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“Like I was saying, you can't beat a fed Garen. Garen is unbeatable." 

 

"Garen can't do shit against Sett. He's like a walking nuke." 

 

Tuesday afternoon finds Jungkook in his usual spot at the corner cafe downtown arguing pointlessly specific hypotheticals with his equally pointless friend, Yugyeom. They spent all night playing games, and all morning regretting playing said games, and now they’re leveling out the day arguing about the game that they’ll probably just go home and play again. It’s not like Jungkook didn’t enjoy his fair share of athletics every now and then, but League was different. League was a matter of stress and pride, the epitome of dexterity and intelligence, life or death -

 

“Your Caramel Macchiato?”

 

"Yeah, thanks," Jungkook doesn't even give the barista a second glance as he grabs his cup, still stuck firmly in their heated debate. "Garen could pound Sett's ass. The burst and execute are more than enough to finish him off."

 

"Unlikely. All he has to do is ult him and everyone's dead, bro." 

 

"Can't ult Garen if you're silenced ." 

 

"Ever heard of a flash ult, you fucking fetus ." Jungkook takes a sophisticated sip of his coffee, pinky up, before elegantly returning it to the table. "I'd like to see your geriatric ass hit Q fast enough to counter a flash." 

 

"No need for speed when you can anticipate , good sir." Yugyeom throws his pinky up as well, downing the rest of his tea. 

 

"With that kind of attitude I anticipate your descent into Iron four." Jungkook quips with lethal finality, jutting his chin in the direction of the exit. "Come on, we'll be late for practice." 

 

"You mean watching Yoongi break your ankles for the ten-thousandth time?" Yugyeom replies without missing a beat, pushing his empty cup forward. "Wouldn't miss it for the world, babe. "

 

Jungkook rolls his eyes as they exit the homey cafe, walking towards the subway to catch the train up to their university. They both played as starters on the basketball team, and the Taekwondo team, and occasionally the soccer team--there were countless rumors bouncing around of how Jeon Jungkook would be going pro after graduation. Jungkook would in fact be going straight to Law School. He capped off his military service fresh out of high school and experienced the glow up of a lifetime after voluntarily becoming a marine, and now he was resident campus-hot-boy-that-people-were-too-afraid-to-talk-to .

 

Yugyeom was the typical socialite best friend that convinced him to join everything in an effort to meet new people; much like most typical socialite friends, he has failed terribly in his endeavor. Jungkook didn’t like forcing himself to like people, and that’s all he could really do when Kim Yugyeom threw them at him like a barrel full of tennis balls. He got along well enough with some of the club seniors (the antisocial ones of course) but outside of his self-appointed best friend there wasn’t much of a social life to speak of. Occasional hookups, perhaps, one or two short-term girlfriends maybe, but nothing exciting

 

The most dramatic thing to happen to him this week was losing their campus LCS tournament--Yugyeom picked the wrong runes while making out with his girlfriend and was promptly punished by the universe, the enemy team and Jungkook consecutively

 

“So are we going to taekwondo tonight too, or are you and Jackson still fighting.”

 

“We weren’t fighting . He’s just salty he lost our match.” Jungkook adjusts his backpack strap as they exit the subway, quickly scrolling through his phone notifications. “And I can’t tonight. Promised someone i’d sleep with them.”

 

Yugyeom snorts in disbelief at the straightforward statement, as he’d apparently forgotten how emotionally ineloquent his best friend was; Jungkook responds to a text from an hour or so ago as they emerge from the university station. 

 

“You don’t have to make it sound so clinical dude. More people would like you if you just learned how to soften up a little.”

 

“I don’t think I want someone to like me because I act fake around them. Besides, enough people like me for who I am already.” As if to reaffirm his point his phone pings, the screen lighting up with a salacious message and a winking emoji. Jungkook presents the evidence to his friend and Yugyeom sighs deeply, shaking his head. 

 

“People don’t like you, they like the idea of you. They have to stick around for more than thirty minutes to like you.”

 

“Well I’ll let you know when someone does.” Jungkook pauses and looks up, causing a clog in the sidewalk traffic. “Yugyeom, do you like me?”

 

“Not into dudes, bro.” His best friend scrunches his nose at the thought, kicking the back of his knee so that he’ll start walking again. “I like who you are, though. Kinda badass, kinda useless. Bet someone out there is actually dying to date someone as deceptively needy as you.”

 

“I am not needy .”

 

“Okay, try spending the whole day without talking to me once.”

 

Jungkook makes the most betrayed puppy eyes he’s ever brought into existence and Yugyeom clicks his tongue against his teeth, shaking his head again. 

 

“Needy little attention hoe.”

 

Every day is the same, for the most part. Jungkook wakes up, exercises, goes to class, dicks around with Yugyeom for a few hours and then goes to practice. Occasionally he sleeps with someone, and occasionally he makes a guest appearance at his friends’ parties, but everything is on a tight schedule, like life is a 9 to 5 job.

 

Consequently one can imagine his surprise when his usual programming is interrupted by a very abrupt, very angry text from Jackson Wang himself about how he needs to show up to practice today because, quote, ‘ the co-captain of the fucking club should pull his own weight ’--Jungkook doesn’t remember volunteering to be co-captains with anyone, and comes to the conclusion that Yugyeom is due for a thorough ass-whooping when he comes over tonight. 

 

He gets to the practice room ten minutes early in a fitted shirt and jeans to politely decline his new position, but Jackson practically ignores his not-so-subtle disinterest. 

 

“Look Jeon, I get that you’re some sporty hotshot,”

 

Never said that dude-”

 

“But people come here for you, to train with you and learn from you! Do you know how many members we lost before nationals because you rarely ever show up?” Jackson is currently getting dressed, and the few members who arrived early ogle his exposed back. Thirsty hoes .

 

“Look, I don’t remember signing up to be co-captain or poster boy, okay? I’m here on a basketball scholarship and this is just,” Jungkook lowers his voice as a group of freshmen walk past. “This is just for fun . I joined because Yugyeom wanted to join, not because I actually want to help people learn.”

 

“Well you filled out the leadership form.”

 

“Yugyeom filled that out and we both know it.”

 

“Doesn’t matter how , you’re a captain. It’s not like you don’t win fucking nationals every time you grace us with your presence, so pull your shit together and give your members some attention.” Jackson clears his throat loudly as a few of the demo team members loiter nearby, tying his belt. “Look dude, you showed up so some part of your competitive ass must want to be captain. Do us both a favor and help out the new kid.”

 

“The new kid?”

 

“Park Jimin. He’s been with us on and off for two months now, I think. Part of his therapy or something, but he’s hard to work with.” The shorter man averts his eyes and Jungkook crosses his arms over his chest, wholly unimpressed.

 

“The fuck is wrong with him?”

 

“He’s just, uh--look, you’ll know when you see him.”

 

“I won’t . Tell me now or i’m never coming back.”

 

“He’s-” Jackson leans in and motions for Jungkook to do the same; Jungkook snorts, but plays along. “He’s gay .” The way he says it, like this Jimin kid has some kind of infectious disease, makes Jungkook laugh inappropriately loud. Everyone turns to spectate their unusually friendly exchange, and Jungkook has to remind himself that he doesn’t laugh in public. Be cool dude, be cool. 

 

“Why is that a problem? Doesn’t affect the way he learns.” It takes more effort than he’d like to suppress the rumbling laughter in his chest. “Besides, if he’s open about it he probably has enough sense to know some people might be averse.”

 

“I know, but he’s also so pretty. None of the guys wanna work with him, cause they’re scared they’ll get baited.” Jackson confides honestly, albeit guiltily. “I’m cool with it and all, it’s just--I don’t want people to talk, you know?”

 

“So basically you’re handing him off to me because you’re a closeted limp-dick hiding behind a masculine sport?” Jungkook doesn’t mean to say that loud enough for other people to hear, but they do . “Fine. I’ll give this kid my exclusive attention, and he’ll beat your ass twice as bad as I do by the time i’m through with him.”

 

He doesn’t really mean it at first, considering he has absolutely no desire to train anyone, but then practice starts and one of the seniors counts off for stretches and he’s suddenly observing like his high school coach used to, practically daring the underclassmen to show any signs of weakness or imperfection. Jungkook was a big name in the collegiate taekwondo community, an olympic prospect who opted out of qualifiers to focus more on his studies--consequently, the actual olympic wannabes flock to him in droves, asking him ten thousand questions on styles, techniques, proper form--

 

Maybe

 

Maybe Jimin was just the social stigma he needed to get everyone to leave him the fuck alone. Even Kim 'social chair of every club' Yugyeom wouldn't be able to salvage his reputation if he paid extra attention to someone half the team actively avoids. Best case scenario, he could drop taekwondo all together. When they break off into groups for technique training Jungkook is practically bouncing out of his shoes, but he keeps up his poker face as he waits near the wall for Jackson to bring over his ticket to antisocial paradise. 

 

It only takes a few minutes before they're walking over to him, evenly matched in stature and strength; Jungkook has to do a double take because he doesn't recall seeing this guy even once, probably because he looked kind of like Jackson from behind and he actively ignored Jackson , but he really is pretty, in a weirdly handsome way. 

