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Mikrokosmos

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“What do you think?” Taehyung asks, holding up an article of clothing he grabbed off the rack level to his torso. It was a long sleeves shirt, the print similar to the art of Piet Mondrian with splashes of red, gray, white, and, cream evenly spread on the fabric.

“It’s so you.” Jimin smiles from where he sat.

They were supposed to be at class right now, but Taehyung insisted on skipping to go shopping. For the life of Jimin, he couldn’t figure out what had gotten into his best friend to even think of cutting school. He was quite a diligent and responsible guy, and would only miss school because he was sick, but even then, he’d force coming to school.

Even though what Jimin said was true, Taehyung couldn’t help but frown, “Why aren’t you looking around? You love shopping!”

“Tae, you should be in class right now.” Jimin chuckles, “A class that you’re struggling to keep up with, need I remind you.” Taehyung was taking up agricultural and resource economics, and he had difficulty following the lectures in this particular class, but Taehyung blames it on the professor who isn’t really doing a good job of teaching, plus he gives a shit ton of quizzes and assignments.

This makes Taehyung sigh, arms sagging while still holding on to the shirt. He takes a seat beside Jimin, pouting as he turns to look at him. “I know, it’s just… Everything’s been a lot lately and I needed to clear my mind.”

“Why, did something happen?”

Taehyung hums, putting on a tight and tired smile, “Hyunjae and I broke up.”

“Oh, honey,” Jimin reaches for his best friend, wrapping his arms around him in a tight hug.

Taehyung and Hyunjae have been dating for as long as Jimin could remember. The three of them were best friends since they were in grade school, and have been inseparable. In their high school years, Hyunjae admitted to having feelings for Taehyung, who at the time has not yet questioned his sexuality. But as Hyunjae pursued Taehyung despite the odds, the latter eventually realized he reciprocated Hyunjae’s feelings. Since then, the pair have been dating, even when they reached college. The trio got into Seoul National University, with Taehyung taking up agriculture, Jimin taking fine arts, and Hyunjae taking up chemical engineering.

Things between the couple have been great and Taehyung was already imagining a future with Hyunjae. But one day, as Taehyung was at the library going through his readings, Hyunjae texted him asking if he could spare him a minute.

 

Taehyung felt butterflies when he read Hyunjae’s text. In fact, the butterflies never went away. Despite being in a relationship with Hyunjae for more than 3 years, the fondness he feels for the man never died down. It was as if he was stuck in the first few months of their dating, always feeling giddy and excited at the thought of being with him.

He tightly wrapped his coat around his body, snuggling his face deep in the tangles of his scarf as he steps outside of the building, spotting his boyfriend standing at the bottom of the steps.

“Hyunjae-ah!” Taehyung beams, his breath creating a cloud as it puffs out of his mouth. He skips down the steps a little too fast, almost tumbling as he reaches the landing. But he couldn’t help it. He and Hyunjae have been so busy these past few weeks that they hardly saw each other.

“Oh, Taehyung-ah.” Hyunjae greets.

“Aren’t you busy? What are you doing here?” He asks happily.

“I uh— wanted to talk to you.”

It was at this moment; Taehyung knew all too well what was going to happen. He could tell with the way Hyunjae shifted his weight from one foot to the other, the other foot swaying on its toes. How his hands were picking at his nails, then moving to thread his fingers together behind his back. How his eyes that blinked rapidly, avoided Taehyung’s at all costs. He knew what he wanted to say.

“Why?” Taehyung asked, the tone in his voice immediately dropping, “Are you tired of me?”

This catches Hyunjae off-guard, his hands instantly going up to grasp Taehyung’s. “No, Tae. It’s not that.”

“Then what?”

“I… met someone….”

 

“He can rot in hell.” Jimin blurts out.

Taehyung only chuckles, leaning back on the ottoman that they were sat on. “He’s your best friend too, Chim.”

“I’m sorry, I don’t recall having friends who cheat.”

There was a momentary silence, neither of the two making any sound or moving. It wasn’t uncomfortable, it was more like they theoretically grieved the loss of a friend.

“The funny thing was, it’s like I wanted this to happen.”

Jimin couldn’t help but frown, genuinely confused at his best friend’s confession. “Why would you want that?”

“I felt like I wasn’t growing as a person as long as I was with him.” Taehyung mutters a little to softly that Jimin almost didn’t hear him.

They bathe in silence once again, up until Jimin finally speaks up, “Buy the shirt.”

 

Later that evening as Taehyung and Jimin were grabbing dinner at the cafeteria, Jimin could sense a person making their way towards them. Never in his life did he wish that he was wrong, because it turned out to be Hyunjae.

“Taehyung-ah, Jiminie.” Hyunjae smiles.

Jimin could see Taehyung growing stiff and uncomfortable at Hyunjae’s presence and is about to tell the latter to leave when Taehyung speaks, “Hey, Hyunjae.” Jimin backs down and moves to stand a little in front of Taehyung, providing Taehyung with a protective barrier that the Taehyung silently thanks Jimin for.

“Would it still be possible for me to join you for dinner?”

It hits Taehyung how their routine and traditions now have to be broken. How they probably could no longer grab breakfast all together every Tuesdays. Their late night drives every before exams, and drinking after exams. Their plans to surprise each other on the other’s birthday, and sleeping over at Taehyung’s house every last Saturday of the month to have movie night.

And even their occasional dinner at the cafeteria. It suddenly overwhelms Taehyung, feeling a little dizzy that he clutches on to Jimin’s shirt back. The older catches on to Taehyung’s gesture and stares back at Hyunjae, “Do you honestly think that’s still possible?” Jimin asks back.

Hyunjae doesn’t hide the hurt in his eyes, but puts on a tight smile. “Figured I’d just give it a shot. I’m sorry.”

“You should be.” Jimin continues to bite back.

“You know I never meant for this to happen,” Hyunjae frowns at Jimin, “You think I’d risk years’ worth of friendship over some girl?”

“A girl?” Taehyung and Jimin say at the same time.

All of Taehyung’s insecurities come raining down on him and he drops his tray of food before storming out of the cafeteria. Thankfully there weren’t that much people, otherwise he’d feel all the more embarrassed.

Jimin is left behind glaring at Hyunjae, who looks back at him with regret in his eyes. “I sincerely hope that this girl is worth it for you to ruin whatever this is—” Jimin says, hands flailing around; pertaining to their friendship, or now lack thereof. He turns his back on Hyunjae, paying for Taehyung’s fallen food and having his put in take-out containers before following after Taehyung.

Thankfully he wasn’t hard to find and he was in his usual spot at the garden behind the cafeteria. Jimin doesn’t say a word and just sits beside his best friend, placing the container of food in front of them, which Taehyung silently picks on little by little. They eat quietly side by side as the night grows darker and the air turns strikingly colder, the only sounds surrounding them were no longer of chatter from other students but of crickets and the harsh wind blowing in the distance.


“Hyung, I think I might actually be turning into a furry.” Jungkook suddenly blurts out of nowhere.

Seokjin halts in his steps, and turns to Jungkook with a bewildered look plastered across his face. He notices that there is no hint of humor in the younger man’s eyes and that he genuinely looked convinced with his declaration, “I’m contemplating confiscating your phone and laptop. You’re on reddit way too much.”

“What— No, hyung I’m serious!” Jungkook argues.

“I’m honestly surprised you got in to SNU.” Seokjin says, dismissing him.

Jungkook huffs, crossing his arms in feign offense as he continues to begrudgingly follow his hyung across campus, “Where are we even going?”

“I said that I was going to the library to study, god knows why you thought it was a good idea to ditch your friends to follow me, and for what?”

