I think that this is one of the things you should look into for your future. You’re good at it in the technical-level, and if you ever decide to pursue something higher, you would probably excel at that too. But the most important thing as you said, I think you have it already.”

The seniors call out for them, “Jungkook-ah, Jieun! Come on, it's time for some pork belly and beer!”

They shout back in affirmation, moving on their foot. Jungkook’s not sure about what Jieun exactly means, so he asks her as they walk together. “I have what?”

Jieun laughs, unbelieving that Jungkook can be quite slow in such matters. “You know. Heart.”

It makes Jungkook stop. He feels his phone vibrating in his pocket, and he’s pretty sure that its Seokjin. He’s the only one who calls Jungkook these days. Admittedly, he got too into what he was doing that he forgot to check his phone.

Heart.

Thinking about it now, Jungkook hasn’t been this focused and interested since Seokjin came into his life. People who he never met and probably will never see again look at him with recognition, grateful and indebted despite how small a thing it was that he did. They look at him like he hung the moon up by the stars, all smiles and thanks for taking care of their loved ones.

Jungkook thinks of all those adjectives, and how he associates them only with Seokjin.

(Love has many faces.)


Jungkook knows many things, but this one particular problem is something he cannot put into words. It’s an issue that he just doesn’t know how to fix, no matter how many times it presents itself to him.

How does one even begin to explain that Jieun is nothing but a tiny blip in his life, and that Seokjin is like the sun? 

He hates it when Seokjin is blue. 

Every time this specific hurdle presents itself, he blames himself. He should have never told Seokjin that he used to have a crush on her.

Seokjin is the brightest color in his eyes that sometimes, most times, he burns so vividly it leaves Jungkook feeling blind. But when he’s like this.. angry, shaking, and enveloped by something dark that reeks of insecurity, jealousy, and possessiveness, Jungkook sees his own hands turning blue too.


The supposed ringing of the bell signifying The End does not come.

Seokjin wants to leave him. He says he’s tired of overthinking and bringing up issues that Jungkook thinks has more to deal with Seokjin himself rather than blaming it on their relationship and on Jungkook. 

He doesn’t voice his thoughts because that’s not important to him. He catches the tremble in Seokjin’s voice, the uncertainty that he wanted to hear. Jungkook swoops in with a hug, letting his boyfriend cry on his shoulder. 

“You don’t mean that,” Jungkook is proud by how believing of it he sounds, “Didn’t we say it’s going to be us forever? You, me, and all the dogs we will rescue, Jinnie.”

They make up, and as the sun sets, the creeping colors of blue, grey, and purple tainting them mix with the darkness that night brings.

(When the time comes, he will realize that it never actually brings a sound.)


It comes at the middle of the day. Jungkook is left standing as he watches Seokjin walk away from him, his back becoming smaller as he disappears into view. 

Jungkook wills his feet to move, for his brain to boot up and start thinking of apologies and comforting words. 

“Hey, Jungkook! Stop standing there by the sun!” Jinsang shouts at him from where they are smoking. He’s not really sure if it’s Jinsang, maybe it’s someone else. It could even be Jieun, and he wouldn’t know for sure. 

He hears someone approaching him, and the sudden hand on his shoulder shakes him from his stupor. It’s Jieun, face kind and open. Jungkook doesn’t feel anything as he looks at her. Even with how much he is struggling, he manages to muse about how looking at Seokjin makes him feel like a bomb is going off inside his chest in comparison to other people.

“Are you okay, Jungkook-ah?” She asks. She seems to be more sensitive than the others, can tell that Seokjin and him just fought right there in the middle of the road for the reason that Jungkook was simply sitting next to her. 

She smiles comfortingly at him, offering her bottle of water. “You look like you need it more than I do.” He nods, still unsure why the fuck he’s still here and not running after Seokjin.

When he reaches his hand out to accept it, he sees for the first time illuminated under the scorching hot sun how damaged his limbs are.


“I just need this one night. Give me one night to let everything out and tomorrow it will be like nothing happened.”

Jinsang shrugs and takes a shot of his drink. They’re in his dorm, bottles of soju bought and ready to be consumed. He hasn’t drank with Jungkook in a long time, nor hang out with him like this. Even though they still went to PC Bangs, Seokjin usually comes with them. Jinsang likes Seokjin, there’s nothing to hate, but he always knew this day would come.

Jungkook and Seokjin fit the profile of young love: raw emotion and stupidly brave. It only comes once in a lifetime because the next time you love, you don’t give as much of yourself anymore. Jinsang understands that, he’s been through it before, so he decides that he’ll try his best to be with Jungkook right now.

They are close as friends, but Jungkook has always been mysterious. He likes keeping people at arm’s length. He’s there for the fun and good times, but he never talks about his emotions. Jungkook appears to have that part down. Jinsang thinks that Seokjin is the type who likes talking about his feelings, feeling bad for the other already. The guy doesn’t seem to hang out with anyone besides Jungkook after all, so this breakup is going to hit him hard.

This will probably be the first and last time Jungkook spills his guts to Jinsang.

Jungkook always had emotions figured out; excelling even in emotional intelligence. He finds that coming to terms with his emotions is easy for him, especially when finally presented with the facts.

Around one in the morning, Jungkook receives a text. They’re both pretty drunk at this point, and they’ve been watching Naruto for five hours already. Jinsang’s already went to 7Eleven twice to buy more alcohol, a bottle of cheap whiskey and cans of coke this time around. It is both a blessing and a curse that he and Jungkook are such alcohol heavyweights.

“It’s over,” Jungkook announces as he throws his phone away in favor of reaching the bottle of whiskey, “We are officially over.”

Jinsang watches him pour it into a mug he got from the last school fair, filling it in half. “Through text? That’s cold, but efficient.” Jungkook only shrugs. “Seokjin-hyung’s going to have so many admirers left and right now that he’s single.”

“I know. Fuck.. Did I make the right decision?”

“Since when did you second guess yourself? We’ve been mourning your relationship since eight, don’t make me regret wasting money only for you to come running back.” He snatches the whiskey in front of Jungkook and pours himself some. The cola isn’t even touched anymore, the both of them too inebriated to care about the taste.

“Seven billion..” Jungkook slurs. He gets up from the floor of Jinsang’s dorm room to lay down on the bed. Jinsang makes himself comfortable, sprawling on his clean carpet. He scowls at the dark stain against the whiteness, still wet and probably spilled by Jungkook. “Seven billion people exist in the world.”

“Are we doing trivia?” Jinsang asks, not sure where Jungkook is going with this.

“There are seven billion people in the world. All of them with different perspectives on love. Seven billion different forms, and to me.. All I know of love is him.”

It makes Jinsang sit up. Jungkook has his hands covering his eyes, lips pursed in a thin line. With a sigh, he takes a swig from the bottle of whiskey without bothering to pour it on a mug. “Let it all out.” He says comfortingly to the other.

“I only realized now how heavy a burden that is. To put a face on a feeling that makes seven billion people tremble. Not just on him, but to me as well. I don’t want to keep feeling guilty over things because he doesn’t like her, and I don’t want him to keep beating himself up over feeling that way.”

Jungkook doesn’t mention a name, but Jinsang knows already who it is: the he and the her of this story. Personally, he doesn’t see why Seokjin feels that way over Jieun. Does he not see himself in the mirror? Does Jungkook being ready to give everything up not enough for him?

“I just.. there is nothing wrong between us. But there is something wrong.. with me. With him. Together we are so good, but individually we just went downhill. I know that will kill us someday. How the fuck could it not when it was with him I saw myself reflected with kindness, with love? What will become of me now that we have come to this?”

In a few hours when Jungkook wakes up, feet trudging and avoiding bottles of liquor strewn around, as he exits the room to be greeted by the sun, and as he lights a cigarette, he allows himself one last thought of wanting to take back his words.

He throws the finished cigarette stick away and never doubts himself again.


Present Time

Jungkook wakes up to his ceiling. Seeing it makes him reel even though he’s been living in the same place for a year. He sits up in bed and removes his shirt soaked in sweat, pushing his hair back from his forehead and feeling disgusted by how wet it is. 

He wonders if he had a nightmare. He can’t recall anymore what his dream was about, all he remembers are flashes of color everywhere like a supernova. His foot moves to where the windows are, muscle memory guiding him despite how dark the room is. And cold. The cold air from the AC combining with his sweat pushes him to hurry.

Throwing back the heavy curtains flood the room with sunlight. Jungkook groans, unprepared with how bright it is outside. Eyes still bleary from sleep, he feels for the handle of the glass sliding door. Jungkook slides it open and steps out to the balcony shirtless, feet bare, and his black boxers hanging low on his hips.

Jungkook leans on the railings to steady himself, head feeling light because of the constant change in temperatures. His eyes adjust to the light, and he looks at the side to find his box of Marlboro lights, black lighter, and metal ashtray on the round table. 

The round table with a glass top and matching chair made out of whicker is the only set of furniture he has out here. He basks under the sun for a few more minutes before stepping back inside, leaving the door open. Walking to the kitchen, he grabs a remote on the marble countertop and presses one of the two buttons on it. The curtains part automatically, filling his penthouse apartment with light thanks to the floor to ceiling windows. 

From the fridge, Jungkook takes a bottle of Pocari and a glass pitcher. He finds a clean glass cup sitting upright on top of the dishwasher. He smells it before pouring water inside, deeming it clean. The cold liquid running down his throat instantly lifts his mood, washing away the sleep and lingering taste of beer on his tongue. 

He leaves the cup and pitcher on the counter, the Pocari never leaving his hand. He walks back outside to the balcony and closes the door this time. 

Fumbling for a cigarette, he remains standing. He holds his hair back as he lights it, thinking if maybe he needs a haircut soon. 

With a sigh of content, he finally settles down on the whicker chair. Jungkook puts his feet up, tucking them under his thighs as he sits cross legged. He leaves the cigarette hanging between his lips to open the bottle of Pocari. He takes a big gulp from it, letting his mind believe the advertising Pocari has about being a sports drink. He honestly just likes it for the taste.  

Despite being on the penthouse floor of this luxury high-rise, the place is still targeted toward students and young professionals, so the place is just a bit smaller than a regular penthouse top floor. He’s not sure how many of them live on this floor, but he is familiar with his closest neighbor; a family of three. The parents work as doctors in the university hospital, and he heard their son is a first year in med school. Jungkook’s never met the guy, but his parents were nice to him. Last year during the week he moved in, they were surprised that he was a first year student and not a colleague. He joked that soon enough they will be, making them laugh and endearing himself to the couple.

Compared to his balcony, theirs have a lot of chairs, random equipment such as a treadmill, and bits of plants here and there. He likes the idea of working out at the comfort of one’s home, but there is a fully-equipped gym at the 13th floor so he doesn’t see any reason to invest in that.

Thinking of the 13th floor makes him remember that what comes after it is the 14th. 

The 14th floor. Where Seokjin is currently living at. Jungkook groans out loud and sinks to the chair as he remembers what happened last night. Or more like this morning. 

After hearing Seokjin call him with that endearing nickname and saying that it was also nice to see him, he didn’t know what else to do. They didn’t speak again for the rest of the time they stayed there, which was a measly ten minutes because Seokjin’s phone started ringing. The caller appeared to be Seokjin’s roommate, someone named Yoongi. 

They left the roof deck and returned to their own floors, a plain “Bye,” being said as he stepped out of the elevator watching Seokjin wave awkwardly at him as it closes. Jungkook, who may have been a bit tipsy and definitely stoned, said out loud when it closed, “Well, that is just unfair.”

It made him pause and think what exactly is it that was unfair. Unfair that Seokjin still looks like 18 year old Jungkook’s wet dream? At the realization that yes, that’s what it is, he runs to his apartment, removed his shoes and grey joggers, and jumped into bed. 

Jungkook stubs out his cigarette and decides to go back inside the apartment to find his phone. Just because it’s a Saturday doesn’t mean he has that much free time. He holds the label of Jeon Jungkook, highest exam scorer among his batch in every evaluation, with an iron grip. 

(Yonghwa tells him jokingly every time they see Jungkook’s name at the list of highest scorers, the margin between him and the second person usually around ten points or higher, that he shouldn’t study so much because he’s making the rest of them look bad.

“Go get laid or something, Jeon. Doctor Han is starting to think that the rest of us has the capacity to score this high and we’re just lazy. Please, dude. He just curved the passing grade from 60 to a 75.”

Jungkook wanted to roll his eyes and snort that, yes, he does get laid thank you very much. How could he not with a face, body, and most importantly, an apartment like this?)

He finds his phone on the floor next to his discarded joggers, the wallpaper a generic iPhone background while the time says 11:47 AM. The class groupchats are going off, but he ignores them. There’s no new assessment online, but he does have his calendar app reminding him that he has two quizzes on Monday: pathology and pharmacology. Jungkook may have graduated with a degree in chemistry and Latin honors to his name, but he believes the main reason he is able to consistently get high grades is to not let the arrogance get to his head.

His body has been so conditioned with waking up early that not even Friday night outs get to him anymore. He decides to step outside again for one last smoke before making brunch, hitting the gym, and studying the Saturday afternoon away. And when night time comes, he’ll hit Yonghwa up to join him in the PC Bang because he may be in medical school, but he is still human.


Nam Yonghwa

jungkook-ah!!!! i can’t go :(

haven't studied yet for monday

and there’s that paper on bioethics too waaaaah

anyways win for me gcf-nim!!

 

Jungkook stills at the texts from Yonghwa. He’s already outside the PC Bang, smoking a cigarette while waiting for the other. With a sigh, he opens up his Google Docs to look forlornly at his own Bioethics paper; a half-finished and unedited draft that he really needs to finish soon.

Work life balance! He reminds himself.

Jungkook turns around and enters the five storey commercial complex, a place he has become familiar with ever since his first year. The PC Bang occupies the entire 2nd floor, a well-lit area that is usually filled during weekends. He enters through the glass doors, and greets the person on the front.

“Back again?” The woman asks with a smile. She’s used to seeing Jungkook around these hours. Unlike the other med students, Jungkook always look fresh with his put-together clothes and the lack of bags underneath his eyes.

“You know it, noona.” Jungkook hands her a bill to cover a stay for six hours, and because she does like Jungkook better than the others, keeps his favorite spot open for him only. It's a PC at the very back, a place coveted by the other patrons that fills up easily if you don’t come early. Jungkook settles into the chair, the nicest one too, and logs in.

He leans back and places the headphones over his head. Its not even 9 PM but the shop is already brimming with students. He guesses it’s because of the first years, and Jungkook thinks if this is what his seniors at the time felt when he too as a first year swarmed the only nice PC Bang in the area.

Jungkook thinks that tonight calls for some salt, so he opens up League of Legends. There is nothing like playing it among other screaming Koreans getting angrier by the second. He’s been into Overwatch again, but that’s something he can play in the comfort of his own apartment.

As soon as he opens his account, he notice the eyes boring into the screen from the side. He turns, and meets eyes with a guy who smiles at him nervously. He raises a brow in question, and the guy stammers out, “I didn’t know the rumors were true that there’s a highly ranked player in the college.” The guy tells him.

Jungkook shrugs at that, “There’s a lot of good players. Everyone’s just busy.” The guy looks at him in awe and returns to his own game. Jungkook snickers inwardly; he totally lied. Everyone sucks because they are busy, not being able to keep it up with the meta. He sighs in annoyance to see that Jinsang isn’t online, probably busy now that he’s working and all that.

At the top of the screen, he sees:

seokJHINnie

Creating A Normal Game

Jungkook cranes his head around. There is no way that Seokjin is not here; this is the only place clean enough for Seokjin’s tastes. His cursor hovers on the check mark, wondering if he should do it.

Whatever, fuck it.

The instant he clicks the button enabling him to join the game that Seokjin is creating, he gets connected to voice chat.

“Hey, hyung.” He says cheerily into his headset’s mic. He hears the familiar noise of shouts and general rowdiness that could only be associated to a PC Bang. Seokjin is definitely here as well. There’s a beat of silence, and he hears, “Oh, hey Jungkook.”

Jungkook opens his mouth to ask where Seokjin is, but then another voice joins in and says, “What's up, GCF.” It’s a deep voice that he doesn’t recognize, and Jungkook sees it.

MinSuga

Oh.

There’s another person in the party.

All Jungkook could say is, “Uh. Hello?”

He curses himself for not checking the party members before clicking join, and Jungkook is ready to leave without uttering another word but Seokjin says, “You want to carry me and Yoongi, Jungkookie?” He’s surprised at the playful tone, of Seokjin speaking to him like they are casual friends.

“He should, he barged in here and all.” Yoongi adds. Jungkook feels himself redden in embarrassment, clearing his throat.

“I can use my other account so we can rank.” He offers, seeing that Seokjin and Yoongi are miles below him in terms of ranking.

“No need. Yoongi and I just want to have fun.”

Fun. Right. Jungkook is here to win and grind and just generally be better than others, but okay. He can have fun. Besides, having him in their team is already a predicted win. He could play with one eye closed and they probably would still win.

He watches as they start the game and enter queue, Jungkook not saying anything else. He listens to Seokjin and Yoongi talk while counting the seconds until they find a game.

“Just one more game, then we can go home.” He guesses this is Yoongi. Jungkook is reminded of a UFC announcer with how deep and clear his voice is.

“Fine, but you pay for my time.” Seokjin grumbles back. It makes him feel awkward, like he’s intruding into them. Well, he certainly did anyway.

They find a game, Jungkook clicks Accept, and soon they are in champ select with two other randoms to complete the 5v5 party.

“Hey, GCF,” Yoongi addresses him, “Who are you playing?”

“Uh, I’m fine with anything. You guys pick your champs.”

Yoongi picks a bruiser, probably going Top Lane since the two other guys on their team went for a mage and jungler. That leaves him and Seokjin to be the carry and support. “Hyung, you can go ahead and pick Jhin.” He says. Seokjin whoops, and instantly locks in the champion.

“Jhin isn’t even meta,” Yoongi growls on the voice chat, “We’re going to lose thanks to you.”

“Not with Jungkook supporting me.” Seokjin sounds cheeky, and Jungkook finds himself grinning as he locks in a champion.

“Bard?” Yoongi begins, “Okay, I see you.”

“Just because it’s a normal doesn’t mean I’ll fuck around and pick a stupid champ.” Jungkook assures him.

He already likes Yoongi. He sounds like someone he can actually get along with. Plus, he doesn’t mean to sound sappy but, the fact that he’s friends with Seokjin already says a lot.

The loading screen comes up, and soon the game starts. One of the two random teammates they got typed in the chat box that they already won since they have a ranked Challenger in their team (Jungkook), which makes him roll his eyes.

“This dude is annoying lets mute him.” Seokjin says the same time Jungkook does it. “Anyway, let’s go Jungkookie. You know how I play.” Of course he does. He’s the one who got Seokjin into the game in the first place.

“No worries. I got you.” Jungkook responds back without thinking too much of it. The moment he finished speaking, he finds himself remembering all the times he’s said that to Seokjin whenever they played.

“I know you do.” Seokjin says, humming.

It makes him fumble for a bit, and he suppresses a chuckle as Yoongi tells them, “Stop fucking flirting you’re not the only ones in this voice chat.” Seokjin scoffs, “AD carries and supports are always flirting. Don’t blame me, blame the game's hierarchy.”

At around 21 minutes, the other team surrenders to 32-4, those four deaths coming from their two teammates. Jungkook’s surprised with how good Yoongi actually is, and realizes that he’s probably using a smurf account to play with Seokjin. He tells them that he’s going to play solo now, and while waiting on queue, he looks around and finally spots Seokjin and who he guesses is Yoongi from three rows below his spot as they go up to the front desk of the shop to top up for one more hour.

Around forty minutes, when Jungkook smiles at his second victory of the day, he sees that Seokjin is also done with their game. He decides to send MinSuga a friend request that easily got accepted along with a message on chat that says, s moke?

He types back sure, opens up Google Images and searches for pictures saying BRB, before standing up. Jungkook sees the two already exiting the shop, Seokjin carrying what he guesses is the book first years use for Biochemistry.

Jungkook deliberately walks slowly behind the two. Seokjin finally notices him as they descend the stairs, and he raises his brows in greeting. Seokjin looks at him in surprise, turns to Yoongi, and pinches his arm. Yoongi pinches him back, and he can’t exactly hear their conversation but he can guess what they are saying.

Once outside the building, he reaches inside his pockets for his cigarette case. He takes one stick out and walks to where Seokjin and Yoongi are standing, already lighting their own cigarettes. Seokjin has his back turned on him, and with a nod from Yoongi, has him turning around.

“Didn’t know you were joining us!” Seokjin exclaims in a manner that has Jungkook feeling bad about finding the entire situation amusing. Yoongi hands him a lighter, a pastel pink that he guesses is probably Seokjin’s. When he hands it back, his guess is confirmed when he snatches it from Jungkook.

Seokjin clears his throat and gestures to his companion, who sighs.

“Nice to finally meet you. I’m Min Yoongi.” Yoongi introduces himself in a manner that screams he cannot be bothered. His words confirm Jungkook’s guess that Yoongi is aware of the history that he shares with Seokjin.

He introduces himself, and Yoongi gives him another nod of acknowledgement. Seokjin stands awkwardly between him and Yoongi, not knowing what to do so he keeps himself occupied with his cigarette. Yoongi on the other hand, is calm personified.

“How’s your first week in med?” He decides to ask. Seokjin looks at him gratefully for breaking the silence, and Jungkook couldn’t help the smile on his lips. He is genuinely interested, feeling a sense of responsibility since they are his underclassmen.

“Tolerable.” Yoongi utters in boredom.

“Filled with anxiety.” Seokjin answers with a shudder. The differing responses prompts him to ask, “Why?”

Seokjin takes a hit of his cigarette then says, “It was tolerable. But the thought that the real classes start this Monday gives me anxiety.” Jungkook nods in understanding. Everyone is happy-go-lucky at the first week; professors introducing themselves, discussing the syllabus plus their expectations, and of course getting to know the students. The real work for a freshman starts in the second week.

“Anything you’re worried about?”

“Biochem.” They say it at the same time except Seokjin says it with a pout and a sigh while Yoongi sounds like if Biochemistry is a person, he’d be strangling them at the first given opportunity.

Jungkook has expected that, it’s usually the subject everyone struggles with the most during first year.

“You won’t understand, you’re good at chem.” Seokjin shifts on his feet, the thick and obviously heavy textbook being hugged to his chest.  “I mean, I do have a degree in it.” Jungkook tells him with a teasing grin. Yoongi laughs while Seokjin rolls his eyes. He decides that he does like Yoongi.

They continue talking about school, Jungkook giving them tips about the professors Seokjin and Yoongi are having that he met. He informs them about the hardships, what to expect, and suggestions about managing their time.

When they stub their cigarettes out underneath their shoes, and the two begin walking back to the condo complex, Jungkook lets out a breathe he didn't realize he was holding in.

It went well than expected; talking to Seokjin casually after last night.

After four long years.

Jungkook walks back inside the building and to the PC Bang. He never liked dwelling about the past.

Back in front of the PC, he signs into Google Docs, deciding to busy himself with the Bioethics paper that he really needed to finish. It’s really quite easy, Jungkook thinks as he opens a new tab to google Greek School of Ethics. Prelims always deal with introductions, backgrounds, and histories; a chance to get a high score so that midterms and finals can be less intimidating.

Jungkook writes his paper, copies his references because he is a good student, and paraphrases the hell out of a lot of articles that his search came up with. It definitely has a lot of grammatical errors and a couple of run-in sentences, but he can fix it later. He saves the file under the name BEpaper1 and closes it.

He’s curious if he already wrote something similar during undergrad years, since they were required to take a course in philosophy. His old essays and research papers through the years are all saved in his Google Docs thankfully. He does have a paper on it, something that he wrote during sophomore undergraduate years; he remembers this particular paper because Seokjin helped him with it.

It’s filled with flowery words; high-flown wording of a summary on the subject of Socrates, Aristotle, and Hippocrates. Only Seokjin can make history sound like poetry in paragraphs. He closes it, the thought of using it for his paper suddenly making him feel bad. As he scrolls, a file name he hasn't seen in years catch his eyes. Jungkook pretends he doesn’t see it.

Feeling his mood sour, Jungkook closes all the tabs and instead opens Apex Legends. Shooting other virtual players always veer his mind to a focused state. Time passes by, and when Jungkook cannot ignore the tremor of his fingers against the keyboard and mouse, he glances at the time on the computer and sees that he has an hour left.

1:31 AM

Dreading the ticking clock, Jungkook opens Google Docs again to finish his paper. After this, he’ll have one last smoke, walk back the condo complex, and go to sleep.

The editing part of his paper is easier than he thought, as always. He finishes up quickly and is reminded through a screen pop-up that he has five minutes left for the PC and to top up more hours if he wanted to. Deciding to read the paper in the comfort of his bed under his thick and warm blanket, Jungkook closes his work and the computer.

He says his goodbyes to the front desk noona, and opts to walk straight back his apartment and smoke on the balcony instead.

It’s a five minute walk to the building, and five more minutes to pass by the enormous lobby that still has some students sitting in the couches taking advantage of the free wi-fi, up to the penthouse floor.

He kicks off his shoes as he steps inside the apartment, reaching on the side of the doorway for the light switch. He leaves his shoes by the entrance, he wears them almost all the time that he sees no point in keeping them in the closet.

Jungkook walks straight outside to the balcony, relishing in the cool early morning air. It is routine to him: taking a seat on the whicker chair, grabbing the lighter on the tabletop, and putting his feet up as he lights it up. The smoke is more visible thanks to the dark night sky. He takes out his phone, not forgetting that he has an unread edited paper he really needs to look at.

Jungkook reads every sentence, tries to spot if there is a comma out of place or a phrase needing revision. He does spot some spelling errors, which is corrected easily. He reads it over again a second time and finally feels at peace with it. He really dislikes writing essays. Give him twenty pages of chemistry, mathematics, or physics problems and he’ll answer them easily without having to look it over. Numbers are easy, formulas are basic; they are unchanging and will always have the same answer if done in the correct way.

He goes back to the Google Docs homepage, erratically opening his old undergraduate writings and discovering a pattern: the quality goes up the further the dates written.

Jungkook’s wandering eye pauses as he reaches the very bottom: there at the lowest right corner is a file he has been ignoring since earlier that has not been opened in almost five years. Underneath the title, it says, Opened August 31, 2015.

He remembers his lit cigarette, almost finished and ash gathering at the tip. He taps it on the ashtray, and hits it one last time before stubbing it. He runs a hand through his hair, face tilting upward to look up at the heavens.

There are no stars in the city, he thinks with shame. He looks back down on his phone, thumb hovering above the screen where the file is.


HEY JK READ PLEASE.pdf

isn’t it amazing

that what we feel 

influences

how we see

the things

around us?

i’ve always had 

this. stupid. book. of. shitty. poetry

(you know, the blue one with the creepy doll cover)

sitting on my shelf

but i never highlighted

the parts about falling in love

because i could never truly comprehend

what the heck it meant

(it rhymed! told you i’m a poet!)

or why people write books 

about these chemical reactions in the brain

that the general mass 

call

“love”

so thank you

for taking the time

with dissecting each piece

for me to understand

what it truly means:

from mcdonalds pancakes,

to lemon mint candies,

and super mario figurines;

for all the clicks you gave

to the youtube links i send you,

and for all the kisses you give

because you think i need one.

(yes i do need one. if it’s from you, i always am in need of kisses)

between you and me,

i think i’ll end up highlighting every

single page of this book about love

because i see it now;

i see love in everything because i found it in you.

 

General Info

Type PDF

Size 64 KB

Location My Drive

Modified 5:06 PM April 23, 2015

Created 5:06 PM April 23, 2015

Opened by me a minute ago

 

Chapter Text

The clicking of the door shut has Seokjin kicking his shoes off in a hurry. The apartment that he and Yoongi share is a studio-type, the bathroom being the only place one can have some privacy. 

"You live with me," Yoongi declares in monotone, "You can pretend that didn't happen, or we get this over with cleanly like adults." 

Seokjin picks up his sneakers with a grumble, making sure his facial expression shows how much he resents Yoongi for bringing it up. "I refuse to be part of this conversation." He reaches from under his bed for the Converse shoebox, placing the shoes back inside. The logo on the lid is covered with a square greeting card, a plain white with a handwritten message inside saying:

Congrats, graduate! Stop wearing the knock-offs.

-Jooniebug, M.D (soon)

"Aren't you glad now that you didn't wear the crocs? Imagine meeting your ex-boyfriend after so many years for the second time and you're wearing crocs." Yoongi snickers at him, laying on his own bed while Seokjin sits on the floor. "I like talking about my fashion choices. How about we focus on that?" They stare each other down, and Yoongi repeats that they share the same space and can do this all day. 

"You always assured me that asking you about it is cool, so why don't you want to talk about it?"

"I don't know! I feel weird just thinking about it!"

That makes Yoongi raise his brow in question, "Really? You two were flirting during the game right into my hearing range, and now you feel weird about it?" Yoongi would drop it if Seokjin appeared uncomfortable. He went through years only knowing bits and pieces about his past relationship with Jeon Jungkook, but Seokjin pouting like a child to drop the topic intrigues him. 

"It's different! I didn't see him face to face, and it was just a game. I wouldn't be able to if he was right in front of me." Seokjin tells him, voice starting to trail off and eyes downcast. Yoongi can see how his cheeks are starting to redden. He's suddenly struck with the realization that Seokjin does want to talk about it, he's just worried about what Yoongi might say. He's always been outspoken regarding Seokjin's exes, particularly the latest one.

If Namjoon was here, he'd take on a gentle tone and announce that this is a safe space where Seokjin can talk about his feelings. He'd offer to grind up some Runtz, and Yoongi would end up sharing his feelings too because Namjoon has that innate ability to make people spill. 

Yoongi's not like that though. If being straightforward doesn't work, then underhanded tactics it is. "How did you manage to date him? He's super good-looking. Good at games too." They both know Jungkook isn't his type, and Yoongi has a broad range of types among women and men, but the dig makes Seokjin look up at him incredulously. "Excuse me? Are you implying that I'm the physically lesser one in that relationship?"

"I'm not saying you are, but I'm also not saying you aren't. I mean you did go home with him last night, which is another conversation we should have as soon as possible. Were you amazed at how good he looks now after all those years?"

Seokjin scowls at him, arms crossed and seething at the implication.

"I know exactly what you're doing, Min Yoongi. Frankly, I don't care that it is effective." Seokjin gets up from the floor to sit on his bed. The action makes Yoongi think that he's definitely serious; Seokjin never gets into bed without showering or changing clothes first. Yoongi couldn't help the excited giggle coming out of him that has Seokjin rolling his eyes. The fond smile on the other's lips confirms to him that his guess is right. This is Seokjin after all, he loves talking about his feelings. He could go off about how much he loves or despises something for days.

"This is going to be a long discussion but you asked for it." Seokjin tells him seriously. He nods in excitement, and with one last look on his phone and the time, almost 11 PM, he focuses his entire attention on Seokjin and listens. 

The next time Yoongi checks the time, almost three hours has gone by. He's never seen so many expressions pass on Seokjin's face until this day. He still recalls two months ago how the other did not even bat an eyelash when he broke up with Park Heesu. Yoongi hated that guy, but Seokjin's passiveness with their break-up did worry him. It blows his mind that Seokjin has shown more emotion talking about Jeon Jungkook who he dated for six months compared to someone he was recently with for a year. 

"I think," Yoongi mumbles while Seokjin gets out of bed to pour water for the two of them, "I get it now. Why you got over Heesu so quickly. Not even that, but I've always thought that you're good at relationships whether it be a hookup or a serious one. You always appeared to know how to love someone without overextending yourself. I should have realized that of course, there's a sad backstory to it."

Seokjin hands him a glass, gulping down from his own cup. "I was a ball of negativity before you met me, and you definitely would not want to be friends with someone so destructive."

"That bad?"

"Worst."

The thought of a Seokjin who isn't similar to the one standing in front of him doesn't settle well with Yoongi. It's probably why Namjoon is always careful when it comes to bringing up certain things. He specifically remembers that one time they went to a McDonald's at 4 in the morning and his two best friends got emotional over pancakes. 

("You really like those pancakes, huh? You never fail to order one every single time we're here, even when you were just complaining earlier about craving for a muffin." Yoongi's statement makes Namjoon pause while the person in question simply continue spreading the butter. The concerned look that Namjoon is giving Seokjin has him thinking if he asked or said something he shouldn't have.

"I used to eat these everyday. I guess I order them for sentimental reasons.")

Here he is two years later discovering that the reason is because Jeon Jungkook is a romantic little shit who didn't even dorm during undergrad days yet always found time to arrive around the university area at ungodly hours to buy Seokjin pancakes for breakfast every morning. It's probably why Seokjin acts so spoiled with him and Namjoon, and really, they do indulge him a lot.

Seokjin waits for him to hand the glass cup back, Yoongi trying to bid time. He's not sure why he's hesitating to ask Seokjin this specific question, this is his best friend after all. He gives Seokjin the cup, and when he finally turns around to put it in the sink, that's when Yoongi asks, "Did you hate him?" Yoongi forms the question in past tense to be safe, but he’s got a feeling that his assumption is correct.

“I hated him for an entire year.” 

The clink of the glass cups as they are placed on the sink are heard along with the answer. Seokjin turns around to face him, expression unreadable. His eyes are on the floor, back leaning on their kitchen counter, and arms crossed over his chest. 

“I think I got over him earlier than that, but during those days, I didn’t have anyone else to hate except him and myself. I hated myself more though, and I put the blame on me. In the end, I never really did put the burden of what became of us on him. I stopped hating him before I stopped hating me, but I never knew that what I truly needed to understand where he was coming from at that time was forgiveness.”

Yoongi scoots even though there is enough space on his bed. “Okay, before I continue with my follow-up, sit here with me?”

Seokjin didn’t need to be told twice. He quickly moves away from the small kitchen area, and the moment he sits down beside Yoongi, they slot their hands together. The mood instantly lightens up, the warmth of their hands grounding them both. It’s something they do with Namjoon too when they talk about topics that are heavy. Silence and proximity are the kind of comfort needed in scenarios like this, not words.

“Have you forgiven him then?”

Seokjin opens his mouth, lips moving around to try and grasp the correct way to explain it. “Not him Yoongi, but forgivenesses towards myself. I was gentle with everyone, especially him, except for me. I learned from all the mistakes I did when I was with him, yes, but what happened after the relationship were all my decisions. Namjoon could have stopped me from failing an entire year, but he let me because as bad as it may sound, it was what I needed. The effect that breakup had on me was beyond heartbreak: it made me realize I was open and loving and kind to everyone else but me. I wasn’t waiting for him to come back, I was waiting to finally look at myself the same way I looked at him.”

Yoongi couldn’t help squeezing Seokjin’s hand. He wasn’t present during that time in Seokjin’s life, and he is so thankful that at least Namjoon was but it still feels real to him. Seokjin squeezes back, an unspoken message between them along the lines of, “Go on. I’m right here.” 

"I healed and realized that even when the love I give isn’t reciprocated, it doesn't mean that I' am less. I have so much love to give, I have so much of it in me. I don’t need another person to prove that I am loved, or that I can love. I guess that’s what you call hope. I guess that’s what it means to reach beyond ourselves; realizing that love is an endless river flowing through us but we are so busy staring into the sun begging for requital to notice.”

And then it clicks.

It sinks in to him that he has been looking at it the wrong way. This isn’t about Jungkook nor their past relationship, the story is about Seokjin all along.

Yoongi thinks to himself, “Oh,” but Seokjin suddenly looks at him and he realizes that he said it out loud.

”Sorry if I ramble, Yoongi,” He shakes his head quickly at that making Seokjin chuckle, “I get absolutely passionate and heated when I think of him. Not for the reasons you might assume, but it’s fascinating to me, you know? That the me of today who is so secure loved someone so much he lost himself in the process.”

Another squeeze. Yoongi's unsure if it was him or Seokjin, perhaps the both of them. Seokjin draws in a shaky breath, his free hand coming up to his face, pointer finger delicately pressing on his eyes. It makes Yoongi look up to their apartment's low ceiling, gaze setting somewhere far off the distance. He wants to tell the other, "Seokjin, you can say it. I won't judge you. I doubt you still love him romantically but if you say you are then it's okay." Yoongi chooses not to ruin the monologue. He truly believes that his best friend is over the past and that this is something Seokjin needed. 

Hypothesis' always need to be tested after all. You can talk all you want about being over a person or an object in theory, but nothing is quite like facing them. Seokjin's emotional response after meeting Jungkook again in four years time is the make-it-or-break-it point of it all. Yoongi doesn't mean to be biased, but he believes that Seokjin is acing it.

“Maybe that’s why even though he caused me pain and was the catalyst to my path of self-sabotage, I still think of him fondly. I remember him with nostalgia wrapped in calm, but truthfully Yoongi, I sometimes still think of him with love. I don’t think I can ever change that. I loved him so much, and in the process gave away pieces of myself that I could never take back. He is the first and last person I would love like that; with my entire being. They say you give parts of yourself every time you love someone new, but I think I gave him almost everything. It’s impossible to simply forget when he is the one who hold those fragments of me in the past that I sometimes wish to see again.”

Yoongi realizes that Seokjin is trembling and looking down at his lap. 'Here it goes', he thinks, 'I wish for nothing but my words to reach you'.

“I think I see what you mean; that he has a part of you only he knows. Hearing you say that made me realize that despite being secure with the position as 1/2 of your best friends, there are stuff about you I never knew. If you haven’t met him again, I don’t think I would have ever learned about this side of you. I’m honored to be able to, by the way. I want you to know how proud I’ am of you. For everything. Every single one of it. How you loved him, how you let yourself feel everything after, shit, I’m even proud that you failed because I know you came back so much better and stronger. It’s easy to admire perfection, but I‘m proud of all of you, even those ugly parts. I think I admire that the most. The Kim Seokjin sitting here beside me wouldn’t be possible if it wasn’t for those hardships.”

They both end up laying down in bed with Yoongi tackled by Seokjin into a hug, giggles escaping from their lips. Yoongi wonders if this is what the Greeks meant when they invented the word catharsis.

Their hands stay interlaced together, and the awkward position turns their giggling into laughter. "I miss the old me who was carefree, wild, and wore his heart on his sleeve," Seokjin whispers into Yoongi's chest, "But I wouldn't exchange the me of today for anything in the world. Especially because I have you and Namjoon with me."

"Of course, Seokjinnie. You may be bad with numbers but at least you know that two people who love you unconditionally is always better than one." Yoongi's attempt to lighten the atmosphere earns him a pinch on the arm that he returns. Seokjin swats his hand away, and he didn't even realize that they are now both grinning. Seokjin gets off him to lay on his back, their hands between them and still clasped together.

“I’m super fucking sad now. Do you think Namjoon is awake?”

“I’ll call him. It always freaks him out when I call and not text. Actually, let’s make it a video call.”

“Oh god, he’s going to assume I fell into a ditch and you’re calling to show him. He’s going to pick up so fast.”

Yoongi fetches his phone and opens up an app that the three of them solely use to chat and video call. Beside him, Seokjin complains that he really needs to switch phone brands since FaceTime is easier. Namjoon's not online, but they know he will pick up simply because Yoongi never contacts anyone first. He holds the phone from a distance, the front camera showing him and Seokjin in bed. Within three rings, Namjoon answers.

"What the fuck happened?" Namjoon says instead of a greeting. He's squinting into the camera, glasses perched on his nose and his hair held back by a white Nike headband. On his hand is a pen, poised like he was just writing. Instead of answering, Yoongi raise his and Seokjin's joined hands to show Namjoon who instantly drops his pen. He gets up from wherever he was sitting to lay on his bed.

"Were you studying?" Seokjin asks. It's less than a month before the Medical Licensing Exam, and Namjoon has not gone out of his house in months except for when he attended their graduating ceremony. 

Namjoon waves his hand around while saying, "That's not important. What happened? Yoongi never calls."

"Nothing, Namjoonie. We just miss you." Just the fact that it's Yoongi declaring those words has Namjoon sitting up in attention. The three of them stare at each other in silence, Namjoon placing his fingers underneath his chin as he looks back and forth the other two.

"Did you guys talk about Jungkook?" He blurts it out so suddenly that Yoongi almost drops his phone while Seokjin starts yelling incoherently. Namjoon sighs as he watch his friends make a ruckus on the other end of the call, waiting on Yoongi to stabilize his hold on the phone and for Seokjin to quiet down. "Well? Did you?"

"How the fuck did you even guess that?" It's Yoongi who asks, bewilderment written all over his features. "Is it because you're a psych major?" Seokjin on the other hand seems to be fascinated and scared at the same time.

“Aren’t you guys supposed to tell me what is going on instead of asking why I know?” The stubborn stares he is leveled with has Namjoon grumbling in annoyance. ”Yoongi called me, and a video call too. So that means it’s either an emergency or something really serious. But you guys aren’t in an ambulance, just laying in bed and may I emphasize, holding hands. The holiness of holding hands is only reserved for the most important moments and honestly..” Namjoon trails off to fix his gaze on Seokjin specifically, “You only have that look on your face when it’s about Jungkook.”

"What look?!" Seokjin screeches. Yoongi's obviously holding back his laugh that when he meet eyes with Seokjin, he instinctively lets go of their hands to roll away from the other who was reaching out to hit him. 

Sighing, Namjoon remains on the call even though he really should get back to his notes. "Settle down both of you, please." He says, voice getting lost over the noise of the two. 

"Hey, what look?" Seokjin's now holding the phone, face too close. Yoongi and him are laying on their stomachs, the phone upright showing the two of them, arms touching and fighting for space. 

Namjoon thinks to himself that he shouldn't have mentioned that. In a situation like this, Seokjin either throws a fit for not telling him the reason or he throws a fit after hearing it. "A look of bittersweet nostalgia." Yoongi quickly whips his head to gauge Seokjin’s reaction. 

“Like in Gwen Stefani’s music video of Cool?” Seokjin is quick to ask.

“Exactly like that.” 

Of course Yoongi takes this as an opportunity to tease Seokjin. “Didn’t you show me that video? You said she looks like she’s ready to kill the new girl and that they were definitely not cool.”

Knowing that another argument is about to escalate, Namjoon raises his voice to ask, “What prompted you to finally tell Yoongi?”

Seokjin shifts his eyes away even though Namjoon is on the other side of a phone screen when he says, “I met Jungkook last Saturday in a bar.. And then we both met him earlier in a PC Bang.” 

“What?!” The intensity of his shout has Seokjin pulling the phone away and wincing. Yoongi on the other hand is amused with the entire situation. 

Feelings have been discussed, hands have been held, and a hug reciprocated. Yoongi's monthly allowable sappiness towards Seokjin has been used up in one night, and since all has been said about it, he has now earned the right to tease Seokjin about Jeon Jungkook as much as he likes without worrying that he might hurt the other's feelings unintentionally.

”Don’t worry Joonie he wasn’t wearing crocs.” Yoongi assures him with a proud smile. Seokjin gasps dramatically, "Is that supposed to be important?!"

"Actually... yeah." Namjoon pipes up. It's a shared understanding between Namjoon and Yoongi born from years of friendship. One look and a nod from Yoongi that Seokjin doesn't notice conveys all that Namjoon has to know: "You don't have to worry, it's nothing serious. I’m here, aren’t I?"

The three of them spend the rest of the night talking not just about Jungkook, and halfway through complaints from Seokjin and Yoongi about their studio apartment not having a balcony to make smoking more convenient, Namjoon realizes that they really do just miss him. He misses them too, and he keeps it to himself that he knew from the beginning that Jungkook is in the same school. There's no deeper meaning behind his knowledge of it, he just happened to run into Jungkook two years ago in the med department.

("You're interviewing for the program?" Namjoon couldn't help asking the other sitting on the couch opposite him outside the Dean's office. Namjoon's only here because of the fast wi-fi, and not everyone likes hanging outside the Dean's office so in a way it is an oasis of calm. He was surprised to see Jungkook, awkwardly exchanging greetings and making small talk since it's just the two of them.

"Yeah, my parents want me to at least try applying here since it's nearer home."

"It's important to study somewhere with a good environment, so you should choose wisely. Always go for the one that you want, not what others want for you." Namjoon advises him. Truth be told, he didn't know that Jungkook is interested in pursuing medicine. Seokjin did mention once that Jungkook attended some school event that seemingly changed him. Majority of chem majors either go straight into research or pursue their masters and doctorate to teach, so learning that he is interested in medicine is pretty much unexpected.

Jungkook nods, thanking Namjoon for the advice.

He appears thoughtful, lips pursed and hands fidgeting that he has to play with his fingers to keep them from trembling. Namjoon, psychology degree or not, can tell exactly what Jungkook wants to ask.

"How's hyung?"

Namjoon is quick to answer, "He’s fine."

"I heard he failed an entire year's worth of classes." Jungkook keeps his eyes down, and Namjoon wonders if he feels responsible for it. 

"He did. He's back on the right track, and that's what matters. Jinnie’s never been better." Namjoon couldn't help himself with the nickname, remembering how much it angered Jungkook the very first time they met. 

The whirring of the air conditioner dominates the silence. Namjoon glances at the clock, and groans inwardly. Ten more minutes and lunch break will be over. The Dean will come back, Jungkook will do his interview, and he can browse on his phone again in peace.

"Is he dating anyone new?" 

Namjoon's not surprised with the question, no, he's shocked that Jungkook actually found it in him to ask. "Yeah. He's dating around."

He's thankful that Jungkook phrased it that way. Dating. Not something such as, "Has he fallen in love again?" because what is Namjoon going to say then? That "Seokjin is perfectly in love with himself, thank you very much"? Namjoon has to at least keep his best friend's reputation up especially with his ex. 

As much as Jeon Jungkook is concerned, Seokjin has moved on and that's all that matters. 

Since Jungkook initiated to veer the conversation in that direction, Namjoon allows his curiosity to take over. "What about you? Still with Jieun?" Jungkook shakes his head, "Nah. We only lasted about three months. She and Jinsang just celebrated their anniversary actually." Namjoon's surprised to hear that. He does see Jinsang around the campus from time to time, exchanging lively greetings with each other. One night of drinking cemented a casual friendship between him and the chemistry undergrads. 

“You miss him?” Namjoon phrases it in a casual way, smiling playfully to appear open.

Whatever Jungkook’s answer may be, Namjoon will not relay it to Seokjin. He’ll keep it to himself, and this entire conversation too. 

Jungkook finally meets him eye to eye. He has a small smile on his lips, and when he says “Oh, do I ever?”, Namjoon goes cold at the thought that this is Jungkook at his most certain.)

Seokjin didn’t need to know then, and Namjoon decides that he doesn’t need to know about it now either.



Unknown Number

good morning jinnie

hope you're eating breakfast

 

Seokjin’s mood sours completely the moment he receives the text message. It has been two months since he broke up with Heesu, and yet the other still contacts him every single day without fail.

He knows breakups done through text isn’t exactly healthy, he’s been through one after all, but Seokjin did his best to make sure the breakup with Heesu is clean. They returned each other’s things, and Seokjin hugged him when Heesu asked for one during graduation.

The problems in fact started after it.

It began a few weeks ago when Heesu texted him how he was and when are they enrolling. Seokjin texts back that he’s not going through what they planned while still together; that he is enrolling somewhere far away and in the city. They talked before about attending med school in their university instead of branching out somewhere, and Seokjin was not interested with doing that.

The only reason he kept contact with Heesu was because the other wanted help with moving on, talking about how they lasted for a year and he can’t just return to routine easily. They agreed on the condition that Heesu can only text him if for example he is overcome with overwhelming sadness.

Heesu, who never really listened even when they were together, thought that this is Seokjin giving their relationship a second chance. The texts become more frequent, usually trying to make small talk. He ended up telling Heesu off, explaining that it will not help him move on from what they once had.

The constant texting and pretending that they are okay affected not only him but Yoongi as well who basically sat Seokjin down to assure him that it's okay to stop feeling responsible for breaking away from a toxic and meaningless relationship. The solution is simple: block him and move on.

(“What’s he going to do? Come here and talk to you?”

Yoongi’s voice is dripping with irritation, watching over Seokjin’s shoulder and feeling immense satisfaction at seeing Heesu getting blocked.

”Almost a hundred miles away and he still manages to get on my nerves.” Seokjin sighs.

“You mean our nerves.”)

Seokjin throws his phone on the table, scowling and grumbling to himself. Yoongi doesn’t have to ask to know what’s causing the sudden change of his mood. Heesu getting a new number every time Seokjin blocks him is becoming a daily occurrence. 

They are in the med cafeteria, an area in the school that only the students of the College of Medicine can access. Apparently, some years ago, a couple of students complained about sharing the cafeteria with the university hospital doctors and patients, thus the ‘med caf’ was built.

“It’s 7 in the morning and a Monday, can he please leave me alone even just for today?” Seokjin complains, dropping his face down. His forehead is cushioned by the thick Biochemistry textbook, and seeing it makes him grumble once more. “And we have biochem as our first lecture too. I just want to go home.” 

Yoongi sips on his iced coffee, other hand holding his phone. “Just block him. He’s going to get tired of getting a new number eventually.”

“You know, I find it funny that he’s trying to communicate now that we’re over. When we were together, it was like talking to a brick wall.” Seokjin still has his face on the book, unable to see Yoongi rolling his eyes.

“Hey, instead of thinking about that asshole, why don’t you start befriending our classmates? I heard Yoosung has a copy of the legendary biochem lecture transcripts from the seniors. The one who made it had the same prof as us so it’s perfect.”

It distracts Seokjin, head shooting up instantly. “Seriously? I thought they said all the transcripts made for biochem are shit.”

”Not this one. It’s apparently so put together even a chem dummy can pass with it. The only problem is that Yoosung can't, more like doesn't want to if you ask me, share with the rest of us. He apparently got it straight from the source.” Yoongi places his iced coffee down to utilize both thumbs, rapidly tapping on his phone.

“I deserve those notes. I’m a dummy.” Seokjin bemoans while trying to have a look at who Yoongi is talking to, but the other only pulls his phone closer to him.

“How the fuck did we even manage to pass this subject during undergrad?”

“Because of Joonie. Remember he made us buy those seeds his class was selling during med week and for every five packets it counted as one worksheet?"

Yoongi stops tapping and finally turns his phone to Seokjin, showing him the screen. "Got him."

 

Kang Yoosung

final offer

his number in exchange for the author's name

 

bullshit

no one uses their real name when writing transcripts

author's real name or no number for you

 

i really cant!!!!!!!!!!!

our prof doesnt want transcripts of her lecture going around

the senior who wrote it might get in trouble

yonghwa-hyung would kill me if i spill

 

so its this yonghwa guy?

 

i wish 

he's as dumb as the rest of us

 

no number for you then

 

author's codename.....

and let me sit next to you guys in class

next to seokjin specifically

 

only in one class

 

ok deal

the author of the biochem transcripts call themselves

seagull

 

Seokjin reads over the conversation and feels a multitude of emotions all at once: confusion, irritation, shock, anger, and lastly, disbelief. Yoongi's muttering about hunting down whoever Seagull is, that maybe it's a student obsessed with birds or has a tattoo of it. Seokjin should really throttle Yoongi for offering him up like this over lecture notes, though truthfully, he would do the same.

Instead Seokjin's brain brings up a memory of four years ago playing League of Legends for the first time using his ex-boyfriend's many accounts, one with a particular in-game name that just happens to be the same codename the author of the transcripts use.

"No need," He says weakly, "I know who it is." 

Yoongi watches him slump on his seat, head falling down once again to rest on the textbook. Yoongi lets out a curse upon realization, earning them glares from other students eating breakfast. "Of fucking course it's him!" Yoongi exclaims in excitement. 

"Kim Seokjin you will get those notes." Yoongi says in determination. "If you have to offer yourself up, you will do it."

Seokjin groans in response, a guttural noise that has Yoongi poking at his cheek. "Hey, listen to me. Whatever means necessary, you will get those notes Kim Seokjin. Our future is on the hands of your ex, what a fucking coincidence."

Another groan, another poke on the cheek.

"If you have to suck-.."

"Finish that sentence and I will bite your finger off."

Later in class when Seokjin is seated in the middle between Yoosung and Yoongi, patiently listening to the first lecture, he meet eyes with Yoongi who is mirroring the same dazed expression on his face. Yoongi leans in, saying in a hushed tone, "Beg on your knees if you must."

Seokjin returns his gaze toward the giant projector. He can see from the corner of his eyes the way Yoosung has his phone open on his lap, nodding along the lecture in understanding. He guesses that it's the transcripts because no way Yoosung is actually understanding any of this.

In his mind, Seokjin weighs the pros and cons of stealing his classmate's phone and illegally sending himself those notes, versus pleading Jungkook for them. Life was exponentially easier when all it took to pass was doing Namjoon a favor in exchange for help. The number of seed packets he and Yoongi bought before just so Namjoon would write their laboratory worksheets were a lot. Seokjin thinks it's still with him, tucked in the many pockets of his numerous backpacks. 

When he returns his attention to the lecture, Seokjin stills. He let his mind wander for five minutes and he has no idea anymore with what is happening. Beside him, Yoongi is glaring at the screen and his lips curled in what could only be described as disgust. He sighs in resignation, back leaning on the chair. He leans a bit toward Yoongi's side and whispers, "What should I bribe our dear Seagull with?"


Tuesday brings a different set of lectures and laboratories, but the texts from a new unknown number is slowly becoming routine. Seokjin's list of blocked numbers are getting longer by the day, and Yoongi suggests what if he changes his number instead.

("I've had the same number for almost seven years I'm not changing it for anyone. We'll see who is more stubborn between me and Heesu.")

The two of them are walking through the med building hallways following their classmates, the place still new and confusing. Yoongi, a perpetual advocate against interaction with people he do not know, has them walking behind everyone. "We're all adults here why do we have to act like undergrad first years moving in clusters?" He growls lowly, enough for only Seokjin to hear.

Seokjin actually agrees, feeling embarrassed at the way the seniors walking in twos or threes are eyeing them. "Give it a month or two for us to get used with the room assignments, then we can stop pretending to be friendly."

Yoosung, the one leading their group, suddenly halts without warning. The entire group stops as well and there's suddenly an excited murmur flooding the hallway. Yoongi takes this as the opportunity to announce over the noise that he hates it here. It makes Seokjin laugh, elbowing Yoongi to stop before anyone hears them despite his obvious enjoyment. The laugh dies down quickly when Yoongi suddenly grips him by the arm, pulling him further away from the crowd and saying, "12 o' clock," in a rush.

Seokjin's brow furrow in question, head turning to look at the direction he is being referred to. A single word comes out of his mouth before he could turn away completely, "..Oh." 

Seokjin enjoys a good old-fashioned list. Grocery lists, to-do lists, and lists categorizing observations to settle his fraying nerves and silence his thoughts. He makes up a quick list of everything he was able to note in the span of five seconds:

  1. Jungkook looks good wearing the white uniform
  2. The long and fluffy hair seriously suits him
  3. Are they allowed to wear multiple piercings???

"He sure draws up a crowd," Yoongi's voice pulls Seokjin away the mental exercise, "You'd have to get him alone when you ask for the notes." They watch as Jungkook plus his entourage talk to their classmates asking about classes, professors, and tips on certain subjects. 

"Are you sure Yoosung is the only one who got his hands on the transcript? I feel like he'll hand it to anyone if they ask." 

"Trust me, if he gave it to every freshman begging to be saved from the evil that is biochem, I would have it by now. The only reason Yoosung has a copy is because he's chummy with Jungkook's friend, Nam Yonghwa. It's not even a complete copy, just enough to cover the prelims."

"Okay, but we should also ask ourselves this: does it actually exist? Is it really that good? Will it genuinely help us? Rumors are usually exaggerated."

Yoongi blinks at him, looks at Jungkook, and back to Seokjin. "Look me in the eyes and tell me he's bad at the subject. After all, you're the one here who received help from him first-hand."

Memories of Jungkook sitting with him in coffeeshops patiently explaining concepts and formulas when he took that one analytical chemistry course while they were still together resurface in his mind. He huffs in surrender, and Yoongi claps him on the back for not escalating the argument. 

"Also.. would you please stop it." Yoongi adds, wording what should be a polite request into an order. "Stop what?"

"Looking at him like you're seeing him for the very first time. You did it too when the three of us were smoking. I mean, I can't blame you. Dude is fucking dreamy."

“Yoongi!”

“What now?”

“Not helping!”

“Am I supposed to say he’s ugly? Because I may be many things but I definitely am not a liar.”

“Just don’t say anything else, I beg you.”

“He’s coming here.”

“You literally just said you’re not a liar.”

“And I told you.. I’ am not one.”

Seokjin turns his head so quickly he's sure he almost got whiplash. He groans in pain but still double checks if his eyes are playing tricks on him. Jungkook and his classmates are entering a classroom, Yonghwa enthusiastically waving goodbye to the freshmen.

"You're a dirty liar!" He hisses, hand cradling the back of his neck. Yoongi laughs at him, encircling an arm around Seokjin to help him walk.

"Why would you even believe me? We're so far away from the group, he wouldn't be able to see us in the first place."

"I don't know, maybe because you're my best friend and I trust you?!"

"I'll properly apologize after I see some progress on your end," The confused look he is met with has Yoongi snorting, "Notes! Transcripts! Jeon Jungkook's illegal guide to surviving biochem! Get with the program, Seokjinnie."

Seokjin does want the notes, he wants it so badly he thought about flirting with Yoosung just to get a glimpse of it. The idea made him shudder, and regardless of that text message conversation Yoosung had with Yoongi about him, Seokjin's pretty sure he's got a thing with Yonghwa. Perhaps the thought of having to ask Jungkook for something makes him anxious, perhaps the idea that his future being on Jungkook's hands displease him. Seokjin laughs inwardly at such an overestimation; then recalling the lecture yesterday. The fact that he can't actually remember anything extinguishes all the excuses he comes up with to not do it.

Tomorrow is Wednesday, and Wednesdays mean more biochem lectures and perhaps a laboratory too. He has until tomorrow to gather the courage and ask Jungkook, or he'll never hear the end of it from Yoongi.


Seokjin's phone rarely rings.

Namjoon and Yoongi despise calls, and his family communicates primarily in stickers sent to their groupchat. He’s been conditioned to answer calls as soon as possible because the people in his life will only resort to calling him if it was a life or death situation.

He didn’t even get to see the caller ID. If he saw that it was from an unknown number, he wouldn’t have accepted it.

It’s a Wednesday. Seokjin used to like Wednesdays since they signified that the week is almost ending, but med school had to take that from him too. Mondays and Wednesdays mean he has Biochemistry starting from 7:30 in the morning until 11:30 just before lunch. The only good tiding it brings is that his entire afternoon is free.

Right after another lecture spent daydreaming, Yoongi tells him that he better get those notes before dinner time, or else. His best friend promptly disappears, walking straight to the PC Bang and leaving Seokjin to walk back the condo complex alone.

He thought that now will be the best time to do it, so instead of pressing the button to the 14th floor, he presses the one for penthouse: a P with an obnoxious gold lining the circular button while the rest are plain steel.

As the elevator went up, that’s when his phone started ringing. Feeling embarrassed, Seokjin got off someone’s floor when the elevator stopped and immediately answered the call. It’s those moments when you just know you shouldn’t have done it right after doing so. 

Seokjin’s been standing at the 5th floor hallway for ten minutes now while having an awkward conversation with Heesu over the phone.

I thought you wouldn’t pick up the call, so I really don’t know what to say.” Heesu laughed awkwardly. He’s been saying the same sentence repeatedly every time there’s silence over the line, and there has been a lot.

“Then why did you call?” Seokjin asks, his patience wearing thin by each second. They already covered the greetings, how-are-yous, and whats-your-school like accompanied by minutes of quiet and he’s honestly had enough.

Because you don’t respond to my texts,” Heesu whines, “I wouldn’t call if you did.

Seokjin rolls his eyes and takes a deep breath to calm himself down. “Heesu, I understand that heartbreak is hard; it’s really heavy. Yes, I told you that I would be there for you if you needed me, but you took advantage of it. I don’t understand why you keep acting like we’re okay, texting me good morning and if I ate. That’s not helping you, or me.”

You can’t blame me. I’m used to knowing how your day is going. Just reply to my texts, please Seokjinnie?

Seokjin’s hands are itching to smoke, his brain craving for the sweet hit of nicotine. After this conversation, he’ll drop his bag in the apartment and grab his box of Marlboros. For the time being, he says, “What about you tell me what you actually want to say instead of disguising it as small talk?”

Then, can we meet? I’ll visit you and we can talk in person.

The answer that Seokjin would like to give is an adamant no along with some carefully chosen curse words, but he just wants the conversation to be over. “Okay, fine. I have to go now class is starting. Goodbye.” Seokjin prides himself in being polite, but picking up is more than enough, so he hits the end call button without feeling bad about it.

Seokjin practically runs back to the elevator when he sees it going his way. It is less crowded, probably because people are in class or at work. He returns to the 14th floor easily, back to his and Yoongi’s apartment. He sighs in satisfaction at the much needed alone time. He loves Yoongi to bits and having him as a roommate isn’t so bad, but Seokjin missed the privacy of having his own place.

He drops the bag on his bed, not even bothering to remove his shoes and walking straight to the fridge where he keeps his cigarettes; a trick he learned from Jungkook to keep them fresh.

“Fuck! The fucking notes!” He exclaims out loud, remembering what he was supposed to be doing. Seokjin allows himself to wail out his frustrations in a rant while opening the fridge and taking the blue cigarette box.

Maybe he can just smoke in the bathroom? Yoongi would kill him though if he smokes inside their apartment. He flails to his bed, kicking his backpack in the process. Seokjin pretends that he didn’t hear his belongings fall out, closing his eyes and giving himself five minutes of peace.

He’s not sure if it was really five minutes; he might’ve overextended or it could only have been three minutes. Nevertheless, he sits up with a resigned sigh and peeks at the floor. The first thing he picks up is his pastel pink lighter, something he always carries around. His binder notebook, alpaca pencil case, and biochem textbook are on the floor as well.

Seokjin gets out of bed and dutifully picks it up, scrunching his face at lemon mint candy wrappers he didn’t know are still in his bag. There’s a couple of receipts too, and the weirdest find of all, the seed packets he bought from Namjoon two years ago.

“Was this here the entire time..? Oh my god, I’m a rat.” Seokjin mumbles to himself, grabbing the bundle of plastic and placing it on his bed. He can show Yoongi later, or maybe take a picture to send Namjoon.

After fixing his bag and spending a few more minutes just laying down, Seokjin decides to face today’s agenda. 'Smoke first to get rid of the nerves,' He touches his uniform pocket to make sure his cigarettes and lighter are there, 'And later.. Jungkook.'


Taehyung raises the volume of his music blasting through his earphones at the maximum range when the conversation he was eavesdropping on shifts to a topic related to school. He hears about it enough at home from his family, he attends said school daily, and now it follows him to his sanctuary: the roof deck. Talk about it is bound to happen here since more than half of the occupants are in med school or work at the university hospital, but it's the middle of the day and people should be in class. Well, Taehyung should be in class too and not skipping, yet here he is. He's just right around a certain spot on the roof deck's marble slab where he is granted some much needed privacy in exchange for the mid-day sun shining brightly.

Thinking that things would be different today, Taehyung walked to his first class of the day with great hopes. The first week is over and it is a Wednesday, so he assumed that comments about him and his parents are all said and done. Taehyung was called to answer a question that the professor asked, he answers perfectly, and it was supposed to be over. Except that his professor says, "As expected of Doctor Kim's son!" while he sits. Once upon a time, he used to wonder which of his parents the professors refer to when they say that, but at that moment he just wanted to disappear. The eyes of his peers on him and the murmurs made him shrink into his chest. The first class ends at a slow pace, but then the same thing happens again during his lab class, and god, Taehyung just really hates it here. Other people can say that they want to go home, but this building is his home.

He can't even smoke at the place because his Mom would throw a fit if she so much as catch him with a lighter, so Taehyung takes the extra mile to smoke here on the roof deck. He's so triggered by what happened that right now, he doesn't really give a shit if the smoke from his cigarette attach to his pristine white uniform and hair. Taehyung takes a deep inhale from it and relishes in the calm that nicotine brings him.

Graduating with a degree in nursing, Taehyung never bothered taking the licensing exams; a decision that caused a big fight between him and his parents and marked the start of his rebellion.

("Four years of being in nursing school and you're not going to get licensed?! Then what was the point of spending all that money on your schooling?!"

"I didn't ask to study it in the first place! I'm already going to medical school as you want so stop making my life unnecessarily harder!")

It's usually his Mom that he gets into shouting matches with these days. She's adamant with her projection on him, wants him to take the same path that she did. His Dad on the other hand has at least took him aside after the argument about the licensing exam and actually asked him what he wanted to do. Taehyung couldn't say anything, just shrugged and said he wants to be able to smoke in the house. He remembers his Dad chuckling, saying that he wishes he can too. 

Taehyung is extremely self-aware. He knows and can admit to himself and anyone that he's only attending medical school because he has nowhere else to go. The added years of schooling, residency, and all that is something he finds comfort in despite absolutely despising it. He wants to be able to do something that he actually likes, something he's passionate about, but there is nothing significant enough in his life to push him to quit. At least being in medical school gives him something to do. There's a fine line between attending school to give himself a task and also hating every single second of it. 

He is snapped out of his reverie when the glaring sun disappears. There's someone standing in front of him, uniform the same as his, a box of Marlboro menthols on his hand, and a pastel pink lighter. Without checking who it is, Taehyung pauses his music and grumbles out "Go away, this is my crying spot."

"Taehyung?" The familiarity of the voice makes him look up and oh. It's him. The prettiest boy Taehyung has ever seen, and wow, even without the filter of a hazy drunken night, he still looks attractive. "So this is where you come to cry?" He thinks of how unfair the gene pool is to give this guy a face to die for and a sense of humor. 

Kim Seokjin sits on his right, prompting him to scoot over. He takes a cigarette from the rumpled box he is carrying, and Taehyung decides to do the same. "Are you here to cry too?" He asks, returning his lighter back to the pocket of his uniform top after usage. It makes Seokjin giggle, the sound mixing with the click of his own lighter. "I guess you can say that. You don't seem sad though, what's up with you?"

He feels elated that Seokjin is striking up a conversation. Anything to distract him away from his thoughts will get him talking. "I just come here to smoke. I thought saying that it's my crying spot sounded more interesting." It's a half-truth; he goes to this exact spot when he feels like crying but the feeling disappears the moment he sees other people. The thought of crying in public doesn't sit right with him. Taehyung likes to think in labels such that he comes here to smoke when he wants to cry, and he comes home to cry where he cannot smoke. Now he's wondering where his Dad does it. Does he come up here too when things get too heavy?

"Sorry if I intruded then. The sunlight is annoying but at least it's quiet." Seokjin gives him a look of understanding along with a smile, and Taehyung realizes that he is not above asking strangers out despite daylight hours. 

They smoke in silence, and Taehyung's thoughts creep into his mind like a sharp nail running up his back that he blurts out, "Sometimes I wear a hat," Seokjin gazes at him with confusion and raised brows encouraging him to continue, "You know, when it's too hot. I wear a hat and just sit here until the sun goes down. When it rains, I bring an umbrella."

"I'm guessing you dorm here too. What a small world." Seokjin nods his head in understanding, blowing the smoke upwards. Taehyung thinks that for someone who goes around carrying lighters that has Return to me using your left hand if you want to make out engraved on it, Seokjin is remarkably polite. He's sitting right here smoking as well but Seokjin still considers to exhale it away from him. There's also the fact that Taehyung has been babbling but Seokjin does not scrutinize his inability to keep things to himself.  

"I live here." 

"Isn't that the same as what I said?"

"No, I mean, I actually live here. This is where my house is. With my family and my dog."

Seokjin pauses, and after a beat asks, “Is your dog cute?"

"Yeontan is the cutest dog to live." Taehyung says it with pride. He thinks there is no problem with harmless banter, and okay maybe he just wants to push it and see how polite Seokjin really is, so he declares, "You could've met him if you went home with me that night."

Seokjin fumbles and turns his head to Taehyung in disbelief and, Taehyung refuses to believe it, mirth. “Maybe if you showed me a picture I would have.” He eyes Seokjin warily, unsure if this is playful banter or at least a semblance of flirting. He's not sure which of the two he prefers since Taehyung has decided that Seokjin is intimidating. He's funny, good-looking, and kind, and Taehyung feels conscious about his words. Not his face, he's got a handsome face as well thank you very much. Taehyung's worried he might say the wrong thing, and he really wants Seokjin to think he's cool. He attributes that to some weird, hardwired, factor in the human brain that makes us cower over beautiful things.

"I can show you one right now?" He offers, already taking his phone out from his uniform pocket. Seokjin shrugs, leaning closer to look over Taehyung's shoulder. He tilts his phone to the side so Seokjin can see his phone wallpaper, a picture of Yeontan with a wine glass in front of him that he took some weeks ago. 

Seokjin's adoring expression morphs to surprise, and he shifts his eyes to Taehyung. "Yeontan is cute, but someone just texted you.. to come back to class? Are you skipping?" There on his screen is a notification bubble from a classmate asking where he is. 

Fuck. So much for being cool.

"Kind of? Aren't you?"

"My classes are over. Should you really be here, Kim Taehyung?" 

".. No." 

He waits for Seokjin to say something else, or to give him the same judging stare he's sure he got when the professors show their obvious favoritism on him. Taehyung receives a shrug and nothing else. Seokjin continues smoking, squinting from time to time whenever the sun flares in their direction. Taehyung continues waiting, and it's him who ends up staring Seokjin down that the other had no choice but to side-eye and acknowledge him. "What?"

"Aren't you going to ask me why?"

"Do you want me to? It's not my business, but if you want to talk about it, then okay."

Taehyung does want to talk about it, but the words make him feel embarrassed. Seokjin is probably thinking that he's giving himself a little too much self-importance, and honestly, Taehyung doesn't see any problem with that. It's his life, he should not be robbed of being the titular character role and the idiosyncrasies that come with it. Seokjin seems nice, perhaps he can understand where Taehyung is coming from. Spilling to strangers is a concept he is familiar with, mostly strangers on the Internet, but that's a thought for another day.

"I don't like Gross Anatomy." Taehyung imagines giving himself an invisible pat on the back. He decides that if he doesn't overshare and teases it out, Seokjin will get invested and prolong their conversation.

Except it doesn't work that way because Seokjin hums in agreement, mumbling about Biochemistry taking years off his life.

Taehyung likes him already. He makes a mental note that he really should reflect over why he's attracted to people giving him zero attention. When Seokjin leaves, telling him bye and "See you around," Taehyung's mood has already shifted for the better.

'Perhaps there are interesting phenomenas in school I wouldn't see if I don't attend.' The thought has him standing up, ready to see what bullshit his classes has in store for him.


The car comes to a halt in the back parking lot of a place Jungkook has been familiar with for years. He hasn’t stopped by in months, so he stays inside the car a little bit longer to appraise his surroundings. He notices the newly painted parking lines, all a lively mix of yellow and orange.

