When Jungkook practically moves into the library overnight, he surprises even himself. The real Jeon Jungkook would never enter a library willingly. He used to, when he would read piles upon piles of books in a week as a kid. These days, however, anything more than two paragraphs of writing is enough to make him give up.
So naturally, when he finds himself reading five books a week, Jungkook wonders what is wrong with him.
All he knows is one person is to blame. Library Boy.
‘Done already?’ the boy whispers to him as he approaches the main desk carrying a stack of books in his arms.
‘Couldn’t put ‘em down,’ Jungkook whispers back. Internally, he’s glad for the automatic response, because Library Boy has his caramel hair, which is long enough to hang around his eyes, pushed back with a bandana and he feels his heart rise in his throat.
‘You want something else to read, then?’
Jungkook nods a bit enthusiastically. Library Boy gives a smile of endearment, and rises from where he was leaning over a book on the desk. As he closes it, Jungkook notes that it’s a title he read last week upon Library Boy’s recommendations.
‘This one’s good, Rubyfruit Jungle. Have you read it?’ The boy looks at him expectantly, eyes wide.
God, Jungkook is so whipped. The boy’s eyes are dark like the earth and almost childlike with their shine, framed by long eyelashes. He might be standing a bit too close because he notes a small mole on his bottom left eyelid.
The boy raises an eyebrow at him. ‘Do I have something on my face?’
‘Uh, no, you---um---’ Jungkook says eloquently.
‘Could you get it off?’
Jungkook blanches. The boy gives him an amused look as he rubs his chin with his polo shirt collar- which, much to Jungkook’s dismay, lacked any nametag. ‘It’s fine. I got it, right?’
‘You---you got it.’
‘Thanks. So, have you read it?’
‘Rubyfruit Jungle.’ The boy gestures to the book in his arms.
‘Oh. No, I haven’t.’
‘What? Are you serious!’ He exclaims, and someone shushes him. In a hushed voice, he adds, ‘You gotta read this! Oh, Her Name in the Sky! This one’s good too! And this one!’
Jungkook stands at the main desk again half an hour later, arms full of books to read during the week after classes. Library Boy scans them rather slowly, quietly humming a song in his deep, velvety voice. Jungkook relishes in the sight of him as he works, fully knowing how creepy he must look, and not caring one bit.
Jungkook stares for a second until he realises Library Boy is speaking. The boy laughs softly.
‘Uh, yeah, here,’ Jungkook murmurs as he fumbles for the card in his back pocket. Nothing. He begins to panic.
‘Don’t you have it?’
Jungkook gives him an apologetic look. ‘Can’t I take these home and bring them back tomorrow? I promise I won’t steal anything.’
Library Boy frowns. ‘I’m really not supposed to. You don’t happen to know your serial number, do you?’
‘Yeah, that was kind of a dumb question.’
Turns out that all those hours of staring at that card, imagining how he could keep it for their wedding day and claim it as the first gift Library Boy ever gave him were all in vain.
Library Boy looks behind him as if to make sure the coast is clear. ‘Tell you what, I’ll let you borrow just one. But promise me you’ll bring it back by this time tomorrow?’ The boy holds his pinkie finger out. ‘You can’t break a pinkie promise.’
As Jungkook extends his own pinkie finger, he wonders who allowed this boy to be so cute. He entwines his finger with Jungkook's and says, ‘A pinkie promise is forever.’
‘I’ll see you tomorrow then,’ Library Boy says as he scans the book and hands it over the counter. He gives Jungkook a smile and he feels his heart stop.
“Yeah. Yeah, cool. Uh, see you.’
Jungkook stares at the book as he walks out of the building, not wanting to wait any longer. Maybe he’s biased, but Jungkook thinks that Library Boy has impeccable taste. In each book Jungkook reads, he can find a small piece of the boy whose name he doesn’t even know.
‘Do you need anything?’ he had asked upon Jungkook’s very first visit to the library in his three years of college, driven by a need to find any inspiration at all for his art project for school.
Jungkook had found himself in the manga section as the only type of reading he could tolerate. Well, he called it reading, but he was admittedly more interested in the pictures.
And that’s how he ended up flipping through every single page of every single book in those two bookshelves, growing ever frustrated because everything proved to be useless to him.
When he heard a deep voice murmuring song lyrics rather loudly from the next aisle, it irritated him even further. Singing. In a library. The disrespect of some people, Jungkook thought as he dropped a book back into its place carelessly, like a hypocrite.
He peered over the tops of the books to see who on earth---
He found himself face to face with a boy shelving books.
‘Do you need anything?’
Jungkook just stared for a moment.
The boy was, to put it very, very simply, stunning. His tan face was adorned with a smile that lit up his eyes and elevated his cheeks and Jungkook felt like he might as well just die on the spot.
‘Um,’ Jungkook had spoken eloquently. The boy’s smile did not falter.
‘Well, tell me if you need any recommendations. Hey, that’s pretty good.’ He gestured to the manga in Jungkook’s arms, something Naruto. ‘Have you read it?’
Jungkook hesitated. Yes, he was a self-proclaimed otaku, but only thanks to television. He hadn’t ever done more than flip through a manga to admire other artists’ work.
The boy took his silence as a no. ‘Are you serious? It’s a classic! You should read it, I’m sure you’ll like it. Actually, do you want me to find you the first volume?’
That day Jungkook went home with four volumes clutched tightly to his chest. The next day, he went home with the other sixty-eight volumes, courtesy of his new library card.
‘You’re not really allowed to take this many books at once,’ Library Boy told him, ‘but I’ll give you a free pass since you actually came to the library outside of exam season. Also, because you’re adorable.’
‘See you tomorrow, then?’
Jungkook opens his new book as he walks through campus. At this rate, he might even be able to return it before tomorrow. At least, he hopes so.
He notices a piece of paper wedged underneath the log on the first page of the book. He thinks that maybe someone left their bookmark when they returned the book, so he pulls it out to throw it away when he notices writing on the back of it.
free tomorrow afternoon? return this book then we can hang out maybe :)
-taehyung (library boy)
‘Taehyung,’ Jungkook repeats, tasting the name on his tongue.
Then it hits him.
He’s not sure he’s ever run so fast in his life. He throws the library door open, and Library Boy- Taehyung starts. He gives him a surprised look.
‘Jesus, you read that book already?’
‘Are you---’ Jungkook’s words hitch in his throat, and he rests his hands on his knees to catch his breath. ‘Are you free after this?’
This time, Taehyung is the one blushing. ‘What?’
Jungkook holds up the note as he straightens. ‘Are you free after your shift?’ Another librarian shushes Jungkook but he pays no mind.
'Are you asking me out?' He gives a smirk.
Jungkook splutters. 'Wha- you asked me out first!'
‘True,’ Taehyung says, closing his book and pulling out his phone. ‘I’m free in an hour and twenty minutes.’
‘I can wait that long.’
Taehyung smiles and Jungkook feels warmth bubbling inside him. ‘Want me to find you something to read while you wait?’