“Seemed like the right thing to do.” Jungkook only shrugs.

Can this guy get any more annoying? Seokjin thinks, rolling his eyes but not suppressing the smile that has begun to grow. He’s known Jungkook for most of the younger man’s life. Their dads were neighbors up until Jungkook’s family decided to move to Busan from Seoul. Their dads were childhood friends, and inevitably whenever those two grown men got together, they’d bring their families along with them. Jungkook and Seokjin, being the only child in their respective families immediately grew to like each other, Seokjin treating Jungkook as if he was his own younger brother. So, when Jungkook moved to Busan, he and Seokjin were dejected.

But later on, when Seokjin was finally in high school, he asked his parents if he could go to Busan to visit Jungkook. And it became their tradition; for Seokjin to travel down to Busan during the summer and spend a week— sometimes two, at the Jeon’s house. Then when Jungkook was in high school, he was the one travelling to Seoul to spend time with the Kim’s.

“What exactly do you plan to do anyway?” Seokjin asks.

“Probably just watch you, maybe distract you, and— Oh? Hobi hyung!”

“Hobi who?” Seokjin turns in the direction where Jungkook was now headed towards. In the distance he could see two figures walking in their direction

One of the two figures is startled but quickly regains his composure and greets Jungkook, Seokjin assumes he’s Hobi. He then notices Jungkook pointing toward him, and Hobi and the other person walk with Jungkook.

“Jin hyung, this is Hobi hyung— the one I was telling you about!” Jungkook says excitedly, a small hop in his step as he introduces his two hyungs to each other.

“Hey, I’m Jung Hoseok, I go by Hobi.”

“Ah, nice to meet you Hobi. I’m Kim Seokjin, but you can just call me Jin.”

“Don’t let him fool you, he’ll smack your head upside down if you forget even once to call him hyung.”

“Only for you, brat.” Seokjin purses his lips.

Hoseok laughs, “Nice to meet you to Jin hyung. This is my boyfriend Min Yoongi.”

“You can call him Yoongles” Jungkook smiles, receiving a slap on the back of his head from Yoongi.

“It’s hyung, you little shit.” Yoongi frowns, but quickly smiles when Jungkook whines.

“Well, it’s very nice to meet you both, but I have to excuse myself,” Seokjin bows toward the couple, “I’ve got some studying to do.”

Hoseok and Yoongi automatically bow in response, watching as Seokjin turns his back on them and walks off in the direction of the library, leaving a certain Jeon Jungkook with them.

“Where are you two off to?” Jungkook asks. He couldn’t help but coo on the inside when he notices how Hoseok hooks his arms with Yoongi’s, leaning in toward the older man in attempt to warm himself up under the cold and harsh winter they were experiencing, the wind nipping at their cheeks as it blows by.

“Just off to get dinner,” Yoongi says, rubbing at his nose that has turned bright red over his porcelain skin, “Want to come?”

“Can I?” Jungkook asks wide-eyed, glancing from Yoongi to Hoseok.

“Of course, silly!” Hoseok beams, hooking arms with Jungkook with his free arm. The three of them walk to a restaurant just right outside of campus.

Upon sitting down at a table by the corner of the restaurant, Jungkook pulls out his phone and texts Seokjin.

 

JK: Sorry I ditched you.

Jin Hyung 🍕: I’m glad u did 😪

JK: Lies.

Jin Hyung🍕: I said what I said.

 

            Jungkook scowls, but he knows Seokjin was only kidding. He looks up and finds the couple sitting in front of him reading the menu, Hoseok leaning on to rest his chin on Yoongi’s shoulder whispering a ‘what are you getting?’

            He met Hoseok just last year when he tried out for the dance crew, they were instantly friends and soon enough, Hoseok felt comfortable to introduce Yoongi to him. Since then, Jungkook constantly hung out with them if he wasn’t with his own group of friends.

            The waiter then comes to take their order, giving them glasses of water before retreating back to the kitchen to have their food prepared. Yoongi takes a sip before diverting his attention to the younger man, “Kook, we’re having a Christmas party before winter break starts at the frat house, you free?”

            “That depends,” Jungkook narrows his eyes at him, remembering the last time he went to a frat party, “Who’s going?” It was an unforgettable night, with the end of exams, and the winter break starting, dozens of students came to the party that night to finally let lose, and Jungkook could never forget that one girl Yoongi’s friends invited who managed to get Jungkook wasted and into a room.

            Yoongi is cackling, “Haeri’s not coming.”

            “She has weird kinks, hyung.” Jungkook frowns at the memory.

            “I still can’t believe she got you drunk drunk.” Hoseok chuckles.

            “I’m convinced she drugged me, cause I’m not a light weight” Jungkook boasts, “but if you’re 100% sure she’s not coming then I’ll be there.”


“Look, all I’m saying is if you really want to get one, you’re going to have to take full responsibility for it and not pass it to your parents when you can’t manage.” Namjoon argues.

            “What are we talking about?” Taehyung says, joining Namjoon and Jimin at their usual spot in the garden. From afar he had already noticed Namjoon and Jimin having an intense exchange of words.

            Jimin looks annoyed, rolling his eyes at Namjoon albeit fondly, “I want to adopt a dog,” He answer Taehyung, “But Namjoon thinks I’m not ready to have one.”

            “I didn’t say you weren’t ready, I just said that you have to be sure you can tend to the dog’s needs without relying on anyone.” Namjoon says, taking a bite out of his sandwich.

            Recently, mornings like these give Taehyung peace of mind, starting his day with his best friend and his boyfriend having breakfast in the garden on campus. It’s been a few weeks since Taehyung and Hyunjae broke up, and he’s glad to have the couple as a distraction from his mind thinking about what went wrong between them. Jimin has been doting on him, even Namjoon from time to time. The couple would visit him in his dorm room and hang out with him, or call him to join them on their dates. It makes Taehyung a little uncomfortable, constantly third wheeling around these two, but nonetheless he’s grateful for their presence in this time.

Taehyung is picking on his sliced fruits as he watches the banter between the two, chuckling when Jimin huffs in frustration and covers his ears, not listening to Namjoon like a child would do. “Taehyung, do you hear something?” Jimin turns to him, looking for someone to take his side.

            “I think it’s the wind.” Taehyung plays along, then a cucumber comes flying and hitting his face as a result, making him gasp, “Hyung!” He pouts at Namjoon.

            The older man only laughs, seeing the slice of cucumber slowly slide off his face and plop down on the table. Jimin is visibly trying to stifle his laughter, ducking his head under the table. “Y’all are 5.” Taehyung purses his lips, picking up the fallen cucumber slice and flinging it back at Namjoon who swats it away before it could hit him in the face.

            “By the way, my friend invited us to their party.” Namjoon says, reaching for his coffee.

            “Which friend?” Jimin asks, munching on his food.

            “Yoongi hyung.”

            This makes Jimin choke, startling the other two. Taehyung reaches for Jimin’s water bottle and opens it, sliding it back to Jimin while Namjoon pats his back. It takes Jimin a moment, coughing roughly before he manages to let out a strangled breath “The frat guy?”

            “He’s not that bad, Jimin.” Namjoon says, urging him to take another sip of water, “Don’t be so quick to judge.”

            “Well excuse me if I don’t exactly have the best experience with frat guys.” Jimin frowns, going back to his food.