The building looks the same as he remembered: high walls paneled by stainless steel, an open area that can be seen from the outside due to the glass windows, and a big mass of sloped wood stark against the glass dividing the waiting area and private rooms. At first glance you wouldn't even think that it’s a psychiatrist’s clinic.

Jungkook is more familiar with what it looks like from behind, a brown bricked wall enclosed by a marble stone fence that has a small metal gate in the center to allow parked visitors to enter through the back entrance conveniently.

There’s a lone bench beside the gate with an ashtray. Jungkook likes to think that it is there for him. When he first started coming here, Hoseok would get mad at all the cigarette butts he would leave behind.

He turns off the engine, readying to get out. He glances at the passenger seat where his cigarette case, lighter, and phone are. Deciding that he’ll be nice and not intentionally annoy Hoseok, he only takes his phone with him, placing it inside his uniform pocket including the car keys.

The moment he gets out of the car, he sees Hoseok exit from the door with a sign saying Employees Only and out the metal gate.

“Why are you still in uniform? Did you come here straight from school?” Hoseok asks loudly, sitting on the bench and waiting for Jungkook to join him.

“I look particularly good in uniform.” He answers cheekily, earning him an eye roll from the psychiatrist.

“When you start working like me you’ll miss the casual clothes.” Hoseok is wearing the typical white doctor’s coat over a light blue button-up, black slacks, and leather shoes. He has his arms encircled over his chest, back leaning against the marble stone fence. “What do you want, Jungkook? I don’t have all day.”

“Hyung, we haven’t seen each other in months and this is how you greet me?” Jungkook sits on Hoseok’s right side, sighing contently when he does so. “I always feel at peace when I see you.”

“And you only come see me when something is up, so spill already. You’re taking precious minutes I could be using to listen to my patients, and you don’t even pay me.” Hoseok grumbles. Jungkook only beams in response, knowing that Hoseok doesn’t mean it. If he truly didn’t have time, then he wouldn’t be out here with him.

“Really, hyung? You’re not glad to see me? I thought I’m the only consistent face here in your clinic for at least four years.”

“Oh please, you’re not even my patient yet you always come here. I’m telling you, just make some normal friends like a normal person. We both know how normal you are.” Hoseok gives him a pointed look when he emphasizes the word normal. They've had this same conversation so many times now.

Jungkook hums at the last bits of what Hoseok said. The older has been saying that for such a long time, but he knows deep down Hoseok considers them friends. “Shall I update you with all that you missed out on then?”

Hoseok rolls his eyes, and Jungkook takes this as affirmation. He continues on to where they left off the last time he was here. Studies, the gym, games he is playing, people he went out with but never texted back after, and so on. Hoseok listens with rapt attention, making comments here and there. He congratulates Jungkook for his achievements, and chides him about ghosting people.

Jungkook tells his stories straight to the point, taking only thirty minutes of Hoseok’s time. He gets distracted by the sudden vibration of his phone somewhere along the middle, but he ignores it and kept on talking.

It’s just in time that Hoseok’s own phone starts ringing, and he answers it quickly. Jungkook uses this opportunity to check who texted him, turning his phone on while Hoseok talks with the caller that has something to do with appointments.

The contact name chills him, and Jungkook almost drops his phone in shock. Hoseok eyes him, mouthing the words, “Are you okay?

Jungkook nods, trembling fingers swiping up to open his phone.

 

seokjinnie

Jungkook?

I don’t know if this is still your number, haha.

This is Seokjin by the way, if you don’t have me saved anymore.

I went to your floor but I realized I don’t actually know where your room is.

I just have something to ask, and in person if possible.

If you receive this, I’m just out here waiting in the hallway.

 

Jungkook’s never been one to edit contact names, and for some reason seeing it after such a long time is giving him vertigo. He knows it’s not a joke, because Seokjin is the only person he knows who texts with proper punctuation and capitalization.

He is thirty minutes away from the condo complex, closing to an hour if there is traffic. The text was sent fifteen minutes ago, and the thought that Seokjin might be waiting for him has him typing back rapidly. He curses at the typos, heart beating too fast for him to focus.

 

hyung

u still there?

sorry for the late reply i was doing sth

im not home and it might take me a while to drive back

an hour tops

ill meet u tho just say where

 

The replies are instantaneous, the first message making him grin.

 

seokjinnie

Wtf you still have the same number too!!!!!!

Also, yeah.

I’m still here.

I was going to wait five more minutes before leaving.

I’ll wait for you at the Starbucks in the 2nd floor lobby, is that okay?

 

Jungkook gets up from the bench, eyes never leaving the screen. “Hoseok-hyung, I have to cut our meeting short. An emergency came up. I’ll make it up to you, I promise!” He tells Hoseok, still focused on his phone and typing back a reply.

 

yes okay

see u

getting in the car now ill be there as quick as i can

 

 

“Excuse me for a second,” Hoseok removes the phone from his ear and covers the speakers to yell out, “What emergency?! Where are you going, brat?!”

Jungkook is running to his car, clicking the button on his keys to open it and swinging the door to the driver's seat open. “Doing what you always told me to do!”

“What?!”

“Making friends, hyung!”

Hoseok could only watch Jungkook start up the car, still confused with how fast the scenario unfolded. He returns back to his call, a client still waiting on the other end of the line. He can ask Jungkook about it later via text. If he's feeling particularly gossipy, he might even hit up Jungkook's mother.

Inside the Jeep Wrangler, Jungkook is ready to hit the gas pedal when his phone that he threw without a care on the dashboard vibrates again. He picks it up, feeling strangely excited.

 

seokjinnie

No rush!

And drive safe!

:D

 

An emoticon, and not even an emoji. Jungkook chuckles out loud because who cares? It’s only him who can hear. He pulls on the seatbelt, feeling proud of himself when it makes that satisfying sound as it buckles. Seokjin did tell him to drive safe.


Seokjin carries a tray with two drinks to the table that he managed to secure in the busy Starbucks. The place has two floors, students and doctors alike painting the brown and woody color tones of the store a sea of white.

Since Jungkook said he’ll show up in an hour, Seokjin took it as an opportunity to quickly shower and change clothes: a plain black white t-shirt and his old P.E shorts back when he had to take Team Sports as a course elective. He feels more out place now that he’s out of the white uniform.

His phone vibrates on his hand, disturbing him from his thoughts. He didn’t even realize he was already staring off into the distance.

 

Jungkook

on my way

where are u

 

Seokjin had his contact saved under Jeon Jungkook, but it felt too formal which at the same time is kind of weird. Seokjin likes keeping not just his messages but his contacts clean and professional, except for Namjoon and Yoongi’s.

 

Starbucks 2nd floor.

I’m sitting on those tables for two but with the cushion chairs.

The ones near the outdoor smoking area.

 

Seokjin doesn’t wait for a reply, instead busies himself by sipping on his drink. It’s a normal iced vanilla latte, and he ordered an iced caramel macchiato for Jungkook, even changing the milk option into soy milk because that’s how he likes it.

It suddenly worries him because what if it’s not how he likes his coffee anymore? The coffee is supposed to serve as a bribe, to butter himself up to Jungkook and leave a good impression. Yoongi’s confident he’ll hand them over easily to Seokjin, yet he’s plagued with thoughts that he should not assume things with this Jungkook. People change after all, maybe after all those years he likes oat milk with his coffee now.

Besides the coffee, he also brought something else. A thank you gift if you will, something random and quirky that Jungkook would probably like. Or he’d think that Seokjin is giving him his trash disguised as a sign of goodwill, which is partially true. He thought he shouldn’t meet Jungkook empty-handed, and now the gift in question is sitting inside his pocket.

Seokjin spots him easily. He’s still wearing the uniform, still looks absolutely good, and isn’t the point of uniforms to make everyone look the same? People say hi to him as he passes by, and he politely smiles in return. He doesn’t even have a bag or anything, just holding his phone with one hand and walking through the many tables turning his head around from time to time.

Seokjin raises his hand a bit, and Jungkook’s face lights up when he sees him. He walks faster, coming to a stop in front of Seokjin. He waits for Jungkook to sit down, and when he does, his attention immediately goes to the untouched drink on the table.

“I got you a drink.” Seokjin motions to it with his hand, watching Jungkook excitedly pop the straw in, then taking a sip.

“Soy milk?” Jungkook says, sounding more surprised than actually asking a question.

“Yeah, isn’t that your thing?” Seokjin hates that he is reminded of those movies about exes and how they still know each other’s orders. He can’t exactly tell Jungkook that “It’s not like that.. this is a bribe,” so he smiles back when Jungkook does. There it is again, another figment from the past; his grin that reminds Seokjin of a bunny that he now doesn’t hide.

“Sure. It’s still my thing.”

Seokjin beams at that. He is quite possibly off to a good start, and if things continue going well, he and Yoongi can finally have some peace of mind. Under the table, he fiddles with his hands to try and calm down.

Jungkook leans back, elbow on the arm of the chair, head leaning on his hand, and waiting on Seokjin.

“I just have something to ask from you.”

“Hm, you did mention that.”

Seokjin watches as Jungkook pushes his hair back only for it to fall back in place just right over his eyes. He’s still sipping on the coffee, patiently waiting for Seokjin to get on with it. ‘He’s always like this’, Seokjin thinks, always waiting for Seokjin to articulate what he wants (even though most times he knows exactly what it is).

“Okay, well, I’ll just come out with it. I suck at chemistry and I know you’re the author of the biochem transcript that everyone’s trying to get their hands on,” Seokjin inhales deeply before continuing, “And what I wanted to ask was.. can I have a copy too?”

If asked if he thinks Jungkook would give it to him, Seokjin would say yes without a doubt. The momentary pause of the straw against Jungkook’s lower lip worries him for a second, then he’s shrugging and before it even registers, Jungkook is saying, “Sure.”

“..Really?”

“As long as you don’t show it to others. I might get in trouble if that happens; that prof does not like notes of her lectures being passed down to freshmen.”

Seokjin nods enthusiastically, grabbing his drink and having a sip to calm himself down. “Is it okay if I share it with Yoongi? He won’t tattle, I promise.”

“It’s cool.”

Seokjin cannot wait to tell Yoongi. Now they can go to class and not have to feel like they are lucid dreaming during discussions.

“Is that all, hyung?” Jungkook suddenly asks. Seokjin nods, and there’s really nothing else to say but he still ends up answering with, “Yes?”

“I can help you study,” Jungkook trails off, “With the other subjects too.”

He suddenly remembers the conversation with Yoongi about how he finds it bewildering that Jungkook is being so nice to him. Is it really because he feels responsible with Seokjin getting held back a year and not graduating on time?

“It’s okay! The notes are enough, thank you though.”

Jungkook shrugs again in response, getting comfortable into the chair. For some reason, Seokjin thinks he should have said yes.

“You don’t have classes on Wednesdays?” He asks instead, trying to make conversation.

“Wednesday afternoons specifically. I only have class until lunchtime.”

“Me too.”

Seokjin actually wants to ask where Jungkook was before meeting with him, although he’s not sure if he’s allowed to pry. Another part of him screeches that he’ll never know if he never asks; he ignores it. After he obtains the biochem transcripts, he’ll go back to actively avoiding Jungkook, something that he did easily the past years when they were both still in undergrad. There’s no weird motivation behind it, just that Seokjin finds life going more smoothly without the other around.

He’s sipping on his latte when Jungkook says, “Want to go up to mine?”

Seokjin inhales noisily at the suddenness of it. This is exactly what he means when he says that Jungkook makes his life a bit more difficult. Not even difficult, just perplexing. He always has to be on high alert concerning the other lately, and it hasn’t even been a week since their reunion.

“What, why?” He asks, grabbing a tissue and dabbing on his lips. His reaction is embarrassing but at least he didn’t spat his coffee out.

“So I can give you the notes?” Jungkook’s confused expression shifts into playfulness in an instant, “Not like that, hyung.”

Seokjin curses his brain for supplying the phrase, ‘Unless you want to.’ No way in seven hells is he going to have a sex flashback in the middle of a busy coffeeshop while he and his ex-boyfriend conspire to beat the educational system with illegal hand-me-down lecture transcriptions.

“You’re so annoying.”

He regrets the words after he speaks. He really shouldn’t be calling Jungkook annoying when he’s willing to help Seokjin out.

Thank goodness Jungkook only chuckles. “Still saying that, huh?”

(“Wanna know how I know you like someone?” Namjoon says from beside him, working on his essay while Seokjin and Yoongi play My Hero on the PS4.

“I don’t want to.”

“Yoongi, tell him.”

“We know you like someone when you keep talking about how annoying they are.”

“...You guys are so annoying.”

“Aw, we love you too.”)

Seokjin sees a group of students standing not too far away from him and Jungkook, staring at him intently. “I think that girl is going to bite my head off if I don’t pull out a book or a pen to study.”

Jungkook has the decency to not look, making him think that if this was Yoongi, he would turn around and stare back.

“Let’s go?”

“Please.”

The group walks to their table the moment they stand up, and Seokjin tries not to roll his eyes, still sipping on his drink. Jungkook picks up his cup and turns around the group’s direction. Upon recognition, the mood instantly changes toward them.

“Oh! Jungkook-sunbae!” One of them greets him, intimidating aura suddenly gone. Seokjin cannot believe it; they are freshmen like him? And they were glaring at him, waiting for them to stand and give the table up? Seokjin couldn’t help himself, he snorts and sips his latte as noisily as possible.

Jungkook greets them, charming smile on his lips. He thinks that Jungkook’s just trying not to laugh at how obviously irate Seokjin is with them.

Walking side by side, Seokjin has full view of how people take the time to look up and say goodbye to Jungkook. He responds with a nod or a quirk of his brows in acknowledgment, not actually stopping to talk to anyone.

“Someone’s popular.” He says, laughing at Jungkook when he gives Seokjin a disagreeing scowl.

“And you aren’t? I refuse to believe your batch mates and upperclassmen alike aren’t tripping all over themselves for your attention.”

“Nope. Yoongi’s been acting like my bodyguard and manager lately. I can only be approached if they have use for him too. Otherwise, his glares are pretty effective.” He thinks about Yoosung and how Yoongi easily offered up his number to the guy.

“What about me though? Does Yoongi approve?”

Jungkook walks ahead of him to open the glass double door for Seokjin. Out of spite, he opens the other door himself. Jungkook laughs and resumed walking beside Seokjin.

“Yoongi.. thinks you are useful.”

“Of course, the notes. I see.”

They arrive to the main lobby in the second floor that more closely resembles a small shopping area than a residence. The four elevators are all occupied, and they queue at the one nearing the 2nd floor. A ton of people exit it as soon as the doors open, more students still wearing white uniforms and doctors in coats.

A few other people join them, pressing the button to their own floors and to the roof deck. Jungkook presses P after everyone does. It is right above the button for the 27th and just below RD.

Seokjin sees someone glance at Jungkook, and he would too if he didn’t know the other. He and Jungkook are at the very back of the elevator, Seokjin standing up straight while the other leans on the rail. He ends up doing the same thing with how the elevator keeps stopping, people coming out or joining them in from almost all levels.

When they finally reach the Penthouse floor, Seokjin is admittedly a bit dizzy. He’s glad that the 14th is easily accessible regardless of its cons.

As they walk through the stylish hallway that Seokjin was just at hours ago, he realizes that this will be the first time he comes over to Jungkook’s place. He’s never been to his house even when they were together, his old dorm their usual hang out.

Jungkook stops in front of his door, and enters the code. When he turns the knob, it instantly opens. Seokjin sighs to himself, the rich not needing to carry keys with their sophisticated apartments while he and Yoongi had to duplicate their keys because they were only given one. Namjoon has a copy too, because what then if they both forget to take their keys with them? 

Stepping inside Jungkook’s apartment, he couldn’t help gaping at the floor to ceiling windows and a glass sliding door at the further end of the room that leads to a balcony.

The place is without a doubt huge, golden hour lighting flooding the space. There’s a kitchen with marble counters and modernist stools, no dining table in sight. In the middle of the room is a flat screen and couch while on the furthest left is a bed that could only be a California Queen size. The walls are painted a polished white, glossy and bare. There are two doors the same color as the walls, blending seamlessly. The palette is all black, grey, white, and a pop of dark green here and there. Besides obviously being designed by a professional, the space does look live in.

There’s an empty bottle of Pocari by the counters, shoes by the entrance, and a bong acting as the centerpiece of a coffee table between the couch and television. Seokjin can imagine kicking back in that couch after a long day, smoking some Northern Lights, and knocking off until tomorrow.

“Hyung, close the door behind you.”

Seokjin hears that satisfying click along with a weird beeping sound, kicking his shoes off while Jungkook does the same.

“You can sit on the couch while I go find it.”

Jungkook places his Starbucks cup on the counter before going through one of the two doors, and Seokjin manages to get a glimpse of a room darker than the rest of the house.

He didn’t need to be told twice, walking excitedly towards the dark green velvet sofa. The plush carpet underneath his feet feels like heaven, and the couch is as comfortable as it looks. Besides the bong, there are printed lecture notes and a neon yellow highlighter beside it. He places his latte down the table far away from the papers, trying to see what Jungkook is studying without worry that he might get it wet.

The sound of a door opening and closing has him looking up. Instead of neatly stapled fifty plus pages of transcriptions or even a notebook, Jungkook hands him an iPad.

“Everything is in there, including my notes in all 1st year subjects.”

Seokjin takes it because what all is he supposed to do?

Jungkook sits down on the opposite end of the couch, arm extended and resting on the backrest. If he reaches out, his fingers would be touching Seokjin’s neck.

Distracting himself from that other thought is the heavy iPad on his hand. “Are you giving me this?” He holds it up with one hand, the other one pointing to it with his index finger. “This entire thing?”

“Yeah? That’s where I wrote everything. It’s more convenient than compiling and converting each file, and trust me, there’s a lot of it.”

Jungkook says this in a way that can make anyone think it’s the most logical solution to the problem, but Seokjin is holding an expensive piece of technology and his supposed gift in exchange for it are the tomato seeds he bought from Namjoon two years ago that he found at the bottom of his bag.

Tomato seeds. Seokjin has a variety of seeds, a shit ton of them in fact, and he decided to take only one to give Jungkook as thanks.

“No, I cannot accept this. This,” He shakes it wildly in reference, “Is too much.”

Jungkook clicks his tongue, and Seokjin would’ve overthink about that too but his brain can only handle as much. “Hyung, it’s okay. You can give it back when the term is over. I’m not going anywhere.”

“I got a glimpse of it on someone’s phone, can’t you give me that?”

“You mean the one that freshman has? It’s not even complete and were just screenshots ‘cause I didn’t want to give the original file.”

Seokjin’s supposed argument doesn’t come out. He lowers the iPad on his lap, looking at it then to Jungkook. “Then why are you giving it to me?”

Jungkook rolls his eyes, scoffing at him. “Its you. Why shouldn’t I?”

Seokjin feels the rush of blood to his cheeks, a warm feeling that spreads all the way to his chest to the tips of his fingers. Scientifically speaking, he knows that it is the release of adrenaline into his bloodstream speeding up his heart rate and dilating his veins. Causation? Jeon Jungkook and the way he says things, an impact only possible as a result of the past they shared.

“Just take it. I have a new one that I’m using.” Jungkook assures him. Seokjin does want to accept it, and there’s also Yoongi who will kill him if he doesn’t.

“Why are you being so nice?”

“I already told you; because it’s you. Do I need any other reason?”

Seokjin wants to ask him if he’ll keep using that as an excuse or if they will talk about it someday. He thinks it’s the guilt speaking, and the petty side of him relishes in it.

“Okay,” Seokjin decides that taking what he wants is also a form of self-care, “I won’t give it back if you change your mind.” The warning turn Jungkook’s eyes into crescents, laughter lighting up his entire face. He takes this as the opportunity to slip his hand inside the pocket of his shorts.

“I brought you this. I wanted to be prepared if you said yes.” Seokjin says, voice serious. He holds it out for Jungkook to take, a seed packet with a printed picture of tomatoes on the front.

Jungkook’s reaction to it can only be described as puzzlement. His hand comes up to take it, mystified with the sudden turn of events

Seokjin cackles inwardly, knowing exactly how that feels. Jungkook surprises him with an iPad, and Seokjin returns the gesture with a gardening starter pack. Maybe he can give Jungkook the rest of it. He has an assortment of peppers, peas, and even watermelon stuck somewhere.

“Thank you..?” Jungkook places it down on the coffee table atop his notes, still unsure how to react with the situation.

“Update me when it starts flowering.” He says, tucking the iPad under his arm and getting ready to leave.

“Flowering?”

“Yes, Jungkook. Tomatoes are fruits, remember? Berries to be exact.”

“Wait, fruits? You’re fucking with me, hyung.”

The topic has Seokjin sitting down. This is serious for him, something that demands his attention. “What? Oh, my god. I’m pretty sure we’ve had this conversation before.”

“No, hyung. This is the first time I’m hearing this and to be honest with you, I am weirded out.” Jungkook does look freaked out, eyes wide and a hand running through his hair.

“Jungkook, you dated me, a bio major. I never brought this up with you?” At the shake of Jungkook’s head, Seokjin gasps theatrically. “Then, I have failed you. It is my mistake, I apologize. I mean, you're in med already! You're giving me your notes to study but I still have to be the one to tell you the truth about tomatoes?"

The intense stare-off and tense atmosphere dissolves as they laugh. Jungkook sinks into the sofa, hands on his stomach and chortling. Seokjin feels good about it, that he can still make Jungkook laugh so effortlessly. He gives himself an invisible pat on the back for being so humorous.

“Hey, hyung,” Jungkook says as his laugh dissolve into giggles, “What’s the scientific name of tomatoes?”

Seokjin’s never been one to say no at being able to display his intellect, so he answers quickly, “Solanum lycopersicum.” He’s been told that when he gets like this, he moves in slow motion, eyes expressive in obvious contentment and lips curling in pride.

Jungkook quiets down, smile on his lips. “Some things never change, huh.”

“What things?” Seokjin asks, not knowing anymore where this entire conversation is going.

“The way you say words in a dead language.”

Perhaps Jungkook has voiced that out loud at one point when they were still in love, every little thing about the other absolutely endearing and noteworthy. He doesn’t feel weird hearing it, and honestly there are things far more bewildering in this scenario, like hanging out in his ex-boyfriend’s apartment for example. 

Seokjin still can't pinpoint what exactly Jungkook is thinking at times, but it shouldn't matter. He got what he came here for and he managed to do it casually while also being able to joke around. He realizes now that his worries about Jungkook were uncalled for.

"You're also the same," Seokjin beams at him, "Still randomly asking me about scientific names of fruit."

"I’m not too sure about that,” Jungkook mumbles, gaze drifting somewhere behind Seokjin and back again, “I actually lied. About the milk thing.”

"What do you mean you lied about the milk thing?” Seokjin turns behind him to see that Jungkook was looking at the caramel macchiato sitting on his countertop. “Seriously? So what’s your thing now, oat milk?"

"Nah, I like whole milk in my coffee now."
"You should’ve said so. You’re so annoying, lying about milk of all things.” Seokjin huffs. He’s thankful that Jungkook only laughs and doesn’t mention that Seokjin called him annoying for the second time now. 

"Hey, I did like what you got me!”

"Now you’re just lying some more to make me feel better.” 

"I mean,” Jungkook moves his arm to cradle the side of his head on his palm as he continues leaning against the sofa’s backrest, “It’s not to my taste anymore. I’ll be honest young me was fucking stupid for putting soy milk in coffee, and I’m glad that phase is over. What I like is the fact that you still remember my usual order, not the coffee itself.”


Jungkook walks Seokjin back to the elevator. Besides the latte, his other hand is now holding the iPad to his chest. “Am I allowed to use this besides studying? Like watching Netflix?”

"Yes, hyung. There’s no passcode, nor any social media app in that thing besides the transcripts. It’s practically brand new.”

Jungkook presses the button on the elevator, and they watch as it ascends from the ground floor.

"Okay, one last question before I go.”

"What more do you need?” The patient smile that Jungkook has doesn’t match the supposed impatient tone of the words.

"Are you going to plant the tomatoes?”

"I have to buy a pot, some soil, maybe even fertilizer. So, no hyung, I don’t think I will.” 

Seokjin pouts at him and for a moment he thought Jungkook was about to reach out and ruffle his hair.

The elevator door opens, surprising the both of them. It’s empty, an unusual sight and at this time too when dusk is enveloping the horizon.

Seokjin steps inside the elevator while Jungkook puts one foot inside to crane his body around, pressing the button to the 14th floor for Seokjin.

”Thank you, really. For all of this.” Seokjin says, smiling at him with genuine gratitude.

Jungkook blinks at him and suddenly presses a button to keep the door from closing. “Hyung, I have a confession to make.”

Seokjin’s taken aback by the unexpected scenario. He blinks owlishly at Jungkook, waiting for him to say something.

"I lied again," Jungkook grins widely at Seokjin’s expression, “I do know that tomatoes are fruit.”

At the stunned look on Seokjin’s face, Jungkook presses the button to close the door and hurriedly steps out of the elevator.

"What the fu—"

"Bye, hyung!"


seokjinnie

Storytime!!!

I failed my first biochem quiz despite the notes.

They were really well-written though.

Yoongi passed thanks to it.

Tutoring offer still up?

 

not to be that guy

but told u so

based on past experience,

u learn better when im teaching u face to face

 

I won’t even argue..

 

im only free wednesday afternoons

maybe weekends

 

I’m free those days too.

Is that a yes then?

:D

 

yes, of course

 

Thank you JK

:D

 

gotchu

 

notchu

 

and he’s typing in lowercase!

 

You’re so annoying.

 

Jungkook closes his phone, leaving it on his couch to get up and return to his Monday night plans. Some of his classmates invited him to a group study session and he turned them down. He usually says yes, sometimes even offering to drive all the way to a new coffeeshop somewhere far from their usual for a change in scenery.

The sudden texts from Seokjin has him going outside the balcony to finally open the package that arrived this morning on his doorstep. It’s a heavy brown box, securely taped and marked fragile.

Jungkook randomly saw it online, added it to his cart, and tapped the check out button before he could change his mind. After he received an e-mail saying that it will be arriving first thing Monday, he laughs at his impulsiveness and thinks that he’ll probably never use it.

Here he is now, removing the brown packaging tape by hand and looking into the contents of the box: two clay pots, a shovel, a bag of soil and fertilizer, and lastly, a small plastic watering can the same color as his couch.

Jungkook has no idea how the hell gardening works, the only experience he has related to it was a biology science experiment where they had to germinate mung bean seeds using wet cotton balls.

He places his ashtray and cigarette case on the other chair to make space, taking the contents out of the box. Looking at it laid on top of his table makes him chuckle, “What the fuck am I doing.” He says, voicing his thoughts out loud.

He goes back inside his apartment to grab the central piece of this.. whatever it is he’s doing plus his cellphone. The tomato seed packet remain on the spot he left it at on the coffee table. Walking to the kitchen, Jungkook opens the kitchen cabinet above the sink to take the pair of scissors.

Jungkook thinks that of course Seokjin would give him something like this, most likely thought he would love it for the peculiarity and not the object itself. Eighteen year old Jungkook would be absolutely delighted simply because it’s from Seokjin. Present Jungkook just finds it unusual and amusing.

Later, when he’s done pouring soil into one pot and placing three seeds for every hole he made, yes he googled up how to do it properly, Jungkook places the pot just by the railings, a spot where the sun can hit it best. He cleans up the mess, returning the items back in the box and placing it right by the side of the glass sliding door.

Jungkook never thought the balcony would have any addition besides the table and two chairs, but now he has a plant as companion. He wonders how that pop of green would look like as it shoots up, or if it would even bore fruit. Questions such as ‘would my smoking affect its growth’ to ‘do plants really grow better when you sing to it’ are just some of the examples comprising his Google search history.

Taking his phone out of his pocket, Jungkook takes a picture of it with the flash on. It’s blurry and quite frankly, for the lack of a better term, ugly. He switches from the camera app to his inbox, ignoring the groupchats and other messages.

Jungkook squints at the sudden brightness of the screen, his balcony light being warm toned not helping at times like this.

There is Block 2-1 which is his section’s groupchat, several unopened messages from freshmen whose numbers he doesn’t bother saving, a conversation with Park Jinsang about how it hasn’t even been two years since they graduated and their old batch wants a reunion already, and a text sent to Nam Yonghwa that he wouldn’t be able to join the study group tonight.

The lone contact name on his inbox that isn’t formal and uses a nickname unlike the rest stands out in spite of being in lowercase. He hasn’t read the last message yet, a blue notification bubble right beside the picture he is using for Seokjin’s contact.

Maybe he’ll change it, or maybe he’ll delete it. It works so well as a display picture because even though it was taken five years ago, he still looks exactly the same.

Jungkook decides that sometimes you simply have to ignore that little voice in your head telling you no and just go for it.

 

seokjinnie

You're so annoying.

But seriously though, thank you.

 

hey hyung

u up?

check out my baby

Attachment: 1 image

 

?

Why do you have a picture of me from 2nd year ohmygod

AND WHAT DO YOU MEAN BABY

?????????????

 

oops

misclicked

Attachment: 1 image

my ***new*** baby

 

Chapter Text

Breakfast comprises of cheap coffee from the med cafeteria plus sandwiches of the day for Seokjin and Yoongi. 

The first three days of the week means getting up at 6 in the morning because they share one bathroom and has the exact same schedule, making things hard yet also comforting. They usually get to the cafeteria thirty minutes before class starts, and a 7:30 AM lecture in Micro Anatomy requires lots of coffee and silence between them.

Yoongi has his eyes closed while sipping on his iced coffee. He never fails to complain about how sweet it is. Seokjin has the same cup in front of him, eyes focused on his phone and thumbs tapping rapidly on the screen.

 

Unknown Number

youre not responding to me again and thats why im calling

is that hard to understand?

 

Fine. I will.

Just stop calling me in the mornings.

I have too much on my plate already.

 

so am i a pest to you now?

 

You know what Park Heesu? Yes, you are.

 

someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed

hey?

seokjinnie?

 

“I am telling you,” Yoongi’s eyes remain close as he speaks. “Get a new number and your life will be easier.”

“And I told you, I don’t want to.” Seokjin grumbles, clicking his phone shut and throwing it on the table without a care.

Just to be obnoxious, Yoongi noisily sips his coffee to then sigh in delight afterwards. “May I ask why?” When he gets no response, Yoongi sighs again and this time in exaggeration. “How about I take a guess?”

“How about you not talk—"

“Because Jeon Jungkook kept your number all these years and he is a sly, flirtatious,—"

They are both cut off by the sound of the third chair being pulled from the table. The sudden noise has Yoongi opening his eyes in a glare while Seokjin watches in confusion as the empty seat gets taken by none other than Kim Taehyung.

“Good morning!” Taehyung chirps, sipping on a milk carton. “How is everyone today?”

“Who are you?”

Seokjin would’ve savored this flabbergasted Yoongi more if he isn’t as surprised as him.

“Kim Seokjin’s soulmate.” He announces, proud and not embarrassed at all. Seokjin chokes on his saliva while Yoongi is snapped out his state of shock by the statement.

“Fuck you are,” Yoongi growls at him, “I’m his soulmate. Well, one of the two, but let me ask again; who the fuck are you?”

Taehyung does not look shaken by this, still handling the conversation in stride and reeking confidence. “Oh! Well then,” He turns his gaze to Seokjin who is still frightened with Taehyung’s sudden appearance, “Kim Seokjin, I’m the love of your life.”

“No, you’re not.” Seokjin and Yoongi say at the same time. Yoongi smirks at the fast reply from the other and decides that this might be worth not getting hostile for.

This makes Taehyung pout, eyes getting big and mouth parting to let out a whine, “What am I left with then?”

“My batch mate?”

“His stalker.”

Taehyung sighs dramatically, clicking his tongue after. “Damn, this went more smoothly in my head.”

Yoongi snorts, trying to hold back his laughter. Seokjin glances at his best friend, feeling horrified. ‘Oh, no. Yoongi likes him already.’

Breakfast goes on for the two but with the addition of Taehyung who kept on blatantly flirting with Seokjin. Yoongi laughs the entire time and stopped questioning the newcomer to their table who he is. Around 7:20 AM, Taehyung has started calling Seokjin with a honorific, has exchanged numbers with them, and has pretty much successfully infiltrated the duo’s space.

As they go their separate ways, Seokjin calls out to him, “Taehyung don’t you cut classes!” to which he responded back with, “If my hyung says so!”

“Having him around will be good for us,” Yoongi snickers at him, “He brings out your mature side.”

“Are you saying I’m immature when it’s just us?” The look Yoongi gives him after saying that makes Seokjin pout, “Okay, you’re right.”

“I’m always right!” Yoongi singsongs sarcastically. Seokjin rolls his eyes yet finds himself smiling. Taehyung is so loud and brash and.. just unique. He remembers smoking with him at the roof deck the other week, thinking that Taehyung is peculiar and at the same time super honest.

“You just like seeing me get bullied.”

“Would you rather get bullied with my permission or involuntarily?”

“I have no idea what you’re talking about and I don’t want to understand it either because I might end up hitting you.”


Kim Taehyung

HI HYUNG

 

Hello, Taehyung.

 

I MISS YOU ALREADY :(

DO YOU MISS ME TOO?

HYUNG

 

Taehyung, I’m in class.

Stop texting me and go listen to your teacher.

 

YOU ARE MORE INTERESTING

 

Why are you even texting in all caps?

 

SO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH I MEAN IT

 

Huh???

Well, okay.

Hahaha.

 

:D

 

 

Kim Taehyung

HI YOONGI HYUNG

 

go away.

listen to your lectures

 

okay :D

 

TaeJinGi GC

LUNCH TOGETHER?

why is this groupchat name so ugly

 

Okay, sure!


“Bye, Jungkook!” The last of his classmates riding the elevator with him exit to the 21st floor, leaving him alone to wait until it reaches his apartment.

Since he already ditched them yesterday over his tomato plant project, Jungkook agreed to have dinner with Yonghwa and the other people in his block somewhere fancy. Thankfully, he’s not the only one with a car, so not everyone had to ride with him. They drove all the way to some luxury buffet, trying to chow down the stress of the day with food.

Jungkook mindlessly exits the elevator upon arrival and navigates his way to his apartment.

Enter the passcode, remove his shoes, and slump down face first into the couch. Jungkook curls on himself, tired but not really sleepy.

He doesn’t have any obligations today, his requirements done and submitted while new ones can be dealt with at a later date. Plus, tomorrow is a Wednesday and he’s only got a half day of classes. In the afternoon, he’ll meet Seokjin and perhaps dinner?

He’s still not sure where they are supposed to meet for the promised study session, and Seokjin does want to see the tomato seedlings. He’s still convinced that Jungkook got a picture off the Internet and sent it as a prank.

His phone vibrates in his pocket for three consecutive times, compelling him to check it immediately. The contact name has his brow quirking, lips pursing, and entire demeanor changing.

“Huh.” Jungkook says out loud as he opens the text.

 

heyyyy jungkookie

i feel extra lonely tonight :(

mind if come over and hang?

 

hi noona

sure

u can come thru

 

netflix and chill? ;—)

 

hahaha

 

ill text when im there dont make me wait outside for too long!

 

This particular person hasn’t messaged him in a while. Jungkook thought that she got herself hitched with someone already seeing as she’s one of the popular third year seniors in school. She did text him though so that might not be the case.

It says a lot that he’s her choice, some second year student younger than almost everyone in his batch and considered the top student.

Jungkook hums to himself, rubbing his cheek on the soft velvet fabric of his couch. 'Distractions always come at the right moment', he thinks. He lets himself be lazy for a few more minutes before getting up and running to the shower.


Wednesday begins the same as yesterday for Seokjin and Yoongi. The only difference is that instead of their bags occupying the third empty seat on their usual table in the cafeteria, it’s Taehyung. It’s only his second day of hanging out with them but Seokjin feels as if he’s been with them since the beginning of the semester.

Yoongi and Seokjin’s iced coffee, Taehyung’s milk carton, biochem notes, and a cellphone that would not stop vibrating every five minutes.

The whir of the large air conditioners inside and the noise from the other students does not drown the attention that the phone demands from Taehyung.

Taehyung kept jumping the first few times it happened and now he’s just looking at the gadget in curiosity, then back to Seokjin who is busy reading on his iPad while Yoongi remain seated with his eyes closed. He’s not even doing anything compared to the two and he is the most bothered about it.

The screen would light up every few minutes with an unsaved number flashing then stop and start again.

“Aren’t you going to get that?” Taehyung voices out, the continuous vibrating at least cushioned by Seokjin’s textbook. “That has been going off for a while.”

“No need.” Seokjin’s tone indicates that this is an everyday occurrence. “It’ll stop before 7:30.”

Taehyung checks the time on his own phone; fifteen more minutes.

Never one to feel shy, some do say he just refuses to read the room, Taehyung asks, “Who is it?”

“It’s my ex. I did promise I would pick up the call, but I want to at least go to my only class for today in a good mood. Sorry about it.” Seokjin smiles at him sheepishly and quickly returns his attention to the iPad he’s holding.

Taehyung’s attitude shifts, now eyeing the phone in disgust. “Hyung, don’t be sorry about it. What a creep.”

Yoongi decides that he now wants to be part of the conversation, eyes opening and grabbing his iced coffee on the table while saying, “Yes, tell him more.”

Seokjin rolls his eyes, sighing. “He just needs someone to talk to. It’ll stop before class starts, trust me.”

“If he wants to talk with someone so badly then I’ll do it.” Taehyung says, shrugging and crossing his arms across his chest.

“What.”

“Do it.”

Taehyung may have barged his way into their life but he’s got manners, so he looks at Seokjin pleadingly instead of just grabbing the phone. “I’ll be nice, hyung!”

“Yes, he will be! Come on, Taehyung do it. You have my permission.” Yoongi eggs on, fully awake now.

“It’s my phone why does he need your permission? And what is he even going to say?” Seokjin looks exasperatedly at the two of them, finding it unbelievable that he’s the only one disagreeing to the idea.

“That’s exactly the point.” Yoongi laughs at Seokjin’s face when the older scowls at him.

“Yoongi stop being such an instigator.”

The phone starts vibrating against Seokjin’s textbook again, drawing the attention of the three. This time instead of the grey calling screen, it’s the front screen camera showing.

“Is he.. trying to FaceTime me?”

Seokjin picks his phone up and stares back at his reflection in horror.

“Hyung, let me answer it!”

“Taehyung answer it!”

“Oh, what the fuck— fine do it!” Not sure what else to do, Seokjin hands the phone to Taehyung shakily.

He’s grinning gleefully and giggling, turning the phone to face him. Seokjin is regretting the decision already.

Except Taehyung clears his throat, runs his hand over his hair to smooth it down just as quickly, removes his gold metal frame glasses, and apparently his emotions off his face. He settles his elbow on the table, chin propped up by his palm.

Taehyung swipes to answer.

“Seokjin?!”

Yoongi kicks said person under the table, watching as Taehyung simply stares back at the camera

“Who are you?” Heesu’s unmistakable voice is heard loud and clear by all three of them.

“I should be asking that.”

Seokjin kicks Yoongi back. They knew Taehyung has a deep voice but it’s usually glossed over by his whining and tendency to speak in pout.

“Wait, isn’t this my boyfriend’s number?”

Yoongi silently cackles at Seokjin who sighs while covering his face in embarrassment. He didn’t need to look at Yoongi to know that he is mouthing, "I told you he’s crazy and you never believed me."

“No, because this is my boyfriend’s number.” Is it even possible to appraise someone head to foot in obvious disgust through the phone? Because Taehyung did just that. “And I don’t think he’s cheating on me when you’re.. hm.”

Heesu makes a noise of disbelief that they ignore because holy shit, Taehyung is such a riot. 

The pause at the end does it for Yoongi who is clutching his stomach in silent laughter.

Seokjin’s looking at Taehyung with a hand covering his mouth, eyes shining in amusement.

Taehyung looks away from the front camera to wink at Seokjin before returning his attention to the phone on his hand. “Leave him alone or you’re going to see more of me. Which isn’t a bad thing because look at me. I would dislike to see more of you though.” He ends the call and slides the phone across the table to Seokjin.

Taehyung’s mask crumbles, the three of them laughing so loudly they receive glares from students trying to enjoy the peaceful morning.

“Kim Taehyung,” Yoongi begins, “We’re all gonna get along so well.” Seokjin nods in agreement, taking his phone and still wheezing.

“Hyung, you should be more honest and tell people to fuck off when you don’t like them.” Taehyung takes his milk, shakes it, and sips on the remaining contents until it’s just air.

“You’re not the first to tell me that, Taehyung. I’m taking baby steps, starting with asking for what I want. Soon I’ll be in that phase too.”

Yoongi side eyes him, smiling and in silent agreement with what Seokjin said.

“Okay, I just want the best for you.”

“You met him a few weeks ago." Yoongi reminds him. “Stop being so enamored,” He adds jokingly. Taehyung ignores him and instead basks in the look of amazement Seokjin is giving him.

Seokjin turns on his seat to Yoongi, letting out a noise of disbelief. “Weren’t you just like him though? We only had one class together and for a week or two you wouldn’t stop accidentally running into me. Oh, and you used to call me hyung too.”

When Yoongi gets shy, his lips turn into a pout while speaking, words drawled out and his regional dialect accent hinted. “Hey, I got over your weird spell quickly!” He shifts his attention to Taehyung, “When you see him wearing his crocs, the hazy filter that he’s the coolest person you’ve met will fade instantly.”

“Crocs? What color are yours hyung? I have the ones with the charms too!” Taehyung excitedly tells him. Seokjin bursts out in laughter, and Yoongi feels like he might have spoken too soon.

In their group of friends, Namjoon is undoubtedly the cool one. Seokjin and Yoongi won’t even argue about it. He may drop things a lot but Namjoon is cool guy personified with dimples to kill. Yoongi is the group’s dynamite, he’s not scared to tell people off. He is definitely the type to tell someone that he’ll wait for them outside the school gates for a fight and arrive early. Seokjin is stability to them, bringing out their best selves to play when it concerns him. When Namjoon is too serious in academics or Yoongi is too lackadaisical, Seokjin finds the balance they need. He’s also the biggest in showing love, always choosing his friends before anyone else.

Taehyung is still a mystery, he hasn’t been with them for a long time or even met Namjoon, but it feels like he’ll be a permanent part of their group soon. He’s definitely smart and cool-headed as shown with that FaceTime call, but Yoongi can tell that Taehyung will not stop him in a fight and even join in.

Good people come together when they see good in you too. Taehyung’s always been searching for something to care about, and perhaps he should’ve looked into finding it in other individuals much earlier on in life.

Later when Seokjin and Yoongi’s classes are over, they would walk past Taehyung’s classroom to find him trying to sneak out. Yoongi would watch as Seokjin reprimands him about tuition fees and how other people are not as blessed for having the opportunity to study in such a fine institution.

Taehyung would pout, saying that he wants to hang out with them since they don’t have classes anymore. Yoongi would pat him on the back as consolation, “You can hang with me later. Seokjinnie’s got a date.”

“A study group!”

“A group would mean three people and more. Two of you studying over coffee? Sounds like a date to me.”

Taehyung of course whines about it. “I can teach you too! Don’t leave me with Yoongi-hyung!” Said person does not take offense and simply laughs, hitting Taehyung on the neck.

“Stop making a big deal out of it both of you. Come on, Yoongi! I need to shower.”

As Seokjin goes on ahead, Taehyung and Yoongi watch him almost hit someone as he walks while texting. The person he bumps into accept the apology only to stand in the middle of the corridor to look after Seokjin with a dazed look on their face.

“It’s not that I’m scared of you, Yoongi-hyung,” Taehyung says, “Seokjin-hyung’s reactions are just super fun.”

“I know exactly what you mean.”


The bruise on Jungkook’s collarbone is stark against his grey shirt, the color acting like a backlit on the purpling patch of skin. Seokjin couldn’t help noticing it, then quickly looking away. Jungkook has his head down, opening textbooks and a highlighter on his hand.

Seokjin returns his gaze to the iPad, his iPad for the meantime until Jungkook asks for it back. At the sound of a turning page, Seokjin looks up and finds himself drawn to the mark again.

It’s small, almost unnoticeable and on a spot that wouldn’t normally be seen when wearing shirts.

They are sitting on the same spot in Starbucks they were at last week. The armchair is low, making Jungkook bend down and causing his shirt to expose the bruise.

The action of lips attaching on that particular spot, sucking hard to break the blood vessels and yet gentle enough to be small play in Seokjin’s mind. The thought that Jungkook let someone mark him is news to Seokjin; he liked giving them but Jungkook didn’t like it on him.

(“I look like I got bitten by some wild beast.” Seokjin huffs out, examining the hickey on his neck right against his jugular.

Seokjin sits up from the bed, pushing Jungkook away who is cuddling on his side with a satisfied grin. He opens his phone’s front camera to get a better look, feeling himself blush at the sight of it. Everyone would know who placed it there, and probably would assume how it formed in the first place.

He drags his finger on it, wincing at how tender and sensitive it is to the touch. It’s an angry red, and probably would start to purple in five days.

Jungkook, still laying down in bed and looking up at him, extends his arm to touch the other side of Seokjin’s neck. Jungkook’s hand wraps gently around Seokjin’s nape, the pads of his fingers applying light pressure.

“How about we match it with this side too?” Jungkook asks, referring to the left of Seokjin’s unblemished neck. Seokjin grumbles at him, closing his phone and placing it on his bedside table.

“You could’ve gone a bit lower so people wouldn’t see.” Seokjin lays back down in bed and like clockwork, Jungkook is spooning into him, arms around Seokjin’s waist and his head on the other’s chest.

“What’s the point of it if people don’t see?”)

Here he is thinking again that if he doesn’t ask then he’ll never know. Seokjin tries to come up with ways to bring it up; perhaps teasingly, the way he would if this is Yoongi. The reality is that this is Jungkook and Seokjin should really stop hyper focusing on it.

Jungkook brings his hand up to rub his neck, chest puffing out before falling down again and a sigh escaping his lips. Seokjin’s cheeks burn at the thought of what might have cause the stiffness in his shoulders and the obvious lethargy Jungkook is giving off.

Maybe Seokjin should say yes to that invitation from Yoosung to go out this Friday with their class. Yoongi already rejected the invitation saying that he wants to actually get some proper sleep but Seokjin is sure that he can convince his best friend to go. It seems hanging out with Jungkook alone is driving him up the wall.

Another glance.

Seokjin finally gives up and allows himself to think about it. If he indulges his wandering imagination, the quicker it’ll be over and dealt it.

As always Seokjin comes up with a list, titling it Jungkook Is Definitely Getting Some Because He Is:

  1. Handsome
  2. Intelligent
  3. Has a nice car
  4. Has a great apartment
  5. Really good in bed

At the last part Seokjin crashes back to reality with a jump that makes Jungkook looks at him, concern evident by the curl of his brows. “What’s wrong?”

“Yes,” Seokjin responds quickly, “Oh I mean, nothing.” He tries to laugh it off and even to him it sounds fake. Jungkook, bless him, only chuckles and leaves it at that.

Seokjin tries to focus on his task at hand. Jungkook wants him to go over all the topics they have covered in biochem the past weeks and note down what he doesn’t understand. He was going to make a joke out of it and say everything, but the hickey made him stop and stare.

‘I may not have a nice apartment or car, but I’m hot and smart too. Where are my booty calls?’ The thought goes off in his mind, ‘Wait, what if he is dating someone? That’s a possibility too. I shouldn’t stereotype people. Is he single? He probably is or else he wouldn’t be here spending his free time trying to help me. Or maybe it’s the guilt. Yeah, it’s always about guilt.’

“Jungkook, are you single?” Seokjin blurts out. The person in question pauses, a hand poised to highlight something on the thick textbook. “Yes?”

“You got something here,” Seokjin points to his own collarbone, “Someone’s getting some.”

Jungkook twists his neck to look at the spot and the confusion dissolves into laughter. He pulls his shirt a bit higher, an action that has Seokjin laughing as well.

“Did you really have to point it out?” Jungkook asks, returning back to highlighting.

“Of course! Anything to make you uncomfortable.”

Seokjin’s glad he did it, his last words only meant to tease. The atmosphere feels lighter on his end and Jungkook is smiling to himself as well. There is no need to dwell in the past if you can find humor in it during the present.

“Hyung focus on your work." Jungkook looks up from the textbook. "Am I distracting you?” Seokjin would love to reach out and pull his hair, maybe those numerous piercings, because Jungkook is. Seokjin finds him so.. okay he won’t even finish that sentence.

“What work? You told me to write everything I don’t understand, and I’m telling you that it’s everything.”

Jungkook hums, and finally looks over to what Seokjin wrote on the pink memo pad he has in front of him.

Things I Don’t Understand

EVERYTHING!!!

“You’re not even helping." Seokjin pouts, “I agreed to tutoring not a study group.” He gestures to their table situation with his lips.

On Seokjin’s side is his iPad, a vanilla latte, pink memo pad, and a pen between his fingers. Jungkook’s book says Pharmacology at the front, he has a macchiato on his side, one lone yellow highlighter, iPad on his lap, and his cigarette case by the side.

Seokjin wants to ask for one stick, go outside the smoking area, and just procrastinate the Wednesday afternoon away. He wonders what Yoongi is doing, that traitor. There’s also Taehyung who Seokjin thinks he‘ll categorize as a friend since it seems like he’s not leaving them alone anytime soon.

“Hyung we’ve only been here for ten minutes,” Jungkook exclaims, “You won’t even wait for me to finish?” He returns to reading and highlighting, the corner of his lips upturned.

“Do I have to?” Seokjin takes his coffee, sipping while watching Jungkook who opens his mouth to say, “You should.”

You should. How can two words that are supposed to sound like a suggestion be spoken like an order?

“Fine.” He says, defeated and slumping on his seat.

Seokjin takes his phone out of his pocket, wondering who to bother. There really isn’t much choice. It's always either Namjoon or Yoongi, and the former is currently busy studying for his board exams so the latter it is.

 

Yoonbee

What are you guys up to?

 

Not even a minute and Seokjin receives a reply.

 

stop texting

using my phone to play music

arent u and koo studying

 

KOO?

 

stop fucking texting

me and tae are trying to vibe here

 

Now what the hell does that mean...

 

Seokjin doesn’t get a reply anymore, Yoongi probably putting his phone on Do Not Disturb. Jungkook finally closes his book, prompting Seokjin to turn off his phone.

“You ready?”

“No, I am not.”


By the time they finish going through the topics that Seokjin didn’t understand the first time in class, the sun has set and the lighting inside the coffeeshop has become brighter. They’ve had several bathroom and smoke breaks in between, the two of them sharing Jungkook’s Marlboro lights. Seokjin was right when he first thought the other would be surprised that he can smoke Jungkook’s favorite type of cigarettes now and not just menthols.

At some point Jungkook buys a sandwich that earns too many stares of longing from Seokjin that he gets up and returns with another one

“Thanks for dinner, Jungkookie.” Seokjin says, picking up the panini and biting into it happily.

“What dinner?” Jungkook just finished his own, the hunger kept at bay but not satiated.

Seokjin makes grabby hands at the bottle of water that Jungkook also bought, his latte all gone hours ago. Jungkook hands it to him, and as he watch Seokjin gulp it down, he thinks that he might as well buy another one.

“The sandwich,” Seokjin replies, “Now I won’t have to go eat dinner later.”

“What were you going to have?”

“I don’t know? Cereal maybe.”

Jungkook watches Seokjin eat, an action that to this day fascinates him. He never really thought he’d be seeing Seokjin eat in front of him ever again.

“You still eat cereal for dinner?”

“Don’t talk about cereal in that tone. You know how the broke college kid diet goes.”

Jungkook is aware but he’s never experienced it; cigarettes and coffee.

“Hyung do you want to have dinner with me?”

The question has Seokjin stopping mid-bite, eyes widening and slowly looking up at Jungkook. “Uh,” Seokjin places the panini down the plate, “No?”

Seokjin gives him a look that he understands in an instant. They have so much knowledge about each other even though there is practically no use for it.

“My treat.” Jungkook finally says.

“Alright then, if you insist.” Seokjin picks the panini again and stuffs it in his mouth, not thinking anymore about savoring it.

Jungkook is suddenly reminded about Namjoon, and that guy Yoongi too. Did Seokjin remain spoiled as hell after they broke up?

(When they were still together, he would let Seokjin get his way with a lot of things. He never fails to say, “Jungkook, you love me this much?” every single time.)

Seokjin tries to not let the excitement seep into his voice when he asks, “So where are we eating?”

“We can go drive somewhere, I don’t mind. We can eat here too, or maybe just order take-out.”

“In your apartment?”

“Where else? If you want to go to yours then that’s okay too.”

“No way, it’ll be too cramped to have four of us there. We got a classmate over and I’m not sure if he left. Your place is fine, and I do wanna see your baby.” Seokjin says the last sentence while wiggling his brows suggestively.

“But I’m looking at him.”

People would call it straight up flirting, Jungkook thinks of it as taking advantage of the moment for humorous purposes. Seokjin would think he is annoying and take every opportunity to remind him.

“You are so—”

“Annoying.”

“Infuriating.”

Jungkook finds amusement in the way Seokjin’s bottom lip trembles, eyes narrowed at his direction, and cheeks red. Those who don’t know him would think he’s about to cry, but they both know he’s just holding the laughter in.

The pretense dissolves. Seokjin slumps down on his seat and announces, “I’m hungry again so feed me. You said you will.” He says this all while having an unfinished plate of panini in front of him.

“I liked it better when you were shy around me.” Jungkook says, sighing and shaking his head.

Seokjin shots back with a, “And I liked it better when you weren’t teasing me.”

It takes them fifteen minutes to finally come to a decision on where to eat. They stepped out of Starbucks with their backpacks hanging on their shoulders, spotted the McDonald’s across, and started walking towards that direction without a word.

The place is crowded with all tables taken that they just ended up ordering for to-go. While waiting, Jungkook took out his AirPods and of course gets stared down by Seokjin until he sighed and got the hint.

Jungkook removes the pod on his right ear and hands it to Seokjin who takes it slowly from him.

“I’ve never used one,” Seokjin admits, “What if it falls off my ear?”

Jungkook rolls his eyes and takes the pod from the other. He places his palm on the back of Seokjin’s head, turning his face so they’re facing each other, and inserts the pod into the other's ear.

The flashing screen in the middle of the McDonald’s change into their number, catching Jungkook’s attention.

“Wait here, I’ll get it.”

Jungkook’s not sure but he thinks he heard Seokjin say something. He muses that it’s probably about how annoying he is again.


“Hyung it’s my music library, of course I can guess the songs.”

The two of them are walking to the elevator, Jungkook carrying their take-out bags while Seokjin takes hostage of his phone. There’s a number of students waiting in line for the lifts, so Seokjin decided to pass the time by playing a game of Jungkook guessing the song that plays on shuffle.

He’s been guessing everything correctly, even the ones with no lyrics and are just ambient sounds with ridiculously long titles.

A particular song has Seokjin raising his brows. It’s a fun and upbeat tune, and the title makes him look at Jungkook who is bopping his head alongside the beat.

“Ji-Eun’s Sunset.” Jungkook answers correctly.

Seokjin’s mouth moves before his mind registers the words. "How is she?” Honestly, he’s genuinely curious.

How did he forget to ask Jungkook about her when he blurted out that question earlier on whether he’s single or not?

“She’s still with Jinsang. Almost three years now I think?”

Seokjin turns to Jungkook so fast and says, “What, are you for real? How long did you guys even last?” The volume of his voice has the people around them whipping their heads to try and listen in. Seokjin doesn’t even care because he wants to know too.

“Three months? She’s the one who broke up with me too.” They both move up the line as more people get inside the elevator. “Something about how I was still clearly into someone else and was using her as a rebound.”

A rush of emotions flood him. Seokjin suddenly feels light-headed because three months? Seokjin was still madly in love with Jungkook during those times, and if the old him knew about this, the first thing he would've done was to hit Jungkook up and ask him to take him back.

He wants to ask, “Were you really? Did you still love me during that time?” but what Seokjin really wants to hear the answer to is, “When did you stop loving me?

Seokjin knows when he stopped loving Jungkook, he can remember it clear as day. It was when he and Namjoon were sitting outside the driveway of his old dormitory after meeting Jungkook at a bar. Seokjin assumed that he just stopped after they got their closure, they even slept together for one last time that day, but this new bit of information is skewing the timeline he had long established in his head.

The elevator opens and a flood of people exit. Jungkook walks ahead, and the music playing on the lone pod in his right ear start to go static that it makes Jungkook turn.

“Hyung, come on!”

Seokjin wills himself to move and forces a neutral expression on his face. It’s super tight inside, the both of them having to lean on the side of the elevator while people shout out their floors to the nearest person by the buttons to press. Since they were standing close to the door, Jungkook simply reaches his hand out to press the number to his floor.

“I think I’m returning to mine." Seokjin says before Jungkook can retract his hand back. “There’s a lot of homework to do.” Jungkook seems to hesitate for a while but the number of people inside the elevator has him pressing 14 quickly.

When the door finally closes, Seokjin lets out a sigh. The elevator starts moving, stopping at almost every floor like usual. It’s a relief to everyone left that most of the people got out the 10th floor, enabling them to not stand packed together like sardines. Seokjin and Jungkook remain standing by the side.

Jungkook nudges him with his elbow, gesturing to his phone that Seokjin is still holding. Seokjin presses the shuffle button at the top of the list of songs, glad to have something to distract his thoughts.

The moment it plays, Jungkook says the title out loud. It kind of amazes him how easily he is able to identify the song just from the beat.

Jungkook is lip syncing to the lyrics to the song, perfectly aligned to the timing while it plays. The singer has an outstanding voice, a beautiful baritone so clear that the words hit a little close to home. 

0:51 0:52 0:53

At the 0:54 mark, Jungkook sings the lyrics instead of simply mouthing them. He does it so effortlessly that it feels like he spoke them instead. 

It’s the only line he actually sings along to.

The words ring in Seokjin’s ear, echoing off the distance. He gets goosebumps as it reverberates in his head repeatedly and in Jungkook’s voice. Seokjin feels that it is too personal for the both of them to simply be a coincidental play from shuffle. 

Seokjin cannot take this. He presses pause and turns off Jungkook’s phone. 

“Hey, I like that song.” Jungkook pouts at him, and Seokjin does his best to pretend that he is unaffected by the entire ordeal.

“I’m nearing my floor. Here,” He hands Jungkook back his phone, “And give me my food.”

“I’ll walk you back.”

Seokjin doesn’t get the time to argue because the elevator makes a beeping sound and Jungkook is walking past him to exit on the 14th floor.

Having no choice, Seokjin follows suit.

“Where to?” Jungkook asks, smiling at him. He has no idea what is going on right now in Seokjin’s head, and it makes him guilty. Jungkook didn’t do anything wrong, he doesn’t deserve to get the brunt of Seokjin’s sudden crisis.

“Jungkook,” He’s not sure if this is the correct thing to do but he powers through, “Do you want to eat together?”

Seokjin doesn’t know what that offer is supposed to achieve.

It seems the grin on Jungkook’s lips is the reward he gets. “Yeah! Thanks, hyung.” Seokjin ignores the voice in his head that snickers at his decisions. One minute he wants to close in on himself and away from Jungkook, and now he offered him a reason to stay.

Seokjin leads the way, stopping in front of a door with school-use leather shoes that are definitely not his or Yoongi’s. Rather than taking his keys out, Seokjin knocks.

“I think we have a visitor.” He tells Jungkook who only shrugs. “Don’t complain about how small the place is.”

Jungkook scoffs. “I was raised with impeccable manners.” Seokjin chuckles, knowing that it’s true.

While waiting, he removes the pod on his ear and hands it back to Jungkook plus the other’s phone that he was still holding.

The door swings open to reveal Yoongi. “Hurry up inside." He spots Jungkook who waves awkwardly at him, “Yeah, you too come on hurry.”

Seokjin doesn’t have time to remove his shoes as Yoongi practically pushes them inside the apartment to close the door in a hurry.

“Hi, Seokjinnie!” A deep voice in a cheery tone greets him the moment he enters.

He blinks, unsure if he is seeing and smelling the air correctly. The lights are off save for their shared night lamp, and some reverbed plus slowed song is playing loudly. Seokjin’s pretty sure their walls are not soundproof, wondering if the people next door already complained. Yoongi’s weed tray is on the floor by the foot of his bed with Seokjin’s favorite strawberry rolling papers. He can’t complain though since it’s Yoongi who buys it for him.

Beside him, Jungkook’s eyes are wandering all over the apartment. Seokjin glances at his bed, glad that at least they didn’t lay there. It’s still the same as he left it, perfectly aligned cotton sheets and not a pillow out of place.

“Yoongi,” He begins, “Did you and Taehyung smoke?”

Yoongi just laughs from behind Seokjin to turn off the loud music and turn on the lights. He walks past Seokjin and Jungkook to sit on his bed.

“Don’t worry it’s not cigarettes!” Taehyung exclaims, grinning at him from Yoongi’s bed where he is sprawled on and still in his uniform. 

“No shit.” Jungkook snorts, nose wrinkling.

Seokjin was initially worried about how the day would go, but this is not how he expected it at all to be: sitting on the floor of his shared apartment with his best friend, his ex-boyfriend, and some new kid who decided that they are now buddies while getting hot boxed and eating McDonald’s.

“I like Taehyung." Yoongi picks up a perfectly rolled joint from the tray to show it to them. “Look at his rolling skills; amazing. He learns so quickly.”

The end of the sentence distracts him from biting onto his burger, “What do you mean by that?”

Jungkook, who is sitting next to him on the floor also eating his burger, only snickers.

“Hey, Taehyung. Is this your first time smoking?” Seokjin doesn’t even need to get his attention seeing as Taehyung’s eyes has not once moved away from him when they arrived.

“Yeah? I’ve only ate brownies before.” Taehyung looks loopy, lids heavy and his sclera an obvious red. 

Yoongi’s watching them eat, eyes shifting to the food and to his phone by the nightstand. Seokjin pretends that he doesn’t notice Taehyung pointedly staring at him. Jungkook on the other hand is either blissfully unaware or just completely enamored with his Big Mac.

“I want food too. I’m getting the munchies.” Taehyung announces to everyone.

Yoongi grabs his phone lightning fast, flopping on his stomach next to Taehyung. “Thank god I’m not the only one! Let’s just order because I am no way in hell capable of walking.”

Seokjin glares at the two of them one last time, choosing to scold Yoongi later. To Jungkook, he says, “Sorry about this. I didn’t think this would be what they’re up to.”

“Why are you apologizing? I’m pretty sure more than half of the residents in this building are doing the same thing. If I knew beforehand, I would bring bud.” Jungkook finishes the last of his burger, folding the wrapper neatly into squares.

Yoongi who is supposed to be busy ordering was apparently listening. “I have enough. You can roll one if you like. Or just use Seokjin’s pipe if you’re like him who can’t roll for shit.” Beside him, Taehyung is leaning on his shoulder and looking intensely at the menu at whatever site they’re ordering from.

Seokjin ignores the jab at him, helping Jungkook clean the wrappers up. “I’ll have you know Jungkook’s skills are on par with Joonie’s, but we won’t be baited because I have homework to do and Jungkook is responsible, right?”

Jungkook nods in agreement. “Right.” He’s smiling widely, probably because of the compliment. Seokjin’s just telling the truth, there’s no meaning behind it. “I’m going to walk him back the elevator, I’ll be back.”

They stand up from the floor, and Seokjin feels a piercing stare directed towards him again. He hates it when people watch him, but it’s just awkward when they do it without embarrassment. He finally looks back at Taehyung who he has the gall to keep eye contact with Seokjin, his smile transforming the intensity into openness. He turns away quickly and tells Jungkook to hurry.

Once they are outside, Jungkook lets out a laugh. “I did not expect that.” He has his hands on the strap of his backpack, waiting for Seokjin to finish wearing his shoes. 

See, this is why he prefers wearing crocs. Yoongi must have hid them somewhere again. 

“You and me both. Yoongi literally met Taehyung yesterday and now here we are.” Seokjin says while tying the shoelaces of his chucks.

“Yeah, I know him. Kim Taehyung, right? He live next door to me with his family. Small world that you guys are classmates.”

‘Neighbors?’ Seokjin thinks, ‘He totally doesn’t act like the penthouse kid type but he sure looks the part.’

“Oh, we’re not classmates.” He adds, “We got acquainted the same night I saw you at that bar.”

Jungkook hums, feet rocking back and forth while standing in front of Seokjin. “And he just started following you around after?”

“If randomly joining Yoongi and me for breakfast in the med caf without any invitation is considered following me around.. then yes.”

“Can’t blame the guy. I know how that feels.”

Seokjin gets up from kneeling on the 14th floor hallway’s stone flooring, dusting his knees. “What?” He asks, tilting his head in confusion.

Jungkook grins cheekily, “The feeling of seeing you for the very first time.”

Seokjin is taken aback by the heavy sentence. If you ask him if he remembers the first time he met Jungkook, Seokjin would say, “In class,” and end it at that because in all honesty he can’t remember it well. Jungkook on the other hand can recite the day so concisely that he remembers what Seokjin was wearing too.

He halts his train of thoughts; is he sure that Jungkook still remembers?

“..And you’re still a horrible flirt after all these years.” Seokjin shots back at him weakly.

There it is again. That weird feeling Seokjin gets with Jungkook, because how can it not be weird to know this person like the back of his hand and then meet him again after so many years? Seokjin has no use for useless knowledge such as being a hundred percent sure that Jungkook remembers the first time he saw him.

“Is it really horrible if you react like that?” Jungkook starts walking before he does, and Seokjin is grateful for it. If it was up to him he’d tell Jungkook to walk back the elevator himself because he wants to stew in his thoughts and drown in shitty poetry tonight.

He scoffs at Jungkook, and once again they are walking side by side. It’s a quick walk what with their room being just around the first turn into the corridors, the elevators being the main cause for running late.

Jungkook presses the button to go up, and they wait.

“Hey.” Seokjin suddenly speaking has Jungkook turning away from the number screen above the elevator door. “Thank you for today. For helping me study and for even buying me food. You didn’t have to do either of that but you still did.”

Jungkook nods at him, hands going to the pockets of his pants. “Honestly, I’m glad we can hang out like old times.” He scratches the back of his head and chuckles. “I actually missed you a lot hyung, you have no idea.”

“Give me the whole picture then.” Seokjin’s bluntness surprises even him at times. He used to be so shy when asking for what he wants, something they both know well.

“My license.” Jungkook responds so quickly that he’s sure the younger has been mulling this over his head for a long time. “The day I got my license and my car, you were the first person I wanted to tell.”

Seokjin wants to say something sarcastic along the lines of, “Well, why didn’t you?” but Jungkook continues.

“I wanted to tell you I was accepted into medical school, and that I was getting my own place. So many things I wanted you to know I was achieving because I dreamt of it with you.”

Seokjin’s first thought is, ‘Oh no,’ followed by an instinct of wanting to cover his ears or to hide underneath his bed covers.

“I lost my boyfriend, sure, but I also lost my best friend.” Jungkook’s smile makes him ache.

Not in a bad way, no, he aches in a way that tells him everything he had gone through was worth it.

“I don’t regret anything, but I couldn’t help missing you at those important moments in my life.”

Seokjin is at a lost for words. All those questions he had years past are suddenly being answered without a by-your-leave.

The elevator door opens, thankfully empty. “I know we’re not the same as we used to be anymore and that’s okay. We obviously changed for the better, I mean, you’re so honest now! I still remember how I had to pry information from your iron grip because you refused to tell me what you want.” Jungkook holds on to the elevator button to stop it from closing, grinning at Seokjin.

Seokjin feels embarrassed with the last sentiment, his eyes getting watery at the rest of the sentence. “You don’t cover your smile anymore,” is what Seokjin decides to say. “And I’m glad for that. I’m happy we’re okay, seriously. I hold no resentment towards you, believe me.”

Jungkook steps inside the elevator and holds the door open through the button inside. “I believe you.” Jungkook's voice fills the empty space, a tone gentler than usual. With a wave to Seokjin he says, “I’ll see you around, hyung.”

The moment the elevator closes, Seokjin tilts his head back quickly to stop the tears from flowing, biting his lip to focus on something that aren’t his thoughts. He walks back to the apartment and stands there by the door with his hands on his waist, willing himself to control his emotions better.

He’s at least sure they are not tears conjured by sadness. Always one to cry over every single thing easily, Seokjin’s thankful he isn’t doing this in front of Jungkook or the two inside the room. He really wants a smoke but thinking of going up the roof deck is already making him lazy.

With one last sniffle, he turns around and opens the door.

Seokjin receives no greetings the moment he steps back inside his own apartment. Yoongi makes a sound that reminds him of an ambulance while Taehyung asks, “Who is he?”

He takes a seat on the floor, feeling a little dizzy after these turn of events. He answers Taehyung with, “That’s Jungkook. We went to the same university. He’s your neighbor, you don’t know him?” Yoongi doesn’t react, always aware when he can push and pull with the banter. 

“I know who he is." Taehyung moves to lay on his back, head hanging on the edge of Yoongi’s bed to look at him. “What I mean is.. who is he to you?”

Seokjin is startled by the question. Maybe this is why Taehyung was staring at him so intensely? He laughs to dispel the question away. “He’s my friend.”

“Friends don’t look at friends like that. He’s weird.”

Seokjin blinks owlishly at him. Yoongi is on his phone, back leaning on the headboard with his foot opposite Taehyung’s and obviously listening in.

“Taehyung, you don’t even know him.” He replies patiently, smiling in an attempt to dissuade whatever it is Taehyung is on to.

“He’s duplicitous!”

Yoongi nudges Taehyung on the elbow with his foot. “Big word.”

“If he’s really just a friend, then he wouldn’t look at you like that!” Taehyung exclaims, hands and feet moving around to punctuate his point.

“You have such a wild imagination, Tae. And dare I ask, like what?”

“Like the way I look at you, but different! I love you already hyung, and I want you to succeed because you’re my friend kind of love.” Taehyung pauses to stand up from the bed, then gesturing to Yoongi. “Or how Yoongi-hyung looks at you too!”

"I know he only met you recently but he’s got a point.” Yoongi offers a fist bump to Taehyung who returns it without second thoughts.

Seokjin’s about to speak up to defend himself, or perhaps Jungkook? He’s not sure who anymore.

“But that guy! He looks at you in an, I love you, please let me put my dick in you, way!”

Seokjin has never been so taken aback in his entire life. Yoongi seems to be the same because he’s either screaming or convulsing with laughter, most likely both. He stands up from the bed to sit next to Seokjin on the floor, arm around the other’s wide shoulders and cry-laughing on his shoulder.

“Taehyung how in the hell did you come to a conclusion like that?!” Seokjin shrieks. The shock has passed over him, morphing into red cheeks and a hotness that burns all over his body.

Taehyung crosses his arms over his chest, and how does he look so sure of his assumptions when he’s sitting atop Yoongi’s bed still in uniform and eyes so red anybody would be able to tell what he’s smoking? Seokjin decides to say, “It’s the marijuana talking, Tae. You’re seeing things.”