 

"This is our other captain, Jungkook. He'll be teaching you today." Jackson smiles and jokes like he wasn't just terrified of catching 'the gay' from Jimin ten minutes ago--Jungkook bites back a snide remark for the stranger's sake. "Jimin here knows all the basic stances and strikes. Could you run him through throws and chokeholds?" 

 

"Sure, after I check his basics." Jungkook briefly appraises the other man's natural stance, rating his potential on a scale of one to ten-- solid five point seven . "Could you show me il-jang? Just move through comfortably." 

 

Jimin stares up at Jungkook like he's about to be pummeled, mumbling a meek 'yes sir' as he scrambles to start. He's not so bad that Jungkook feels the urge to kick him out, but he's pretty close; his motions are too elegant, too smooth to match the style he's trying to learn, and it's the kind of thing that hands on instruction would have fixed instantly. 

 

When Jimin finishes he smiles nervously, and Jungkook doesn't hold back.

 

"So, you kinda suck,"

 

"Oh." Jimin deflates faster than a worn-out blow up doll. 

 

"But that's probably Jackson's fault. Can I touch you?"

 

"W-what?" 

 

"Touch you. Me . With these sexy hands." Jungkook wiggles his fingers as he approaches, not really bothering to wait for an answer (although Jimin does nod his head stupidly) "Get back into long stance for me." 

 

"T-this one?" 

 

"Yeah, and don't stutter. Fighting is all about pretending you have the biggest dick in the room, and actually having the biggest brain." Jungkook starts to fix the smaller man's posture with rough pokes and prods, but in spite of all the guy's muscle he just gives in so easily . Jackson did a really shitty job of actually teaching him. 

 

"Dude, you're like a noodle. Get stiff for me." Jimin turns bright red and Jungkook comes to the conclusion that maybe his phrasing isn't the best. " Okay, don't get stiff , just like, firm up? Clench-"

 

"Could I go to the bathroom?"

 

Jungkook pauses, repeats a mantra of 'dont look at his dick' and then nods in agreement. 

 

"Sure, just hurry back. I have to fix everything that useless meathead taught you."

 

Jimin nods meekly and scurries out like a mouse, tips of his ears bright red. Maybe a hands on approach was too much for him after all. 

 

Time ticks by and Jungkook gets bored of scrolling through his sns feed, and even more bored of Jackson staring at him like he expects him to help people. He decides it's for the best that he go and seek out his student in the locker room and maybe disappear permanently if Jimin ditched. 

 

Imagine his surprise when he walks in and hears sobbing coming from the bathroom stalls. 

 

Jungkook is faced with a moral dilemma for the first time in a long time; a crying boy, likely social outcast , has presented himself in an easily avoidable confrontation that would by no means damage his reputation if he were to leave. He could check up on him, asks what's wrong and be the good guy, or just go back home and play league. 

 

He really, really wanted to play league. 

 

"Jimin?" Good Guy Jeon Jungkook™ calls out as he moves towards the stalls, conscience crystal clear thanks to his kind act for the day. "Is something wrong?" 

 

The sniffles are muffled slightly but not enough to conceal his location, not that the stalls help much; it's easy to see the off-white of a taekwondo uniform against the aesthetic matte gray that colors the bathroom. Jungkook stops in front of the only occupied stall and clears his throat before knocking, not quite sure how to handle whatever he's caused. Yugyeom normally cleaned up his social mishaps for him. 

 

"Can I come in?"

 

" What ?" Jimin sucks in a particularly moist breath and Jungkook gags. He hated messy criers. 

 

"Well, you're upset so it'd be rude to just break the door down or climb over."

 

"Are you making fun of me?" The other man's voice calls back indignantly, albeit still snotty. 

 

"No dude, I'm not. Just kinda worried because you never came back and you're crying in a bathroom stall."

 

"You don't have to act like you care. I won't come back, so-" Jungkook rips open the stall door (which wasn't fully locked, rookie mistake) and finds himself face to face with a puffy-eyed, tear spewing Jimin. He's still so good looking, god dammit.

 

"I wasn't bullying you or anything. Not my kink-- shit , I mean I'm not into that." Jungkook raises his hands in a gesture of peace. "I'm just bad at filtering. I spend half my day in locker rooms and the other half online gaming, and the third half having sex." 

 

"There is no third half-"

 

"Irregardless of your semantics I wasn't trying to be mean to you. I'm sure you've dealt with all kinds of messed up stuff, but this isn't the club's way of getting you to quit." Or maybe it was. Jackson was overly familiar with how Jungkook interacted with people. "I don't care if you're gay, and I'm captain, so they're not allowed to care either." 

 

"But you're never here." Jimin wipes his nose on his sleeve and Jungkook actually groans out loud, reaching for the cheap two-ply toilet paper and personally wiping the smaller man's face clean. Jimin tenses up at first but relaxes once he realizes he's not about to have his head crushed.

 

"You wanna ditch and play league?" 

 

"What?"

 

"Can't really go back in looking like this, you know?" 

 

Jimin glances at his reflection, gives a horrified squeak and nods in agreement. 

 

**** 

 

"So, about bro night," Yugyeom starts from across the room, keyboard dangling awkwardly at his side as he stares at Jimin and Jungkook on the couch ten minutes deep into a round of Overwatch. 

 

"Found a new bro. One who doesn't mindlessly sign me up for shit." Jungkook hisses over his shoulder, raising his arm slightly when Jimin presses closer to his side. Dude was clingy. 

 

"Right. Oh, I'm Yugyeom by the way. The one he's usually clinging to." Jungkook feels Jimin lean away, likely shaking hands; he focuses his sudden spurt of rage on the enemy Widowmaker. 

 

"Park Jimin. Sorry for intruding on your game night."

 

"It's fine, it's fine. I'm just glad someone else has finally joined Kookie's toy chest ." Plastic clatters off to the side and the couch rocks, Jimin's body suddenly close again. "So how'd he con you into spending time with him?" 

 

"Just asked if I wanted to play games." Jimin responds shyly, tugging at Jungkook's shirt. 

 

"And you said yes?" 

 

"Well, yeah,"

 

"You're sure he didn't kidnap you? You're so small and cute. People like you don't hang out with him." Yugyeom pauses for dramatic effect. " People don't hang out with him."

 

"He seems nice." Jimin defends quietly, continuing to fidget. 

 

“No he doesn’t.” Yugyeom counters a little too easily, in Jungkook’s humble opinion.

 

“Not very many guys invite me over.” Jimin offers delicately, crushing the poor, innocent edge of Jungkook’s shirt. “Besides, he seems nice.”

 

“Even if you have no friends, which is completely hypothetical, this guy is a horrible choice. He hates going out, hates talking, hates not talking, hates basic human interaction-”

 

“Jimin doesn’t have many friends because he’s gay.” Jungkook says with a sudden monotonous, careless finality that crashes into their conversation like Thor’s hammer; Yugyeom chokes on his spit and Jimin turns to hide his head against Jungkook’s neck. Was he this touchy with everyone?

 

“Well that’s, I mean, um-”

 

“He’s one of us now. Take it or leave .” Jungkook grumbles, squaring off his shoulders instinctively; he used to do the same for Yugyeom when someone on the team would give him shit for missing a shot or making a mistake, but now it was his best friend’s turn to be caught in the crosshairs because Jimin was small and precious and Jungkook wasn’t about to let him ruin that. 

 

“Woah woah, calm your tits dude! I’m just surprised and processing. I get at least five minutes to do that-”

 

“Two and a half.”

 

Five !”

 

Jungkook scowls and tosses his controller aside, making a point to throw his arm around Jimin’s narrow shoulders and stare his best friend down. Jimin jolts in surprise but doesn’t resist the touch, and Jungkook is beginning to suspect that he really just does crave skinship. “Thirty seconds or get the fuck out of my apartment.”

 

“Is this really about Jimin, or is this because I signed you up to be co-captain?”

 

Twenty nine-

 

“Okay, geez! Jimin, welcome to our friendship. I hope it lasts a lifetime!” Yugyeom gestures grandly with his arms and bows, but his smile is genuine; Jungkook picks his controller back up with a pleased grunt and doesn’t get bristly at all when the smaller man cuddles into his side.

 

“Thanks. It’s also okay if I’m a bother-”

 

“You’re not.” Jungkook and Yugyeom say in unison, already on the same page. Jimin blinks in surprise before gracing them both with a dazzling smile. 

 

“Thanks.” 

 

Jungkook frowns at the way his chest constricts, reaching for his soda. Was he developing acid reflux?

 

"How about we play something everyone can enjoy--Jackbox, maybe?" Yugyeom casually suggests from where he's already grown bored of watching his friend, tapping the edge of his keyboard like he'd implode if he wasn't occupied soon. Jungkook grunts in agreement as his team throws the match, and Jimin giggles out something that sounds suspiciously like caveman

 

"Actually, what do you like to play Jimin? Since it's your first bro night you get to choose." 

 

"I don't really play games," Jimin admits softly, fidgeting with the hem of his own shirt. "I'm more of a reader, I guess." 

 

"A dating sim, then? How about Doki Doki Literature Club?"