            Taehyung smiles empathetically, knowing Jimin’s past wasn’t all rainbows and butterflies. Jimin, in total, had 3 exes. One from high school who he broke up with because the guy was moving to Canada and they mutually agreed they didn’t want to try long distance, and the other two during his first 2 years in uni. Both of them were frat members (of different houses) and both of them cheated on Jimin, resulting in Jimin having major trust issues. After his third break up, he convinced himself never to get into another relationship ever again. Taehyung was there with him through everything, and it was a very brutal experience for Jimin.

He kept to himself most days, would only leave the comforts of his apartment to attend class, and would immediately go running back home after. It was only that faithful day when he met Namjoon who was working at a café he stopped by to meet with Taehyung. Namjoon, who continuously tried to prove to Jimin that he could trust him, that the latter started to open up again. And since then, Taehyung has seen how Jimin grew as a person and glowed as he should be glowing thanks to Namjoon who genuinely loved and cared for him.

“I know, baby.” Namjoon murmurs, taking Jimin’s hand in his, “but you can trust me on this, Yoongi hyung’s not like that. He’s an old friend of mine.”

Jimin’s still frowning, but the scowl on his face is slowly loosening up and now he’s just plain pouting, “Okay, fine. But if I don’t feel comfortable anymore, I’m leaving.”

“Deal.” Namjoon smiles, planting a soft kiss on the back of Jimin’s hand before turning to Taehyung, “How ‘bout you, Tae?”

Taehyung hums, actually contemplating the invitation before answering, “Why not, I could use a little fun.”

Chapter Text

It was the final week of classes before they go into winter break and everyone has been on edge. Taehyung, who would usually seem calm and collected was on the verge of a break down. He had several papers to pass by the end of the week, and a project that he has been working on all semester with his partner was going fine until his classmate accidentally deleted the data analysis. He has been spending every evening after his classes in the library recreating their study.

            Jimin, on the other hand was nowhere to be seen all week. He only learned from Namjoon last night that Jimin had rented a studio not too far from campus for the week, and that he’s been holed there painting like a mad man. Namjoon said he dropped by one time to leave some food, only to find Jimin in one dark corner of the studio hunched over his canvas, radiating some energy that told him not to disturb the guy.

            “You’ve been watching too much anime.” Taehyung smiles, sliding some bills across the counter to Namjoon. Taehyung decided to work in a different environment for today, see if it might help him work better, so he packed up his things and hurried over to the café where Namjoon works before he runs out of seats.

            Namjoon rolls his eyes at Taehyung, turning his back to repeat his order to his co-worker who’ll prepare Taehyung’s drink, then turning back to his friend, “You probably would’ve said the same if you saw him.”

            “Probably not.” Taehyung pokes his tongue out and grabs his drink from the counter before Namjoon could retaliate. He walks back to his corner in the café and starts up his laptop, opening the documents he needed to work on and begins drowning himself in his requirements.

Every now and then, he’d push his chair back and stretch. Thankfully not a lot of people were around, they were probably all in the library or in their homes studying the life out of themselves. Somedays, Taehyung wonders why he took up economics.

He’s interrupted by a plate of cake sliding on his table and stopping just right in from of him. Taehyung eyes the slice right before his eyes and looks up, noticing Namjoon just passed by. Right beside the cake was a rolled-up piece of paper which wrote ‘On the house. Fighting!’ Taehyung smiles gratefully, mouthing a thank you to Namjoon who was back at his spot behind the counter. The older man sends Taehyung a wink before attending to the next customer.

He spends the next few hours on fire, despite people coming in and out of the café, all he could hear was the clacking sound of his fingers hitting the keyboard. He doesn’t even notice the other treats Namjoon had managed to slip on to his table stealthily within those few hours unless he momentarily stopped to crack his fingers. Each treat accompanied with more notes saying ‘and I thought Jimin was bad’ and ‘take a breather.’

Taehyung eventually realizes he’s been at the café all evening when he hears the faint sound of people cleaning up in the kitchen. He looks up from his table and notices the almost empty café, save for Namjoon and two other employees stepping in and out of the kitchen as they prepare to get off work. Taehyung is packing away his things when Namjoon takes a seat across him, placing a glass of water on the table with a sticky note attached to it rather than rolled up. Taehyung snorts the moment he reads ‘you look like shit neatly written on the pink note.

“Thanks,” Taehyung snorts, taking a sip “You going to see Jimin?”

“Nah, he’ll probably just bite my finger off if I even try to get anywhere near him,” Namjoon chuckles. Although they both probably know that could be possible. “Besides, I have some of my own paperwork to get to.”

“Oh please! I doubt you have that much left to do, Mr. Responsible.”

“It’s called time management, Taehyung-ssi. You should try it.” Namjoon teases as he gets up from his seat, cocking his head to the side as if to say let’s go.

Namjoon walks Taehyung to his dorm, bidding each other a good night before Namjoon walks away, and Taehyung climbs up the steps in to the building. When he reaches the landing of the third floor, Taehyung fishes for his keys in his bag, unlocking the door to his room. The lights flicker on, and the first thing Taehyung decides to do is to drop his back on the desk and plop down on the bed, switching his radio on which only provides as background noise when he finds himself slowly drifting into slumber.

 


 

It’s finally Friday, the end of the week and the last day of classes before the break, as Jungkook trudges across campus carrying in his arms his huge canvas. He huffs, pausing to put the painting down on his foot, the canvas board leaning on his legs as he readjusts his scarf and beanie to keep warm. Jungkook grunts as he bends down to lift his piece once again, repeatedly chanting ‘you’re almost there’ as he nears his department building.

Just when he’s about to sigh in relief upon reaching the building, and because his canvas is evidently blocking about 80% of his view, he slams into someone a little too hard, the painting almost toppling down on the ground if it wasn’t for the person in front of him. His piece had landed on the person’s back, the grunt the student released caused Jungkook to slightly panic. “Oh shit— Fuck, are you okay?” Jungkook was aware of his piece’s weight but he didn’t realize it might have been that heavy. He quickly tries to get a better grasp of his painting and takes a few steps back, slowly placing the wooden board down.

“I understand you want to get this week over with, but damn Jeon.” It was Jimin, his senior. There was a playful tone in his voice but he couldn’t hide the pain he was feeling by the expression on his face as he rubbed his back.

“Oh! Hyung!” Jungkook beams at the sight of his senior.

Jimin hums in response, bobbing his head to one side as he inspects Jungkook’s art work. It was a painting of a man dressed beautifully in a maroon jacket, relaxed and sitting on some antique chair, beside the man were two more sketches of his face, but vandalized with neon paint. “I love it,” Jimin says in awe.

“Yeah?” Jungkook grins, “Hobi hyung didn’t really like it, though.”

“Hobi hyung?”

“Ah, my best friend— the man in the painting.”

“Oh, well tell him he looks amazing.” Jimin smiles, patting the younger man on the shoulder. “I’ve got to go, but I’ll see you around.”

Jimin is already about to walk away when Jungkook calls him back, smiling sheepishly, “Could you open the door for me?”  

The older man only laughs, but moves to open the door wide enough for Jungkook to enter with his painting. He thanks Jimin and proceeds to go to his classroom where they were told to submit their paintings. When he enters, only his professor is inside, examining the pieces his other classmates have already submitted. Jungkook quietly rests his painting on the wall, moving to the back of the classroom to grab an easel and placing it in one corner of the room where he could display his piece. As he was balancing the canvas on the small piece of wood on the easel that would hold his painting up, he could feel his professor standing behind him, probably already criticizing his work.

“Interesting take on the theme.” He says, squinting his eyes as he looks into every inch of the painting, “I like it.”

“Thank you, sir.” Jungkook smiles proudly.

“What do you think about having your work in the students’ gallery?”