“I may have never smoked until today, but I‘ve tried shrooms. I know when I’m hallucinating!”

Yoongi fake whispers to him, “You’ve never tried shrooms. How would you know? Tae’s just saying it as it is.” Seokjin doesn’t bother asking Yoongi if he actually agrees, he already knows the answer he will get, the chaotic little shit.

There’s a knock on the door that distracts the two, finally leaving Seokjin alone to simmer in his thoughts. He watches their excitement shift to the delivery guy bearing their food, thinking to himself that it’s definitely the high speaking.

Later when Taehyung leaves nearing midnight and Yoongi is slumped on his bed already asleep, a freshly showered Seokjin sits on his bed while fixing his bag for tomorrow’s classes.

He looks over at Yoongi sleeping so soundly, and it makes him smile. He misses being alone in his own space but the other’s presence brings him comfort. He has a feeling that Yoongi will not be able to attend class tomorrow, the same going for Taehyung. After they ate, Yoongi had this wonderful idea to smoke some more to help digest the food. Not even an hour in and the two fell asleep on his bed.

Seokjin took the time to shower so he could stop sitting on the floor, coming out of the bathroom in his pajamas to find Taehyung falling in and out of asleep. He took it upon himself to wake the younger fully, telling him to go home. Taehyung bids him goodnight, locking the door behind him with assurances to Seokjin that he’ll be fine.

In the quiet, Seokjin recall each of today’s events in his head.

(“So many things I wanted you to know I was achieving because I dreamt of it with you.”

“I lost my boyfriend, sure, but I also lost my best friend.”)

He’s now under his bed covers, eyes wide and mind clear from any substance, even nicotine.

Seokjin allows himself the honesty that he needs. Every time he gets one step closer to those two letters on his name, an image of Jungkook pops up in the back of his head. What would the present be like if he sent all those messages he erased four years ago?

Just as Jungkook said, there is no regret. He feels none of that, only a pang in his chest and an echoing of the words, ‘What if?’


(“Kiss me.”

Seokjin’s eyes widen at the request. Does Jungkook not realize where they are? He looks around the parking lot to see if there’s anyone around besides them. 

The blaring of music from the bar still reach them although not as loud. Besides that, there is also the matter of Jungkook crowding him into a wall behind the establishment. Invading his personal space into a dirty wall, Seokjin thinks in disgust. The thought evaporates quickly because there is another matter at hand of more importance.

“Are you crazy? Anyone could pass by any minute.”

Seokjin knows what Jungkook means when he gets like this; alcohol in his blood, cheeks red, and extremely handsy. There is no way he only wants a quick peck on the lips.

“Come on, Seokjin. Kiss me and make it deep.” And there it is. This is how Seokjin knows that Jungkook means it, when he looses all pretense of respect.

“I don’t like it when you say that.” Seokjin mumbles, hands covering his face. His ears are so red in contrast to the white concrete surface that Jungkook is pinning him onto.

“Why? Does it offend you?”

“No,” Seokjin shrinks into himself, “I just don’t like hearing it. I feel so embarrassed when you say things like that. I want to do it but I lose my footing whenever you voice it out loud. Can’t you just go for it?”

“I can’t do that, Seokjinnie. I need to hear your consent, or else I wouldn’t be able to do anything.” Jungkook takes hold of his wrists, not really pulling his hands away. He draws circles on Seokjin’s skin with his thumb, fond smile on his face. “You can tell me how you want it if that makes you more comfortable.”

Seokjin shakes his head, and god, Jungkook finds him so adorable. He moves to kiss the top of Seokjin’s head, lips trailing down to his ear and whispering, “I’ll say it for the both of us then. Why don’t you repeat after me?”

Right against the shell of Seokjin’s ear, Jungkook repeats the words, “Kiss me deep.”

Seokjin groans and buries his face deeper into the palm of his hands. “Jungkook this is not helping me.”

Jungkook repeats it again, patient and intimidating and sending the words straight to Seokjin’s head that he finally relents. “Kiss me deep.” He says in a whisper.

At the silence, Seokjin finally moves his hands away from his face to see Jungkook grinning. “Why do I have to say it when we both know you’re going to do it either way?” He whines, eyes narrowing at the other.

“Because I want you,” Jungkook’s eyes never leave his as he leans in to close the gap between them, “But most importantly, I love knowing you want me too.”)


As Seokjin expected, Yoongi refused to wake up and join him for breakfast. Taehyung said the same thing via their groupchat, promising to drop by later at their apartment when he is more awake. He also said something about wanting to hold a party soon. Seokjin decided to ignore that part because it made no sense, nor is there any context.

Class for him and Yoongi start in the afternoon so there is nothing to worry about but he’s sure that Taehyung is missing some lectures right now.

Seokjin decided to rise early and go inside school to eat at the med caf. The condo complex has a variety of choices for breakfast but the prices has his bank account weeping. So he sucks it up, wears the uniform, and goes to school just to eat.

While he’s walking to an empty table carrying his tray of a full breakfast set with rice, soup, meat, and side dishes, Seokjin congratulates himself with the smart decision for choosing to eat here instead.

The day is already off to a good start. He woke up early, he’s consuming real food and not just iced coffee, and most importantly Heesu had the common sense to text him instead of calling. It seems Taehyung was able to effectively scare him off.

 

Unknown Number

hey seokjin

im free today and i can make the trip to ur area

let’s talk?

 

I have class until 5:30.

 

ill wait

i heard there’s a great burger place near ur school

how about we meet there?

ill send u the location

 

Okay.

I’ll text you when I’m on my way.

 

for real????

 

Yeah.

No need to keep pushing the date.

Let’s talk today.

 

okay yes

alright then

ill text u too

 

The day needs to be great. He looked up the said restaurant where they will meet and it’s a good thirty minutes away from the condo. Seokjin’s already dreading the bus, computing in his head how much would be left of his allowance if he shells out money for a cab.

“You seem deep in thought.”

Jungkook is standing in front of him, hands placed on the top rail of the chair in front of Seokjin and smiling at him.

“Anyone sitting here?” He’s already pulling the chair out, so Seokjin shakes his head and tells him to go ahead. He’s wearing a black cashmere sweater over his uniform, and he probably is because their classrooms are cold, but the hickey on Jungkook’s collarbone flashes in his mind instantly.

“Good morning to you too. Unusual to see you without a crowd.”

Jungkook shrugs, making himself comfortable. “My classes start in the afternoon, I just came here to eat.”

“Hey, me too! Our schedules seem to match. Until 5:30 too?”

“Yeah, until 5:30.” Jungkook's gaze travel to his tray of unfinished food to add, “Damn, I should’ve gotten that instead of a sandwich.”

Like muscle memory, Seokjin picks up the remaining rolled omelette with his chopsticks, holding it to Jungkook. “Here.” Seokjin knows how much he likes it.

His actions dawn on him when Jungkook opens his mouth, waiting for Seokjin to feed it to him. He’s about to drop his hand and the omelette down but Jungkook quickly grabs his wrist steady and leans over to eat it. 

Seokjin clears his throat. He reminds himself that he needs a great start of the morning, not a heart attack. “I have a question,” Jungkook nods for him to continue, “You’ve been living here for a year already.. any idea how to get to this place?” Seokjin opens his phone to show Jungkook the address of the restaurant that showed up on his Google search.

“I mean, I do have a navigation app on my phone. I can figure it out if I wanted to?”

Seokjin sighs, “Right, I totally forgot you’re not a part of the public transportation class now.”

“Why do you have to go all the way there for a burger?” Jungkook asks. He points at the untouched side dish then to him, asking without voicing it out. Seokjin hands him his chopsticks and Jungkook doesn’t waste time accepting it.

“I’m meeting someone.”

Jungkook pauses. “A date?”

“No, a confrontation.”

“Sounds like a date to me.”

“Just eat your kimchi.”

Jungkook does as he’s told. Seokjin has no idea what bus line to even ride, the taxi option seeming like the answer to his problems. Maybe he can ask Taehyung?

“Hyung, you’re not asking me the correct question.” Jungkook finishes the last piece of kimchi, placing the chopsticks down on the tray. He rests his arms on top of the table and smiles at Seokjin in wait. “Ask me and I’ll say yes instantly.” The smug look on his face confuses Seokjin more.

“Jungkook, I wish I know what you’re talking about but I don’t.”

What he receives is an eye roll and a sigh. “I’m talking about how you should just ask me to drive you there.”

“Are you serious right now? You don’t find it weird that you’re driving your ex to meet someone?”

“You said it’s not a date.” Jungkook remarks. He adds, “A confrontation, as you put it.”

“It’s not!”

“So are you going to ask me to drive you or not?” Jungkook tilts his head to the side, his hair and earrings moving with him.

Seokjin prides himself for being independent but this is not one of those times. “I am asking you to drive me, please.”

“Okay, I will.”

Since when was life this simple?

“I’ll meet you at the basement parking lot. Thanks for the food, hyung.” Jungkook stands up, and this time instead of stopping himself, he ruffles Seokjin’s hair as he passes by to leave.

He’s not given time to think about the action, his phone vibrating on his hand.

 

Taehyungie

can u ask ur “friend” jungkook if we can throw a party

 

Why did you quote that???

I still have no idea what party you’re talking about, Tae.

 

hyung, party at my house

just ask your “friend”

 

Stop quoting it like that!!

Why are you texting me you’re obviously still half-asleep.

 

bcus i keep dreaming abt it

and i must make it happen

just ask pls

 

Ask what?

 

if we can have a party hyung

its gonna be noisy as fuck duh

and he lives right next to me

 

How are you even going to hold this party?

You live with your parents.

 

leave semantics to me

all i need is permission from your “friend” and the party is a go

 

STOP IT.

Okay, fine.

 

yaaaaay

 

 

Seokjin takes back his words. Life is not simple at all.


Jungkook lets Seokjin pick the music, his phone on the older’s hand. They’re still dressed in uniform except Seokjin is wearing obnoxiously pink crocs and not leather school shoes.

The car ride going to the burger joint is smooth with no traffic. They fill the silence, sans the music player, by singing along to whatever song Seokjin plays.

The place that came into view is not what Jungkook expected. Truthfully, he was picturing something that resembled Burger King or Wendy’s, but the place is decked out to resemble a retro diner.

It’s already 6 PM, the place looking more surreal with the neon lights contrasting the darkness. Seokjin pauses the music as they drive in the parking lot out front, stopping right across the entrance. He takes out his own phone, placing Jungkook’s on the dashboard.

“I think you should get something to eat while we’re here. I’m not sure how long this will take.” Seokjin says while texting.

Jungkook still doesn’t know why exactly Seokjin is confronting someone in a burger restaurant of all places. “I’ll hang around here for a bit. If you’re not back in twenty, I’m going in.”

“Okay, good idea,” Seokjin removes his seatbelt and clears his throat, “Jungkook?”

“Hm?”

“Thank you.”

Jungkook watches him step out of the car, walking to the entrance in a jog. He can't help laughing at the loud footwear that demands attention from anyone looking.

The glass walls enable him to see Seokjin running up to one of the bright red booths next to the windows where a guy in casual clothes is waiting. He stands up to greet Seokjin with a hug who only wraps one arm around the other.

“How is this not a date?” He says out loud. Jungkook pushes down the car seat, placing his arms behind his head to make himself comfortable.

Jungkook got bored simply watching them in five minutes time. He turns off the car, leaving only the radio on. He opens the glove compartment for his cigarette case and lighter, rolling down the window and leaning on it.

He lights his cigarette, takes a hit, and looks back up to where Seokjin is only to find him and the guy missing.

He spots them easily, Seokjin walking out and the guy following him.

“Babe, wait!” The guy shouts. Jungkook chokes on the smoke, coughing out and his eyes immediately tearing at the constricting feeling on his throat.

Seokjin’s already walking in front of the headlights, turning to the side. Jungkook reaches over to quickly open the door for him.

“Come on, let’s go.” He says, voice trembling and the corner of his eyes red. Jungkook throws the cigarette out the window and hopes it gets ashed out by the tires.

“Hey, Seokjin! Who are you with?!” The guy shouts from outside. It makes Seokjin sink into the passenger seat, covering his face with one hand as the guy stands in front of Jungkook’s car.

Jungkook quickly gets out of the parking space, ignoring the guy still shouting at Seokjin from outside. The stranger seems to finally gained some brain cells as he runs to the driver’s side since Jungkook kept his window down.

“Seokjin, I thought we were supposed to talk?!”

If Jungkook could reach out and grab the guy by the throat, he would. His priority right now though is to get out of here as quick as possible.

Before hitting the gas pedal, Jungkook turns to the guy and says, “Bother him again and I’ll make me beating you up look like an accident.”


They keep the windows down, no air conditioner or music playing. Seokjin’s smoking his cigarettes, body leaning on the car door and blowing the smoke out the window.

Jungkook’s driving slowly. He thinks that it’ll be good to give Seokjin the quiet headspace before they return to the condo complex.

It’s Seokjin who breaks the silence by saying, “That was my ex-boyfriend. Sorry you had to see that.” Jungkook remains quiet, only nodding his head in response.

“He’s been bothering me for days about wanting to talk. You know, closure. I finally agreed, but he just used it as an excuse to ask me to come back.” He explains. Seokjin takes one last hit from the cigarette before throwing it out the window. “I don’t know.. he just brings out the worst in me. It was a really toxic relationship, so much gaslighting and manipulation and dependency.”

Jungkook now regrets not hitting the guy with his car, it’s the least he could do.

“Care to distract me?” Seokjin asks, reaching out again for another cigarette. “Any stories I missed out on while I was away these past years?”

Jungkook has a lot to tell, but he decides instead on a daydream that he’s had when they were still together. Now that he thinks about it, how strangely fitting to finally accomplish it without actually doing it.

“I used to dream about going to a place like that with you while wearing a suit.”

The randomness of it works instantly on Seokjin, caught by surprise and turning to Jungkook with the lit cigarette held between his fingertips.

“I imagined that I would text you to wear your Sunday’s best, and we would drive all the way to the city just to end up eating burgers.”

“Imagine the pictures.” Seokjin giggles at the thought of it, a smile finally on his lips. It makes Jungkook smile too. “That’s exactly what I thought you would say.”

“You want a hit?” The older asks, gesturing to the cigarette.

They are currently on a stoplight, so Jungkook leans to the right to meet Seokjin halfway, and accepts the offered cigarette to his lips. He blows the smoke out his window, watching as some other cars out front also has cigarette smoke coming out their own vehicle.

Silence rules their space again, and soon Jungkook is entering the basement parking of the condominium and turning off the engine. Seokjin gets out of the car first, waiting for him by the elevators.

They don’t say anything else to each other, not bothered by the quiet. The basement parking elevator is empty, a privilege awarded to those who pays for the monthly parking lot fee. Jungkook knows it’s some bourgeois elitist crap but right now he is thankful for it. He presses the buttons for their floors while Seokjin remains still.

It goes up, the numbers increasing quickly.

At the 12th floor, Jungkook realizes that he does have something to say.

“Hyung, we can meet on other days too. Not just Wednesdays, or chance meetings. Every day of the week you’re welcome to bother me.”

A sound rings when they reach the 14th floor, and the elevator doors open. “You mean it?” Seokjin asks him, remaining still and not moving to exit.

“I mean it.”

Seokjin reaches over to press the button that says Door Close, and the elevator takes off to the penthouse floor.

“Then allow me to bother you for tonight.”

Chapter Text

Namjoon passes the joint over to Yoongi while Taehyung sits between them, head laid on his left shoulder and asleep.

The three of them are seated on the floor of Taehyung's balcony, air cold and welcoming over their sweaty skin. There's some guy passed out on his stomach a few feet away from them, a bottle of beer near his hand. The music is distant and distorted, allowing Namjoon time to think. He wishes he's inside and not thinking. 

A tap on his back snaps him away from his thoughts. It's Yoongi, handing him the last bits of the joint. 

"Asleep at his own party.. how irresponsible." Instead of helping, Yoongi lays on Taehyung's shoulder making Namjoon bear the brunt of their weights. He looks up the sky and tries to find the Orion constellation for comfort before looking back down at the two. It's starless in the city, the bright dots of celestial bodies invisible due to the light pollution.

"Where are we at the playlist?" Namjoon asks. It's a question synonymous to "How long until this party is over?"

The one that is currently playing is heavy with the bass, an indication that this is definitely far from over. Behind them, they hear a group of friends laughing and entering the balcony. People have been filtering in and out to smoke, make out, or like the guy nearby, pass out on the fake grass.

"It's not over until we hear Indian Summer." Taehyung announces. The two aren't even surprised anymore at his sudden awakening. He's been drifting on and off sleep since earlier. 

"Indian Summer is nice. A perfect come down song if you will." Yoongi says patiently to the younger and very much cross-faded freshman. Despite not seeing him, Namjoon nods vigorously in agreement. 

Yoongi takes out a box of cigarettes, already handing one to Taehyung before he could even ask. He takes it on himself to transfer Taehyung from Namjoon's shoulder to his as Taehyung lights his stick.

"You don't smoke, hyung?" Taehyung asks Namjoon who has scooted away a bit from them as if he hasn't been around the penthouse apartment getting drinks spilled on his shirt and smoke clinging to his hair.

"Not nicotine, no." He replies. Taehyung considers that contrast, shrugging in understanding.

A thud is heard behind them, another body down. Namjoon feels bad for them, not even reaching the fake grass laid out. The wooden patio entrance did not look like a comfortable spot to pass out on when he first entered this spot an hour ago. Has it been an hour? He's not sure.

"Where's Seokjin-hyung?" To Taehyung, this is the first time he's asking them since he woke up. For Namjoon and Yoongi, he's been asking the same thing every time he comes back to consciousness.

"With Jungkook." They answer at the same time. Namjoon sounds resigned, and Yoongi being Yoongi, irritated for answering the same question over and over. They're not even sure themselves if he's still with Jungkook. 

The name has Taehyung grunting, a reaction that he has also been doing every time he receives the answer. It seems this Taehyung is ready to tell his opinion about the whole conversation from earlier. 

"Aren't they exes? That's fucking weird." Taehyung voices out, taking a deep inhale from his cigarette. "You don't just hang out with the love of your life who broke you like that. I can't help feeling irritated with them. Plus, he's such a fuck-.." Taehyung hiccups, "A fucking fuckboy. He's always got hot girls, and guys, over. I see them in the hallway sometimes."

Yoongi shoves at him harshly, pushing Taehyung away from his shoulder. Namjoon couldn't help the feeling of pride blooming in his chest at the instant reaction from the other. He doesn't help Taehyung, letting the other fall. 

"Ow, hyung! Fuck!"

Taehyung groans in pain, falling flat on his back instead. "I burned myself!" He wails dramatically. 

"Serves you right." Yoongi glowers at him. Taehyung throws his cigarette to the side, curling closer to Namjoon and away from Yoongi. "What did I do?!"

Yoongi ignores his dramatics, focusing on smoking. Namjoon looks at the youngest in amusement, glaring and pouting at Yoongi.

Really, how is Seokjin and Yoongi surviving without him? He decides that Taehyung is good for them, voicing out things that other people usually wouldn't. Seokjin glosses over meaning, Yoongi is too indifferent, and Taehyung feels too much. Even now he is left with the responsibility to smooth things out for all.

"Don't invalidate him that way." Yoongi suddenly says. It surprises Namjoon that Yoongi is actually going the extra mile to defend Seokjin. During their last video call, the supposed reason why they called him was not discussed comprehensively. Perhaps it hit Yoongi more than he was letting on. "Don't invalidate hyung's struggles with himself by seeing all that he is now is thanks to Jungkook."

Just the fact that Yoongi is referring to Seokjin properly as the older screams that he is a hundred percent serious. Taehyung opens his mouth, ready to butt in but Yoongi doesn't let him.

"Stop seeing it as he changed for the better because he got his heart broken. He self-sabotaged, okay? He was destructive and couldn't give two shits about himself despite an actually amicable breakup. All that happened was on him, and all the changes is him. Stop putting the two together. It's not about Jungkook, it's about hyung." 

Namjoon felt proud at the statement Yoongi gave. Taehyung still looks uncomfortable with the thought, so many questions on the tip of his tongue. Namjoon can't blame him though; Taehyung didn't even know they used to be together until an hour and a half ago. 

"That wouldn't have happened in the first place if Jungkook didn't leave him!"

It has Namjoon turning to Taehyung so quickly, the words familiar to him. It's a statement muttered straight out of Seokjin's mouth so many times when the heartbreak was still fresh. It's a sentence the four walls of Namjoon's old room heard day in day out, amplified by sad songs playing in the background and sometimes accompanied by tears whether it be from anger or sadness. 

Silently, he adds, "Hyung wouldn't have to suffer if he only came back."

It might as well be a flashback, the way Taehyung is voicing out what Seokjin thought years past.

"Taehyung," Namjoon decides that this is where he butts in, "Waiting for someone to come back means that you are living yours wishing they can't go on without you; it doesn't work that way." 

Yoongi lets out a breath he has been holding in since Taehyung decided to speak. He could argue all night (or morning) with Taehyung, but Namjoon is here. He thinks to himself that Namjoon is here and he has seen Seokjin go through it all unlike him and Taehyung. Namjoon has his hands together, fingers overlapping each other and held tight. 

"It's not my place to tell all this, and frankly it has been four years, but Yoongi is right. You're making it seem like Jungkook was responsible for everything that happened to him, and let me tell you that Seokjin will be the first to lash at you if he hears that. He didn't go through so much and learned from it only for people to tell him that it was all because he got his heart broken. He took responsibility for the aftermath of his actions, and yet that's not what people see. All they see is he got the short end of the stick, did stupid things because of it, and healed. How do you think he feels when people tell him that the breakup worked out in his favor? Don't be one of them Taehyung, don't devalue that change in him by linking it to a narrative that it was all because of Jungkook."

Taehyung looks chided despite still not seeing the bigger picture. His eyebrows are scrunched together in deep thought, upper lip jutted out and staring up at Namjoon in embarrassment.

Yoongi doesn't let him out of the hook easily. "And if they want to get back together again, so what? Sounds to me like you have your own issues to deal with; stop projecting your ideals on him. Hyung has moved on for so long, and if he starts liking him again, then that has nothing to do with us. I can't believe we're sitting here discussing his life decisions like a bunch of gossips."

Taehyung kicks him, and Yoongi returns it just as harshly. They glare at each other, both so fiery and passionate when it comes to their opinions. 

"I still don't get it, but fine I see what you mean. I shouldn't look at Seokjin-hyung's life like that." Taehyung lays on his back, eyes to the heavens. "Does he still love that asshole?"

The question gets him two different reactions: Namjoon shaking his head and saying, "Why do you keep thinking he's an asshole?" to Yoongi's, "I just fucking told you to stop invalidating him!"

"What, I'm just asking! I'm trying to see it in a mature way even though it's really hard, hyungs."

Yoongi only sighs, shaking his head and getting up from where they are seated. "I need a drink. Namjoon, you handle this. Or not. Personally, I wouldn't."

They watch Yoongi disappear to rejoin the crowd inside, stepping over bottles of beer. The music seeps inside for a moment, still bass heavy and vibrating right through their ears before it becomes muted once again. 

Taehyung doesn't even let Namjoon breathe, already ploughing ahead with his questions. "You really truly don't find it weird, Namjoon-hyung? You've been his friend the longest, I would have expected you to be the biggest Jungkook hater there is. Does he not hold hatred towards him? If I were Seokjin-hyung, I wouldn't even be able to stay in the same room with someone I loved so dearly then suddenly up and left me."

It's an expected sentiment, that being Seokjin's best friend means he is ready to throw Jungkook in front of a moving train or something just as harsh. In a way, it's a stigma that has been branded on him by others. 

Are you really a friend if you don't consider the ones who hurt them an enemy?

Are you really a friend if you don't hold it against them?

Namjoon would like to tell those people that they should get better friends, ones who will give you space to grow and not just be there to rally behind you when things fall apart. Namjoon refusing to be petty about it does not make him less compared to others who refuse to move on from past grievances. All he cared about, and will continue to practice, is to be the person who will hold the hands of the people he loves if they are blinded by their decisions until they are able to remove the blindfold themselves.

But Namjoon is also patient; willing to educate anyone if they actually dare ask. At this moment, it is Taehyung presenting the question to him.

"Hate is such a strong word, but so is love. I could sit here and extrapolate about emotional maturity, but I'll settle with something easier. We shouldn't blame others for our choices, Taehyung. If that's the case, then I' am to blame as well for all the things that happened post-Jungkook four years ago. I was there and I could have stopped Seokjin but I didn't. I'm telling you this now; that break-up between them was needed and just because it was Jungkook who initiated it doesn't make him the bad guy. As for them hanging out, isn't that proof enough that they're over it?"

When he received that call from Yoongi earlier, this is not what Namjoon expected he would be doing. He thought he would be getting drunk off his ass with his best friends and this new addition to their group, not philosophizing about interpersonal relationships and the projection we give to it when it is not handled the way we would want it to be.

"I'll repeat it again: it has been four years. People are allowed to move on and change, we shouldn't hold their past over them. Feelings come, feelings go; heartbreaks are infinitesimal compared to the aftermath and Seokjin.. he ran wild with it. That's evidence to me that they definitely needed to be apart. Humans shouldn't live their lives thinking that reciprocated love is the be all end all of meaning."

The words are left lingering between the both of them, strangers who never even spoke until today. 

"Besides, there are different types of exes. Look at Seokjin's latest one, Park Heesu. Now that's one relationship not worthy of looking back at."

Namjoon's attempt to lighten the atmosphere earns him a chuckle from Taehyung. It doesn't last for long, the words quickly being mulled over in Taehyung's mind. "Then is Jungkook worthy?"

It has been a while since Namjoon became at a lost for words. A question that not even Seokjin has voiced out because he always knew the answer to it. Namjoon decides to give himself some slack because he's only a person, not an all-knowing being. "That's up for Seokjin to decide," He reaches out to pat Taehyung on the shoulder, "Maybe he thinks that the friendship is worthy to revive, hm?"

In the sounding silence, Taehyung comes to an understanding without fully comprehending. Perhaps it is a concept out of his reach for the time being, a shared experience between two people that he will never completely conceptualize because he wasn't there. It isn't his to decode, and that's okay. He reminds himself to take a step back, to not be too close. 

"Namjoon-hyung, I wish I met you earlier on in life. Maybe I can handle stuff better if I grew up with you." It makes Namjoon blush, awkwardly scratching the back of his head. Taehyung really reminds him of Seokjin when they were younger; selfish but willing to learn. 

"You're sitting here and listening to me talk, you're already halfway there. Seeing things through the eyes of other people and not just your own is the most important step."


8 Days Before The Party

Most people like chipping away at moments to mould it in gold, turning the mundane and sculpting it into something more profound. Seokjin likes being himself more than anything else, and what he is right now is high off his mind splayed over Jungkook's couch and body pliant like jelly. The owner of said couch is sitting on the floor in front of him, eyes focused on his flat screen and playing Skyrim through the Switch.

Craning his head away from the ceiling, he comes face to face with the back of Jungkook's head. He entertains the idea of taking kitchen scissors and snipping it over the curling ends that seem to perpetually fall over his face in a perfectly picturesque manner. 

Seokjin laughs out loud at the thought. He was just chiding himself about turning scenarios into something they aren't, and here is his brain supplying material worthy of a Palme d'Or. Cutting your ex-lover's hair? It must be worthy of accolades, a pretentious move film twitter would scrutinize about for months. 

The effect of what Jungkook grinded and gathered on the bong's bowl piece has his creativity going off. Jungkook said it's called, "Blood diamond OG. Super extra, right?" but Seokjin will refer to it from now on as tangible euphoria. The sound of Jungkook's game meshes with the music playing in the background, a sound straight out of days when he, Namjoon, and Yoongi were still together and only had day to day worries. 

On the coffee table is a bottle of Pocari unfinished. Jungkook handed it to him earlier, laughing at how Seokjin coughed so badly after the bong hit that he started tearing up. A bunch of lemon mint candy wrappers litter the table too. Seokjin's always liked having something to cool his mouth when he gets this high. He's surprised that Jungkook has his smoking starter pack, as Yoongi calls it; his refrigerator stocked with Pocari and a glass bowl of said candy sitting atop the kitchen's marble countertops.

"What?" Seokjin asks before it even sinks that Jungkook has been staring at him and that he's looking back. The game is paused with Jungkook's character inside a dungeon, the camera in first-person. "If an undead soldier shows up, you're getting hit." 

Jungkook stretches his head back, a satisfying crack as he turns it sideways that makes him groan. If he lays his head down, it would fall right on top of Seokjin's chest. "I'm more creeped out by your sudden laughing every few minutes." Jungkook replies, unpausing the game and eyes back on the screen. "And don't worry, I'll kill them before you even see it."

"Show off."

Seokjin watches Jungkook play. He plays with eyes forward and fingers tapping buttons at the exact moments, shoulders and back straight. Jungkook belongs to a group of people whose talents shine as you watch him, not even including academics. It makes Seokjin a bit jealous, wishing he can also be admired while doing something he's good at. He knows he has his own strengths, but it'd be fun if it was physical; something to watch in awe at in real time.

Something similar to how Jungkook has perfect hand-eye coordination and still manages to catch Seokjin staring from the corner of his eyes because he says, "Am I not killing them quick enough for you?" 

“You‘re playing as an assassin in a dungeon to fight the undead army, what are you being stealthy for? You are so lame.”

“Not annoying?”

“That too.” Seokjin watches him kill another undead soldier using a poison knife, the slowness of it making him impatient. “This is taking years off my life! Just use magic or a shout like a normal person, please.”

Jungkook ignores him, moving his character extra slow just to be petty. He grumbles, turning on his side with his back on the other. He doesn’t see Jungkook glancing at him, laughing soundlessly. How does Seokjin manage to lay down in a way that screams he is over Jungkook’s antics?

“You’re the one who wanted me to play Skyrim. We could’ve been playing something cute like Overcooked, so stop pouting about it.” Jungkook’s comment produces a gasp from Seokjin who is now sitting up from the couch and looking down at Jungkook in disbelief.

“Overcooked? Cute? We might as well just start throwing punches because that game breaks people. I would rather play 2k.”

“You wound me.” Once again, Jungkook pauses the game. He places the red and blue controller down the carpeted floor before turning his whole body around to face Seokjin. He rests his arms on the dark green velvet seats, hands opposite each other. He looks up at Seokjin, eyes bloodshot yet also twinkling in amusement under the warm lighting. “You can be my sous chef, we’d make a great team.”

The declaration has Seokjin choking on air, head moving around as he shots back without pause. “How dare you! Sous chef? Me? That’s the weed talking, JK. We both know you’ll be the assistant while I call the shots.” 

Jungkook shrugs in response, easily acquiescing to the older. "Okay, whatever you say." He picks up the controller and returns to playing, still stealthily moving his character in the dungeon. It should make Seokjin feel like he's won, but the words sound lukewarm to him. He's not used to being agreed with easily. Yoongi for example would take at least five banters before agreeing to anything that Seokjin says.

"I need nicotine." Seokjin's already getting up from the couch, prompting Jungkook to move a bit to the side. Seokjin hits his back on purpose with his knees.

He moves out of the way just in time before Jungkook's hand could grab his ankle in retaliation. "There's already a box outside!" Jungkook shouts as Seokjin hurriedly makes his way to the glass sliding door leading to the balcony.

He stops, pausing and turning back with his fingers on the latch. "Lights?"

Jungkook's eyes never leave the screen, face blank and focused entirely on his game. "Obviously."

A huff. "I like menthols."

"Why do I have to care about that?"

"Your fridge is filled with my favorite sports drink and your kitchen has a bowl of my favorite candies. Might as well get my cigarettes, hm?" Seokjin tells him with a lilt on the end that is meant to be sarcastic. It snaps Jungkook away from the television, eyes moving quickly to where Seokjin was standing at seconds ago. He opens his mouth to argue but Seokjin's already outside. 

Jungkook wanted to say that those are his favorites and Seokjin ended up liking them too because of him. Or was it the other way around? He's not even sure anymore. Stuff like these has always been constant in his life and he never really connected them to Seokjin. He feels weirdly aware, too aware, of the yellow wrappers on his coffee table now.

Out in the balcony of Jungkook’s expensive apartment, Seokjin feels one with the clouds despite the bleak sky. He admittedly hit the bong too much, body light and mind floating. The cold night air carresses his exposed skin in reminder of how high up he physically is.

Later when he comes down, when green glitter resin gets washed off his pristine white uniform, he can think about his actions. Seokjin’s pretty sure that Yoongi is already blowing his phone up. 

Perhaps Taehyung as well. The younger seems to care for Seokjin more than the person in question does.

In the space that is Jungkook’s domain, Seokjin allows himself to relax. There is no helping it. Past memories and supercuts of shared moments will always keep them close. The distance and years has added wisdom, an understanding that whispers: you know too much about me, so I’ll keep you close. 

There’s a box of Marlboro lights on top of a whicker table, a metal ashtray and black lighter accompanying it. He doesn’t waste time settling into one of the two chairs, legs up and feet on top of his thighs and a cigarette being lit. As Seokjin lets his mind close off today's events, an object by the balcony railings catches his eyes. A clay pot with small buds of green. 

No way, he thinks excitedly as he gets out of the chair to crouch on the tiled floor, No fucking way. Seokjin remembers his cigarette but doesn't hit it. He's too enamored by the way the budding plants are bent towards his direction. It's probably the weed messing with his brain, but it makes him laugh. 

Heliotropism.

(Once upon a time, Jungkook liked calling him his sun.

"Sun, sol, helios. Kim Seokjin." Jungkook would mumble like a prayer on the skin of his back, lips grazing as it goes down his spine. "Yet you are the one bending for me.")

Seokjin's always preferred the moon.

He takes a hit from his cigarette and hears the sliding door open, Jungkook standing by the doorway. There is familiarity in such close proximity. Seokjin lets out an exhale of smoke that instantly sends warmth throughout his body. 

"You really did plant it."

Jungkook chuckles at the tone of wonderment in Seokjin's voice. "Bought the pots and all." He lessens their distance, walking towards the other and taking the seat Seokjin was occupying just minutes ago. 

"Really?"

"Yeah."

Seokjin's eyes wander around the balcony. Besides the table and chair, it's empty. He thinks that it is almost half the size of his and Yoongi's room. Seokjin doesn't know what he should have expected, maybe gym equipment? Anything to fill the space, really. Anything besides one pot filled with dirt and tomato seedlings. He feels touched for some reason, even though his reasoning behind giving Jungkook the seeds in the first place was to have a laugh at his reaction.

He turns around to hand the cigarette to Jungkook, free hand trying to find his phone in the pockets of his uniform. "Hold on to this, I'm going to take a picture." 

"Your phone's inside, hyung." Jungkook takes it from him, hitting it one last time before ashing it on the metal tray. It makes Seokjin grumble. "I'm too lazy to get it. Be a good person and grab it for me?" He asks, batting his eyelashes in exaggeration. 

Jungkook's response is to slide his hand inside the pockets of his uniform to produce his own phone. "Or you can use mine because I just sat my ass down and I don't want to get up then go out again." He leans over to hand it to Seokjin, the latter hurriedly opening the camera. 

There's a flash and the sound of the shutter clicking several times. Seokjin examines the pictures, snorting. "It looks super bad. No wonder the one you sent was all blurry and distorted." He stands up, trying to find the right angle. Jungkook watches him move around the plant, amused at how intent Seokjin is to get a good picture. 

He turns around and shoves Jungkook's phone to his hands. "I give up! Just take a picture of me with it." It has Jungkook sighing, knowing it would lead to this. "Not everything can be made better with your face in it." He teases, opening the camera again.

Seokjin moves to crouch down next to the pot, excitement obvious by the curve of his lips. "You know that's not true." He says with confidence. Jungkook rolls his eyes in response, waiting for Seokjin to settle down. His face is leaning to the right, lips puckered and a peace sign thrown up.

Jungkook clicks the shutter twice, and there isn't any difference between the two, but he tells Seokjin that the second one is better just to say something.

"Looks a thousand times better already. Come on, AirDrop it to me." Seokjin walks back inside the apartment to get his phone, a jog in his step that has the hair on top of his head bouncing. Jungkook wills himself to look away and back to the photo on his phone. He double taps on the screen, zooming on Seokjin's face. It's not like he has to say it out loud, so Jungkook admits to himself that yes, it does look better. Who would look at this picture and focus on the green plants behind instead of the face up front? 

The sound of the sliding door clicking shut has him zooming out the picture quickly. "Sending it now." The sound of the file being sent echoes. Seokjin's face is illuminated by the brightness of his phone while he looks at it. "Thanks, JK. Just delete the pic." He moves back to the table to occupy the other seat, and Jungkook couldn't help voicing his thoughts out loud: "You've only been here twice." 

It is awkwardly phrased, a sentence that needs more. Seokjin raises his brow in wait for the continuation but since Jungkook only looks at him with weirdly shining eyes, he asks, "And? Is this your way of asking me to leave?" 

Jungkook stretches his arms to the heavens, coming down to rest the palms of his hand behind his head. "You've only been here twice but you act around me so comfortably it's like you were always a part of it. Like you came with the apartment or something. Furniture and beddings and Kim Seokjin."

"So you're saying I'm too comfortable in your too big apartment already? Why yes, I' am. Call up some pizza delivery or something please." Seokjin's reply makes Jungkook laugh but he knows deep down that his words are some kind of diffusion to the situation.

Seokjin shifts into the chair, suddenly feeling all too aware of the situation. He promised himself he will think of it later, not now. Jungkook isn't exactly making it easy for him. He just knows that the moment he walks past the door of his and Yoongi's apartment, his roommate won't make it easy for him either. He looks back down at his phone, the airplane symbol on the upper left still there. It's almost 9 PM, and he's still not back.

"I should go." Seokjin really should. He's already dreading the elevator ride back to his floor but he should leave before his mind starts conjuring more memories long buried. "I owe you so much already, not even including what happened today." 

Jungkook is quick to stand up the moment Seokjin does, racing to open the door. "Sure, sure. Keep those favors piling." It makes Seokjin stop. A favor. He almost forgot about that. He lets Jungkook stand aside in wait for him to pass through, waits for him to close it shut while Seokjin waits. "I do have another favor to ask." Seokjin tells himself that the rising of his voice when he spoke is all in his head, something amplified by the weed and not because he is nervous.

"You remember Taehyung, right? He wanted to know if you're okay with him holding a party. Something about how it might get too noisy so he wants to know if you're cool with it." 

"Yeah, I'm okay with it. He's holding it at his place?" 

Seokjin nods. He makes his way towards the door while Jungkook returns to the couch, crouching down and looking for something. "Yup. And here I thought house parties ended in undergrad." 

Jungkook chuckles. "You'd be surprise with how much drinking is involved in med school." 

Seokjin's already got his shoes on and waiting for Jungkook to finish looking for whatever it is he's trying to find. He hears a sound of triumph come from the younger, excitedly running to where Seokjin is standing.

On his right hand, between his forefinger and thumb, Jungkook holds a joint with an obnoxious strawberry pattern on it. "I rolled it while you were outside. You can have it; the events of earlier seemed really rough on you."

Seokjin takes it from him, unsure with how to react. He looks at Jungkook who actually seem a bit embarrassed about it. He wanted to say "You don't like flavored rolling papers. Or is that another thing that changed?" but Seokjin simply thanks him, pocketing it in his uniform. 

Jungkook looks grateful that he didn't bring it up because the bewilderment is obvious on Seokjin's face. Still, he feels the need to say something. Seokjin's announcement from earlier that he wanted to bother Jungkook for the night still stuck with him. He's only human, he really thought it meant something else.

Perhaps it is a testament to how truly they have moved on from the past, that Jungkook now associates Seokjin in collective nouns. That when Seokjin said those words, the first thing he thought was, 'Just like the rest of them.' And yet he's not like the rest of them because instead of closing the space between their bodies when Jungkook pushed the door to his apartment open, Seokjin jumps on the couch and just laid there like some starfish.

They wrapped each other in the word special but four years is a long time. Memories may linger yet here in the present they are practically strangers.

So Jungkook sucks it up and says, "I know we seem like we keep overstepping our boundaries, hyung. We really need to talk about that, and I'm sure we will soon, but I'm just glad we can be okay. Maybe it's the guilt of how things ended, but I just want to be here for you if you need me."

It makes Seokjin's heart clench. Jungkook's words are practically dripping in honey, voice sweet and without any other meaning behind it. Seokjin won't even add a maybe or a probably to that because he is well aware of what Jungkook means. It's not like he is any better with how he is taking advantage of the obvious responsibility that Jungkook feels he has.

"You're doing a great job of it. Being there for me, I mean." Seokjin manages to say.

"That's what friends do, right? Be there for each other." Jungkook smiles as prettily as his words, too soft and contrasting his sharp features.

The word friends has Seokjin's chest blooming in warmth because friendship is just as beautiful. It is filled with loving gazes and protective gestures, and it doesn't have to mean anything else despite the past. It possibly makes it even better.

"You owe me four years," Seokjin says to tease, "Four years of being here for me is what I'm owed. I expect free food, free rides, and I don't know.. letting me and Yoongi use your very nice kitchen to make ramyeon when we get munchies." 

They both know Jungkook doesn't owe him anything but he regards Seokjin with a nod and eyes crinkling into crescents at the last sentence.

"I'm on it," He says with a voice so obviously fond, "I promise, it's all uphill from here." 


"Welcome home cheater," is what Yoongi says the moment Seokjin steps inside their apartment.

Yoongi is sitting on his bed, arms crossed over his chest and already in pajamas. The stern expression on the other's face makes him laugh at the theatrics. The glower directed at Seokjin doesn't wither as he watch him remove his shoes. The ticking down of the clock has lead to this moment, a conversation that Yoongi had been building up in his mind for the past three hours since Seokjin decided to disappear off the face of the Earth without even a text notice.

"Don't you have anything to say for yourself?" Yoongi grunts, eyebrow raising in question when Seokjin finally decides to meet him eye to eye. "I left you five missed calls, Kim Seokjin." 

It is uncharacteristic for him to call and practically unheard off to have him calling more than once. The surprise on Seokjin's face tells that he didn't even bother checking his phone.

"Five? You were that worried? I'm touched and a bit scared." Seokjin walks over to his pouting best friend to sit on the floor in front of him, smiling cutely up at the other. "I'm home now, aren't I?" 

Yoongi rolls his eyes and looks him over. Upon closer inspection, there's a streak of green right on his chest that Yoongi's a hundred percent sure is kief. His eyes mirror the slump of his shoulders, heavy and definitely influenced by something that isn't a lack of energy. His hair is ruffled, strands poking up in directions telling Yoongi everything he needed to know: it was mussed by foreign hands.

"You look high as fuck. Who did you smoke with?" Seokjin giggles at the question and copies the way Yoongi is looking at him. "Would you soften up if I tell you I brought home some for you?"

"I don't need it, I have my own stash. Besides, you're avoiding the question." 

"Well, to lead to the answer for your question, I'd have to tell you the entire story and then-"

"Get to the point."

"I met Heesu-"

The name instantly has Yoongi's head reeling. 

"...let me spark up first."

Seokjin digs into the pocket of his uniform top, producing a perfectly rolled joint with strawberries dotting the paper. Taking the peace offering, Yoongi's suspicions rise. Seokjin cannot for the life of him do something like this, so he must have been with someone who can. There's a name that instantly crosses his mind while also leaving a sour taste on his tongue. 

A feeling he's not familiar with curl in his stomach. Yoongi listens intently to Seokjin recounting how his evening went. By the time he is done, Yoongi decides to change 'a feeling' into plural form. 

"And that's the end of it. I'm back, high as a kite, and I want to shower. Happy?"

Yoongi reacts on instinct. Just so happens that his instinctual response is contempt. "I don't know Seokjin. Am I supposed to be happy that you're fooling around with your ex?" It's a Yoongi specialty to say awful things but not have them laced with malice. He's always been passive aggressive, talented with guilting people into feeling bad about their actions. It's a skill that usually gets him into fights with strangers, and most times, with Seokjin too.

The effect it has is the same. Seokjin's cheeks are flaming and his hand reaches out to slap Yoongi's leg. "It's not like that!" Even to Seokjin's ears it does sound a bit forced. "And I thought you like Jungkook?"

"I do, he's cool. But is this really okay? It's just kind of weird that you're hanging around him so much. I could have gone with you to meet Heesu, or I could've smoked with you after that disastrous encounter, but you chose him instead." The accusative undertone fall on deaf ears. 

"It's because he was right there at the moment. Stop implying such baseless things." 

Just one more push and Yoongi believes Seokjin will be raising his voice in no time. "You could have gotten out of it then. Are you sure you're not getting caught up? I'm not even implying anything. All I'm saying is that I think you're getting dragged around by Jeon Jungkook and you're absolutely letting him."

The breaking point doesn't come. Seokjin only sighs and says, "Yoongi-ah, why are you making it about him?" The way Seokjin refers to him has Yoongi feeling chided. "I'm your best friend and I'm telling you that there is nothing weird going on, or however you want to phrase it. You've known me for so long, why are you suddenly viewing me differently?" 

Yoongi realizes that he's the one frustrated with the situation, the one acting like a child because he cannot understand what is going on. He is quick to say, "I'm sorry. For shifting the narrative to him. I'm sorry, hyung." The clarification on what he is apologizing for is telling that Yoongi still doesn't buy it. 

Seokjin however melts instantly, getting up from the floor to pat Yoongi on the head. "Apology accepted. I know you still can't wrap your head around it, but trust me when I say that I can handle myself. You know I can." 

Yoongi watches him disappear into the bathroom, the door clicking shut. Sighing, Yoongi flops down to his bed and straight to his pillows.

Reflecting on the past, Yoongi's always disliked Park Heesu being Seokjin's boyfriend. The guy was too immature and caused his best friend unnecessary heartache but deep down, way deep, he also felt bad for the guy because Seokjin is loyal to a fault to him and Namjoon only. Alright, maybe Yoongi's not used to not being Seokjin's number one, and he'll never say it out loud because that means acknowledging Jeon Jungkook has an uncontested special place in Seokjin's heart.

Yoongi wave the thoughts away for another day and closes his eyes to let the THC take control and give him the relief of sleep where he doesn't have to think over matters that shouldn't even concern him.


7 Days Before The Party

The next day arrives. Four o' clock in the afternoon dismissal every Friday? Yoongi is thankful for this small blessing his schedule for the semester has granted him. 

The box in Yoongi's mind palace that he labels as overthinking rattles and falls to the floor with a thud as he comes face to face with Jungkook the moment he exits the convenience store. They aren't lying with the name since it is indeed conveniently located at the ground floor of their condominium building.

He is supposed to meet Taehyung, purposefully arriving late only to have the other text him that he’ll arrive in fifteen more minutes because their professor just won’t shut up. 

When he and Seokjin returned to their room to shed the white uniform and get into casual clothes, the other lays down in his bed instead of coming down with him. The bags under his eyes and body are heavy, still lethargic from how much he smoked last night. He promises to join them later in the PC Bang when he wakes up and that he won’t be going anywhere because it’s a Friday, where else would he be? 

Their class on the other hand still insist they join them to go out drinking, an invitation that was turned down instantly. Right now, Yoongi feels like he should say yes. 

Jungkook is standing by the door carrying a plastic bag of cigarettes, Marlboro menthols and lights, and dressed casually. He looked up from his phone the moment Yoongi exits the store, forcing a nod of greeting from the both of them. 

Having no choice since he has to wait for Taehyung, Yoongi stands beside Jungkook who pockets his phone.

Clearing his throat, Yoongi says, "You got Friday night plans?" He isn’t the type to start a conversation, nor care for small talk, but for Seokjin he’ll try. 

If he says that he and Jungkook are friends then Yoongi will be his friend too because that’s how things work in the present. Jeon Jungkook may own Seokjin’s past but Yoongi is here and if Jungkook wants to be friends then he needs to extend that to Yoongi as well. 

"Grind all night in Summoner’s Rift. What about you?" The answer to his question has Yoongi internally grumbling. Jungkook isn't making it easy for Yoongi to dislike him even when he's quick to find fault in people. Jungkook is just.. likable. 

"Same as yours."

When he voices out an invitation for Jungkook to join him and Taehyung, it dawns on Yoongi that he was wrong for confronting Seokjin last night. 

There is nothing weird going on, Seokjin's words echo in his mind. 

A text from Taehyung telling him to go ahead and to just meet up later has him and Jungkook walking together to the PC Bang.They indulge in talks about League; pro teams, patch updates, and the current meta. He realizes that talking to Jungkook is just like talking to Seokjin, and surprisingly enough their opinions are actually more aligned compared to his best friend. 

Jungkook doesn't even ask where Seokjin is, a testament of sorts that he did gloss over his best friend as a person and saw him as Seokjin who is Jungkook's ex. The sudden awareness that if they weren't exes, Yoongi would simply see it as Seokjin making friends has him feeling bad. The guilt and shame mix together in his mouth, wanting to apologize again and this time with sincerity. For one who likes living in the moment, he sure boxed Seokjin of all people into his past. 

"And being given the title of a royal roader? That's just awesome. T1 is in such good form."

"Right? I can't believe he's only twenty." 

The conversation was so light and easy Yoongi didn't even notice that they arrived in the commercial complex's lobby, mostly male students heading up the stairs to the PC Bang or smoking right outside the building. It hasn't been that long since he moved here but the place feels so familiar. 

Familiarity.

It's a lovely word.

Touching.

Denotes intimacy between companions that ten to one fizzled.

Jungkook and Seokjin.

Yoongi doesn't need to see Seokjin's thoughts to know that he is associated with the word constant. He and Namjoon to Seokjin are constant; set in stone forever and always. 

The least he can do for lacking precedented empathy is to let Jungkook have familiarity.


Seokjin hates how scrolling mindlessly on Twitter is the first thing he does since waking up half an hour ago. He’s procrastinating by choice; ignoring the messages on his groupchat with Taehyung and Yoongi telling him to hurry the fuck up because the PC Bang is quickly filling with people.

The clock on the upper left of his phone screen says 6:39 PM. He slept for a good two hours, woke up groggy, grasped for his phone, and shook the sleep off by indulging in social media. 

He did open his messages to send Namjoon all the best of luck for his upcoming licensing exam. 

And okay, he read through the text message conversation he had with Jungkook before he fell asleep just to see what normal him thought of his faded self. 

 

Jungkook

text me when you get home

 

I’m home.

 

took you two hours to go back? hahaha

 

Yep, the elevator queue was hell.

Thanks for today, JK. I feel like I’ve been saying that a lot these days. 

And hanging out with you a lot too. 

Feels like I've been deliberately choosing you without thinking about it...

 

here i thought i was the talkative one when lit  

and what suddenly brought this on?

when i said we should talk about it soon i didnt expect it to be in 2 hrs

 

I don't know, Jungkook. You tell me.

It seems everyone's up on my ass about being on good terms with you.

 

yoongi said something?

 

He's older than you, be respectful. 

Yeah he did.

 

you wanna talk about it now?

 

No, I want to sleep.

There shouldn't even be a 'talk' in the first place.

 

i guess i shouldnt have brought it up as well?

i just want to make sure youre comfortable, hyung :]

 

That emoticon is hurting my eyes.

 

go to sleep already, youre rambling

 

What, no goodnight?

Rude.

 

youre such a baby

 

Yes, I' am.

Your baby.

 

goodnight, hyung

wait

what?

 

Oops, wrong send.

Goodnight, JK. :]

 

what do you mean wrong send? 

are you talking to someone else??

 

zzzZZZZZZ

 

Here is what normal Seokjin thinks: fuck his faded self. 

Reading through the conversation physically pained him. His affection-baiting didn't work, so what did he do when Jungkook told him to sleep? Flirt. Seokjin groans loudly at the thought of it. He needs to stop going to bed with his phone within reach, especially when he's not in a proper state of mind. 

A notification pops up on top of the screen while he's still scrolling and it makes him jump. Taehyung sent a sticker of a cartoonish brown dog with a question mark on it's head. He pushes the notification away with his thumb only to close his phone right after, burying it under his pillow as if that could hide the embarrassing late night conversation he had with Jungkook. 

Maybe it's not that shameful, but it's so uncharacteristic of him to.. banter and flirt at the same time. Or maybe Seokjin just needs to admit to himself that it wouldn't be a big deal if it wasn't Jungkook on the receiving end of the stuff he sent.

Seokjin starts a list of the pros and cons of ditching Taehyung and Yoongi to stew in his questionable actions. Cons, Taehyung would pout and throw a fit while Yoongi would orate about how he's a traitorous friend who spent the other night with Jungkook yet refuses to hang with them. Pros, unbothered alone time for some much needed self-hatred.

His phone vibrates, the movement felt by the left side of his head where he's laying down on. Seokjin blinks slowly and takes a deep breath in. He checks his phone to see that it's more messages on the groupchat. The groupchat has been renamed into something more appropriate, according to the one who changed it that is.

 

yoongi and the extras

HYUNG WHERE ARE YOU

WHERE ARE YOU 

WHERE ARE YOUUUUUUUUUUUUUU

 

if u dont show up in 10 im dragging u down here

also we ate dinner already bcus someone is taking their sweet fucking time

 

Where did you guys eat?

 

and he lives

 

WE JUST BOUGHT SOMETHIN FROM THE CONVENIENCE STORE 

THEN WE ATE HERE

WITH tHAt gUy

 

What?

 

YOU KNOW

THE HIMBO

 

taehyung shut up 

just get your ass here already

we're at the very back

 

Are there even any seats left?

 

instead of asking, come here and see for yourself

 

Rather than convincing him to get moving, the messages make him sulk. He was looking forward to getting dinner with the two, especially with Taehyung who has not stopped talking about his party that'll be held this coming week. After Seokjin messaged him that Jungkook said he's fine with it, Taehyung seemed to have forgotten that the days counting down to his party are their exams.

It's closing 7 PM and today is Friday, so what are the chances there are even seats left? Plus, who is Taehyung even talking about? Unfamiliar with the word, Seokjin ended up googling what the term means. His search query takes a laugh out of him, mood lifting instantly. 

There is no way he'll be studying tonight, and Seokjin does want to play. Wallow in the past or hang out with his friends? The question doesn't even need an answer. Getting up from the bed, Seokjin pockets his phone, grabs his keys and lighter on the bedside table, and heads straight to the tiny kitchen for his box of cigarettes in the fridge. Except, it's the end of the week and it shouldn't be surprising that there is only one stick left. 

Seokjin doesn't let this deter his newfound positivity. He can take one more night smoking Yoongi's lights, and then when Sunday comes along with his Mom sending him his allowance, he can buy menthols again.

The distance between his apartment and the commercial complex takes a ten minute walk to close if the elevators weren't so slow. But they are so Seokjin arrives after thirty minutes, spending extra time going at the convenience store to eat. He erases thoughts of embarrassing text messages through piping hot tteokbokki and gimbap.

He buys a bottle of Pocari for himself, a can of Red Bull for Yoongi, and a carton of milk for Taehyung. He could've used that money for his cigarettes, but he does feel kind of bad for making them wait. 

Entering the crowded gaming center, Seokjin walks pass the many aisles and finally to the very back. He instantly spots Taehyung who is sitting right at the middle of the row. Walking closer, he sees the top of Yoongi's head. What catches his attention is the familiar pieces of jewelry dangling on the ear of the person sitting next to Yoongi.

Dread creeps up his back alongside embarrassment, disbelief, and a need for nicotine. Seokjin is thankful that they don't notice him, giving him enough time to collect himself.

There is nothing to be worried about,'He reminds himself, Mind over matter. Medical school may not be as big as their old university, but Jungkook is the last person he expects Yoongi to be casually hanging out with. 

It is such a stereotype, but the saying that boys do not hold grudges is true. Seokjin struggled with that for a while, having to deal with old schoolmates that had a connection with Jungkook greeting him in the hallways like nothing happened. In a way, it was kind of helpful for putting things into perspective for him. A breakup can be the big bang of your solar system but to other people it is page two news at best. 

Seokjin settles his elbows on Taehyung's high chair, watching as he intently plays Fortnite. His eyes glance over to where Yoongi and Jungkook are so immersed into their screens playing League that they still don't realize he is there.

He looks down at the top of Taehyung's head, a smooth downy auburn dye that compliments him so well. He reaches out to play with the strands, and this finally grabs the other's attention. What he gets is a boxy grin and Taehyung saying, "Seokjinnie, you're here!" The amount of cheeriness Taehyung manages to pour into those three words is beyond him.

"Focus on your game, Taehyung." He couldn't help the smile on his lips at such a positive reaction to his presence.

Taehyung refuses to turn his eyes back on the screen, his character hiding in a safe house. "Have you eaten?"

Seokjin nods in reply to the question.

"Okay, good." Satisfied with the knowledge that Seokjin ate dinner, he goes back to playing. Taehyung's entire character makes Seokjin super fond without much work. Yoongi and Jungkook on the other hand are letting out strings of curses as they mash buttons, still uncaring of the world around them. 

He takes out the milk carton and places it on the side of Taehyung's monitor. He receives a, "You are seriously the best, Seokjin-hyung," as thanks. He moves to stand on the space between Yoongi and Jungkook, the former on the right sitting beside Taehyung and the latter on the left. On Jungkook's left side is an opened monitor and a chair occupied by a plastic bag. 

"Finally, you're here." Yoongi says, noticing him first. Seokjin sees their screens flash with the word VICTORY. "What took you so long?" 

Jungkook looks up at him too, smile instantaneous. He moves to grab the plastic bag on the chair, gesturing to the now empty spot with a tilt of his head. "I opened it up for you in case you show up."

Kind. Always too kind for his own good is basically Jungkook's branding. And no signs of being uncomfortable from their late night text exchange. It comforts him more than the seat reserved for him.

Seokjin doesn't think twice taking out the two remaining drinks in his plastic bag, placing both beverages in front of the two. Yoongi says his thanks, and Jungkook picks it up in surprise. He sits down on the proffered spot, his head feeling a bit hot despite the blasting of the air conditioner.

He opens the League client, and there's a patch update so Seokjin is forced to watch as Yoongi and Jungkook queue together to play. Yoongi's using his main account and not MinSuga, the beautiful blue and gold hues indicative of the highest rank in the game similar to Jungkook's. 

I thought you hated him, Yoongi. Seokjin thinks with an internal eye roll. Now here you are duo queuing with him.

"You knew I was here?" Jungkook's voice snaps him away from the queueing screen.

"Yeah, they told me you guys ate dinner together." Seokjin obviously did not know. How was he supposed to figure out that the.. h-word Taehyung was referring to is Jungkook? 

"Thanks for the drink then." Jungkook looks genuinely touched, and yup, Seokjin feels absolutely terrible now for laughing earlier when he searched what the word meant. 

Soon enough, the two are playing again while Seokjin is stuck waiting for the patch update to finish. To kill time, he places the headset over his ears and clicks on a random song mix on YouTube with those pretentiously long titles. The one he's listening to right now is basically clickbait what with having Beyoncé and Pharaoh in the same sentence. 

Seokjin makes himself comfortable in the leather chair that is definitely better than the ones he and Yoongi sat at the other week. He watches GCF and Agust play together through Jungkook's monitor, a scenario so baffling to Seokjin that it never ever crossed his mind. 

Around fifteen minutes into the game, Seokjin realizes that his patch update is done. He signs in quickly and returns to watching his, well, his friends' game. 

Seokjin swears that he is not checking Jungkook out, it just so happens that he is sitting right next to him. 

Yoongi plays with his shoulders slouched, left hand hovering above the keyboard rigidly while his right grinds on the mouse loudly. On the contrary, Jungkook has perfect posture. He likes keeping the pads of his fingers on the keys, always gentle but not an exception to random bouts of force when the game gets too intense.

There was a time when Seokjin would irritate Jungkook by trying to hold his hand while he’s playing, casually fitting his right on Jungkook’s left as his fingers tap on keys methodically. 

He remembers feeling bad instantly that he’s distracting Jungkook on purpose, so he pulled his hand away only for the younger to grab his hand just as quickly. He slots Seokjin’s fingers against his that were poised on Q, W, and E, palms atop each other, and went on with the game. 

Jungkook continued speaking through his headset’s mic with Jinsang on the other end, it was always Jinsang whom he played with, as if Seokjin’s hand wasn’t making it hard for him to reach the other keys like F and R

Seokjin recalls tapping softly on the top of Jungkook’s hand with his thumb. No words were needed back then, a single movement saying everything that needs to be spoken. 

You don’t have to hold my hand if you’re having a hard time.

What Seokjin remembers so vividly though is that right after Jungkook killed someone on the enemy team, he threw his head back in glee at the perfect execution. 

He laughed onto the mic telling Jinsang, “I told you to trust me! You know I never lose.” 

He sounded so cocky; arrogance accompanied with a hundred percent belief in himself that he’s good. 

Right after saying those words Jungkook turned to him, a wink thrown Seokjin’s direction that pulled up his lips to showcase that blinding grin. 

He’s not good with lip reading, but the words Jungkook mouthed before turning back to the screen were clear as day: ‘I love you, babe.’

Seokjin’s never experienced that level of attraction to anyone else ever since that day.

That's actually pretty fucking sad.. He admits to himself morosely. The former thought isn't something to be proud about after all. 

Jungkook says something to Yoongi that Seokjin doesn't catch. Looking again at their game, he completely lost track of what is happening due to his useless reminiscing. Again, the word VICTORY flashes on the screen. 

"Hyung, do you want to play?" Taehyung's hands settle on his shoulders before he spoke, causing Seokjin to jump a bit in surprise. He turns his head to the left to look up at Taehyung, his reading glasses perched on his nose and smiling down at Seokjin. He won't say it out loud but Taehyung seriously has a statuesque face. Especially when he isn't being loud or clingy, and when he is looking down at Seokjin like this.

"Play what? I don't play Fortnite, Tae."

"That's okay. I'll play what you're playing."

"You mean League? You know how to play it?"

"No but I'm willing to learn though. I just want to have fun with you."

Taehyung is the definition of a human puppy, Seokjin muses. "Okay. Go sign up I'll wait for you."

The soft spot he is developing for the other becomes glaringly obvious due to what happens next. He doesn't flinch when Taehyung's hands move from his shoulders to cup his jaw upwards, noisily planting a kiss on his forehead and exclaiming, "You're the best!" before bounding back to his seat. 

An all too familiar notification sound rings from the headset covering his ears. 

 

GCF

hmmmm?

 

Instead of typing out a reply, Seokjin turns his body to the right. Jungkook's gulping down the Pocari that was supposed to be his, eyes cast on the computer screen where it is back on the loading screen. Seokjin waits, watching the other with agitation. He stops drinking, twists the cap back on the bottle's mouth, and returns to having his fingers on the keyboard and mouse. 

Seokjin rolls his eyes at the blatant ignorance and goes back to his own screen. 

Dash, underscore, dash. 

He hits enter and waits for laughter. 

All he gets is a snort and a new message saying, Been there, done that.

The response this elicits is Seokjin reaching his hand out to lightly hit Jungkook's arm with the back of his fingers. "Hey, done what?"

Jungkook gives him a look that pretty much says, "Really?" so Seokjin asks again, "Done what?"

He place his middle and forefinger on his lips mimicking a kiss, extends his arm out, and presses it on Seokjin's forehead, pushing lightly at contact. "Same tactics still work on you, hyung?"

The loading screen instantly changes into the game map the moment it hits a hundred percent. Jungkook shifts his attention to the game and doesn't see Seokjin's eyes widening at the realization of what he meant. 

Returning on his own game, Seokjin rolls his eyes at the implications Jungkook and Taehyung hold over each other. Their presumptions about who the other is to Seokjin actually gives them similarity. 

Same tactics my ass.. He couldn't help scoffing out loud at the thought. There's another old memory in his head that Seokjin swats away.

A flash of watching Oldboy for the first time, forcing Jungkook to watch Bond, talks about insecurities, a bed that was shared because Jungkook couldn't leave his place, and of course, the pressing of soft lips to his own because the tension was too much. Or something along those lines.

"I need a cigarette." Seokjin announces, standing up and getting the attention of the two nearest him. Addressing them, he asks, "You guys wanna spare some lights?"

Jungkook takes the plastic bag from earlier that he placed behind the monitor and hands it to Seokjin. He takes it, unsure what to do with it until he's opening and seeing the box of Marlboro menthols alongside lights.  

("I like menthols."

"Why do I have to care about that?"

"Your fridge is filled with my favorite sports drink and your kitchen has a bowl of my favorite candies. Might as well get my cigarettes, hm?")

Seokjin overcomes the urge to do or say something embarrassing. The grin he's wearing on his face is already bordering on too much. When Jungkook said he'll be there for him, he really meant it. He actually meant it. Yet again, a memory from the past resurfaces. The voice in his head manages to speak before he could shut it up: Makes you wonder what else he meant.

After getting much needed nicotine in him, Seokjin spends the rest of the night trying to teach Taehyung the game, laughing at how enthusiastic the other is despite having such a hard time. If Jungkook is saying what he thinks is happening, then no it's not the same tactic because Taehyung endears himself as a friend and a brother by being needy.

Seokjin can't fall for the same tactics; he simply doesn't love like he used to. 


3 Days Before The Party

"And what about Tannie?"

"My parents are bringing him along. They love him more than me."

Of course the dog is the only thing that Yoongi cares about. Taehyung just finished explaining his plans to the both of them while reviewing for Wednesday's exams. This'll be their first ever major exams since entering medical school and the three of them are sitting here talking about what will happen after it.

It's a Tuesday, and all the two care about is the party that'll happen this Friday right after the exams. Taehyung's explanation isn't even that clear. All he said is that his parents are going overseas for two weeks to attend a research summit, he's sent out the invitations, and there is nothing else to worry about. 

Seokjin sighs and gives one last look of guilt over his iPad before turning it off.

The other two have the same notes as his except it's printed out, the three of them sitting on the floor of Seokjin and Yoongi's apartment.

Seokjin and Yoongi are sitting on the foot of their beds, each having their own folding study tables with thick stapled papers and pens on it. Taehyung has spent more time on his phone than actually studying.

"How did you send out invitations?" Seokjin asks, trying to be the responsible one since all Yoongi bothered asking about is Yeontan's well-being. 

"I texted everyone on mine and Yoongi-hyung's contact list." Taehyung doesn't look up his phone as he says this, thumb continuously scrolling. 

"He did. Bring drinks or you can't enter. That's all he sent plus a link to his house." Yoongi tells him with a laugh. Seokjin's pretty sure this isn't how house parties are planned, but what does he know? All he did back in undergrad was show up and things would be in full swing by the time he manages to drag Yoongi or Namjoon or the both of them to whichever party is happening that night.

"It has been a month since school started, how do you have enough people to invite?" 

Taehyung's response is to tap on his chin with his fingers. Yoongi rolls his eyes but smirks, and Seokjin laughs out loud. Of course, that's how.

"Hey, did you invite Jungkook-ah?" Yoongi suddenly asks. The name finally has Taehyung putting his phone down, eyes sullen. "Yes, hyung-nim." 

Seokjin has no idea what happened for Yoongi to suddenly like Jungkook all of a sudden. Perhaps respect towards Jungkook's skills in League? Having good weed? Whatever it may be, Yoongi has not said anything negative after the night Seokjin returned to their apartment stoned to the high heavens.

He actually hasn't seen Jungkook since Friday, only texting when Seokjin initiates it. Their conversations have been limited to school, some good mornings, good nights, and have-you-ates thrown in between. Jungkook used to not care much about studying for exams, another thing that obviously changed.  

"Taehyung, are you sure you're fine with holding it at your place? People might end up breaking things."

"Good for them."

Really, the answer shouldn't have surprised him. With one last sigh, Seokjin opens the iPad and resumes studying. He drowns out Taehyung and Yoongi throwing song suggestions at each other for the party playlist, his best friend completely lured over to the promised salvation after the upcoming hellish exams. 


Jungkook

We're seeing you later?

 

yeah, hyung

idk what kim taehyung did but

i think half the school is attending his party

 

Um. That is.. not comforting to hear. I think.

But, yeah.

See you at 9!

 

yoongi and the others

I CANT WAIT FOR THIS DAY TO BE OVER

 

Tae, it's only 7 in the morning..

 

i can't wait for this day to be over

 

GET DRUNK GET FADED MAYBE SOME M-M-MO...?

 

Wait. 

You have some?

 

IDK HYUNG ARE YOU A HOT GIRL? 

 

Not a girl, but I'm definitely hot.

 

YES YOU ARE

 

so...? 

do you......?

 

I DONT REALLY SKI

BUT I DO GOT A COUPLE OF MONCLERS

 

Oh, my god.

 

IS THAT A GOOD OMG OR LIKE A BAD OMG :(

 

im sitting across him

definitely a good omg


What a couple apparently meant to Taehyung are two silver pills with the name Moncler pressed on the front. He gets slapped over the head by Yoongi for dampening the excitement of taking a whole. Seokjin had to step in and do the honors of splitting the pills from the breakline with the scissors in Taehyung's massive kitchen. He expected the place to look like Jungkook's but it is thrice the size, Taehyung confirming that they bought three units on the penthouse floor. 

Once split into four pieces, they mock toast and swallowed it, the glass of water being passed around the three of them. A game of rock papers scissors decides who gets to keep the last one, Seokjin winning with a whoop.

He returns it on the small plastic baggy, keeping it in the pocket of his jeans. The same jeans he keeps in the back of his closet that Yoongi persuades him into wearing; the ripped jeans that gives the entire world a front row view of his thighs. At least he got to choose his top, a silk white button-up that he buttons all the way to the collar.

They take the drug around 8:45, people already piling in and ringing the doorbell incessantly while carrying bottles ranging from Hennessy to Jager to Soju.

Thirty minutes later, Seokjin's showing off his collarbones while sprawled on Taehyung's velvetine couch with Yoongi on his left and Taehyung on his right. Their upper limbs are all stretched on the couch's top, legs wide open and taking up as much space as possible.

Seokjin is having the time of his life between the two, their fingers grazing the back of his head from time to time. Pleasure keeps shooting up his spine at the ministrations, a tease of fingers that doesn't deliver the pull he needs. But he knows it's not yet the time for that, so he settles on his back and returns the favor by lightly massaging Yoongi's neck and pulling on the strands of Taehyung's hair.

The party is in full swing. People who are Seokjin and Yoongi's classmates, and even seniors who they recognize when passing by the hallway are all here. Taehyung who promised he will take care of everything really pulled through. Besides this couch, several armchairs and tables, there isn't anything valuable in the way of inebriated party guests.

The lighting of the entire place can only be described as: made for rolling. The neon blue in the room they are sitting at contrasts the red in another where other people are. Their couch is situated at the intersection of the Venn diagram between the blue and red creating an illusion of purple for Seokjin. It makes him giggle, catching Taehyung's attention.

"Hyung," The distortion of Taehyung's deep voice mixing with the current song, Seokjin remembers the title being My Imagination, has him giggling some more. "Hyung, are you having fun?"

Seokjin is having the time of his life. 

"Gum," He drawls, "I need some gum, Taehyungie." This time, it's Taehyung who is giggling.

