Jungkook is running late.
Actually, he isn’t. It’s just that to Seokjin, being on time means lateness and actually being late means death.
He’s sprinting through the campus, decked out in a white shirt, grey jacket, and grey joggers, his new black and white sneakers more for fashion than running making him wince at every step on the pavement. It’s not hurting his foot, it has to do more with the shoes being expensive and he’s ruining them for his boyfriend who will glare and grumble at him anyway.
The little Spongebobs in Jungkook’s head whose voice sometimes resemble Yoongi’s don’t chide him anymore for being whipped.
Jungkook arrives outside the door of the student council room. He takes a quick second to catch his breath before pushing the door open.
“You’re late!” Seokjin hisses.
The bags under his eyes are getting darker and more prominent as the days go. His hair is sticking up in different directions, a feature that says a lot about the mental state of Seokjin and the people around him.
Jimin usually doesn’t let Seokjin come out of their room looking this disheveled, especially with the current situation at hand.
The situation being: it’s their last year in university and, according to Seokjin, his last chance of being elected as the university council’s president.
After Seokjin’s loss last year, which isn’t really one seeing as he was eliminated for being a junior and not a senior, the one thing that has been on Seokjin’s mind is claiming the title this year.
Almost everyone agrees that Seokjin will win anyway, especially considering who his opposition is. Despite all that assurance, Seokjin refuses to roll over and wait for the results. He wants to make sure that almost everyone flips to a resounding everyone.
It’s why despite the glare and harsh tone, Jungkook only grins at him with pride. He places down the plastic bags filled with varying snacks and another with five bottles of Milkis. One for Jungkook who has become their little team’s errand boy, one for Jimin who raises his head in acknowledgement at Jungkook’s presence while he works on his homework, one for Namjoon hunched over his laptop and working on posters and flyers, and two for Seokjin who makes grabby hands at the plastic bag.
Seokjin is sitting on one end of the table from where Jungkook is standing. The glare of Seokjin’s laptop casts a shadow on his form. He’s been straining himself so much that lately he doesn't bother changing from his glasses to his contact lenses.
“He’s being insufferable again,” Jimin says, eyes still on his worksheets. “Can you do your thing where he calms down and stops spiraling every ten minutes?”
“We promise to not look,” Namjoon pipes in.
Jungkook doesn't need to be told twice.
“I’m not spiraling! I’m only laying down the numerous ways everything can be ruined—”
Seokjin’s tirade is cut off when Jungkook rounds the table and easily swoops down to wrap his arms around Seokjin’s waist, effortlessly pulling the other up the chair.
“What are you doing, Jeon?!”
Despite his verbal protests, Seokjin remains unmoving, his arms hanging off Jungkook’s forearms, his body slouched and feet dragging across the floor.
“Take your time with him!” Jimin shouts at them.
Jungkook voices his agreement and exits the student council office with Seokjin still refusing to cooperate with him. Before the door closes, he hears Namjoon saying, “They’ve been together for almost a year and they still call each other with their surnames.”
At the back of their department’s council office, essentially the back of the liberal arts building, is a brick-red plant box where Jungkook settles his boyfriend on. Seokjin glares at him but doesn’t move. Instead, he crosses his arms over his chest. He’s unconsciously pouting too, and Jungkook couldn’t help swiping his thumb under the jut of Seokjin’s plump bottom lip.
Seokjin quickly slaps Jungkook’s wrist away. Stubbornly, he reiterates, “I am not spiraling.”
Jungkook sits beside him, his arm going around Seokjin’s waist again. He squeezes Seokjin’s side. The elbow he receives as response is expected. Jungkook easily evades the sharp hit.
“We just want you to calm down,” Jungkook explains. “It’ll all work out.”
Seokjin allows himself to be brought closer to his boyfriend, his head now against Jungkook’s chest.
From above Seokjin, Jungkook is pressing kisses to his head, the smacking sounds loud and obnoxious that he couldn't help but laugh.
“What is this supposed to accomplish, Jungkook?”
Hearing his name fall from Seokjin’s lips when they are alone still has butterflies fluttering in Jungkook’s stomach.
“To help you relax.”
Seokjin rolls his eyes yet lets Jungkook press on. The kisses are dangerously going down every time Jungkook’s lips land on his face. The closest he gets is at the corner of Seokjin’s mouth.
“We know you’ll ace this,” Jungkook assures the other.
“Your opinion is invalid because you have bias.”
“It’s not about me having bias for you. You’re overqualified and there isn’t anyone more fitting to be president than you are.”
The smile making its way on Seokjin’s face is soft. His cheeks and sparkling eyes have Jungkook wondering why he ever thought the other menacing.