Jungkook’s eyes go wide. The chances of having your work chosen by a professor to be hung in the students’ gallery was very slim. Every year only a lucky few get hand-picked to have their work displayed there, to be seen not just by everyone, but also by other famous artists, collectors, and other important people in the art scene who are invited at the annual year-end exhibit, “Really, sir?”

His professor nods, almost mirroring the smile on Jungkook’s face, “You and that Park Jimin are very promising candidates for the exhibit.” He says, turning back to study Jungkook’s painting.

Jungkook couldn’t stop feeling giddy at the thought. He’s only in his second year in university, yet he is already looking at this rare opportunity to have his work displayed for the world to see. “Which one is Park Jimin’s?” Jungkook asks, curiosity piqued.

“Right beside yours.”

There was only one painting beside his, and ever since Jungkook had entered the room earlier, he couldn’t deny how his attention was immediately caught by this painting. There was a whimsical feel to it despite how dark it looked. Jungkook cocked his head to the side, unconsciously stepping closer to the painting. For some strange reason, he couldn’t help but feel drawn to the figure in the middle of the painting. It astonishes Jungkook that even though the figure was merely a silhouette, there was something about it that felt alluring. Like he ached to hold them.

“Enticing, isn’t it?” He hears his professor say. Jungkook could only hum in response, nodding his head as he turns away from the painting and back at his professor as he continues, “Think about it, and if you’re interested then we can talk when we get back after the break, alright?”

“Okay, thank you sir.” Jungkook bows, bidding farewell to his professor.

 

Later that evening, Jungkook finds himself in Hoseok’s dorm room, helping his hyung out as they get ready for the party at Yoongi’s frat house.

“Do these pants make me look fat?” Hoseok asks as he steps out of the bathroom, turning towards his bed where Jungkook was lounging.

The younger man’s eyebrows shot up, placing down his phone on his lap, “You did not just ask me that.”

Hoseok rolls his eyes and retreats back into the bathroom, changing for the nth time since Jungkook got here. This time, he strolls out wearing black pants that hugged his figure, a white turtle neck and a leather coat. “Okay, how about this?”

“Yes.” Jungkook finally answers.

“You’re ridiculous, I wore something similar to this earlier!” Hoseok complains as he slides on his shoes.

Jungkook looks back wide-eyed, his chin jutting out and lips pressed together, “But did I say yes to it? Nope. I said yes to this outfit,” Jungkook says, hands gesturing towards Hoseok.

“Whatever, let’s go.”

 

When Jungkook and Hoseok arrive, the party was already in full swing. They could hear the music blasting, the bass vibrating from the house travelling to the ground to their feet. Several more people are arriving with them, and as soon as they enter through the door, they are greeted by Yoongi.

“There you are!” Yoongi grins, his hand finding its way around Hoseok’s waist, making the latter giggle. Yoongi seems to have taken his fair amount of alcohol already, a pink tinge visible on his cheeks. Hoseok wraps his arms around the older man’s neck as Yoongi pulls him in for a kiss. With Yoongi under the influence of alcohol, and Hoseok being the bold guy that he is, they start making out fervently at the door.

Jungkook clears his throat and shuffles around them, letting himself in the house and leaving his friends who were now busy making out. He makes his way to the kitchen and grabs a beer, leaning against the kitchen island as his eyes scan the sea of people. His eyes immediately landing on a guy. Their back was facing Jungkook and he was conversing with someone. Jungkook didn’t know him, he knew that for sure. But he felt like he’s seen him before. The way the man was standing, his weight on one foot making his hips pop to one side.

“Hey Jungkook!” Someone hollers.

Jungkook turns his head to the side and is greeted by his friends Mingyu, Yugyeom, and Eunwoo. His demeanor instantly shifts to more engaging one, moving in to take his friends’ hands and bump shoulders.

“Hey, I thought you guys were coming?” Jungkook asks as the three other guys reach for their own red cup.

“Wasn’t planning on it.” Eunwoo deadpans, sipping on his drink.

“We just dragged him along,” Yugyeom explains, chuckling as he playfully nudges Eunwoo for him to loosen up, only to receive an eye roll.

Jungkook watches the banter between Eunwoo and Yugyeom. Meanwhile Mingyu had slid on over to his side quietly sipping from his red cup. The latter had his eyes fixated on something, making Jungkook follow his line of sight. He was staring at a girl that he recognized was from their department, remembering it was the girl Mingyu had a crush on for quite some time now. Jungkook uses his elbow to tap Mingyu, “Make a move.”

Mingyu snaps out of his trance and turns to Jungkook, blushing, “Ah, I don’t know man. She just seems so… out of my league.”

“Sun Hye is out of your league?” Jungkook asks incredulously, an eyebrow raised at Mingyu, “Dude, just go!” Jungkook pushes him as hard as he could, causing Mingyu to stumble right into Sun Hye’s crowd.

Jungkook watches as Mingyu quickly apologizes, making a move to leave as his eyes burned right through Jungkook, but then Sun Hye places a hand on Mingyu’s wrist, holding him in place. Jungkook’s grins, eyebrows shot up in amusement as his friend turns back to face the girl. She starts to say something to Mingyu, who nods in response. And after a few more words were thrown back at each other, they both visibly become more relaxed, enjoying the other’s company now.

When Jungkook turns back, Yugyeom and Eunwoo were talking to themselves, but quickly halt their conversation when Jungkook looks at them.

“What?”

“Nothing.” Yugyeom answers too quickly.

Jungkook just stares back at them, still waiting for an answer. Yugyeom only smiles mischievously, while Eunwoo is staring at his cup indifferently before he says, “Yugyeom thinks you have a crush on someone.” His eyes still trained on his cup, Yugyeom scowling at him for telling.

“What makes you say that?”

“You were—” Eunwoo couldn’t finish his sentence as Yugyeom’s hands clamped down on his mouth to shut him.

“Excuse us,” Yugyeom says, dragging Eunwoo with him who smacked the other’s hand away.

Jungkook could only frown, not comprehending what just happened. They think Jungkook has a crush, and the man himself thought hard, wondering if he did have a crush on someone. But as far as he could remember, he didn’t have one in the past few years. Okay, maybe Hoseok when they first got to know each other, but Jungkook later on realized it was more of admiration as he looked up to Hoseok a lot. Instead, he was very happy to learn that Hoseok got together with Yoongi. They were good together.

“Weirdos,” He smiles, shaking the thought away as he decides to go look for Hoseok and Yoongi, twisting his body as he maneuvers himself through the crowd. Bodies slamming into him in drunken stupors and deeply lost in dancing; or more like just plain bouncing; to the beat of the music. He grunts as another body pummels into him, not just knocking the air out of his lungs but also drenching his shirt in what must have been the contents of the person’s red cup.

Jungkook was about to go off at the person but then he looks up and meets their eyes, and suddenly he’s at a loss for words.

The other person however is stunned, then apologetic in a split second, “Shit! I am so sorry! I wasn’t looking.” He tilts his head slightly to the side, yelling at his friend, “I told you not to push me!”

That friend, Jungkook found out, was Jimin, who locks eyes with him. Jimin turns from shocked to smug in seconds, “Seems like I got my revenge for you hitting me with your painting.”

“Heh,” Jungkook tuts.

“Taehyungie, this is Jungkook, my junior.” Jimin says, “And Jungkook this is my best friend Taehyung.”

“Nice to meet you,” Taehyung says, extending a hand toward him. Jungkook couldn’t help but shudder at Taehyung’s deep voice, how it felt like it just resonated through his veins. The younger man takes Taehyung’s hand and gives it a firm shake, almost not wanting to let go just yet. But the older man retracts his hand, much to Jungkook’s dismay, “Sorry about your shirt.”