Taehyung moves to snake his hand inside the pocket of his silk pajama pants. The outfit of choice made Yoongi laugh at him, but Seokjin wishes he went with the idea too. "Not a boy scout but I'm always prepared." Seokjin gasps like a child, opening his mouth and waiting for Taehyung to feed him one. 

"Me too, please." Yoongi says, sounding a lot mellower. They giggle some more, Taehyung unwrapping the foil for the mint gum with shaky hands. He unwraps three pieces, one for each of them. 

Seokjin bites down hard on the gum, the ache in his jaw bordering on too much. The drug refuses to let him feel pain; a rush of chemicals in his brain flooding him with, well, ecstasy.

Yoongi's loudly chewing on his gum without a care. "Water, Tae. We need water." Taehyung moves the arm around him, hurriedly getting up and jogging to the kitchen.

They watch him fade away into the blue light, and Yoongi says out loud what they are both thinking. "I did not expect him to be the responsible one."

Seokjin misses the feeling of a warm human body under his hands, so he moves to cuddle on Yoongi's side. It's a testament to how much the drug is affecting Yoongi too because they are in public yet he lets Seokjin do what he wants, even encircling his arms around the other as well. "I missed this. I have not taken this since two years ago."

Yoongi sighs in agreement. "Later when we're coming down we can smoke in the balcony. This place is so big, holy shit." 

"Holy shit indeed."

A breathe against his ear makes every hair on Seokjin's body stand on edge. "Here you are."

Craning his head away from Yoongi's chest, Seokjin comes face to to face with Jungkook whose hair is falling over his eyes as usual.

Despite the faulty lighting, he sees so clearly every detail on Jungkook's face. The scar on his cheek, the mole under his lower lip and nose, and the two others on his cheek that aren't as visible.

Euphoria floods him at the sight of the other. Seokjin blames it on Molly. 

"Jungkook-ah!" He exclaims in greeting, moving away from Yoongi, automatically moving closer to the other.

Jungkook's eyes widen, stepping back a bit. "Hyung, are you rolling?"

Seokjin settles both his arms on the couch, laying his cheek on top of them. "Is it obvious? You seem normal to me, Jungkookie."

The laughter he receives reaches him in waves. "I got caught into a beer pong game, but besides alcohol, yeah I'm pretty sober." 

"Beer pong? Since when was there a beer pong table?" Yoongi voices out from beside him.

"Oh, shit, even you Yoongi-hyung? And yeah, someone set up a table. I've been trying to contact you guys, actually." Turning to Seokjin, he adds, "No wonder you weren't answering your phone."

Seokjin shrugs, too busy chewing on his gum. Jungkook moves around the couch to sit beside him, taking Taehyung's spot. Seokjin knows that Taehyung wouldn't like that, but he's not back yet so a few minutes wouldn't hurt. 

He gets a good look on Jungkook who is wearing something totally different from his usual palette of blacks and grays. A white shirt, pink denim jacket, and blue jeans is his outfit for the night. Seokjin thinks he should wear light colors more often. 

The moment Jungkook sits down, Seokjin moves to plop both his legs on the other's lap. He keeps his arms on the couch's top rest, body bent.

Yoongi encircles his arms around Seokjin's waist to rest his chin on the other's shoulder. Whispering on his ear, Yoongi says, "I have an idea; you should give Jungkook the other half." 

Jungkook raises a brow at the look of excitement Seokjin is giving him, his hands moving to settle on Seokjin's knees. The action has Seokjin jerking his legs, the sensation of sudden warmth surprising him.

"You want to take my other half?"

Jungkook blinks at the two staring at him in wait. They don't force him, that's bad manners. You only offer and wait for the person to say yes. If they say no, then that's okay too. 

"Hell yes, please." 

Yoongi offers a fist bump. "Good man, you're a good man Jeon." Jungkook returns it, grinning at Yoongi and accepting the baggy from Seokjin who doesn't even try hiding it. 

"Hyung, why is he in my seat?!" 

The three of them look up to find Taehyung with a plastic bottle of cold water on his hands. His hair is mussed and on his neck, blood vessels are bursting beneath the surface, coloring his neck red.

Seokjin is captivated by it for a second, only moving when Jungkook takes hold of his thighs to rest on his lap instead of his calves, moving closer to him to give Taehyung some space.

Taehyung pouts and sits down, Seokjin setting his feet on Taehyung's lap. 

"Jin, you're such a child." Yoongi sounds too fond for it to be an insult, letting Seokjin lean his back on his shoulder.

To Taehyung he says, "Give the bottle to Jungkook and stop pouting. We only asked you to get water but you returned with a hickey too?"

Taehyung hands it to Jungkook who politely thanks him. He pops the pill back, gulps down water, and hands it to Seokjin making grabby hands at him. Yoongi, eternally aware of Seokjin's nuances, motions for Taehyung to give him a gum wrapper from earlier so Seokjin can drink his water without complaints.

"You gave him the other half?!" 

After much needed hydration, Seokjin passes the bottle to Yoongi. "Taehyung-ah, you know better than to be a downer." Seokjin chastises him with the gentlest tone he can manage. Taehyung concedes, melting into the couch but still pouting like a child. 

Yoongi suddenly stands up, causing Seokjin to fall on his back. "Taehyung, let's go. I'm not wasting Molly sitting on my ass."

Turning to Jungkook he adds, "He's lazy with the come up, but when he hits that peak prepare to have him drag you all across the room looking to join the drinking games. Anyways, that's what me and Tae will be doing. Let's all regroup later when you're good to go too." The slur on his words doesn't mask how serious Yoongi is, so Jungkook only nods weakly and watches as Yoongi drags Taehyung away from the couch and into where the red light glares the most.

Seokjin licks his wet lips, a mundane sensation amplified so much under the influence of MDMA. Honestly, everything feels amplified. The intensity of the lights, the velveteen fustian couch, and Jungkook's hand still gripping his thighs close to his stomach. The younger doesn't even seem to notice it, eyes still following Taehyung and Yoongi as they disappear into the crowd.

Was he really just taking his exams earlier this afternoon? Seokjin barely remembers them. All he knows right now is violet lighting and rough fingers on him.

"When did you start taking party drugs, hyung?" Jungkook asks, slapping his hand lightly on Seokjin's knee. He reaches his arm out for Jungkook to grab but instead of obliging, Jungkook places his hand on the back of Seokjin's head, and pulls him up into a sitting position. Seokjin couldn't help shivering, and Jungkook only smiles in understanding.

"Yoongi introduced Molly to me."

"You like it?"

Seokjin blinks slowly at him, the corners of his mouth lifted. "Not to sound like a white girl in a rave, but just so you know, I give one hell of a glove light show." It makes Jungkook laugh, the type where he throws his head back out of sheer amusement. 

"So you go to raves now?"

"I went to one once with Joonie and Yoon. Never again." Seokjin would've explained his side more if it wasn't for the song playing distracting him. 

Jungkook rests his arm on the top of the couch, stretching his neck. Seokjin already misses the heat from Jungkook's fingertips on him. His silk shirt and jeans rub on his skin every time he moves, the difference between fabrics something he wouldn't have noticed sober. 

The songs on Taehyung's playlist are suddenly making sense to Seokjin every time it changes. He's slow on the come up, body turning into jelly in the process. Every time the next song plays, Seokjin feels as if the beat is coming from within him.

"Hurry and come up, Jungkookie. This isn't fun alone." He mumbles, leaning back a bit to dig his knees onto the other's stomach. He recognizes the song playing, he thinks it's called Had Enough, and he laughs at the irony.

Yoongi's an asshole for leaving him with Jungkook of all people. He knows how clingy Seokjin gets, and he had to leave him with the person Seokjin cannot, under any circumstances, cuddle with on a couch situated in the middle of a crowded penthouse party. Yoongi must really hate him. 

Seokjin shoos the thought away. He should stop being an unreliable narrator. Yoongi loves him, of course he does. Also, what circumstances? All Seokjin knows is the thrumming of music and purple lights. 

"I have a really fast metabolism. Give it three more songs and I'll be asking you to pull my hair." 

Seokjin pauses at the words. He laughs, not knowing how else to react.

Mind over matter.'Seokjin reminds himself. Whatever you're thinking right now, you're imagining it. You're undependable right now and that's alright because you are under the influence. Okay, back to reality.

"How were your exams?" Seokjin asks to kill time. Jungkook, bless him, responds as if his conversation partner doesn't have his legs on his lap and rolling on ecstasy. "I did my best. What about you? Hopefully not kicked too hard by biochemistry."

"Fuck, I felt that." Seokjin grumbles, clutching his stomach. 

Confusion is written all over Jungkook's face, worry mixing in too. "What? Are you okay?"

"Your words, Jungkook. Kicked too hard. This drug really makes me feel everything."

It's Jungkook who pauses this time, but when he laughs, it's not because he doesn't know what to say. More like, he knows exactly what to ask. "What drug?"

The faux innocence in his voice irks Seokjin. "3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine." 

"Nomenclature mouthful magic. You should list that as a personal talent." 

Mouthful. Seokjin's strangely attached to the word. 

The pause at the end of the current song shifting into something else has Seokjin humming in delight. "God, I love this song."

It's exactly how Seokjin feels; electric.

Jungkook is bopping his head to the beat, fingers tapping on Seokjin's knees every once in a while. He's entranced with the way Jungkook's hair bounce every time he moves his head, those silver chains hanging on his ears catching the light every once in a while. 

The next song that comes up has Seokjin's eyes blown wide. Oh, this is it. How many songs has it been? Seokjin has come up to this song so many times that he knows the exact timeframe of each beat.

There is something about the lyrics and the beat that has Seokjin's brain melting, the pump of happy chemicals going into overdrive every time he hears this particular song. It's a Pavlovian response at this point.

Jungkook looks at him with pupils blown wide at exactly 0:44. He wasn't lying when he said his metabolism is fast. 

Feeling brave, Seokjin reaches out and runs his hands through Jungkook's long locks. He'd be lying if he says he hasn't thought of doing this the very first time they met.

He pauses, grasping fistfuls of hair just above Jungkook's nape. Seokjin cannot believe the other is letting him do this.

1:11, 1:12, 1:13. 

1:14.

Seokjin pulls his hair in time with the beat, tilting Jungkook's head back and exposing his neck. He watches with fascination as Jungkook's lips part to let out a groan, a sound he hears loud and clear despite the music. It's a sound he hasn't heard in so long, like an old cassette tape being played for the first time in years. 

It wasn't even that hard of a pull, might as well be an experimental tug, and Seokjin- he felt that with his entire being. The moment he lets go, Jungkook's eyes search for his, lidded and pupils completely covering his irises. 

"You said to give you three more songs." He says weakly. 

Jungkook's inhaling and exhaling loudly, his chest moving against the white shirt. "I didn't ask you to." 

The blood rushes to Seokjin's head, and fuck. Did he fuck up? Jungkook's big on consent, he shouldn't have done that. 

"I'm sorry, I-"

Seokjin finds himself staring at the ceiling, the breathe knocked out of his lungs. 

Blue and red lighting dance right in front of his eyes, an explosion happening inside his head that he cannot see. At this moment, Seokjin only feels. 

He only realizes that Jungkook returned the favor when the fingers cradling his tilted head lets go of the harsh grip on his hair to settle on his nape. 

Seokjin was wrong. Weed? Fuck that shit. This?

Tangible euphoria.

"I was kidding." The voice laced with delight disturbs him. Jungkook moves his hand to the side of Seokjin's face, fingertips running up and down his cheek to soothe him.

Seokjin turns to Jungkook, tears pricking his eyes at the intensity. "Oh my fucking god. I peaked, you motherfucker." He says, hitting the other on the chest.

The fucker in question laughs at him. "Isn't that a good thing? And damn, my pleasure for helping you with it too."

"I wasn't expecting that okay!"

"At least we're even now." Jungkook leans closer, hands still everywhere; soft against his face but bruising on his thighs. The contrast is making Seokjin dizzy, his head overloading in processing too many sensations at once. "Yoongi-hyung trusted me to take care of you." 

Seokjin wants to say, I gave you my half. I should be taking care of you, so he opens his mouth to retort but the only sound that comes out is a sputter. 

"What is it? What do you want?" The toothy grin Jungkook has betrays the supposed comforting words. What he wants is to be able to feel one emotion at a time, but who is he kidding? Sensory overload is what he's in for.

"I want an inhaler." He mumbles, head falling down and hitting Jungkook's chin. "Or Marlboro blues. Anything menthol. I have one in my pocket." Seokjin's basically putty in Jungkook's embrace, letting the younger push his face to his neck as Jungkook insert his hand in the pocket of Seokjin's jeans. 

The whine that escapes his throat at the brand new physical sensation has him feeling embarrassed, burying his face further into Jungkook's collarbone. A poke on his cheek makes him look away from the white of Jungkook's shirt to another white: his inhaler.

Immediately, Seokjin is twisting the plastic cap and pressing it to his nose. At his sigh of comfort, Jungkook removes his hold on Seokjin's face to lean back on the couch without losing grip on Seokjin's thighs. 

The coolness of the mentholated rub in inhaler form feels like heaven, the cold it brings from every inhale reaching all his sinuses. Seokjin lays his head on the couch, cheek rubbing against the fabric. 

"Anything else you need?"

Physical contact is what Seokjin needs. He's all about feeling with the mind, being mentally touched in the most highest of spaces and all that bullshit, but what Seokjin needs right now are familiar arms to fall into. 

Jungkook's arms are familiar. So are his hands, and so are his-

"Tae has gotten so many passes on him around the entire house that I've lost him and you two are still here sitting on your ass?" 

Seokjin has no idea how much time has passed. Surely it hasn't even been ten minutes since Taehyung and Yoongi left? There's no time to question time, so Seokjin exclaims, "You're back!"

"Yes, I' am." Yoongi says patiently, fingernails scratching on Seokjin's scalp. "Have you peaked yet? I know how you get when that Runaway remix plays." 

"I have." The glance he gives Jungkook is caught by Yoongi, eyes now moving back and forth between the both of them. "What, did you peak with Jungkook's tongue down your throat or something?"

Jungkook's fingers that are still attached to his lower limbs tighten in surprise the same way Seokjin laughs at such a silly thought. "No way, Yoonie."

Yoongi pinches both of Seokjin's cheeks between his thumb and pointer finger while looking at Jungkook and saying, "Good. Jungkook, be a good person and find us some water."

"Got it." He chokes out, waiting for Seokjin to move his legs away from his lap. Yoongi immediately takes the now empty spot. When Seokjin decides that this is the time for him to sit on the couch properly with his back slumped and feet on the floor, Yoongi stares him down until Seokjin is forced to look back.

"You know," Yoongi starts to say, "I won't judge you if you let him get it. If you know what I mean."

Opening up and talking about feelings in the middle of a crowded party while under the influence of drugs? Yoongi knows exactly how to get Seokjin at his most vulnerable.

"Weren't you just telling me off for hanging out with him? Where is this coming from?"

"It's coming from a place called understanding. I really am sorry for how I approached you that night. You're a whole adult who can do what he wants, so I'm sorry for being judgmental."

Yoongi is the only person in the world this honest with him; it only makes sense for Seokjin to respond in kind. "I would be lying if I say there's no underlying attraction remaining." 

Snorting, Yoongi crosses his arms over his chest. "Underlying? He obviously cares for you still. Even Taehyung who we just became friends with can see it."

"Would you say the same thing if you didn't know we used to be together? That he's the one that got away, or what other term is used these days?"

The confusion on Yoongi's face pushes Seokjin to continue.

"You know, Jungkook wrote me something before. When we were still together, I mean. He thinks I'm the one who has a lovely way with words when he is just as good. I remember it was a response to what I wrote him. It's funny 'cause I have no idea anymore what I wrote him but I have his reply memorized. The first line goes, 'Were we ever friends back then?' and it rings true to this day. The answer is no, we were never friends. He just decided one day that he was in love with me and some part of my brain agreed with it. So when you or Taehyung or other people think that there is something else, that our relationship is unusual, trust me, I have no idea as well. I don't know how to be friends with him but I really want to because he's a good person. People don't call us out if we get touchy, that's just us being friends, so why is there some.. prejudice when it's with him? I understand why, of course. I just wish that wasn't the case."

Like the next note to be played on a music sheet, Seokjin and Yoongi's hands entangling together throughout his monologue was inevitable. "Seokjin-hyung," Yoongi calls out his name earnestly in emphasis of what he says next; "I would literally beat the crap out of anyone if they talk to you the way I did that night. I'm really sorry."

Seokjin bursts into a fit, his voice hitching as he does. Yoongi knows it is definitely not the drugs speaking when he says he is so fond of the other.

"I said all that and your response is to tell me you would fight someone for me? I'm actually touched."

Earlier, it was Yoongi barging into him and Jungkook, now it's the younger doing the same. "Who are we fighting? Is it your ex-boyfriend, hyung?" He hands a bottle of water each to them, still ice cold. "You're as bad as Yoongi." Seokjin tells him.

"I think we actually have to look for Taehyung." Seokjin announces, eyes scanning the crowd.  "I'm starting to get worried."

"Alright, we can split up. I can go by myself while you two take care of each other. Return to the couch if things get messy. Or not." 

Yoongi watches as Jungkook and Seokjin start walking to the direction of the crowded red room, waiting for them to walk away before he gets up from the couch to search for Taehyung at the blue end of the house.

Feeling strangely sentimental, Yoongi takes his phone out and presses speed dial on the first of his three emergency contacts. Waiting for the person on the other end to pick up, Yoongi continues scanning the room for signs of Taehyung who shouldn't be hard to miss with his height and unique outfit choice. 

The ringing stops, and a voice laced with sleep asks, "What hospital do I have to tell the taxi driver to drop me off to?"

Yoongi's heart instantly feels full, mischievous grin on his lips. "The one where our school is at."


"I dare you to give a shot to the hottest upperclassman in the circle!" 

It's no surprise that the girl bounds up to the person sitting next to Seokjin.

He inhales deeply from his inhalant, groaning at the intense scent of mint that floods him. Beside him sits a familiar face, probably one of his classmates. He nods in greeting, and they smile at him. Or do they? They're wearing a black cloth mask, and Seokjin knows that's code for I'm-rolling-balls-mind-your-business. He wishes he has one too instead of having to manually inhale the vapor rub from the plastic tube each time.

Jungkook accepts the shot and downs it easily. Seokjin looks away, the taste of alcohol suddenly remembered by his taste buds despite not having a single drop on his tongue. 

Seokjin has no idea how they ended up here when they were supposedly looking for Taehyung. It's a large circle, a mix of freshmen and seniors all drunk, high, rolling, or maybe something else that he definitely does not want to partake in. 

A gentle tap on his shoulder has him turning to the source, and it's the person wearing the face mask offering him gum. He gushes in thanks and receives a pat on the head, excitedly popping it in his mouth.

The bottle of Hennessy is suddenly pointing at him, and a voice that is also familiar to him shouts, "Seokjin! Truth or dare?" 

Oh. It's Yoosung. Seokjin concludes that it's definitely Yoosung who dragged him and Jungkook to join their game.

"Truth."

Some of the people laugh at Yoosung's expense. He was probably hoping that Seokjin would agree to a dare. 

"Tell us something about yourself that no one knows?"

The question isn't exciting, the group voicing out their distaste for it. From the corner of his eye, Seokjin notices how Jungkook is waiting in expectation. He's probably thinking that he knows everything about Seokjin and that nothing he says would shock him. 

"I have a tattoo on a place nobody can see."

It's a half-truth. Namjoon and Yoongi has seen it. His string of one night stands and Heesu too, but it works because Jungkook is suddenly sitting up straight and fully looking at him. Even the group twitters in excitement. 

"Can I ask where?"

"No, you can't."

Seokjin knows he's coming off a bit rude. Can they blame him? They keep making him talk and all he wants to do is vibe with the music.

He lets the bottle spin two more times just to be polite, then excusing himself to the toilet although he has no idea where it is. And since he's standing up, Jungkook does too. There's a lot of protesting over the latter leaving so he just starts walking to wherever his feet will take him. 

Seokjin's body has brought him to one of the two places he's been at: the kitchen. It has less people than the other corners of the house; three other people sitting near the fridge and sharing a joint while two on the other side are talking quietly

Without even checking Seokjin says, "Jungkook, I want a cigarette." Turning around, he watches Jungkook fumble with the box of menthols. That's another unspoken rule when rolling: everyone smokes menthols. 

Time distorts once again. 

One minute they were lighting up and now they are sitting on the kitchen floor, backs on the granite countertops shaped into an L surrounding the massive kitchen and blowing cigarette smoke up into the ceiling. 

The music isn't as loud in here. It's the only public area in the house devoid of speakers. Music when rolling is an experience that changes how people hear sound, but silence? Rolling when there is nothing but your breathing lungs and beating heart will make you realize that it is the loudest song in the world.

"You know what would be cool? Menthol eyedrops." Jungkook suddenly voices out. Or perhaps they were talking about something already and Seokjin just doesn't remember. Jungkook has his own inhaler, bought from Thailand and with a herbal scent. Seokjin's a bit jealous of it, to be honest.

His companion is asking another question, and if his voice didn't sound as good as the music, Seokjin would have told him to shut up. "A tattoo, hyung? That's kind of unexpected." 

When he speaks, all Seokjin hears is his own voice echoing in his mind. It's trippy but he really would rather not talk as much as possible. "Surprised that you don't know everything about me?"

Jungkook shrugs. He asks what is it because of course he would. Seokjin ignores him.

"Can I ask when you got it?"

The answer to that question is plucked from him easily. "Two months after you left. Joonie held my hand throughout the entire process." It's a detail that has no connection to what is asked, an afterthought that lightens the actual answer.

The spot where he got the tattoo at suddenly prickles with heat. Seokjin resists the urge to scratch because Jungkook would be quick to pick up on it.

"A matching tattoo with Namjoon-hyung?"

"No. Someone else." Another half-truth. Seokjin pettily enjoys how Jungkook squirms at the insinuation of his words. 

Jungkook rests his head on Seokjin's shoulder, his hair tickling Seokjin's cheek. "I want to ask another thing." He tells Jungkook to go ahead. Their voices suddenly sound like they are speaking against a cave, still echoing although much more clearly. 

"Seokjin, have you forgiven me?'

And just like that, Seokjin is thrown back to times of sitting outside his dorm on that log bench that was once new, sharing Marlboro menthols with Jungkook and watching drunk college kids try to get inside their dormitories while the rest puke their guts out on the sidewalk.

"We said we are okay, we said we are friends, but I never really asked you this and I honestly feel like an asshole for it."

He doesn't know how to react. He feels reality creeping into him like a cold skeletal hand, the ecstasy losing potency against years of hurt.

Jungkook is relentless. He moves away from Seokjin's shoulder to sit right in front of him. 

"I know I'm so fucking selfish for asking this, but I need to know. Am I forgiven?"

Seokjin's walked the path of heartbreak both ways; getting the short end of the stick, and the one snapping it. People always vilify the one who leaves, he knows this because he was one of them too. There's no upper hand between the two options, really. When you're the one leaving, you have a responsibility on you to honor it. You don't look back, and if possible, you have to be there for them. 

There is so much intricacy within human relationships, but this, the one he shared with Jungkook, this deserves peace. 

"You are," Seokjin finally says, "I've forgiven you so long ago."

As soon as the words leave his mouth, Jungkook lets out a sigh of relief mixed with laughter. Seokjin realizes that he's crying.

"What- hey? Jungkookie, why are you crying?"

Jungkook still cries like how Seokjin remembers it; and he's only seen the other cry once. Brown eyes gathering water beads that never drip down, eyes and nose reddening as he takes shallow breathes.

He panics, and Seokjin forgets that he's still holding a lit cigarette that when he moves to see Jungkook's face more clearly, he ends up burning himself. 

Seokjin hisses, throwing the cigarette at the side. He apologizes internally to Taehyung while cradling his burnt pointer finger. Jungkook stubs his own cigarette under his shoe, flicking it to join Seokjin's own. He sniffs, moving his attention to hold Seokjin's hand, taking a look on the finger where the skin is pink and raw. "You're always burning yourself on the same spot."

"Why are you crying?" Seokjin repeats, hyper focusing on the redness of his nose. He decides that Jungkook must be going crazy because he once again laughs. 

"Because," Jungkook says slowly, "When you said those words, that's when I peaked."

All pretense of coolness falls. Seokjin ends up laughing as well, Jungkook joining him. The inhale that Seokjin gulps to stop himself from crying too felt so clean even though it's obviously all in his head. 

"God, Jungkook. And you are still so annoying."


Full circle endings are only fun when you're the one being told of what happened, not when you are experiencing it. 

The following events go like this.

Yoongi found Taehyung stepping out of a bathroom and looking extremely nauseated. He apparently accepted too many drinks from strangers, threw up, and along with it, the pill in the process. Refusing to leave Yoongi's side, it dampens his mood causing him to come crashing down his own chemically altered perspective.

They end up grabbing bottles of Henny from unsuspecting students who are too drunk to care, bringing it outside the humongous balcony of Taehyung's house. The place is divided into the wooden patio entrance transitioning into travertine tiles covered by fake grass.

They drank straight from the bottle, bumping their loot together that produces a clinking sound, and throwing it back as the music continues on. 

"Where's Seokjin-hyung?" Taehyung started asking, his cheeks reddening at the amount of alcohol he's consumed. "And Jungkook too." 

Yoongi snickers at Taehyung's attempt of nicety. "You don't have to pretend to like him." 

Namjoon's arrival was met with a tight hug from Yoongi and a shy wave of greeting from Taehyung. Yoongi's too drunk to say anything else about it except that yes, he did cling more than usual at the sight of his best friend.

"Thank fuck you're here I'm tired of being responsible." Yoongi mumbled into the hug. Namjoon rolls his eyes, returning it just as tightly. "You could have just told me to come up here in this building instead of going to the university hospital asking for a Min Yoongi or Kim Seokjin."

"No shit? You really went?"

"Of course I did. You're really taking advantage of my instinctual response every time you call." 

Namjoon sits between the little circle they made on the floor with the bottles of alcohol filled in varying levels at the center. The moment he does, he takes out a perfectly rolled joint and lights it up. 

"So what's new with you that we haven't talked about?" Yoongi questions, accepting the joint from Namjoon who turns his head to blow the smoke away from them.

"Nothing much. I passed the boards, I guess?"

Taehyung gapes at Namjoon in shock, the starstruck look in his eyes that Yoongi has noticed from the start now obvious. "Seriously? Congratulations, Namjoon-hyung!" 

"Congratulations, Joonie." Yoongi tries to inject some cheer in his voice, and the poor attempt only makes said person laugh. He passes the joint to Taehyung who is more excited than Yoongi is at the news. "Sorry, I know I sound like a dick, but we all knew you were going to pass."

They talk, smoke, drink, and smoke some more. For some reason, the conversation shifts and Namjoon said, "Jungkook's here? I should come say hi," to which Taehyung asks, "You also know him?"

Namjoon gives him a look of bewilderment, head nodding slowly. "Yeah? He and Seokjin used to be together, of course I know him."

Yoongi wasn't sure at first why Taehyung's face turns sour, brows furrowing together and lips dragging down to a full on frown. "Oh, right. I keep forgetting you didn't know that." 

The nonchalance only serves to add more into Taehyung's shock. Namjoon going off tangent and jokingly saying that Jungkook is like the Sasuke to Seokjin's Naruto made things worst. Taehyung asks a lot of questions; vague answers and philosophical musings are what he gets in response. He drinks every time Namjoon says something about love.

Taehyung passes out on Yoongi's shoulder, asks for Seokjin every time he wakes up, and well, here they are. 

Back to where it began: the velveteen couch.

When Yoongi makes his way back to the center of where it started, he's not even shocked that Jungkook and Seokjin are also there.

From afar, they look ridiculously good together. Seokjin's sitting with his feet up and under his thighs, arms flailing widely as he speaks. Jungkook is sitting the same way, his denim jacket hanging on the back of the couch instead of his shoulders. The afterglow from coming down on ecstasy is obvious on their faces.

Up close? Their debate on Cloud Atlas versus Ratatouille has him shooting them a look of disgust because, Ratatouille wins, obviously. Only Seokjin would choose a three hour film revolving around multiple plots and eras over the heartwarming adventure of a discriminated cook.

"I'll agree with you if you tell me what your tattoo is."

"Never mind. You win, then. You and your rodent little chef."

"What is the-"

"Don't even finish that question, JK."

"You have no idea what I was going to ask."

"The scientific name of a rat?"

"No. Well, actually yes."

Yoongi side eyes them as he takes the empty seat beside Seokjin. Well, here is his proof that they are definitely attracted to each other. Have they been talking about rats this entire time?

He lays his head on Seokjin's shoulder, grabbing hold of his left arm and hugging it to his chest. Their conversation stutters, Seokjin's breathing fanning the top of his head as he asks Yoongi what's wrong, where has he been, or if he managed to find Taehyung.

"Joon's here. He'll take care of it," is Yoongi's mumbled response.

"What do you mean Joon's here?!" Seokjin shouts. He hears Jungkook ask, "Namjoon-sunbae?" out of surprise too.

Yoongi sighs. Noisy, it's too noisy. He wants his bed now. 

Every time Yoongi opens his eyes, there's a different scenario happening right before him.

In the very first scene, he feels more than sees. Familiar hands that could only be Namjoon's carding through his hair as he continue dozing in and out of sleep on Seokjin's shoulder.

The second contains Namjoon and Jungkook lighting up a blunt together, and he hears Seokjin say something he couldn't understand. 

Then there's Taehyung, sticking to Namjoon's side and shooting him worried glances from time to time across the couch.

The fourth time Yoongi opens his eyes, there's a body hugging him and Seokjin complains about how heavy they are. He hears a whispered, "Sorry, hyung," whispered to him. Yoongi doesn't need to check twice to know that it's Taehyung.

By the fifth and final time Yoongi wakes, not only is Taehyung fast asleep beside him, but so is Seokjin whose cheek is resting on top of Yoongi's head with his mouth partly open. 

To his surprise, Jungkook and Namjoon are actually conversing. The loud noise of people and music are gone. Yoongi's not sure how long he's been sleeping; probably long enough for the party to finally be over.

He tries to listen in on their conversation, this time closing his eyes shut on his own accord and not because sleep keeps on taking him. 

Namjoon is laughing at what Jungkook said that Yoongi's fog-filled mind doesn't catch.

"I'll give you a hint if you answer my question."

"Deal."

The vagueness of Namjoon's words and the quick agreement from Jungkook tickle Yoongi's curiosity.

"The question I asked when you were waiting outside the Dean's office to be interviewed and the answer you gave me.. when did you stop feeling that way?" 

Yoongi doesn't hear the answer, does not even know what the hell the question meant. Once Jungkook is done mumbling whatever is his response, Namjoon lets out a whistle.

Thankfully, one of them is still speaking at normal volume. "Damn," Yoongi hears Namjoon state, "That's crazy." 

Yoongi is so close to opening his eyes and demanding what is supposed to be crazy. 

"Guess I owe you that hint now."

What hint? For what? Why are you being so vague, Joonie?

"The day he dragged me to get it done, he was clutching several post-it notes on his hand. They were all neon yellow with writings in black marker. One was filled with strikethroughs and the other aligned like poetry. He said he realized something so profound it wasn't enough to just have it burned in his mind or highlighted; he wanted it on his skin. It's such a long time ago, so I won't pretend like you don't know what I'm talking about. Uh, if you even remember it."

Jungkook's reaction is to exhale as if he's been holding his breathe in underwater. "Please tell me he didn't get the entire thing?"

Namjoon scoffs, "Don't be so vain. He didn't use a single line on it."

"Then, what is it?" 

Yoongi cheers Jungkook on for the question. If Namjoon says some vague philosophical bullshit once more, he really will jump into the conversation and personally ask what it is. 

"Jungkook, it's a response."


jjk to ksj 
02. unfiltered unedited

were we ever friends back then?
saw you under partly blue skies
entity with persimmon and moss dye
felt full for the first time
i was rolling solo back then
one tree enough for me
maybe two grams when im feeling down on my knees
got motherboards and keys
never really cared for the sea
someday soon,
gear shift in three
and the sight of you next to me
maybe it will be muscle memory
magnets from places on a fridge;
a permanent fixture
know the way to you now i don’t need that google map picture
and if ever it comes down 
to when you wanna head south

if blues and greys and purples get too much
orange and green hues are tattooed on my eyelids
maybe finish off with a tab on my tongue
head off to the same path when my nikes were still young
on the way to you— a victory
even when i someday drive on the highway 
will probably be overcome with feelings and sincerity

i knew peace once
and no not peace through an ounce
but peace that keeps me going through these burning 
inhales.

Chapter Text

Tame.

The word doesn’t feel right on Seokjin’s tongue. Uneventful, perhaps?

Day by day. Everything goes. Phrases seem to describe it better. 

The pit pattering of the rain outside the med caf continues on, bringing a different kind of cold that an air conditioner can’t emulate. 

Oh. 

Monotonous.

That’s the word.

Seokjin’s life has been a repetitious cycle of going to school, wasting money on the PC Bang’s hourly rates, studying, and hanging out with his friends. 

The last one doesn’t even count because their hang outs are restricted to breakfasts and lunch times in the med caf and lounging in their apartment. 

Dinner is either convenience store food or skipped altogether.

For a group of people studying to save lives, med school culture is one of the most toxic environments one can partake in.

There’s also the fact that living in the city is expensive. When they were still in undergrad and studying far from the urban landscape, Seokjin’s most expensive purchase would be his cigarettes. 

Now, he would be lucky to find one meal that could’ve been three. There’s only so much school cafeteria food a person can take before their taste buds deteriorate from the lack of variety.

The rain is something new. 

Its been raining continuously, a three day streak. It is constant too; a drizzle when the clock strikes seven and pouring by the time it’s nine. It stops at five, when the moon comes and darkness shadows the concrete buildings.

Seokjin has come to appreciate the pause Wednesday brings. Dismissal before lunchtime and rain? It’s enough to cheer him up even though the upcoming hours promise slow torture courtesy of biochem. 

Time moves in slow motion when you realize that it is ticking, but time moves in 8x when you don't. 

Later, a biochem lecture. Next week, the final exams. And much later, studying with Jungkook. 

Seokjin's actually excited to see him. He wants to know how the rain is like when in the second topmost floor of the building. It must be comforting; music playing through clear speakers, watching the weather through floor to ceiling windows, and staying warm underneath thick blankets. 

Seeing Jungkook on Wednesdays is ritualistic at this point. Besides studying at coffeeshops or Jungkook's apartment, the only other time they hang out is when they play games on Friday nights until it's Saturday morning with Taehyung and Yoongi. The only time it's just the two of them are their study sessions that goes on business as usual.

All in all, their first semester as first years is almost over and it has been anti-climatic. An exciting beginning that is now plummeting, the months are similar to a downward trend on a graph. Ever since Taehyung's party, nothing exciting has happened. Really, the only thing keeping Seokjin on his toes is biochem.

Taehyung's hair has gotten longer; the dye slowly being overtaken by black roots. Seokjin allows himself a couple of seconds to stare above the space of Taehyung and Yoongi's bent heads, the two asleep on their usual table at the cafeteria, before pulling his phone out.

 

Jungkook

Where are we meeting later?

 

Five minutes pass and there is still no reply. Okay, perhaps it is too early, but their schedules match and Jungkook is usually up around this time. They ping pong over asking where they'll meet every week, and it's Seokjin's turn this time. 

There is a difference between hanging out with Jungkook when they are also with Taehyung and Yoongi versus just being the two of them. Jungkook is friendly, kind, and funny; that's constant. The four of them hanging out feels like some kind of clique-y jock slash nerd club meeting along with a ton of cigarette breaks.

When it's only the two of them, there is an obvious change in the air. Jungkook becomes mellow and quiet, preferring to speak with his actions over words. He doesn't ask Seokjin how he is and punctuates it with a hug like Taehyung, or veiled by banter the way Yoongi does. 

Jungkook cares for him through helping him study, or making sure he never has to smoke Marlboro lights. Seokjin's menthols are now officially a part of his grocery list it seems. 

Taehyung is starting to stir awake and there is still no reply. 

"Wake up now it's time for class." Seokjin says, closing his phone and pocketing it. Taehyung groans in response and Yoongi refuses to move. Seokjin's sure he is awake already and simply refusing to face the day. 

Standing up straight, the first thing Taehyung does is to slip his glasses back on his face. He blinks the sleep away from his eyes, turning to the side and shaking Yoongi by the shoulder who growls at him. The close friendship the three of them developed is set in stone now. Taehyung doesn't flinch at Yoongi's reaction and only serves to spur him into doing it more.

They hear Yoongi let out a noise that sounds like a mix between a groan and a sigh before raising his head up. There's a red mark on his right cheek, his eyes lidded. 

"I want to get out of here right now." Yoongi's voice is deeper than usual, groggy and sleep-laced. 

Seokjin wants to ruffle his hair, a sleepy and just awoken Yoongi a sight that makes him smile. He stops himself because he doesn't have a death wish. "Then let's go because it's time for class." 

Class passes akin to a daydream.

The usual.

Finals week is right around the corner, and even Taehyung who usually bombards their groupchat with messages the moment they separate into their classes has been keeping it minimal. Seokjin's been checking his phone, gaze hovering on a name that has yet to get a blue dot. He doesn't dare check it, the thought of being left on read giving him anxiety.

Seokjin tells himself that he's not giving himself too much self-importance to warrant quick replies, but this is not routine. He doesn't like not knowing what will happen, or worst, second guessing at the last minute. 

It's a testament to how far away his mind is compared to his body when his classmates start leaving the room and his eyes are still casted downwards to his phone.

The back of Yoongi's head obstructs the device, the other already standing and leaning on Seokjin's desk. "So that's why you've been more distracted than usual," Yoongi returns back to standing straight on his feet and regards Seokjin with a comforting smile, "Don't worry your pretty little head. No one can resist you."

"The fact that you're being nice about it is scaring me." Seokjin closes his phone, tucks it into his pocket, and proceeds to stand up. He carries his bag with one strap on one shoulder, other hand fishing the phone out again.

Yoongi grimaces at the obsession. "Just leave him a call. If he still won't reply, you can just come up his place and knock. What's the point of living in the same building as our friends if we can't bother them easily?"

Despite it being months, and that Jungkook has been a recurring guest in their three-man friend group, it still surprises Seokjin every time Yoongi refers to him that way.

Our friend. 

Not your friend, or my friend. Not your ex-boyfriend. Jungkook is now their friend. 

The two of them walk the path back to their apartment coming from the classroom with ease.

The umbrellas they use to shield their bodies from the rain is a sight to see when you're an onlooker. Yoongi's pitch black UV umbrella and Seokjin's cheap pastel pink one makes such a contrast. 

The path is finally familiar, their feet knowing the exact turns or when the road isn't level. Seokjin knows how many minutes it takes on a mid-day to get to his floor. Around six to ten minutes. Additional five if he takes a stop by Jungkook's floor.

Seokjin lets Yoongi push the buttons, his phone heavy on his hands so he returns it to his pocket. There is no difference in how the weight of it grounds him.

Funny how not getting a text back is what puts a wedge on the normalcy that is Seokjin's days. 

Exiting the elevator to the 14th floor, Yoongi walks ahead as Seokjin pauses. He looks back at the box of metal, already knowing he will be back there later.

Seokjin's very good with feelings. He always puts his self above comfort, a trait both admirable and in a way toxic. Right now, he feels crossed that Jungkook is ruining routine and not replying. He admits that there is a sprinkle of dramatics in that sentence, but who can blame him? He likes it when schedules are organized and not hindered by technological factors such as not getting a text back.

He catches up to Yoongi who has already unlocked the door and entering their apartment, shoes and umbrella left outside. Seokjin does the same, letting the rainwater pour down on the floor. The entire hallway is filled the same way; shoes, umbrellas, and watermarks from leather shoes a repeating pattern.

Yoongi drops his bag to the floor and jumps into his bed face first. Seokjin envies him, wanting to do the same. He locks the door behind them, the clicking sound coinciding with Yoongi looking up.

"You going up to Jungkook's?" Yoongi asks him, hugging one of his two pillows to his chest while laying his head on the other. 

Seokjin nods, walking to his side of their small room. "Yeah, you wanna come with me? I bet the acoustics in his place while it's raining sound amazing."

The response he gets is Yoongi curling on his side like a cat, eyes closing. "Turn the air conditioner up before you leave." 

"Yoongi, it's raining."

"Exactly."

"Okay, point taken."

Seokjin moves intrinsically. Wednesday afternoon rituals are second nature to his body and mind at this point. He leaves his school bag at the side of his bed, grabs a towel and casual clothes fit for the chilly weather, and heads to the bathroom. He turns the shower temperature up, letting the almost scalding water prick heat into his skin.

He steps out wearing his favorite oversized pink hoodie, trading the jeans he usually matches with it for black track pants he's pretty sure belongs to Namjoon. A white towel is draped over his head, strands still wet. The first thing he does is to sit on his bed, grabbing his phone from where he left it only to stare at a blank screen with no notification bubble.

"Oh, this fucker." 

It's a freudian slip, one that has Seokjin rapidly twisting his head to Yoongi's direction. His best friend is fast asleep, heaving chest an indication of it.

Seokjin envies him. Rainy afternoons in bed after a hellish lecture is pure bliss. And Seokjin doesn't really want to recall Heesu and their one year relationship but he was the last person Seokjin cuddled up to during times like this back in his old dorm. He misses wrapping his arms around someone, and he definitely misses having arms wrapped around him as well. 

Maybe it's time for Seokjin to start seeing people again. Living in the city will for sure offer up a lot of variety. He can already imagine all the potential matches he can get if he downloads Tinder. 

The idea makes him laugh. If he passes all his classes, he's going to download all the available dating apps in the app store and he will be going on several dates during the break as a reward. 

For now, Seokjin has to hunt his tutor down so he can get some studying done. The earlier they finish, the quicker he can emulate Yoongi's sleeping form. He squats down on the floor, opening his bag to grab his essentials. House keys and the iPad. Seokjin doesn't need to bring cigarettes or a lighter; Jungkook has that covered. 

Seokjin places his phone and keys inside the front pocket of his hoodie, iPad tucked underneath his arm. His trusty crocs are placed neatly by the entrance, his feet sliding into them easily. He turns the air conditioner on as per Yoongi's instructions and steps outside the room.

Thoughts of punching in Jungkook's passcode and barging in cross his mind multiple times while walking in the hallway and riding the elevator.

0423.

Seokjin guesses it's an important date, or it could be a random mishmash of numbers too, he doesn't really know. What's actually important is that Jungkook giving him his apartment's passcode is the same as him giving Seokjin a key to the place. 

A nudge to remind Seokjin that he is free to bother Jungkook anytime to make up for lost time.

The elevator ride isn't empty. Not so full that Seokjin has to attach himself on a wall, but enough to have him grimacing at the dripping wetness from umbrellas and shoes.

Students, professors, and health allied workers alike fill in and exit each floor. Seokjin amuses himself at what he and Yoongi call the med starter pack; a one toned backpack that is probably Fjällräven, a hydroflask either left blank or filled with stickers, and AirPods. Instead of standing out with such objects, it's so normal to see one or all three on students that they blend in with the scenery.

As the elevator ascends, less people filter in. Seokjin is left alone by the time he's two levels away from the Penthouse floor. He feels sudden excitement at the prospect of seeing Jungkook, possibly surprising him.

This isn't really the first time he suddenly visits unannounced, him and Yoongi usually making themselves comfortable in his apartment without notice during the past months while they wait for Taehyung to finish with his schedule for the day. They would lounge on Jungkook's couch, pass around the bong, then head to the PC Bang as a quartet of grad kids with red eyes and too much laughter shared among them. 

This is the first time Seokjin will be visiting him alone and willing, no invitation at that.

The automatic metal doors at last open to his destination. 

Stepping into the Penthouse floor still transports him to a different world. For some reason, the rainwater pooling on the marble tiles look cinematic and not an eyesore like the rest of the building's cottage stone flooring pattern.

The hallway is a one-line maze that the soles of his many shoes has kissed multiple times. Moving from here to there to where Jungkook resides is a trail he has memorized. His steps are squeaky against the floor, a sound he doesn't pay any mind until he actually gets to that one intersection between left and right to where the apartment is.

Seokjin stops on his tracks at the echoing of voices. He unconsciously moves closer to the wall, allowing him to see from a distance where the chatter is coming from. 

Jungkook is standing outside his apartment dressed not in uniform but a grey sweater and joggers styled visually similar to denim. Besides wearing casual clothes, he is the epitome of listlessness leaning on the doorway of his apartment, arms crossed over his chest and smiling down at another person. 

The girl present has her back turned, but that doesn't matter. Seokjin blinks owlishly instead at what is happening right in front of him. He decides to wait it out until she leaves. He'll walk up to Jungkook's door when it closes, knock, and tease him about it. He's already grinning at the thought of it.

Finally they can traverse the line of talking about other people they are seeing.

Well, he isn't really seeing anyone. Yet. 

It dawns on Seokjin that this is the reason why Jungkook hasn't been replying. Still doesn't explain why he wasn't replying all morning though, but Seokjin will let it pass. 

This thought process continues on as he watch them talk. Seokjin can see from where he is standing how Jungkook's got that flirtatious smolder on, the curl of his lips prominent.

It has Seokjin snorting, eyes rolling and feeling a bit judgmental. The only reason Jungkook can even back up his blatant ways is thanks to his face. 

(And his personality too. The way he is kind and caring and just overall lovely.)

Suddenly, the mood shifts. Instead of just looking on in interest, their conversation starts becoming clear to him.

She reaches out to brush his hair to the side, tucking in the length of it behind one ear.

"Are you sure? I'll buy you a similar one." She says, voice pretty and lilted. "We can schedule a trip out tomorrow, maybe dinner?"

"Exams are around the corner, noona. I'd have to pass up on that. Thanks for offering though."

Between the weird churning in his stomach and a bit of shock mixed with intrigue at her actions and words, Seokjin manages to insert a thought of, 'Even when he turns people down he's trying to be nice about it.'

She talks about calling him up again and soon. When she tells Jungkook, "Good luck on exams, Kook," she moves forward and tip toes to kiss him on the cheek. Jungkook doesn't move, completely unfazed. He remains standing, arms still crossed, and his only reaction a fluttering of his eyelashes far longer for it to be considered blinking. 

It's intimate, a gesture they are probably used to seeing as how natural it came. 

Seokjin's rushing back to the elevator without a minute to spare. His heart is beating fast, hands clammy, and feeling very guilty about seeing that transpire.

In those few seconds, he was an intruder. 

Catching his breath, he realizes that the elevator isn't moving. He jams on the number 14, palms sweaty and body heating up even though the air is cold. 

As the numbers go down and the seconds trickle by, Seokjin lets out a laugh. It sounds more like a nervous chuckle. 

I'll just text him again, no big deal. He decides, free hand reaching for his phone. The smooth elevator ride at least gives him the space of mind to re-center himself.

 

Jungkook

Hey, don't tell me you forgot about me already.

Your student is waiting :( 

 

Seokjin hits send and curses the sad face emoticon at the same time. Jungkook doesn't even know that he stumbled upon that moment and here he is trying to make light of the situation. 

He itches for a cigarette, inhaling and pumping nicotine into his bloodstream a distraction he clearly needs.

Lunch time just ended and Seokjin's gone through a plethora of emotions already it's giving him vertigo.

He has no idea how much time has passed, ten minutes give or take, and he's already back inside the apartment.

Yoongi is thankfully still asleep.

If he was awake, Seokjin would be ranting right now about how Jungkook is choosing hoes over bros. Or something similar to it worded in a pretentious manner so Yoongi wouldn't be giving him the look; an expression of his awareness that Seokjin is just bullshitting through processing his emotions.

Deciding to do exactly that, he places the electronic devices he's been carrying on the nightstand between his and Yoongi's bed.

Sparing his phone one last glance before hitting his head on the downy pillows, Seokjin familiarizes himself with the ceiling. He hasn't done this sort of thing in a while. Now all he needs is a joint, an ambient playlist, and it's like he's back to being 19 years old wondering why someone won't text him back.

Seokjin knows exactly why he's worked up about the ordeal. He used to hate when Yoongi's girlfriends or boyfriends snatch his attention. Namjoon was very dedicated to academics, only resorting to random hook-ups that still manage to make Seokjin pout when he's been planning to hang out but the older tells him no. 

He is very possessive of his friends, and they know it. It's not a big deal since Seokjin keeps it to himself, sometimes shared with the free third person who more than half the time is Namjoon. Usually, it concerns loosing time with Yoongi since he always get into fights with his significant others.

To conclude, it makes sense that he feels this way over Jungkook forgetting about their Wednesday afternoons because of a date. Or a hook-up.

An image of the girl running her fingers through Jungkook's hair resurface in his mind. The way he stands in wait as she does, all cool and picture perfect. The entire thing felt similar to watching a scene straight out of a movie.

I need a goddamn hobby, Seokjin decides, Too much studying is rotting my brain.

In all honesty, Seokjin could just as easily grab the iPad and study by himself. 

He doesn't.

Glaring at the ceiling because his phone is still not ringing, beeping, vibrating, or just anything, Seokjin focuses on the cracks he never noticed.

Seokjin actually has legitimate reason to be irritated now. He literally just saw Jungkook moments ago, awake and with no reason to not be replying. Seokjin is being ignored and by Jungkook of all people. He scoffs at the thought of it, starting to think of petty ways to get back at the other. 

Without realizing it, Seokjin's falling asleep to thoughts of perhaps deleting Jungkook's number. Or ignoring him until the semester is over. He won't pull through with it obviously, but it's enough to keep him entertained until sleep claims him.


Jungkook

good afternoon to my favorite hyung

sorry i couldnt reply 

i definitely did not forget about you

was just busy all morning

but im free now!

ill meet you wherever you are :D


Yoongi wakes up to Illuminate, Seokjin's phone text tone. His eyes adjust easily to the darkness of the room, the afternoon nap resting his mind and body completely. It's been so long since he woke up refreshed and not wishing for sleep to take him again. 

Reaching underneath the pillow for his phone, he's surprised that he slept this long. The time flashing says 8:51 PM, a couple notifications filling half of the screen. He clicks on the previews instead of actually opening them, wanting to remain unbothered for tonight. 

Taehyung sent a picture on their groupchat and some emojis hinting on sleep. Even Taehyung who is usually a ball of energy is getting beat up by the upcoming finals week. There are messages from school groupchats, PowerPoints and Google Drive links being shared. Yoongi ignores those because Jungkook's notes have proven to be superior.

Speaking of Jungkook, his contact name is included among the sea of notifications. It's a rare occurrence, the other always messaging Seokjin when he needs to relay something to Yoongi. The message was sent around four in the afternoon.

Curiosity gets the better of him, rolling on his back to read what the messages contain.

 

Jeon Jungkook

yoongi-hyung

are you with seokjin-hyung?

 

The message catches him off guard because it's a Wednesday and Seokjin should be with Jungkook, not the other way around.

Glancing to the side, he jumps a bit at the sight of a broad back clad in their favorite pink hoodie facing him. 

Now isn't this interesting.

 

Jeon Jungkook

hes right here at the apartment

whats up?

 

hey hyung!

i was trying to contact him all afternoon to study

he wasnt replying so i got worried

 

oh cause hes asleep

i was sleeping too so i only saw your text rn

ur welcome to drop by btw

 

nah its fine he should rest

 

aight

im gonna come up the roof deck to smoke

u wanna join?

 

yeah sure! meet you there in ten?

 

yeah yeah

 

Yoongi kicks his blanket away, jumping out of bed at the idea of a post-rain smoke.

Standing up, he realizes he's still in uniform. Sighing at the inconvenience, he walks to the closet and rummages for whatever he could find.

Yoongi ends up with a black sweater that is definitely Namjoon's and joggers. He quickly gets dressed, moving to grab his Marlboro lights in the refrigerator and a copy of the apartment keys he left on the nightstand. 

Looking over his best friend, Yoongi chuckles when he spots it. Seokjin's wearing the matching pants to Namjoon's sweater. Well, it's his now and Namjoon doesn't need to know that. 

Yoongi realizes that they missed dinner. He's been asleep for eight hours straight after all. It's funny how Yoongi only remembers to care for himself when he sees other people neglecting themselves. 

He lays his hand on Seokjin's shoulder, gently shaking him. 

Between the both of them, Seokjin is easy to wake.

Seokjin's eyes open, red and blinking the sleep away. His face is a bit puffy and hair messy, a combination that should spell disarray but only serves to make Seokjin look cuter than normal.

"I'll pick up dinner, what do you want?" 

Seokjin says something that sounds like, "Mm— wha?" before burying his head into the pillow again. Yoongi waits for him patiently.

"You choose," Seokjin mumbles within a minute of his silence, "Just make sure to get me Pocari."

"Okay, got it. You're gonna keep sleeping? I'm going for a smoke first if you wanna join." 

"Would love to. Too lazy though, very tired."

Yoongi unconsciously raises a brow at the choice of words. "Tired from what? Did you come from somewhere?"

"Uh huh. Mind overworked, mentally exhausted." Seokjin sounds physically tired too, and it changes Yoongi's mind about telling him who he's meeting up with.

He can fish out information from Jungkook instead. Yoongi's a hundred percent sure that something is up based on the text messages he received and how Seokjin is here. 

Pre-exam dramas are always a fun way to destress from the upcoming hellish week. 

With that in mind, Yoongi slips out of their room and makes his way to the roof deck. He wonders about dinner, and how it'll probably just be McDonald's. Either that or convenience store food. He shudders at the idea of mass produced ramyeon noodles and energy drinks, the idea of dry fast food chicken leagues better already. The money that could be saved keeps him from deciding on it instantly. 

Reaching the roof deck without pause from fellow elevator riders, Yoongi is surprised to find not only Jungkook but Taehyung as well when he rounds the granite marble slab to what they have dubbed as their 'smoking spot.' 

They're already smoking, Marlboro lights lit up and the smoke curling up into the atmosphere. The roof deck smells strongly of petrichor and cigarettes, air chilly and the night sky an endless black. 

On Jungkook's hand is a box of Marlboro blues, the ones he usually bring to the PC Bang so Seokjin wouldn't have to smoke light. Seriously speaking, Jungkook's been spoiling Seokjin more than he does, and that's saying something.

"Thanks for the invite." Taehyung grumbles at him, giving Yoongi the stink eye.

"Your last message were sleeping emojis. What was I supposed to think?" Yoongi's getting out his own stick, Jungkook's signature black lighter being handed to him. 

"Whatever, hyung. If I didn't go up to smoke I wouldn't know you guys were meeting up." 

Yoongi hands the lighter back to Jungkook who pockets it. Taehyung remains seated on the granite slab while he and Jungkook stand. Yoongi waits for one of the two to bring Seokjin up.

As always, Taehyung can be trusted to address such things. "Where's Seokjinnie?"

"Sleeping. Actually, he's already up since I said I'm buying dinner."

At the mention that Seokjin is awake, Jungkook straightens up. Yoongi hides the amused grin on his lips by hitting his cigarette. 

"So," Yoongi begins the interrogation nonchalantly after exhaling the smoke upwards, "Why didn't you guys study?"

"I had a busy day. Only managed to ask where we're meeting around two I think?" 

Their little group of four, mostly three really, has been hanging out a lot. Too much, actually, that Yoongi sometimes forget Jungkook isn't just their 2nd year senior and year younger friend; he also used to be with Seokjin.

Certain actions remind him of this fact, the latest example happening right in front of his eyes.

Jungkook takes a drag from his cigarette and instead of inhaling and exhaling from his mouth, he lets it exit from his nose. It's a nuance that Seokjin does when he wants to run away from his thoughts, putting his sole focus on not letting cigarette smoke touch his lungs and breathing it out of a different orifice.

Yoongi's not sure if Jungkook learned it from Seokjin or the other way around. He'll probably never know, but it's those small things that serve as reminder that they shared a past. 

Other times they don't even try to hide it. The four of them could randomly be hanging out and Seokjin would lean over, whisper some inside joke, and Jungkook would be doubling over in laughter. There's also scenarios when Seokjin would take too long to come out of the shower, promising to follow up at the PC Bang in fifteen, and Jungkook knows what convenience store snack to pick for him without asking.

Jungkook and Seokjin could be dating again and Yoongi wouldn't be surprised about it. 

"It's her right? That pretty senior you're banging?" Taehyung's question halt Yoongi's musings, their conversation certainly taking a different turn.

Jungkook laughs, eyes rolling and not looking at Taehyung. "Shut up."

"See, you're not even denying it!" Taehyung cackles, stubbing his cigarette on the granite slab's soil filled center behind him. "I saw her standing outside your place when I went to school earlier. What was that about? Talk about fucking early." 

"Come on, now. We only ate breakfast together; she's a friend. I have morning classes too you know."

"I'm not gonna sit here and listen to you lie, Jeon." Taehyung singsongs. "And seriously though, if I had a place of my own, then I wouldn't have to sneak around my parents' backs about my business and enjoy life to the fullest too."

A pause. Taehyung and Yoongi look at Jungkook expectantly for confirmation. Melting under their gazes, he scoffs and finally admits to it. "Okay, fine. She came for breakfast and I told her she could stay as long as she needed to. I mean, we really are friends so I let her hang out. What I didn't expect was to find her still there when I came back after class."

"I won't even ask cause I'm pretty sure we all know what that lead to." Taehyung says, smug about how sure he is of guessing correctly.

"We're talking about someone else's sex life, stop being proud about being right." Yoongi mutters morosely, finishing the last of his cigarette. 

As if a switch was turned on inside his head, the pieces connect in Yoongi's brain. "Wait, is that why you didn't meet Seokjin?" 

"Couldn't, Yoongi-hyung. I couldn't. I was down to meet but I guess he didn't see my messages." 

"What you should be saying is," Taehyung interjects, "You replied so late he probably got fed up waiting. Hyung hates it when routine isn't followed, you know?"

Jungkook's eyebrows furrow, lips lopsided. "I do know that." Taehyung narrows his eyes at the other, and Yoongi can only sigh. 

Taehyung, who spent a week being weird around Seokjin whenever Jungkook is with them or his name is simply brought up, now refuses to acknowledge the fact that they used to date. 

("Seokjin-hyung is allergic to garlic, don't buy him that." Taehyung says, looking over Jungkook's shoulder as he holds up two set meals from the convenience store's pantry.

Jungkook turns to him slowly, a look of irritation crossing his features that immediately gets schooled back to his usual laidback expression.

Still, he answers back through gritted teeth. 

"I'm aware, thanks.")

Yoongi thinks Taehyung's only acting this way to get a rise out of Jungkook, and frankly, it does work. Jungkook is a great friend to have. Besides what is already known by almost everyone, like how ridiculously handsome and good at everything he is, Jungkook is everything you would want in a friend. He's low-maintenance, you don't need to always be hitting him up. It's also easy to talk to him, and he's just genuinely nice. 

To sum it up, Jungkook is cool guy personified. 

Seeing his mask of absolute calm crack every time Taehyung acts like he knows more about Seokjin than Jungkook does is an inside joke between Taehyung and Yoongi at this point. They don't mention it, but Yoongi knows that Taehyung is laughing inwardly and he's doing the same thing.

"So if you know that then why didn't you confirm to meet him today? Bet he's deleting your contact number right about now." Taehyung goads him on, smirking at Jungkook.

Yoongi, trying to be the bigger person, cuts into their conversation. "Taehyung's accompanying me to buy dinner. I'll give you our room key, you can go talk to him." 

Taehyung is quick to protest about it. "Why am I going with you? I wanna see Seokjin-hyung too!"

"No, you're coming with me." Yoongi digs into his pocket to hand Jungkook a plain black keyring with two keys dangling from it. "One's for the door knob, other is for the double lock up top."

Jungkook accepts it cautiously, still seeming to process Taehyung and Yoongi's words. "Is this really okay? I don't want to barge in so suddenly."

"Jungkook-ah, you have knuckles for a reason: use them and knock on the door."


Seokjin did not expect this to be the sight that greets him when he got up from bed to check who is at the other side of the door. He thought it would be Yoongi, knocking because he left his keys or just to spite him into getting out of bed. 

Jungkook, whose messages he left on read, is currently standing in front of his and Yoongi's apartment. He watches the younger pull his phone out, the light coming from it bathing his face in a white glare as he taps on it quickly. As soon as his hands return to his sides, Seokjin's text tone is heard loudly inside the cold and quiet apartment.

Walking over to the nightstand where he left the device, he only checks the notifications and doesn't open them.

 

Jungkook

seokjin-hyung

are you up?

 

Another message comes through before Seokjin could delete the notification bubbles from the screen. 

 

Jungkook

i actually met up with yoongi-hyung and tae

so...

i know you are

can you let me in?

 

Seokjin curses Yoongi under his breath, the traitor. He throws the phone on the bed and walks back to the entryway, peeping to check if Jungkook is still outside. It doesn't surprise him that the other remains standing there. 

Maybe if he keeps up with the entire charade of ignorance, Jungkook would take the hint and go away.

The silence doesn't deter Jungkook, much to Seokjin's irritation. He crosses his arms and leans his shoulder on the wooden door, holding his ground and forcing himself to not look through the peephole one more time. 

Another knock. Still soft and not showing any signs of impatience or irritation.

How many knocks and seconds has it been? Seokjin's temperamental self would have left at around the five minute mark. 

"Hyung," Jungkook's voice makes him jump. "I know you're in there. Your crocs are right outside your doorstep. Can we talk?"

Seokjin mentally curses out capitalism and paper thin walls that should be soundproof when their rent is taking so much out of his parents' wallet.

There's a certain rush he is experiencing, like this is all happening to another person and he is watching from afar. Seokjin stands his ground and doesn't move. 

The ringing of his phone crumbles his resolve. It's on his bed, the other side of the room basically. Even from afar, Seokjin can see the name on the caller ID. He throws caution to the wind, jumps into bed, and answers his phone.

Seokjin says, "Go away," the same time Jungkook opens the conversation with, "What's wrong?"

Seokjin's not sure where to start with what exactly is wrong, afraid of the words coming off as too much. 

"Why have you been ignoring me?"

Jungkook's voice echoes from where he is standing right outside the door of Seokjin's apartment and directly to his ear. Seokjin hasn't even said anything and Jungkook already sounds like he is ready to apologize. It makes him feel a bit guilty. Only a bit.

"I think you know why."

A sigh. "Yeah, I do. I know, and that's why I'm hoping you'll open the door so I can say sorry in person. And talk about it too." 

The admission has his head spinning.

In Seokjin's mind, there is a Jungkook with hair cut straight and short, full bangs covering his head and no piercing in sight.

This Jungkook doesn't communicate, only ever apologizing when Seokjin needs to hear it.

This Jungkook is rapidly disappearing from memory. He's being replaced by a new one who is standing outside Seokjin's door wanting to talk about something that isn't even that concerning.

(Once upon a time, when Seokjin was associated to Jungkook in the romantic sense, they didn't know what to do with themselves whenever they fought.

 Jungkook would stare at him with wide eyes and hands instantly reaching out to hold his because he has no idea what to do with them. He's quick to apologize but he's never good with talking about it.

A quick sorry and everything is fine again

Like putting a bandage on knees you repeatedly scrape until it peels away from pressure and cuts.)

"Come on, hyung. I don't really want to say sorry through the phone." 

Seokjin agrees with that. On another hand, he's slowly realizing that Jungkook doesn't need to apologize. His pettiness is becoming evident to him, the thought of it pushing him to finally sliding the double lock to the left and turning the knob counterclockwise.

Seeing Jungkook standing in front of him is different compared to the image the peephole provided. They stare at each other, Jungkook blinking in surprise while Seokjin's move from the other's face to his hand. 

Jungkook is holding Yoongi's keys. 

"You could've just opened the door yourself," Seokjin tells him, "Instead of making me get out of bed." Seokjin stands to the side to let Jungkook in who is already toeing off his shoes. 

"I have manners."

The words are out of Seokjin's mouth before he could swallow them down. "Yeah, right." The accompanying snort adds a sprinkle to the obvious sarcasm. 

Jungkook pauses at the doorway to say, "Damn, at least let me in first." 

Settling on the floor at the space between Seokjin and Yoongi's bed, Jungkook smiles up at him to pat the empty spot next to him. 

Seokjin feels the corners of his mouth twitching. He scolds himself internally at how easy he is making this for Jungkook. "I'm fine right here." 

"Take a seat already." Jungkook whines in exasperation, "At least let me get a good look at you."

"Now you're just saying anything." Seokjin ends up obliging, and perhaps he was just being difficult about it for the sake of keeping up appearances. He sits next to Jungkook with his feet flat on the ground, legs bent and close to his chest. 

Jungkook moves closer to him, forever uncaring about personal space. He bumps their shoulders together, so close to Seokjin he can see up close the mole under Jungkook's lip. The little dot and its perfect positioning never failing to attract his gaze. 

Seokjin pretends to maintain eye contact by staring instead at the scar on Jungkook's cheek.

"You want to go first and tell me why you're angry?" Jungkook's opening sentence is objectively good. To Seokjin though, it's unexpected and only has him sputtering in disbelief.

Jungkook waits for him to stop glaring. Seokjin eventually does let off, lips pursing together in preparation for the outpour of emotions.

"Look, if only you told me a day or even an hour early that you're busy we wouldn't be sitting here talking about stupid shit. It's petty to get angry about messages unanswered but today is our day and you didn't even give me a heads-up about not being able to meet. I just don't like feeling out of depth, like I don't know where I'm supposed to go or what to do especially when I only have half the control on an activity."

Seokjin is given time to mull over his words. He's pretty sure he didn't manage to get everything out there, but there's no use dwelling about it. He himself don't even know where to begin.

Jungkook kills time by copying his stance. Adding to their touching shoulders are their knees, Jungkook's arms are resting on top of Seokjin's bed, his right sloping on the pillows near the headboard while his left lay flat.

Only when he's stretching like this does Seokjin remember how broad Jungkook has become. 

"First off, I'm sorry I didn't tell you in advance. I should be following through with my responsibilities since I'm the one who suggested Wednesday study sessions in the first place. I really am sorry about it. I have no excuse except that I was busy and had no time to check my phone until it was already two in the afternoon."

It's all Seokjin needed to hear, really. Talking about something so minuscule, in his perspective, is already embarrassing.

Jungkook continues on. "Second, don't call it petty or stupid. How you reacted is valid and normal. Tell me when I'm acting shitty and I'll listen, especially when I'm doing it to you. Your feelings are important to me." 

Four sentences and Seokjin feels lighter. He hates himself for being so easy, and he also hates himself for wanting to uphold a grudge. 

Jungkook's left hand comes up to settle on the side of Seokjin's head, cradling the shape of it on his palm.

"Not just how you feel towards me." The flashing grin directed at him that should be nothing but friendly doesn't lessen the impact of his following words. "You, overall, is important to me. And remember what you said before? I don't know if you do because its been five years, but it's something I keep close despite everything. We talked about Ghibli films, and you alluded it to therapy."

The brush of Jungkook's fingers against his scalp, steady and grounding him to one place gives his monologue emphasis as Seokjin listens. 

"It’s memorable because you introduced such a fresh take over that little insecurity I had. With other people, it was always about how they think it’s okay, and so I should be okay with it too. But you, you told me its normal I felt bad about it. You had faith that I’ll end up embracing it someday, and that was the most encouraging thing I’ve ever heard. So, you know-"

A loud banging on the door cuts their conversation. They jump at the noise, Jungkook's hand returning to the bed while Seokjin rushes to get up. 

Without checking who it is, Seokjin pulls the door away from its hinges. 

Taehyung and Yoongi stand outside holding several plastic bags with the downstairs convenience store logo printed on them.

"You guys made up?" Yoongi asks, not bothering with greetings. Taehyung at least grins at him, saying his hellos.

Seokjin doesn't ask Yoongi why he knows, the thought of it another headache for him. "Why did you buy so much food?"

"Because we're going up Kook's place to take bong rips while playing the PS4." 

The person in question gets up from the floor to stand beside Seokjin, confusion evident on his face. "We are?"

"Tae and I decided ten minutes ago, so yes we are."

Jungkook shrugs, Seokjin sighs in defeat, and minutes later the four of them are piling inside Jungkook's apartment. 

Leaving their shoes by the door, Seokjin suppresses a laugh at the three pairs of crocs. The iconic pink being his, Taehyung and his green one with random charms, and Jungkook who apparently has black glossy ones. Yoongi's Birkenstocks stick out like a sore thumb among everyone else's.

They all sit on Jungkook's couch, the width of it long enough for there to still be space. 

Finely grounded green and orange buds that smell strongly of diesel is dumped into the bowl piece, the honor of a fresh hit being given to Yoongi. He passes it to Taehyung who accepts in excitement. Seokjin watches him hit the bong so cleanly despite never smoking until they met him. 

Handing it to Seokjin, the other accepts it hesitantly. Call him a baby but Seokjin never liked smoking with the bong, the burn and cough too much for him. Unless he's feeling up to numbing his mind until morning comes, like the first time he asked to bother Jungkook for the night, he tends to prefer his crystal pipe or a good old-fashioned joint. 

Seokjin turns automatically to his left, reaching over Taehyung leaning on the couch to tap Yoongi on the shoulder. 

Yoongi glares at him, gesturing with his hands to 'Just take the bong hit, god.' Seokjin responds with a pout, conveying his words through the jutting of his bottom lip: 'But I don't want to. Yoongi, do something.'

Giving Seokjin one last look of irritation, Yoongi calls attention to their host. "Do you have a pipe he can use?" 

Jungkook gets up from the couch where he's sitting next to Seokjin without a word. He enters one of the two rooms in his huge apartment that they all found out a few months ago was his gaming room and closet. He comes back within a minute, clear glass pipe in hand. 

Seokjin watches Jungkook kneel on the carpeted floor, grinding more bud and filling the pipe's mouth to the brim. He reckons that if they didn't 'fight,' Jungkook would be bullying him into using the bong the same way Yoongi does. Seokjin would complain only to end up hitting it more times than any of them, bottles of Pocari being chugged after every burning inhale.

In the background, Taehyung and Yoongi are up and heading to the kitchen where the food is. Jungkook waits for him to finish the bowl, watching him from a distance. 

An air of tension surrounds them, or that's what Seokjin think. He hands the pipe back with a thanks, he receives a "You're welcome." 

He joins Taehyung and Yoongi standing around the marble countertops, picking out the store-heated meal set they got him. He waits for the high to claim him, purposefully unwrapping his food slowly.

At the other side of the room, the bubbling sound of air as Jungkook takes a hit has Seokjin looking up in watch. It fascinates him how he manages to make smoke rings when he exhales, perfect circles of transparent cloud dissolving into nothingness. 

"What game should I put on?" Jungkook asks, already crouching down by the coffee table to where he keeps his collection of games neatly inside the drawers. 

Yoongi is quick to say, "My Hero."

Taehyung hurries up eating at the mention of it. "I'll be taking revenge on your Uraraka."

"Dream on, you Todoroki one trick." 

They eat in record time, dumping the food containers in the plastic bags it came with. They may be rowdy but at least they have manners. Seokjin listens with one ear while Jungkook tells the two who made themselves comfortable on the floor about some new downloadable content he just got.