Seokjin elbows him again, this time lightly, while letting out a sound that is between a snort and a giggle. “Stop gassing me up.”
Jungkook rolls his eyes. They both know Seokjin likes it. They also know it’s true.
“I’m not. I simply believe in you.”
“I believe in you too. Thanks to you, the people who don’t care about school politics are voting because the pretty and popular basketball varsity captain told them so.”
The sentence is said without malice. Seokjin is now smiling brightly, the gleam in his eyes shifting from pretty boy second male lead to outright villainous.
“You’re a supervillain,” Jungkook tells him. He sounds too enamored for it to be considered insulting.
Seokjin’s nose scrunches. “Does that mean you’re my sidekick?”
“Depends. Would you go crazy if the heroes take me?”
“No? Minions come in dozens.”
Almost a year of being together and they still don’t miss out on the opportunity to rile each other up.
“Keep talking back and I won’t be your obedient little minion during the rally.”
“Nonsense. You like it when I talk back, Jeon.”
Silence passes. There’s a beat and a rest, eyes gazing into each other, palms sweating, and an intensity that seems to only get stronger as the days go by sizzling in the atmosphere. After all, it’s hard being alone together like this when they both live with roommates. Between stolen kisses and not-so-innocent touches in the library or in the less crowded areas of study cáfes, the tension is frankly reaching it’s breaking point.
“Nobody better start taking their clothes off.”
The deep voice is unmistakable and a sound they both haven’t heard in a while.
Yoongi is walking towards them from the end of the hall. He has a deep blue tie hanging off the collar of his crisp white work shirt tucked into straight black slacks. The heels of shiny, black, leather shoes against the pavement is a satisfying click. Formal getup aside, Yoongi’s head of hair remains the same bleached blonde.
Jungkook is quick to shout, “Why are you here?!” He’s immediately scooting closer to Seokjin, arm instinctively circling around Seokjin’s waist.
Yoongi sits next to Jungkook, nonchalant and lazily blinking at him.
“To support my baby for the election.” Yoongi peeks over Jungkook’s shoulder and smiles. “I meant Tae, of course. Not Seokjin-ah.”
“Seokjin-ah?!” Jungkook repeats, the gasp of disbelief and loudness of voice prompting Yoongi to laugh.
“I see you still don’t call him by his first name.”
Jungkook opens his mouth to retort back but is elbowed by Seokjin, forcing him to clutch his side in pain.
Seokjin takes this chance to wave at Yoongi with a pleasant smile. “Hello, Yoongi. How is work treating you?”
Yoongi shrugs, arms crossing over his chest. “It’s alright. Besides having to wear these kinds of outfits, the production company is pretty lenient.”
“The last time we saw each other you were still applying at several studios. It’s amazing that you were hired right after graduation.”
Jungkook recovers from the blow to his stomach and raises his head to glare at Yoongi. “Taehyung’s at the dorm. Please. Leave us alone.”
“Seems to me like you two should be the ones at the dorm. You know. Alone. ”
After a couple more jibes from Yoongi, he finally leaves. He lays his hand on top of Seokjin’s head affectionately and bids him goodbye. Jungkook shouts at him again to leave, pulls Seokjin closer to him until the both of them almost fall to the ground, resulting in Seokjin also shouting at Jungkook.
Walking back inside to the student council room, one can hear Jungkook proclaiming, “I see the way you look at Yoongi-hyung!” to which Seokjin argues back, “I was staring at your back the entire time!”
They come back into the council room shouting about how perhaps Seokjn wants Jungkook to go blonde like Yoongi, to which Seokjin bites back that he doesn’t think it’ll suit Jungkook anyway. Jungkook pouts and pushes Seokjin away, grumbling about his boyfriend’s half-assed apologies.
Jimin and Namjoon exchange looks of understanding because whatever it is Jungkook does, whether it be arguing with Seokjin or the things he does in private, it always seems to work on calming down Seokjin’s nerves.
Soon enough, they’re piling out of the room carrying laptops and heavy stacks of paper. Walking in the campus, Namjoon plants himself beside Seokjin, the both of them talking fast and in terms Jungkook cannot grasp. Jimin forces papers into the hands of unsuspecting students, blinding them with a charming smile and reminding them to, “Vote for Kim Seokjin! The right Kim!”
The election rally is being held in the gym. There are surprisingly a lot of people. Seokjin guesses it’s because of his opposition and the mascot of his own campaign (Jungkook).
Taehyung waves them over. He’s already standing behind the wooden lectern and fiddling with the microphone. Yoongi is found sitting at the very front talking with some students who are all huddled around him with stars in their eyes. Even though he already graduated, Yoongi’s charm bounces off the room in waves.