Jungkook almost forgot he was drenched in alcohol as his eyes never wavered, ogling Taehyung with his eyes. The latter had noticed Jungkook was spacing out and waved his hand in front of his face, “Oh yeah, no, don’t worry about it. I could probably borrow a shirt from Yoongi hyung.”

Taehyung’s eyebrows shoot up, giving Jungkook a once over. The younger man squirmed under his gaze, almost instinctively putting his hands up to cover his body.

“I think Yoongi hyung’s too small for you.” Taehyung smirks, and turns to Jimin, “I’m gonna get a refill.”

Jimin nods, “I’ll follow,” he says and Taehyung effortlessly slips through the crowd. Jimin gives Jungkook one last glance and places a hand on his shoulder to say, “nice seeing you.”

But before Jimin could disappear, Jungkook calls him, “I wanted to ask you something.”

“What is it?”

“Your painting…” Jungkook couldn’t finish his sentence. Heck, he didn’t even know what he wanted to ask. He stutters, trying to organize his thoughts only to continue stumbling on it.

“Ah, you saw it?” Jimin smiles, “What did you think?”

“The person in your painting,” Jungkook tries again, clearing his throat before he continues, “did it just come from your imagination, or did you have a model or something?”

Jungkook wanted to kick himself in the nuts. What the fuck was he thinking? He couldn’t help but think if Jimin found him unusual at this moment. He probably would have. What weirdo goes around asking if the person from a painting is real or not? Jungkook. Jungkook is that weirdo.

Jimin frowns for a moment, and in that moment Jungkook wanted the ground to swallow him alive. But the feeling goes away when he notices Jimin’s features shifting from a scowl to something of an aha moment, “You mean Taehyung?”

“Huh?”

“Taehyung— Ah, he modeled for my painting.” Jimin finally recalls.

The younger man couldn’t help but feel a little warm inside. Perhaps it was the alcohol rushing through his system, or perhaps it was knowing who that man was on Jimin’s painting that captivated him. But one thing was for sure, Jungkook was intrigued by Kim Taehyung.

And as in on cue, Taehyung returns with his red cup filled to the brim. The contents spilling a little as he walked over to the pair, “Yoongi hyung says they’re about to play truth or dare, and that we should join.” Taehyung says to Jimin, then glances at the younger man, “You too, Jungkook.”

The way his named rolled out of Taehyung’s mouth sent shivers, and Jungkook just wanted to keep hearing it again and again. He follows behind Taehyung and Jimin who were whispering and playfully shoving one another. When they join the group in the living room, he spots his friends and moves to sit with them.

“Saw you were talking to your crush.” Yugyeom grins, nudging Jungkook’s ribs.

“I don’t have a crush?”

“You were talking to him just now.”

“Jimin hyung?” Jungkook asks, bewildered that Yugyeom could think he had a crush on Jimin.

But Yugyeom shook his head, his grin shifting into a smirk, “I meant Jimin-sunbaenim’s friend.”

Oh. Taehyung? Jungkook frowns to himself, Yugyeom’s words filling his thoughts. He hardly knew the man, only met him today. But then he remembers how drawn he was to a painting of Taehyung and thought maybe he did find the man interesting.

As Yoongi leans forward to spin the bottle that rested in the middle, Jungkook could only think that this was going to be a long night.

Chapter Text

“Truth or dare?”

            “Dare,” Namjoon chooses.

            “Pick one person in the room and make out.”

            Namjoon snorts, “Easy,” He turns to his side, placing his hands on Jimin’s waist and lifting the man onto his lap to straddle him as if Jimin didn’t weigh a thing. Namjoon places a finger under Jimin’s chin, pulling him in closer, allowing their lips to touch.

            Whoops and hollers filled the room as the couple were engrossed in their make out session. After a moment, Jimin is the first to pull away looking dazed, yet extremely satisfied. He climbs off of Namjoon’s lap and sits back down beside him as Namjoon leans forward to spin the bottle.

            The anticipation builds up in Jungkook as he silently prays that the bottle would not point to him. A small panic attack happened every time the bottle would slow down just as it passed by him since they started playing. He feels lucky that every time he hasn’t been chosen to take on a truth or dare, yet has been the target of some dares.

            Luck is on his side once again when the bottle finally comes to a stop and it points at Hoseok. The man, having drank too much already, giggles when he realizes it’s his turn. “Truth!” He shouts even before Namjoon had the chance to ask him.

            “Alright,” Namjoon thinks, “What’s next on your sexual bucket list right now?”

            With the amount of alcohol Hoseok has taken in, his face had started to turn red, and one would think it would be impossible for him to get any redder. But Namjoon’s question only aided in the man turning beet red. Hoseok tugged on his turtle neck, feeling the warm radiating through him, not just because of the alcohol, but also because of what went through his mind as soon as Namjoon had asked.

            Hoseok shyly turns to Yoongi, then faces back to the group to answer the question. But Jungkook doesn’t hear it. In fact, he’s been tuned out most of the game, unless someone calls out his name, then he’s immediately spacing out again. Every now and then he’d catch himself watching Taehyung. He’d revert his gaze every time Taehyung might catch him staring, but then his eyes quickly fall back to the man.

            Jungkook unconsciously frowns, watching the way Taehyung’s eyes crinkle and vanish into a thin line as he laughs, his lips contorting into a boxy smile as Jimin whispers something beside him. His long and slender fingers forming a v, landing right over his cheek as he and his friends take selcas. And his nose that scrunches up in amusement from seeing his friends’ antics.

            His thoughts consume him as the scene before him seems to happen in slow motion. Yoongi is leaning in toward his friend to have his cigarette lit, across them Taehyung and Jimin have accidentally knocked over a few glasses of alcohol on the carpet. The other people gathered around them stood up abruptly to avoid getting soaked, causing a few tipsy individuals to bump into Yoongi and other others who held cigarettes in their hands. Almost comically, Jungkook watches as the stick flies out of Yoongi’s fingers and slowly comes to land on the carpet. In a matter of seconds, the carpet catches fire and everyone around them starts to panic. People have begun to knock each other out of the way in a hurry to get out of the room.

            Yoongi was quick to pull Hoseok with him, guiding the others out. Namjoon quickly gathered Jimin and Taehyung and safely made their way to the door, while Jungkook helped the other guys try to put the fire out. But the flames only spread faster, travelling from the carpet to climbing up the curtains and filling the room with red and orange blazes, and a thick cloud of smoke.

            As the fire grew and spread throughout the house, Yoongi yelled at everyone to get out. He grabbed them by their arms, pushing them toward the exit. Jungkook being the last one he steps out with. They flop down on to the street, coughing hard as they gasp for breath. Helpless now, they could only watch the house continue to burn, some friends of theirs taking attendance to see if everyone got out safely, and thankfully they all did. In the distance, Jungkook could hear the sirens of a fire truck on its way over to take out the fire, an ambulance not too far behind the big red truck that comes to a halt right on the lawn. Men come spilling out of the truck, pulling on hoses and turning the valves. While an emergency team bursts out of the doors of the ambulance, checking on students for any injuries.

            From the sidewalk where Jungkook stood, he could see Taehyung, Jimin, and Namjoon closely huddled by a tree, Namjoon soothingly running his hands up and down Taehyung’s and Jimin’s back. He notices how Taehyung and Jimin have panic-stricken expressions painting their faces, words tumbling out of Namjoon’s mouth in attempt to comfort.