 

"Absolutely not. He'll-" Jungkook pauses from where he was going to warn against playing a horror game with Jimin. Would it really be that bad, having Yugyeom seem like the untrustworthy one from the start? Jimin would automatically like him more, if he liked Yugyeom less . "He'll need to make his own account. Jimin didn't bring a computer."

 

"I've got my laptop in my duffel bag, actually." Jimin foolishly reveals, sealing his fate. Jungkook and Yugyeom share a look because someone has to be the emotional support and someone has to be the laptop catcher; they use their friendship telepathy to establish that Jungkook gets to sit this one out completely because it wasn't his idea.

 

"Alright, let's get you all set up at Jungkook's desk then." 

 

Jungkook watches from the couch as Jimin unwittingly downloads the game file that will ultimately be his doom, pretending to be more interested in his glass of water as they walk through the first few days in-game. Jimin is surprisingly into it, leaning closer to the screen every few scenes and barely entertaining Yugyeom's plethora of side conversations--he's that much more tense for it when things start to go south. 

 

"I think the game's glitching," he mutters from the edge of his seat, and Yugyeom is grinning like a fool behind him, far too pleased with his latest victim. 

 

"The game developer is small--keep going, maybe it just needs some time to run." 

 

"O-okay." 

 

Jungkook is droves more attentive the few minutes before the plot twist, and when Jimin gets the jump scare of his life (and throws his laptop, which Yugyeom catches) he falls forward laughing, clutching his stomach. The guy just looked so genuinely shocked, and he jumped out of his chair, and the way he screamed ? Jungkook would be laughing at the memory for months. 

 

"You guys knew ?" Jimin sounds more betrayed than scared, which is a good sign that there's no lasting trauma. 

 

"Of course . Otherwise we wouldn't be set up to save your laptop." Yugyeom shuts the device and places it a safe distance away, grinning from ear to ear. “Welcome to the bro squad, Jimin.”

 

“Was I just...was I just hazed?” Jimin blinks and looks up with his adorable, precious, innocent face and Jungkook stops laughing for half a second because his heart burns. Weird, he should really get that checked out. 

 

Game night proceeds as normal, with the addition of a new set of short, breathless laughs; Jungkook wonders how they all hadn’t been friends before. 

 

*****

 

“So about that aram match yesterday,” Yugyeom starts, stirring the foam of his latte like a catty housewife. They’re all settled in the cafe, fresh out of class and ready for the weekend; Jimin is glued to Jungkook’s side scrolling through instagram and Jungkook is taking an appropriately aesthetic photo of his drink to make all of his peers jealous. He looks up just long enough to catch his best friend’s disapproving stare, decides he doesn’t care, and proceeds to take the same shot from six different angles. “You stopped playing for three minutes.”

 

“Someone was over,” Jungkook replies without looking, feeling Jimin shift against his side. “She was getting upset.”

 

“And what could you have possibly done in three minutes to make her feel better?”

 

“Wouldn’t you like to know,” Jungkook murmurs thoughtlessly, adding a filter to his photo. It looks nice, but it seems like there could be something more--Jungkook leans over to Jimin and shows his screen, chewing on his lip. “Hyung, do you think this is good? I added cool tones.”

 

“Jungkookie, it’s fall. You should be adding warmer tones, to cheer people up.” Jimin scolds and snatches up the phone, moving to fix his underclassman’s inadequate insta post. Yugyeom just watches them incredulously, mouth gaping like a fish out of water until Jungkook gets tired of the image and throws a balled up napkin at his face. 

 

“Jeon Jungkook, are you choosing girls over us ? Games with the boys are sacred.” Yugyeom wipes where the napkin hit him, and a passing cafe worker shoots them a warning glance. “Those stupid hook ups won’t be there for you during the philosophy final.”

 

“Neither will my friend who got a C on the last assignment,” Jungkook fires back easily. He takes a moment to stretch, quirking a brow at the way Jimin grumbles from being jostled. He’d apologize normally, but it’s not like he’s the one who put him there, and it seems like the colder it gets the clingier the elder gets. Or maybe it was just because they were kind of sort of friends now--hard to tell with Jimin. He clung to everyone. “Are we going to practice today?”

 

“Absolutely not!” Yugyeom nearly flies out of his seat and Jungkook shrinks back, blinking several times to reacquaint himself with the universe. “Jungkook, don’t tell me you forgot.”

 

“Forgot what?”

 

“The party,” Jimin answers as he sets Jungkook’s phone down, a pristinely edited photo gracing the screen. “You promised to take me out tonight.”

 

“But parties are-” Jungkook wrinkles his nose in distaste, quickly posting the completed photo before pocketing his phone. “Parties are loud, and smelly, and people try to flirt with me.”

 

“Yeah, well Jiminnie just happens to love parties, and you just happen to have stupidly high social status so we need your stupid hot ass to get us in.” Yugyeom takes a sip of his drink with an air of refinement, pinky up, and Jungkook snorts. 

 

“Gyeom, you could get him in easy. You guys don’t need me.”

 

“We do. Who’s gonna drive us home if you don’t come?”

 

“Call a cab.”

 

“Jimin could be bullied ,” Yugyeom starts, and honestly he could stop there; he already has Jungkook’s full cooperation. “You really trust me to protect him?”

 

Jungkook wouldn’t trust Yugyeom with boiling water. He most definitely would never trust him with their precious Jimin. Consequently, Jungkook finds himself getting dressed up a few hours later, digging through his closet for the good jeans and the shirt that makes him look bigger than he really is because the whole point of tonight is to play babysitter. Hot babysitter , sure, but babysitter--should he even bother with hair and cologne? He’d be glued to the wall for most of the night anyways. 

 

Jungkook decides to make himself look decently put together, styling his hair and throwing on a few rings, a modest amount of concealer to hide the fact that he’d been up until two in the morning last night, wearing the nice bomber jacket instead of the one that’s had a hole in it for three weeks from where Yugyeom shoved him into a hawthorn bush. He spritzes on his least offensive cologne, grabs his keys off the side and makes the trek down to his car which probably only gets used six times a year. 

 

Jimin and Yugyeom live in the same complex so they’re getting ready together; when Jungkook shoots a text in the group chat to say he’s arrived no one responds, so naturally he barges into his friend’s apartment to drag him out. No one’s in the living room but there’s music playing from down the hall so he follows the path, kicking in the bedroom door. 

 

“Hey asshole, I’m... ready .” Jungkook blinks a few times to process what he sees. Jimin is sitting on the edge of the bed fully done up, stupidly hot, enough that it kind of melts Jungkook’s brain and he can’t help but walk forward and squish his cheeks to make sure that he’s still looking at his Jimin, the one with the eye smile and the sweater paws and the whiny lisp. He keeps squishing even as Yugyeom appears from the attached bathroom, staring in awe at how someone so adorable and precious could turn into this

 

“Kook, you’re gonna ruin his eyeliner.”

 

“What did you do to him? Why does he look like this?” Jungkook immediately turns on his best friend, glaring while continuing to poke Jimin’s cheeks; eventually the elder whines for him to stop and swats his hands off.

 

“I did this. Believe it or not, some of us know how to look nice.” Jimin glowers, rubbing his cheeks. So cute Jimin was still somewhere inside this Jimin’s body? Good, good. 

 

“Yeah, he’s pretty good at being hot. He even helped me pick out a shirt.” Yugyeom turns off his speaker and shrugs on a jacket, leading the way out; Jungkook follows, but only to argue, because his sweet precious baby Jimin was not allowed to enter a party looking like that

 

“You went too far hyung--why are you wearing that? You should wear longer sleeves, people will see your tattoo, and your-”

 

“And his what ?”

 

“Jungkook, when have I ever taken my shirt off in front of you?”  

 

Jimin and Yugyeom both turn to face him, and Jungkook gapes like an idiot. How did he even navigate this situation? He saw Jimin topless once in the locker room, and maybe he saw too much because maybe Jimin always waited to shower when he thought no one was there and maybe Jungkook stayed behind once because he was curious, but is now really the time to admit that?

 

“Some of your shirts are really thin,” He says lamely, clearing his throat. “And I was gonna say his tiny arms. For someone so strong your muscles are really tiny, hyung.”

 

“What are you, my mom?” Jimin scoffs and cards his fingers through his bangs, and Jungkook feels his gastric reflux acting up again. “Besides, your tattoos are always showing. Come on, let’s go drink.”

 

“I still don’t think you should be wearing that.” Jungkook gives one final protest, following after his friends like a kicked puppy. 

 

When they get to the party Jungkook branches off from Jimin and Yugyeom immediately, stationing himself against the wall in what he’d proudly describe as a central scouting position; he can see every part of the apartment from here, and it’s awkwardly placed enough that a group of people couldn’t come up to talk to him without blocking a pathway and earning the wrath of other partygoers. 

 

Now all he had to do was stand around glaring for two hours, let Yugyeom and Jimin stumble back to him, and drive his idiot best friend and sweet precious baby hyung home. 

 

Two hours, Jungkook, you can do it .