Weed is magic, really. The bland and unseasoned food he's gulping down is satiating him in ways a normal Seokjin wouldn't get.

"Why did you take Todoroki away?!" Taehyung screeches.

"Oh, sorry. Picked wrong."

Seokjin doesn't need to look up to see that Yoongi has that small upwards pull on his lips and definitely not sorry about it. 

Hearing their shouting over each other and Jungkook's laughter, Seokjin realizes that despite all the academic burden and stress, his first semester in med school has been filled with happiness.

Going from being left by his batch, graduating a year late, and leaving behind a meaningless relationship to this was worth it.

The road to here from there was rocky, but he survived. Backed up by Namjoon and Yoongi, and now with the addition of Jungkook and Taehyung, Seokjin gets overcome by gratefulness. 

The weed makes him so sentimental.

One minute he's picking on his chicken, and now he's suddenly all too aware of how he got to this particular moment: standing in the kitchen of the one person he never expected to get over, let alone befriend. 

Finishing his food, Seokjin stacks it on top of Taehyung and Yoongi's own containers, tying the plastic bag in a ribbon and picking it up from the counter.

Jungkook mentioned way back about how Seokjin acts like he came with the apartment; that's undeniable now. He won't use the same wording, but Seokjin knows exactly what kitchen cabinet  to open when you're looking for the trash compactor. He knows that Jungkook's hand wash sitting on the kitchen sink smells of cedar, rosemary, and mandarin, an amber tinted bottle labeled Aesop Resurrection Aromatique that never seem to empty. 

Seokjin lets the water drip down his fingertips. Jungkook doesn't believe in the concept of paper or hand towels, and Seokjin usually just wipes them on his pants, but the THC is telling him to slow down.

He walks back to where the others is, stomach full and hands dry.

The three of them are on the floor, Jungkook playing against Taehyung using Todoroki. Definitely Yoongi's suggestion to tilt Taehyung off.

Seokjin sits on the couch, climbing up to it. 

Jungkook wins. He always does. He hands Yoongi the controller, turning his back and glancing upwards to Seokjin sitting on the couch with his arms crossed over his chest and lower lip jutted out. 

Seokjin’s form is drowning in the oversized pink hoodie he is wearing, eyes red from the smoke and avoiding his own.

It reminds him of the times they used to fight when they were still together. Seokjin isn’t the type to walk out, no, he’d sit with you in silence and perhaps hold your hand while still glaring daggers.

The scenario right now is so similar to a time that has passed it could’ve been deja vu. 

Jungkook shouldn’t find it adorable because friends supposedly angry at you is not a cute situation to be in.

Moving on instinct, he reaches his right hand out to Seokjin’s own who swats it away just as quickly.

The sound it makes isn’t loud enough to distract the two others sitting on his carpeted floor with him, too immersed into playing My Hero. 

Seokjin doesn’t say anything but Jungkook might as well have heard the words, “Don’t touch me I’m mad at you.” 

The image in his head makes him grin, toothy and directed at Seokjin whose eyes narrow.

Jungkook turns his entire body around to the couch, back facing the television that is showing Taehyung and Yoongi playing as their chosen characters. 

Their shouts and taunts toward the other permeate the room, allowing Jungkook to focus his attention solely on Seokjin without eyes trailing his every movement. He only needs one gaze directed at him right now. 

Seokjin keeps watch on the screen, back rigid. 

Jungkook places both his palms down on each side of Seokjin’s body just beside his hips. 

The action has Seokjin glancing down at him, eyes leveled on Jungkook and one eyebrow raised in question. 

“What?” 

Jungkook’s fingers drum against the fabric of the midnight green velveteen couch, smiling up at the other and so obviously pretending that Seokjin’s scowling isn’t being bestowed on him. 

“How can I make it up to you? Expensive coffee? Burgers? Or does ice cream still work?”

Jungkook has apologized, yes, the real question is: has it been accepted? 

If Seokjin wants to play the long game, then he's down for that. 

Seokjin rolls his eyes, huffing and chest puffing out. “Arrogant of you to assume I can be appeased with food.”

“Then tell me. Can’t have you frowning all weekend, can I?”

“It’s not that big of a deal anyway.” Seokjin mumbles, softening up instantly.

It’s obvious that he’s in a constant battle between saying 'Yes, we're okay now stop it,' and 'I'm going to hold you onto it just because I can.

Who knew trying to be friendly again with someone you were never friends with could be this hard? 

“I want a McFlurry.” Seokjin suddenly says. He could either keep pouting about it, pretending he's not over it, or get ice cream. Not really a hard decision. 

Jungkook’s grin only gets wider. “For you? The world.” 

The sentence has Seokjin burning. Thank goodness Jungkook is already turning around and getting up, asking the others in the room if they also want McDonalds. 

Taehyung, fed up with his ass getting beat up by both Jungkook and Yoongi, voices his agreement to McDonalds instantly. 

"We just ate." Yoongi says yet he is already up from the floor and walking to the doorway. 

"But ice cream." Taehyung counters. No one argues with him.

They ride the elevator in silence, each of them lost in whatever mindset the high brings them. Taehyung sticks to Seokjin, arms linked and cheek resting on the older's shoulder. Seokjin lets him, exchanging grins with Yoongi at Taehyung's clinginess. 

Jungkook stands beside Yoongi, backs leaning on the elevator's metal wall. They watch as the numbers go down until they reach the 2nd floor lobby that is, unsurprisingly, still crowded.

Taehyung shifts his body, pulling Seokjin close to him by moving their entwined arms and encircling his around Seokjin's neck. Seokjin hits him on the stomach with his elbow, "Stop being so obvious."

"I'll bet you money that more than half of the people queuing inside McDonalds are stoned as well."

It's Jungkook and Yoongi who push the glass double doors entering the fast food chain for their two companions lost in their little world talking about McDonalds' secret menu and how maybe they should get a burger or two.

"Always the babysitters." Yoongi mumbles to Jungkook in reference to the two of them. Jungkook chuckles, completely in agreement. They let the two walk ahead of them and line up while they stand on the side in watch.

"We need to have a one-on-one smoke session soon, hyung." 

"Oh, definitely. Out smoking each other without the two babies? What a dream."

"How's Namjoon-hyung by the way? What's he up to lately?"

"He's doing his residency already; Namjoon's allergic to taking breaks. Between you and me, I think the hospital he's training at scouted him before the board results were even out."

"I kind of expected that from him. What's he specializing at?"

"Psychiatry. He's been preparing for it his entire life, way back undergrad." 

"His dedication is unreal, huh? My cousin's a practicing psychiatrist, actually. He can hit me up anytime if he needs the connections."

Yoongi smirks at him, assessing Jungkook knowingly and using his own words to him. "Of course you got the connections, I kind of expected that from you."

Cutting into their conversation is Taehyung who says, "The ice cream machine is fucking broken."

"Isn't it always?" is Yoongi's monotonous reply to the declaration. 

Jungkook instantly seeks Seokjin, who only shrugs. 

Maybe Yoongi is a mind-reader, or maybe it's an unspoken agreement between them that he is Taehyung's guardian while Jungkook is assigned to Seokjin because he pulls the other away.

"Let's go, we can check out 711 for ice cream."

He drags a scowling Taehyung by the neck despite their height difference out of the McDonald's without a word to the two left behind. 

Seokjin clears his throat, hands inside the pockets of his pants. "How can I ever forgive you now with no McFlurry?"

"Well," Jungkook's eyes are twinkling in mischief, "We can ditch and go find a McDonald's with a working ice cream machine."

Seokjin's eyes widen at the idea. "What, like a night drive?"

The last time they were stuck together in a moving vehicle was a bad time, something they would both love to erase from memory. Heesu has stopped bothering Seokjin since then, the threat from Jungkook seemingly effective. 

"Yeah, like a night drive."

Unspoken between those lines are words such as: "Yeah, like a night drive. Just like what we wanted to do all those years back, when we were stuck in a place canopied by trees and filled with cow shit, when we thirsted for the closeness of modernity. When I had no idea what switching lanes meant, and we dreamt about night driving to the city and were okay simply idealizing and not actually doing something about it." 

Because Jungkook is standing right here and he has done it. 

And he will do more.'

The thought of that one makes Seokjin ache. Nostalgic, bittersweet, and most importantly: he's proud of him. 

"We shouldn't. I'll end up too tired for classes." Seokjin smiles at him, not as an apology for turning him down but as a thank you for the offer.

"You're finally smiling. I haven't seen you smile the entire day." Jungkook smiles too, turning into a full grin when Seokjin scowls.

"Shut up, you're so annoying. Maybe if you keep to schedule I would be doing it more."

Ignoring the jibe, Jungkook all of a sudden says, "What's keeping you busy tomorrow? I'm familiar with your schedule and I know you only have afternoon class."

"I don't know about you, mister number-one-in-his-year, but the rest of us can't just survive through pure discipline." 

And just like that they're okay again. Laughing as they walk out the McDonald's, Seokjin increasing his stride so that he can open the door for them and mockingly bow as Jungkook exits. 

"Hey," Jungkook's voice stops Seokjin on his tracks, turning around with a raised brow at the other. When they are standing in front of each other, he continues, "You have something to do tomorrow after class, hyung."

Seokjin's nose scrunches at the statement. "No, I don't."

"Yes, you do." 

The confident look on Jungkook's face confuses Seokjin more.

Scoffing, he plays along and asks, "Well, what am I supposed to be doing after class, JK?"

"You're going on a date with me." Jungkook sounds so sure about it. It almost has Seokjin believing in it instantly.

The shock over it wins, and Seokjin's very inarticulate response is, "What- I' am?"

The confidence Jungkook exudes falter a bit, his eyes drooping down and, Seokjin cannot believe it, he starts pouting at him. "Unless you don't want to."

Seokjin can pretend he isn't caught off guard by the word choice, or he could also say no. It's a word Namjoon, Yoongi, and him use repeatedly in the friendly sense. This is Jungkook though, and no matter how close of friends they become, it doesn't erase away their dating history.

So instead of giving himself unneeded drama and inner turmoil, Seokjin asks, "I don't know, it depends on what kind of date it is." 

Jungkook didn't have to answer, the reddening of his cheeks confirmation for Seokjin that he didn't mean it that way. "A friendly one. I mean a friendly date. As friends."

Seokjin, who usually is the one getting flustered over Jungkook, takes this as his opportunity to tilt the other off his axis. "Why are you blushing then?"

"Hyung, I'm not." Jungkook looks to the side, avoiding Seokjin's eyes. He's standing straighter, hands inside his pockets, and Seokjin imagines that if he was wearing a hat he would be pulling it down to cover his face. 

Seokjin teases on with, "Don't worry Kook, hyung's agreeing on a date with you. What happened to the confidence from earlier?" 

Jungkook's response is to say, "Because you're pretty. You say stuff like that and seem to forget you have that kind of face. Any normal person would react the same way."

Seokjin should have left it alone at that. Red in the face and mouth running off, he says, "Pretty? I'm handsome." The cocky words that come out of him in response to the unexpected answer he received contrasts with his visible reaction.

"Yeah, you are."

"Okay, you can stop now."

"Beautiful too."

Jungkook pauses after speaking, laughs, and resumes walking.

Seokjin is left behind to stare at his back, and all of a sudden he's thinking of how you can instantly tell Jungkook is pretty, handsome, and beautiful too just by the expanse of his back. Seokjin regrets not telling him so, hidden under a guise of teasing and mocking laughter the same way Jungkook does to him.


Every time Seokjin pull the Jeep's door close, he has to do it with all his arm strength or it won't click shut. Despite this only being his third time riding on the passenger side of Jungkook's car, he feels comfortable being here. 

Pulling the seatbelt to its buckle, he glances at Jungkook. The visual stuns him, and Jungkook must have felt Seokjin's unwavering gape because instead of starting up the car and driving, he returns the stare with one of confusion. "What?"

Seokjin came straight from afternoon classes, his school bag hanging on his back and white uniform worn. The rain that usually goes away by five seems like it won't be stopping anytime soon, the downpour relentless. The streaks of dirt from exiting school and stepping out to the muddy road is a usual sight on his uniform's cuffs already. "Why the hell are you wearing a leather jacket?"

A black leather jacket over a white and black checkered flannel with his signature black shirt is what Jungkook's wearing. To top it all off, he even has a black bucket hat with a decorative pin on it. Seokjin doesn't just look underdressed, he is out of place. 

Jungkook texted him that he's waiting right outside school, car parked around the corner and ready to go. Seokjin expected him to be the same way, white uniform dirtied by rain and mud, not this.

"I dressed up for our date." Jungkook says this as if it'll make Seokjin feel better.

"What about me? Because look at me." Seokjin pulls the top of his uniform, bunching the fabric on his fingers. "You even seem like you managed to sneak in a shower."

"Cause I did. Class ended early, and looking at you," Jungkook looks him over, starting from the top of Seokjin's head and down to his lap, "Well, look at you."

Seeing no point in arguing, Seokjin sighs and settles his hands on his backpack laying on top of his thighs. "I have no idea where we're going but let's get moving." 

Jungkook hands Seokjin his phone for the music, passcode 0423 the same as his apartment. The car starts moving the same time Seokjin presses play on the lone playlist Jungkook has in his music library called 'night drivin.' Moving past their college building, the school hospital, and several establishments with too expensive food and coffee, Love by Kendrick Lamar plays.

"How's class?" Jungkook asks, eyes on the road and waiting for the stoplight to turn green. His wrists are draped over the steering wheel, hands moving in time with the song's beat.

"Uneventful. I've been thinking of nothing but biochem, even while in other classes."

"You're not doing well?"

"I'm not doing enough. I can already see my name on the list of removal exam candidates." Seokjin shudders at the thought. Truthfully, he has already resigned himself to the fate of taking biochem removal exams. There is just no helping him when it comes to the subject. "Without your help, I probably would've just straight up failed and repeat it, so the removals are still a blessing."

They talk about everyday things. The LCK Summer Split, new music that came out, and even the weather. Seokjin doesn't hate conversation about the weather; he would gladly talk about the process of how rain falls. Jungkook just so happens to be interested in it too. A part of him thinks that Jungkook just likes hearing him chatter about whatever. The thought disappears quickly, because what kind of person would be able to drive while listening to Seokjin explain orographic lifts? Jungkook always makes him feel like he's interesting. 

The view outside has changed without Seokjin noticing, too lost in talking about nature's cycles. Looming buildings of postmodernist style and city dwellers walking by the road with heads bent down to their phone fill the scenery. It's a neighborhood, if you could call it that, Seokjin only visits with his family or back in the days when Yoongi gets his allowance and they treat themselves to expensive buffets.

"Now you really need to turn this car around because I will not walk around in my uniform." Seokjin says with a chuckle. Deep down, he feels a bit conscious about it. No wonder Jungkook brought out the leather jacket.

One moment Jungkook is driving down the back of one of the skyscrapers to the basement parking, paying an absurd amount for a spot, and now they are stepping into the luxurious interior of the mall. Seokjin thinks that capitalism has never looked this good.

"You better lead the way because I never even thought about stepping foot into this place." Seokjin plants himself firmly on Jungkook's side, avoiding stares from other people walking by. 

"Isn't your family house just outside the city?" Though Jungkook has never been to Seokjin's home, he still remembers where it is. 

"Yeah, but we don't go here. Too expensive and frivolous." 

It fits Jungkook though. The hat hanging low on his face would have people mistaking him for a celebrity if they aren't already by the looks being thrown at them. 

"I know what you're thinking. Trust me, people are staring at you as much as they are at me." 

Seokjin would normally agree. Jungkook smiles at him, probably in comfort. He locks eyes with a person staring openly at Jungkook, and when they see him, they avert their gaze so quickly. "I cannot believe I'm serving the role of being your arm piece." 

"Arm piece?" 

They step into an escalator, standing on the right and leaning on the rubber handrails.

"When you're caught staring at someone in public and then you realize they have a companion and it fills you with embarrassment. I'm the companion."

"Okay, you have a point. Doesn't lessen the fact that I'm the same." Jungkook, who is one step above, turns his head to the side for a quick second. "See? Just caught another one peering at you."

"Fine, fine. I won't mention it anymore so stop turning it into a competition. Now will you tell me where we are going?"

Jungkook didn't have to. Getting off the escalator, he rounds the corner and walks straight into an establishment at the right side. Pushing another set of grand double doors made of glass, Seokjin stands underneath a magnificent teardrop chandelier and atop marble beige tiles.

They're in a hair salon. A hair salon that seems to know Jungkook well because the receptionist standing behind the polished white desk lights up at his presence. Jungkook is greeted well, none of the clipped tones Seokjin is used to hearing from posh service crews. The person leads them somewhere across the store where soft jazz music croons from hi-fi speakers. 

They tell the two of them, "Wait for the senior stylist. They'll be with you in a while," and to Seokjin they add, "What kind of drink would you like? There is tea and coffee."

Unsure of why they are asking him, Seokjin poses his answer with some doubt. "Uh, coffee?" They nod, leaving him and Jungkook alone once more.

Jungkook removes his hat, takes a seat on the cream hydraulic chair, and looks at Seokjin through the mirror. Running his fingers through his hair, he says, "Any suggestions?"  

"You dragged me here for a haircut." 

"Yeah? Do you see how long my hair has gotten?"

Seokjin does see it. What once fell over his face perfectly, curling and framing his cheeks, now end a few inches below his eyes.

"I could have snipped it for you." Jungkook gives him a questionable look, more akin to disgust actually. It lightens the mood, Seokjin laughing and resting his hands on top of the chair. "I liked how your hair looked in the beginning of the semester."

"So," Jungkook holds a finger out to indicate how many inches should be chopped. "This much?"

The memory of yesterday's events flash in Seokjin's mind. He's suddenly remembering very clearly the scene he stumbled into. 

(She reaches out to brush his hair to the side, tucking in the length of it behind one ear.)

Seokjin verbalizes his thoughts without pause; "Cut it off." 

"What, everything? You want me to get a buzzcut?"

Seokjin rolls his eyes at the sarcasm. "No, JK, cut this side," He points to the right side of Jungkook's face on the mirror, "And keep the other side long."

"Then why not just keep both long?"

"Because-"

(Because you can love things and one day, someone ruins its image for you and you don't want to admit it.)

"Because I haven't seen you with short hair yet," is what Seokjin says. 

"Alright, fine, suggestion noted."

The hairstylist comes up to them, and Seokjin walks the other side of the room to sit on a chaise the same color as the hydraulic chair. The entire place comes in a palette of beige and cream along with accents of grey. It reminds him of a cold caramel macchiato, the kind Jungkook always gets when they study in coffeeshops.

Speaking of coffee, a different attendant hands him one on a matte black coffee cup, little plate and all. He hears but doesn't discern the conversation Jungkook is having with the hairstylist hovering above him. 

It makes him think of his own hair, a box dyed brown trimmed with kitchen scissors either by him or Yoongi. Maybe he can get something done too. Just not at this place. He can only imagine how much a cut and styling would cost seeing how their coffee tastes better than the coffeeshops'. 

Placing his cup down on the side table with art books stacked on top, Seokjin takes his phone out of his pocket.

 

yoongi and the others

Guess what.

We're in the city.

Jungkook's getting a haircut.

 

bring home donuts 

idk something expensive

croissants or some shit

 

TFTI

GET THOSE CUTE LIL EXPENSIVE ARTISANAL DONUTS THERE

 

wtf does artisanal donuts mean

 

IDK

 

Sounds weird but let's see. 

The money I have on my name right now can't even buy me gum. 

 

well not you obviously

tell kook to open his purse

 

TELL HIM TO BRING OUT THAT SHINY BLACK CARD

 

shut up u also have one 

 

TEEHEE :D

 

You guys better be getting work done. 

You promised to let me copy off your homework since I let you both see mine last time.

 

LATER

WE'RE IN THE PC BANG

 

What?!

 

taehyung ohmygod

give me ur phone u brat

 

NO

SEOJJINHYUNGDHEPLP

 

Seokjin laughs at the keyboard smash, sending back a couple of angry Squidward memes that are all met with a thumbs down from Yoongi. He reaches out for the coffee cup, sipping on it while scrolling on Twitter. If the environment wasn't so opulent, Seokjin might as well be back in his apartment and sitting up in bed instead of on pleasing but uncomfortable furniture.

At the sound of wheels moving against the floor, Seokjin looks up from his phone just in time for the hairstylist to push the small cart filled with tools to the side.

And oh.

Oh.

Wow.

"How do I look?"

Jungkook is still sitting on the chair, asking Seokjin what he definitely knows the answer to. Seokjin's thankful they are talking through their reflection on the mirror and not face to face. With this distance, the impact of Jungkook's new hair is lessened. He doesn't have to see up close the little details like the mole under his lip, or the scar on his cheek. 

Seokjin has so many thoughts running through his mind, and all he manages to say is, "You look like a 90s heartthrob." 

Jungkook does look like one. His hair is cut short, the sides shaved although not faded. Just as Seokjin asked, the left side is kept long and cut exactly against his eyebrow. 

That jawline is dangerous. And the fucking leather jacket. Get the fuck out of here, he obviously knows it.

Jungkook grins with his teeth showing. The short hair emphasizes his face so much. "Thank you."

"You're welcome." He brings up the cup back to his lips, downing everything in one go. 

Jungkook finally gets up from the chair, grabbing his hat and handing it to Seokjin when he walks past him. "Hold on to this for me."

Not knowing what else to do with it, Seokjin wears it on his head. Glancing at the mirror, he laughs at how ridiculous he looks with the fashionable hat and a very formal white uniform.

Jungkook, who is handing his card at the receptionist from earlier, laughs too. 

Seokjin decides to keep it on. 

He waits for Jungkook to finish paying from a distance, walking behind him as they exit the salon. Jungkook must've noticed, because he stops and waits for Seokjin to approach him.

Up close, he looks gorgeous. It's so different from the long hair. 

Seokjin realizes that it didn't frame his face, not at all; it softened him instead. This Jungkook with the short hair showcases the bone structure he is blessed with, intensifying how there is obvious strength in his chest. There's nothing in the way to distract people's gaze anymore. 

Clearing his throat, Seokjin asks, "Where next?"

"Jewelry shop. Need to buy an earring." 

"Why? You have so many." 

Jungkook points to his right ear where the second hole is empty, something Seokjin didn't notice due to the number of earrings he already wears. "It.. well, it broke. I have to find a similar one since it's a pair with my left." He turns his head to the side to show Seokjin his left ear, and sure enough there's a silver stud on the second hole of his earlobe. 

"How does a stud earring break?" Seokjin chuckles, finding it funny that he's even saying that out loud. Jungkook tongues his cheek, takes a glimpse at him, and returns to staring afar.

"You know. Stuff happens."

While walking past numerous shops selling luxury items in silence, a possible explanation to what Jungkook said hits Seokjin so unexpectedly that he gasps out loud.

"Did you lose your earring in bed?!"

Jungkook checks immediately if anyone is around, cheeks burning. "Hyung, keep it down."

"This is so.. you need to tell me how that transpired because I may have experiences under my belt but not that extreme to warrant a broken earring. A stud one at that. I'd get it if it's the hoops, but a stud?" Seokjin clicks his tongue and shakes his head sarcastically at the other, "JK, what kind of stuff are you doing?" 

"If you really want to know then sure I'll tell you."

"I actually don't. I see no need hearing about your heterosexual sexcapades."

"Really, hyung? Sexcapades? And how did you know it's with a girl?"

Jungkook thankfully doesn't stop walking, the jewelry store he must be talking about finally appearing into view. Seokjin doesn't dare look at him. "You told me about it." 

"I definitely did not because I was embarrassed to tell you it was the reason I couldn't reply. So how do you know about it?"

"Through my deduction skills. I still remember that hickey you had." Seokjin's pretty sure Jungkook would be able to figure it out in record time. 

Unsurprisingly, he does. They enter the jewelry store, the shop filled with customers lingering in its many rows compared to the salon earlier. While looking at a set of plain, dangling, silver earrings studded in rhinestones, Jungkook sighs so deeply Seokjin had to stop himself from bursting into giggles.

"You saw us didn't you? You saw her outside my apartment," Another sigh, "No wonder you were so annoyed at me.

"When am I not annoyed at you?" 

Jungkook takes the pair that Seokjin was eyeing, holding it up Seokjin's ear. "You had every right to be mad. I would be too if I saw you ditching me for someone else."

A crying child distracts them. It prompts Jungkook to put the earrings back to the rack in a hurry. The mother of the child shushes her, apologizing to the store attendants and other customers including them.

"I'm not mad anymore. I'd actually be really happy if you get a move on." 

Seokjin finds himself waiting on Jungkook once more. Besides the child crying about how she didn't want to get her ears pierced anymore, he's enjoying looking at different pieces either displayed on a rack or laid out on the soft felt fabric. Compared to the salon's latte-like colors, this one chooses a deep blue as their motif.

All the cases where bracelets, earrings, necklaces and more are laid on are colored the same shade. Except for that, the store is bright and open with walls painted white. Seokjin's starting to think that the hanging chandeliers are commonplace in the entire building as he stands underneath another one.

Jungkook's talking to one of the attendants upfront, the other busy with the crying girl being held still by her mother while a piercing gun is steadied on her ear.

They're quick to find what he needs, exactly the same as the one on his left. Jungkook bounds up to him, showing it to Seokjin in excitement. It's really simple, a plain mote of a thing that could be mistaken for a pin. Seokjin's stomach lurches when he gets a glance at the price tag. 

"Hyung, I have a wild idea. I'll tell you what it is after you say yes."

"How do you expect me to say yes when I have no idea what it is?"

"Say yes, yes, yes. Say yes." Jungkook repeats it akin to a prayer. He looks so excited over whatever idea he has that Seokjin cannot imagine telling him no. 

Injecting all the seriousness he could muster, Seokjin yields. "Under the condition that I can say no if I truly don't want to." 

The arm snaking around his shoulders should be Seokjin's first clue that whatever Jungkook was about to say will only bring him uneasiness. 

"You know how I need only one earring, right? I have no use for two, but I still need to buy both. My idea is that you can have the other one."

"Pretty sure you can see that I have no piercings.." Seokjin trails off. 

For an out-of-the-blue wild idea, Jungkook seems as if he thought about it for quite some time the way he provides a solution so swiftly. "When you buy earrings, they offer free piercings."

Seokjin's not scared of needles. He's going to be a doctor one day, so he got over his fear of them very early on. But pain? He has the pain tolerance of a newborn baby and he knows this well. Of course, Seokjin has entertained the thought of piercings and more tattoos like any other person. He has spent hours scrolling through Pinterest and making boards entitled 'future tattoos' and 'future piercings' but that's about it. The pushing through part never really entered his mind except for the one tattoo he got.

"Are you saying I should get a piercing on one ear only?"

"Yeah, that's exactly what I'm saying," Gesturing to his ear, Jungkook adds, "We'll match."

We'll match. 

Seokjin can think of a hundred reasons why it's not only a bad idea but also a stupid one. Match, Jungkook says. People match objects, or shoes. Matching shirts, keychains, rings, anything that promotes two or more people as connected can be matched.

But a piercing? 

Jungkook is asking Seokjin to puncture a hole through his ear all for the sake of them having matching earrings. 

"Jungkook, are you feeling okay?"

Ignoring Seokjin's mockery, Jungkook pinches his left lobe. "You can have it on this side, same position as where mine is. I promise it won't hurt."

"Your promise is useless to me because I'll be the one feeling it!"

"So you're saying yes?"

"No!"

"When it heals, we can get those pretty dangling ones you were eyeing." 

The thought of them makes him rethink the proposition. When was the last time he did something fun and spontaneous? 

Seokjin knows that this isn't a hobby, something he actually needs to have, but maybe it wouldn't be so bad. 

"How painful?"

"Like an ant bite. It'll be done so quick you won't even notice it."

Pain tolerance varies per person, so he shouldn't take Jungkook's words as gospel. If it ends up hurting extremely bad, Seokjin can pin the blame on him. Maybe he can get his way and get those doughnuts for Taehyung and Yoongi.

"Okay."

"For real? Are you sure?"

"No, I' am not sure, Jungkook. Let's get it over with before I change my mind and start crying like that kid."

While waiting for what is to come, Jungkook's fingers on his ear remain there. Seokjin tries to tune him out, imagining what the pain would be like. 

The screeching kid surely isn't helping him.

The girl's mother laughs awkwardly at the attendant after it finishes, and she says to her daughter, "Let me kiss it better, sweetheart." And she does kiss her on the cheek, sweet and oh so motherly it has Seokjin lightening up a bit. Perhaps it wouldn't be as bad as he thinks it is.

Seokjin learns after ten minutes that Jungkook fucking lied.

It did not hurt like an ant bite; it feels like an animal with fangs just ripped through his skin. The feeling of the metal lodged and locked has Seokjin imagining said animal never letting go of his ear.

The attendant sat him on the chair the kid was sitting at, wiped his ear lobe clean, and marked the spot on where the piercing would be. It's a bit higher up, the upper lobe as Jungkook calls it. 

Jungkook stood over him as the attendant pulls on the handle. Seokjin can relate the sound it produces similar to an actual gun, an explosion that happens right against his eardrums.

Seokjin wobbles while standing up. He doesn't listen when the attendant list ways to clean it, he can ask Jungkook or google it later, too busy swallowing down a sob and several curses he would love to throw at Jungkook. 

When the attendant leaves, the first thing Seokjin says is, "Fuck." He feels the tears prick his inner corners, and at this point he doesn't really give a shit.

The pain on impact is one thing, what Seokjin didn't expect is the burning pain.

To Jungkook he says, "How the fuck do you have so many piercings?"

"I get mine done by a professional with a needle." Jungkook replies sheepishly. "Piercing guns are actually hated by body piercers, but it's your first time so it'll be okay."

If Seokjin wasn't in so much pain he would be throttling Jungkook right now. 

"I hate you so much right now, Jeon. I can't even look at you."

“Let me see,” Jungkook says as he turns Seokjin’s head to the side, “It hurts?”

The other nods, hands covering his face and hiding the tears from everyone in the store. “It doesn’t just hurt, it burns. I can’t believe you talked me into this.” 

Jungkook tries to hold back his laugh, not wanting to make Seokjin feel worse. An idea pops in his head courtesy of the kid earlier before them, so he says, “Would you like me to kiss it better?” 

Seokjin’s hands immediately disappear from his face, and Jungkook realizes it’s not just his ears that are red, it is also his eyes, nose, and cheeks. There are tear tracks on his face, and did it really hurt that much?  

“Kiss it better? Are you stupid?!” Seokjin shouts, glaring at him and pushing Jungkook’s hands cupping his face away. “Half my face is burning and your solution is to kiss it better?!”

Jungkook thinks that, This is too easy.

There should be a certificate out there awarding him for knowing exactly what to say to Seokjin. 

“Then,” His fingers move right below Seokjin’s ear to his neck, “What about I do it here?”

Seokjin's intrinsic response should be to slap his fingers away instantly. He does, just as not as quick as he would like. The few seconds of consideration he had is making Seokjin's head spin. 

If he ends up doing something stupid, he'll blame it on the endorphins his brain should be producing by now.

Jungkook decides for the both of them, chuckling at Seokjin's frozen reaction. He pats Seokjin on the cheek, turning around and heading to the counter so he can pay for the too expensive silver earrings. 

Seokjin gets a look of himself among the many mirrors. It's a very simple piece; a literal pin dot adorning his once boring lobes. 

The list he keeps of things to scrutinize in the dark, alone with only his thoughts, keep getting longer.  

There must be more to life than second guessing yourself.

Seokjin reaches out to wrap his hand around Jungkook's wrist. He didn't need to pull on the other, Jungkook immediately stopping on his tracks and turning around the moment Seokjin touches him. 

"Kook." The volume of Seokjin's voice saying his name is just above a whisper, low enough to not catch other people's attention but loud enough to reach the person being referred to. "It hurts, Kook." 

It doesn't, not as much compared to earlier. They both know he's lying, and they also know that Jungkook will indulge him anyway. "What, hyung? Tell me what you need."

Seokjin should not do this in the middle of a jewelry store surrounded by teenagers buying earrings and getting their ears pierced for the very first time. 

Jungkook's not the only one waiting on him, it's the cashier too. She's looking at them in wait, more curious than impatient really, bless her soul. 

The words spill from his mouth before he could stop himself. "Vatican cameos." 

Eyes wide and staring at him in shock is what he receives. For a second, Seokjin became worried that he finally broke Jungkook. 

Except he doesn't because Jungkook only moves closer to him, lids heavy and focused on an area below his face. His movement is fluid and quick, the corners of his mouth lifted into an amused smile showing a glimpse of his front teeth. He tilts his head to the side, the perfect angle for him to be able to have access to Seokjin's neck. 

The light catches the dangling hoops hanging on Jungkook's ear but it's the lone silver stud a pair to Seokjin's own that captures his attention.

It's the last thing he sees as Jungkook dips his head to plant a kiss on his neck.

Rather than the action registering in his brain instantly, Seokjin experiences it first. 

Soft lips press on his skin, resting on the junction between his newly pierced ear and jaw. There's a small gust of breath that is foreign, minute and focused on him to simply be the air. 

Seokjin has been moving on autopilot ever since Jungkook told him to get in the passenger seat of his car. Perhaps he's been doing it far longer than he knows, way back when skies were clear and the rain didn't desaturate everything. 

The kiss has him realizing that similar to the human body's immune system, you don't actually forget how things are supposed to feel. You just wait around for your body's memory cells to boot up when it gets exposed to a certain antigen, always knowing what to do since it encountered the invading substance before. 

Seokjin recognizes the lips on him even though it has been four years. He'll probably recognize it in ten, twenty, and so on. After all, the reaction that it incites out of him is familiar. It's a feeling Jungkook has been able to get out of him since the beginning. 

A kiss from Jungkook, wherever it might be placed, has been so ingrained to him that Seokjin does not react to it; he only feels. It doesn't make him blush, nor does it sweep him off his feet.

When Jungkook pulls away, the bits of hair curling at the ends that the hairstylist did not touch falls over his eyes, adding intensity to how good-looking he is wearing that playful smile on his mouth.

The visual image is what gets him, cheeks reddening the same way his currently sensitive ear is. 

The kiss happens too quickly compared to all the conflicting internal turmoil Seokjin goes through. His hand that was just wrapped around Jungkook's wrist has been removed, the other's back facing him once more. 

Jungkook signs the receipt, hands it back to the cashier, turns to Seokjin as if nothing happened, and asks, "Any place you wanna see?" 

There's a time and place for everything, Seokjin reminds himself, When I'm alone, I'll mull over it. I'll turn it back and forth until there is nothing left.'

Seokjin wants to go home and enjoy the rainy afternoon underneath his blanket, the light from his phone as he scrolls on Twitter or read shitty poetry blinding him bit by bit until sleep claims him.

Everything feels complicated yet simple at the same time. Seokjin's thankful he has the patience to push through.

Instead of voicing out his want of going home and basking in solitude, Seokjin says, "Let's look at books."

"Shitty poetry?" Jungkook sounds excited at the concept, like the only time he ever reads something that isn't related to school is when someone reminds him the existence of fictional literature. 

"Yes, shitty poetry." 

Jungkook leads the way, although he makes sure that they are still walking together. He chats animatedly about the places he likes to visit around this area, about coffeeshops, restaurants, and the cinema. He says he hasn't been to the cinema in a long time, or any place that isn't confined in their high-rise building or school.

This is why Seokjin doesn't mention going back. He's sleep-deprived, tired, and the burning of his ear keeps making itself known every few minutes.

Seokjin enjoys keeping to himself, the occasional cameos from Namjoon, Taehyung, and Yoongi a welcome exception. 

He doesn't need Jungkook's attention nor his affection, not even Jungkook's time. But Seokjin likes it. He likes it when they are on their own, he likes it when Jungkook texts or when the younger makes himself available. Seokjin likes it a lot that Jungkook is making space for him in his life the same way there is now a lone pot in Jungkook's balcony, tomato seeds that Seokjin gave him growing in it. The same way Jungkook's presence and being there for him is growing on him. 

Seokjin is slowly finding out that he likes all those things, but being close to Jungkook and having nonsensical conversations about everything under the sun except for what they are becoming is something he's liking more than he should. 

He has enough experience in both platonic and romantic love. Lying in the middle of the Venn diagram of these two concepts is intimacy. In intimacy, there is not just closeness. There is honesty, truth, and most importantly: safety. 

Seokjin's been experiencing all three at the same time with Jungkook lately.


Under his covers, Seokjin feels safest.

The thick blanket warms him, a physical feeling he relates to how the lampshade he and Yoongi share bathes the room in an ember glow. Yoongi's back is facing him, asleep and tired from today's activities, or that's what he says. Seokjin came home to him lounging in bed and scrolling on his phone, complaining about how hard their homework was. 

He presents a box of the artisanal doughnuts to Yoongi, the other reserved for Taehyung.

Yoongi ate them as he copies off their homework, talking about how it tastes just like normal doughnuts.

Accepting defeat that he's not yet sleepy, Seokjin's hand snakes out from under his blanket to grab his phone on the nightstand. There's a message he left on read for at least two hours now that needs replying.

 

Jungkook

text me when ur home

 

I'm home.

 

The reply comes so quick he hasn't even left the message screen.

 

Jungkook

i know what ur doing

i am unaffected

 

Then stop mentioning it. 

 

sike

i am :(

reply quicker i want to talk to you

 

We spent the entire day together. 

You're so clingy.

 

says the one who mentioned va***** c**eo*

 

Anyways...

What do you want to talk about?

It's almost midnight..

 

for starters

how's your ear?

 

I' am in severe pain.

 

damn u talk like a robot via text

how do u flirt like that

 

I don't.

They flirt with me :)

 

of course, of course

did u have fun earlier? 

 

Sigh. I did. 

 

and u just sighed thru text

u didnt have fun? :(

 

I just told you.

I did.

 

then say it like u mean it

 

I had fun :)

 

ngl i laughed so loud at that

 

Annoying. 

 

i better be

the only one annoying you i mean

the others can be grouped into irritating

 

WHAT?

 

got you

youre so easy to fluster

 

Stop exchanging 'you' and 'u.'

You're giving me a headache. 

 

ur giving you a headache

 

Bye.

 

im kidding

heyyyyy

hey

hyung

seokjin hyung

Jin.

Answer me.

 

What now?

 

goodnight :D

 

Finally. 

Goodnight, Kook

 

Texting shouldn't be giving Seokjin this much heartache. The little thumbs up he gets on his last message shouldn't have him wishing it was another message instead. He replied this late in hopes it'll make him sleepy, not antsy for a conversation that'll span hours and have him dozing off in class. 

The decision to let Hypnos take him in her sweet embrace is easy. 

Seokjin falls asleep to a loop of events from earlier; of long hair being snipped away, and of how when he looks at Jungkook as they walk side by side, it's the silver stud that catches his attention instead of the hoops.

("How do I look?"

Jungkook is still sitting on the chair, asking Seokjin what he definitely knows the answer to. Seokjin's thankful they are talking through their reflection on the mirror and not face to face. With this distance, the impact of Jungkook's new hair is lessened. He doesn't have to see up close the little details like the mole under his lip, or the scar on his cheek. 

Seokjin has so many thoughts running through his mind, and all he manages to say is, "You look like a 90s heartthrob." 

Wait. Isn't this a dream?

Seokjin realizes that yes, it is. Here, he can voice out those many thoughts that ran through his mind.

Musings such as; "Your hair and jacket combination is deadly. Who are you? Because I thought I knew you."

Because Jungkook doesn't look like the guy he loved once upon a time. 

The Jungkook that Seokjin loved had full bangs and stick straight hair, ears void of jewelry. He was annoying and childish and loved Seokjin so hard it was embarrassing. 

The Jungkook that Seokjin loved didn't have shoulders and chest that could drown him in a hug; that was something Seokjin did.

In the silence where only he can hear it, Seokjin continues on.

"You don't look like him. You don't make me feel like him. But you look at me like he did, and you kiss the same way too."

And as sleep sings its endless lullaby, a cacophony in Seokjin's dreams, he realizes that everything is familiar yet uncharted all at once.)


Seokjin pushes his reading glasses back up his face. He hasn't worn them in so long that the frame itself is all sorts of wonky and doesn't sit on his nose right. He reaches out for his iced vanilla latte, and since he has been sitting on this armchair since two in the afternoon, he's noticed by now that it is always within perfect grasp courtesy of his companion.

The time on the iPad says, 7:54 PM. He's been cramming an entire semester's worth of biochemistry for six hours now. The reality of his failure tastes bitter, and so Seokjin sucks more of his vanilla sweetened, caffeinated, beverage to push himself for a couple more hours of suffering. He returns the plastic cup back on the wooden table, sighing in satisfaction.

The vanilla latte in the coffeeshop right across Seokjin's alma mater always gets it perfectly. 

It happens like this. 

Finals week began and when Seokjin received the test paper for biochem, he has resigned himself to studying for the removal exams even though it would be announced on the last Friday of the semester. Sure enough, Friday rolls around and his name is on the list. He needs seven more points, then he can be promoted to the next semester. Seokjin comforts himself with the thought that at least he's not that person who needs a twenty point mark up, or the ones who straight up failed.

On that same Friday night, Seokjin hugs Taehyung goodbye who sneaks him a kiss on the cheek. He's off to vacation somewhere warm where the sand is a sparkling white and the water so blue it looks edited. Taehyung promises him and Yoongi (and Jungkook) lots of souvenirs and pictures. Yoongi hugs him too, suitcase in hand and unapologetic about leaving Seokjin in their apartment alone. Seokjin completely understands; he would be bolting away from school too if he didn't have removal exams. 

The exams will be held on a Sunday, giving the students a one day notice that, 'Hey, you totally failed. Have fun spending your Saturday filled with anxiety and cramming, alright?'

Then, there's Jungkook. 

After having a good cry about his academic failure, Seokjin texts him about semestral break plans as a means for distraction. What he gets is Jungkook saying that he 'can't talk I'm in the PC Bang, sorry about biochem'. He spammed Jungkook with messages that night, asking him if he's lying about still being in the area. Hours later Jungkook shows up at his door with a bottle of Pocari and a joint. He said he was going to return tomorrow instead of tonight, wanting to enjoy his alone time before coming back home to family. Seokjin used to do the same thing. 

They talk about biochemistry, games, and then one thing lead to another and here they are back at their old university's street studying at the same spot in the coffeeshop just like five years ago.

The silence during the drive is once again covered by Jungkook's 'night drivin' playlist. Seokjin watches as skyscrapers gets reduced to trees, the buildings becoming less rigid. For a moment, he wonders what life would be like if he stayed to study medicine here instead of packing his bags and going into the big city. 

Jungkook pulls up at the parking lot behind the coffeeshop; the neutral ground between the coffeeshop and the bar. The college bar next to it brings back memories that has Seokjin nostalgic. His gaze lingers a bit too long at the white wall behind the bar, a wall he was pressed into many times while drunk, high, or both for impromptu make out sessions by none other than the person sitting across him.

Seokjin has no idea what Jungkook's playing on his Switch, but it must be interesting enough to keep him entertained for six hours straight while Seokjin studies like his life depends on it. Well, it actually does. Sometimes Jungkook looks up from his game to answer a question Seokjin has, or to explain a concept that Seokjin cannot grasp. 

At exactly 9:49 PM, Seokjin announces, "If I fail, I fail. Let's go home now." He dumps the iPad in his backpack right on top of his folded uniform and sleep clothes. 

Oh, right. Seokjin almost forgot about it. I'm sleeping over.

Besides acting as Seokjin's personal driver of the day, they also agreed that Seokjin will be sleeping over at Jungkook's place. It's not that he's scared of sleeping alone without Yoongi, he did that for five years while in undergrad. Seokjin is scared of his alarm not waking him up in time for the 7:00 AM exams. He's good with waking up early, in fact Seokjin is a morning person. His one weakness? Sounds. A burglar could be breathing right in front of his face and Seokjin would sleep through it.

So besides being a driver, Jungkook will be acting as his alarm clock as well. Friendships are such a powerful thing. 

Seokjin chose to study here out of all places for two things: the vanilla latte and a reminder.

A reminder that he spent nights in the same coffeeshop cramming through his biology degree requirements and here he is now equipped with it and in medical school. 

"Smoke before we leave?" Jungkook asks him, already pulling out a box of Marlboro lights. Seokjin doesn't recoil in disgust at the sight of it because he knows Jungkook keep blues mixed with it in case he's around. 

"I always wanted to experience what it's like sitting inside a car in this particular place watching the commuting class sit by the curb drunk as hell." Because that was Seokjin and Jungkook before; giggling to themselves and escaping the bar through the back door. They would sit on the pavement, look at the stars, and argue over constellations. 

"I know exactly what you mean." Jungkook's positive reply excites Seokjin, the two practically running back to the Jeep. 

Jungkook on the driver's seat, Seokjin on the passenger side, and windows down while smoking and blowing it upwards. They don't turn the radio on, enjoying the moment just as it is.

So this was what the other college kids with cars saw.

They throw their cigarettes out, careful not to hit the other parked vehicles. Jungkook's clicking play on his phone, 400 Lux serving as their opening soundtrack of the night. Seokjin finishes rolling up his window, and Jungkook's preparing to shift into drive when two people exit through the backdoor of the bar. 

Granted that it's the end of the first semester, the coffeeshop and bar are actually both packed full house. 

It's a scene pulled straight out of both their memories.

The stumbling, giggling, and oh, there it is. The pushing against a dirty white wall and making out like there is no tomorrow.

"Oh, what the hell," Seokjin manages to say, "This is karma for all those years."

Jungkook doesn't even know what to say, or where to look. Seokjin knows a guilty man if he's ever seen one.

Instead of pretending to fiddle on his phone like what Jungkook is doing, Seokjin sits back and crosses his arms over his chest. "So this is what it was like. I'm imagining all the people who wanted to leave the parking lot and couldn't because of us."

Jungkook continues ignoring him.

"We should send them a gift basket or something."

"Hyung, stop it. You're too high on caffeine."

Seokjin laughs, the one where his body shakes and he's starting to get red in the face from amusement. "Please, you're acting like it wasn't you initiating all the time." 

(Jungkook used to lean over his shoulder, arms wrapped around Seokjin's waist, and whispering to his ear, "Wanna leave with me through the back?")

Jungkook gives him a look that screams, 'Really? You're going to use that against me now?' Seokjin's laughter continues on. 

Having enough of waiting around and being teased mercilessly, Jungkook says, "Fuck it, we're leaving." 

Keying the ignition, the car comes to life along with its headlights. It surprises the two strangers making out, and to Seokjin's delight, they waved at them politely with a smile.

"To be young and in love," Seokjin sighs out, waving back even though they don't see him. "What simple times."


Jungkook wakes up in his sofa at exactly five in the morning, his alarm blaring and begging to be turned off.

Seokjin has taken residence on his bed, claiming it as his for the night the moment Jungkook offers it up.

Morning routine for him includes a cigarette and watering his tomato plant that has honestly grown nicely. He's actually pretty attached to it. He already thought of how he could bring it back home in his car without the soil spilling or the high stalks snapping. 

After that, he heats up water and gets out his mug. At the sight of Seokjin's mussed hair peeking through his bed sheets, Jungkook pulls out another ceramic cup, glad he always thought of keeping two. He runs his fingers through his hair, the shortness of it something he is still getting used to after a year of keeping it long.

Two sticks of instant coffee are opened with his teeth, the contents being poured down. The water heater goes silent, a signal that it's done.

Leaving the steaming mugs on the counter, Jungkook walks across the room to where Seokjin remains blissfully unaware that a brand new day has come.

Jungkook opts to kneeling on the floor beside the bed, arms placed on top of each other with his cheek resting on them.

The last time Jungkook woke up in the same room as Seokjin was four years ago.

Four years ago, Jungkook cradled Seokjin's head with his hands, hovering over him to kiss his forehead one last time. He didn't need to quiet his footsteps but he did. The act of leaving that morning felt so shameful to him.

He lets his eyes trace over Seokjin's face, an unchanging landscape of beauty that he always admired. He lingers on the silver earring that Seokjin is wearing, enjoying how it looks. Unconsciously, Jungkook reaches out to touch the matching one he is wearing.

Five minutes. 

Jungkook allows himself five minutes of selfishness. 

The bubble bursts all too quickly. He has no idea if it was really five minutes, maybe he took more or he took less. 

Jungkook stands up to shake Seokjin awake, hand on his shoulder. "Time to face the day." He says softly.

Seokjin's always easy to wake when you're doing it forcefully. He blinks up at Jungkook blearily, eyes red from how late they got home last night and his insistence on going through the course material one last time. 

"Good morning." Seokjin mumbles, the words sounding jumbled. 

"I made you coffee," Jungkook sits on the side of the bed, watching Seokjin roll to his side cuddling Jungkook's fluffiest pillow. "Come on, get up now. It'll start raining anytime soon and you'll be tempted to stay in bed longer." 

Not receiving a reply, Jungkook decides to climb into bed with him. He keeps the distance, arm propped up with his head resting on his palm. The other reaches out to lay on Seokjin's back, moving it back and forth on the cotton fabric of his sweater. "Wake up, already. You told me last night to not stop until you're standing."

Seokjin turns his face to the side, and Jungkook purses his lips together to stop the giggle. Seokjin's hair sticks to his cheek, lines from sleep covering the entire half of his face. "Your bed is so unbelievably comfortable." 

Jungkook pulls his hand away to rest it in the space between them. "It is."

"Your air conditioner gets really cold."

The sound he's been holding in escape Jungkook's lips this time around. "It does."

"Is that instant coffee I smell? The kind with coconut milk?"

"Yeah, that kind."

Sighing, Seokjin once more rolls his body to the side. Instead of going to the right, he moves to the left where Jungkook is. He's so close that if Jungkook lifts his arm up, Seokjin's back would be touching his chest.

"Can I be your roommate then?" 

"If I say yes, I'd have to take in Yoongi-hyung too. And if the both of you start living here, then Taehyung would definitely tag along."

Sighing, Seokjin stretches his limbs and starts getting up. "I guess I do come with a plus two." 

Seokjin walks into the kitchen, leaning on the counters and blinking his sleep away. Jungkook always talk about how Seokjin acts like he came with the apartment, but this view is definitely proving that to be true.

Jungkook might not be able to look at his bed or those countertops the same after Seokjin leaves. 

The rain starts pouring just as Jungkook predicted. He gets comfortable in his bed, the spot where Seokjin laid at being the warmest. He leans his back on the headboard, head lolling to the side and observing Seokjin. 

Seokjin doesn't know it, but his every movement looks straight out of a movie.

The distance between them creates a shot Jungkook itches to immortalize on camera.

Seokjin picks up the black ceramic mug over the white one, unaware that it is Jungkook's. He brings the rim to his lips and takes a sip. Seokjin sighs out contentedly, his head turning to where the floor to ceiling windows are at. 

"I always imagined what the rain would be like from here."

Jungkook's never took notice of those things. Perhaps he did, the first day he moved in. It doesn't matter, because he's experiencing it right now. 

"And I was right. It's such a different experience."

"Different how?" Jungkook asks, always and forever curious with how Seokjin's mind works.

"I listen to the rain in the 14th floor and it's muted but comforting. Here, it's everywhere; as if you're drowning in beauty wherever you look."

Scratch the first thought. Jungkook did notice that kind of stuff, he just didn't care about it. 

Drowning in beauty. 

Seokjin always knew what to say.


(Jungkook stubs out his finished cigarette with his shoe. With trembling hands, he fishes the box for another one.

He's not sure what the exact time is, but the looming sun in the horizon tells him that it's almost six in the morning.

He's not sure how long he's been sitting here on the log bench outside Seokjin's dormitory. He didn't bother with the goodbyes, or even a thanks for letting him spend the night.

He didn't even apologize for sleeping with Seokjin one last time.

If their relationship was hanging over a cliff, this last move is the gust of wind pushing it right over the edge.

Jungkook inhales the nicotine as deeply as possible until it hurts.

Nothing could possibly hurt more than the number of emotions he is processing right now.

He lets the cigarette dangle on his lips, hands patting down his pockets for his phone. 

Seokjin deserves a face to face apology, not a half-assed text message. 

He opens his phone only to close it once more. Jungkook repeats this obsessively until he gives in, clicking on the contact name he doesn't bother changing.

Jungkook hates it. He hates so badly how it sounds like a goodbye because he does not want it to be. There's nothing he can do about it though. It's him who is leaving, after all. He has a responsibility to uphold it until the very end. 

It's probably not the most logical analogy he's thought of, but Jungkook thinks that if he never hits send, then it'll be like it never happened. 

He won't be the guy saying goodbye forever to his love. 

He doesn't press send. 

Instead, Jungkook throws his cigarette away and lets the tears fall freely. He allows himself to cry while it's still dark where no one can see or hear how he's losing his breath with every wail.

Jungkook cries so hard he doesn't think he'll be able to cry again.)

 

 

seokjinnie

i dont know what else to do seokjin

im honestly just typing this out for me

selfish until the very end, am i right?

well here it goes

you looked at me with kindness, reflecting everything i wanted to see in myself

you looked at me and as i stared back, thats when i realized i was in love with you

i wanted to spend the rest of my life making you feel what you made me feel

i wanted to be that for you

the one who gives you a love so divine we go nowhere but up

i guess i didnt get the memo that when you reach the top, there is no other way out except down

im leaving because i love you too much

im leaving because you love me more than enough

im leaving because you showed me who i could be

im sorry it has to be this way

you gave me purpose but im leaving you and im sorry

because i want to be better

you showed me i could be better

im sorry i want to do it alone

i want to be worthy of you

am i really if im leaving you?

im sorry im so weak

i love you. i cant say this enough.

words cannot convey how much i love you and how sorry i am that im leaving you

 

Chapter Text

The phrase, their phrase, slips out. Seokjin overspill, and in his delusions he overstay. His head is tucked under Jungkook’s chin, and the intimacy of it is nothing compared to how they both refuse to show their fingers. Seokjin’s arms are folded, hands tucked to his sides. Jungkook’s are on his lap. Seokjin says it softly, enough for only Jungkook to hear. 

It didn’t really matter since Namjoon is dead to the world, head thrown back and asleep at the seat in front of them. Jinsang is driving and busy humming along to the radio, and maybe he knows something is up, but he doesn’t say anything and lets them have their privacy.

Seokjin could’ve said, How are you? 

Or, It’s nice seeing you.

Seokjin moves to look at Jungkook. The other could’ve pretend to still be asleep, or that he didn’t hear it, instead he looks back at Seokjin. The corners of his lips are sloped downwards, eyes tired and blinking it away. Seokjin wishes he had the strength to look away. 

This is a sight he doesn’t see anymore, back to days when Seokjin didn’t need to say anything else to be kissed, when Jungkook would knock at his dorm room and sneak into his bed, skipping classes and sleeping the afternoon away just so they could be around each other. It’s a sight he knew well because Jungkook never wakes up before him, and Seokjin gets the moment all to himself.

Five minutes to be selfish, he explained to Jungkook when he got caught. Five minutes to let it sink in that I’m loved as much as I do too. 

Jungkook laughed and said, You don’t need to do that. I’ll be here for a long time. You can look at me as much as you want, until you get sick of me.

A dead relationship of two months  and he’s not yet sick of it. He wonders if Jungkook will remember such nuances in four years' time. Will he remember it too? The thought of forgetting how much love he is capable of leaves him cold.

The train of thoughts is stopped by a hand on his head, ruffling his hair. “You have to pause if you want me to do it.”

Seokjin knows he should be the better person. For a second he wishes Namjoon is awake so the other can tell him to stop with his bullshit. He should be saying, You have a girlfriend. We shouldn’t. 

Warm lips press to his cheek. A hand around his head, and Jungkook’s nose pressing at the side of his left eye. It’s not the kiss that gets him but the caressing of the right side of his face. 

He keeps his mouth shut and stills.


The early morning sky has become indicative of Yoongi’s bedtime. 

Living outside the city has its perks. Technological modernity is within reach without human life disturbing him day in and day out.  

Inside Yoongi’s room, the world is static. He only draw the curtains back to lean on the sliding window, a cigarette being lit up. 

The sunrise would be better appreciated by people like Seokjin and Taehyung. It’s almost six in the morning, and he woke up at six in the afternoon. 

To Yoongi’s body clock, it’s time for lunch.

For his friends it means different things. 

Taehyung is having the time of his life in a beautiful island resort somewhere in the south, spamming their group chat with cocktail emojis, photos of the beach, and several selfies. Yoongi reacts with a ‘haha’ in every picture, reminding Taehyung of his misery over forgetting to dye his roots. Seokjin consoles him with ‘hearts.’

Speaking of Seokjin, he is usually up by this hour. Not because he wants to like Yoongi, sadly. Ever since he came home for the semestral break after the removal exams, Seokjin has been complaining everywhere that Yoongi had no choice but to mute him.

On their group chat with Taehyung, the one with Namjoon, and personally too. Yoongi wishes he would just send them through e-mail so everyone is updated at the same time.

Yoongi wonders if he is blowing up Jungkook’s inbox too. 

If he is being honest, Jungkook is the person he has talked with the most lately. They’ve been keeping in touch through League Chat, always playing together ever since the break started. 

One time, when they were supposedly busy playing on Summoner’s Rift, he swore he heard Seokjin’s laughter. He guesses they’re on a FaceTime call, and honestly, Yoongi has no idea what to do with that knowledge.

He doesn’t have a clue what is truly going on with Jungkook and Seokjin, but he trusts them. He finds out the same day that it wasn’t a FaceTime call but Jungkook just watching Seokjin’s Instagram stories, showing something funny he was watching and laughing alongside it.

If asked at gunpoint what he thinks is their deal, Yoongi’s answer would be, “They’re friends, but not gonna lie the unresolved sexual tension is too obvious.”

Yoongi stubs his cigarette out on the ashtray he is holding. He could just as easily throw it out of his bedroom window but he’s at home and he respects his parents too much for that. He closes it, draw the curtains back, and once again the only light source in his room is his computer.

There’s a pop up message on his in-game chat from Jungkook, and Yoongi can already guess what he sent without looking at it.

 

GCF

morning 

one game?

 

Jungkook managing to have a proper body clock even during vacation boggles Yoongi. They play together in the early hours of the morning when Jungkook has just woken up and at night until 11:00 PM when Jungkook goes to bed. 

Yoongi doesn’t bother with a reply. He creates a ranked game, invites Jungkook, and it’s accepted within seconds. Placing his headset over his ears, his actual headset and not the PC Bang’s mid-price ones thankfully, he hears the sound of music in the background.

“Morning,” Yoongi greets him, “You’re up early as usual.”

“I actually have a reason today. Driving my cousin to work in the city.” 

Yoongi sometimes forget that Jungkook isn’t city kid rich. He lives far from the hustle and bustle, nearer their old university. A place where you can build something up the ground due to the big plot of land, where rent isn’t something you worry about. 

Or that’s what Yoongi has seen from his Instagram. He expected Jungkook to be those guys on social media who posts nothing but shirtless gym selfies but his black and white feed filled with landscape photography says otherwise. 

“It’s afternoon for my body but isn’t it too early?”

“I know, but my Mom insists. You want to hang out while I’m in the city?”

“You know I go to sleep around lunch time, Jeon.” As an afterthought, Yoongi adds, “You can go ask Seokjin to hang.”

“Huh. I guess I can?”

The conversation ends at that when they finally find a game.

Tuning out the rest of the world once more, Yoongi forgets his off-hand suggestion instantly.


Hoseok waits impatiently for Jungkook to finish smoking his cigarette, leather shoe cladded right foot tapping on the pavement. He stands a distance away from the other so the smoke won’t touch his clothes and hair.

Clinic hours for Hoseok start at nine. It’s not that he hates holding clinics in the hospital, but the stuffy office he works in compared to his own independent clinic is miles better. Unfortunately, such is the way of life of his profession that you should practice at different establishments.

“If you don’t hurry that up I’m calling my driver.”

Jungkook, the brat that he is, rolls his eyes. “I’m only doing this because mom wants me out of the house.”

Hoseok doubts it. Jungkook is freshly showered and dressed in a black cotton shirt and shorts, but the silver chain bracelets and rings tell Hoseok he’s simply not driving him to work and going straight home. 

“How’s school?” Hoseok makes it sound like he’s just making conversation although he is genuinely interested. 

“Fine. Grades will be out next week.”

“Will we be seeing your name on the dean’s list?”

“It’s always there.”

Hoseok doesn’t say “Good,” or “ You’re so arrogant, Jungkook-ah,” because it doesn’t really matter. He graduated med school with barely passing grades and he’s here: a doctor.

No one in their family is forcing Jungkook or drowning him in expectations. It’s wonderful knowing that he’s doing extremely well, a sense of pride for his younger cousin a feeling he keeps close.

“You haven’t visited me in the clinic for a while. Did you finally manage to get some friends?” 

Jungkook pauses at that. He takes a last drag from his cigarette before stubbing it underneath his black Y3s. 

He definitely has somewhere to be.

Getting his car keys out of his pockets, Jungkook twirls the circular keyring around his forefinger. 

The last time Hoseok saw him, Jungkook had long hair. The short new ‘do makes him look sharp, but it’s his overall demeanor that has softened. The rigidity of his shoulders seem to have melted, his emotions more free-flowing and uncontrolled.

When he was invited to stay the night after dinner by Jungkook’s mother, he didn’t expect to see such a change in the younger. 

Jungkook is always about progress, talking about the present and how it can be bettered or scrapped completely. He likes talking to Hoseok about his achievements in school or in the gym, the dates he goes to, and the games he plays. His conversation pool revolved around, ‘I’m doing so good. Always pushing forward and never indecisive.’

Here he is now, pouting about losing on some game Hoseok doesn’t understand, why he has smoked two cigarettes consecutively while Hoseok stands watch. 

There’s a chance he’ll be late for work, and frankly, Hoseok doesn’t mind; how endearing it is to him seeing Jungkook slow down with life.                                                                                             


The sterile white walls are given a semblance of cheeriness thanks to the monstera potted in a matte peach rounded mouth. It’s Namjoon’s favorite part in the pantry, the beige Nespresso machine a close second. 

Besides him, there are two other guys sitting across the long wooden table. They are huddled over, steaming cups of coffee in front of them. Namjoon’s not good with names, but he remembers the two of them easily.

Lee Jumin and Park Jimin. Also known as his fellow residents under the hospital’s psychiatry program. 

Namjoon isn’t exactly eavesdropping, he just happens to be here and within hearing range.

“Jumin you’re so weird why is your age range up to 35?!”

“What?! I’m 26, stop lecturing me.”

“Why did you swipe left on that girl? She’s pretty.”

“Unlike you, I read the bios. Hers just said ‘wanderlust’.”

“Okay, now you’re just trolling.”

“Mind your own business, Jimin. And not to mention, I haven’t forgiven you yet for changing my name on this stupid app.”

“Jimin rolls off the tongue better than Jumin. Trust me, I did you a favor.”

Namjoon reaches for his mug, of course he brings his own he’s not some heathen, and takes a long sip. How coincidental that Seokjin just messaged him a few days ago about downloading Tinder and setting up a profile.

“Good morning!” The cheery voice of their attending physician joins in on the noise inside the break room. “What’s the excitement all about?” 

Doctor Jung, a known professional in his field, is a name Namjoon is very familiar with. He used the man’s researches as reference when he was still doing his undergraduate thesis, and now here he is under said man’s wing. Namjoon didn’t expect the famous psychiatrist to be so young. 

They meet eyes, Doctor Jung smiling at him with his perfect teeth showcased. He also did not expect him to be the walking personification of the sun. Namjoon returns to his mug and tunes out Jumin and Jimin asking Doctor Jung about his personal life. 


Flowers in the morning, and flowers at the end of the day. The early morning mist kisses the shop windows wet, the blinking street lamp that has not been fixed in years bathing the cemented path an amber glow. 

Seokjin leaves the house at exactly five in the morning, driving an old Chevy pick-up truck with his father on the passenger seat. They keep their windows down, Seokjin’s Dad blowing out cigarette smoke into the ombre purple and yellow sky. 

He waits for his Dad to enter the shop. They set up the display for the day, get coffee at the shop around the corner, and one last smoke in the old alley between the Kims’ flower shop and a bakery before Seokjin rides the train going home.

The playlist he falls asleep to in the train is called Studio Ghibli Essentials. By the time he’s at his stop, Seokjin is either on Tatara Women’s Song or Therru’s Song. Walking back home is a joy he missed. 

He stops by a stall selling egg toast; small, rectangular, and thick with perfectly soft boiled eggs on top. Seokjin buys four pieces. One to eat while he walks, one for his Mom, and the other two for later. 

Flowers earlier, and flowers later when Seokjin has to once again take the train back to pick up his Dad. It is a chore, but he does what he can. It’s so rare for him to be home, so he cherishes these little moments. 

Home is comfort, home is warmth. Seokjin lives in a place where a famous tourist attraction is, and he honestly loves it. The idea that there will always be people any time of the day gives him some kind of comfort. Their house is situated a few blocks from it, a narrow road to be passed through if you’re walking. Cars usually take the opposite side where the sidewalk wouldn’t cause anyone panic. 

Flowers exist everywhere here. Seokjin’s family home is filled with it after all. Fitting, seeing as it is their business. He takes a moment to recite every scientific name of the blooms in his Mother’s garden as he unlocks the gate and in time passes them. 

Seokjin always know where to find his Mother. Their house is average in size with the large garden front encircling the entire place. In the small and intimate spaces, Seokjin’s mother exists solely for the man-made pond by the lilies. A circular stone table with an ashtray on top, the morning paper, and a steaming cup of tea are things Seokjin has associated her with ever since his childhood. 

Here with lilies reflected on clear water, where the fragrance of various flowering species gather, the cigarette smoke is drowned out. He slides into the other seat in front of her, placing the box of egg toast down. 

The table is weathered, existing here for as long as Seokjin could remember. It has seen many moments of his life. From smoking for the first time legally with his parents when he was 18 to the many graduation photos taken of him with lilies in the background and the pond on the foreground. 

Perhaps the most tender and vivid of such memories was when he sat here and cried, letting his heartbreak egress into his mother's garden. Of course, she found him. She offered him her box of cigarettes she usually selfishly keeps to herself, and left him alone. She understood that he needed solitude. 

He doesn't remember it very well, the feeling a shard of nostalgia pricking at him every time he is here. It has gotten better of course; four years is a long time to carry sorrow with you. 

Seokjin does remember how it transpired. He came home after failing an entire semester, feeling hollow and a disappointment. He felt so broken those times he didn't even had it in him to hide it from his family. They've never met Jungkook yet it was obvious that the gloom following Seokjin wherever he went was caused by another person. 

He eventually got sick of crying in his room listening to All Too Well and Last Kiss on rotation. He remembers thinking if he was going to cry might as well make his sadness known at every part in the house. Ending up in the garden around midnight surrounded by beauty, Seokjin wished for nothing at the time but to be able to take his phone out and send a picture to Jungkook. He remembers wishing for a pack of cigarettes, and lo and behold his mother walks up to him and handed him one. 

Crying about how hurt he was at the time was palliative, and it was also the best cry of his life. 

The pond water remains stagnant.

The lilies are always beautiful.

The moonlight beams down on anyone. 

Seokjin's melancholy was a speck of dust against the flux of time.

They eat their makeshift breakfast accompanied by lulling small talk. Seokjin can physically feel how life moves in slow motion when he is right here at this exact place. 

He's the first to leave, his Mother still looking over her labor of love and their petals dotted with morning dew. 

Seokjin spends two hours lounging in his bed curled up with a book. An actual book, not some required reading med school textbook. It's about a girl who did not go home for the winter holidays and stuck around in her dormitory, a move he did once. The writing is palpable despite the theme, hitting too close to home. 

The sudden messages lighting up the screen of Seokjin's phone becomes a welcome distraction. 

The contact name surprises him. The last time he and Jungkook spoke was when the other dropped him off to school for his removal exams. 

 

J~K~

good morning

text back asap when you wake up

 

Good morning.

 

oh that was fast

 

What is it?

 

we can do smalltalk later

first off

where do you live

 

?????

 

you dont gotta answer that

just send me your location 

 

Why??? 

You are acting very weird..

 

you dont wanna see me? 

cause i want to see you 



Seokjin throws his phone on the edge of his bed out of instinct, heart beating fast and so loudly he could hear it. His hands feel clammy and sweaty yet also cold. The device dangles on the edge, ready to fall any minute. He watches it hover, the seesawing motion pushing him to reach out for it just as quickly. 

 

J~K~

Can you be clear for once?

 

aw

im just trying to be spontaneous

 

Spare me. 

What are you up to?

 

:D

 

You live far away from me.

What’s up, really?

 

on an errand

driving my cousin to work

just so happens he works in your city

 

Oh! Well, alright then.

Don’t see what that has to do with me :)

 

i wanna see you

and eat breakfast with you

i dont know im just bored

 

I can’t. 

I’m stuck at home and I’m broke.

 

then ill bring breakfast to you

 

I already ate.

 

you’re turning down a mcdonald’s breakfast?

 

Why didn’t you say so? 

 

send me your address please

 

Okay.

 

got it

what do you want?

 

I want the usual.

Oh, wait.

I doubt you remember.

I’ll send you my order real quick.

 

i do though?

pancakes with extra maple syrup

 

Well, then.

That’s correct.

Okay. Yeah. That.

 

anything else?

shit

just realized im about to meet your parents

do they like pancakes too?

 

Wait. 

I didn’t think of this clearly. 

HEY.

JUNGKOOK.



Memories of his parents meeting Namjoon and Yoongi flash through Seokjin’s mind. They’ve been to his house, he has been to theirs, and it went just like any other home visit to a friend. He remembers spring and holiday breaks consisting of him driving to pick up Namjoon to meet Yoongi, or even that one memorable time he rode on the back of Yoongi’s motorcycle at two in the morning to disturb Namjoon just because they could. 

His family knew he dated someone during his second year as an undergraduate, but he never brought Jungkook home, nor the other way around. They were always content in their happy little world. He never mentioned Jungkook’s name, never told his parents the whys and hows of why he failed that certain year.

Then it hits him.

A sudden realization that should’ve come sooner. Perhaps he knew all along. 

Maybe it happened when he slept over in Jungkook’s apartment, replacing memories of Jungkook sleeping at his. Or maybe it was far longer than that. The traces past Jungkook left in the corners of his mind are all gone now, replaced by this new Jungkook. 

There is no more room for comparisons and questions. 

Seokjin wonders if Jungkook feels the same when thinking of him, the first thought being, He changed. He hopes so. The panic dies down. He closes his phone, lays his head down on the pillow, and reaches for his book. 

It’s just Jungkook. 

No need to lose his cool over it.


Life, as Seokjin knows it, has been playing out events consisting of scenarios his mind cannot even come up with because it’s too impossible for him to even imagine. Such includes eating breakfast in the house he grew up in, McDonald’s containers strewn on the dining table, his forefinger and thumb sticky with maple syrup, while his mother listens with rapt attention at a story Jungkook is entertaining her with.

They are both sitting across him. In front of Jungkook and set beside his own pancakes are his cigarette case, lighter, car keys, and phone. The flat objects are stack together while the lighter and keys are strewn on the side. The clutter gives his presence more gravity. The fourth chair usually empty and reserved for guests suddenly feels filled, like it has been lived in. The house has always been homey, and Jungkook’s presence blends with it seamlessly.