            Not too far from where the three of them were, was Hoseok with a medic. The man gently held out Hoseok’s arm that seemed to be a painful looking shade of red. Upon closer inspection, it looks like Hoseok didn’t come out of the house unscathed. Jungkook winces at the sight, immediately coming to his friend’s side while Yoongi continued to check on the rest of his frat brothers and friends.

            “That’s looks like hell.” Jungkook grimaces.

            “Feels like it too.” Hoseok adds, hissing in pain as the medic finishes applying ointment and pulls out bandage roll out of his kit to wrap around Hoseok’s arm.

            As the medic finishes tending to Hoseok, Jungkook’s eyes scan the crowd once again hoping to spot a certain blonde man, but to no luck. Eventually Yoongi joins them on the curb, plopping down as he drapes his jacket over Hoseok, “How’s your arm?”

            “Awful, but it’ll be fine.” Hoseok replies, a tired smile taking over his features.

            “And you?” Yoongi says, turning to Jungkook.

            “Perfect.” He says, making Yoongi snort at his response.

            Jungkook stares back at the frat house as a few men come walking out of the door. Thankfully the fire didn’t spread too much, only burning the first floor, the firemen were able to kill the fire before it could destroy more of the house. Jungkook wonders what had happened to Taehyung and Jimin, were they hurt? Why did they look like they have just had a near death experience? Although, come to think about it, Jungkook realizes the fire could’ve potentially causes some casualties if it weren’t for Yoongi and his frat brothers’ quick reactions to the situation. But that’s the thing, Jungkook could only wonder.

            And as he did, he couldn’t help but feel concerned, a small part of him aching to go look for Taehyung and check up on him, and maybe perhaps do something to aid in him feeling better. However, a bigger part of him pushed these thoughts away, arguing to himself that these contemplations were stupid and that he shouldn’t even bother.

 


 

The next morning, the campus was flooded with cars. Cars with parents picking up their children, or students themselves getting ready to drive back home for the holidays.

            Jungkook was loading his last bag into the trunk of his car, while Seokjin watched him, leaning on Jungkook’s car. “Thanks for your help, hyung.” Jungkook says sarcastically, huffing as he shuts the trunk close.

            Seokjin only snorts in response, smirking back at his dongsaeng. The whole time Jungkook walked in and out of his dorm, carrying heavy bags and boxes of things to bring home, Seokjin had merely watched with amusement, chuckling when Jungkook almost tripped over a stone.

            “Aren’t you getting ready to leave?” Jungkook asks, pulling a cigarette and his lighter out his pocket, offering one to Seokjin before lighting one for himself.

            “I don’t live that far, remember?” Seokjin smiles, taking a drag from his cigarette and allowing the warmth to spread through his body amidst the cold, skin-nipping weather.

            “Right.” Jungkook wishes his family could move back to Seoul, not looking forward to the four-hour drive home to Busan. Yet he was excited to see his family, having not been home since he started going to university.

            Out of the corner of his eye, he sees Taehyung and Jimin step out of the building carrying their own bags. They chat as they descend down the steps, not minding the people around them. Then a few meters away from where they were, Jungkook could see Yoongi and Hoseok walking with another man.

            “Hey babe,” The man says, pulling Jimin in for a hug. Jungkook continues to watch the group, the man greeting Taehyung with a hug as well, then introducing Yoongi and Hoseok to them.

            Hoseok notices Jungkook standing nearby and gestures for him to come over, but not before turning to Seokjin who had to go.

            “Hey Jungkook,” Yoongi is the first to greet him, “This is my friend Namjoon. Namjoon-ah, this is Jungkook.”

            “Nice to meet you,” Namjoon smiles, extending a hand.

            Jungkook takes it, smiling as he greets Namjoon as well. Namjoon somehow decides to tell him he’s Jimin’s boyfriend and Yoongi’s family friend, which suddenly made sense to Jungkook.

            “You ready to go?” Hoseok asks, pulling him for their own chat as Yoongi mingled with Namjoon and the others.

            “Yeah, all set.” Jungkook replies, jerking a thumb toward his car, “How about you?”

            Hoseok hums, a smile creeping on his lips as he nods, “Yoongi’s gonna stay with me for a few days before he drives to Daegu.”

            Jungkook is surprised, “You’re finally going to introduce him to your family?” His mouth hangs open in shock because Hoseok has told them how conservative his parents were, and he wasn’t so sure how they’d react to Hoseok being gay, all the more to having a boyfriend.

            “I mean, it’s bound to happen anyway. I don’t see why I should delay it further.”

            “What are you gonna do if— you know….” Jungkook doesn’t even finish his sentence. He doesn’t want to put the idea of Hoseok’s parents rejecting his coming out in Hoseok’s mind considering how intent he was about this. But whether they push the thought away or not, it was always going to hang in the air, it was inevitable.

            “I can’t change their minds if they don’t accept me for who I am and who I love. It’ll suck, definitely. But this is who I am, I won’t change that.” Hoseok’s smile doesn’t waver despite the thought. It seems he has come to terms with the situation if it goes downhill.

            “And I’ll be here for you.” Jungkook says softly, wrapping his arms around Hoseok who hugs him tightly.

            “Thanks, Kook.”

            The two rejoin the group, and Jungkook almost forgets that Taehyung was there. His eyes quickly land on the man who was currently trying to convince Jimin to go snowboarding, “Come on, it’s going to be fun!” Taehyung whines, shaking Jimin who had his eyes closed in determination.

            “Hell no, that’s what you said about roller coasters!” Jimin argues, eyes popping open to glare at Taehyung.

            “But it wasn’t—”

            Taehyung was cut off by a woman who called out “My sons!” The entire group turns to the source, a woman who seemed to be in her mid 50s, her hair growing a few strands of gray. Behind her was a man, probably her husband who was wearing a suit with a long dark coat. The woman was quite pretty, but as Jungkook analyzed her face, he wondered who she was calling cause none of the guys standing with him held any resemblance to the woman making her way towards them.

            And just as Jungkook was about to whip around and check if perhaps there was someone standing close to them that maybe the woman was calling, Taehyung and Jimin simultaneously called out “Mom!”

            The duo tore themselves from the group, rushing towards the woman who engulfed them both in a hug. Yoongi, Hoseok, and Jungkook turned to one another, confused. While Taehyung and Jimin were busy talking to the woman they called mom and the man, Yoongi turned to Namjoon.

            “Did they both just call her mom?”

            Hoseok and Jungkook watch Namjoon’s features shift from a fond smile to a shy one, “Yeah, she’s their mom.” No one speaks for a moment, the information processing in their minds. But none of the three could comprehend how that woman was Taehyung and Jimin’s mom. Namjoon could only chuckle as the trio only frowned in confusion, so he decides to explain, “Jimin and Taehyung were adopted by that couple.”

            Almost comically, Jungkook, Yoongi, and Hoseok’s jaws hang open. They watch as Taehyung and Jimin pull the couple with them, eager to have them meet their friends.

            “Hey Mrs. Mun,” Namjoon greets the woman with a hug.

            “Hello Namjoon,” Mrs. Mun replies, taking a good look at Namjoon, “It’s been a while, have you been treating our Jiminie well?”

            Namjoon chuckles as Jimin goes in for a hug, “Of course.”

            “Mom, these are some of our other friends,” Taehyung says excitedly, making Jungkook smile in amusement. Taehyung introduces each and every one of them, the boys bowing towards Taehyung and Jimin’s parents.

            “No need to be so formal, boys,” Mr. Song says, wrapping an arm around Taehyung’s shoulder, “Ready to go?” He asks his sons who nod in response.