 

Several self-affirmations later Jungkook decides to start scrolling through his phone, checking every few seconds to see where Jimin and Yugyeom have gotten off to; they’re constantly flitting from the kitchen to the living room, dancing and chatting and smiling, and Jimin is practically glowing . He seems to be making new friends, and it brings a smile to Jungkook’s lips. Even if he didn’t agree with the flashy outfit, seeing Jimin happy like this makes him happy too. 

 

“You look like you’ve seen something nice.” 

 

a voice cuts in from a little too close, and Jungkook turns his head to identify the newcomer. The girl from yesterday--Yoona? Jungkook puts his phone away and checks on his friends one last time, wetting his lips. “I didn’t realize you’d be here tonight.”

 

“Happy coincidence, I guess.” Yoona posts herself on the spot next to him and Jungkook laughs, but it’s mostly polite. He crosses his arms over his chest and leans against the wall, eyes naturally drawn to where jimin’s started a fresh round of shots. “You came here with your friends?”

 

“I came here to watch my friends.” Jungkook corrects, tilting his head so that he can hear his conversation partner more clearly. Hopefully she didn’t want anything more from their interaction--Jungkook wasn’t interested in having a relationship, especially not with two children to look after. “It’s their turn to have fun.”

 

“You could all have fun tonight,” Yoona offers with a suggestive touch, and Jungkook bites back the reprimand on the tip of his tongue. Instead he pulls away, controls his sass and goes back to looking at Jimin, who’s staring him down from across the room. 

 

“Sorry Yoona, but it’s not in the cards. One of them is going to spend tonight hugging the toilet.” Probably not. Yugyeom never throws up, and Jimin doesn’t seem like the type to give in to his stomach--worst case scenario he has two people passed out in his apartment. “Maybe try Bambam? I heard he’s a gentleman.”

 

Yoona scoffs and rolls her eyes, and she looks like she wants to slap him but thinks the better of it; Jungkook stares her down until she leaves, momentarily questioning his taste in sex partners. She’d seemed nice enough yesterday. Granted, you don’t really have sex with a person’s personality , so maybe he should do himself a favor and start screening more thoroughly. 

 

“Who was she?”

 

Jungkook jumps a little when arms wrap around his waist, twisting around to see who’s grabbed him; Jimin pouts as he hooks his chin over Jungkook’s shoulder, eyes dark and hazy. He smells like tequila, way too much tequila, and Jungkook genuinely considers pushing him off to get away from the scent. 

 

“A girl I slept with.”

 

“What did she want?” 

 

“To have sex again, I think,” Jungkook grunts when he’s squeezed, promptly removing Jimin’s arms and pulling free from his grip. For such a small guy he was pretty strong. “Why are you over here? Go back to having fun.”

 

“I want to have fun over here,” Jimin reaches for him again and Jungkook dodges, feeling guilty after he sees the resulting hurt expression. He didn’t want Jimin to feel bad, but he also didn’t want to be crushed to death by his tiny baby muscles. “Kookie, come here.”

 

“No.You’re drunk.”

 

“So what? You think i’ll try something?” Jimin’s tone shifts and Jungkook widens his eyes because holy shit, were they really about to have this conversation? He thought they were past this. 

 

“No, that’s not what I meant-”

 

“I’m gay, so I just want every guy I see, right?”

 

“Jimin, easy, I never said-”

 

“That’s why you pulled away, isn’t it?” Jimin’s eyes are dark, angry, wet--Jungkook swallows nervously, unsure of what to do, how to react without making a bigger scene. He stays frozen in place when Jimin shoves him against the wall, following his hyung’s every move like a mouse caught in a trap. “You don’t want people to think you’re like me. That’s why you didn’t want to come, that’s why you spent all night away from me-”

 

“Hyung, please stop. You’re drunk.”

 

“You’re embarrassed of me--everyone is, eventually.” 

 

Jimin starts to back off but Jungkook pulls him back, hugging him tight. No one expects it, honestly; not Jimin, who’s wide-eyed with his cheek smooshed against Jungkook’s chest, not Jungkook, who doesn’t even hug his mother, not Yugyeom, who drops his shot glass across the room to slap both of his hands over his mouth in shock. Certainly not the droves of partygoers who know Jungkook as an ice king, unapproachable, lacking the ability to give affection

 

“I’m not--I’m not embarrassed of you Jimin.” Jungkook starts, circuits in his brain working overtime because he can’t be both verbally and physically affectionate at the same time. “You can stay here if you want.”

 

Jimin opens his mouth like he wants to say something, but he doesn’t. 

 

He just hugs Jungkook back, and they spend the rest of the party glued together against the wall, watching Yugyeom make a fool of himself. 

 

*******

 

“Come on Jackson, you’re really gonna let a rookie whoop your ass?” Jungkook jeers from the side of the mat, entirely too pleased that Jimin has progressed to the point where he can actually beat half of the competition team. All it took was a little re-teaching; thanks to his dance foundations Jimin was a natural, in complete control of his body. It was fun watching him spar, like watching a hawk circle prey--elegant, yet powerful. 

 

Jackson can barely keep up with the way he moves, and Jungkook has never been more proud of a pupil. Come to think of it, he’s never had a pupil before this. 

 

“Hey Kook, let me borrow you for a second.” Yugyeom grabs his shoulder and Jungkook frowns, turning back to look at Jimin. He really wanted to watch him kick Jackson’s face in. 

 

“What is it?” Jungkook allows himself to be led to the less populated side of the practice room, not sure why they suddenly had to have an emergency meeting. Yugyeom stares at him for an awkward amount of time before gesturing for him to lean in; Jungkook does so reluctantly.

 

“I think Jimin likes you.”

 

Jungkook does that thing where he laughs inappropriately loud and gets the attention of the whole room, and damn, he really needs to stop doing that, but seriously? Jimin liking him? That would be like Yugyeom liking him. Jimin was one of his best friends, he wouldn’t just ruin all that over some stupid little crush

 

“You’re way off the mark dude. We’re like brothers.”

 

“Dude, he’s starting to get upset when he sees you walking around with girls.” Yugyeom keeps his voice low and serious, which doesn’t make any sense because he’s spewing nonsense. “He doesn’t get mad like that when I bring my girlfriend along.”

 

“Yugyeom, you’re just imagining things. Like you said, no one actually likes me, they like the idea of me.” Jungkook feels a little bad about himself when he says it out loud, but it’s the honest to god truth; most people couldn’t stand him for more than an hour, Jimin included. “Besides, there’s that boy he’s talking to from the drama department--Kim Taehyung? They look nice together.”

 

“Yeah, but they’re not together . He’s into you , Kook.”

 

“He’s not.” Jungkook says firmly, crossing his arms over his chest. How dare Yugyeom make him miss Jimin’s fight over this slanderous nonsense. “Look, i’ll go track down that Kim guy myself, ask him why they’re not dating yet. This is all just you being stupid .”

   

Jungkook does indeed track down Kim Taehyung later that day. 

 

Yugyeom was not, in fact, being stupid. 

 

According to Taehyung, Jimin declined his courtship because he likes someone else. Also according to Taehyung, there was a solid seventy-five percent chance that someone else was one of his close friends. 

 

Jungkook doesn’t know what to do with this information. Should he ask Jimin about it? Try to get him to stop liking him? But was that even really fair to Jimin? Shit, he’s never had one of his friends like him before. 

 

In true Jeon Jungkook fashion, he decides to avoid Jimin until he can figure out what to do about their predicament. Avoiding Jimin requires also avoiding Yugyeom, which truly hurts his needy little heart, but Jungkook powers through loneliness because he’d rather sort through the problem than end up losing one of his friends. 

 

Being alone entails seeking a lot more alternative attention, but he tries not to let his hook ups get out of hand because Yugyeom has eyes and ears everywhere and Jungkook’s current behaviors might seem to be concerningly unhealthy. He manages to fly under the radar for two whole weeks before Yugyeom breaks into his apartment for an intervention. 

 

The raid finds Jungkook on the couch in his boxers, devouring a bowl of ramen while watching One Piece. Not his most attractive moment, but they’ve all seen each other in worse condition.

 

“Glad to see you’ve devolved.”

 

“How did you get into my apartment?”

 

“Not important.” Yugyeom joins him on the couch and snatches the ramen out of his hands, setting it on the coffee table. “You need to hurry up and fix things with Jimin.”

 

“What do you mean? There’s nothing to fix.” Jungkook hugs a cushion to his chest, immediately on the defensive. “We’re all still friends.”

 

“Dude, you’ve been freaking out over Jimin liking you for two weeks. That’s a world record for you.”

 

“No it’s not.”

 

“When you thought Yoongi hyung liked you it only took you five minutes to get over it.”

 

“Yeah, because we kissed and there was no spark. He literally gagged,” Jungkook recalls with mild trauma; one of the few times he actually went over to drink with the basketball team they ended up playing a very spicy game of spin the bottle and poor little Jungkook, under the impression that Min Yoongi was taking far too much care of him, had all of his concerns for a taboo intra team relationship blooming squandered when that same Min yoongi kissed him and commented, objectively, on how bad he was. (Jungkook has since improved). 

 

“Yeah, well maybe that’s what Jimin needs,” Yugyeom starts eating his ramen, pointing with his chopsticks. “Maybe he needs to see that you guys don’t have that spark. He’s got better options anyways, and hanging out with us has made everyone cool with him.”