Seokjin greets Taehyung with a nod. “Good luck with your platform presentation. May the best man win.”
“Thank you, Seokjin-sshi, but I know you will win anyway,” Taehyung admits sheepishly without malice.
“You don’t know that. Popularity often beats out level-headedness.” Seokjin side eyes Jungkook who rolls his eyes at him. Jungkook wishes them both luck and goes into the crowd with Namjoon and Jimin, the latter busy elbowing people out of the way so he can set the video camera and tripod on the aisle.
The student council adviser arrives and settles down the crowd. They shoot Taehyung a look of worry while smiling brightly toward Seokjin.
“May I present your university council presidential candidates: Kim Taehyung and Kim Seokjin! Without further ado, we will begin the presentation of our candidates’ platforms. Kim Taehyung-sshi, please take the stage.”
The audience hears Taehyung mumble, “How can I carry the stage by myself?” before he stumbles toward the podium.
The lights of the gymnasium are turned off, the overhead lights centering on Taehyung. His boxy smile and protruding cheeks all-too innocent and screaming naivety.
“I would like to take this opportunity to invite everyone to join the basketball club.”
Seokjin, who is sitting behind the podium, stops recalling all his talking points and pauses, focusing on Taehyung and listening intently like everyone else in the room.
“I decided to run as president for fun, and apparently it is not. Please sign up for tryouts. Thank you!” Taehyung blows a kiss to the crowd and they clap and cheer as if he didn’t just declare he isn't part of the election anymore.
The icing on the cake is when he rushes back to the podium and hurriedly says, “Also please vote for Kim Seokjin-sshi!”
Seokjin easily finds Jungkook clapping and grinning. His boyfriend gives him two thumbs up after meeting his eye, and Seokjin’s instinctual response is to glare because Jungkook obviously knew Taehyung was going to concede his candidacy. He’s half-glad and half-annoyed that Jungkook kept that piece of information to himself. He would have spared Seokjin a couple of headaches if he did but thinking that he had competition pushed him to do better.
Nerves don’t get to Seokjin. He takes them by their necks and turns them into pretty little bows. Suffice to say, his own speech is a breeze. The claps resound in their gym, along with Jimin and Jungkook’s loud cheering. Namjoon, his appointed handler of the powerpoint playing behind Seokjin, gives him a thumbs up. Seokjin remains standing knowing he has this in the bag, and that he couldn’t have done it without the people surrounding him.
The next part of the rally deals with the question and answer portion. The questions thrown toward Seokjin are easy. The rest of it passes by in a blur, and Seokjin himself is already preparing to leave the stage, when a familiar face jogs up toward the microphone standing in the middle of the aisle, and taps it with his finger.
Seokjin is torn between smiling at the sight of Jungkook or panicking because what is Jungkook even going to ask him? His mind goes toward the worst scenarios but are quickly shaken away. He trusts Jungkook; the other won’t mess this up for him.
“Hi, I’m Jeon Jungkook. I’m from the liberal arts department. You might know me better as a part of the basketball team.”
The audience either giggle or say hello back.
“Well, specifically, I’m the captain of the basketball team.”
Among the cheering and laughing crowd, Yoongi who is sitting next to Taehyung, outright rolls his eyes.
“I actually don’t have a question for Kim Seokjin-sshi.” Jungkook rubs the back of his head sheepishly. Despite it, his palm wraps around the mic and he continues. “But I do have something to say.”
Seokjin can only watch Jungkook continue talking, curious with what it is he will say.
“I first met Kim Seokjin during first year. He didn’t know who I was, and it probably took months before he remembered my name, but the day before the first day of classes, I saw him. Everyone was anxious or nervous about the new environment except for him. I liked him… until he infiltrated the athletes’ dorm because apparently our committee rep was wasting the budget on stuff like playstations and massage chairs.”
The latter part is a familiar story to Seokjin. He was there after all. Jungkook makes it sound so dramatic when all he did was find discrepancies on the budget while he was in the committee room and reported it to the school administration. In a technical sense, he didn’t really enter the athletes’ dorm and took everything by force.
It’s the beginning that surprised him. He didn’t know Jungkook knew him before then.
“Not gonna lie I still think my anger towards him was valid,” Jungkook quips. “Plus, he would glare at me all the time in class.”
Seokjin suppresses his laughter regarding that one. All the times Jungkook didn’t attend class or was in the cusp of failure but still passed simply because of his athletic prowess really irritated him.
“And then last year, during our third year, we ended up being partners for a project. We had to shoot a weekly vlog and it basically forced us to spend every waking moment together. Even when we’re apart, we had to talk. But I’m not here to tell you how I realized I kinda, maybe, still found him hot through the years; I’m here to tell you why Kim Seokjin is obviously the best choice for the university council presidency.”