            “See you after the break,” Jimin says to Namjoon, getting up on his tip toes to plant a kiss on his lips before bidding the others farewell and taking his bag, walking away with his dad.

            Taehyung leans in for a hug from Namjoon, stopping short in front of Jungkook, Yoongi, and Hoseok, not knowing whether to give them a hug or a simple goodbye. Biting the tip of his finger, he shrugs to himself and just goes for it, moving to hug Hoseok first who wraps his arms tightly around the boy, muttering a “it was nice meeting you.”

            “Maybe we could hang out more after the break,” Taehyung suggests with a shy smile.

            “That’d be awesome.” Hoseok agrees.

            Taehyung then shyly shifts to turn to Yoongi, who’s already pulling him in for a hug, and giving Taehyung a gentle pat on his shoulders once he pulled away. Lastly, Taehyung stands before Jungkook, his shy smile now a more comfortable one, his teeth peeking from behind his glossy lips.

            “Bring it in,” Jungkook finds himself saying, making Taehyung’s smile grow wider, his arms sliding underneath Jungkook’s, his delicate fingers resting on the small of Jungkook’s back, making the younger man feel a tingling sensation spread through the muscles on his back. Despite the cold weather, he suddenly felt warm in Taehyung’s embrace, feeling at a loss as soon as the latter was detaching himself.

            Taehyung gives one last wave goodbye to the group before linking arms with his mom, and following right behind Jimin and his father. The rest of the boys watch the four figures grow smaller in the distance before turning to each other.

            “Well, I should go.” Namjoon smiles, bowing towards the others before leaving as well.

            Jungkook is left with Yoongi and Hoseok who are smiling expectantly at him. The youngest cocks an eyebrow at them, wondering why they were smiling like hyenas as he slowly backs away. His eyes were narrowed at his friends as he reaches his car, unlocking it.

            Hoseok and Yoongi have naturally followed him over to his car, the smiles on their faces still plastered on, leaning on the side of Jungkook’s vehicle, “What was that?” Yoongi asks, an amused smile playing on his lips.

            “What was what?”

            “Bring it in?” Hoseok says, trying to imitate how Jungkook said it earlier, “You like him, don’t you?”

            “I don’t,” Jungkook rolls his eyes, opening the car door. Did I? Jungkook thinks to himself as he slides into the driver’s seat.

            Hoseok and Yoongi chuckle, and close the driver’s door shut then take a few steps back. Jungkook watches them for a moment, almost feeling like the couple were parents sending their son off, making Jungkook smile to himself. Hoseok and Yoongi have been exactly that, parents to him. With his family all the way in Busan, he constantly missed them and ached to be around them. The couple had provided him with that comfort, that sense of being home, even if not literally.

            Jungkook lowers his window, “Have fun in Gwangju,” He calls out one last time before he waves his hand, and drives off.

            Hoseok and Yoongi stand by the steps of the building, turning to each other once Jungkook’s car had turned out onto the street. “You told him?” Yoongi asks with a smirk, a hand on Hoseok’s back as they make their way inside the building to get Hoseok’s things.

            “I needed some extra encouragement,” Hoseok laughs.

 


 

A few days into their winter break, Jimin and Taehyung are sprawled out on the living room floor, Christmas decorations flooding every inch of the room. Their mom woke them up to help her with decorating the house, to which Taehyung and Jimin happily obliged to. So far, they’ve brought boxes up from the attic to the living room, the dust tickling their noses and making them sneeze non-stop that their dad had to go out on a quick trip to the drug store to buy masks.

            “Hey mom, where do you want this?” Jimin asks, holding up a wreath adorned with pinecones of different sizes, and a big red bow attached with 2 bells in the middle, its ribbons looping around the wreath, adding more charm.

            “On the front door, honey.” Their mom smiles, carrying 2 large stockings with the names Taehyung and Jimin embroidered on it.

            While Jimin stepped out of the living room to hang the wreath on their front door, Taehyung was opening a box labeled Christmas balls. Upon lifting the flaps open, Taehyung couldn’t help but let out a gasp, “No way! You kept these?” He beams, eyes glistening as he turns to his parents.

            His mom and dad look back at him with curious eyes, inching forward to peek at the box Taehyung was occupied with. Their mom is the first to smile, Jimin returning to the room and hovering over the box in question.

            Jimin’s mouth hangs open in surprise, “I thought you threw these out!” Jimin chuckles, leaning down to pick up a ball, a nostalgic smile etched on his face.

            Inside the box were a whole bunch of Christmas balls that their parents bought the first Christmas that they spend together since being adopted. Mrs. Mun actually thought they got thrown out but when she was cleaning out the attic the other day, she cried tears of joy upon discovering that this treasure of theirs had been here the whole time. The Christmas balls were originally plain white, the two boys under the impression that their mom wanted a simple looking tree for Christmas. But their parents had different plans.

           

It was in 2002, a few days before Christmas. Mr. Song and Mrs. Mun came into Taehyung and Jimin’s room one early morning, and woke up the boys. With eyes half way open, and their hair sticking out in different directions, their parents brought them into the living room.

            It had only been a few months since their adoption, and the two 7-year-old boys couldn’t be anymore happier to finally get to spend a Christmas with their own family. However, their parents felt as though they should do something special to celebrate the boys’ first Christmas with them.

            Confusion was evident on the two boys’ face when they saw a bunch of white Christmas balls placed in a tray on the coffee table in their living room. But excitement slowly started to build up when their father came in the room holding a tray full of paint.

            They spent their morning painting the Christmas balls, Taehyung and Jimin expressing their gratitude towards the couple by painting them on the balls as best as they could. Taehyung and Jimin worked silently, concentrated on painting the faces of themselves, and their now parents. They also drew their wishes. Taehyung creating an image of a puppy to which Mr. Song granted come Christmas day, and Jimin drawing a picture of their family years from now, silently wishing to himself that they stay together forever.

Mr. Song and Mrs. Mun tried so hard not to shed tears that morning, understanding how hard it must be for them. They were probably afraid that maybe one day the couple would get tired of them, wishing they had their own biological children. And it’s true. The couple did wish they had their own biological child, but then they wouldn’t have it any other way, feeling an overwhelming sense of home in the presence of these boys. For years the couple have tried to conceive, but to no luck. And when they decided to adopt, they instantly fell in love with two certain boys who gave them a warm welcome during their visit to an orphanage.

           

Mrs. Mun could never forget how Taehyung greeted him with a hug the first time they met, the then 7-year-old boy wishing “I hope you find someone who will look at you like you’re the best mom in the world.” Taehyung’s twinkling eyes eternally engraved in the back of her mind.

            “You think I’ll be a great mom?” Mrs. Mun asked, feeling a little teary-eyed. In her hands were holding Taehyung’s little one as they walked around the courtyard where the other kids were playing.

            “I don’t think so,” Taehyung says, and Mrs. Mun’s smile almost drops, but not before Taehyung continues, “I know you will.” And in that moment, she knew she wanted Taehyung to be her family.

            On the other hand, Mr. Song was inside the house speaking with one of the owners of the orphanage. They were currently in the dining hall having a chat when a little boy came bouncing in, carrying a basket full of flowers. The little boy’s smile was all Mr. Song could focus on as he happily ran into the dining room, stopping short in front of him.

            The boy tilted his head to one side, observing Mr. Song with his curious eyes, making the older man feel slightly vulnerable under the child’s gaze. “Hi, I’m Jimin. I’m 7 years old!” Jimin suddenly beams, his eyes turning into crescents as he extends his hand toward Mr. Song.

            “Hi Jimin, it’s nice to meet you,” Mr. Songs says, introducing himself to the boy.