Seokjin spreads the butter all over the surface of the smooth pancake with the plastic knife. It’s a half slice and his last one. He saved half of the syrup for it too. He drizzles it all over the flat cake, the golden liquid dripping on the sides. Seokjin’s mouth waters at the thought of fresh cream plus powdered sugar. He imagines fluffy pancakes and not fast food made ones. Popping a piece in his mouth, he muses at how this subpar one still satisfies him contrary to his thoughts. He is already dreading finishing it up.

Halfway through his half slice, Seokjin realizes he ran out of butter, the fat seeping into the pancake already and leaving it dry. He moves his chair back, ready to get the butter they keep in the fridge. It’s definitely more high quality than McDonald’s, but Seokjin insists it’ll taste off for him. 

A packet slides toward him from the other side of the table. He looks up to the direction where it came from. 

“Got extra butter. You can have it.” Jungkook returns to eating his food.

Seokjin’s mother stands up from her spot, picking up the cup of iced coffee Jungkook also got for them. “You boys enjoy your time. I’ll be in the garden if you need me. It’s nice meeting you, Jungkook-ah.” She smiles at him, and when she turns to Seokjin, gives him a look. The look. Seokjin knows it well. Besides their preference toward Marlboro mentholated blues, they usually fancy the same celebrities.

Before she completely disappear to the outside, she pauses and adds, “Oh, and Seokjin, I already told your Dad you have a friend over. He said you don’t have to pick him up at the shop.” She doesn’t give him time to complain, resuming her walk quickly. Seokjin wasn’t going to in the first place.

“You pick your Dad up?” Jungkook shakes his cup of iced coffee, the cubes making a clinking sound, then taking a sip from the straw. 

“Yeah. I drove him to work earlier too.” Seokjin dumps the butter on top of the pancake without worry. He has more than enough. “It can be tiring. I have to wake up really early then come back home by train and do it again. I do like it though. Gives me a reason to exit the house and explore.”

“What have you explored?”

“Honestly? I’ve been nowhere. I guess it’s cause I outgrew the town? I’ve been living away for so long. I feel more like a visitor than someone who actually lives here. I love this place of course, but all the mental fatigue from the first semester makes me just want to stay in my room and procrastinate the day away. I can’t even do that since I have chores.”

Jungkook places his pointer finger on his lower lip, rubbing it while in thought. “I see what you mean. I think that’s how it feels for me too, ever since I started living alone. Coming home doesn’t feel the same way anymore.”

Seokjin doesn’t reply immediately. He cuts the remaining bits of the pancake in smaller pieces. He likes to think of it as staving off the inevitable. “What about you? What have you been doing lately?”

“Stuff. Playing games, going to the gym. Nothing really exciting. It’s just a two week holiday break after all.”

“Yoongi did mention he’s been playing with you. And yeah, I agree. I’m counting down the days of seeing my grades.”

“I’m sure you did well.” Jungkook’s encouraging smile widens into a grin when Seokjin sighs longingly, picks up the last piece of his food, and pops it in his mouth. Little rituals Seokjin unconsciously do that Jungkook remembers. “You said the exams were okay.”

Seokjin did do that. It was raining that morning when Seokjin slept over in Jungkook’s place. He remembers the foreign showerhead that poured water over his head like rainfall in perfect temperature, leagues better than his and Yoongi’s too cold or too hot shower heater. How he dressed in uniform while Jungkook was wearing the usual black shirt, a jacket with blue sleeves and a white inner and outer color. Jungkook was pulling a suitcase on one hand while the other carried the potted tomato plant. 

He remembers saying how it is growing well, and that he didn’t expect Jungkook to have a green thumb. He remembers feeling warm when Jungkook looks over at it with a proud smile. He remembers the beeping of the elevator as it descends with only the two of them inside, and the sound of it mixing with Jungkook saying, “Yeah. It’s my baby. She’s grown real pretty; I’m kinda proud.”

Jungkook dropped him off to school, the downpour coming down hard on the roof of the car. Seokjin reassured him he’ll be fine, and that Jungkook didn’t need to wait for him. He said, “I’ll be okay. You can go home now.” To which Jungkook replies with, “I can hang around for awhile. I’ll wait for you. What if the rain doesn’t stop?” The offer sounded nice, and he would’ve said yes if it wasn’t for how intrusive he already felt. So he says, “Next time.” 

He wonders if this counts as next time.

“I mean, if I failed, they would’ve told me already, right?”

Morning fades into afternoon with the two of them sitting outside by the pond with Seokjin’s mom, peeling clementines and recalling the semester that has passed. 

“Seokjin’s lucky to have such a good friend then.” Seokjin’s mother finishes the last of the clementines, gathering the leftover peel into a separate bowl. “He always struggled with chemistry. I’m glad to know he has you and Yoongi.” 

Seokjin, who is sitting beside his mother while Jungkook is across him, catches his eye for a quick second. “Of course, Auntie. He doesn’t really need anyone to take care of him, but I will.” His Mother chuckles, and Seokjin catches his eye once more, eyebrows raised and conveying the words, What the fuck are you doing? Jungkook only shrugs, picks a slice of clementine, and places it in his mouth. 

They smoke in Seokjin’s childhood bedroom, a thin joint stuffed at the end of Jungkook’s cigarette case. They sit on the floor by the side of Seokjin’s bed, legs outstretched and passing the stick until Seokjin runs to ash it out of his window. They simply sit there, a bowl of clementines between the both of them. Jungkook plays music with his phone with his only playlist, and it makes Seokjin laugh.

“You need more playlists, not just driving playlists.”

“Don’t really see the point.” Jungkook slumps down on the floor until he is laying down on the carpet fully. “You can make me one.”

Seokjin, who has a book of poetry on his lap, feels how the blood rushes to his head. Caught off guard by the sentence, he plays it off by hurriedly turning a page. “Playlists are special; it’s like asking someone to co-parent a dog or something.”

“What? It’s that big of a deal?”

“To me, yes.”

“You’re telling me,” Jungkook reaches to flick his ear, “Getting this with me isn’t special?”

They know it is. Seokjin punctured a hole through his ear, and only on one side, simply because Jungkook asked. 

“You can just go to my music page and follow me.”

“Ah, of course. For the follow.”

“Speaking of follow, why won’t you follow me back on Instagram? I’m starting to feel embarrassed, seeing as we’re friends.” 

Jungkook is quick with pulling his phone out of his pocket. “Its ‘cause I have notifications off.” 

“No wonder, with your ratio and all. Also, a black and white feed? Really?”

The teasing pulls a grin from Jungkook. “Yoongi-hyung said the same thing.” 

Seokjin climbs up the bed, laying on his stomach with his arms tucked under his chest. Jungkook keeps to the floor. They watch League streams on Seokjin’s laptop placed right by Jungkook’s feet, the device now with scratches and a missing key compared to when they watched James Bond and Oldboy and it was brand new. Seokjin keeps getting distracted by the back of Jungkook’s head. He eyes the stack of earrings on his ear, his hair growing and starting to curl again. The effect of the joint disappears too quickly, a small thing too light for the heavy tolerance they both have. 

Still, it lingers, similar to how when Seokjin picks up a slice of clementine, the juice leaves a citrus scent on his fingertips. The body numbing sensation stays, while their minds remain clear. Seokjin can tell it’s the same for Jungkook, the other leaning his upper body on the side of Seokjin’s bed languidly. His head is tilted back a bit, allowing Seokjin a view of how his neck curves, how Jungkook’s eyes are looking downwards to watch the stream. His hair is black like ebony, skin taut over bone, striking although not flawless. 

With how close they were, Seokjin could lean over and press his lips on the back of Jungkook’s neck without problem.

Perhaps the mind high is more potent than Seokjin is aware of. 

“What time are you leaving?” Seokjin asks, eyes to the screen. Jungkook turns to him, just as he expected.

“When you ask me to. I don’t have anywhere else to be.” Jungkook turns his body a bit to face him. His arm moves up to settle on the bed, prompting Seokjin to move. Even from his peripheral, he can tell Jungkook’s eyes are red. Even when smoking so little, his eyes always turn red. A random voice at the back of his head wonders if this is why Jungkook never cries, because of how easily every part of him colors to signify an emotional reaction.

“Stay for dinner?” 

He’s so close.

So close Seokjin feels the words rather than hears them.

“Okay.”


Seokjin opens Tinder the moment he watches the black Jeep drive away from their house. There’s a lingering promise of, “I’ll be back to bother you tomorrow,” and it fills him with excitement. He feels so excited that it has him anxious at the thought. 

The app has been on his phone days ago. He even asked Namjoon for help on choosing pictures. Seokjin just never felt interested enough to use it. A few swipes here and there and he instantly got bored. He centers himself with the resolution to find a date, something, anything, to keep his mind off people who isn’t his ex-boyfriend.

Without thinking about it, he swipes right on every person person until he goes over the limit. The messages are starting to pour in, and it fills him with a sense of validation. He’s done this before, he reminds himself, already feeling better at how his inbox keeps getting notifications. 

“Options,” Seokjin says out loud as he lays in bed, “See, so many options exist in the world.” He scrolls through the numerous messages, finding interest on a guy named Changdong and Jimin. He refers to them as Guy 1 and Guy 2 in his mind. 

Guy 1 keeps him occupied for the rest of the night until the conversation dies down. Seokjin jumps to Guy 2 quickly.

Rinse and repeat.

Online dating has always come to him easily. Guy 2 makes him laugh, enough for Seokjin to type out a, Goodnight I’ll talk to you tomorrow. He sleeps with thoughts of Guy 2, his picture providing his imagination a face; short black hair and no piercings in sight. He sincerely hopes it’s not someone catfishing him.


Jungkook peels the last of the clementines on the table. He keeps the discarded skin on another bowl, just like how Seokjin’s mom told them to. This is already his third visit to the Kim household. Three days of coming over at breakfast, telling Seokjin he’s still driving Hoseok to work when it was only that one time. Mornings with fast food pancakes, afternoons of peeling fruit, smoking in Seokjin’s childhood bedroom, and eating dinner with Seokjin’s parents. 

The constant attention Seokjin gives his phone is new though. It was subtle at first, but now he won’t even place it down.

“Hey,” Jungkook suddenly says, “Who are you taking pictures for?”

Seokjin hits send and types back a quick reply, thumbs going over his keyboard rapidly. 

He knows he has a dumb smile on his face because of the conversation with Guy 2, so he clears his throat to lessen his obvious giddiness.

“Just some annoying guy I’m texting.”

Another notification bubble appears at the top of the screen. He clicks on it and laughs out loud at the reply he gets. 

“If he’s so annoying why are you laughing?”

Finally looking up from the phone screen, Seokjin is met with a raised brow from Jungkook. He’s chewing on a slice of clementine, another already on his hand. 

“Because he thinks I’m catfishing him. He said to send a photo of me holding a spoon.”

Jungkook’s eyebrows narrow, and after swallowing, immediately says, “And you sent him one?”

“Well.. obviously?”

Another notification.

“What does he want now?” 

Seokjin reads it over, laughs, and turns his phone around to show Jungkook. 

“Now he wants one with me holding a fork,” Seokjin leans back just as quickly to type his response, “This is getting ridiculous.” The last sentence is laced with so much amusement anyone can tell he means it in a different way. 

The scraping sound of a chair and sudden movement is dwarfed by Seokjin’s attentiveness to Guy 2 and his dry humor. 

It’s only when Jungkook is looking over his shoulder and pressing his cheek on the side of Seokjin’s head does he realize the other got out of his seat.

“What do you want—”

“Come on now, he’s super shady. He keeps asking for pictures of you and won’t even send one.”

“I already saw his face. He’s kinda cute, and a resident too.” Seokjin feels a bit defensive over the sudden interrogation, and he knows it’s nothing to be embarrassed about, but Jungkook’s questioning is taking his fun down a notch.

“Show me.”

“What the hell, show you what? Stop being nosy.” Seokjin turns his phone off. He’ll reply later after dealing with Jungkook and his relentless curiosity.

Jungkook turns to him, and Seokjin thinks that it is unfair how Jungkook can look him straight in the eyes while he averts his to the scar on his cheek. “Show me who’s annoying you so badly that he has your attention when I’m right here.” 

“Oh. I’m sorry then.” Seokjin places it down on the table and reaches for the bowl of fruit. “You have my full attention now.” 

Jungkook feels his lips twitch involuntarily. He swallows down a smile the same time Seokjin picks up a fleshy clementine slice. 

“Seriously, JK. We’re attached to the hip these days and you’re still so needy.” Seokjin’s sarcastic tone doesn’t hide the fact that his ears are a bright red.


Seokjin wonders if this is an attempt to stop him from using his phone. He feels vain coming to that conclusion, and the other things he can allude to it, but he lets it slide. He doesn’t tell Jungkook the truth that he has already deleted the app off his phone, its novelty disappearing quickly. 

On the fourth day of Jungkook’s string of visits, he comes over at nighttime. 

He says something along the lines of exploring the neighborhood and the tourist spot just near Seokjin’s house, and Seokjin agrees instantly, loudly proclaiming his craving for delicious street food marked-up to the extremes due to the foreigners swarming around. 

The area is popular enough to warrant visitors all-year despite how hot and humid it gets. The street they arrive at has stalls of street food lining the sides, a few spaces given to allow passage to the more expensive shops at the back. The hustle and bustle transport Seokjin to another world even though this is where he grew up. When he was younger, in high school and focused only on university applications, he would go here after school and torment the vendors into selling him food for lower the price. The backpack strap he would perpetually have over his shoulder is replaced by Jungkook’s hands, flat on his shoulder with his thumbs occasionally applying pressure. 

“Ah, we have to get yakitori!” Seokjin shouts over the noise. He starts walking to the direction of it, Jungkook following his footsteps with his hands still on Seokjin’s shoulders as if he is the one directing the other.

They get to a stall, and Jungkook stays quiet, watching Seokjin point at this and that to the aging vendor who laughs when Seokjin asks for a discount. Jungkook doesn’t really mind paying in full, and he doesn’t have a choice too, seeing as Seokjin is holding his wallet hostage for the night. 

“Jungkook-ah, here you go.” Seokjin holds out a stick of skewered meat to him, already blowing on the other. “It’s hot so be careful.” 

The movement is smooth. Jungkook moves like water over him. The palms once settled on top of his shoulderblades turn into an arm encircling his neck, pulling him to Jungkook’s chest. 

He lets it slide.

Instead, he says, “I’ll hurt you if the sauce drips on my shirt.” 

The inevitability of all of this happening doesn’t come to him as a surprise, the night progressing akin to a montage.

The narrow street lined with stalls, faces both similar in structure to his and also different, words rolling off mother tongues he recognize and does not, the mixing of sweet and savory smells in the air, and the taste of yakitori in his mouth.

When hands touching him innocently morph into intimacy, moving from his upper body to around him, and finally, to its destination, meeting his own. 

It takes them effort to navigate the area like this; holding hands, brushing shoulders, eyes straight, and red in the face. Jungkook’s thumb would occasionally rub on his skin, an action that should be a grounding effort.

Seokjin would mention the name of a food, walk over that way, and drag Jungkook along by pulling on him. Jungkook would hum, allow Seokjin to lead the way, and they would eat in silence. He feels full in no time, but he keeps on mentioning wanting this and that, an excuse to keep their hands locked. Jungkook catches to his train of thought instantly, stopping Seokjin who was leading the way over a dango stand.

“Hyung.” 

Seokjin stops. He stares at Jungkook with eyes wide, right there in the middle of the street. People walk pass them without much complaint. 

“You don’t have to do this.” This time, it’s Jungkook pulling on him. “We can go sit somewhere quiet, and I’ll still hold your hand.” 

“Oh. You should… have said so.” 

They go through the throng of people until they are out by the entrance. The air already feels colder. Seokjin’s grip on Jungkook’s hand tightens, or maybe it’s the other way around. People standing by the sides are smoking, a common sight in these night markets. Seokjin and his family would do the same; eat, smoke for easier digestion, and come back with renewed appetites. 

Jungkook’s free right hand is already rummaging through his pockets for the signature cigarette case and lighter.

“Here, I’ll help you.” Seokjin takes a Marlboro lights stick while also taking one for himself, and holds it out for Jungkook to place between his lips. Jungkook hands him the lighter, still refusing to let go of each other. Seokjin laughs at the awkwardness and hardship they are putting themselves to. Seokjin lights up both of their sticks, the first hit making him groan. “I think I ate enough for a week.” Jungkook laughs in agreement.

“Do you want to talk about this?” Jungkook blurts out. Seokjin jolts immediately in response. “I’ll take that as a no then.”

Seokjin shakes his head. “I don’t mean that. It’s just—”

I can’t even admit it to myself.

I’m literally standing here holding your hand and I still cannot wrap my head around this.

“Can we talk about it tomorrow?”

“Tomorrow.” Jungkook repeats. He blows a cloud of smoke up into the night sky. “Okay, tomorrow then.”

“Are you going home after this?” 

Jungkook swings their hands forward, then backwards, prompting Seokjin to look at it. 

Still fits together perfectly, even after all these years.

“I don’t want to.” 

The response from Seokjin is instantaneous. “Me too.”

“You’re letting me sleepover?”

He stops himself this time from being overly excited. He holds back the yes, and says instead, “Let’s go somewhere.”

“Where?”

“I have no idea. Just anywhere.” 

Just anywhere ended up being Seokjin sitting on the passenger side of the Jeep next to Jungkook, one hand on the steering wheel and the other holding Seokjin’s, their elbows resting in the middle of the car. The night drivin’ playlist occupies the silence, and when the car is back on the road and away Seokjin’s neighborhood, he realizes that they don’t have anywhere to go.

“Where to?” Seokjin asks while the outside scenery is still familiar. 

“You’re the one who wanted to go somewhere.”

“Well, I did not think this through.” 

“We could chill at a McDonald’s parking lot and I’ll be happy.”

Seokjin’s not sure if Jungkook meant the sentence to be funny because he feels the same. They could keep circling the highway, go back to his house, call it a night, and he’d be happy too, so he says, “I mean, you do still owe me that McFlurry.”

Fast food, fast cars, cigarettes, and the entire night ahead. All that is left to do is to make out at the backseat and Seokjin’s cinematic night driving adventure with Jungkook will be a hit. He entertains the thought because so what? He’s an adult. He’s done worst things in the back of people’s cars. There is no denying it anymore, that he has stopped seeing Jungkook as the guy he used to date, and how he has come to peace that he is attracted to this new Jungkook and it’s okay. It’s even better that the other seems to feel the same way. 

Seokjin gives him directions to the nearest McDonald’s. They go through the drive-thru, left with two McFlurrys, and parked at the front. Jungkook had to let go of his hand as he parks, handing the plastic bag to Seokjin who is already opening his up. When the car stops, engine still running along with the air conditioning, Seokjin hands Jungkook the plastic bag. 

“I don’t want that.” Jungkook huffs. Seokjin turns to him, brows furrowed and plastic spoon held in mid-air between his fingers. “I want your hand.” 

Seokjin laughs out of disbelief. “Okay, so how am I supposed to eat my ice cream?” He says this, but Seokjin is already placing the unopened one down on the cup holder, the opened one cushioned between his thighs, and the spoon sticking on top. Jungkook pushes his seat back, leans down, and lays their joined hands on top of his chest. Seokjin feels the fabric of his shirt, and the fluttering of Jungkook's heart beating against his palm. 

Seokjin tongues the inside of his cheek, staring Jungkook down who returns it. “You’re unbelievable, you know that?” His body is turned slightly to accommodate this position Jungkook put them into. At least, Seokjin thinks in consolation, he can still eat his ice cream. 

The song is fitting despite the car not moving. 

Slow drive.

“Is it alright if I say something?”

Seokjin bristles. “No.”

“This is different. I understand where you’re coming from; you want to wait it out until tomorrow and see if you still feel the same way, that maybe it’s all because of the atmosphere.”

“Then what can you say that will be different?” He didn’t mean to sound so aggressive about it. He knows he’s looking like an asshole for wanting to see if this is real or just brought upon by the season.

Because Seokjin might only be admitting it now, at least he finally is, but he was content with how they were: more than friends yet less than lovers. 

“We don’t have to talk about it, I promise. I just want to get it out there. If it helps your line of thinking then it’s a win for me. If you want to ignore it, it’s okay too.”

Seokjin nods, signalling for him to continue. He digs the spoon into the vanilla ice cream, making sure to get all the oreo bits. Jungkook is doing it again, where he rubs his thumb on the back of Seokjin’s hand for comfort. Seokjin’s pretty sure Jungkook is doing it for himself.

“I don’t want to just be here for you.” 

The hold Seokjin has on the plastic spoon falters.

“I want to be with you.”

The ice cream instantly melts on his tongue as soon as the spoon hits the roof of his mouth.

“And if anything changes tomorrow, for better or for worst, if you come to the conclusion that you want me too, or that you’d rather remain friends— I like you, hyung. I really do.”

He needs to look at Jungkook, needs to know if he is sincere, because you can tell everything he is feeling just by looking at his face. In the back of Seokjin’s mind, he realizes he knew all along. So he does. He looks at him and gets his answer. 

Jungkook’s free arm is bent, the back of his hand resting on his forehead. It shadows his eyes a bit. The sincerity is clear as day.

“In the you want to date me sense?” It feels stupid to ask this when Jungkook is looking at him like he hung up the moon and the stars, Seokjin’s hand clasped with his and on Jungkook’s chest. At least he doesn’t say, You want to date me again? Because, Seokjin concludes, fuck the past, really.

“Can I be blunt?”

Seokjin’s not sure how much more honest Jungkook can get so he laughs, tinged with nerves, and nods.

“If I had my way, we’d be kissing in the backseat right now.”

“Oh.” Seokjin breathes out. The curve of Jungkook’s lips, that little upturn of confidence, annoys him. 

Again, fuck the past. Seriously.

Seokjin adds, “Just kissing?”

“Hyung, I’m trying to be a gentleman here.” 

How does one say, No please, be disrespectful as much as you like, without it being too much?

Seokjin shoves a spoonful of ice cream into his mouth to stop the words from spilling. Jungkook lets out a breath of relief and sits up, grabbing his phone from the dashboard.

“You wanna watch bad movies on Netflix?”


“I binged watch all available seasons of Sherlock, hyung. When I say vatican cameos, you stay put and I’ll kiss you, yeah?”

Seokjin glances up from his homework to blink at Jungkook in surprise. “You finally watched it and this is what you come up with? Stop standing there and close the door.”

Jungkook is grinning in excitement, standing on the doorway of Seokjin’s dorm with his bag still on his shoulders. “Come on, just agree with me!” 

Sighing, Seokjin places his pen down on top of his notebook.The paper is filled with asymmetrical aromatic rings. Seokjin has long given up trying to draw them perfectly.

“Jungkook, did we even watch the same show? Did you miss the part where Mary asks John what it means, and his answer is that someone is going to die?” 

His boyfriend refuses to move from where he is standing. “Say yes, yes, yes. Just say it. It’ll be our cute little thing.”

“You’re the cute little thing in our relationship.” Seokjin teases, turning from his desk chair to fully face Jungkook who rolls his eyes. “I got a gym membership! I just told you this last night! One day, I’ll throw you over my shoulder and we’ll see who is the cute little thing. ”

“God, stop being annoying. Just come in and close the door.” 

“Not until you say it.”

Seokjin sighs. Between the both of them, Jungkook has the patience and resolve to stand by the door until morning comes just for Seokjin to agree. Seokjin on the other hand has two more minutes of calm left before he starts a fight about leaving his door open longer than five minutes.

“Fine.” 

The immediate grin from Jungkook is worth it, Seokjin tells himself. 

“Vatican cameos.”

Jungkook closes the door, runs up to him, takes his face with both hands, and kisses his forehead. Seokjin cranes his neck up to look at the other. “Just my forehead? You’re so soft.”

“For you, I am.”

It makes Seokjin laugh because it’s true. 

“Say it again.” Jungkook tells him, fingers tapping on his cheeks playfully. “Every time you say it, I’ll do it at a different place.”

“You said you’re the one who will be saying it. Why do I have to say it and be kissed? That doesn’t make sense. And I’ll repeat it; vatican cameos means that someone is going to die. This isn’t really cute, Jungkook.” Seokjin tells him plainly, an eyebrow raised in question at his boyfriend’s random ideas.

“You’re the one making it complicated. If you or me say it, then we do what it means. That’s it. Now, say it. I want to kiss you everywhere, hyung.”

If this was their first or even second month of dating, Seokjin would be a flustered mess. Four months down the line, Seokjin has been used to Jungkook’s antics. “I’m not your boyfriend for nothing. We’re literally dating so we can kiss anytime we want. Why do we need to say vatican cameos?”

“Because,” Jungkook leans closer, and it only registers to Seokjin that he did end up saying it, “It’s a warning. Someone is indeed going to die, and it’s me. Every time I remember that you’re mine, and that I could kiss you freely, I feel like dying.”

Seokjin might not be as used to Jungkook as he thought. Just when he thinks he is, Jungkook comes up with new ways to make him feel things like it’s the first time.

A kiss on his cheek.

Jungkook pulls back. His eyes are wide, smiling at Seokjin and cheeks red. That’s another thing Seokjin keeps forgetting, that Jungkook loves him as much as he does. 

“Vatican cameos.” 

Jungkook tilts his head up and kisses him on the neck, just between his jaw line and underneath his ear. Pulling back, Jungkook cuts him off before he gets to repeat the phrase once more.

“Remember this pattern. From your forehead,”

A kiss.

“To your cheek,”

Another.

“And to your neck.”

This time instead of just pressing his lips to the same spot, Jungkook sucks on the skin hard enough for Seokjin’s hands to wrap around the other’s wrist.

“The next time you ask, it’ll be right where you want it most.”


Seokjin wakes up to his phone ringing. The lethargy he possess loses to the ringtone he has set for Yoongi. It’s the loudest one, designed to wake him up whatever the situation. Fishing for it around his bed, Seokjin stares at the screen with half-open eyes and swipes to answer the call.

“What hospital do I go to?”

“This is worst than Namjoon tripping over flat surfaces. The grades are out.”

The sentence has him sitting up from bed and throwing his blanket away. “Fuck!” 

“Yes, fuck indeed! Tae and I have been spamming the groupchat since lunch time! Where are you?!”

“I’m at home, Yoongi. I was sleeping.” Seokjin groans. He pushes his hair out of the way, the length of it poking him in the eyes. “Wait, lunch time? What time is it?"

“It’s four in the afternoon. Hurry up and check if you passed. Tae is going off about how maybe you failed and decided to ghost us for life. Why the fuck are you still asleep anyway?”

Seokjin hangs up and picks his laptop from the carpeted floor and sits back on his bed. The events from last night and the early morning rush to his head, reminding him of what he got up to. 

Street food night markets.

A night drive.

Ice cream.

Holding hands.

Watching bad movies on a phone screen.

Driving back home at five in the morning.

Jungkook.

Seokjin logs into the school’s online portal with shaking hands. He tries to bury Jungkook at the back of his mind and how so many things happened hours ago and he’s kind of regretting it. Not what they did, or what they said, but that they didn’t do more because here he is now, clicking on the link to see his grades, and the only thing in his mind is that tomorrow is right now and he has come to the conclusion that yes, he still feels the same way and would very much love to make out with Jungkook at the backseat of his car. Or in Seokjin’s bed, here or in the apartment. Just anywhere.

 

Kim Seokjin

Year 1 

Status: PASSED. PROMOTED TO SECOND SEMESTER.

 

He zooms in on the words in green, and out. It’s only when his cheeks started hurting he realizes he’s been smiling so much.

 

yoongi and the others

I PASSED.

I KNEW IT

 

congrats

 

you were literally crying about how maybe he failed and is gonna move away to the countryside

 

HYUNG, CONGRATS. I CAN’T WAIT TO SEE YOU AGAIN. 

 

Me too!!!

Thank you!!!!!!

What about you guys?

 

passed

 

YES, PASSED. AND IM ON THE LIST. 

 

im more surprised with tae being on the dean’s list over you passing

 

Wait, seriously?


YESSSSSSSSSSS

SEE I TOLD YOU

IM SMART

YOU DONT NEED JEON JUNGKOOK TO TUTOR YOU

CAUSE IM HERE

 

now youre just getting ahead of yourself lol

 

The mention of the name makes him exit the group chat to find Jungkook’s contact. There’s no new message from the other. Seokjin takes it upon himself to tell Jungkook the good news. After all, a part of it is thanks to him. 

 

J~K~

I passed!

Thank you for all the help.

I shouldn’t be asking because I know you did well but I will.

How are your grades?

I’ll just say my congrats in advance!

And also. 

Call me when you see this.

I think I’m ready to talk.


The argument of him being an adult and capable of making decisions fight in his head with what he labels as fear and judgement. When he hit send on those messages to Jungkook, he ran down the stairs and to the garden where his mother is with a bowl of peeled clementines on the table. He takes her box of cigarettes to light one up, and they sit in silence while she plays a game on her phone.

It isn’t surprising to him that she doesn’t ask questions like where has he been and why did he come home at five in the morning. She’s used to him doing the same thing with Namjoon and Yoongi. Lastly, he’s old enough to not be questioned about such stuff.

So Seokjin questions himself because no one would. It’s already getting dark, and he has officially fucked up his sleep schedule. His phone might be ringing already, the most awaited call from Jungkook making him want to bounce back inside and keep it near him. He doesn’t, not until he settles the anxiety he feels over the entire situation.

Does he like Jungkook? Yes, and not just as friends. Does he want to date Jungkook? He’s unsure about that one. He’s leaning on a yes. Does he want to kiss Jungkook and maybe more? Fuck yeah. 

The voice in his head says, So you want him as a fuck buddy? Is that it? 

It’s a normal thought, especially since he’s had relations with people specifically for that purpose. The one thing holding him back is who the person is. An ex-boyfriend. This should come easy to him; to them. They used to be together once upon a time, except it is actually harder. This is where the judgement comes in.

Maybe, being older and wiser can also mean saying fuck it to expectations. He just wants to be kissed, and if he wants it done by one specific person, then that’s his business. 

The outdoor lamps placed near the pond automatically open. It’s getting late. He’s ate all the clementines his mother left for him, and he has once again smoked too much while deep in thought.

Funny how he sat here once to cry about his relationship with Jungkook ending only to be here years later weighing in the pros and cons of crossing the line to start a new one. 

“Seokjin,” His mother’s voice calls for him from inside the house. “It’s time for dinner.”

Make your decision.

He eats dinner with his parents while telling them about how he passed. They smile at him fondly, and when his father tells him, “You’ve always been capable,” it dawns on him that he is. The word risk exists for a reason, and he’s competent enough to handle the consequences.

Clearing up the table and washing the dishes become his excuse to deny the inevitable of checking his phone. He already has his mind made up, and Jungkook has been waiting since yesterday. He can wait some more. 

The dirty dishes eventually run out and he has no choice but to go back to his bedroom where his phone is. He even kept it plugged to the charger. 

Entering his room, Seokjin sits on the floor at the same spot Jungkook has been making himself comfortable on these past days. Taking his phone from the side of his bed, he clicks on the power button with bated breath.

Several messages from Yoongi and Taehyung, some from Namjoon, and several from his classmates greet him. He sees a lot of congratulations being thrown around. There is even talk already of the incoming semester. He scrolls up and down the several notification bubbles, trying to find the two letter contact name he wants to see the most. 

Maybe it got buried from the number of notifications.

Seokjin types in his passcode, his birthday, and clicks on the messages. No new message from Jungkook. Clicking on the contact, his eyes widen at what he sees underneath the last message he sent. 

 

Read 5:36 PM

 

Before he could even think of the whys, he gets distracted by the number of messages Taehyung and Yoongi keep sending their group chat.

 

yoongi and the others

What’s happening, what did I miss?

 

seriously where do you keep disappearing off to

 

BACKREAD HYUNG

 

 There’s too many messages… 

What is it?

 

jungkook’s not on the dean’s list

and i m not sure if its true

but apparently

he failed a class

Chapter Text

The cap of the Pocari bottle remains upturned on the side, the mouth of it open and ready for whenever Seokjin takes another swing of the sports drink. He doesn’t bother capping it again, knowing full well he’ll be emptying the liquid contents in no time and possibly buying another bottle. He’s only been here, sitting on one of the many tables in the convenience store, for a good fifteen minutes yet it feels like hours passed. 

Besides the bottle, he has a finished cup of cheese bokki, a crumpled box of Marlboro blues with only four sticks left, and Yoongi’s night out lighter.

Return to me using your left hand if you want to make out.

It’s a new semester, and Yoongi always starts it off with a hook-up. This used to be exciting, when they were still undergraduates and would meet up after the first Friday of the new semester bar hopping, and Yoongi would be blissed and chilled out. Seokjin would tease him, ask who it is, and Yoongi would only shake his head and say he doesn’t kiss and tell. It isn’t fun anymore since they are roommates, and that Seokjin has to wait this out, possibly the entire night, anywhere but near their place. 

Sitting beside him is Taehyung, asleep on the table. He could go up his own place already but he’s always been soft towards Seokjin, deciding instead to stay here with him. They reek of alcohol and smoke like the rest of the people inside the store. It’s almost two thirty in the morning, and for some, the party pace is only picking up. Seokjin kind of wishes they stayed longer. At least it would give him something to do, the amount of people and alcohol serving as a distraction to the very much unwanted drama he is putting himself through. 

The two week holiday break ended, a new semester has begun, and things couldn’t be more different. For starters, the new classes and lessons he has to go through and learn. There’s also his new hair that Yoongi spent hours laughing at. 

“Choppy bangs? Who broke your heart over the break?” 

It was a spur of the moment decision that had to do with Jungkook ignoring him after leaving him on read. It took him a few more days to get the guts to message Jungkook again, asking if he’s okay. He gets a curt response, a text saying: yeah im fine . The sudden change of attitude had him reeling, and he’s heard of the news of Jungkook not making it into the dean’s list, so he decides to leave it at that. He doesn’t bother Jungkook for the rest of the break but the other plagued his mind. In his quest for distractions, Seokjin took a pair of scissors and decided to cut the ends of his hair that had been perpetually poking his eyes. The result came out shorter than he imagined. Taehyung insists it’s cute, and Seokjin decides he trusts Taehyung more than any person right now. 

He thinks of the rumor about Jungkook failing a class, which was quickly proven false by Yoongi who decided to ask the source straight up. Seokjin wishes he asked too. It’s not really his responsibility, but he should have. Now Jungkook isn’t hanging out with them, too busy with studying, and ignoring Seokjin in general. He knows Jungkook not making the cut isn’t his fault, he’s not that self-pitying to think of himself as the reason, yet he can’t help the selfish thought of how this was supposed to be their perfect timing. He can’t even talk about it with his friends since nothing really happened. 

Sure, they held hands, and Jungkook admitted to liking him more than the platonic sense, but at the end of the day, they are nothing but friends. Less than friends now, seeing as the last time they spoke was weeks ago. He saw Jungkook earlier in school, chance meetings that are bound to happen. Seokjin can only look from afar, respecting the distance. 

Jungkook didn’t need to tell him he needed space, the implication of his sudden coldness toward Seokjin loud and clear. He understands, he really does, though it doesn’t mean he likes it. Frankly, Seokjin hates it because what is he supposed to do now? Pretend he doesn’t like Jungkook and that the whole ignoring each other deal isn’t hurting him? He’s an adult, a grown person in his twenties, and he’s living the life of a highschooler mooning over their schoolboy crush. 

Admittedly, Seokjin has entertained thoughts of breaking into Jungkook’s apartment, sitting him down, and initiating the talk they were supposed to have. He’s thinking about it now again, imagining how he would do it and what he will say.

You can’t just tell me you like me then suddenly ignore me like this.

Before anything else, we are friends. You can lean on me if things are getting hard. 

I’m here for you, just like how you were there for me. 

I want to take care of you.

A flutter of movement shakes him from his reverie. Taehyung is sitting up and reaching for Seokjin’s Pocari. He hands it to him, and Taehyung mumbles a thank you.

“I can sneak you in my place, easy.” It’s the second time Taehyung mentions this. 

Seokjin shakes his head and laughs. “You don’t have to wait here with me. Go home already if you want to.”

Taehyung finishes the last of the Pocari. He lets out a sound of satisfaction after, taking the cap and screwing it close. “I thought of something funny.” He giggles, eyes minimizing while his lips stretch into his signature smile. 

“What?”

“Home is wherever you are.”

Seokjin snorts, rolling his eyes. “Should’ve just kept that to yourself.”

“You’re the one who asked, hyung.”

“Yeah, well, you said funny, not stupid.”

Taehyung slouches down, settling his left elbow on the table and resting his chin on the palm of his hand. His right arm hangs aimlessly on the bench they are seated on. “I do have something stupid to say. Or ask.”

Seokjin raises his brow at the admittance. Taehyung makes him feel so overly fond. “Go on.”

“Why are you here with me?”

The statement takes Seokjin aback. “Excuse me?”

“You’re probably thinking I’m the one here with you when it’s the other way around. You should be hooking up with people too, not sitting here with me.”

Seokjin holds the other’s gaze. He’s quite impressed at the number of implications Taehyung inserted between the lines. If he thinks about it more deeply, he’ll find a way to connect it to the source of his broodiness and overall under-the-weather attitude he’s been donning on for the entire week.

He could have said an excuse, a self-deprecating one, or blame it on Yoongi having dibs on their apartment. He settles with, “I don’t know either.” Vague, but at least honest.

Taehyung blinks once, twice, too exaggerated that it worries Seokjin for a while about what the other would say. He receives a smile, one of understanding. “That’s fine.” Taehyung reaches over to him, pointer finger brushing on the edge of his bangs, tracing the length of it. “But you have to figure out soon why that is, hyung.” 


Seokjin’s hair grow slowly, another thing that spites him. The weeks pass by quickly, and every time he comes across a subject matter he cannot quite grasp, he pulls open his drawer and takes out the iPad. He has stopped referring to it as his. He wanted to be petty and never use it, but there is no room for pettiness when his grades hang precariously by a thread. As long as Jungkook doesn’t ask for it back, he’ll keep it to himself, thank you very much. 

The preliminary exams happen quick and easy, and then, one of the most awaited events by the lower years in medical school; the interschool med sports tournament. Seokjin remembers when it was held in their alma mater, and how he and Yoongi convinced Namjoon to join the football team. 

Yoongi is quick to sign up for the basketball team, and unsurprisingly, gets in. When Yoongi comes home after practice, wearing a white shirt underneath a Nike jersey, basketball shorts, and a black gym bag over his shoulder, he tells Seokjin with the most casual tone, “Didn’t know Jungkook also plays ball.”

Seokjin was quick to reply with, “He doesn’t though?”

Yoongi shrugs, eyes meeting Seokjin’s for a second before he turns around to shower. “He does now.”

The anticipation for it is palpable, especially with their college being this year’s host. Yoongi comes back to the apartment every other day after practice feeling tired, sweaty, then extra clingy after a bath and fresh clothes. It puts a smile on Seokjin's face whenever Yoongi curls up next to him. A knock on their door would reveal Taehyung, dressed similar to Yoongi pre-shower except he has Nike sliders on his feet and holding his cleats on one hand. 

They would huddle on the floor talking about their day, and just like that Seokjin is distracted from thoughts of Jungkook, a Mcflurry melting on his tongue, hands that refuse to let go, and a conversation that never happened. 

They don’t ask him why Jungkook stopped hanging out with them. 

School is busy. School is hard. It is understandable. The hardship doesn’t deter Taehyung and Yoongi from taking the tournament seriously. Seokjin would’ve joined if there was an e-sports category. 

The third day of the three day event of course is the most anticipated one with football in the morning and basketball in the afternoon. Currently, Seokjin and Taehyung are running to not miss Yoongi’s game.

The gymnasium would be close to bursting if it was a bubble. The amount of people piling in wearing casual clothes, uniform, or sports jerseys make up the crowd Seokjin and Taehyung had to go through, elbowing their way towards the bleachers. 

They manage to secure a seat at the second to the last row, a miraculous feat. Taehyung is dressed in his soccer uniform along with narrowed brows and downturned lips. Seokjin let the younger hold his hand all the way from the soccer field to here. They lost to another school during preliminaries, and Taehyung’s upset over it is written all over his face. Seokjin on the other hand is in casual clothes. The red pants, white baggy shirt with blue lines going down the v-shaped collar, black chucks, and orange cap worn backwards make him feel good about himself more than usual. It’s a bonus he likes looking good too, and when people do double takes at the sight of him, he grins inwardly in satisfaction.

People are always drawn to beautiful things.

Seokjin relates to this, his eyes instantly falling across the gymnasium court to where their school’s basketball team sat. The school colors, a deep red bordering on maroon, suit every member of the makeshift team well. Especially the one donning number 1, last name Jeon. Seokjin shamelessly stares along with half the audience. 

“There he is!” Taehyung announces in excitement, pointing at the same direction Seokjin is looking at, then raising his arms and waving in excitement.

Seokjin mumbles an agreement, head moving to the side in acknowledgement of Taehyung. His eyes remain on Jungkook’s back. He’s been doing this a lot ever since school started again, standing from a distance and only looking from behind. Sometimes Jungkook meets his eye, a nod of acknowledgement and nothing more. 

“Yoongi-hyung!” 

Oh.

Standing next to Jungkook is Yoongi, his last name and jersey number suddenly clear to Seokjin. He turns around, the loudness of Taehyung’s voice and flailing limbs catching his attention. Seokjin waves back in response, hand raised for a wave and an encouraging smile. Yoongi rolls his eyes before returning the gesture. The small curve of his lips morph into a full blown grin. 

“Min Yoongi!” Seokjin shouts enthusiastically in cheer. Taehyung does the same, clapping and howling their friend’s name. Yoongi covers his face in pretend embarrassment, the action too exaggerated to be anything else. 

The commotion of course has Jungkook turning around. He turns away quickly, expression melting off his face to be replaced by warmth spreading all over his face and to his ears.

“Hyung, isn’t that your ex?”

“What?”

Taehyung chuckles, sounding agitated. “Not him.” Taehyung points toward the other side of the gymnasium. “That one.” 

A group of people walking in are wearing a familiar dark green jersey along with the university crest Seokjin has on his diploma, the one certifying his major in biology during those five back breaking years. 

Park Heesu.

Seokjin instantly recoils at the sight of him. 

An arm around his shoulders halt Seokjin’s instinctive response of twisting away. 

“Tae, I don’t want him to see me.”

“He won’t.” The squeeze on his shoulder meant to be comforting surprisingly works. “I doubt he’ll cause a scene, hyung. Don’t act weird.”

“I’m not acting weird! I just really dislike him and would like to not be involved or revolve in his orbit.”

Taehyung laughs, sighs, and squeezes his shoulder again. “I wish you had this energy towards the other ex too.”

“He’s— it’s different.”

“An ex is an ex, Seokjin-hyung.”

“You can make amends with exes you know?”

“Maybe it’s just me, but if you are able to befriend someone you once thought was your world, it could only be two things. You never loved them to that extent, or you cannot bear not revolving around their orbit so you take the easy way out: friendship.”

“That is a very pessimistic outlook on relationships.”

“Or I'm just very realistic, and you are too optimistic. I think nothing says I love you more than when you never look back; when you love them so much you cannot stand being around them knowing you’ve been reduced to just friends.”


The second quarter of the game ends with Yoongi, Jungkook, and the rest of their teammates in the lead with six points. Yoongi is good at basketball, and he’ll go as far as to say he’s one of the best in the team.

Everything comes together thanks to teamwork perfected through what little training sessions they had after school. Unsurprisingly, Jungkook is good too, managing to clinch a few two pointers whenever he's in possession of the ball.

Yoongi wasn’t surprised to find Park Heesu standing on the other side of the court still in their old school colors. The two of them used to play basketball together during undergrad. They regarded each other with a raised brow and a nod. 

He wasn’t expecting Heesu’s eyes to land on the person next to him during the mandatory handshake, Jungkook, and for him to bristle at the sight of his teammate. Yoongi recalls Seokjin telling him about meeting Heesu a few months back with Jungkook giving him a lift. 

They make their way back to the locker room where rows of storage in freshly painted red separate them from the other team. 

Jungkook uncaps a bottle of Pocari, inciting outcries of jealousy from the rest of the team. The members did not want to waste time, practically running out of the room and, presumably, to the vending machines for a Pocari or two. Yoongi stays back, content with his hydro flask filled to the brim with cold water. 

The silence is broken within a minute. 

“Heesu-ah, stop letting number 1 steal the ball from you every time you have it in your hands. You’re a few inches taller so use it to your advantage!”

“But sunbaenim! He’s still broader!”

“Stop making excuses! What’s the matter, seriously? You keep freezing every time he comes up to your face.”

Yoongi glances to the side just in time to see Jungkook smirking at the comment. His eyes are downcast, tongue poking his cheek, and fingers twisting the cap of the bottle close. They keep quiet, listening in on the other team who thinks they are alone.

“I do know him, sunbae. I feel— uh, it’s a bit awkward seeing him.”

“Are you talking about number 1?”

“Yeah, him. Well, he used to date my ex. He was a year higher when we were in undergrad.”

“Is this the same ex you were looking for earlier? The one who studies here?”

Yoongi purses his lips to stop any sound from coming out. He crosses his arms over his chest, brows furrowed in wait of what else Heesu will say. 

“Yeah, Seokjinnie. He’s the one who promised me we would attend the same medical school, then left me before graduation.”

Another voice chimes in to say, “Oh, man, that sucks Heesu-ah. What a dick.”

Yoongi tries to keep his cool. Of course they would say that about Seokjin. They don’t know the full story, and he doubts Heesu would tell it to them without bias for himself. 

“Hey, it still doesn’t excuse you acting stupid whenever number 1 is guarding you.”

“It’s not only that. He isn’t just Seokjin’s ex before me. I met him before this, when I came here to the city so Seokjin and I could talk. They were together, sunbae. I think they got back together right after we broke up.”

“What?! So he left you only to jump right back to his other ex? This Seokjin guy sounds like a total asshole.”

“Ah, don’t say that sunbae. I kind of got a hunch he was going to get back together with him. You know, a gut feeling that he was already cheating right before leaving me.”

“That is some next level bullshit. Cheating with someone you used to date? Fucking disgusting. Park Heesu, you should forget about this Seokjin. You’re clearly better off without him.”

A hand wrapping around Yoongi’s bicep stops him from storming the other side and giving the people talking shit about Seokjin a taste of his fists. Yoongi’s blazing eyes meet Jungkook’s cold expression. The hard set of his jaw tells Yoongi the younger is also holding himself back. He blinks slowly, and nods, assuring Jungkook he wouldn’t do anything rash. 

“But,” Heesu sighs before continuing, “Isn’t Jeon to blame too? He knows Seokjin was taken. I guess he couldn’t give him up.”

Yoongi wants to snap at him so badly. He wants to bang against the locker because Park Heesu is a goddamn liar. Seokjin never cheated on him, much less cheated with Jungkook. There’s also the fact that Seokjin hadn’t seen Jungkook in four years time, and by the time they reunited, he and Heesu were broken up for two months. 

“You’re a better man than I am, Heesu-ah. If I was you, I would’ve gotten into a fight the moment I saw Jeon.”

“Did they really get back together again?” 

Yoongi thanks whoever is asking this, seemingly the only person with reason.

“I believe so. Sunbaenim, my Seokjin’s something else. You should see him.”

A laugh. “You sound like you still have feelings for the guy. Give it up already, especially since he did you so dirty.”

“Trust me, when you see him you’ll understand. Seokjin’s a ten; body and face. In the end, you can’t blame us for running after him. I guess it’s easy to forget how trashy someone is when they are such a good fuck.”

It all happens so fast. 

One moment Yoongi was being held back by Jungkook, and the next he was pushed to the side, Jungkook’s back facing him as he rounded the row of lockers. He too reacts quickly, although a few seconds late. The words that left Heesu’s mouth took slower to sink into his brain. 

Yoongi sees red. He lets the anger control him, guiding him to the other side. He catches a glimpse of Jungkook on the ground with Heesu underneath him, balling the latter’s shirt collar in his fists. 

He hears Jungkook say, “This counts as bothering Seokjin. Did I not make myself clear when I said I’ll beat you up if you pull this shit again?”

One of Heesu’s teammates try to pry him off the other without success. 

Yoongi jumps to the said guy without a care, the satisfying collision of his knuckles against the other’s cheek would’ve been delicious if he was Heesu. He got into a lot of fights when he was young, so he knows to keep his thumb outside his fist, and with it throws another punch. 

He’s unsure how long the fight lasted. Maybe it was only a few seconds, maybe it was longer than five minutes. Yoongi wished their teammates never came back. He would’ve taken his sweet time beating these people up talking about Seokjin like they knew him. He gets stopped by one of the seniors in their team, his arms held behind his back. The same is being done to Jungkook.

“Let go so I can put this bastard straight!” Yoongi tries to twist away, gyrating his body left and right. The anger is filling him so much he can’t hear anything else except the ringing in his ears. 

Jungkook doesn’t trash around the way Yoongi is doing. He allows them to hold him, standing perfectly still and composed. When someone helps Heesu up to a sitting position, Jungkook moves his leg to kick the other on the stomach but gets pulled back before it connects. 

“Jeon, let it go already! And you! For fuck’s sake get a better hold on Min; he’s goddamn shorter than you!”

A group of professors come in, eyes wide and nostrils flaring. Their berating pass through Yoongi’s ears. He tunnel visions on Heesu being helped up and failing to do so. Jungkook bruised his face up nicely. The resulting picture of Heesu after tasting Jungkook’s knuckles brings him immense satisfaction. He wishes he got a hit in too.

They are led down to the college’s many clinics. The adults in charge at least know not to put them with the people they were just punching.

A wet cotton ball pressing on the corner of his lips has Yoongi hissing. He didn’t realize how much pain was being masked thanks to the adrenaline rush. The numbness of his upper body is fighting with sudden ache, and he just knows he’ll feel this for days. 

The nurse moves from him to Jungkook who is sitting down on the bed next to Yoongi’s. He has his back turned on the other, and he would love to see if Jungkook looks worse than him, but the thrumming of his body forces him to focus on his breathing.

“What are you two gentlemen thinking getting into a locker room fight? Are you high schoolers? Especially you, Jeon Jungkook-sshi!” 

Several people swing the clinic door open and close only for them to say the same things. The summary of it concludes them being an embarrassment to the institution, a withering look directed specifically towards Jungkook, and the most obvious one of how they can’t participate in the game anymore. Yoongi feels the weight of how highly they think of Jungkook, and how this behavior was unacceptable to them considering his reputation in the school and among the faculty.

When it seemed like the chiding was over, the door is pushed open so loudly it bangs against the wall that it has Yoongi straightening his back. The nurse peeks from a separate room she was in and tells the newcomers to quiet down. 

Seokjin bows his head in apology, smiling charismatically until she disappears again and alongside with it, his friendly expression. Following Seokjin is Taehyung whose eyes are twinkling and lips curled to one side in mischief. 

“Who got the punch in?” Taehyung asks in excitement. 

“Him.”

“Me.”

The two standing by the foot of their beds shift their attention to Jungkook. Yoongi winces while he does the same.

Underneath Jungkook’s right eye, precisely on his cheekbone, is a plain band-aid. Without it, no one would be able to tell that he just got out of a fight. He’s sitting on the bed slouched down, left palm cradling the knuckles on his right. 

“He said shit about me?” 

The sudden inquiry surprises Yoongi. He nods his head, watching Seokjin’s every movement. His best friend sighs while Taehyung sits beside him on the bed. 

“He deserves it then.” Seokjin simply says. 

Turning to Jungkook, Seokjin opens his mouth only to close it again. He does this twice before finally saying, “We should talk in private.” 


The sound of their footsteps blend seamlessly that Seokjin stops for a bit to look and make sure Jungkook is following him. He is, and very closely too, that Jungkook ends up bumping on Seokjin’s shoulder. 

“Sorry.” Jungkook mumbles, stepping backwards. The band-aid on his cheek is distracting, demanding attention from Seokjin’s gaze.

They end up sitting at the bottom of a barely used stairwell. Students and professors alike only use the stairs when the elevators aren’t working, which is a rare occurrence in itself. Jungkook sits at the very last step with Seokjin just one step above him. 

Seokjin starts with a polite opening question of, “Does it hurt?”

They both have their bodies turned and facing each other. Jungkook has his head raised to stare at Seokjin, and with this angle, he notices how long Jungkook’s hair has grown again as the tips of it cover the topmost part of the band-aid. 

“Am pretty sure he has it worse than me.”

“I’m not asking about him.” Seokjin gestures to Jungkook’s hand with a tilt of his head. 

Jungkook raises said appendage, examining it while the light hits. His knuckles are red, slim fingers devoid of the rings he sometimes wears. “No broken bone. I’ll be fine.” 

Seokjin rolls his eyes at the answer and extends his own palm out. “Let me see.” 

Jungkook obliges, laying it on top to kiss the inside of Seokjin’s hand. It’s clinical, the way Seokjin turns it to the left and right. 

“When did you learn how to fight?” Seokjin continues with the small talk. Jungkook smiles. They pretend that Seokjin’s not fully holding his hand now, or that Jungkook isn’t pulling back.

“Boxing is good cardio, hyung.”

Seokjin wants to snap at Jungkook for speaking in ends. It forces him to keep the conversation going instead of it flowing smoothly.

“I told Yoongi he probably deserves it, but does he really?” 

Jungkook is quick to react with this statement. His hand hanging limply on Seokjin’s palm tightens around the other’s, assuring Seokjin with a gentle squeeze. 

“He does.” Jungkook holds not just Seokjin’s hand when he says this but also his eyes. “I’ll get in trouble for it, but I will gladly do it again and more.”

“What did he say to warrant this reaction from you?”

“Hurtful bullshit. You don’t need to know.”

Seokjin couldn’t keep the retort to himself, the words spilling from him without pause. “But you’ve been hurting me too.” 

Jungkook doesn’t apologize. Seokjin is glad for that. 

But you’ve been hurting me too.

He says it more for himself than for Jungkook. 

It feels liberating to admit that yes, he is affected by them not speaking to each other. There’s realization in it too: he’s hurt they aren’t talking or hanging out like before, but he doesn’t need any apologies.

“Are you going to tell me why we are not talking? It would hurt less if I just liked you, and the thing is, it hurts more because we are friends too.”

Jungkook’s not holding his hand anymore. It moves to his wrist, fingers caressing the top and underside of the skin there. His eyes are downcast, bangs covering his face. “They found out. About the notes I gave you. Your professor in biochem also taught one of my classes. They failed me and it was out of spite, so my cousin had to come here and talk to the Dean. I kept your name out of my mouth. I won’t say I stopped hanging out with you to protect you from their suspicion, that would only be a half-truth.”

The revelation has Seokjin returning what has now come to be their comforting gesture. After so many memories made before, it amazes him how they still manage to come up with something new between themselves. 

“Why didn’t you tell me? Or Yoongi and Tae? We are your friends, Jungkook-ah. We aren’t the same as before, and you know that. To me, our friendship takes precedence over my feelings for you.”

Silence.

“Do you like me, Jungkook?” Seokjin knows the answer. He only asks for the sake of asking. 

“Of course, I do.” 

He doesn’t like how Jungkook phrases it. Too friendly, and not what he wants to hear. 

“Do you want to date me?”

“No, hyung. I don’t.”

“Then why are you acting like we can’t be friends too?

“I can’t be just friends with you. You aren’t the same person as before, or even the one from weeks ago, but I think I’ll always end up liking you. I don’t think I can look at you, or be around you, and not like you. It says a lot, don’t you think? Four long years without speaking to each other, and I still end up with feelings for you. I can’t be around you and be content just being friends, but committing to you is the last thing I need right now. You deserve someone to be all-in. I like you and I want to be with you but I cannot be that person for you at this point in my life.” 

Jungkook looks at him expectantly. Seokjin would laugh if he wasn’t trying to be the bigger person, initiating this conversation they’ve been tiptoeing around ever since their reunion. 

Jungkook thinks he will blow up over it, still sees him as the Seokjin from years ago. He should empathize more, he was having the same thoughts before after all. Seokjin doesn’t have time for that though, so he plows in with the questions and ignores the puppy eyes Jungkook is shooting him.

“Do you want me?”

“I believe that comes with the territory of liking you.”

Seokjin clicks his tongue. He wants to wipe the faux innocent look on Jungkook’s face and replace it with shock, or anything that indicates he isn’t as cool and centered like he presents himself to be.

Arms crossed and facial expression deadpan, Seokjin lets the question out in the open. 

A sudden rushing of a breeze ruffles their hair and muffles the words. If they weren’t sitting so close to each other, it would have been swallowed whole by the atmosphere. It reaches Jungkook. Seokjin can tell by the way his mouth falls, lips parting a bit, and his eyes widening. Jungkook’s pupils are blown so wide it swallows the brown coloring into darkness.

“The answer is either yes or no,” Seokjin adds as an afterthought, “You don’t have to think too hard about it.” 

“You want me to answer now?”

Seokjin resists the urge to roll his eyes. Trust Jungkook to be difficult when he’s the one baring his soul and brimming with honesty. He counts to five, smiles and hopes it is comforting when he’s feeling none of that, and says, “It’s okay if you don’t want to. I can handle the rejection.” 

If he was a lesser man, he would end the sentence with, You already rejected me once. I’ll live.

The answer spills out of the other hurriedly. “I’m not, I just— is that what you want?”

“I’m asking you if you want to do it, and you’re wondering if it’s what I want?”

“Hyung, I can’t believe we are even talking about this.”

“Jungkook, yes or no?”

“Yes. Of course I do. I’m only human.”

All it took was for Seokjin to see their entire situation and admit what it is.

Jungkook’s expression doesn’t lie. Seokjin thinks this might be him at his most honest. He doesn’t feel victorious when he usually does over matters such as this. He knew it’ll be affirmative. There was no other answer possible, unless he was actually dreaming everything up this entire time.

“One night.” Seokjin decides. “Then, we stay out of each other’s way.” 


Surrounded by food and drinks bought from the many festival stalls is how Taehyung and Yoongi find Seokjin. He’s sitting by the open parking lot stone benches, alone and with a big tuff of cotton candy on his hand. Every time he takes a piece it color his lips blue. The pink lemonade he is sipping on mixes with the blue into a shade of purple that Taehyung comments on with a fond smile. 

“We won by the way.” One of them tells him.

Yoongi sits across Seokjin on a different bench with Taehyung on his left. Yoongi has a corndog, and he winces at every bite. The band-aid moves as he chews, and Taehyung teases him about it. Seokjin watches them through the last bits of his cotton candy, the sugar rush not helping his nerves. The presence of his two friends do help. 

“I love you both.” 

The suddenness of it surprises the two, Yoongi almost dropping the corndog on Taehyung’s lap. 

“I love you too.” Taehyung is quick to reply. He grins, big and endearing. Seokjin smiles at him fondly. Maybe if other people were half as honest as Taehyung, there would be less heartache in the world. 

Yoongi mutters a, “Me too.” The mushy atmosphere incites a giggle out of Taehyung. Yoongi is quick to send a glare his way. Clearing his throat, Yoongi adds, “The team is going out to celebrate. You two should come.”

“They aren’t mad at you for what you did to the enemy?” Seokjin teases. He picks up the waffle with sliced nectarine and syrup on top, a plastic fork given to him by the vendor from earlier. “And yes please let’s go. I want, no, I need, to get drunk. As soon as fucking possible.”

Taehyung, who is always ready for everything especially when Seokjin is part of the equation, surprisingly turns down the invitation. “I got a hot date tonight, babes. You’ll have to FaceTime me if shit goes down.” 

At the shock on Seokjin’s face, Yoongi says, “He means his Mom is making him take Yeontan to the vet.”

Seokjin wants to ask Yoongi how he knows what Taehyung is up to, but settles with suggestively raising his brows when Yoongi peeks at him. 

“Yeontan is my baby.” Taehyung retorts, bumping Yoongi’s shoulder. Yoongi does the same, and the force of it almost has Taehyung falling on the side. 

Seokjin hides a knowing grin behind a slice of waffle, looking afar and pretending he doesn’t have a hunch with what is going on. 


They hitch a ride to the club with one of the seniors in the basketball team. Yoongi rides shotgun, hitting the guy’s vaporizer and blowing smoke rings in the air. The guy is friendly, offering it to Seokjin as well who gladly snatches the slim device from Yoongi’s hands.

“The whole gang is going to be here?” 

Seokjin mentally thanks Yoongi for asking the correct questions. They roll up into the club, and when the guy parks beside a black Jeep, the question is answered before the senior could even speak. 

“Yeah, man. Literally everyone. Even the guys from volleyball are here.”

Stepping out of the car in his black ripped jeans and blue silk shirt, Seokjin wobbles when his feet meets concrete. Yoongi helps by steadying him. It doesn’t mean that Seokjin’s best friend doesn’t laugh at him though. “Save the tripping over flat surfaces for when you have alcohol in you.”

“Yoongi, I’m high out of my mind. Cut me some slack.” 

The place is fancy, the kind of club where the higher you pay the better seats you get. Seokjin gets lost in thoughts of how the seating arrangement in this place has allusions to class. The area near the several bars is the cheapest, which may seem like a good deal for most. It is filled to the brim with some people standing up. The middle has better furniture, and as you go higher up the price point, the more privacy there is. 

They end up at a table situated near the middle and more secluded area, a square couch surrounding a glass table with the space taken up entirely by bottles of Hennessy. The senior disappears when Seokjin and Yoongi settle down at one side of the couch to walk up towards another group.

“Your boyfriend is here.” Yoongi whispers right against Seokjin’s ear. Seokjin whips his head around instinctively, and Yoongi laughs, ignoring Seokjin in favor of greeting the person sitting next to him. 

Turns out he didn’t need to look very far, because staring at him on the other side of the table, is Jungkook. He’s dressed in a black cotton button-up with the top left open showing off his collarbones. His hair is tousled and messy, yet still falls perfectly over his face with ease. The band-aid on his cheek doesn’t distract, and perhaps even adds to his allure. 

Of course, Seokjin fixates on his earrings. The lone stud looks out of place among the hoops and dangling chains. The fact that he’s wearing the other half of it right at this very moment reminds him of why Jungkook needed a new set in the first place. 

As if to soothe him, his mind conjures up a memory from earlier. 

Earlier.

Fuck.

Did his conversation with Jungkook about that really happened just a few hours ago?

( “Jungkook-ah, do you want to—” )

“Shot!” 

The offered drink, which smells like tequila, is shoved to him and Yoongi. The liquid sloshes on his lap and Seokjin receives a half-hearted sorry. He accepts the drink and pretends to do the same with the apology. 

Downing the burning liquid, Seokjin sees from the corner of his peripheral vision Jungkook being given a shot by the same person. The warming of his throat thanks to the drink is similar to when he was conversing with Jungkook; constricting airways, and sweaty palms masked by coolness.

( —want to fuck me?” )


The song is recognizable to Seokjin’s ears, the chorus one of his favorites. The title itself describes his state of mind.

Tipsy.

Seokjin might be more than tipsy. He’s on the edge of falling into a state of total drunkenness, his vision spinning faster by the minute. 

One moment he was sitting on the couch accepting shot after shot, and now here he is on the dancefloor alone. Moving his body in time with the music, he closes his eyes and lets the alcohol take over. 

Seokjin still manages to sneak in a thought that if it was ecstasy instead of alcohol in his system, he would be in somebody’s arms right about now and grinding on them like there is no tomorrow. 

Feeling a hand brush his waist, Seokjin opens his eyes, ready to tell the stranger off. The guy immediately holds both his hands up on each side, eyes wide.

“Sorry! I didn’t mean to!” 

This is why Seokjin has a love-hate relationship with alcohol; his standards take a hit straight to the knees.

He thinks, I guess he’s cute enough.

He says, “That’s okay.” 

Seokjin smiles at him, a slow curving of his lips drawing the guy’s attention to them. 

“You come here often?” It is a testament to how not tipsy and definitely drunk he is.

Seokjin never flirts; people flirt with him. 

The guy looks a bit surprised at the sudden but very used line. Elation crosses his face and he says, “Yeah, I actually do.”

A person bumps into him, pushing Seokjin closer to the stranger. He hears an apology thrown at him. He ignores it, his skin heating at the hands holding his arms steady. His own are on the guy’s chest, and Seokjin couldn’t help giggling. 

“You look like it.” 

Seokjin has no idea what he’s talking about but he seems to be saying all the correct things because the stranger turns red in the face. He can see clearly how it spreads to his ears despite the dark lighting and occasional blinding lights coming from the DJ’s booth. 

Or maybe it’s simpler than that. Seokjin’s never been more aware of how he looks compared to when he is inebriated. 

Confidence up, standards down. 

“You wanna dance?” Seokjin asks. His palms slide up the guy’s chest to encircle around his neck.

The hands on his arms move to his waist, settling on his sides. Seokjin feels the hold on him tighten, the guy letting out a gasp. 

“What’s the matter, babe?” The term of endearment drips easily from his mouth. 

Seokjin misses doing this. He misses going out, getting blackout drunk, and making people squirm. He’ll probably think differently in the morning when his face gets acquainted with the toilet bowl, puking the contents of his stomach out.

“You’re so—, you’re so pretty.” 

There’s that adjective again. 

“Jungkook calls me pretty a lot.” 

“Um, who’s Jungkook?”

Seokjin’s heavy lidded eyes try to maintain eye contact with the guy. “Did I say that out loud?”

The guy nods, and before he could say anything else, Seokjin’s pulling him closer. “Nevermind that. We’re going to dance, aren’t we?”

“No, you are not going to.” A voice from behind him growls, pulling him by the waist and away from the stranger. “And you. Scram.”

Instead of reacting negatively, Seokjin lights up. “Yoongi! Where were you?”

The guy is quickly forgotten, his attention shifting to his best friend. The setting once again shifts for Seokjin without him realizing it.

From sitting on the couch, to dancing with random strangers, being in Yoongi’s hold, and now to sitting on the steps at the back entrance of the club while Yoongi towers over him. 

“Now why did you do that?” Seokjin narrows his eyes at Yoongi who is mirroring his expression. The cold air makes him shudder, and he hates how quickly the alcohol and weed is losing effect. 

“You disappeared for an hour and a half! Jungkook and I had to look for you everywhere. I was so worried, you goddamn idiot.” 

“An hour and a half? That does not sound right at all.”

“Oh hell it does!” 

Before Seokjin could retaliate, Yoongi grips his cheeks with one hand. “Listen to me.” Yoongi’s hold on his face tightens, patience obviously wearing thin. “You’re going home right now, do you understand?”

“No, I don’t want to.” Seokjin’s words are slurred, yet he still manages to glare at Yoongi. 

“Stop being so fucking difficult. Jungkook’s going to bring you home, alright?” Yoongi’s tone sounds final, saying without verbalizing that there will be no more arguments regarding the matter. 

Yoongi lets go of him to fish his phone out of his pocket. He doesn’t bother with calls, the loud music still within reach outside of the club.

Feeling stupidly brave, Seokjin decides to make a run for it. 

Yoongi looks up a second too late, his best friend already making his way back inside and with the crowd. 

Seokjin didn’t need to be within hearing range to know that Yoongi’s cursing at him. He gets mixed with the queue of newcomers, the pushing only bearable thanks to the alcohol. 

Showing the glowing stamp on his wrist to the bouncer, he’s allowed entrance once more without having to fish for his license. 

Seokjin has no idea what he’s doing back here. His erratic behavior is caused by the alcohol sure, but the root cause is more of a who than a what. 

The number of tequila shots and jägerbombs he threw back is starting to make itself known to him again. Or maybe it’s just the vibe of the place making him want to wild out. He starts walking towards the center, back into the crowd. 

Seokjin wants to feel trapped in a sea of strangers under blinding lights so he wouldn’t have to feel so lonely inside his own head. 

Not even Namjoon, Yoongi, or Taehyung’s blissful ignorance to how he came to be makes him feel understood. 

And that’s okay. 

Seokjin is allowed to feel lonely and misunderstood and miserable from time to time. 

It’s not very healthy for him to acknowledge this right when he’s in the precipice of a total drunken state, but accountability is accountability. He’ll be good again when he wakes up in the morning with a hangover and reciting a fake promise to never drink again. 

Seokjin never gets back to the dance floor. 

One moment he’s standing there contemplating his life choices, and the next he’s off his feet and staring at the bottom of familiar black chunky shoes. 

Craning his head, Seokjin catches a glimpse of several silver hoops along with the silver stud mirroring his own. 

Jungkook just threw him over his shoulder in the middle of a club, as if Seokjin weighed like nothing.

“Finally found you.” Jungkook says, left hand resting on Seokjin’s thigh. “Yoongi-hyung told me to do whatever it takes to take you home.” 

Jungkook starts walking, people making space for him and gawking at them. 

“Put me the fuck down!”

Seokjin could only shout, not wanting to hit Jungkook even though it’s what he really wants to do. 

A grip on his thigh hushes him. 

“I’ll give you a choice. You can stay here in this club,” Jungkook pauses, breathes in and out, and continues on, “Or I can take you back to my apartment and into my bed.” 

“Oh.” Seokjin wishes he could see Jungkook’s face when he said that. “Are you calling it in now?” 

A breathy chuckle comes out of Jungkook, a sound he hears more clearly than anything else in the noisy club. “No better time like the present, hyung.”

Jungkook only lets him down when they are once again back in the parking lot. He helps Seokjin get in the passenger seat of his Jeep, pulling on the seatbelt for him too. Jungkook stands outside for a while, phone pressed to his ear. Seokjin guesses he is calling Yoongi. He lets his eyes trace Jungkook’s back, still unbelieving of the other throwing him over his shoulder. 

Seokjin recalls a much younger Jungkook telling him about how he’ll do that very same action someday. He groans at the memory. If he is able to recall such old things, then it can only mean he is sobering up. The last thing he wants is to be sober during the ride back home, where he might end up overthinking everything.

Seokjin laughs humorlessly at this. He’s already overthinking about overthinking. The difference between suggesting it and being here, about to do it, has his stomach clenching in a mix of fear, insecurity, and most importantly, anticipation.

From the other side of the windshield glass, Jungkook glances at him, smiles, and turns back around to continue with his phone conversation. 

Then it sinks into him. 

This won’t be just some artless fuck.

Ironically, Seokjin thinks this will be the ultimate culmination and measurement of how much they changed.

Do you still put it down like that?

Do you still bite down like so?

Seokjin finds it hard to breathe with the thoughts running rampant in his mind. The word fuck is on the tip of his tongue. He swallows it down. He’s a hundred percent sure he’ll be spitting it back later. 

Jungkook slides into the driver’s seat, keys the ignition, and hits play on the touch screen radio. 

Damn. Love or lust?

“Ready?”

And the rest was noise.


“Do you take other people in bed?”

“Yeah. I don’t see it as anything special.”

“I see.”

“You said this is just sex.”

“I know what I said. Doesn’t mean I don’t want to be special.”