 

“So you think I should kiss my best friend to get him to stop liking me?” Jungkook tries his best not to be insulted that Jimin apparently has ‘better options’ nearby.

 

“If that’s what it takes to get your head out of your ass, then yes . Invite him over, sneak in a quick peck and bury your concerns.”

 

“Well, what if he says no?”

 

“Then I was wrong and he doesn’t like you. Either way, we can go back to having game nights and hanging out at the cafe.”

 

“And it won’t go wrong?”

 

“Jungkook, it’s just a kiss . We’re all adults man, a kiss isn’t going to mess things up.”

 

*******

 

“Long time no see, Kook,”

 

Jimin walks into his apartment in sweatpants and an oversized hoodie, arms full of snacks for their movie night; Jungkook blanks because it’s been so long since he’s seen him and now they’re just supposed to kiss? How could he ever kiss his precious Jimin? 

 

“Yeah, uh, sorry about that. I just had some personal problems, and i’m bad at sharing.” He stands to the side awkwardly and scratches his head, watching as Jimin walks over to the couch and spreads out his things. 

 

“Well you know i’m here for you if you ever want to. It’s not good to lock yourself away like that.”

 

“Yeah, I,” Jungkook clears his throat, walking over to the couch. He takes a seat and grabs the remote, trying his best to play it cool. Just a kiss, they’re adults. “Thanks hyung. You okay with watching the avengers?”

 

“If I must ,” Jimin sighs dramatically and takes his seat next to Jungkook, bringing a bag of chips with him. Jungkook has seen the movie a million times so it’s easy for him to stop paying attention, and even easier for him to start watching Jimin through his peripherals. His baby hyung is engrossed in the movie, munching on chips and occasionally fidgeting when someone on screen takes a tough hit or there’s an explosion--how would they even get to the kissing part? Should he say something?

 

“Hyung,” Jungkook calls out, crafting together an innocent yet dastardly plan. “Could I ask you something?”

 

“What is it?” Jimin pauses the movie and sets his chips down like he expects a serious discussion; Jungkook feels weird butterflies in his stomach. Come on, it’s just a stupid kiss

 

“Could you,” He leans back and clasps his hands together, mustering up the last few drops of courage stored in the back of his chest. “Kiss me?”

 

“...What?”

 

“N-nothing, I, just,” Jungkook wasn’t ready for this bullshit. How could he possibly look into Jimin’s sparkly eyes and ask for a kiss? Jimin was his baby hyung. Jimin was his sweet, precious friend that he was to protect at all costs. Jimin was not someone he should be kissing, especially not to find out if he liked him.

 

“Kook,” Jungkook stiffens when he feels a palm against his jaw, and now he has no choice but to stare into jimin’s sparkly eyes because Jimin is looking straight at him . “It’s okay. We can-...you can try.”

 

“Try?” Jungkook feels his skin heat up, eyes darting down to Jimin’s lips. Were they always so plump, or did he spend the movie biting them? That was a terrible habit of his, Jungkook would have to scold him later.

 

“Kissing me.” Now Jimin is scooting closer and tilting his head, and the light from the television is outlining his features beautifully--Jungkook feels that weird tightness in his chest again and wishes he had his antacid medication. 

 

“Okay, i’ll just,” Jungkook tries to loosen up, tries to ease his heartbeat and settle his stomach and stop his hands from shaking because it’s just a kiss, right? This means nothing. There’s no spark, and Jimin will see that, and it’ll be an awkward interaction that they laugh about at reunions. Hey, remember that one time we kissed while watching the avengers?

 

“You can touch me.” Jimin offers, glancing at where the younger has his hands hovering awkwardly; Jungkook swallows and nods his head, gently grasping the back of Jimin’s neck to pull him in. It was just a kiss, just a kiss, no big deal , he’ll just close his eyes and lean in, just a quick peck and he can pull back. Their lips touch and he doesn’t feel a jolt, or butterflies in his stomach, or even a little flutter in his heart--another wouldn’t hurt, right? It can’t because there’s no spark. 

 

Jungkook can handle this easily, he’ll just steal a few more kisses because he can , because he’s been put at ease and Jimin’s lips are so soft, and his voice sounds so nice when it’s breathless like this, and his hands feel good carding through Jungkook’s hair, gripping at his back. Just a few more times and he’ll stop, or maybe he’ll let Jimin pull away first? Jimin was the one who needed to realize that there wasn’t a spark. He’ll stop when Jimin does, but Jimin is nipping and licking at his lips now--should he do the same? A little tongue couldn’t hurt, a kiss was still a kiss after all. 

 

“Kook, wait,” Jimin stops and Jungkook tells himself it isn’t disappointment he feels as he comes down from his high. This was how things were supposed to go; the spark wasn’t there, and now they’re just best friends again, and he can put all of this behind him. “How far are we going?”

 

“As far as you want.” It made sense, right? Jimin had to see that there’s no spark between them. Jungkook was a good friend, he’d go as far as necessary to show him that. 

 

“...Can we go to the bed then?” Jimin adjusts his sweatshirt to cover the front of his pants and Jungkook is momentarily sobered, glancing down--when did he get hard? Was he going to--could he even…

 

“Hyung, i’ve never-”

 

“It’s okay. I can help you.” Jimin smirks and takes his hand and Jungkook’s brain melts

 

He follows his hyung to bed like he’s been bewitched, thanking the heavens he went out and bought more condoms yesterday. Jimin is a flirty, giggling mess as he drags him back, and Jungkook can’t help but kiss him even more, hold him close, fall victim to his gravity. 

 

If this wasn't a spark, what was it? A flame? A forest fire? A whole god damn volcano

 

Jungkook fully intends to find out.

 

“Hold on,” His mind is moving a mile a minute. Jimin is spread out on his bed, stripped down to his briefs and palming himself to stay stimulated--Jungkook needs to find the stupid lube, and his towel, and maybe a plushie for Jimin to hug in case anything hurts. God, that would be so cute. He settles for bringing back the lube and a small towel, but if there’s ever a next time he’s going full throttle, no holds barred. “Could you strip down?”

 

“Yeah.” Jimin looks perfectly comfortable tugging off his briefs, and it doesn’t match the cute image Jungkook just had in his head, or the overall ‘baby hyung’ persona he’s created for Jimin. No, the creature on his bed is something else entirely, oozing confidence as he spreads his legs and settles back against the pillows like he belongs there. “You sure you don’t want me to do it myself?” 

 

“My fingers are longer.” Jungkook finds his own confidence, settling between Jimin’s legs with the tiniest bit of curiosity flaring. Would this feel good? Was there somewhere his hyung liked to be touched? Jungkook pours a generous amount of lube onto his fingers and rubs warmth into it, ever the gentleman , before he makes his first attempt. 

 

Jimin exhales slowly as he takes the first finger, going limp, or at least trying to until Jungkook curls his finger and probes around gently; eventually he finds what he’s looking for and Jimin tenses back up. The way he tightens around his finger is making Jungkook dizzy, delirious with the wrong kind of thoughts--he stops teasing and goes back to working Jimin open, using his free hand to spread his hyung’s legs wider so that he has a better view. 

 

“Pervert.” Jimin huffs, sliding his hand down to rest against his stomach. Jungkook keeps staring anyways, blatantly watching the way Jimin’s cock jumps against his stomach if he’s stimulated right like he’s fascinated, which he sort of is . He adds a second finger, takes his time sinking it in before he’s rubbing circles into what he assumes is Jimin’s prostate; Jimin is clawing at his own skin, biting his lip to keep quiet but it’s all pointless because once Jungkook sneaks in a third finger he can’t hold back his moan.

 

Jungkook thinks it would be nice to see what Jimin looks like when he comes. 

 

“Hyung,” He starts to say, thrusting his fingers deeper, all too aware that he won’t get a reply. Jungkook slides his free hand up, trailing past thick thighs to a tapered v-line, hesitating near the jut of Jimin’s hips before he curls his fingers around his cock and tugs, instantly rewarded with a soft whine. “Hyung, you look good like this.”

 

“Shut up,” Jimin throws his arm over his eyes but he’s smiling, cheeks tinted pink from more than just lust. Will he keep smiling if he’s pushed to the brink?

 

“Jimin hyung,” Jungkook calls out one last time, working his hands in tandem; Jimin goes taut like a bowstring, lets out a litany of ‘ ah ah ah ’s and that’s it. Jungkook stares down at the mess on his hand, pulls his fingers back out and sears the image to the back of his retinas because he’s been knocked back to his senses. 

 

What the fuck did he just do?

 

*****

 

“Why are we meeting up without Jimin?” Yugyeom slurps his americano loudly, getting an old man from two booths over to glare. It’s a miracle they haven’t banned them from this cafe yet, honestly.

 

“I fingered him yesterday,” Jungkook says without an ounce of shame. Yugyeom chokes on his drink and the old man two booths over grins wickedly. “Gyeom, we made out, and I--I pleasured him and then cleaned him up.” 

 

“What the fu---I told you to kiss him!” Yugyeom hisses, bug-eyed and angry. “Jeon Jungkook, you just made things worse. Jimin will never get over you if you--if you did something like that .”