Jungkook used to tell Seokjin about when he experiences a certain strong emotion, there are little Spongebobs running inside his head in panic. He didn’t really understand what Jungkook meant by that until now. Except for Seokjin, instead of Spongebob, it’s Squidward with his eye twitching.
Standing a couple of feet away from him, Jungkook meets his eye and has the audacity to wink. The immediate scoff from Seokjin is again another instinctive response. It warms him though. There’s something blooming right in the middle of his chest climbing up to his face and ears, and Seokjin is sure that if Jungkook was standing a bit more closer, he would be teasing him for it.
“There was a rat in the dorm. Not just the athletes’ dorm in general, but inside our room. Me, Tae, and Yoongi-hyung.”
The twitching of Seokjin’s eye intensifies. The twinkling in Jungkook's own becomes brighter. He clears his throat and continues on.
“I texted him, our precious candidate Kim Seokjin, if I could sleep over at his because…rodents obviously. He said no which is completely understandable. I couldn’t sleep the entire night, and we were supposed to meet the next day for our project. We went to our department’s council room and I ended up falling asleep on the couch. When I woke up…Kim Seokjin wasn’t there, but he bought me food.”
Seokjin remembers that day. He can recall the dark undereyes, defeated tone, and Jungkook’s usual energetic self and form deflated. Buying Jungkook food is not a shining example of his merits as a leader, Seokjin thinks, and he really hopes Jungkook did not lead the entire room on only to end his little monologue about how Seokjin bought him ice cream.
“It should have sinked in to me by then that Kim…he cares. He cares in his own cold, clinical, rational way. I was grateful for it, of course. I can remember how my chest warmed and everything feels light; just like how I feel right now because, spoiler alert, we ended up dating.”
The crowd laughs, hooting and clapping, while Jungkook bows and thanks them. Clearing his throat, Jungkook hushes them and moves onto the next sequence of his recollection.
“I honestly forgot about the rat in my room on the way back. It’s how Kim Seokjin is. He’s dependable and he makes you feel like there is no way you will fail or fall. He’s someone you can count on. Arriving back at the dorm, I was surprised to find the exterminators. Apparently, even though Kim refused to let me sleep over, he called them up to take care of the problem once and for all. He said… I could have gotten some sleep if he allowed me in his room, but at the end of the day, the rat would still be there. He phrased it as a short-term solution to a long-term problem. ”
Technically speaking, Seokjin is already the USC president since Taehyung already dropped out of the race. It only sinks in that this is a well-deserved victory when Jungkook shoots him a smile conveying everything Seokjin never knew he needed or could get from Jungkook; confidence, pride, and most importantly, trust.
If Jungkook thinks that being with Seokjin feels like nothing will go wrong, then on Seokjin’s end, being with Jungkook is a never-ending victory.
The rest of the last semester of Seokjin’s last year in college passes through marked by several speeches and a cramp on his right arm that won’t go away with the number of papers he had to sign. The graduation ceremony is a couple of hours away, Seokjin’s last day in university, yet duties still plague him.
He’ll be delivering the graduation speech, bag a couple (ton) of leadership and academic awards, and then…
A prominent oof comes out of Seokjin after a hard chest basically crashes on his back, arms draping around his front covered in the same silk black robes he is wearing. The person’s chin rests on top of his head. Seokjin falls a bit, his front hitting the table.
“You’re still busy over that?”
“Stop bothering me. I came here to finish it. And to answer your question, yes.”
The dorm’s study hall is the first place that came to Seokjin’s mind after reading his speech over and deciding that it still needs a little something.
“Maybe it’s you who just want the peace and quiet.”
“Then what are you doing here?”
Jungkook stands up and settles on the seat opposite Seokjin. He leans forward on his elbows and tries to make out the words written down on Seokjin’s notebook.
“I’m the moral support,” Jungkook proudly announces this. After several more tries of reading the words backwards, he gives up and instead stares at Seokjin. “I came here for something else actually.”
“Of course you did. Spit it out.”
Jungkook only smiles, all teeth and eyes crinkled. “Curious?”
The Seokjin from freshman year would think the Seokjin of this present is possessed if he knew Seokjin is smiling and endeared with Jungkook’s antics.
Jungkook waves his hand off in the air. “Later. You’ll see it later. Come find me after the ceremony.”
There’s a couple seconds of silence that passes before Seokjin spoke again. “Did you get me a dog as a graduation present?”
“Are you disappointed I didn’t?”
“Good. Because I didn’t.”