“Should we put down any rules? No kissing, no cuddling, or—”

“We’re going to end up fucking, and you’re worried about kissing? Let’s just go with it. We can’t purge the tension if we tiptoe around each other.” 

“I’ve never seen you so sure. My Seokjin wasn’t like this.” 

“Because I’m not him. Not your Seokjin, not the one from before.”

“But you, the one standing here in front of me, you’re mine for tonight, aren’t you?”

“Only for tonight.”

“Still. Mine. The way I’m yours too.”


Conversation flows alongside curling smoke smelling of burnt grass. Weed to get the jitters out, a body high to overtake the mental gymnastics Seokjin is suffering through. 

They sit on Jungkook’s couch, one lone throw pillow separating them from each other. The lights are off save for the one on the balcony outside. The darkness doesn’t mask their intentions. 

Jungkook’s shirt comes loose every time he passes the bong back to Seokjin who is sucking up the burn. The space between them disappears too, and soon enough, Jungkook is resting his head on Seokjin’s shoulder. 

“Can I ask something?” Jungkook might as well press his lips on Seokjin’s neck with how close he is. “Why are you okay with this?”

Sighing, Seokjin lets himself do what he wants. It’s part of their deal, to let everything out tonight until the inevitable. 

One night of touching and truthfulness is what they agreed on.

“I can like you and want to be with you without needing anything from you. Especially if you don’t want the same thing. I don’t need to insert myself into your life begging for a part in it.” 

Small talk resumes to water down the intensity, a burning question here and there to keep the fire stoked.

“What did you think when you saw me that night in the bar?”

“Why did you offer me a ride home?”

“Why did you keep on helping me?”

And of course, “When did you start liking me again?”

Jungkook plays with Seokjin’s fingers, his own between the crevices of the older’s palm. “I’m not sure when, or if it was liking you more than a friend. I just knew something changed after Taehyung’s party.”

Their fingertips touch to form a triangle. Jungkook’s free right arm is wrapped around his waist, fingers running up and down his side slowly making him squirm in his seat. 

“When you forgave me, I thought the overwhelming feeling of wanting to be by your side would be gone. I knew I was moving on guilt, it was what pushed me to seek you out in the first place. But it never changed.”

From his waist, the touch travels up and to the side of his neck. It’s familiar territory for both of them. 

Two of Jungkook’s fingers trace the side of his jaw and upper neck, avoiding his larynx and the front of his throat. Seokjin knows exactly what Jungkook is implying, can practically hear him say, You know how good I am with human anatomy. I can give you what you want. 

“Maybe I liked you all this time from when we first met at the bar. Or,” Jungkook maps out his carotid artery with perfect precision, “Maybe I never stopped.” 

A beat and Jungkook speaks again.

“Hyung.” 

Seokjin hears himself exhale out a, “Yes?” 

“Are you going to show me your tattoo?”


Here lies heaven.

Jungkook tests it out on his tongue and repeats the phrase again. He leans down to taste it, wanting to feel the phrase tattooed on Seokjin’s lower back at the end of his spine against his lips. 

Seokjin’s response to his poem, the answer Jungkook wanted so badly to be right, is written on Seokjin’s skin forever. 

He wonders how many have done the same, if people bend down and kiss it just as he is doing.

A lot, probably.

The word Jungkook is looking for clicks in his head.

Veneration.

Seokjin deserves it after all. 


Undulating in his movement, Seokjin grabs the wrist connected to the hand gripping his thigh. He holds on for the sake of holding on, his mouth hanging open, eyes closed, and letting the feeling of fullness overtake him. He feels the pulse underneath his fingertips going over the normal rate. He’s sure his own is just as rapid, if not more. 

Fuck me so I can feel nothing.

Fuck the feelings out of me.

Yet he feels everything more than ever, like a switch was flipped in his head and all his nerve endings lit up. Or, perhaps it comes down to a more primitive explanation, one that has Seokjin burning at the thought despite being in the middle of it happening.

He spent so much time telling himself it’s just sex, with his ex yes but still, it’s just sex. Seokjin should have known Jungkook doesn’t do things half-heartedly. No one knows his body, knows where to touch him like the other does. No one can fuck him like Jungkook does. A part of him laughs, scolding himself for not doing it sooner.

Jungkook fucks like he loves you, but not enough for it to be called making love.

Maybe when they are done the intensity will come down along with their release. The thought of this ending has Seokjin opening his eyes. 

Only once, he promises himself and Jungkook probably did too, one night to get this out of their system and it’ll never happen again. 

So Seokjin takes it all in, the view of Jungkook towering over him. He shouldn’t be surprised that Jungkook is already looking back. Seokjin still gasps soundlessly at those eyes on him. The emotion he is able to decipher, to receive, through Jungkook’s gaze alone pisses him off. He moves his hands to tangle into Jungkook’s hair, long again and curling, damp from sweat dripping from his forehead. He grips tightly, pulling Jungkook’s face down to him. Seokjin chuckles, airy and broken as the ramming into him continues. 

“Don’t look at me like that.” Seokjin manages to say. Jungkook slows down, until he pauses. He laughs too, and Seokjin doesn’t know where to rest his hands, or where to look. He realizes they are both panting, the sound once muffled. 

“Like what?”

Seokjin lets go of him, allowing Jungkook to sit back up on his knees.

Jungkook starts moving again, gentle with the slide but punctuating his thrusts deep every time he bottoms out into Seokjin. His fingers continue to grip the back of Seokjin’s thighs, moving every once in a while, up and down, stroking pressure points that has Seokjin’s toes curling. 

“Just— stop being sweet about it. Fuck me like you mean it.”

It doesn’t help that Jungkook’s current ministrations has melted into such, the line between being fucked and being made love to blurring. 

To taunt, Seokjin adds, “Or have you forgotten what I like?”

Jungkook raises his left leg a bit higher and turns to place a kiss on his thigh. Goosebumps run through his body as he feels the smile instead of seeing it. Jungkook sucks a mark on the spot, harsh and edging on painful. Seokjin’s walls tighten, and Jungkook responds back with a lazy thrust into him before letting his thighs go in favor of hovering atop Seokjin, face to face, and moving down to plant another bloom of purple right on the left side of Seokjin’s neck. 

Jungkook is still inside him, yet this has Seokjin closing his eyes and biting down on his lip. Jungkook’s hands rest on his shoulders, thumbs pressing down on Seokjin’s clavicle. If he moves his fingers closer, the span of it would wrap around Seokjin’s neck. He doesn’t though. He starts to move again, still languid and shallow. 

“You think I don’t know your body inside out? I can fuck you all night from muscle memory alone.” 

(And the rest was noise.)


The curtains are drawn shut, denying light from shining on them. Seokjin revels in the darkness of the room, the softness of the bed, and the coldness of the air conditioner. He’s underneath a comforter, skin warm and toasty. He’s wrapped in familiar arms, and Seokjin has not been held like this in four years, so he buries his face deeper into Jungkook’s embrace without shame. 

Seokjin dislikes being the little spoon. He feels claustrophobic every time past lovers try to drown him in their hugs. He’s always been ready to dive in headfirst when it comes to Jungkook. 

Seokjin allows himself five minutes of selfishness while Jungkook sleeps.

Closing his eyes, Seokjin imagines the smell of coffee in the morning. He would be woken up, gently then with a tickle to his side if he doesn’t get moving. He would peer through groggy and sleep-laced eyes at Jungkook, whose hair would be messy and sexy at the same time. He would hold Seokjin, mumble a good morning, and kiss him without needing to be asked. They would fight over who gets to shower first, and Seokjin would proudly wear the same basketball jersey Jungkook had during the sports festival; number 1, last name Jeon. They would ride the elevator hand in hand, bicker about where they should eat only to end up in a McDonald’s ordering pancakes with extra maple syrup. They would talk about school and study in cafes, and when it gets boring, perhaps drive out to the city to watch the latest movies. The drive back to their apartment will have Jungkook’s night drivin playlist playing in the backdrop. Seokjin would force him to stop by McDonald’s, Jungkook would complain about having fast food again, and they’ll buy McFlurrys and eat it in the parking lot while watching bad Netflix originals. They would kiss in the backseat, and definitely end up doing more. Then when they arrive home and separate back to their own spaces, Jungkook would kiss him and say, “See you later,” because in this daydream, there is a tomorrow for them. In Seokjin’s imagination, they got the timing right. 

A kiss to his forehead marks the end of his five minutes of selfishness.

A kiss to his cheek and Seokjin opens his eyes to watch Jungkook bend down to press another on his neck. This makes him giggle.

Finally, a kiss on his lips.

Seokjin is painted red and purple all thanks to Jungkook, and somehow, this is the first time they actually kiss. Their foreheads are pressed together, and Seokjin’s eyes roam all over Jungkook to preserve this memory in his brain. 

The fear settles in. 

It’s too good. 

Everything has changed and remained the same.

If he was a bit more selfish, perhaps even foolish, then he could have this every single day. He allows himself to want, for wanting is all he can do, because his inability to lose people important to him does not exist anymore. 

“I think I like you.” Jungkook mutters to him, voice deep and rough from sleep. “I think I really, really like you.” 

Seokjin finishes the sentence in his head: But not enough to choose you everyday. 

He has come to recognize the little ways this feeling manifests. Jungkook scoots impossibly closer, an inch of space between them. His hands trail up Seokjin’s back starting from where the tattoo is to the back of his neck. It is a certain movement akin to a dance Seokjin’s never heard the tune of yet knows the steps by heart. Next, fingers card through his hair, smoothing out his bed head. 

“Stay a little longer?”

Seokjin is already sinking deeper into him. He asks out of courtesy, “Until what time?”

Jungkook knows the dance too, following without mistake Seokjin’s lead.

“Until I tell you good morning instead of how much I like you.”


The elevator opens to reveal other people coming down from the roof deck. Their entwined hands do not let go. They could be in a crowd, and Seokjin would stubbornly insist it’s just the two of them. 

Having and holding Jungkook close while the elevator descends induce adrenaline into him.

This’ll be over soon and I’m holding his hand fight each other inside his head. Seokjin simply wants to let go of the former, just wants to enjoy this moment before it is gone. 

He is wearing Jungkook’s clothes, the black sweater fitting his shoulders perfectly into an attractive stretch while the lower part of it dangles on his waist. In Seokjin’s daydreams, they get off at the second floor and head for breakfast, but reality hurts and so when the elevator stops at the 14th, the two of them exit without another word. 

They wait for it to close, simply standing by the side. 

“Should I walk you back?”

Please don’t.

“No.”

“Okay.” Melancholy and nostalgia and fondness manages to depict itself in Jungkook’s gaze. “Whenever you’re ready.”

Can we stay like this forever? I don’t want to go, fuck, I don’t think I can handle this actually. This is so fucking dumb, you’re goddamn dumb, letting me go when we both know how we feel about each other, you selfish idiot—

“Jungkook-ah. Will you say our phrase for me?”

“You can do it without me having to say it, hyung.”

Seokjin snorts at the sarcastic remark. Trust Jungkook to throw his own snide comments back at him, when Seokjin would roll his eyes every time Jungkook made him say the phrase when he could just kiss him without needing to ask.

“You’re really going to be difficult right now?”

Right when we’re about to walk out of each other’s life once more. 

“Alright, fine. Vatican cameos.”

Seokjin’s lips trail from Jungkook’s forehead, down his cheek, lower to his neck, and lastly, to his lips. 

Except, Seokjin only presses his mouth at the corner, not willing to walk away yet. 

Jungkook receives the message loud and clear.

Cradling the back of Seokjin’s head, Jungkook pulls him close for a proper kiss, the kind where he nips on Seokjin’s bottom lip, the type of kiss that has Seokjin wishing once again he was a lesser person. 

He isn’t though. He’s not that person anymore who refused to let go for his own selfish reasons. So in the end they let go, take a step back, and offer each other a consolatory smile. 

“I think I really like you too.” 

“Yeah?”

“Yeah.”

Time’s up.

“Goodbye now, hyung.”

All Seokjin can do is nod. 

They both have things to do with their life. It isn’t enough that life with the other would’ve been amazing, or simply them being together is amazing. 

“See you when I’m ready?”

Chapter Text

“Jungkookieee,” Hoseok whines for the third time that night, banging his fist against Jungkook’s door, “Let me play your DS again. My battery just died and I’m too lazy to charge it.” 

The said phrase has become their codeword whenever Hoseok gets the itch to smoke. Jungkook gets out of bed, sock clad feet sliding across the hardwood floor of their grandmother’s farmhouse. Opening the door, Jungkook’s older cousin rushes past him and towards the only room in the house with a balcony. It’s not a joke when the adults talk about how Jungkook is the family matriarch’s favorite. 

Hoseok slams the glass sliding door a bit too harshly, earning a “Hey!” from Jungkook.

He gets an eye roll for a response. “Do you want a stick or not?”

The question makes the younger light up. He closes the door, double locks it, and joins Hoseok on the balcony in no time. 

Fishing out a crumpled blue American Spirit box from the front pocket of his hoodie, Jungkook watches Hoseok in anticipation, rubbing his bare arms because of the wind suddenly hitting them. Hoseok takes out two sticks, handing the other to Jungkook. 

Before Jungkook can take it, Hoseok pulls away and holds it above his head. “If you cough again, I’ll slap this out of your hands.”

“I just started a week ago. Cut me some slack, hyung.”

“If I’m going to be a bad influence, I should at least be a good mentor to my influenced.”

“I won’t! Give it!”

“God, you’re already addicted.”

“Yeah, yeah, whatever.”

Jungkook doesn’t cough. He lights it and hits it better than how he did the first time. He focuses on it while Hoseok busies himself texting and smoking at the same time.

“Are you sneaking out again, hyung?”

“You know I’ll kill you if you snitch on me.”

Jungkook scoffs. “You wouldn’t have to ask your friends to pick you up if you knew how to drive.”

Hoseok looks up from his phone and shoots his cousin a look of irritation. “Jungkook-ah, shut up. Don’t you have college applications to do or something?”

“Don’t you have the boards or something?” Jungkook mocks in a high pitched voice. 

Hoseok promptly ignores him this time.

After five minutes, a car with the headlights off park by the gate as seen through the balcony. Hoseok flicks the cigarette away and straight into the tall blades of grass surrounding the lot, the other houses situated too far away here in the countryside to be considered.

“I’ll call you later to unlock the gate.” Hoseok tells Jungkook who replies with, “Bring me home a McFlurry or I won’t.”

“Fine. You and your stupid teenage heartbreak need all the McFlurrys in the world.”

Jungkook scowls, sitting in bed while watching Hoseok fix his hair in front of the full body mirror. 

“I’m not heartbroken. I broke up with her!”

Hoseok pauses, glances at him, and chuckles. “Just because you did doesn’t mean you can’t be sad about it.”

“That’s stupid, hyung.”

“And when I become a psychiatrist, you’ll be paying for my advice. So be grateful and just listen well while I’m doing it for free.”

“Go pass the boards first.”

Hoseok walks up to him, hands inside the pocket of his hoodie. “One day, you’ll understand what I mean.” 


The day begins for Jungkook depending on his classes for the day. Today, he wakes up at nine on the dot, the sunlight caressing his skin as it filters in from the bare glass windows of his bedroom. 

A week ago, Jungkook wakes up before the ball of light even gets to kiss the horizon. He would be on his way to school riding the bus and buying McDonald’s for breakfast. 

The first thing he does that has not changed is reaching for his phone, buried somewhere under his sky washed blue comforter and several pillows. His bare chest slides across the sheets, back cold from moving around the bed and letting the air conditioner hit him all night.

When his phone screen lights up, his home screen is empty. Just yesterday, his notifications would be filled by this time. 

Seokjin’s early morning messages tend to take up the entire screen, consisting of messages such as:

Good morning, Jungkookie.

Are we meeting today?

Why didn’t you reply last night? 

Jungkook’s replies are usually lukewarm, his replies are three word sentences maximum. It’s hard for him, regardless of what Seokjin might be thinking. He can actually easily guess what Seokjin thinks about him. He’s glad it’s only through text. If Seokjin comes up to him in person, Jungkook would be going back on his words in a heartbeat. He knows it is selfish of him to be secretly happy with the interaction, but soon it will stop. 

Soon, Seokjin will get tired of trying to reach him. The question Jungkook blatantly ignores is the when and how of his situation.

When will I get over you?

How will it be when I’m over you?

And most importantly, I don’t think I can actually let you go.

Jungkook knows he is the one who broke it off, the one who ripped the band-aid, but Seokjin left with him a cross Jungkook thinks he will be bearing his entire life.

He blinks at the screen, blearily, then realizing his state of waking has no correlation with his empty inbox. 

It’s five minutes after nine. 

Jungkook brushes it off and gets out of bed, ready to start the day. He shoots glances over where he left his phone as he moves around the room, waiting for it to light up or for the text tone to make itself known.

This continues throughout the day. He does receive messages. During class, Jinsang sends him a news article about the upcoming Frank Ocean album. Their class groupchat rings continuously while the analytical chemistry lecture goes on. He tries to listen the first few minutes only for his gaze to drift back on his phone.

Nothing from Seokjin. 

The bubble burst all too quickly. 

Classes end around four in the afternoon, almost five with the sky being colored a mix of orange and pink. 

Fingers snapping literally snap him back to reality. “You’re still coming?” It’s Jinsang, backpack already hanging on both his shoulders. Another person from behind says, “Of course he is! Jungkook’s single now! You have time for your friends again, don’t you?”

The words, “Yeah, yeah,” tumble out of his mouth without him even knowing where he is supposed to be coming. 

Jungkook keeps his head down, letting his feet follow the noise of the others. He gets the gist of their agenda for tonight; smoke, empty Jinsang’s leftover bottle of Cuervo, and who knows what else. His attention is taken up entirely by his phone. 

 

seokjinnie

Good night. 


The rest felt like noise.

A plastic bottle filled with water and the top cut off is at the middle of the floor to where they are sitting in a circle. Jungkook leans on Jinsang’s bed, elbow resting and one leg propped up to support the other joint. 

Someone voices out in complaint, “Why the fucking grav? I want to go home to my parents, you dick.”

Jinsang sighs, twinkling eyes a contrast to his irritated tone. “Everyone takes one hit from the gravity bong or you can go home now.”

“Can anyone take the hit for me?”

“I’d rather do a tequila suicide, bro.”

“Wait. Really?”

“Okay, I’m kidding.”

The gravity bong reminds Jungkook of Seokjin despite the latter’s lips never touching one. Seokjin can barely hit a normal bong, and Jungkook imagines he wouldn’t hear the end of it if he even brought it up. One of the many things he loves about Seokjin is how no matter how much he whines about the things he is scared of or do not like, he is always down for anything. Jungkook wanted to be there when Seokjin takes the first inhale, when he coughs and tears form at the corner of his eyes from the burn, to be the person Seokjin would hit with closed fists and a scowl after bottles of Pocari to soothe his throat, and the one Seokjin would look at after a while with red rimmed irises and a loopy smile.

Just another thing Jungkook wouldn’t be able to experience; nothing but a daydream and a new addition to the growing list of what-ifs. 

One hit for Jinsang, another for Seokjin, and a third, fourth, fifth, and sixth to forget.

Jungkook knocks out at the carpeted floor, arms wrapped around himself. 

Someone pokes him with their foot, echoing voices filling his head. 

“Are you going to take shots, Kook?”

“I wouldn’t be surprised if he wakes up after two days.”

“Are you going to sleepover? At least get up from the floor, man.”

“Ah, the perks of having a dorm. Will you let me sleepover too, Jinsang-ah?”

“Nah, I’m not having two people at once. Go find somewhere else to stay.”

“I’ll go.” Jungkook mumbles, groggily getting up. “You can stay here.”

“Go? Like go home?”

He replies with a shrug. “Yeah. Home.”

Jinsang walks him out, helping him down the stares and keeping him steady when he wobbles too much. 

Outside, the night air is cold and feels good on Jungkook’s skin. 

Beside him, Jinsang sighs and crosses his arms across his chest. “Are you going to Seokjin’s?”

It’s a late realization to his clouded mind. 

Jungkook’s body knows the way back to Seokjin by heart, a path his feet have memorized. It’s second nature for him, seeking Seokjin out without even meaning to. 

“I guess.”

Another sigh. 

“Is this something you will regret tomorrow?”

Jungkook rubs his eyes, head spinning from smoking too much than he could handle. He already has a lot of regrets, whether he acknowledges it or not, what’s the harm in one more?

“I just want to see him.”

“Yeah, but you don’t need to.”

Jungkook inhales the air into his lungs, then exhales out loudly. He keeps his head down, feet pressed together and one hand in his pocket while the other holds his backpack.

“Are you going to stop me?”

“No.” Jinsang says in a light tone. “You don’t need to see him, but you need to do this .”

This could mean a lot of things. In Jungkook’s case, it means he needs to cut this at the root.

Once and for all. 

Jinsang continues speaking. “It’s okay to admit you’re still hung up on him. I honestly doubt you’ll get over him soon, but you’re the one who made the decision to separate. It hurts, and it’s tedious, but the least you can do is not give him false hope you’re coming back. It’s pretty obvious you’re keeping him at arm’s length, and that’s unfair on his part. Either eat your words and beg him to take you back, or stay away for good.”

Jungkook nods in understanding. He does understand what he’s doing. He knows he’s being an asshole, talking to Seokjin and agreeing to be civil and contactable while also being distant. There’s a difference between understanding that and being able to apply it in reality. 

Chewing on his bottom lip, Jungkook allows himself to be honest.

Might as well practice now before he comes knocking at Seokjin’s door.

“I’m just waiting for him to get sick of me treating him like this.”

“Why? Don’t you want him to think of you in, I don’t know, four years, and remember you fondly? Not as the ex who pulled him along after the breakup with false hopes?”

Four years sounded like such a long time.

It’s scary how quickly his life changed in a week after the breakup, and Jungkook can’t imagine living day to day for four years feeling like this. 

“I don’t think I can let him go.”

“Then why, Jungkook? Why did you leave?”

“Seokjin and I depended on each other too much. I could be better, and the same goes for him.” Jungkook sounded hollow even to his own ears. “It’s the right thing to do. I love him enough to want to do better for him.”

“I think someone needs to say this to you so I will. It’s okay that you left even when you still love him; that’s okay, seriously. You can’t forget him not because of how great and amazing he is, it’s all because of your inability to let him go, and you’re making him suffer for it. How can you start living for yourself like you wanted when you keep him around? And for the record, you don’t get to decide what others need or deserve, okay? Change is all on you. You only owe it to yourself and nobody else. Seokjin loved you and didn’t try to change you. You could’ve stayed with him and done these changes with your life that you wanted but you didn’t, so be the better person and move on. Stop being indecisive about it; you weren’t when you decided the relationship was over.”


Jungkook tells himself to leave in five minutes. He’s been telling himself this for an hour now.

It is a sobering realization that deciding to let go of Seokjin and actually doing it are two different things. He commits Seokjin’s face to memory, as if he hasn’t done it in the past multiple times in all possible occasions. He loves the curve of his upper lip, has told the other multiple times over the course of their relationship. A course that has ended for real now that they have done the cliche ‘sleeping with your ex’ scenario. 

Seokjin sleeps so deeply when in his arms.

Sometimes, or more like past times, he would awake at every little sound Jungkook makes when he is dead to the world here in this same bed, and Jungkook is cramming for a quiz on the same chair Seokjin studies at.

“I think when I’m with you everything feels alright,” Seokjin tells him when Jungkook asked about it, “Like an earthquake could happen and I would sleep through it because I know you’ll carry me to safety.”

Jungkook doesn’t need to restrain his movement or be careful about it. He shifts to hold Seokjin’s face with both his hands, palms cradling each cheek. He rests his forehead against Seokjin’s, head down and tears starting to fall from his lacrimal and down the sheets. 

Five minutes has passed once again. 

He hears his breathing come out in shakes and gulps. 

The maybes start piling in his mind.

Maybe if I was stronger. Maybe if I loved you less. Maybe if I loved you more. You couldn’t break it off so I did. I’ll let you go now. You’re suffering because I left and now I’m here again and later I’ll resume running. You’ll let me go too, but you’ll always have me. 

Jungkook doesn’t need to check his phone or the desk clock to know another set of minutes has gone.

He’s shaking so much. He’s afraid the tremors in his hands would wake Seokjin up. He would never be able to leave if Seokjin opens his eyes. A part of him wishes he will. Seokjin would wake up, and he doesn’t know it, but he lights up so beautifully whenever his eyes lay on Jungkook. He’s always weak when it comes to Seokjin, that his post-slumber gaze is enough to have Jungkook begging for another chance.

Soon, the sun will rise.

Jungkook kisses his forehead, tries to be strong and tells himself it won’t be the last time.

He knows this.

Believes in this.

Life did not lead him to Seokjin only for it to not end with him.

He tells himself this is but a blunder, an obstacle he needed to jump through alone. He fakes the confidence and assures himself they’ll meet again in four or five years time. He’ll be better, he’ll be great, and Seokjin will love him again. It feels stupid, but it helps him untangle himself away.

2,102,400 minutes to go through for it to be considered four years later, and these five minutes he spent getting out of Seokjin’s bed and pulling his clothes on felt longer.

He bends down, kisses Seokjin’s forehead one last time, whispers “I love you,” against his skin, and leaves. 


The consequences leading up to this time and place are at this point, moot.

Still, it haunts him like ghosts unable to rest and move on.

Or it’s him that needs to. 

Jungkook allows Hoseok to drag him to his office in the clinic, water droplets from the rain staining the polished floorboards and carpet. 

Hoseok remains quiet and Jungkook does the same. He is seated on one chair, his cousin rounding around the wooden desk and sitting across him.

“Why the hell are you here? And getting caught in the rain too?!”

Jungkook glances at him. He returns to staring at his hands.

The silence is stifling.

Jungkook can see from the corner of his eyes how Hoseok’s shoulders sag, elbows coming to rest on top of the desk and fingers folding over each other.

“Hey, Jungkook-ah.” His tone is softer too. “What’s wrong?”

Jungkook sighs, another glance. He came here for that exact reason. “I was hoping you could tell me.”

“Do you need me to call your mother for you?”

It makes him laugh, hollow and for the sake of lightening up the mood. “I think I need you to be a doctor for me right now.”

The shift in Hoseok’s demeanor is astounding.

The straightening of his posture, and a look of understanding mixed with distant professionalism taking over his concerned expression. He takes a pen from a latticed cup holder, opening a drawer to produce a plain white unlined memo pad.

There is something comforting and clinical in Hoseok that changes the atmosphere.

Jungkook trusts him wholeheartedly.

As an afterthought, he wonders if someday, if he does end up pursuing medicine as well, will he be able to come off the same way? 

A commanding but trustworthy presence, the type of person you know a hundred percent can help you. 

And he does need help. 

There is no future waiting for him helping others if he can’t do the same for himself.


The congratulations Jungkook receive from his peers and professors are starting to fade. His family, once ecstatic and amazed at the sudden interest he showed in school and future talks about going to medical school, has been reduced to soft smiles and him getting whatever he asks for. 

Jungkook excelling suddenly became the new norm. 

During family dinners, Hoseok would shoot him glances whenever their grandmother gushes about how she is so glad another one of her grandsons is going to become a doctor and that he finally took his grades seriously.

Gone are the days of his voice drowning everyone else's, when he was spoiled rotten by everyone around him and let him do what he wanted.

He was always polite, albeit a bit cheeky, but the thoughtful words and careful tone was a noticeable change. 

( “There is nothing wrong with you, Jungkook-ah.” Hoseok tells him. His tone is kinder than what he normally uses with his patients. “You’re not over him, it’s alright. You’re normal.”

“No, hyung. I just told you. I’m over him already.”

“Then why are you here? Why do you keep coming here then?”

“I-”

“Well?”

“Do I really have nothing? Nothing allopathy can explain?”

Hoseok sighs, wants to roll his eyes at the other. “Unless there is something you aren’t being truthful about, then you are normal. It’s your typical teenage heartbreak. Everyone goes through it at one point in their lives. It’s how people handle it that makes experiences differ.”

“Okay. If you say so.”

The easy acquiescence makes Hoseok suspicious. “Are you sure you’re telling me everything?”

“Yes, I swear. I’m over him, okay? Over it. First loves are just special I guess.”

“You didn’t mention that earlier.”

Jungkook looks at his cousin in question. “What?”

“All you talked about was how you’re doing good in school. Are you substituting academic success to cover up your emotions? You need to tell me these things. I’m not just here to listen to your problems, even though I technically am since you are, as what I said and what you insist, normal.”

The frustration show on the younger’s face. “I’m not doing that. I have a clear plan of the future. I know what I want to do now. And okay, fine, maybe I have a tiny sliver of hope that someday all this would add up and I become someone worthy, and when that happens, I cross paths with him again and rekindle. Is that not okay?”

“Are you doing this for him?”

“No! I’m a hundred and one percent in it for me.  All this is for me.”

Hoseok believes him. He sees the drive and fire in Jungkook he also had when the white coat hanging on his frame was a dream. 

“Okay, I believe you.”

Jungkook mumbles, “Good.” 

“Doesn’t mean I don’t believe you are compartmentalizing the doubt your decisions lead you to with this new sureness you have of yourself, a compensation that you are trying to make bigger for the relationship you once treasured.”

“You’re talking nonsense now, hyung.”

“Then, let me put it simpler. Accepting that you regret your decision will be better for you in the long run. There is only so much this sublimation can take you. Loving, healing, and forgiving yourself is not the debasement you think it is.” )


Jungkook isn’t particularly stressed out by school unlike most of his peers, but the last topic for physiology has him staying up until five in the morning, and now he has to make up for the time spent napping the entire morning away catching up on gross anatomy in the afternoon.

He’s sitting by the windows inside the Starbucks on the 2nd floor of the condominium complex, long hair tied up in a bun and drowning in a white cotton hoodie. He plays with the Apple pencil he is holding, turning it over his third and fourth fingers while his left hand scrolls down the spider diagram notes on his iPad. He isn’t fond of taking notes and summarizing as a revision technique, but he has a feeling the notes will be important in the future. The notes he makes have become popular among his batch mates, the concise and straightforward presentation of topic upon topic yielding high results. 

Jungkook sighs, exceptionally tired and unable to function like he normally does. He leans back on the wooden high chair and stares outside. He can see cars and students wearing white entering or exiting the building. He misses the greenery of his old university, the concrete jungle offering him no peace. 

His phone and iPad vibrate at the same time, four consecutive messages are sent to him; one an attachment and three other plain messages.

It’s a picture of Seokjin wearing his graduation robes and a cap on his head while holding a bouquet of flowers with pink wrapping paper. He has a smug smile on his lips; a well deserved one.

Seeing it felt like a breath of fresh air.

Jungkook doesn’t think twice about saving it. 

He forgot today is Seokjin’s graduation day, and in a few weeks, according to Namjoon, he’ll be here in the same school too. 

These little glimpses he gets of Seokjin from Namjoon serve as decompression means for him. 

Seokjin in his perpetual pink hoodie slumped over papers and working on his undergraduate thesis. Seokjin smiling towards the camera, bowl of ramen in front of him and a peace sign up in the air. 

 

kim namjoon

a little something for you

and just like that he’s done 🎉

hope you’re okay btw!

 

more than okay now bc of this

thanks hyung 

shower him with hugs and kisses for me


There is no quirky color palette of moss and persimmons this time around. 

Jungkook sees him before Seokjin does. 

Seokjin walks inside the bar, and in a sense, this place that has been part of his new start in medical school, back into his life.

He looks good, somehow manages to remain the same and true to the image that slithers its way on his brain during moments of weakness.

The same head of dyed brown hair leaning more into honey blonde. Same sparkling eyes, and the same lips Jungkook used to trace the line of with his own.

Still the same turning point of the world for him.

2,102,400 minutes and Jungkook’s answer to Namjoon’s question that faithful day outside the Dean’s office in their alma mater answers itself for him.

( “When will you stop, Jungkook?”

Jungkook chuckles humorlessly. “What do you mean, hyung?”

“You know what I mean.”

Namjoons sees right through him. It scares him. The holes in his supposedly impermeable facade aren’t covered enough as he believed them to be.

He chooses confidence.

Fake it ‘till you make it.

“I guess I do. I have 1,051,200 minutes left to answer that concretely.”

Namjoon’s brows furrow, eyes subconsciously moving to the ceiling in thought. “Two more years?”

“Sure. Two more years.”)

Jungkook sees him first, it has always been that way, even when they were younger.

Jungkook approaches him first. He had to, there’s a lot of making up he has to do.

When Seokjin congratulates him on getting his license, he wonders if the older remembers all their plans when he gets one, like going out into the city during Wednesday afternoons, or to the beach because they spend too much time in PC Bangs. 

He said, “Thank you,” and keeps to himself the happiness of hearing it. Seokjin is here, next to him and on the passenger seat, living and breathing and reachable. He has so many things he wants to say to the other.

The things he achieved they both dreamed about, and the achieving part of said dreams that happened when they were apart resulted in him, one hand on the wheel and smiling to himself. He gets cheeky, reaches out for the seatbelt over Seokjin’s head and buckles it for him.

Jungkook glances at him and tries not to laugh. Four years and no one has yet to tell Seokjin his thoughts and emotions play across his face so transparently?

He oversteps his boundaries, reaches over to ruffle Seokjin’s hair. He laughs when Seokjin says his hair touching privilege has been revoked, and feels bits of jealousy over the mention of someone named Yoongi who is apparently his best friend. 

He used to be Seokjin’s best friend. 

When Jungkook says, “It’s a pleasure to see you again, Seokjin-hyung,” he means it. And more.

And when Seokjin replies with, “It’s good to see you too, Jungkookie,” he knew right then and there everything will change.

Hyung, I made good use of that gym membership I told you about. I bet I can carry you now and throw you over my shoulder, just like I said I would. 

Hyung, I got my license and a car and I’ll drive you anywhere you need to go because I know how much you dislike public transportation.

Hyung, there’s a McDonald’s on the 2nd floor of the building. I can buy you all the pancakes and hashbrowns and iced coffees in the world every morning if you want.

Hyung, I got all the piercings I kept telling you I wanted to get, and I grew my hair out because you used to comment about how I look like I have a coconut for a head. I study better now, the grades and placements say so.

Seokjin-hyung. 

I want my best friend back.

Seokjin will learn all about it soon. He doesn’t need to tell him. 

This time, Jungkook isn’t going anywhere.


The startling revelation regarding his feelings has finally caught up to him. 

Jungkook doesn’t even want to think of the part where he asks himself when did it begin. 

It started with guilt. It was expected. 

He wanted to make up for all the years he was gone. It didn’t matter that he isn't really indebted to Seokjin for the aftermath of their relationship. He just wanted to be by his side, lighten the burden of being in medical school and somewhere new. If he was being honest, Jungkook was doing it more for himself.

It is clear as day that Seokjin had forgiven him, even said aloud and confirmed by said person. It had more to do with Jungkook’s guilt, rather than doing it for Seokjin. 

Maybe it was selfish, maybe he is an asshole for it, but it boils down to him just wanting to do something, anything, for Seokjin. 

Selfish and selfless at the same time.

It’s what he tells himself whenever he hangs around Seokjin, Yoongi, and Taehyung, the latter giving him the stink eye whenever Seokjin isn’t looking. 

A four year departure from each other’s lives to only be reunited again comes with differences. Jungkook expressed this change in physical terms, while with Seokjin, it was a bit more complicated.

It’s like he retained every single trait of his personality that Jungkook adored while maturing into the person Jungkook knew he could be if they end their relationship laced with overwhelming dependence and toxicity.

It’s like you were made for me.

Like I could meet every version of you in any given time and I would still think you are it for me. 

He loved Seokjin then.

He likes Seokjin now.

Jungkook watches him eat the too expensive frozen yogurt, the cold delight something he forced Jungkook to buy as compensation for the piercing. Seokjin would wince from time to time, the wound still fresh. They are sitting on a white rounded stool, the yogurt on top of a matching white rounded table. 

Jungkook has his elbow propped up, cheek resting on his palm while his other hand passively turns the plastic spoon from side to side, held between his forefinger and thumb. 

His eyes trail the path of Seokjin’s face and neck he is so familiar with.

It starts on the forehead, then to his cheek.

( Four years ago. 2,102,400 minutes. When he left Seokjin’s dormitory after sleeping together for the last time, and when he kissed his cheek at the back of Jinsang’s car after meeting each other at the bar and playing beer pong. )

To his neck.

It was just a good hour ago.

And lastly, right where Jungkook wants it most.

There’s a bit of yogurt smeared on his upper lip. Jungkook doesn’t comment on it. He entertains thoughts of overstepping once again, but what are boundaries even when he just planted a kiss on Seokjin’s neck, right under his ear where a piece of jewelry is pierced through his lobe, a pair to Jungkook’s own. 

Seokjin finally seems to realize he has a bit of the dessert on his face. He wipes it away with the back of the hand, looks up at Jungkook and says, “Don’t know about you, but this is really good and if you don’t like it, I’ll eat yours.” He points to Jungkook’s melting yogurt with his own plastic spoon. 

“No, I’ll eat it. You can go get yourself another one.”

Seokjin’s eyes narrow for a second. His eyebrow quirks in question, expression on his face so readable. “It’s on you?”

Jungkook chuckles. “Yeah, go wild.” He takes his wallet out of the pocket of his leather jacket and was just about to slide it over to Seokjin when he realizes what’s inside of it. Instead, he takes out his card and hands it to the other.

“Pin is 120423.”

Seokjin accepts it, turning the card over and back. “Did something happen during April 23?”

The question takes him aback. “What?”

“You know, your pin. 0423. You use it everywhere. Your phone and apartment code are the same.”

Jungkook does his best to remain cool. “I forgot. Probably something important.” 

Seokjin hums and drops the topic instantly. “Alright, you said go wild so I will.”

Jungkook lets out the breath he was holding in when Seokjin stands up and queues on the line to the cashier.

Between the two of them, he really is the more sentimental one. He doesn’t blame Seokjin for forgetting the date of when they started dating, it was too long ago after all. 

Their supposed anniversary.

He promised himself 2,102,400 minutes, and he’ll change it. Then Seokjin waltzes back into his life like he never left, and Jungkook ultimately forgot about changing it. 

It’s those things 18 year old him found clever. Seokjin’s birthday and their anniversary in one perfect six digit combination. 

He used to tell himself changing card pins took too much work. The reasoning now seems far-fetched.

Just like how whenever he changes wallets, the polaroids he keeps of family and friends from undergrad might have Seokjin’s old 1x1 ID picture somewhere between them. He doesn’t check them, just pulls the stack of pictures out and inserts it into the new empty space reserved for the special people in your life. It is Jungkook’s own Schrödinger’s cat. He will never know if he never flips through them. 

Seokjin returns with two cups, one overflowing with toppings and the other the same flavor Jungkook is having. He sits down and reaches over Jungkook’s side of the table to place it in front of him.

“It’s on me, go wild.” Seokjin says with a wink. He returns his attention to the yogurt, digging around and making sure every bit of the smooth and creamy parts are covered with the mallows.

“Hyung.” Jungkook shuts down the voice in his head that lectures him every time he catches himself sounding overly fond. “Thank you.”

“You’re welcome.” Seokjin snickers, and he’s definitely thinking it’s a sarcastic exchange, but Jungkook means it.


The Nintendo Switch provides ample distraction for Jungkook while Seokjin crams a semester’s worth of biochem for his remedial exams.

The coffee shop they used to visit all the time when they were younger has not changed at all. 

Seokjin would ask him a question from time to time, when he’s biting his lip and scratching his head in frustration. Jungkook would glance up at him and smile to himself, waiting for Seokjin to ask him for help. He would push Seokjin’s coffee cup near him every time he unconsciously places it down a bit far for him to reach.

Random bouts of selfishness aside, he’s content with how they are right now. He likes being the kind of person Seokjin can run to if he has problems.

It doesn't matter if Seokjin likes him back, doesn’t even wonder about it. 

This is enough.

Seokjin’s brows are furrowed, a crease forming in the middle while he reads the notes Jungkook painstakingly wrote on the iPad a year ago, not even knowing why he was doing it when he didn’t like summarizing topics in the first place. He thanks his past self for the vision that it would come in handy one day. 

Seokjin picks up the caramel macchiato, easily found by his hand, and wraps his lips around the straw. 

Maybe.

Seokjin sighs, looks up at him and says, “Hey, can you explain nerve physiology to me in the simplest terms? Everything I learned in physiology feels like a fever dream at this point, and I need to remember it for this part. Nothing is entering my brain with this topic, and the stupidest thing is I’m learning about the brain.”

Jungkook does, the explanation coming off him with ease. Seokjin nods at every word, listening intently.

When he says, “That’s all, really,” Seokjin gets this look on his face of pure unadulterated joy. 

“You make it very easy, thanks.” Offhandedly, he adds, “You’re so nice to me.”

Jungkook wants more.

Wants to trace on Seokjin’s skin and demonstrate firsthand how those impulses the sensory neurons carry to the brain and spinal cord in response to stimulus exactly work, wants to see how that input will be interpreted based on the emotions that’ll play on Seokjin’s face. 

Jungkook throws all of his denial out the window.

More. 

I want to be so much more with you. 


The drive to the clinic is familiar. The feeling Jungkook carries with him is not.

Sitting in this same chair admitting to things he denied years ago felt like karma finally caught up with him. 

Hoseok sighed, took his arm, and led them outside to sit down the bench behind the clinic smoking cigarettes that came from a crumpled, blue, American Spirit box. 

“I thought you quit.” Jungkook ashes it on the ground, every mundane little thing being his focus to delay the inevitable.

“And I thought you were doing okay.”

The corner of Jungkook’s mouth lift up in a sarcastic smile. “I thought so too.” 

“When I said go and make friends I didn’t mean go ahead and befriend your ex.” Hoseok glances at the younger, leaning back on the bench with both arms spanning the horizontal axis of it. 

“Or to fail because of it.”

Hoseok hits him over the head, palm flat and hard against Jungkook’s scalp. “Why do you act like that all the time?”

Jungkook rubs the spot where Hoseok hit him, groaning and glaring at the older. “Hyung, that was uncalled for. And act like what?”

“Act emotionally constipated. I already told you, I’ll fix it. I’ll come to school and talk to them. You’re allowed to be sad over things, or pretend you aren’t, but don’t use other people as an excuse.”

The cigarette box lying between them lose its contents as time passes. Night is starting its descent, the darkness steadily blanketing the afternoon sun in its embrace. 

“He’s waiting for me right now.” Jungkook finally says, hands now hanging between his thighs and form slouched. “Everything was going well.”

The confusion show on Hoseok’s face, the cigarette stick midway between his lips. “Okay, you’re confusing me by the minute. You failed, we know it was a mistake, I’ll fix it. You managed to meet him again, rekindle the relationship; isn’t that what you always wanted? So why are you here and not with him?”

“I don’t know. I don’t really know, hyung. That’s why I’m here.”

“You’re a dick.”

“Tell me something I don’t know.”

“You never got over Kim Seokjin. You used school as compensation for your regrets and to forget. You got so used to said routine that it became your new norm. You reached your highest point, got everything you wanted and is on the path for more. You think you’ve done it and the decision to leave was indeed worth it, so you let yourself loosen up to go after him again only for your one coping mechanism, the academic success, to crumble. You realize you never moved on properly and now you’re in an identity crisis.” 

Jungkook looks over at his companion in disbelief. 

Hoseok meets his eyes and shrugs. “Self-awareness is the first step, Jungkook.”

“And then? What’s the next one?”

“You grieve.” Hoseok stubs the finished stick on the ashtray always present by the side of the bench. “You owe it to your younger self.”


The rest of the process was easier than Jungkook thought. 

He watches Seokjin walk away back to his apartment.

There is no regret. 

Pain is present, curling in his stomach and threatening to break the cool façade he keeps on. He said he’ll see him when he’s ready. There’s a voice nagging him that by then, Seokjin would be ready too but not with him. 

It’d be selfish to ask Seokjin to wait for him to get his shit together. There is no assurance with their future if he remains indecisive. 

So he lets him go. He keeps his hands inside his pants’ pockets, fists clenched and nails digging crescent shapes onto his palm. 

“I think I really like you too.”

Enough to choose Jungkook again after all this years.

Let me choose myself too, and this time around, properly.

Next time, when you tell me you like me, I promise I’ll look back with certainty. 


[2 Years Later]

A black Jeep pulls over the outdoor parking lot of the hospital. The engine continues its humming, the person on the driver’s seat contemplating on whether to have a quick smoke or perhaps a hit or two from the weed pen resting innocently in the glove compartment. 

Jungkook mentally scolds himself. It’s his first day of clerkship, and he really shouldn’t face it stoned or stinking of cigarettes. His first day of clerkship training and it’s a stroke of luck that he’s rotating in the psychiatry department at the same hospital Hoseok is the attending physician of. He swallows down the nerves, unneeded worries, and self-deprecation down his throat. 

Hoseok sent him a goodluck text, sunshine emojis and stars lightening the tension in his shoulders. The second message read, If you run into any problems I’ll willingly go full-time nepotistic for you. It makes him laugh, mood brightening instantly. 

There’s a supposed orientation, manuals being handed to the students arriving in the small auditorium at the basement of the hospital. When he was in first year, they were given at least a week’s notice of adjustment. Their professors already gave them a warning that clerkship isn’t as forgiving. Everyone’s encouraging during orientation day until tomorrow comes and taking moments to breathe needs to be scheduled.

Jungkook and the rest of his class rotating in the same department gets to meet the staff. A familiar face surprises him, said person looking surprised as well. The resident speaking to their group is animated and bright, making jokes here and there to ease the anxiety almost all of them is experiencing. 

“So that’s all! If you have any questions you can ask us! We’ve all been in your position before, trust me. Medicine is founded on seniority, but it doesn’t excuse the boomers from treating us like trash, hm? We’ll treat you well, promise!” It earns him some laughs, the atmosphere not as suffocating anymore.

Another resident speaks up and says, “Yeah, hate to interrupt, but you forgot to introduce yourself, idiot.”

The shorter one gasps, apologizes to their group and tells them his name. “It’s Park Jimin. You guys don’t have to call me Dr. Park, we’re all friends now! This asshole is Dr. Choi Jumin, and of course, Dr. Kim Namjoon.” Jimin lowers his voice and says in a conspiratorial faux whisper, “Dr. Kim is the pride and joy of our department! Aspire to be like him, and not this guy.”

For some reason, Doctor Choi seems familiar to him. Jimin tells them to, “Go! Go around the department and look around!” He forgets about Dr. Choi when Namjoon walks up to him, a smile on his face emphasizing his dimples.

“Been so long, huh?” Namjoon says as a greeting. Jungkook nods, feels less out of place when they shake hands and pat each other’s back.

“Yeah, hyung. Last time we saw each other was two years ago.”

“Taehyung’s party was wild. It’s crazy, isn’t it? One minute you’re throwing back shots and before you know it, you’re here on the first day of clerkship training.”

The rest of the group are piling out of the pantry, led by Jumin who is sarcastically replying to their questions.

Jimin runs up to them, his light hair pushed back and a couple of strands sticking up. “Oh! You know one of them?” He asks Namjoon who chuckles. “Yeah. This is Jeon Jungkook; he’s kind of like my junior.”

Jungkook accepts the extended hand, shaking it and smiling back politely. No matter how nice and welcoming Jimin is, the instilled respect toward seniors in the field doesn’t fade away instantly. 

Jimin whistles, grins and cheekily says, “Joon praising someone? You must be incredibly smart, Dr. Jeon.”

“Uh, I’m not one yet?”

“And?”

Namjoon directs their pace, starts walking outside and indirectly taking in the responsibility to tour Jungkook around. “There is nothing wrong with claiming it this early, Jungkook.”

“It’s a thing we do here. Encourages the baby med students so much.” Jimin adds. “Got to pass down the good karma, hm?”

The hours go by quickly. It always does when people are too caught up and enjoying what is actually happening in real time.

Jungkook eats his lunch with Jimin and Namjoon, can already tell he’ll get along with them well. He watched in surprise how Jimin quickly shifted to a professional when his pager started beeping. He bids them goodbye, tells Namjoon, “Don’t overwork yourself today!” and to Jungkook, “Study hard but don’t forget to enjoy it!”

With just the two of them, the conversation slips into something more muted. 

“How’s med school?” is what Namjoon opens with. He sidetracks by giving anecdotes about the days he used to be in Jungkook’s shoes, and just when Jungkook thought Namjoon wouldn’t bring it up, he pulls the rug underneath Jungkook’s feet and comes out with it.

“He talks about you sometimes.”

Jungkook hums, the simple alluding to ‘he’ eliciting some forms of doubt and regret and nostalgia, all at the same time. It’s easier to handle these days. There is fear, yet knowing it is surmountable comforts him.

“I think about him all the time.”

Namjoon places his chopsticks down on the metal tray. The hospital cafeteria’s patrons all have similar ones in front of them.

“You should reach out, let him know you’re okay.” Namjoon’s eyes narrow right after speaking. “You are okay though, aren’t you?”

Jungkook picks up a piece of kimchi, turns it over, places it down, and does it again. “I am.” He gets tired of it, this time shifting his attention towards the rolled omelettes. “Don’t know about the reaching out part. I might be unwelcome.”

“You won’t know if you don’t try.” 

Tearing his gaze away from the food and to Namjoon, he finds the older with his arms crossed over his chest.

“Don’t wait around for an opportunity or someone might get there first.”

“Are you talking about Taehyung?”

Namjoon’s stance relaxes, suddenly confused. “Tae? What’s he got to do with this?”

“Is he not going after hyung?”

Namjoon looks genuinely confused at this point. “No? He’s dating Yoongi.”

It’s Jungkook’s turn to look shocked. “What, seriously? I saw it coming but I never thought it would happen.”

The pleasantness returns, intensity lessening. Jungkook laughs and snorts while listening to Namjoon tell the story of how the two ended up together.

Of course, Namjoon doesn’t relent.

When they return the trays up front, Namjoon says, “I mean it. Stop waiting around for hyung to see you’re getting better. Show it to him.”


Seokjin is in the middle of watching Taehyung and Yoongi do their weird form of flirting, which is basically Yoongi pushing the other way while they sit on Yoongi’s bed, and the other relenting with a scowl on his face. 

He doesn’t mask the dirty looks he shoots them, earns a glare from Yoongi when he smirks toward them. It isn’t scary, not when he is snuggling on Taehyung’s chest as they marathon Bergman films on Yoongi’s laptop.

If the glare Seokjin got could speak, it would say, “What? Don’t you have med laws to memorize?”

He returns to opening his iPad, the latest version and the wallpaper matching his cartoon alpaca pencil case. The screen mirrors his reflection for a while. His once perpetually brown hair has not been touched in almost two years, Seokjin’s head now a tuff of black and brushed back to reveal his forehead. His glasses fall down a bit, and when he pushes it up, his phone lightening up from where it is placed near his left side bounce off the lens coloring it a shade of green.

As soon as Seokjin reaches to grab it, home screen lightening up to show who it is, Yoongi shouts, “Didn’t we make a deal that every time you get distracted you Venmo me money?”

Seokjin sighs, long and dramatic. “Fine, you dictator.”

“The both of you need to shut up.” Taehyung grumbles, attention never leaving the screen.

Seokjin doesn’t pick his phone up. He re-opens his iPad, ready to tackle more on medical jurisprudence and the readings he is behind on.

His phone vibrates again. Seokjin wills himself to continue reading, can feel Yoongi’s judgmental gaze on him.

He realizes a few minutes later that his account is synced to his other devices. 

Grinning at the ingenious idea, Seokjin plops down the bed on his back, holds the iPad app, and drags the notification center down the screen.

“Fuck!”

The sudden outburst coming from Seokjin makes the two others in the room jump. They watch Seokjin clutch his nose in pain, turning over his stomach and moaning in pain.

“Hyung!” Taehyung shouts in worry the same time Yoongi says, “This is the third time in a month it fell on your face!”

Seokjin, face mushed into his comforter, is still mumbling out curses.

“What are you saying?” 

Yoongi hovers over his best friend, rubbing the back of Seokjin’s head while Taehyung runs to the kitchen to fetch an ice pack.

“Read it yourself!” Seokjin grits out, falling flat on the bed now while occasionally jolting at the bursts of pain.

Yoongi, unsure of what he means, takes the iPad to where it’s almost dangling on the edge of the bed.

 

jungkook (if u text him first ur an actual looooooser, kim seokjin)

started my rotation in psychiatry today. didn’t know namjoon-hyung is doing his residency in the same hospital haha

sorry, this is totally out of the blue isn’t it? he said i should reach out if i miss you. so... hi. this is me reaching out.

hyung, are you leaving me on delivered? do i gotta steal your earphones again or what?

Chapter Text

The tab placed on their tongues have yet to get dissolved by amylase. 

It’s light outside, a few more minutes before the lunch rush. They ate in a street-side sandwich shop a good two hours ago, piled in the Jeep, and drove to their current destination.

Namjoon forgot to bring the scissors, and Jungkook had to take a detour around the block to the nearest convenience store to buy a pair of cheap, neon green ones. He drove slower when Jimin cursed out that he can’t concentrate on cutting the acid tabs. Namjoon looks over at them from the backseat, head bopping to Rina Sawayama on shuffle. 

Right now, Jimin and Namjoon are talking in exaggeration, the tab preventing them from moving their tongue as properly intended. Jungkook settles with tapping his fingers on his jeans in time with the beat of Chosen Family. He was belting out the chorus earlier, the song strangely fitting the three of them.

This trip took months of mooning over. Jungkook is rotating in a different department now, and the time he spent in psychiatry paved the way to developing a friendship he never saw coming with the two residents. 

Schedules did not have to be cleared for this to finally happen. Jimin, sick and tired of Jungkook and Namjoon saying they should hang out soon, simply messaged their groupchat with: At this point we will never meet. We will never be free. Never have free time. WE ARE SLAVES TO OUR JOBS. So either we meet up and deal with the consequences after or never meet again.

Jimin wanted to go on a trip, literally and figuratively. Namjoon wanted to visit an art gallery. Combine the two and here they are in Jungkook’s car, engine humming and waiting for the tabs of LSD to dissolve. 

“No, Joon, I’m not dumb. It’s the serotonin receptors LSD tickle. I don’t need to google it.”

“I never said anything about you being dumb.”

“Your expression says a lot.” Turning to Jungkook, he asks, “Now why are you so quiet? Add something viable to the discussion!”

Jungkook raises his hands in defense, looking towards Namjoon who sighs. 

“I suck at pharmacology.” Jungkook admits easily. “I can tell you about its structure?”

“How does one suck at pharma and be good at chem?”

“I- well. I can’t be good at everything?”

Jimin’s demeanor changes. He sits up straighter, smiles widely, and turns to Namjoon. “The baby is all grown up.”

Namjoon, who is on his phone tapping on the screen, doesn’t look up and just nods in agreement. “Yeah, he is.”

“Hey, it’s those rare moments Jungkookie stops acting like he has a stick up his ass, savor the moment!”

Jungkook looks between his two older friends, understanding dawning on him. He blushes in embarrassment, tries to hide it by saying, “I do not!”

It gives the opposite effect of how he intended it to be. Jimin’s grin showcases his teeth, brows rising up and down and snickering. 

“Yes you do.” Namjoon quips. He looks up from his phone, and shoves the screen to Jimin. “You are right but you were lacking in info.”

“Why can’t you let me have nice things? I was right, end of story.”

Namjoon closes his phone and rolls his eyes. “Anyway,” Shooting a smile toward Jungkook he says, “We’re proud of you.” 

Jimin, never one to turn away random tender moments, adds in, “What Joon said.” 

They return to bantering about the properties of LSD, leaving Jungkook embarrassed and gripping the wheel. Jimin and Namjoon, on one fateful night of dinner after their rounds that turned into a drinking session, have decided it is their life mission to remind Jungkook in the most random moments that he’s good.

The tab dissolves into nothingness, contents now being absorbed through the sublingual route.

Here comes twelve hours of euphoria.

They exit the car and walk to the entrance of the gallery. Their tickets were bought in advanced, pieces of paper cut, folded, and strapped on their wrists. 

The place is modern and open. Traditional galleries are usually closed off, some pigments being photosensitive. The gallery has big glass windows that overlook the city. The potted indoor plants try to sway an illusion of something more soothing in contrast to concrete and shades of grey. 

The effect sinks in 45 minutes later while Jungkook was squinting on the description below a painting. He thought of how the font is weirdly loopy. When he stands back, the painting of a sunny farmfield moves. The textures appear sharp, as if it was edited through Lightroom and shaded with cold colors while treating it with HDR. 

Its yellow and white scheme is soothing to Jungkook’s eyes. 

He tries hiding the grin on his lips at the trippy vision, covers his mouth with the palm of his hand and coughs into it to get back his bearings. He stands straighter only to end up slouching the moment he starts walking around the room. 

Exiting the area of the gallery filled with countryside landscapes, Jungkook passes by a painting of a bulldog with its eyes bulging in shock. It makes him sputter in surprise. He avoids that area too, walking past it until he finds a row of pictures displaying plants taken against neon, colorful, backgrounds. 

Rounding the half-wall, there’s an empty black chaise longue situated perfectly in front of more photographs of plants in shades of electric blue and proton purples. 

With his hands inside the pockets of his black and white windbreaker, Jungkook sits down with a satisfied sigh. He wonders for a second where Jimin and Namjoon are. When they were still together earlier, Namjoon told them to go ahead. He was too busy reading each essay underneath a collection of miniature, human, figurines dressed in luxury brands with mouse ears. Jimin wanted to go left, and Jungkook insisted on going right, so they ended up separating too. 

It takes Jungkook five minutes to realize he’s staring at a photo of a tomato plant. The description says,

 

solanum lycopersicum, 24”x36”

600, 000 won

 

Jungkook entertains the thought of taking the photograph home, but then he thinks of his own tomato plant, feels a bit smug and superior that his baby looks better than this, and he’s back to objectively enjoying how the acid makes it appear. 

Thinking of tomatoes makes him think of Seokjin. The messages he sent to Seokjin remained left on read, and that was from some months ago. It doesn’t bother him much, can imagine Seokjin rolling his eyes and deleting them. It was to be expected after all. 

Two years of not really speaking to each other besides nods and waves, sometimes a smile, when they pass by each other in school doesn’t help his case of suddenly messaging again. 

“Here you are!” 

Jimin’s voice takes him by surprise. The hands resting on his shoulders prompt him to turn around. Namjoon is there too, eyes focused on what Jungkook was staring at. 

“It’s so… dim.” Namjoon comments.

“It looks super bright to me.” Jungkook glances back at it. Still high contrast and eye-catching.

“That’s the wonderful thing about acid, hm? It hits us differently.” Jimin says with a satisfied sigh. “I lean more toward illusions.” 

They drag Jungkook to another wing of the gallery where the theme leans more on pop culture. The paintings share a palette of pinks, yellows, and browns. 

One painting stops the three of them in their tracks; a dinner set-up where the food has faces. Without realization, the three of them are sitting in front of it, eyes roaming everywhere.

Namjoon breaks the silence and says, “This is creepy but fascinating.” Jimin nods in agreement, eyes narrowing at it. 

Jungkook sits in between the two of them, finding the eyes on the food following him wherever he looks. It’s the type of thing that makes other people uncomfortable, but he looks back without hesitation.

“I actually don’t like this. Let’s find something better.” Jimin takes the initiative of standing up first. “Well, come on!”

Walking through the exhibit felt akin to a dream set in the day plus reality, but not a daydream. It’s as if time and space is bending, and the only moment is now. Jungkook feels self-aware though, despite it seeming like this is the only place to be at that matters. 

It takes them several rounds of walking around, even going up and down the other floors, until they settle on something all three of them, for a lack of a better word, vibe with.

It’s visual art in a medium teasing all senses. 

They sit on the same bench present in all exhibits, except this time there is moss growing around it. They had a good laugh deciding on whether it was part of the art and not just a product of their imagination. There’s ambient music falling simulating thunderstorms and water, and the paintings hung on the walls depict the views of cityscapes while being drenched in rain. 

Namjoon says something about how he would like it better if they were farmhouses or cabins up in the mountains, but Jimin vehemently disagreed. He says he likes that it’s relatable for them city folk, that feeling of being trapped down the lobby of a building during a rainy afternoon. 

The lit scented candles contribute to how different the life outside the paintings are compared to the exhibit. It smells of sandalwood logs, bergamot, and cloves. Woodsy and comforting, but still artificial. 

The painting in front of them has foreign characters written below it on the white paper along with the price tag.

 

なるかみの,すこしとよみて,

ふらずとも,

わはとどまらむ,

いもしとどめば

 

“A faint clap of thunder,” Namjoon reads in a whisper, “Even if rain comes or not, I will stay here, together with you.”

And there is Seokjin.

Face so clear in Jungkook’s mind that rainy day they went out into the city proper, when he kissed him chastely after Seokjin got his ear pierced, and when they ate frozen yogurt afterwards. 

There is Seokjin in his bed that morning before his remedials, or Seokjin standing in his kitchen looking over the floor to ceiling windows and admiring the rain. 

The novelty of experiencing something brand new was something that died in Jungkook a long time ago, so this unknown feeling of longing, regret, and yearning, all pouring out at once, felt too much and unexpected.

He remembers so clearly what Seokjin said to him, like it’s a repressed memory just waiting to be brought back to the surface, right at this very moment.

"I listen to the rain in the 14th floor and it's muted but comforting. Here, it's everywhere; as if you're drowning in beauty wherever you look."

The two years that passed ever since they decided to stop speaking with each other brought muted comfort to him. He’s sure Seokjin feels the same way. 

But right here, right now, the universe is giving him no choice but to drown in everything he pushed into the back of his mind.

“Jungkook-ah,” Jimin says, sitting on his left side, “It’s okay.”

On his right, Namjoon reaches to lay his hand on top of his side. The rain sound effect is 8D, and it gives an illusion of falling overhead, but with Namjoon’s hand like this, it’s as if with his one limb, he is sheltering Jungkook from everything.

He comes back to reality for a bit. There’s no artificial water hitting them or pouring; the wetness of his cheeks are all him.

“It’s dumb.” Jungkook begins to say. He tries to find the right words, but Seokjin was always the one who knew what to say. Jungkook is good with actions, he’s good with staying away, not being the one who finds the correct words to articulate. The acid makes his tongue loose and his general attitude uncaring. “It’s dumb and I don’t deserve it but I want him back, hyung.” 

“Who said that?” Jimin’s tone sounds positively affronted and insulted for his sake. “Who said you don’t deserve to be happy?”

“I don’t know. Everybody.”

Jimin scoffs and slaps his arm. “Nobody ever said that. You deserve to be happy, whether it’s with him or not. No one gets to decide who you want to share your happiness with. Logistics doesn’t matter! If you want to be with the same person you’ve been in love with for years, why do people have to be in your business about it?”

Jungkook turns to his friend, a humorless chuckle coming out of him. His eyes are blurry from the tears remaining unshed, and he’s drawing circles on his thigh as a distraction. “You’re making me sound like a really toxic person. I mean, I guess I kind of am, huh?”

“Joon, say something!” Jimin hisses, and it makes Jungkook laugh some more. Namjoon moves his hand to Jungkook’s shoulder, sighing at being handed the helm, and it reminds him of Seokjin and how the other cheers up so quickly over the most simple things, like Yoongi buying him ice cream or Namjoon agreeing to hang out in the PC Bang even when he has exams the following day. 

Jungkook on the other hand is hard to get through. He’s too warped up in his ideals of how he should be or how he should act, too aware of how he is perceived instead of focusing on what he wants or the things he need. 

“So the rain reminds you of Seokjin?”

Jimin gives him a look that says, Really? That’s the best you come up with? 

“I think it’s the acid.” Jungkook reasons with a shrug. 

“Stop talking in I Guesses or I Thinks. Does the rain remind you of him?”

“I just suddenly remembered him, that’s all. Amplified by the acid, definitely. What does that have to do with anything? Please don’t say something psychological and poetic, hyung.”

This time it’s Namjoon who laughs, thoroughly amused. “I only wanted to get you in the headspace of absolute certainty.”

“Well, he’s absolutely certain he wants him back.” Jimin singsongs, eyes now back to the painting. “And I’m all for it. I’m on your team.”

“I didn’t ask you to pick sides, Jimin-hyung.” It’s another attempt from Jungkook to lighten the mood. He regrets letting his mouth speak before his brain could process what his announcement meant, not just to him, but for the people around him. “Just forget it, yeah?”

Jimin cuts Namjoon off, who is just about to speak as well. 

“Nothing matters, Jungkookie. The world will end, everything will dissolve into nothingness, and another big bang will occur. Love whoever you want to love. Find happiness in whatever it is that makes you happy. Why does it matter that it took you this long to realize you still want him? It’s a journey, you know? Life’s a train, shit is linear, and stones and roadblocks may delay things, but we carry on. It took you a long time getting over a rocky path, and even when you did, you still wanted to sit on the same spot in the train. Or order the same juice you spilled. Who gives a shit. Do what makes you happy. And you know why you’re allowed to? Because you’re good. I may not know you as well as Seokjin, or even Joon, but I know you. If you still have shortcomings on the things you want, I know you will fix it. You are deserving of good things because I know you are a good person. Don’t ever forget that.”

It’s a long tiring charade, and Jungkook admittedly got lost along the middle, his senses continuously being forced into a lull, but the words hit where it matters. 

“Are you done?” Namjoon asks, peeking over Jimin who rolls his eyes at the sarcastic question. It makes Jungkook smile, genuine and thoroughly feeling in the moment. It makes him wonder if this is what Seokjin felt with Namjoon and Yoongi, this enjoyment and happiness from people who you know love you platonically, who affirms it in words and actions, and who allows you the space to ruminate on your mistakes while acting as reminders that the past does not define you.

When they say going on an acid trip is a spiritual experience when done with the right people, they weren’t lying.

“Except for the world ending cynical speech, Jimin is right. Your happiness is only your business.” Namjoon’s gentle tone, the one he uses on Jungkook and pretty much everyone else that at first you would think he’s faking it, blends seamlessly with the atmosphere. “But when the kind of happiness you long for is something shared, then that is when you cannot be selfish.”

“I know, hyung. I understand. I truly do. But how do I know I’m doing it right? How do I know I’m not being selfish?”

Jimin hits him on the shoulder, and Jungkook is unsure anymore if the other has been doing it multiple times or has only done it once. “You’ll never actually know if you don’t try? And I’ll say it again: end of the world! Near! So Jungkookie, chop chop and get the love of your life back! The planet will not collapse if it doesn’t work out, but you know what will haunt you for life? It’s when you don’t at least try.”

“I already did— we did— I told you about it almost working out, and how it was him who even initiated staying away from each other.”

“I think, what Jimin meant, is that as long as you’re willing to put time into trying again, and he feels the same way, then there is nothing wrong regarding how many times or chances that may be. What's important is that, you know, this is important to you. You’re losing time and missing out on other life experiences or people, but that is a conscious decision on your part. As long as it makes you happy you know? And that you aren’t hurting anyone, then who cares how many times you have to start over.”

“Not what I meant but I agree, Joon. You’re actually still a baby, aren’t you, Jungkookie? Most people your age have already gained the self-awareness that whatever you may be feeling towards anything is valid. Like you’re self-aware your actions are affecting people in ways you cannot control, but there is also some kind of… acceptance? Inner peace? That what they feel regarding what you are doing is not really your business. You can hurt them, purposely or not, but how they run with it has nothing to do with you.”

“Hyungs, I’ll be real with you, I’m so confused. I think I’d like to revert back to being a prokaryote. I don’t know. An amoeba. A plankton floating into the sea.”

Jimin gives him a withering look, sighing in exasperation. “I mean you care too much about how your actions affect the people around you when you should have learned by now at your big age that how they deal with it is not as linked to you as you think it is.”

“But I chose those decisions? Of course I’ll worry about how people will perceive what I do, and of course I’ll think about how it will affect them.”

“Yeah but when you’re a good person, with valid reasons and rationalizations, then you don’t need to. And you’re a good person. The end!”

Namjoon grunts in agreement, nodding his head to signify it. “And that is why I think Seokjin’s good for you. He didn’t before but he does now; the whys of why people are the way they are, or why they do such things. Seokjin understands that somebody’s actions affecting him and how he reacts towards it are separate entities, not just a two dimensional reaction. There are factors underlying every decision, and it’s amazing to me how objective he has become in that regard.”

Jungkook looks between the both of them who are smiling down at him comfortingly. It’s not cold, or distant, compared to the professional and clinical way they do it in the hospital. He still can’t help but say, “I— are you guys saying you’re on my side because you have psychoanalyzed me?”

Wrapping an arm around the younger, Jimin says, “Everyone psychoanalyzes each other; the only difference is whether you know the term or not.”


Namjoon, for all intents and purposes, is a result-driven pacifist. It’s no wonder he took the time setting this up: Taehyung and Yoongi sitting on one end with Jungkook across them in a coffeehouse.

Taehyung who once had black hair curling and framing his face has dyed it blonde and pushed back. Yoongi did too, and Jungkook knows without asking that it is a couple thing.

Yoongi is noisily sipping on his iced coffee, fingers entangled with Taehyung’s because he refused to hold hands properly only to grab Taehyung’s own when the other retracted his arm.

Jungkook doesn’t touch his own drink. He only sits there with his back straight, like some kid sent to the principal’s office and now has to explain to the other kid’s parents why he made them cry.

In a way, it is remarkably fitting.

“Joon mentioned you have something to say.” Yoongi’s voice is commanding despite its languid nature. “So speak.”

The thing is, Jungkook had nothing to say. What Namjoon did is set up an opportunity, and it’s scary and he’s still unsure if he’s ready or if he deserves it, but one thing Jungkook knows ring in his head in Jimin’s voice: it’s the end of the world!!!

He opens his mouth to speak.

Nothing comes out.

Yoongi sighs. 

Taehyung stares at the older as if he hung the stars and the moon up the night sky.

Jungkook settles with, “I need your help.” 

Yoongi sighs and says, “Finally,” the same time Taehyung snaps at him with, “No.”


It goes well. 

As much as things going well do.

Taehyung gets fed up listening to them and plugs his ears with AirPods while playing Wild Rift on his phone. 

Jungkook still enjoy Yoongi’s company, his snappy demeanor giving way to kind smiles and fond looks as they both talk.

The conversation still revolved around Seokjin. Yoongi drops some tidbits here and there, like how when Seokjin gets drunk and his face flushes red, he starts getting sappy and poetic, starts wondering out loud about Jungkook’s well-being or if he’ll make do with his last words to come back when he’s ready.

“It’s usually either you have good memories with them but you’ve grown beyond that time and you don’t really feel attraction towards them anymore, or you would eternal sunshine of the spotless mind yourself if possible. But I don’t know, it’s kind of amazing and also irritating, that every time he grows, you pop back in his life like some kind of mushroom, and you always end up being the mushroom that fits.”

He admits to insecurities of the future, and hints of his insecurities about the past. 

Jungkook was starting to get irritated with himself repeating them. It’s starting to sound like whining to his ears the more he hears himself speak about what he is scared of, or what he thinks will happen. 