 

“I didn’t fuck him or anything, I just got him off with my hands,” Jungkook tries to argue, but it’s a pointless argument even to his own ears. What was he thinking? How did he let things go that far? With his sweet precious baby Jimin , no less? “That’s not bad, right? Friends fuck around sometimes.”

 

“Yeah, well are you okay with doing it again?”

 

“What?”

 

“You’ve opened up a door that never closes, Kook. Jimin’s gonna be coming around for the good dick and you either say yes or no--shit, game nights are gonna be so weird now!” Yugyeom groans and slams his head against the table, and Jungkook promptly lifts it back up to interrogate his friend. 

 

“He won’t ask again. Why would he--you’re being stupid. We were just experimenting,” Jungkook fumbles for a future where he’s right , only to be damned by a bright, bold notification that pops up on his phone where both of them can see it. 

 

Come over to my place tonight?

 

“Is that Jimin?”

 

“No, that’s uh,” Jungkook clears his throat, flipping his phone over. “That’s none of your business, Yugyeom.”

 

“Don’t you dare go over to his place.”

 

“...I won’t.”

 

“Jeon Jungkook, I swear to god -”

 

“I won’t!”

 

Jungkook shows up on Jimin’s doorstep at seven o’clock sharp. 

 

He’s wearing one of his nicer shirts, the expensive cologne, a bunch of shit that makes him look more handsome than he should considering he’s visiting his friend . His friend that he was not going to have sex with, in spite of the condoms tucked into his wallet. 

 

Definitely not.

 

“Kook-ah, come in!” Jimin smiles and wraps an arm around his shoulders, pulling him towards the living room. There are two other people there, one he recognizes as Taehyung and another guy he thinks he’s seen around the business department a few times; Jungkook bows his head in greeting as he’s led to a seat on the floor, Jimin falling into his lap shortly after. Jungkook keeps his hands to himself. “Guys, this is Jungkook. He teaches me taekwondo.”

 

“So you’re the reason my wrist is sprained?” The man Jungkook doesn’t know grumbles, and Jimin throws him a dirty look.

 

“Shut up Hoseok. You shouldn’t have grabbed my ass.”

 

“Well you shouldn’t have stolen my phone, or my fries, or my car keys.” Hoseok argues, reaching for a card--were they playing something? It seemed like they were just lounging around. “Maybe i’ll have him teach me too, so I can sprain your wrist.”

 

“Hyung,” Jungkook starts politely, confused as to why he’s been invited to game night with strangers. “I thought you wanted to talk about something?”

 

“Yeah, there was something ,” Jimin blinks innocently, crawling out of his lap. “Sorry, I forgot you don’t like strangers. You can go and wait in my room. We won’t be long!”

 

Jungkook nods curtly and stands back up, thoroughly confused. Didn’t Jimin bring him here for--

 

No, don’t go there, you promised Yugyeom you wouldn’t.

 

It briefly occurs to Jungkook that he’s never been in Jimin’s room, and when he opens the door it’s a complete culture shock. There’s a second bed filled entirely with plushies, but on the shelf behind it there’s a stand with swords and model guns and a few fighter jets. Jimin’s desk is huge , his computer has all sorts of fancy production equipment hooked up to it, speakers the size of Jungkook’s nightstand and a bookshelf full of records and composition books. There’s a hoody Jungkook lent him a few months ago tossed over the back of his chair, and his clothes are color-coded, but his shoes are thrown into piles, and it’s complete chaos

 

Jungkook decides to take a seat on the bed he assumes Jimin actually sleeps in, staring down a giant rilakkuma plushie--does it watch Jimin get off? Wait, why does he even care-

 

“Sorry again, Kook.” Jimin calls out as he walks into the room, reaching for his eyeglasses. Jimin wears glasses? “The guys were just killing time until dance practice. I didn’t plan on them being here.”

 

“It’s fine.” Jungkook stiffens up a little when Jimin takes a seat next to him, wary of losing control again; Jimin must notice, because he chuckles and scoots away. 

 

“You’re feeling awkward about what we did, aren’t you?”

 

“No. I’m the one who asked, I don’t-”

 

“It’s okay to feel weird about it Kook. I’m your friend, and a guy .” Jimin smiles good-naturedly and cards his fingers through his hair, tilting his head to the side. “Do you want me to back off for a bit?”

 

“No, it’s fine, really, I-” Jungkook swallows the lump in his throat, looking around so he could avoid eye contact. “Your room’s pretty cool.”

 

“Really? Everyone always says it doesn’t suit me,” Jimin sighs and adjusts his glasses, looking around too. He’s obviously seen everything but he must be doing it for Jungkook’s sake, so that he feels less awkward. “That, or it doesn’t make sense.”

 

“It suits you because it doesn’t make sense.” Jungkook takes in the confusing collection of items again, recognizing each as a little piece of Jimin. “I don’t know if anyone’s ever told you this, but you’re kind of a lot hyung.”

 

“What does that mean?”

 

“Well, you’ve got a lot of different sides. When we first met, I thought you were a crybaby, and then after we started hanging out I thought that you were pure and I should protect you.” Jungkook scratches his chin, going through all of the different Jimin’s he’s experienced. “That night we went out to the party you were bossy, kind of a spitfire--then during the day you’re all cuddly and innocent and you take care of us. You try hard but you’re kind of clumsy, and it’s cute, but just when I think you’re cute you do something-” Jungkook stomps out that train of thought as soon as it appears. No, nope, that’s not what he was here for. 

 

“I do what?” Jimin tilts his head like a puppy, and Jungkook has to take a good long moment to think about why he’s been so observant with Jimin. Was he the one with the spark all along?

 

“You look hot, I guess.”

 

“And it makes you panic when I look hot?” Jimin’s tongue flicks out to wet his lips and Jungkook feels like the condom in his pocket is burning a hole through his pants, chanting use me in satanic mantra. 

 

“It makes me worried . Guys at this school may seem more open, but some of them have bad intentions--they might try to sleep with you and hurt you, or something. People are trash.”

 

“And what about you, Kook?”

 

“What about me?”

 

“Why’d you kiss me last night?” Jimin stares straight into his eyes and Jungkook freezes up again, probably giving off the wrong vibes. Being honest in this situation kind of screwed him over, but lying screwed him over twice as hard, and Jeon Jungkook has never been a good liar. 

 

“I kissed you to see if you liked me.” He admits, and boy does it feel weird to say that out loud to someone who was never supposed to find out .

 

“You kissed me instead of just asking ?”

 

“It was Yugyeom’s idea!”

 

“So then that two weeks you were hiding-- I  was the personal matter you had to sort out?” Jimin raises his eyebrows and Jungkook feels weirdly stupid, like every decision he’s made up until now has been pointless. 

 

“Yeah, I kinda freaked out. I didn’t want to lose you if you liked me and I didn’t-” He takes a minute to really think about how he’s going to say this, because Jimin is a lot more perceptive than he gives off. “I wanted to keep my best friend, but I didn’t want to hurt him.”

 

“So you hooked up with me instead?”

 

“I would never -” Jungkook huffs indignantly, turning to give Jimin a hard look. “Hyung, I wouldn’t do something like that to you.”

 

“Then what was last night, Jungkook?” Jimin asks carefully, like he’s traipsing dangerous waters; Jungkook curls his fingers into the bedsheets, heart pounding against his ear drums. 

 

What was it? Why did he do that? Why did he come here today?

 

“I don’t know,” Jungkook’s shoulders slump as he comes to terms with his own confusion. “I wanted you to feel good, so I did those things. But once you were gone, I didn’t know why i’d started in the first place.”

 

“Jungkook, maybe you’re the one who likes me.”

 

Jungkook opens and closes his mouth a few times, mumbling a confused “What?”

 

“I don’t like you Jungkook. I never have, not like that at least.” Jimin’s admission is like a ton of bricks dropped directly on his heart, straight through his core, a literal massacre of all the feelings he didn’t know he had. 

 

“Oh. Ouch.” Jungkook feels his chest burn in that weird way again and reaches for the mini pack of tums in his pocket, trying to take one--Jimin grabs his wrist to stop him, clicking his tongue against his teeth. Was he irritated ? At Jungkook’s heartburn?  

 

“Stop taking those. You don’t have acid reflux, you’re just in love.”

 

“Wha….what?”

 

“That tight feeling in your chest happens because you like me Jungkook.”

 

“No way.” Jungkook shakes his head. “Hyung, I can’t like you. You’re my Jiminnie hyung.”

 

“Then why do you keep fucking girls who look like me?” Jimin presses, and Jungkook really has to take a step back and think about it. He only kind of sort of did that, and it had to be a coincidence, right? After all, there were only so many people Jungkook could hook up with, and it was inevitable that some of them were a little similar- “Don’t try to reason your way out of this Jeon Jungkook. You like me.”

 

“Well,” Jungkook blinks, coming to a rather unfortunate realization. Even if he liked Jimin, Jimin didn’t like him back. “I think...I think I need to go home.”

 

“Why don’t you head over to Yugyeom’s instead?”

 

“No, I-” Jimin probably wouldn’t let him leave if he refused. Jungkook just wanted to be alone. “Actually, that sounds like a good idea.”