Seokjin tries to contain his laughter. He can tell Jungkook really didn’t. Jungkook is the kind of person who cannot keep surprises. He would’ve spilled about it weeks ago if he really did. The sulking expression on Jungkook’s face is telling of what he’s thinking to Seokjin: he thinks he didn’t reach Seokjin’s expectations.
“I think my parents are getting me a dog.” Seokjin closes his notebook and puts his pen down. He smooths his palm on the front, feeling the leather underneath. “Or something more practical.”
“I love your parents.”
Seokjin snorts. “They like you more than they do their own son.”
It’s a story for another day. It brings too much warmth and joy to Seokjin when he remembers bringing Jungkook home and vice versa. It’s a memory he likes to keep close.
“My parents definitely like you more; they told me themselves. I bet my mom will cry along with me when we break up.”
"So are you saying we’ll be together for a long time?”
Seokjin realizes he’s been distracted. The burning nerves and anxiety-inducing churning his stomach has been doing since he woke up today? Gone. Jungkook’s knowing grin after it sinks in tells Seokjin it was his plan all along.
Sighing, Seokjin takes his notebook and pen with one hand and stands up.
“You win. Let’s go and graduate?”
Jungkook stands up too but doesn't move from his spot.
“If you’re about to say something sickening…”
Seokjin is promptly cut-off by what is a saccharinely sweet mumbled, “We’ll still be together, right?”
“I mean, this isn’t our ending right?” Jungkook scratches on his cheek, nervous and blinking rapidly up at Seokjin. “We won’t be those people who break up after college… right?”
Seokjin makes a note of asking Jungkook’s mom if she dropped him numerous times as a child.
“We’re moving into our own apartment in a week and you’re asking me that?”
The reminder makes Jungkook grin. “Oh, right.” He bounds up to Seokjin and has the gall to tell Seokjin to hurry up, his arm around Seokjin’s neck and an unknown tune being happily hummed under his breath.
“What if this was my plan all along? Tie you down with the house, then a dog, then a—”
“Jeon, if that is your plan, then you’re not doing a very good job.”
“Just say you’re disappointed I didn’t get you a dog.”
“I’m disappointed you didn’t get me Cashmoney Chubbers.”
Jungkook pouts. “...are you really?”
“No. It’ll be harder to leave you if you did.” Seokjin’s loud laughter echoed in the dormitory hallway alongside Jungkook’s gasp.
They exit the dormitory pointing fingers and hitting each other. Jimin is the first one to find them. He scolds them for playing around and drags Jungkook away after Namjoon appears and does the same with Seokjin.
The first half of the graduation ceremony is a bore for the students. Seokjin tries to not show that he is trying his best to not fidget.
Diplomas are given. Round plaques of gold hanging arounds necks extend the ceremony a bit. Seokjin himself had to stand on stage for a good three minutes because the entire half of the paper had his name. Jungkook wins an award too, Athlete of the Year, and everyone cheers a bit more louder for the beloved star of the basketball team.
Finally, it’s time for the big speech. Seokjin walks toward the podium, an object he has been familiar with before he even knew the English word for it, and allows his clammy hands to rest on the polished wood.
He sees his parents in the crowd sitting beside Jungkook’s family. Meeting them is a story for another day. The story we are telling right now is this, and so Seokjin shifts his gaze, and finds Taehyung who is beside Jimin. Namjoon is somewhere with their classmates. Standing at the sidelines is Yoongi, still blonde and perfect with Hoseok whose proud smile is directed at him. There are so many stories that could’ve been told through these people alone.
The last person Seokjin finds in the audience before he opens his mouth is Jungkook. It’s a bit unfair to say that their eyes met in this crowded room since almost everyone is looking at him.
“My fellow graduates.” Seokjin inhales and exhales dramatically. “It’s amazing that we can say that now, right? We have gone from telling relatives or other people that we’re in college majoring on this and that, to now being able to say that we are done with it. We all started out as freshmen who couldn’t differentiate classmates, professors, and college buildings. We kept our heads down on our freshmen booklets trying to find where our classrooms were. Now, we will leave this place with so many memories embedded in each corner of this university. It is sad to go but it is also an assurance that no matter where we may end up after this, new beginnings will always get happy endings, even if it was not the one we were hoping for.”
The general and forthcoming greeting is over. Seokjin did not earn the right to stand here and address his graduating batch to not use it as an opportunity to uplift specific people in his lives.
“All the love to the people who supported me in my education; my family, but let me make it about the people present here right now. I’ll begin with Park Jimin.”
Seokjin keeps his gaze on Jimin’s general direction.
“Jimin, you are my best friend. You always knew when to push and when to pull. You’ve been with me since the beginning, and we basically lived together. The pains of being in university weren't as heavy thanks to having someone like Park Jimin to share it with. Let’s continue sharing the same Netflix account, okay?”