Yoongi on the other hand, who is hearing them for the first time, listens well and attentively. He says a lot of things, makes points that hit too close to home. That’s when Jungkook realizes growing up and moving on is inevitable. He’s surrounded by people who do want the best for him, and for Seokjin, no matter what happened before. 

Before leaving, Yoongi takes him aside. He tells Jungkook one last lecture. Taehyung waits for them outside, still playing on his phone and with a cigarette on his lips.

“We meet different people in different periods of our lives. Unconsciously, we know what we want from them. Years pass by, and you notice people who were once your best friends or old partners… no longer fit. You’ve outgrown them, you know? It’s kind of unfair, but also amazing, that you and hyung are two people who enter and exit each other’s life so easily yet every single time, it works. It’s pretty sappy, but it feels like you were made for each other. I guess what I’m trying to say is, don’t be scared to start over again. Clear everything out and forget the past. Or not. Either way, it always works with you two. And a word of advice, stop running away when things turn shitty and go through it together. You’re both strong individually; I know you’ll get through it.”


min yoongi

bean brothers. 

3:30 pm.

don’t be late.


Jungkook tries his best not to ruin his hair. 

He regrets getting that haircut now two weeks ago. He can still recall how Seokjin liked his long and wavy hair, so he hopes this clean cut one parting in the middle is something he’ll like too. He fidgets in his seat, finding invisible lint to flick away on his Fila jacket. 

The shop’s background noise mixed with its background music along with the smell of roasting beans help soothe him. 

Thoughts of, Maybe I should have gone the business casual route, or Is it too on the nose that I wore our earring, makes Jungkook itch for a cigarette so he has something else to focus on. 

He’s not even sure if he’ll be seeing Seokjin or not due to the vagueness of Yoongi’s text.

There is no time for contemplation anymore. 

The glass doors are being pushed open, the door chime echoes, and Seokjin is stepping in looking like he brought fall with him. 

The last time Jungkook sucked it up and stalked Seokjin on social media, he had black hair. It’s now back to caramel brown, matching his cardigan of the same color worn over a white shirt.

He looks like home.

It’s funny really, that despite sitting hidden by the side, Seokjin’s gaze falls on him instantly. He still manages to spot Jungkook first thing in a crowded room. 

A momentary look of confusion cross Seokjin’s features, morphing into horror, and when he looks back at the door he just passed through, Jungkook takes the initiative of acknowledging him with a wave. 

The first move has been dealt. 

Seokjin hesitates. He glances at the door again. He ultimately makes his decision, shaking his head and sighing without even bothering to hide it. He walks up to Jungkook, long yet slow strides. 

Without saying hi, Seokjin pulls the chair in front of Jungkook and sits down. He instantly sulks the moment he is seated, giving Jungkook the stink eye. His eyebrows are furrowed, lines forming in the middle. He looks so angry, so annoyed, and he doesn’t even bother hiding it.

“Did Yoongi put you up to this?”

Jungkook holds back the laughter bubbling at the back of his throat. Seokjin interacting with him like they just put a pause on each other for two years and hit play again makes him feel hopeful. 

“Hi.”

It’s the right thing to say. It’s  just proper that Jungkook says hi, but this has Seokjin looking at him with eyes wide. Jungkook feels his heart ache simply looking at him. 

It’s probably the soft brown cardigan and the softer caramel locks.

Jungkook reckons if he leans over, Seokjin would smell like pumpkin spice and tonka beans. 

He still resembles autumn.

Just like the first time Jungkook saw him.

Seokjin sits up straighter. He seems to finally have caught awareness that Jungkook is sitting across him, saying hello, when his last words to Seokjin were: “See you when I’m ready?”

Letting out a breath that would be followed by cold air if they were standing outside, Seokjin places his hands on the table, and fumbles with his fingers for a while. 

A silent exchange happens between them. Seokjin looks at him, but Jungkook knows he’s focusing on the scar on Jungkook’s cheek because he doesn’t like eye contact. His brows raise slowly in question, and Jungkook copies the gesture as if to ask, Yes? 

Seokjin’s trimmed fingers drum against the wooden table. His gaze trails over Jungkook’s form openly. 

To his forehead, then his cheek, his neck, and lastly, to his lips. 

“Your hair is short.”

The statement prompts Jungkook to instinctively raise his hand and run his fingers through it. He stops himself at the last minute. 

“Yeah. I’ll grow it long again soon.”

“Do you actually have more piercings?”

“Yup.”

Seokjin moves so naturally it could be nothing but a reflex. He raises his left arm, and his hand instantly goes to fiddle with the simple circular jewelry adorning his ear. 

The diamond half of the one Jungkook has on his right lobe still rests on Seokjin’s too. 

“Jungkook,” His name on Seokjin’s tongue shakes him away from reveries. “Why are you here?”

“Yoongi-hyung told me to go.”

“Yeah, I figured that out already since he also forced me to be here. My question is why are you here? Why are you doing this?”

The vagueness of Seokjin’s statement has Jungkook stammering over his words. “I— trust me hyung, I did not expect to see you. I mean, I was hoping I’ll see you, but I never thought it would actually happen.”

Seokjin’s gasp of disbelief followed by sarcastic laughter scares Jungkook a bit. 

“You mean to tell me Yoongi didn’t mention it was me? You just turned up here and didn’t care about who it would be?” Seokjin shakes his head, mumbles Wow, and pulls his chair closer to the table. “I can’t believe you!”

“What? I’m actually really confused now—”

It shouldn’t elate Jungkook, but this sudden argument has him grinning. He’s still a bit fearful and ultimately lost with what Seokjin’s talking about, but he’s just so glad that Seokjin and him still got it. 

Conversations still come to them so easily. 

“Jeon Jungkook, stop being funny.”

Jungkook couldn’t keep his response in the form of a giggle down. “Nothing is funny.”

“Then why are you laughing?”

“Because you said to stop being funny.”

The corners of Seokjin’s mouth lift up into a smile he tries to pretend isn’t there. 

Jungkook capitalizes on it, says, “You’re laughing too.”

“Well stop trying to make me laugh!”

Fuck.

Jungkook bites his bottom lip to suppress the overly fond grin. He wonders for a second if it was too quick to jump back into their old routine, but the timing is perfect, and so he says, “Don’t do that cute shit then.”

Always on the verge of flirtatious and ambiguous.

“So me being cute is funny for you? Okay, got it.”

“You’re still doing it. Stop it.”

“No, you.”

I fucking adore him.

“No, hyung, you.”

It’s going so well, the atmosphere perfectly charming and slowly filling with their banter. 

Of course, it was getting too good to last.

“Kim Seokjin?”

Both their heads swivel toward the source who happens to be a man with hair falling over his face and wearing a perfectly ironed dress shirt matching the color of Seokjin’s cardigan. 

“You’re Kim Seokjin right?” The guy asks, glancing at Jungkook who is just as confused as Seokjin.

“Yes?”

“I’m the one Taehyung and Yoongi set you up on a blind date with.”

“...oh?”

What the fuck?

“Sorry I’m late. I couldn’t find a good parking spot.” The guy, Seokjin’s blind date, gestures toward Jungkook and asks with a polite chuckle, “Did you bring a friend?”

Seokjin stands up immediately from his seat. “We’re both in medical school! He’s my senior. I ran into him here and decided to say hi.”

The stranger finally offers Jungkook a smile, extending his hand in courtesy toward him. Jungkook hides his emotions well; he begrudgingly gets out of his seat to shake the other’s hand. He feels petty satisfaction over the fact that he’s a few inches taller than the guy.

The stranger introduces himself, and Jungkook blocks out his name. He doesn’t need such information stored in his brain. He does hear the guy say, “I’m in my final year in law school.”

“Jeon Jungkook.” 

“Shouldn’t you be introducing yourself to me?” Seokjin butts in with a laugh. The guy laughs too, agrees with him, and bids Jungkook a good day. He walks ahead of Seokjin, leading them to another empty table.

Seokjin whips his head around back to Jungkook with his features contorted in confusion. Jungkook mirrors his expression, eyes following the two until they are sitting down and Law School Guy is extending his hand over to Seokjin who shakes it. 

It really is quite ingenious. Mean-spirited, but understandable. Yoongi never meant to make it easy for him.

 

min yoongi

hyung

really 

 

aha

it was tae’s suggestion

 

of course it is

 

tae wants me to tell you

“enjoy front-row seats to hyung’s blossoming love life”

 

Jungkook walks up to the counter, thinking that he might as well get something while he is here. The guy gets up too, standing behind Jungkook in line. He tries to ignore the other, but then he goes, “Hey, man. By any chance, do you know what Seokjin likes? He said he’s fine with anything.”

He could sabotage the guy and tell him to get something with chocolate or mocha, but Jungkook doesn’t want to do that to Seokjin. His face scrunches up whenever he drinks anything non-vanilla, and his entire mood sours over such a simple thing.

“He always gets an iced vanilla latte.”

“Okay got it. Thanks, bro. You guys must be close?”

“We had a study group together. Usually it was in coffeehouses.”

“Ah, that makes sense.”

Deciding it won’t hurt asking, Jungkook voices out a question in the most nonchalant tone he could muster. “What do you guys plan on doing today?”

Law School Guy shrugs. “Probably just stick around here and talk, get to know each other and all that. If things go well, then I guess dinner?”

It’ll go well. Hyung’s amazing. 

An iced caramel macchiato plus a slice of cake is balanced on a tray Jungkook carries back to his table. 

As Taehyung put it, he does get a front-row view of Law School Guy handing Seokjin his drink, and the brilliant smile he receives in return for it. Then, for a split second, his eyes meet Jungkook’s like he knows what the younger one did. 

He tries not to look, tries to keep his eyes on his phone reviewing cases or watching League highlights. It’s hard pretending Seokjin and his date aren’t by his line of sight or even in the back of his mind. It’s harder to tear his gaze away because every time he does look, Seokjin would be looking back. 

From the corner of his eyes, he sees the guy heading to the bathroom. Instantaneously, the hype music being played on the League video he’s watching gets drowned by his text tone. 

 

seokjinnie

Stop staring at us.

I can literally see the dog ears at the top of your head drooping down every time I catch you looking.

 

Jungkook doesn’t hide his elation. 

Seokjin is staring at him with a raised brow. He copies it, and replies with a statement filled with undertones he one hundred percent means.

 

ask him if he knows how to fight

 

You’re bothering me.

 

you texted me first 

 

Well, you looked at me first. 

 

yeah

i always do

look at you i mean

 

You are literally the most annoying person ever.

 

i missed you too 

 

Bye.

 

i’m ten feet away from you

 

And? 

Leave.

 

i’m waiting for my date

 

Oh.

You have a date?

Aren’t they making you wait?

You were even here before me.

 

ikr

he’s taking his sweet time 

he’s even having another date with someone else right in front of me 

 

Annoying. 

Infuriating. 

Out of this world madness. 

 

yes hyung i missed you too we’ve been over this 

 

Stop flirting with me.

 

i’m not??? 

 

Then what are you doing?

 

conversing  

 

So you talk to everyone like this? 

 

now you’re the one flirting with me

 

Where did that idea even come from. 

 

you unconsciously pout when you’re jealous

 

I said stop staring!

 

then stop texting 

 

No.

I mean, yes.

YOU ARE SO ANNOYING

 

what did i do…

 

Seokjin turns his phone off when the guy returns. 

Jungkook raises the white flag and accepts his punishment. He gets up, takes his tray and returns it at the front counter to the cashier who smiles at him gratefully. Walking outside and to the smoking area outdoors, he’s already taking out his cigarette case and lighter.

After the first hit, Jungkook turns his head just in time to see Seokjin exiting the shop and heading towards him. He doesn’t place the cigarette between his lips yet, only watches as Seokjin huffs and holds his hand out. 

He takes one of the five Marlboro blues on the other compartment of his case and hands it to Seokjin along with the lighter. He sits down, lights it up, and gives it back to Jungkook. Only after the first huff and puff does he say, “Do you just randomly carry menthols with you now?”

“No. I bought some in case I’d be seeing you.”

Seokjin snorts, gives him a look he was once very familiar with. The disbelief, usually followed by red cheeks and redder ears, then telling him how annoying he is.

“Then why are you leaving?”

It takes Jungkook aback; the bluntness, the confrontational tone, and the accusing glare. 

“Huh?” is all he manages to say. Seokjin hits his cigarette again, and if he wasn’t smoking right now, Jungkook is sure the older would be grumbling at him.

“You saw me. You’re currently sitting next to me. Why are you leaving?”

“Well— do you want me to stay?”

“No.”

Jungkook couldn’t help being the one now shooting Seokjin the same expression of confusion mixed with slight irritation. He runs his fingers through his hair, brushing it back without a care, and places the cigarette back between his lips.

“Not counting all the hi’s and hello’s in the school corridors, or that incorrigible text you sent, this is the first time in two years we are seeing and talking to each other, and you want to leave me here?”

“Hyung, what do you want me to say? Or do? You’re on a date right now and Yoongi-hyung set me up to punish me. I deserve it, and I’m leaving you to it.”

“Say you’re leaving me again and I’ll actually hit you.”

Jungkook is stunned. 

Seokjin continues smoking.

“Do you want to leave… with me?”

Seokjin reacts by raising his arms in the air, smoke escaping from his mouth. “Yes, you dumb asshole! Why are you even acting like we didn’t end in good terms two years ago? You kept making me angry and confused every time you looked over our direction because I was waiting for you to drag me away from that pompous law school guy!”

It’s a self-serving declaration. Yet, it’s also true and astoundingly unbelievable in its easiness. He’s been wondering, ruminating, and asking himself if this was fair, if it was okay,

If he deserves it.

Seokjin is right. They did end on good terms, so what was all this fuss on his part about?

“You wanna get McFlurrys?”

“Wow, third base already?” Seokjin teases, turning around to snuff the cigarette out on the ashtray atop the table. “I want kimchi jjigae.”

“Okay. We’ll get kimchi jjigae.”

“And then I want melona.”

“Alright.”

“Are we going home together after?”

“Unless you prefer walking back to the apartment over riding with me, then yes.”

“Just making sure you’re not leaving me behind.” 

Jungkook ashes his own cigarette. He wants to do something bolder, something like taking Seokjin’s hand with his own to get his feelings across. It still seems too early for that, so he only says, “I won’t. I wouldn’t.”

“Let’s go, I’m ready.” Seokjin adjusts his cardigan, the wind blowing a little harsher. Up close, he notices the fabric of it isn’t enough to shield against the impending cold. 

Before Jungkook can stand as well, Seokjin asks, “Are you ready?”

Underlying meaning or not, he answers without hesitation. 

“Yes.”


They go to a traditional restaurant serving only kimchi jjigae with side dishes and a pitcher of water. There’s an ice cream cooler by the counter, and Seokjin looks at it forlornly and pointedly when they pass by it. Jungkook rolls his eyes and pushes him inside where the interior is cozy, the kind where late night employees and college students go to for a hearty meal after a long day.

“Melona, JK. I want my melona.” Seokjin whines to him just because he can. 

“I’ll get you one later.”

There is no point asking what they are ordering, so the only exchange they had with the server was the question of how many. They settle on sharing one pot of kimchi jjigae, and it is served to them quickly.

A stove is set up in front of them along with the uncooked pot where they will have to wait for it. In other words, this is the time for conversation and catching up. 

The ride to the restaurant was silent on Jungkook’s part. Seokjin was on his phone talking to Yoongi, or probably Taehyung, quite possibly both at the same time, scolding them about not telling him Jungkook was there. 

The last words he had with them was: “Yeah I left. No, not with the guy. I left with Jungkook. Yeah. Tae, stop screaming. This was your idea in the first place! Yoongi tell your boyfriend to stop! We’re gonna get dinner; I'll bring back ice cream bye!”

Seokjin busies himself with stirring their pot of kimchi jjigae. Jungkook thanks the server for the side dishes, distributing what he knows Seokjin likes on his side, and what Seokjin hates on his own. The omelette is left in the middle. Jungkook likes it, Seokjin is so-so with it, but sometimes he wants a bite so Jungkook leaves it there. 

Something so simple as side dishes is telling of how much he knows the other. 

“Do you remember the first time we went out?” Seokjin suddenly asks.

Jungkook wonders if it’s a test. 

Continuously stirring the pot, Seokjin adds, “I don’t even remember our old anniversary. I don’t remember a lot of things about the past anymore.”

“I don’t too.” Jungkook finally admits. “Our first date I mean.”

“Our brain is amazing isn’t it? We’re not aware but it deletes painful memories for us.” Seokjin grins at him. “Although, right now, I feel like I’ll remember this day for years to come.”

Seokjin does that thing where his lips remain parted unconsciously when he has more to say. Jungkook waits, arms folded on the table and eyes moving from the cooking kimchi jjigae and back to Seokjin.

“I have a good feeling about today.”

Jungkook does remember the important things. He still knows what side dishes Seokjin likes, or the type of coffee he prefers. He knows when Seokjin looks with love and never expects anything in return. 

The last one is lost on his face. He is looking at Jungkook expectantly, waiting for a response or anything.

Something.

What he says has Seokjin blinking at him in surprise. 

“My surgery rotation starts tomorrow. We’re expected in the hospital early.”

“Uh— okay?”

Jungkook tries to hold back a smile. He picks up the chopsticks, leans over Seokjin’s side for a piece of sweet potato earning him the stink eye and a grumble. 

“What about you? What’s your schedule?”

“Class starts at 8. I get up thirty minutes before class these days.”

Jungkook looks up towards the ceiling in thought. When he looks down, he’s already grabbing another sweet potato. Seokjin tries to actively stop him this time but to no avail.

“Are you willing to wake up at 5:00?”

“I’m still up by 5:30. I sleep around 6:30, then wake up thirty minutes before class.” Seokjin explains. 

Jungkook nods in understanding. He used to do that too.

“Okay. Let’s get breakfast tomorrow?”

“What— why?” Seokjin lets him steal another sweet potato, watching and waiting on Jungkook to finish chewing. 

“I want to make time for us.”

Jungkook, for all the things that changed, still retains the non-existent filter between his thoughts and speech. 

It’s too late to take it back, especially with how quickly Seokjin reacts to it. 

“Are you serious?”

Jungkook thinks about the pros and cons of the possible responses he can say. Seokjin will call him annoying whatever he says anyway.

“I wasted six years fucking around. It’s better to be straight out with it now that you’re in my life again.”

Seokjin hisses at him to keep his voice down when a group of girls turn their heads toward their direction, all giggling and whispering to themselves. His cheeks are red, lips in pout as he says, “What is your end goal here?”

Jungkook leans closer, and in a hushed tone, answers with, “To be your boyfriend—OW!”

Seokjin pinches his arm harshly, the red now spreading to his ears. Jungkook would reach over and flick them if Seokjin didn’t look ready to pinch him a second time. 

“What if I want to just be friends? Have you considered that?”

Jungkook had. He’s turned the thought over in his head so much it still echoes in his subconscious when he proudly proclaimed he wants Seokjin again. 

“I told you before. I can’t be just friends with you. I’d rather not talk to you ever again than just be friends when I know how much I like you.”

“Oh, so suddenly you like me enough?”

“I always have, hyung. I’m not apologizing for choosing myself the first and second time, but it doesn’t lessen the fact that I do like you enough. I’ve always liked you more.”

The server interrupts their heating exchange by offering to refill the almost empty sweet potato plate. Seokjin is the one who looks away, hands it to them, and says his thanks.

“Hyung—”

“What?” Seokjin snaps at him harshly. 

Jungkook sighs. He pokes the side of his cheek with his tongue, this time trying to not let his mouth get ahead of itself before his brain. Even with all the anger and irritation Seokjin is shooting his direction, he can’t help finding the other beautiful.

“I just wanted to be upfront with my intentions. I don’t want to waste your time. If you don’t want anything to do with me, I’ll accept it. I mean, not gonna lie I’d be heartbroken, but I’ll respect whatever your decision is.”

“What if I only want to be friends?”

“Unless you’re fine keeping me around as your friend knowing I’ll be looking at you in yearning every time you look away, then okay I’ll try.”

The server returns with the sweet potato refill. It’s overflowing compared to the first plate, the syrup dripping down the edges and catching the amber light of the restaurant. They place it in the middle, Seokjin grabbing it hurriedly to his side. Jungkook lets him. 

The kimchi jjigae has finished cooking. Jungkook takes it upon himself to fill the empty bowls by their side; one for him, and the other for Seokjin.

Seokjin picks up his chopsticks. He takes a piece from the plate of sliced boiled eggs. “I have a condition.” 

Jungkook signifies he is listening by raising his brows.

“After we finish this kimchi jjigae, we will never talk about the past again. If you bring up anything that happened before once we eat it all, I’ll act like I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

“Okay. Deal.”

“If you— we, are going to try again, I want to do it without hard feelings. Most importantly, I want it to happen without any influence of old feelings or memories.”

It makes Jungkook aware of his heart beating louder against his chest. Every squeeze somehow feels prominent, and sure, at the back of his head he can trace this to his sympathetic nervous system reacting in excitement over what he heard, but at its purest, it’s simply… Seokjin and everything he is. 

“You want to try again?”

Seokjin shrugs slowly, grabbing two soup spoons and handing the other to Jungkook. 

“I’m not an idiot. If Yoongi told you about my blind date, which by the way he and Tae forced me into, then it probably means they also spilled about how I cry about you whenever the three of us drink while listening to your stupid night driving playlist.” Seokjin slurps the soup, then points at Jungkook with the spoon, punctuating each word by jabbing at the air using it. “When I say cry, I’m being dramatic. I mean I lie in bed and think about how annoying you are.”

Jungkook busies himself with eating for a while. He nods, tries not to show his giddiness. Hearing about it from Yoongi is so much different compared to hearing it from Seokjin.

“You always call me annoying. Tell me what about me annoys you so much you even think of it while intoxicated.” 

Their kimchi jjigae treaty, without it being said out loud, entails them to lay everything down the literal and metaphorical table. After this, everything will not be spoken of again.

“Your stupid earrings and your stupid hair.”

“My stupid earring matches yours though.”

“And I think about the time I saw that girl touching your hair and I hate how it has been years and it still irritates the shit out of me.”

It’s an admission that surprises Jungkook.

Thinking back on it, no wonder Seokjin looked at him like he wanted Jungkook to shave his entire head. 

“Okay, it’s my turn.” Jungkook places the soup spoon down along with the chopsticks. “Have you been with anyone these past two years?”

“I’ve been on dates.”

“Only dates?”

“Do you really need to hear me say, yes Jungkook, I’ve been having sex, too?” 

Jungkook pouts at him, lids going heavy and narrowing. 

Seokjin rolls his eyes. “And you aren’t?” 

It makes Jungkook grin widely at him. Instinctively, he reaches out for Seokjin who also acts on reflex by moving away and saying, “Don’t touch me.”

“Any outstandingly annoying ones?”

“You still take the top spot.”

Jungkook nods happily at that. “Nice, nice.”

Seokjin looks at him weirdly, piling side dishes on top of his rice bowl before shoving it in his mouth. After swallowing, he mumbles, “I have no idea why that makes you so happy…”

They throw light questions back and forth, mostly affirmations of what they already knew about the other.

Seokjin asking, “What have you been up to these past two years? Except for all the studying of course,” is when the atmosphere shifts.

“Kinda sappy but I guess self-reflecting? Traveling with my family during holiday breaks are the only time I don’t think of school.”

“Yeah, I’ve seen your posts. Your dedication to the black and white IG feed aesthetic is commendable.”

Jungkook laughs softly. The kimchi jjigae is almost finished, and Jungkook still has something he wants to ask.

“Hyung.” 

Seokjin blinks up at him in wait.

“You really still want me?”

After all this time, you aren’t sick of me yet? You can find better, definitely do better. There’s so many people out there. You didn’t need to keep holding on to me, but you are, aren’t you?

Seokjin sighs. He fiddles with the end of his cardigan, pulling the fabric over his fist and gripping it with his fingers. 

“Jungkook.” A comforting smile is something he didn’t expect to surface on Seokjin’s face. “I wish you can see yourself the way I see you.” 


Driving back home is a lighter affair. 

The kimchi jjiage treaty works like some time-looping magical pot of amnesia. 

After Seokjin scoops out the last remains of their dinner, equally distributing it to both his and Jungkook’s empty bowls, he says, “You’re here and you still want me. Is it really bad that I’m glad you do when I feel the same way?”

To cement their agreement on forgetting about the past, Seokjin extends his hand and introduces himself as if they were strangers.

“I’m Kim Seokjin. Third year in medical school. You?”

“Jeon Jungkook. Fourth year in medical school, currently doing my clerkship. Can I take a picture of you for my Insta?”

It made Seokjin burst out in laughter, yet he still leant forward and posed for the camera. 

When they leave the restaurant, Seokjin buys his ice cream and takes his time telling Jungkook what he thinks about each flavor.

They say that as you get older, the lack of reaction to certain situations is because you have probably experienced it too many times that you just get used to it. The novelty of something new can only be experienced once in your life, and attachment to it usually causes hurt that follows you like a ghost.

Well then, Jungkook and Seokjin will just have to forget about the past and experience everything again.

They ask each other questions as if they don’t know the answer.

“What do you do in your spare time?”

“I like playing games. League, mostly.”

“Me too. You should carry me sometime.”

Seokjin gasps at every next track on Jungkook’s night driving playlist but sings along to every song perfectly. 

They argue over where to get breakfast for at least fifteen minutes despite knowing they’ll end up at McDonald’s. Seokjin says he likes pancakes with extra maple syrup, and Jungkook promises to remember even when he already does.

Arriving at the basement parking of their condominium complex and upon riding the elevator, Seokjin waits for Jungkook to click the button for his floor. When he doesn’t and the door has closed, he only shrugs and says, “I’ll walk you back.” 

Seokjin chatters about how he has to knock all the time these days due to his roommate whose boyfriend is around all the time. 

“It’s like he’s homeless or something! Taehyung is always here and I’m pretty sure he has more stuff in the apartment than I do.”

“I’m really not surprised they ended up dating, but I still have no idea how it happened.”

Pausing in front of his door, Seokjin levels a tired stare to Jungkook. “Would you believe it when I tell you they one day just walked in and announced that Yoongi lost a bet so now they are together? I thought it was a joke at first but it has been a year and they are still giggling and making out like teenagers whenever possible, so I’m starting to think they are serious.”

Jungkook laughs at the explanation. There’s obviously more to the story, but he can pester it out of Seokjin another day. Leaning on the wall with his arms crossed, Jungkook nonchalantly says, “You can stay at mine whenever they get too much.”

“I don’t even care that you obviously have other intentions. I’m happy for them but… people in love should be separated from society.”

“Aw, are you jealous of them hyung?” Jungkook snickers. He ignores the first statement, Seokjin’s acknowledgment of it enough to have him grinning wide. 

“Yes, actually. Seeing Taehyung and Yoongi across the bed next to mine is similar to listening to an amazingly relatable love song but without being in love. Like you’re familiar with the feeling but you aren’t really experiencing it.”

The door swings open to reveal Yoongi glaring at the both of them with Taehyung’s arms around his neck, cheek resting on the side of Yoongi’s head and grinning.

“How long are you two going to stand there talking shit about us?” 

Taehyung presses a kiss on Yoongi’s cheek. Seokjin rolls his eyes while the person himself grumbles at his overly affectionate boyfriend. 

“Stop it. You’re just proving his point.”

“Why? Was Seokjin-hyung lying?”

Before Yoongi can get his comeback out, Seokjin turns to Jungkook and loudly exclaims, “Yes, goodnight Jungkook! I’ll see you tomorrow!”


Seokjin feels the eyes following his every move while he throws their empty melona packets in the trash. Walking back toward them, Taehyung hands him his melona as he sits down on the floor next to them, their backs leaning on the edge of their beds. 

“So… how was it?” Yoongi’s disinterested expression is betrayed by the curious lilt of his voice. 

Taehyung, who is sitting on his left and his arm around Yoongi’s shoulder, pokes Yoongi on the cheek with his pointer finger. “We saw the Insta post. It might as well be a declaration to the world that he’s in love with hyung.” 

Seokjin pauses on eating his melona to fish his phone out of his pocket. Opening it, he mutters, “He posted it already?”

Yoongi’s head swivels to meet eyes with Taehyung. Telepathically communicating, they both shout at him to not look. Yoongi grabs his phone, resulting in Seokjin laughing nervously at their extreme reaction. “What is wrong with you both?”

“Hyung,” Taehyung pops the strawberry melona from his lips to continue. “Hyung do you want to smoke a bowl first?”

“You should look at it later while listening to that happy love song that makes you sad.” Yoongi interjects before handing it back to the older.

“Uh,” Seokjin looks at the screen suspiciously, “You guys are scaring me.”

“No, hyung, you should trust us. You should smoke then listen to that song.”

“Look, I have no idea what song—”

“That fucking at my worst song you wouldn’t stop listening to.” Yoongi’s nose wrinkles at the mention of said song. “God, not even a day in and you and Jungkook already managed to be more disgusting than me and this guy.”

“Hey! I’m not some guy, I’m your boyfriend!” Taehyung’s whine is ignored by the two who are looking at each other pointedly.

“Okay? What a call out. I actually want to see now what it is.”

“Suit yourself.”

The reverse psychology works on Seokjin easily. He chucks his phone on his bed and returns to eating his melona.

When Taehyung finally leaves and Seokjin has showered and set his alarm for 2:30 am, Yoongi turns off the lights and buries himself under his comforter with a satisfied sigh.

In the darkness of the room, Yoongi’s normally deep voice is heard loud and clear. “Did you have fun?”

Turning on his side towards Yoongi, Seokjin smiles to himself. He has his blanket covering half his face, his reaction over Yoongi’s question making him embarrassed even though his roommate and best friend cannot possibly see him. “I had fun.”

Yoongi hums, shifting around in bed. “He still makes your heart skip a beat and all that annoying shit?”

“Yeah.”

“So what’s going to happen now?”

“We’ll try again.”

“Okay. I’m glad.” Yoongi turns around again, his back now facing Seokjin. “Goodnight, Seokjin-ah. Go look at what he posted.”

Seokjin was waiting for Yoongi to fall asleep first. He doesn’t bother smoking or listening to the certain love song he likes. He simply turns his body to face the window of their apartment. 

Opening his phone and Instagram, Seokjin blushes at the fact that the moment he clicks j on the keyboard, the first account that appears on search is Jungkook’s. It’s a testament on how the app’s algorithm has learned a long time ago which account Seokjin is looking for.

The latest post, Jungkook’s 124th photo on his strictly black and white feed, is a picture in color.

More importantly, it’s the picture he took of Seokjin earlier. He blinks at it repeatedly. He continues staring at it, unsure if this is really Jungkook’s account. Seokjin felt scared that perhaps after several more blinks or refreshing the photo, it’ll lose its color.

The only thing that changes are the number of likes. He almost forgot how popular Jungkook is with the rest of the world. 

Finally, the caption catches his attention:

starting to see the world differently


Seokjin wakes with a startle. 

Yoongi groans for someone to answer the door. He already has a pillow covering his head, making it known he is not getting up no matter what. 

Seokjin slept through his alarm due to the photo, and more importantly, the caption of Jungkook’s post. It keeps him awake, grinning stupidly while listening to music and scrolling through Jungkook’s pretentious black and white photos of the places he traveled to. He’s not even surprised. Sleeping through his alarm and attending class knowing he’ll have more backlogs to study has been the norm these past years. 

The time on his phone says 4:52 am. The soft knocking on their apartment door continues. 

Seokjin jumps out of bed, unlocks the door, and turns the knob over. 

Jungkook’s hair is still wet, obviously freshly showered. He’s wearing the same white uniform Seokjin has, except over it is a white jacket with their school’s logo and Jungkook’s name stitched on the side.

He’s not wearing a single earring, and he smells so good too. 

“You overslept?” Jungkook’s teasing shakes him from his thoughts. 

Seokjin becomes aware of his current state. He can’t really change out of his pink hoodie and pajamas, but he can at least fix his bed hair. 

Jungkook helps him with it, palm smoothing down Seokjin’s head and laughing when a strand refuses to stay down. 

“Good morning to you too.” Seokjin sighs, eyes still heavy and begging to be closed again. He’s too tired, still wobbly and half-asleep, that instead of snapping at the other, Seokjin leans into Jungkook’s hand as he holds Seokjin’s face. 

“We don’t have to eat,” Jungkook says softly, the tone of his voice overly fond. It makes Seokjin want to fall asleep in his hold. “You can go back to sleep.”

“But I’m hungry.”

“What about I get McDonald’s for takeout and bring it here?”

“Yes please.” 

Any other time Seokjin would at least make sure Jungkook is really okay with it. He’s too sleepy though, half his mind still stuck in dreamland along with his limbs.

“Can I just give you my keys? Yoongi will get mad if he’s woken up again.”

“Got it. I’ll buy for Yoongi-hyung too?” 

“Yes, you should.” Seokjin removes the other’s hand from his cheeks. He walks groggily to where he hangs his copy of the keys, takes it, and hands it to Jungkook. “Be careful, Kook.”

“I’m only getting food.”

“Yes, yes. Hurry up.” 

The moment Seokjin closes the door, he’s already running back into bed and under his comforter. 

The worst part about going back to sleep after being suddenly woken up is that when you wake up again, it feels like only a few seconds passed by. 

Seokjin’s being shaken awake already when he swears he closed his eyes only a few seconds ago. 

Opening his eyes slowly, Seokjin adjusts to the dim light emanating from the lampshade. He’s facing the window, and moving his gaze to the bottom right, he sees Jungkook sitting on the floor and sipping on iced coffee. 

The sight of the drink has Seokjin removing his arm from underneath the comforter and towards Jungkook. He gestures with his hand for the drink, and instead of giving it to him, Jungkook places it down and rummages around for Seokjin’s own.

Seokjin begrudgingly sits up in bed, slouching and rubbing the sleep out of his eyes. 

Being handed his iced coffee, Seokjin sighs in satisfaction. Jungkook is quiet, the only noise coming from him the sound of ruffling paper bags and plastic spoons.

“Stop sitting on the floor.” Seokjin pats the empty space beside him. “You’ll dirty your uniform.”

Jungkook’s eyebrows narrow in confusion. “But you don’t like it when people sit on your bed.”

Seokjin clicks his tongue and pats the bed again. “Just… come here and stop complaining.”

“I wasn’t complaining.”

Seokjin ignores him and continues sipping his coffee. Jungkook places their food on Seokjin’s study table completely free of clutter except for the pen holder. 

Jungkook leans his back on the headboard, holding with one hand the box of pancakes while pouring the syrup with the other. Instead of helping, Seokjin settles on the headboard too. He sinks down a bit lower, head on the same height as Jungkook’s bicep. He watches in fascination while his pancakes are prepared. 

Seokjin takes it from the other, handing his iced coffee to Jungkook who places it on his study table. He’s quick to fish out his own breakfast, pancakes too and already half-eaten. 

They still work well together, still know their way around each other. 

Seokjin scarfs down on his pancakes. Jungkook giggles at him. They finish eating at the same time. Jungkook bags their trash while Seokjin stays in bed with his iced coffee back on his hands. He catches Jungkook checking the time on his watch. 

“What time do you have to be there?”

“Seven. They expect us at 6:30. I still have at least an hour left.” 

The thought of an hour left prompts Seokjin to finally do what he has been wanting to. He places the iced coffee on the bedside table beside the lampshade, pulls the comforter high enough to cover Jungkook as well, and leans his head on Jungkook’s arm.

“‘Kay. You can stay if you want.”

He shuts his eyes closed and doesn’t dare look at what could possibly be Jungkook’s reaction to his boldness. 

Call it post-breakfast in bed cuddliness plus his sleepiness.

“Are you sure?” Jungkook sounds worried, remaining still as a statue.

“Unless you don’t want to. Or you didn’t remove your shoes.”

“I removed them.”

Grunting in irritation at how nice and gentlemanly Jungkook is being, Seokjin throws the comforter over him fully and sinks completely on the other’s side, the top of his head now burying on Jungkook’s waist. 

The wordy complaint Seokjin has bubbling in him dies down when Jungkook finally decides to lay down on the bed fully and beside him. He doesn’t do anything beside that though. 

Seokjin wonders where the younger is plucking his patience from. 

Deciding to open his eyes, Seokjin is more surprised to find Jungkook with his eyes closed. He’s laying on his side, arms crossed over his chest and right cheek mushed against Seokjin’s pillow.

“Jungkook.”

His eyes remain close. “Hm?”

“What’s clerkship like?”

“Hellish, but it’s manageable.”

Seokjin expected that answer. He’s heard about how some spend 108 hours in the hospital for a week, and right here laying next to him is Jungkook showing no signs of stress or even dehydrated skin. 

“What are you doing this week then?” Seokjin prods. He settles on his side too, resting his cheek on the surface of his hand.

“Pre-duty today. I get out at five. Duty tomorrow at seven. Ends at seven the next day. Rinse and repeat. At one point I’ll be there longer. By the end of this week I believe.”

The heaviness of it is lost in him. Jungkook talks about it so casually Seokjin is inclined to believe it’s not that hard.

“Eat when you can, okay?”

“I will.”

“When do you think we’ll see each other again?”

Jungkook hums, a smile still painting his lips at Seokjin’s reminder. “I’ll find time.”

“You don’t have to. You barely have any left.”

“I like seeing you though. Especially after two years of not being able to.”

The reminder that this is supposed to be a new, fresh, start is but a prickle on Seokjin’s skin. He’s already accepted the whining voice in his head wanting to sneak his way into Jungkook’s arms or to tuck the other’s head underneath his chin. He’ll reflect on it later, Seokjin promises to himself. 

“Do you at least get a holiday break?”

“Yup. I did my psych and family med rotations during summer.”

Seokjin should really make use of this time to get some sleep. He likes hearing Jungkook speak more.

“How do you handle it easily?”

Jungkook repositions his head on the pillow, face still serene and gorgeous. “It’s not easy, believe me. You just handle things differently when you enjoy what you’re doing.” He moves closer, face now only inches away from Seokjin’s. 

One more movement is all it takes to kickstart everything back into place.

Back into place, huh?

Jungkook opens his eyes, half-lidded and focusing on Seokjin’s mouth. “Being there on the hospital floor makes me feel happy and shit.” The toothy grin Jungkook does is genuine and reaches his eyes. “Ignites me and gives me purpose; all that sappy personal growth stuff.”

The kimchi jjigae treaty hasn’t been a day old yet Seokjin is already breaking it. 

He’ll always feel something towards Jungkook, no matter what phase in life.

As a scrawny boy who spends his days in the PC Bang or in his boyfriend’s dorm, idyllic and dependent.

As a postgraduate student with fluffy hair and multiple piercings, who only has one playlist and can throw Seokjin over his shoulder.

Seokjin can’t wait to know more about this Jungkook.

“We live in the same building. I’ll find a way to pester you. The hospital is right across the street too. I’ll pop up here and there.” Seokjin tells him matter-of-factly. 

Jungkook nods, the action making his nose rub against Seokjin’s. “Third year going easy on you?”

“Not at all.” Seokjin laughs the hardships of it away. “Maybe you’d like to give me your old notes.”

“Sure. I got you.” Jungkook checks the time on his watch again. He moves away from Seokjin, and returns to closing his eyes. “I’ll leave at exactly 6:15.”

“Wake me up before you go.” Seokjin surrenders to receiving no cuddles. He’ll accept defeat today. 

When Jungkook gets out of bed, he did not need to wake Seokjin at all. The other is already opening his eyes, dry and red rimmed from stirring awake. Jungkook shushes him, says, “I’m going now.” Seokjin complains about something, the words not registering in his mind. It makes Jungkook laugh though, earns him fingers brushing his hair back while he remains comfortable in bed.

It’s all new. 

Nothing about it is familiar.

This soft and mellow way of being around each other with all the cards laid out. 

There’s no second-guessing or deep analyses regarding each other’s actions. It’s all new— but Seokjin knows in no time he’ll be used to it. 

He likes the skipping beats and blushing cheeks, the gentle touches and warm fingertips. Something about it is romantic, how it is reminiscent of the first time you fall in love, but instead of the feeling it is wholly with the person.


Jungkook

Are you dismissed yet?

Oh, um.

Hi Jungkook. It’s me Seokjin.

I was wondering if you are dismissed already.

 

you trying to be polite freaks me out

 

Why wouldn’t I be polite when I just met you yesterday?

 

ah

ok uhhh

hey 

no

 

RUDE?!

Is this how you are with people you don’t know?

 

yes

 

When are they letting you out then?

 

in a few

 

Do I really have to ask about every single thing?

 

hahaha sorry hyung

i’m going out after this with the other clerks

getting to know each other and all that

 

Oh, that’s good.

I’m glad?

I mean I’m glad. Period.

To where?

 

idk

samgyeopsal i guess

 

Don’t get drunk and drive.

 

how would i get drunk in a samgyeopsal place?

 

IDK!!! SOJU?

 

its cute that you’re worried

 

I’m not worried.

 

ok if you say so 

byeeee

 

Seokjin squints at the screen of Taehyung’s phone. It’s from Instagram, the story of a senior Taehyung knew from his nursing pre-med days. The top left of the screen indicates its for Close Friends only, and when Seokjin asks Taehyung if he’s close with the person, he shakes his head and says, “I think they have everyone in their Close Friends, hyung.”

It’s a video going from pork belly being grilled with kimchi on top of it only to move and zoom up close somewhere else.

Or someone.

Specifically, Jungkook who accepts a pork belly wrap from someone with his fingers from someone trying to feed it to him. 

“Why are you letting Tae bully you?” Yoongi asks, his face between the two as he lays down in bed while Taehyung and Seokjin sit on the floor.

“I’m not bullying him, I’m showing him the people leeching on Jungkook!”

They watch it again on Seokjin’s insistence. 

“This isn’t even anything new. So many people kept posting about him during his first rotation.”

The statement catches Seokjin’s attention. Yoongi sighs at being caught. Choosing honesty, he admits, “Come on. You really think he doesn’t have people lining for him when he’s single, attractive, and smart?”

“It’s not that.” Seokjin lays down on the carpeted floor dramatically, kicking the air with his feet and rolling on his stomach. “I know it’s a fact but knowing it now is a whole other level.”

“Hyung, you’re jealous?” Taehyung teases, laying down next to Seokjin. 

“No, Tae. I just feel like I wouldn’t be able to eat for weeks, that’s all.”

Yoongi snorts, and Taehyung laughs obnoxiously while rolling over Seokjin to hug him. 

“Hyung, what if I set you up with someone again? I promise they’ll be nice.” 

Yoongi reaches over his best friend and boyfriend to hit Taehyung on the shoulder. “You’re an utter failure of a matchmaker. Let him and Jungkook be.”

Pouting at Seokjin while ignoring Yoongi, Taehyung does his best impression of a wounded puppy. “I don’t like Jungkook for you!”

“Well, thank goodness I’ll be the one dating him not you.”

Taehyung gasps at the remark. He fake cries on Seokjin’s shoulder, bemoaning about how he’ll be super upset when they get back together again. 

It awakens some fears Seokjin thought he already eliminated. 

What if we don’t end up liking each other after all?

What if we ruin it again?

Is the end really just us waiting to be together again?

Each thought bubble bursts when Seokjin metaphorically pops them. 

The truth is, he is just Seokjin and Jungkook is simply Jungkook.

Two beings who always seem to find themselves orbiting around the other. Nothing catastrophic will happen if they part ways again, or when they finally agree on the same path. 

While Taehyung hugs him, the younger also keeps a conversation with Yoongi who is content just laying down in bed watching them. Somehow, their relationship has progressed into something Seokjin has secretly admired.

It embodies being two persons who are separate entities from when they are together. Their individualism shines subtly, and it’s as if when together, they find peace. 

Seokjin’s sighing catch Taehyung’s attention. “Don’t worry too much, hyung. I think Jungkook sees other people as extras anyway.” It elicits a positive response from Seokjin. He giggles and allows Taehyung to hug him better.

“I don’t think anyone is an exception though.”

Yoongi’s gentle fingers on Seokjin’s scalp turn harsh. He snickers when Seokjin bats his hand away. “You’re not just anyone; you’re his the one.


Staying happy comes to Seokjin so easily lately. It has its setbacks, but the overall objective of making himself the priority outweighs the negative. 

When he doesn’t feel like studying anymore, he closes his textbook and heads to the PC Bang, whether with company or not.

When he feels too sleepy to finish his worksheets or reports, he pulls the comforter back and buries himself under them, no alarm set and the AC on blast.

Whenever he wants to eat a certain food he knows he will regret later in the day, he cancels out the guilt and indulges.

And when he misses Jungkook, in sporadic bursts and notably around the early morning and late nights, he sends him a text instead of hitting his weed pen while listening to sad songs.

The last time they saw each other was when they ate breakfast together. Their talks have been limited to sending funny memes or photos taken at random throughout the day.

Sometimes, there was also the rare phone call. Rare the term used since they’ve only called each other twice. The first time was an accident, when Seokjin rolled over his phone and butt clicked the other. The second time lasted for approximately three minutes, wherein Seokjin only called to confirm if his answer on a clinical case report was correct.

In their case, the third time’s always the charm. Seokjin waits, sitting outside in the middle of a busy Starbucks between students with their heads down and highlighting printed powerpoints or writing directly on iPads with coffee by their side. 

He’s perched on a high stool, the wooden table a long rectangular slab suited for solo patrons or two at best. Seokjin’s long legs, cladded in the perfectly tailored white pants paired with sneakers, unconsciously sway back and forth while he stares down his phone. A sudden burst of cold air from the AC has Seokjin shivering in his grey fleece hoodie.

Seokjin plays with his hair while waiting. He rubs the strands together, wondering if he needs to buy dye soon. He likes having black hair, but seeing other students with their perfectly ironed uniform and dark manes has him wanting to be different.

Finally, his phone lights up and a photo of Jungkook with one hand on the steering wheel and the other reaching out to the camera  with a big grin on his face, fills up the screen. It was taken after the kimchi jjigae date, and yes Seokjin will refer to it as such, whether Jungkook agrees or knows doesn’t matter. All affairs are dates regardless of labels.

“Hi.”

Seokjin purses his lips to swallow down the embarrassing smile a simple two letter greeting brings him. He missed Jungkook, in random moments with no discerning pattern. He feels it for a few seconds, sometimes minutes, then he forgets. All that time ticking coalesce into, “Hello.”

He hears Jungkook laughing at the other end of the line along with the familiar puff of a cigarette. 

“Where are you smoking?”

“There’s a smoking area at the back. Quite ironic to the outsiders actually.”

“When do you leave?”

“Leaving now.”

“No after-duty dinner with the other clerks?”

Seokjin thinks back to Taehyung and him on the floor of his and Yoongi’s apartment, scrolling through Instagram feeds of the people Jungkook is doing duty with, passing time by pointing out this and that. It’s a small moment in which they all get to pretend perpetual quizzes and looming exam weeks aren’t there. 

“I see them everyday,” A pause. The unmistakable sound of a car door opening, “And I haven’t seen you in a while.” 

Three weeks and four days. 

There’s a wet spot on the table by Seokjin’s right where his iced vanilla latte once was. He traces it with his pointer finger, the digit delicate and moving in circular motions. “It’s your first day off tomorrow, and you really want to spend it watching Ghibli movies and smoking each other under the table?”

“I never said anything about smoking each other under the table. I’m thinking about sharing a joint while watching Ghibli movies. You can invite Tae and Yoongi-hyung.”

“The happy couple are doing… happy couple things.” He hears the car engine coming to life. Seokjin takes his backpack and gets out of the chair. “They went to the aquarium. Yoongi mentions they’ll be back later but I’m sure he meant tomorrow. It’s a rare opportunity for a holiday to happen in the middle of the week.”

“I was looking forward to playing with them again.”

Seokjin takes his time replying. He goes through the crowd of people, being careful not step on backpack straps or bump into others. When he exits, he holds the glass door handle for people going in who thanks him.

“You’re making it sound like hanging out with me is your last choice.”

“Maybe.” Jungkook teases. “I was going to play League all night but you texted at the right time.”

“So me over games?”

“You would do the same.”

“You’re right. Where are you?”

The elevator going up the residences is filling up fast. It beeps loudly, signifying it cannot carry more people up. Someone steps out, and it finally closes. 

“Almost there. See you in the lobby?”

“I’ll be by the elevators.”

Seokjin stands behind the person who didn’t get in. Immediately, others start queuing behind him. Jungkook arrives after a few minutes. He’s still in uniform, a stethoscope peeking from the pocket of the white clerk jacket. Seokjin nods in greeting, tries to hide the excitement when they stand beside each other.

“You’re looking more and more like a professional these days.” Seokjin tells him. Jungkook shows no signs of exhaustion. His hair is growing again, but his ears remain devoid of earrings.

“And you’re the poster child for third year medical students.” Jungkook’s reply makes Seokjin glare. He grins and explains quickly, “The casual air I mean. It’s unlike when you’re a freshman and there’s a stiffness and the first year hallways are permeating stress.”

The elevator doors open with barely any people exiting it. Those entering is a different thing though. Being the second in line, they end up at the very back with Jungkook leaning on the steel walls while Seokjin stands in front of him while hugging his backpack to his chest.

They are pushed deeper inside as people pile in. Seokjin jumps a bit when a hand lays on his waist.

“Move closer to me.” Jungkook says plainly. It makes sense for Seokjin to do so, but it still brings up thoughts he shouldn’t have over something logical. He adjusts until his back is pressing on Jungkook’s chest. The hand on his waist disappears, disappointing him. 

The people move too, allowing more in. Beeping again, another person exits and the steel doors close. Seokjin asks the person nearest to press the button for the 14th floor, thanking them when they do.

“Your place?” Jungkook speaking directly to his ear emphasizes their closeness. It really shouldn't surprise Seokjin but it does. Craning his head a bit, Seokjin meets his eye. “Yoongi left a rolled one in the room.” 

“Okay.” Jungkook sighs, moves his head from left to right in what limited space he has, then drops his forehead on Seokjin’s shoulder. “I’m tired.”

It takes him by surprise even though it really shouldn’t. Despite having no bags under his eyes, Jungkook must be tired. 

“Are you coming from a 24 hour duty?” Seokjin asks in a low voice to not distract the others in the elevator. 

Jungkook shakes his head no. His forehead is still on Seokjin’s shoulder. “34 hours.”

“What? Are you sure you want to hang with me? You can go to sleep. We can watch Castle In The Sky another day.”

“But I do want to hang out. Just don’t get mad if I fall asleep.”

“I won’t.” 

People move out from the elevator bit by bit. When it’s their turn, Jungkook lifts his head away from Seokjin and they exit out to the 14th floor. 

“Why don’t you take a shower first?” Seokjin suggests. He’s already glancing back at the elevator.

“What, do I stink? I go back here to shower during days like these.”

Seokjin laughs and waves his hand in defense. “No! I mean, personally speaking, it’s great ending a long day with a shower. Or in your case, days.”

“I’m too lazy to go up to mine. I’ll end up falling asleep on the couch.”

Knowing Jungkook’s stubbornness, Seokjin sighs and they begin walking. “Okay you can shower at my place. You can use my clothes.”

Jungkook pretends to contemplate the scenario but eventually nods. When they enter the apartment, the first thing that catch Seokjin’s attention is the ziplock bag on top of his bed with two fat joints and a note that says,

This doesn’t need to be said but don’t fuck in my bed. -Yoongi

Seokjin crumples the note into a ball and throws it in the kitchen bin. Turning around, Jungkook is sitting on his bed with his head down. He moves quietly around the room. He has his own iPad now, a pretty rose gold thing with a foldable case. He rummages through his closet for comfortable clothes which end up being a sweatshirt he stole from Namjoon when he and Yoongi stayed over his place for the holiday breaks and its matching pair of grey track pants. 

Turning back around, Jungkook is now fully laying down on the bed. His back is turned from where Seokjin is, no heaving or loud movements coming from him; an indication of falling fast into deep sleep.

Seokjin lays down the clothes. He sits down next to Jungkook, fingers pausing in mid-air when he unconsciously raises it. He pulls back, hesitant. Instead, he takes the stethoscope from Jungkook’s white jacket and places it down the bedside table. 

Sound fills the room.

It’s raining.

Seokjin copies him, laying down with his arms closed to him in case he gets the urge to reach out again. 

Jungkook turns and faces him. He opens his eyes, blinking rapidly and with hardship. Seokjin recognizes the exhaustion he is emitting. 

“How long was I out?”

“Not even five minutes.”

“Felt more like five hours.”

“When I’m tired, I fall asleep for hours and think it was only minutes.”

Jungkook smiles. It indents his cheeks the way dimples would. “We’d be great roommates then.”

Seokjin raises his hand again. His fingers pause, again, in mid-air. Jungkook moves closer in encouragement. His limb finally gets to their destination, to card over Jungkook’s hair. “Go shower. It’s going to be such a good sleep. Rain, sweaters, Ghibli, and me.”

“Alright. Only because you threw yourself in the mix.”


When you fell from the sky my heart was racing.

I knew something wonderful had begun.

There’s no towel draped over Jungkook’s wet hair. A wet spot is gathering on Seokjin’s shoulder where Jungkook is leaning on. He’s sleeping, mouth slightly parted and arms crossed over his chest. 

Seokjin watches Castle In The Sky with rapt attention. Jungkook’s presence, instead of serving as a distraction, is a calming balm. 

The finiteness of the moment should be making him anxious. It should leave him wanting to make most of the moment, the both of them really. 

He indulges. There’s no assurance when the next time will be.

Carefully, Seokjin dislodge Jungkook’s arm and pulls it over his own body. Ever the light sleeper, Jungkook blearily opens his eyes at the sudden movements.

He blinks up at Seokjin questioningly. Seokjin falls deeper down the bed and underneath the covers. The dance is followed soon and without the need for instructions. 

Jungkook wraps his arms around Seokjin and rests his head on Seokjin’s chest. He does the same with his legs, trapping Seokjin’s own and eliciting a chuckle from the older at the clinginess and affection. 

The iPad is settled by their heads, and Castle In The Sky continues playing. 

“Wake me up for dinner.” Jungkook mumbles against Seokjin’s hoodie. “I want a full course McDonald’s meal.”

Seokjin’s hand returns to Jungkook’s hair; he notes how the tips curl are more prominent when wet.

“Their ice cream machine is always broken.” Seokjin tells him. 

“Then we’ll drive somewhere where it isn’t.”

Chapter Text

There is flour smattering the kitchen countertops, the front of Seokjin’s navy blue apron with a bear stitched around the chest, his fingers, and possibly his face. He never knows until he actually looks in the mirror. Baking is such an arduous but rewarding ordeal.

The small space is filled with the smell of brown butter and cinnamon. Timeless holiday songs play distantly in the background. It is at its loudest in the living room where the speakers connected to his phone are.

It’s around seven in the evening already. 

The blondies and snickerdoodles he slaved away making since this afternoon when the sun was still up are baking in the oven. 

Thinking off the top of his head, Seokjin calculates that if he showers now and gets in his pajamas, everything will be ready by nine. 

He will be bundled in the thick handwoven blanket Yoongi gave him two Christmases ago while watching movies specially made for the holiday while guzzling down his share of the baked goods. He’s an adult now so he’ll be accompanying that with a bowl of kush, grinded and poured on his pink crystal pipe since no one is around to roll a joint for him. 

Growing up, Seokjin’s family took part in the holiday and viewed it as a time for vacation or work. Their flower shop would open until six during the 24th, close before night comes, and open again in the 26th. Sometimes they don’t open up at all. Seokjin grew up doing all this until he was old enough to be left alone by his parents. It was fun before, having the house to himself for a week. Teenage angst came and made him bitter about why they leave him alone and not just take him with them. He understood soon enough that he’s glad his family is like this. Having a child, having him in their life, didn’t stop his parents from enjoying their own lives. Plus, they allowed him to invite Namjoon and Yoongi over. They would smoke and drink, satisfy munchies with blondies and snickerdoodles (white chocolate cranberry cookies if Yoongi feels up to baking too), watch cliché Christmas movies, and wake up in the morning in their pajamas and giddily exchanging gifts.

Seokjin already knew a year ago that this Christmas would be different. Last year was the last time he and his best friends will be spending it together, the roads they are taking still intertwined yet different. He was right. Last year Yoongi was adamant spending Christmas with them, saying something about how he doesn’t want to miss it for Taehyung. Namjoon was the same. By the end of it, they all assured each other they can still meet during New Year’s. It can’t be helped anymore. There are only so many excuses they can give to the other important people in their life. This time around, Yoongi is celebrating with Taehyung’s family and Namjoon is on-duty in the hospital. 

It’s amazing how so many things changed in one year. Not even counting the other years that has gone by. 

The oven timer rings the same time his phone does. He checks it in passing while hurrying over to grab some mittens. 

Jungkook’s name pops up.

Ah. I forgot to reply to him.

Pulling the oven open, the heat and smell fill his senses and warms his face. He takes his time placing everything on the cooling racks. It’s for the important people in his life.

Namjoon. Yoongi. Taehyung.

And now, Jungkook too.

Or, Jungkook once more?

Seokjin shakes his head to clear such thoughts away. The holiday spirit is really possessing him now. It always makes him feel the romance in the air. Not including the times when he despised the holidays like every other seventeen year old still growing in their bones and unsure of their place in the world. 

Once everything is in place, he walks back to where his phone is and finally opens the messages Jungkook left him since this afternoon. He was too focused mixing and weighing ingredients that he forgot he was going to reply after.

 

Jungkook

they promised to at least let us out by nighttime 

Image Attachment

check it out :D

 

Jungkook is still doing his rotation in the hospital despite the holidays, he’s in internal medicine now if he recalls correctly, and stayed behind. Another 24 hour shift that doesn’t give him enough time to pack his bags, clean his place, and drive home. He mentioned to Seokjin it doesn’t really bother him. 

The photo attachment makes Seokjin grin from ear to ear. It’s a picture of the tomato plant with a cartoonish gold star printed on paper, not even cut, taped at the top of the wooden stalk plunged in the soil to maintain the height. He laughs loudly at how ridiculous it is. 

Warmth spreads in his chest. It would be wonderful if he they could spend tonight together. Everyone knows the best part about Christmas is the night before and waiting for the clock to strike midnight like during New Year. 

Seokjin texts back an emoji sticker, one with exaggerated heart eyes. He takes a picture of the cooling pastries and sends it to Jungkook who immediately views the message.

 

Jungkook

wow wow wow

hyung

do i get some too?

Of course you do.

I made a batch of blondies with white chocolate for you.

Don’t tell the others.

oh

What? 

You like white chocolate right?

yeah

Then what’s with the anticlimactic response.

nothing

just

my heart did a whoop 

 

Seokjin pursed his lips to contain the smile threatening to burst. If he lets it, he’ll be wearing it the entire night.

 

Hearts don’t go “whoop,” Doctor Jeon.

that’s kinda hot when it’s coming from you

I’m having the most wholesome night of my life. 

Don’t ruin it.

define wholesome

I just baked for my friends. 

I’m listening to Christmas music.

I’ll be in my pajamas watching romcoms.

okay that sounds amazing actually 

you must be having the time of your life 

i’m glad :D

meanwhile i’m starting a new tradition

a bucket of chicken from mcdonald’s

and tomato baby as my christmas tree

 

Seokjin wholeheartedly believes Jungkook really doesn't mind spending Christmas alone. He’s doing it too, so it’s not really as sad as other people might think it is. Still, he can’t help but feel a sort of yearning pulling at him.

 

I am. I’m really happy today.

Although something is missing. I think.

which is???

I’ll be happier if my boyfriend is here cuddling with me.

 

Seokjin clicks his phone shut after hitting send. He feels the familiar redness rising up his cheeks and spreading to his ears.

“Ah, I’m crazy! I’m actually crazy.” 

Seokjin’s brain finds it the appropriate time to remind him that two years ago, he shamelessly asked Jungkook if he wanted to sleep with him to his face and that this is nothing. The reminder makes him place his phone down, rounding around the table to where the blondies and snickerdoodles are. He starts taking out the containers and the tongs.

His phone vibrates continuously against the wood. Seokjin ignores it. “It’s okay,” He tells himself, laughing a bit to ease away the adrenaline rush, “I’ll check it later.” 

Filling up the containers happens all too quickly. When he gets to the blondies with white chocolate, the special ones made with Jungkook in mind, Seokjin starts giving his out-of-the-blue text some more thought. 

First things first, Seokjin does not have a boyfriend. More importantly, Jungkook is not his boyfriend. Second, the last time they discussed the looming relationship label was during the kimchi jjigae treaty. It hasn't been mentioned since. Third, now that he’s really thinking about it, Seokjin really shouldn’t have said it in that way. The most they have done is cuddle in bed or hold hands during night drives on the rare occasion they are both free. 

Everything is placed neatly in the assigned boxes. Seokjin contemplates cleaning the kitchen up first when his phone vibrates again. Sighing, he decides it’s time to see Jungkook’s reaction.

 

Jungkook

hyung 

is this your way of asking me to be your boyfriend?

the answer is yes by the way 

hyung?

seokjin-hyung i’m on my way

WHAT

ON THE WAY?

AND NO I WAS KIDDING

so not boyfriends?

NO

I mean. You know. Not yet.

okay

i’ll talk to you later

???

Jungkook? 

I’m sorry if I let you down.

I just don’t think we should decide on that through text.

what are you talking about hahaha

i’m driving

red light almost done see you

Please tell me you are joking.

Jungkook.

Actually, don’t reply if you really are.

Don’t text and drive. 


This, Seokjin decides, beats all the holiday romcoms in the world. Nothing can possibly hold a candle to this. 

As Seokjin intended, he cleaned up the kitchen, showered, and changed into pajamas. The drive from the condominium complex near school to his house is about an hour and a half. He was getting antsy waiting for Jungkook. A part of him refused to believe Jungkook was actually driving up to his house. To see him. To spend Christmas together. 

Jungkook sends him a text that he’s outside. Seokjin walks outside bundled in a beige cardigan, sock-clad feet changing from the home slippers into outdoor ones, and arms hugging himself because of how cold it is. There’s no snow but the weather is biting and bone drying. The thickness of his cardigan doesn’t help Seokjin at all. He sees the telltale headlights of Jungkook’s car and the familiar plate that was once a surprise to him. 

The moment he opens the gates and steps outside, the humming of the car dies along with the lights and Jungkook is jumping out with a bucket of chicken on hand, a gym bag over his shoulder, and dressed in a thin red and black checkered shirt. He kicks the door close and Seokjin laughs at how he wobbles over to Seokjin, careful not to slip, and his body shaking at the cold. They hurriedly run inside the house where the heating is in full blast. Wordlessly, they end up in the kitchen where Jungkook places the chicken bucket down along with his bag. He removes the black cap covering his hair and shakes his head. It causes his earrings to move along with him. 

Then, he smiles. 

Soft and pretty. 

“Here to make you happier now.” 

Seokjin’s initial response is comedic. He scoffs at the cheesiness. His eyes take in the other, then the chicken bucket, and Seokjin’s laughing and so happy he doesn’t have time to stop himself from wrapping his arms around Jungkook’s neck and pulling him into a hug. Like when they hold hands or when they are in bed, Jungkook fits into him without trouble. The younger’s arms go automatically around his waist, he buries his face on the crook of Seokjin’s neck, and there’s this little sigh of content he does whenever they are finally within each other’s vicinity. 

“You’re crazy.” Seokjin says. “You really came.” He says it for the sake of saying something. To ground him. A reminder that it’s real. They’re here together and it’s so ridiculously domestic that even though everything is okay, everything is in place, it’s only at this moment that it truly sinks in how after all these years, it all ended up falling into place. 

Jungkook’s hand strokes his back. To be exact, he’s holding the spot where Seokjin’s tattoo is. The reminder of how far he came along. A tattoo he thought will be a nostalgic flashback-like reel to his youth whenever he gets to have a glimpse of it. 

Here lies heaven. This must really be it.

“You smell like baby powder.” Jungkook mumbles, nose digging deeper into Seokjin’s neck. The press of his lips on Seokjin’s jaw is not offensive. It’s more like muscle memory, that when he hugs Seokjin like this, and when he buries himself on Seokjin’s shoulder, then a kiss must follow. 

Pulling back, their arms still around each other, Seokjin says, “All I smell is the cinnamon and vanilla.”

Jungkook chuckles, nose scrunching. “Olfactory fatigue. What about me? Hopefully I don’t smell like chicken.”

The laughter it elicits from Seokjin doesn't match the blush on his cheeks. Jungkook smells far from that. Seokjin can’t really tell. His senses are still assaulted by the blondies and snickerdoodles. If he’s being honest, and god he’s really feeling the festive spirit now, if feelings have scents, then Jungkook feels like home.


It still goes the way Seokjin envisioned it to be. 

Jungkook jumps in the shower and changes into an ugly Christmas sweater knitted green with a red-nosed reindeer design, he says it’s a gift from Jimin he received early, and grey cotton pants. They sat on the floor of Seokjin’s room passing a pipe full of grounded green back and forth and blowing smoke rings to the ceiling. They bring down Seokjin’s pillows and his blanket down the living room where Seokjin already decided on a Nancy Meyers movie. It’s two hours long and by the time it finishes, it’ll already be midnight. The food and drinks laid down on the coffee table reminds Seokjin of days spent in Yoongi’s dorm eating the most unusual combinations when they are high. The chicken bucket, blondies, snickerdoodles, a pitcher of water, and two cans of Suntory horoyoi peach. Jungkook revealed he brought Pocari and lemon mint candies. The drinks bought somewhere before he drove over while the candies are from the opened bag he keeps in his car. 

They are sitting on the couch, occupying each end of it. Between them is a space where two people could probably squeeze in. The distance doesn't bother them. Seokjin lets his gaze slide over Jungkook. His feet are planted on the ground, white socks that don't distract from the animated sweater, his right elbow is propped on the arm rest, fingers on his chin. His hair is long again, the strands covering his forehead reaching below his eyes.

Seokjin’s tongue feels heavy in his mouth. His teeth are aching, craving to bite down into something. He’s too overloaded with sweets, so he grabs the chicken bucket and takes one piece. The skin isn’t crunchy anymore but the munchies overpower his disappointment. He wraps the bone on a piece of wet wipe he used to clean his fingers off with. Jungkook shifts from his position, leans over, and open the can of horoyoi. He places it down and picks up a piece of blondie, not the ones with white chocolate already packed away that Seokjin will give him when he leaves. Seokjin tries not to wait in anticipation for what he has to say about it. He doesn’t react and only takes another.

“Is it good?” Seokjin asks. Jungkook turns to him and nods, mouth full of it and chewing. The lackluster response isn’t enough for him. “Well, how good? Why are you starving me of compliments? When Namjoon and Yoongi are here I’m showered with attention and given so many thanks just so I’ll give them another piece.”

Seokjin’s not really serious about it. Jungkook’s eyes crinkle into crescents. Seokjin watches him take another piece. Jungkook extends his arm out and gestures with his fingers for Seokjin to come nearer. Seokjin shakes his head no. Jungkook repeats the motion, even slapping his thigh for emphasis. This time, it’s Seokjin who extends his arm out. Jungkook wastes no time wrapping his fingers around Seokjin’s wrist and pulling him closer. They end up with Seokjin’s head resting on the arm rest, his upper body conveniently over Jungkook’s lap, legs supinated all over the couch. 

Jungkook is looking down at him, his left arm hanging over Seokjin’s belly. It travels up to Seokjin’s face 

“This is how much I like it.” 

A peppering of kisses on the side of Seokjin’s face makes them both giggle. It’s not a picture perfect movie, it’s reality. Jungkook’s teeth bump against Seokjin’s nose, and Seokjin yelps at the hardness of it while Jungkook groans in pain. 

“I’m sorry, fuck.” Seokjin takes hold of Jungkook’s face. His laugh doesn’t make him sound sorry at all. 

“You are not.” Jungkook grumbles, hand covering his mouth.

“I’m not.” Seokjin tries to pry Jungkook’s fingers away but he keeps it firm. “And I’m the one with a mark on my nose the shape of your teeth. You should be the one apologizing to me.”

Rolling his eyes, Jungkook finally removes his hand over his mouth and traces the slope of Seokjin's nose with his pointer finger. “There’s nothing.” 

If they weren’t here, perhaps out in the cold where every exhale of breath is physically seen, clouds of it would’ve been fanning their faces by now. 

The heater in Seokjin’s house is working perfectly though. They’re close, and they’ve been closer before, but it feels different. For one, Seokjin is pleasantly high. More of the body than of the mind. His limbs feel like jelly but his face is burning from every spot Jungkook kissed. 

Jungkook takes the initiative to bridge the gap closer. He says softly, in a whisper, even though it’s just them and the movie is still playing in the background, “Is this okay?”

Seokjin whispers back, “You know where your mouth should be.”

Their first kiss, the very first one that they both agreed to forget and move on from, went a bit differently. In Seokjin’s dorm sharing his bed and in the wee hours of the morning because they were both locked in, waiting for the dormitory’s caretaker to unlock the gates and for curfew to restart. A few hours prior, they talked about Jungkook’s insecurity. His smile, his teeth in particular. 

Now, Jungkook is beaming down at him. No heaviness in his shoulders, no tight-lipped smile. He’s doing it without thinking too much; all instinctive and free. 

There is no thumping in his chest where his heart threatens to burst out of his ribs. It is all very serene. And Seokjin is glad and thankful for all the choices he made that led him to this moment. 

No agonizing and unapologetic emotion. Those adjectives accompany fairytales, and the thing is, fairytales eventually come to an end.

For him at least, real love meant choosing the other person everyday. Whether it be his family, his friends, or Jungkook. It means even on days where he can’t be the one to pick up the slack, the other is there doing it. And he’ll come back the next day, maybe even a week, and do the rest. It is an obligation, no matter how harsh or heavy the word is. The heaviness disintegrates into nothing when they matter to you. It may seem pompous, and it does get frustrating, but this is how he chose it to be. 

And Seokjin won’t have it any other way.

I know where I want to be.

Funny how the press of lips against lips affect humans differently compared to when done anywhere else. 

“I always do.”

To where you want it most.

Chapter Text

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.” 

“Fine.”

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. 

His parents. 

His friends.

The world.

Jungkook.

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.

 

Jungkook

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.”

“Yoongi!”

“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. 

“Well, hyung?”  

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?”

Seokjin does. 

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. 


Breakfast. 

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?”

“Yeah. Smooth-sailing.”

“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?”

“Harvest moon.”

“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?”

“Maybe.”

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?” 

“Your place?”

“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.”

“You remember?”

“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.

Don’t stop.

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.” 

“It is.”

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?”

“Like sex.”

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.

“Oh.”

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.”

“Okay.” 

“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. 

“Boyfriends?” 

“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.” 

Yoongi sighs. 

“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?”

“Yoongi, I—”

“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.”

“Yes?”

“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?”

“Mm-hmm.” 

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.

“Another?” 

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?”

“Of course.” 

“Thank you.”

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.

Zero. 

Four.

Two.

Three.

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. 

“What’s that?” 

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.

“Namjoon-hyung left?”

“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.”

“Yes, exactly.”

Seokjin is reminded of why Taehyung is there. 

In a few hours it will become reality.

“Tae’s leaving.”

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.”

“How?”

“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 vir