 

“Here, i’ll walk you over-”

 

“No, it’s fine.” Jungkook clears his throat, straightening jacket. “I think I do need a break from you, Jimin.”

 

Why did he come here?

 

Idiot

 

********

 

Have you heard from him ?”

 

No, sorry hyung. He’s cut all of us off, and practices are out for the semester .”

 

You can’t reach him at home ?”

 

Jungkook never told any of us where he lives .”

 

*********

 

“Sweetheart,” Jungkook’s mother calls from the kitchen, where she always seems to be; ever since they got one of those fridges with the tablet installed it’s like she doesn’t have a reason to leave. That, or she just wants to eternally hover around her son, who’s always vegetating in the living room. “You’re sure you don’t want to go back for the winter camp? Or even just to visit your friends before christmas?”

 

“I’m fine mom.”

 

“Well why don’t you invite them over here? We could have a nice dinner.”

 

“I don’t want to see any of them, I just-” Jungkook groans and grabs the nearest cushion, screaming into it; his mother sighs from where she’s posted in the doorway, like she has been ever since Jungkook suddenly showed up on the doorstep crying and heartbroken over some boy

 

(Neither of his parents had been particularly surprised. Jungkook was mildly offended.)

 

“You should at least talk to him, sweetheart. That boy is your friend, isn’t he?”

 

“My friend who doesn't like me, who I like, mom. We can’t be friends now.” 

 

"That's nonsense sweetheart!" The pillow is pulled from his face and he sulks because he'd been enjoying the self-produced darkness. “You can still be friends, and even if you doubt that, who says you can’t change his heart?”

 

“Mom, he used to spend all day with me. He would cuddle up to me, and look for me after class, and-” Jungkook sniffles, and tells himself it’s the allergies and not his undying love for Jimin. “He’s not going to change his feelings. He’ll meet someone better over break, and we’ll never talk again.”

 

“No one is better than my son.”

 

“Mom-”

 

“Don’t mom me. We’re fixing this Jungkook--go out and pick up some meat, the most expensive you can find. We’re inviting this boy over, and you will at least try to change his mind!”

 

If it was anyone else, Jungkook would kick and scream and argue until he died. Unfortunately, one did not argue with his mother, and so he finds himself walking to the supermarket to pick up stupidly expensive hanwoo and vegetables he can’t even spell for a man who most certainly does not like him and will not appreciate them. It’s all on his mom’s card so he buys as much as she would buy, plus a bottle of soju because he’d need some kind of alcohol therapy in order to make it through his friendship dinner. Jungkook thinks he could use a bag of chips too, so he takes a detour down the snack aisle to grab his favorite honey twists. They’re on sale, but there’s only one bag left on the shelf. Lucky him

 

Jungkook quickly checks his phone as he reaches for the bag, jolting when another set of fingers brush against his; his eyes shoot up, apology on the tip of his tongue, but it's Jimin staring back at him. Was he hallucinating?

 

“J-jungkook…”

 

No, this was real .

 

“Jungkook, wait-” Jungkook abandons his favorite chips and hauls ass towards the register, walking as quickly as is socially acceptable with Jimin hot on his heels. Why did he have to run into him here? Why did he have such bad luck? Why was the universe hell-bent on making Jungkook miserable

 

“Jungkook, can we talk? Please,” Jimin grabs his free arm and Jungkook really wants to swing his basket at the other man and escape, but something tells him tossing meat this expensive in front of his elders would lead to a permanent ban from the store. Be cool, it’s just Jimin. He doesn’t even like you-

 

Jungkook groans pitifully. 

 

“Jungkook, I-”

 

“We can talk at my house.” Jungkook says in his most polite, curt tone, loading his groceries onto the belt. Jimin swallows and nods, and once everything is bagged and paid for they make their way back to the Jeon family home in silence.

 

Jungkook’s mother is ecstatic when they walk in--of course she is, this is her youngest son and the boy he likes, the one that she’s aggressively trying to get him to date. Jungkook doesn’t share her enthusiasm, naturally, but there’s nothing he can do when Jimin is welcomed like family, ushered into the seat next to him at the table and presented with a feast. 

 

“Jimin, Jungkook always says so much about you!” She’s absolutely glowing, and it makes Jungkook sink further into his seat. “I was hoping he’d bring you home sooner, but he’s always so defensive of his space and his things.”

 

“Really?” Jimin has barely touched his food, and even seems a little uncomfortable--Jungkook remembers him saying something about how his relationship with his parents was still a little rocky. “He always let me use his things.”

 

“You must be quite special to him then. You know, there was this boy he came home crying about-”

 

“Mom, don’t .” Jungkook sets down his chopsticks aggressively to stare his maker down, fully prepared to fight to the death in exchange for his dignity. 

 

“He’s your friend, so he should know sweety. How else will you stop liking him?”

 

“You still like m-..him?” Jimin cuts in, looking happy for the first time since he walked in.

 

“It’s none of your business if I like him . Besides, he doesn’t like me, so I don’t see why he would care.”

 

“Well, maybe he wasn’t being honest with you,” Jimin counters, and Jungkook’s mother gasps. She was definitely enjoying this. 

 

“He seemed pretty honest to me when he said he never liked me.”

 

He could’ve been uncertain, considering you freaked out on him after-” Jimin pauses, cheeks tinting a little pink when he makes eye contact with Jungkook’s mother. “After you kissed him.”

 

“I did not freak out!”

 

“You avoided eye contact until I left!”

 

“So what? Just because I was a little shy-”

 

“Shell-shocked, Jungkook. You were shell-shocked , like you made a mistake.”

 

“Oh, I forgot I promised Mrs. Oh i’d take a walk with her tonight!” Jungkook’s mother stands up abruptly, clasping her hands together. “Jungkook, Jimin, be dears and clean up, would you?”

 

“Mom, don’t-”

 

“See you later!”

 

The front door slams shut and Jungkook slaps his hands over his face, groaning in despair. Why him? Why today ?

 

“So you told your family about...about how you feel?” Jimin asks carefully, and if Jungkook wasn’t so busy wallowing in self-pity he’d turn around and punch him. 

 

Yes Jimin , I came out to my family about the boy who doesn’t even like me, and I've been home ever since. Why are you here anyways?”

 

“I’m from Busan. I was visiting my little brother,” Jimin reaches for the soju bottle and pours each of them a drink. “He really likes those honey chips.”

 

“He has good taste in everything but siblings .” Jungkook grumbles, snatching up his glass and downing the alcohol. After a moment’s hesitation he decides that Jimin doesn’t deserve any of the soju and drinks his glass too. 

 

“Jungkook, what I said back then, I didn’t-”

 

“Don’t say you didn’t mean it.” Jungkook grinds his teeth as he pours himself another shot, reigning in the flurry of negative emotions in his chest. He was angry, mostly at himself for not realizing when he first started falling for his friend, but also at Jimin for coming back and making him all confused again. How was he supposed to get over him when he was here ? “If that’s what you wanted to talk about, we’re done.”

 

“Please let me explain Kook. I never meant to hurt you.” Jimin sounds small and fragile, and soft, and Jungkook reminds himself that this is his sweet precious baby hyung that he’s inevitably fallen for. He turns to face him and realizes all the things he didn’t see because he was trying so hard not to look; Jimin’s hair is dyed now, a pretty ash blonde, and he’s wrapped up in the hoody he took from Jungkook at the start of the semester, with twinges of silver and purple like the color had recently faded. He’s just as handsome as Jungkook remembers, maybe a little thinner, muscles and collar bones a little more prominent, but still Jimin , still cute and sexy and all sorts of things that shouldn’t go together. And for whatever it may be worth, he looks just as miserable as Jungkook. 

 

“If you liked me, why did you lie?” Jungkook’s voice cracks a little as he takes another shot of soju, the bitter liquid turning sweet as it hits the back of his throat. “Why did you let things get like this?”

 

“I thought I was just...just a phase for you. Some part of yourself you were exploring," Jimin looks down and tugs at his sweatshirt's strings, tightening the hood. "I can't be that for you Jungkook. I like you too much."

 

"You didn't even give me a chance." 

 

"You ran away before I could." 

 

Jungkook squeezes the glass in his hand, and part of him wishes it was his stupid heart instead, or the part of his brain that insisted being with Jimin was wrong because they were friends. He did run, he can’t deny that, but what else could he have done? In what universe did they not end up at this table, trying to make amends? One where he was just honest with himself?

 

“So what now? Do I just...suck it up and forget you?” Jungkook shakes his head and pours another drink, sliding the half-empty bottle away from himself. “Should I just call it a phase and transfer somewhere else?”

 

“You could confess to me.”

 

Jimin takes the soju and tilts his head back, finishing the bottle in one go. It’s both impressive and concerning, because for as quickly as he finished the drink his entire body begins to flush red like he’s a cartoon character. Jungkook stares at his own meager shot and half-wishes he had the courage to do the same. 

 

Just confess. What’s the worst that could happen? He already rejected you.