The atmosphere turns light-hearted after that, cheers and laughter ringing around.
“This person is my reliable partner and designated seatmate plus roommate whenever we go on field trips. Joon, thank you for always letting me know it’s alright to share burdens.”
This graduation speech is something Seokjin always knew he would deliver. He knew he would always thank Jimin and Namjoon. Including this last person was something completely unexpected.
“And lastly… this person. A person who tells me all the time that I’m his person. When I want to ask him, did you eat today? what comes out of my mouth is, get up I’m hungry. There is this certain awareness, an enlightenment, that I have been experiencing every day when it comes to this person. He has taught me several things, and if he was able to share it with everyone, then maybe the world would be a happier place. Personal things are best kept between us, but he likes these big and extravagant gestures, so Jungkook, thank you for being my partner, in more ways than one. Frankly, you weren’t the best, but you were the one I needed.”
Seokjin waits for the audience to settle down. He tries to not roll his eyes at how the people clap Jungkook on the back or his boyfriend’s response to all the cajoling and cheers.
“We all have special memories here. If I had to choose one…it would be the study hall. I'll keep to myself why. We will one day look back at this moment and all the other moments we’ve had in college. We will always have bits and pieces of regrets or this itching feeling of wanting to come back and redo it again. Everyone will move on and perhaps when tomorrow comes the us of today will not be the same as the next day. All those times we were queueing up in a long line or rushing to our classes…we will miss those times and wish we slowed down and had a closer look of everything surrounding us; the trees, the air, the buildings, and most especially, the people who made those days that we will long for bearable.”
There are students who are getting teary-eyed. Some are seeking out their friends and lacing their hands together.
“Once again, congratulations to all of us. May we look back with nostalgia and happiness, and move forward in peace. And to my friends, you did really well. Mission courtside tango really is a success!”
After the ceremony, while Seokjin is holding a bouquet of flowers given to him by his parents, a familiar hand drags him away. He shouts in surprise but his parents only wave goodbye to him. They must be aware of this, Seokjin thought.
It’s Jungkook, because of course it’s him, and the giggles Jungkook’s letting out are so infectious Seokjin couldn’t find it in him to complain about something.
“Where are we going?!” Seokjin shouts.
“You said it in your speech. You have a special place here, right?” Jungkook looks back at him. He slows down a bit, finding time to link their hands together while running past other students.
It’s not surprising to find the study hall empty. The air conditioner inside is running and the lights are turned off. Entering, Jungkook tuts at Seokjin when he tries turning on the lights.
“Go sit down and don’t touch anything!” Jungkook instructs, forcing Seokjin down on a beanbag. Seokjin places the flowers beside him on the floor, curiosity taking over him. He watches Jungkook move around the room.
Soon enough, there’s a portable projector behind them while a blank white screen flashes on the wall opposite from where Seokjin is seated. Jungkook pulls another bean bag across the floor and plops down on it. He whips his head to the side where Seokjin is already looking at him with a raised brow.
The first thought that comes in Seokjin’s mind when Jungkook cups his face with his palms and pulls him closer to plant a kiss on his temples is that, He sure doesn’t waste time.
“I lied to you,” Jungkook mumbles, the words not matching his too-sweet tone.
Seokjin immediately pulls back in confusion. “...huh?”
“Not like that!” Jungkook assures, laughing at how the confusion morphs into a murderous glare. Seokjin pinches his side and Jungkook only laughs harder, body sinking into the bean bag. “I don’t mean it in a bad way!”
“Then what do you mean?” Seokjin hisses at him. “What kind of sick plot twist are you about to reveal?”
“Remember when you asked me about when I started liking you during our beach field trip? I told you it began in the grocery store.”
Seokjin nods, eyes narrowed at Jungkook.
“I lied. It didn’t start there.”
Seokjin’s expression goes back to confusion. His big brown eyes are blinking up at Jungkook, eyelashes fluttering against the skin of his cheek. Jungkook’s playful expression melts to make way for a soft and fond smile.
“I liked you way back in first year. I liked you the moment I saw you and… it really bruised my ego because you were so hostile and would glare at me all the time and be sarcastic 'cause I had such a big, head-over-heels, loser behavior, crush on you.”
It was the last thing Seokjin expected to hear. It takes a moment for the information to sink in. Jungkook doesn’t give him a break and continues.
“Funny.” Jungkook pokes the side of Seokjin’s cheek with the tip of his forefinger. “You’re in disbelief and confused right now when you’re always so confident and self-assured, just like the first time I saw you.”
Seokjin pulls back and covers his face with his hands, the back of his palm facing Jungkook.
“No... 'cause… what the heck is this?” Seokjin mumbles. “You’re being so nice. This is so weird.”
