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dawn chorus

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Jungkook returned to where they first met.

The sun was just beginning to awaken, sleepily climbing over the horizon, and ever so slowly tinting the inky sky with color. Deep reds and oranges filtered in at the horizon and he was fleetingly reminded of watercolors on a wet canvas. The sunrise really was more stunning in the winter, when the colors were so vivid.

He wished he had brought his camera.

As pretty as the sky was, the air was bitingly cold, the kind that seemed to seep into your bones, carving out a home for itself, blooming frost patterns under your skin. The weak sunlight really didn’t do much for warmth. He pulled his scarf up higher over his face, trying to block out some of the wind, and shivered. The tips of his fingers were numb even though they were crammed into his coat pockets.

Barely anyone was loitering outside. In this kind of weather, most people had the sense to stay somewhere warm. But he had something very important to do.

He hurried down the steps leading to the subway, weaving through the tangled mass of people. Rush hour was just beginning, filled with the low rumble of footsteps and voices, punctuated by the screech of the train coming to a halt. The doors would open and a throng of people surged forward like a stampede with a one-track mind.

He had no idea how he would be able to find the person he was looking for in this kind of crowd. The only thing he could do now was wait and cross his fingers.

Sitting down on a steel bench, he opened his bag to double-check that he didn’t forget to bring the bundle of fabric. It was a little awkward to finally remember to return it now, but he supposed it was better late than never. Anxiously, he drummed his fingers against the metal.

7:14 AM.

He caught a glimpse of pale, bleached hair in the midst of the crowd.

Was it--?

Jungkook squinted, trying to see better. It was him! He swallowed back the urge to shout his name, and instead quickly zipped up his bag, not taking his eyes off the other.

He stood up, anxious to reach him before he got on the subway, and promptly collided into an elderly woman, nearly knocking her over.


He blurted out an apology, bowing deeply at the waist, just hoping she wouldn’t lecture him or anything. Thankfully though, she just chuckled good-naturedly, said something about young boys being full of energy, and continued on her way.

But by the time he looked up, he realized he couldn’t see him anymore. He cursed under his breath. He didn’t really want to come back next morning too, but he didn’t want to not give it back either. Feeling rather disgruntled, he told himself he should be a good person anyways and trudged back home.


The next morning, it rained.

The skies roared, torrents of water pouring onto the street, pooling in the cracks in the sidewalk and the creases in his raincoat. It was miserable weather. Dark clouds choked up the sky and the rain was bordering on hail, ice-cold and striking like stones.

This is so not worth it, he lamented, and yet, kept going.

He clutched the bundle to his chest, safely shielded by his coat, because he worried his bag would get wet and soak the things inside it. He was doing an awkward half-run half-walk, trying to hurry without outright sprinting. A particularly strong gust of wind blew his hood back. The rain drenched his hair, and he winced, but he was too focused on getting to the station to care.

He took the steps two at a time going down, checking his phone as he went.

7:15 AM.

Like clockwork, he saw a flash of silvery hair. This time, he was determined not to lose his chance. He dashed through the crowd, tossing out a quick “sorry” as he clipped someone’s shoulder.

He cursed again, having to slow down as the crowd thickened. He pushed forwards, edging between other people as he tried to get closer.

The subway doors opened.

“Hyung!” he yelled. “Yoongi hyung!”

The other turned to search for who called him. Once Yoongi laid eyes on him, he smiled fondly, expression softening. “Jungkook-ah. What are you doing here?”

“Hi, hyung,” Jungkook said breathlessly. His chest felt a little tight, but that must be from running, not from how strikingly pretty Yoongi looked, dark eyes glowing, exhaling wisps of silver into the cold air, backlit in the washed-out fluorescent lights like some sort of ethereal being.

From running. Right.

Yoongi frowned. “And why are you all wet?”

Before Jungkook could even respond, he had already pulled out a t-shirt from his backpack. “I don’t have a towel on me so this is as good as it’ll get,” he muttered, using the shirt to dry Jungkook’s hair. “Don’t go walking around with wet hair or you’ll catch a cold.”

“Noo, I’m fine,” Jungkook whined, trying to pull away.

Yoongi fixed him with a glare. “You have a hood on your raincoat for a reason, you punk. Now stop moving.”

Jungkook pouted, but couldn’t argue with that, so he stayed still. His face felt warm. He told himself it was because of the embarrassment from being treated like a kid rather than how dangerously close Yoongi was to him, close enough to feel the heat radiating off his body, close enough to count every constellation mapped out in his irises, close enough that if he turned his head slightly, they would--

“There.” Yoongi stepped back, satisfied, and put the now-wet shirt back in his backpack. “So, Jungkook-ah. How come you woke up early for once to come here?”

“Oh, right. Uh,” he began, only now realizing how foolish this was. He extended his hands, still holding the bundle of fabric. “You-- you left your sweatshirt at my place.”

Yoongi stared at him for a couple of seconds, expression unreadable, and Jungkook fidgeted. He felt oddly vulnerable, as if he was holding out his heart instead of a sweatshirt. He felt a little dumb too, standing there like that, looking like a mess: strands of wet hair falling into his face, rivulets of rain dripping down his coat, cheeks pink from the cold.

“Hyung?” Jungkook said tentatively after a moment of silence, wondering if something was wrong. “I know this is from a while ago, like back in August, but I kept forgetting and I finally remembered this time and I felt bad about not giving it back and…”

“Ah. Well, actually,” Yoongi said, the corners of his lips turning up in a half-smile.  “That’s not my sweatshirt—”

His hands faltered. “Wait, what?”

“—but the one you’re wearing right now is.”

Jungkook glanced down at the hoodie he was wearing under his raincoat —the one with the perpetually mismatched strings and the loose thread dangling from the left sleeve that he always forgot to cut off, the one that was soft and worn down and smelled like citrus no matter how many times he washed it, the one he was sure he had owned since forever— and looked back up, eyes wide. “Um.”

“Keep it.” Yoongi’s gaze seemed heavier than usual.

Jungkook ducked his head to hide the blush blooming across his face. “O-okay.”

Yoongi tilted his head and reached out to tug Jungkook’s coat off one shoulder. He made an appreciative noise. “You look good in it, anyways.”

Jungkook blinked. He opened his mouth, then closed it, unable to form words.

Yoongi chuckled a little at the younger’s expression and Jungkook might have even heard him mutter “cute” to himself. He flushed a brilliant crimson, face hot. He almost felt like he’d combust if Yoongi stared at him any longer.

“Please stand clear of the doors,” the metallic voice hummed, and the crowd around them seemed to swell as the last stragglers fought to get on the train.

To his relief (or disappointment?), Yoongi took a step back and Jungkook let out the breath he was unconsciously holding.

“I’ll see you later, then,” Yoongi said, a hint of a smile etched in his mouth.

It sounded like a promise.

And with that, the subway doors closed.