 

“Jimin, I like you. I want to be with you.” It’s so easy to say it now--way too easy, in fact. Jungkook doesn’t understand how he wasn’t saying it before, how he resisted so strongly and twisted the truth to fit his narrative. Because he had the same concerns as Jimin, maybe--that he was just a phase, that Jimin needed him as a friend and not a lover, but he’d take what he could get. “I’m serious about it, and if you say no I can’t keep being friends with you. It wouldn’t be fair to either of us.”

 

Jimin doesn't say anything, and for a moment all Jungkook can think is this is it . They won't talk anymore, they won't see each other, they'll become nothing but fond, bittersweet memories to ponder over as the years pass. He'd hate it, but he would respect Jimin's decision.

 

"I like you too."

 

Jungkook blanks as his back hits the floor, eyes shooting open just in time to see Jimin dive down for a kiss. His entire body tingles, a mix of the pain from falling and the instant pleasure that follows when Jimin’s hands work up his waist and chest, down his arms--Jungkook barely connects the dots fast enough to register that they’re making out on his parent’s kitchen floor. What would his mother think?

 

“Jungkookie, i’m so sorry,” Jimin pants between kisses, sliding his hands back up to push against the younger’s chest. “I wanted you so bad, I should’ve waited, I shouldn’t have-”

 

“Wait-” Jungkook sits up, nearly bucking his smaller hyung off. His back muscles hurt a little but everything seems to be functioning, which is more than he can ask for given their moment of passion. “Hyung, i’m still not ready.”

 

“You’re not-...what?” It’s Jimin’s turn to look dumbfounded, with wet, swollen lips and messy hair; Jungkook probably looked worse.

 

“I wasn’t lying when I said I didn’t know how to…” Jungkook sighs and tugs at his hair, not sure if he’s disappointed or happy that Jimin will be one of his firsts. “Could we maybe work up to it?”

 

“Work up to it how?”

 

“With dates, and talking, and,” Jungkook feels his cheeks heat up a little at his final condition, eyes averting to the floor and voice lowering. “ n’maybecuddles .”

 

“And what ?”

 

“Cuddles,” He repeats just barely above a whisper, and Jimin gives him a funny look and leans closer because he apparently still can’t hear. “I said cuddles!”

 

“Did Jeon Jungkook just admit he wants my cuddles?” Jimin smiles and sits back, proud of the new information; Jungkook hates skinship. There were even a handful of times he’d slipped away when Jimin made grabby hands for him, which was saying a lot because no one could resist Jimin’s grabby hands. “What next, is the world going to catch on fire?”

 

“If you don’t agree with my terms we can go back to avoiding each other.”

 

“Okay, okay.” Jimin raises his hands in surrender, and Jungkook pushes himself up, frowning when he realizes Jimin is slightly taller like this, perched in his lap. He wraps his arms around Jimin’s waist and tugs down, but there’s still  a height difference even when the elder is fully seated in his lap, and Jungkook can’t help but pout a little, nose scrunching up when Jimin kisses his temple. “What’s wrong Kookie?”

 

“I don’t like it when you’re higher than me.”

 

“You’re the one who put me in your lap.”

 

“Yeah, well, “ Jungkook shrugs and sits up straighter, pressing a kiss to Jimin’s jaw. “You could still slouch or something, you know-”

 

“Jungkook, i’m a dancer, I can’t have bad posture.”

 

“You could ,”

 

“Even if I could, I wouldn’t do it so you could feel taller. You’re tall enough, you giant baby.”

 

“Well if you’re too high up you can’t kiss me.” Jungkook points out rather reasonably in his humble opinion, earning himself the strongest eye roll of the century, probably a 9.8 on the richter scale . Jimin then proceeds to prove him wrong by grabbing his face and kissing him hard, and Jungkook would honestly keep kissing him all night if his father hadn’t walked in halfway through for a glass of water and shouted at the top of his lungs for them to get a room. 

 

*******

 

“So, why are we here today Mr. Jeon.” Yugyeom stares over his cup of coffee like a disapproving parent, like he doesn’t even want to be there and Jungkook isn’t worth his time. Jungkook deserves it, considering he just cut off all contact and ran away for a month, but it’s still a little annoying to owe an apology to Kim Yugyeom of all people. Yugyeom spent more time annoying Jungkook than he did breathing



“I’m sorry, Gyeom.” The words feel heavy, much more difficult than anything he’s ever had to say in his life; Yugyeom looks at him like he expects more. “Okay, I’m really, really sorry.”

 

“Sorry for what? Ditching us? Disappearing? Not even sending a text ? You know Jimin looked for you every day-”

 

“I know.” Jungkook swallows nervously, twisting his mug. Jimin had given him the mother of all scoldings once they’d settled their feelings, plus or minus a few hugs and kisses because talking about emotions stressed the younger out. “I’m sorry, man. I just had a lot going on.”

 

“A lot that you couldn’t share?”

 

“It was about Jimin,” He starts, unsure of how to phrase his next thought. He settles for simple. “I like him.”

 

“You-” Yugyeom slaps his hands on his cheeks and gasps, and the cashier (who was probably glad that Jungkook hasn’t been here for a month) glares in their direction. “You had a whole sexuality crisis without me ?”

 

“Jimin is your friend too. I didn’t want to make you pick a side.” Jungkook sighs and stares at his quickly cooling macchiato, the little foam heart already melted into a formless blob. “Besides, I wasn’t worried about that. I thought he didn’t like me back.”

 

“You thought,” Yugyeom starts in his strictest motherly tone, until he realizes what Jungkook just said and his voice cracks. “Wait, you thought ? As in now you know -”

 

“Kook, what are you doing here?” 

 

Jimin surprises them both, sliding into the booth next to Jungkook and giving him a kiss. The wail of distress that Yugyeom lets out is probably among his top ten sounds of betrayal, maybe top five even--the cashier starts walking over to their table to tell them to shut up and Jimin stops her to order a drink, mistaking the flush to her cheeks for shyness when it was in fact undying rage

 

“I think the barista likes me,” Jimin murmurs as he cuddles against Jungkook’s side, much more touchy and open and affectionate than he had been the last time they all gathered here; Yugyeom makes laser-eyes at where he’s clutching Jungkook’s arm, and Jungkook mentally prepares himself for another screech.

 

“No hyung, she’s mad at us. She’s always kinda mad at us.”

 

“Why? Because of Yugyeom?” Jimin blinks his eyes innocently, and Yugyeom’s hands shake as he takes a sip of his coffee to calm himself (or maybe to stop himself from screaming, who knows). The table falls silent, Jimin staring at Jungkook, Jungkook staring at Yugyeom, Yugyeom staring between them both ; Yugyeom sets down his cup with a disproportionately polite smile. 

 

“Jimin, what’s that you’ve got there?” He points to Jungkook’s arm, and Jimin tilts his head in confusion, reaching out to steal a sip of his boyfriend’s drink.

 

“Jungkookie, I guess. Why?” He swallows a small mouthful and Jungkook isn’t shy about watching his adam’s apple bob, which means he definitely isn’t shy about wiping off the little cream mustache that ends up on Jimin’s lip, licking his thumb clean without really thinking about the consequences. 

 

“And why is Jungkookie cleaning your lips for you?”

 

“Because they were dirty?”

 

“Why would he care about your lips?”

 

“Yugyeom, I don’t get why you’re-” Jimin’s brow furrows for a few seconds before he lets out a soft ‘oh’, eyes widening as he turns to his boyfriend with an apologetic pout. “You didn’t tell him yet, did you?”

 

“I was kind of in the middle of it.” Jungkook shrugs, secretly hoping Jimin takes another sip of his drink. 

 

“Well it should be fine now, right? He already saw.” Jimin doesn’t disappoint, and Jungkook is about to lean over and kiss off the cream this time when Yugyeom clears his throat and clasps his hands together loudly, staring his two friends down. 

 

“Are you two fucking?”

 

“No,” Jimin admits disappointedly, licking the cream off of his own lip and effectively shattering Jungkook’s hopes and dreams. “Kookie says we can’t until we work up to it.”

 

“He meant are we dating hyung,” Jungkook quickly explains, enjoying the way Yugyeom looks emotionally scarred. “Yes, we’re dating.”

 

“Seriously?”

 

“No, jokingly .”

 

“And you’re only telling me this now ?”

 

“Gyeom, it happened like, three days ago. Relax .” Jungkook scolds, somehow having shifted to having the upper hand. If he was lucky Yugyeom would forget that he ever apologized completely, and they would never speak of it again.

 

“It happened three days ago and you two are already like some prime-time drama couple?” 

 

“Should we not be? I like holding onto Jungkook, and he likes my cu-”

 

“Custom B-52 bomber,” Jungkook quickly and loudly cuts in, because Kim Yugyeom was not allowed to find out that he had asked for cuddles from anyone, ever, under any circumstance. “Hyung has a bunch of model guns and planes, they’re really cool.”

 

“Bomber? I don’t remember seeing one the last time I was over…” Yugyeom drawls suspiciously, but sweet precious Jimin slides in to save the day with a slap and an obnoxious, flirty giggle that makes Jungkook wonder what exactly he did right to deserve such a blessing. Exist? His existence was a pretty significant gift to the rest of the world, Jimin included.

 

“He means my dick.”

 

The cashier, who has finally arrived with Jimin’s drink, trips and spills it all over the table.