Jungkook rolls his eyes and wraps his hand around Seokjin’s wrist, prying them off his face. “You said you wanted someone romantic so stop deflecting!”
Miraculously, Seokjin doesn’t bite back and allows Jungkook to invade his space despite their separate bean bags. Jungkook rests his head on Seokjin’s shoulder, clicks something on his phone, and the display on the wall changes.
“What is this?” Seokjin asks in a whisper.
Jungkook only shushes him.
A song Seokjin is familiar with starts playing.
I tried your mouth and I can’t come back
“Namjoon told me about how your Spotify listening history is more honest than you. This is what you were listening to, weren’t you?” Jungkook looks up at Seokjin with a smirk.
“Listening to when what?”
“When you realized you like me.”
Jeon Jungkook and Kim Seokjin’s weekly vlog project, like every endeavour in their life, was a success. It’s one of the projects Seokjin truly exerted effort into, and so when the screen starts playing a clip of him and Jungkook back when they first started filming, he immediately recognizes it.
It’s a clip of something that wasn’t included in the final edit. They were doing their introductions and they both kept complaining about something that they ended up having to redo it over and over.
“Remember that day?” Jungkook asks. “You were so worked up because it rained and you didn’t have an umbrella.”
The rest of the video plays with Felt This Way as the background song. There’s a lot of unused clips that Seokjin didn’t even know existed. What had him glancing suspiciously at Jungkook, the other faux innocently looking away from Seokjin’s burning gaze, are the numerous close ups Jungkook apparently did on his lips.
“I can’t believe you kept all this.”
“I’m a hoarder.”
“...you shouldn’t be proud of that.”
The song is starting to lower in volume. It’s an indication that the video is over. Seokjin is admittedly impressed and touched. He’s getting ready to stand up and leave, maybe give Jungkook a kiss because this graduation gift is right up Seokjin’s alley, but then Jungkook straightens his posture and wraps an arm around Seokjin, a gesture saying that he should remain seated.
The music completely fades.
Seokjin jumps up in surprise and Jungkook laughs loudly.
“Someone’s proposing in Aisle 29!”
The clip keeps moving and is shot in an awkward direction, and yet Seokjin is quick to realize it’s the same supermarket he frequents.
Seokjin knows what is coming next. A part of him wants to cover his ears in embarrassment while the other, in all honesty, wants to relive it again.
“Will you please stop being stubborn and rely on me from time to time?”
The video continues playing but with the sound muted. It’s Jungkook, the one with Seokjin, who said it. He’s looking at Seokjin and waiting for a response.
“I already am, Jungkook.”
Jungkook grins at him. “Really?”
Seokjin shrugs. He’s too fond and charmed right now to find it in him to get mad. “Yeah. You know I am.”
“You’ll rely on me when we move in together?”
“You’ll rely on me and know that I can handle myself after graduation?”
“I know you can. You’re very capable.”
Seokjin earns a quick peck for being honest.
“Okay…” Jungkook trails off. He purses his bottom lips together and continues. “Will you rely on me to take care of our baby?”
Another world-turning moment. Seokjin blinks repeatedly and lays a hand on Jungkook’s chest.
“Are you saying what I think you’re saying?”
“I don’t know, Seokjin. Am I?”
“But you never said anything to me! Not a peep! And you can’t keep secrets!”
“That’s what the rest of the guys are for. I probably talked their ears off about it.”
“Hey, Jeon Jungkook.” Seokjin taps his chest for good measure. “I’ll actually be really angry if you’re lying.”
“Why would I lie about Cashmoney Chubbers?”
“Stop! Shut up. What the fuck? You’re lying. This cannot be real.”
Jungkook glares at him. “You better not be cursing like that around him.”
Seokjin still thinks that there is no way Jungkook is telling the truth, and yet he’s covering his mouth with his hand and nodding.
“Let’s say you’re telling the truth—”
“Where did you get the money? You’re always buying new shoes whenever you get your allowance.”
“I already told you! My parents like you more than me. They helped me get Chubbers.” Jungkook crosses his arms across his chest, staring at Seokjin, and daring him to call everything a bluff.
“You don’t understand, Kook. I’ll cry if you’re lying, and you know I don’t cry.”
The nickname flies past without notice from Seokjin.
“I’m not! You’ll start living with us next week after we move in anyway. Sorry about that by the way. He met me first so that means he loves me more.”
“You really were serious,” Seokjin says incredulously. “You’re really tying me down with the house and the kid.”
Jungkook bursts out in laughter at the look on Seokjin’s face. “Yes, I am.”
The video edit Jungkook made is apparently far from over. Another familiar tune starts playing: the stock song Simple from iMovie, the same song Seokjin uses repeatedly and the one Jungkook teased him about during their first sit-down meeting about their vlog project.
The video plays and it’s a slideshow of corgi stock photos taken from the Internet filled with exaggerated and funky MS Powerpoint transitions. Seokjin watches the slideshow, suddenly excited for the next week to come when he can finally meet the love of his life. He won’t tell that to Jungkook though. Okay, fine, they can be equals in Seokjin’s heart. Along with Jimin, of course.
“Are you excited?” Jungkook asks. The mask of coolness has evaporated, and he is once again asking a simple question loaded with so much more.
“Very. We’ll do great.”
“My future is uncertain compared to you,” Jungkook blurts out. “Are you sure you’re okay with that?”
Now that it’s laid down for Seokjin to pick apart and scrutinize, he throws away the tough love and this time, is the one who leans over to lay his head on Jungkook’s shoulder.
“You can be whoever you want to be. I like you for you, not for who you can be or could be.”
“I like you a lot too.”
“I sure hope you do,” Seokjin teases. “We wouldn’t want Cashmoney Chubbers to grow in a household devoid of love.”
The video ends. They place the bean bags back in place. Jungkook picks up the portable projector while Seokjin turns off the air conditioner. It’s routine for them to do this after every time they hang out in the study hall. It’s melancholic to think that this’ll be the last time they’ll do it.
“I guess it’s not that sad that we’re leaving this place.” Seokjin says outloud.
“Hm?” Jungkook hums in question, busy with folding the projector and stand.
“I think I mentioned the study hall in my speech because of you, and it’ll be fine because we’ll still be together after everything is over.”
Jungkook could’ve teased Seokjin about his sentimentality. There are a bunch of quips he could’ve said but this is the one he chooses.
“Have I told you that your lips are as big as my head?”
Seokjin raises a brow in challenge. He looks Jungkook up and down, smirking and crossing his arms over his chest. “Which head?”
Be it purposely annoying each other or one-upping the other in regards to the punchline, they always end up meeting halfway. It doesn’t matter who closed the distance or initiated it.
On a bigger scale of things, it didn’t even matter that it took years for Jungkook’s crush to take fruition, or that it was their common friends who helped orchestrate their relationship from the shadows.
Kim Seokjin, university student council president and all-around student leader, will always have a weakness for people like Jeon Jungkook, team captain and star athlete of the basketball team.
Apparently, something more did develop between these two opposites whose only similarity is their hatred towards each other. It wasn’t exactly filled with obstacles or life lessons that would stick with you, but it also wasn’t a walk in the park. It’s more of a tango.
“Let’s go meet Chubbers?” Jungkook asks, his excitement obvious.
“It’s Cashmoney Chubbers,” Seokjin grumbles back. “He’s here?”
They’re walking hand in hand, the flower bouquet in Seokjin’s free hand and the portable projector on Jungkook’s own.
Jungkook didn’t have to answer the question. Waiting outside the dormitory are their friends; Jimin is carrying a fluffy blob of brown and white that the rest are fussing over.
Seokjin stops walking and pulls Jungkook back.
“What? What is it?”
Jungkook sighs fondly. Seokjin knows if his hands weren’t occupied, Jungkook would wrap his palm on the back of his neck and give it an assuring squeeze.
“I lied again.”
Seokjin clicks his tongue. This time, he doesn’t let it fool him.
“My future isn’t uncertain.”
Taehyung spots them and waves his hands above his head in greeting. “Jungkookie! Seokjin-sshi!”
Jungkook leans over and continues the sentence right against Seokjin’s reddening ear. A different type of noise, the kind where there is no room for negativity, fills their space. Jimin passes off the blob to Seokjin, and finally, for the first time, he gets to hold Cashmoney Chubbers in his arms.
The corgi is still a puppy. Chubbers’ immediate instinct is to seek out Jungkook whose arm automatically stretches toward the dog to scratch behind the large ears.
“He’s the one I’ve been telling you about, baby,” Jungkook coos at the puppy. “He’s really loud but he’s also really pretty. Now that I’m thinking about it, he’s just like you.”
Their friends laugh at the statement while Seokjin himself rolls his eyes. Conversations here and there pop-up among them. Hoseok’s asking if he can visit them from time to time. Namjoon and Jimin are talking about how they are obviously the automatic uncles. Taehyung, Yoongi, and Jungkook are in a serious conversation about custom Jordans for dogs.
Jungkook and Seokjin meet each other’s eyes.
Seokjin looks away.
Jungkook does too.
No one mentions the reddening of their cheeks and the obvious emotion swimming in their irises.
My future isn’t uncertain. After all, I’m very sure about you.