            “Are you here to look for someone to be your baby?” Jimin asks, the owner keeping silent beside them as the two interacted.

            “Yes, I am.” Mr. Song chuckles at Jimin’s words, watching the latter’s smile turn bigger. He reaches into his basket, grabbing a bunch of purple, blue, and pink flowers. Jimin places the basket on the floor, rearranging the bouquet in his hands before thrusting it forward. Mr. Song hesitates for a moment, before taking the beautiful flowers from the little boy’s hand.

            “Mr. Kim, our gardener told me that hyacinths and lilacs mean family.” Jimin says, a giggle escaping his lips, “I hope you meet yours here today!”

            “I think I already have,” Mr. Song smiles.

 

            Fast forward to the present, although they intended to adopt one child, they had no regrets adopting Taehyung and Jimin together. The two were apparently best friends, and when they found out they were being adopted together, they got really excited.

            Now they find themselves here, 17 years later, hanging up their priceless Christmas balls on the tree. And when they were done, they took a few steps back, arms wrapped around each other as they admire their work, and reminisce their journey to becoming the family they are today.

            In a minute, Mrs. Mun finds herself in tears, and Taehyung quickly notices this. They form a group hug, happily crying together. And when they’ve finally calmed down, they gathered by the fire place, mugs of their dad’s signature hot chocolate warming their hands as they talked about everything that went on during the semester. Taehyung thinking to himself that nothing could get better than this.

Chapter Text

“Mint chocolate or plain chocolate?”

            Jungkook comically grimaces as the question, giving his cousin a look, “Did you really just ask me that?”

            “You’re right, mint chocolate it is.” He says playfully, reaching for the tub of mint chocolate ice cream. But Jungkook was quick to reach out and slap the tub out of his hands, falling back into the freezer.

            “Jiwoo, you’re such a—”

            Jungkook is interrupted by probably what looked like several kilograms of meat being dropped into their shopping cart by his other cousin. This makes Jungkook and Jiwoo turn to the culprit, seeing Jihyo; Jiwoo’s twin sister; staring back at them with a blank expression.

            “It’s not a feeding program, Jihyo. It’s just a family dinner.” Another voice comes in, from Jungkook’s other cousin Chaeyoung.

            “Our family eats like they’ve been starved for weeks, Chaeyoung-ah.” Jihyo jokes, the two boys chuckling in agreement.

            “Just make sure we don’t go over budget.” Chaeyoung tuts, turning her back on them and disappearing around the corner of the aisle. Chaeyoung is the oldest cousin among the Jeons, then comes Jungkook, then the twins.

            “Why couldn’t our parents do the grocery shopping?” Jiwoo scowls, pushing the cart as he trails behind Jungkook.

            “They said you could use the fresh air,” Jungkook teases, making Jiwoo push the cart and hitting Jungkook. He hisses as the cart hits the back of his feet, almost making him crumble down on the floor in pain, “You better run.” He says, seeing Jiwoo laughing and turning around to dash the other way, leaving the cart with Jihyo. Jihyo could only roll her eyes at their antics, continuing with grocery shopping. All four of them meeting along the aisles with food items in their arms, and dumping them into the cart.

           

Later that evening in Jungkook’s house where all their relatives have gathered, he was with his cousins outside in the garden, huddled by the grill as they barbequed the meat while simultaneously trying to keep themselves warm.

            “Hey, Chaeyoung-ah” Jungkook mutters, flipping over a piece of pork, “How’d you know you were into girls?”

            Chaeyoung stops in the middle of her salad making and glances at Jungkook, eyebrows shot up in curiosity, “This isn’t about a ‘friend,’ is it?” Chaeyoung smirks. She knew in herself that she and Jungkook weren’t as close as Jungkook is with the twins. But that’s mostly because Chaeyoung lived abroad most of her life. So, whenever she’s around their family, Jungkook and the twins make an effort to include her, but she couldn’t deny that there was still some awkward distance between them. Nonetheless, she still cared for her cousins as much as any person would love their family.

            Jungkook couldn’t help but crack a smile, thinking to himself despite not knowing Chaeyoung as much as he’d hope, the older could read Jungkook easily, “Was I too obvious?”

            “Just a bit,” Chaeyoung chuckles, putting down the tongs and giving her full attention to Jungkook, “What’s he like?”

            The latter is slightly taken aback at how straightforward Chaeyoung was going about this. He calls Jiwoo over to take care of the barbeque, then grabs a seat and pulls it close to Chaeyoung, “To be honest, I don’t know that much about him. Just that he’s adopted.”

            Chaeyoung hums, staring intently at Jungkook who only purses his lips further, “Well, you hardly know the guy. So, there isn’t much to talk about now, is there?” She says with a smile that Jungkook returns, “Does it scare you?”

            “What does?” Jungkook frowns, his head tilted.

            “Questioning your identity.” Chaeyoung mutters softly, noticing how Jiwoo was moving around as he grabbed the other remaining slabs of meat and slapping them on to the grill.

            There was a pause. Quite a long one too as Jungkook was thinking to himself. Was he questioning his identity? Did it scare him? His cousin’s words echo loudly in his mind that he no longer is aware of his surroundings. His thoughts consume him, and Chaeyoung notices. She reaches out and places a hand on top of Jungkook’s, giving him a reassuring smile as she rubbed the back of his hard.

            When Chaeyoung came out to her parents, it was a nightmare. But she was prepared for it, considering how conservative her parents are and as well as their whole family. Her parents didn’t talk to her for months. It was only when Chaeyoung was on a school trip, and got into an accident did they reconcile with her. Had it not been for that day, Chaeyoung didn’t know if her parents would be talking to her right not. Although she had to admit, her parents were still in denial, and would shy away from conversations about their daughter. But Chaeyoung took what she got, and was more than happy to at least have her parents talking to her.

            Jungkook was a witness to those times, when their family would all be gathered together. Chaeyoung would walk up to her parents and try to talk to them, but they would straight up ignore her even in front of all their family members. Jungkook saw Chaeyoung on multiple occasions run to the bathroom, or step outside to get away from everyone and would quietly cry. He saw how much Chaeyoung was hurting, struggling to understand who she was while trying to get the people she loved to love her for who she is.

            And now Jungkook couldn’t help but wonder. What if he is what he thinks he is, would his parents do the same to him? Or would they try to accept it? He feels fear at the back of his mind. A possibility. But he retraces his train of thoughts and wonders; is he… Was he having an identity crisis? Or was he just taking his friends’ jokes too seriously?

            His thoughts seem to subside, once again feeling Chaeyoung’s hand over his. He smiles gratefully for the comfort, not even realizing he needed it. “I don’t know yet, I’m not even sure I’m questioning it already.”

            “All at your own time, Kook.” Chaeyoung smiles, giving Jungkook one last squeeze on his hands before resuming to make the salad.

 

            After dinner, the adults stay sat at the dining table while Jungkook and his cousins moved to the living room, lounging around the fireplace. He and Chaeyoung were laying on their stomachs on the floor, with a pillow places underneath their elbows while the twins were curled up on the couch with bags of chips resting on their laps. The four of them were watching a movie, Jungkook trying to. His mind was currently being occupied with thoughts about himself, questioning his sexuality and unconsciously thinking about Taehyung.

            He mentally slaps himself on the face, telling himself to get it together. He glances a few times in Chaeyoung’s direction, hoping to pull her away to talk. But her eyelids grew heavy and she was trying hard not to fall asleep, and Jungkook didn’t want to wake her up.

            He presses his lips tightly, and fiddles with his phone in his hands. Scrolling through his contacts list, he wonders if Hoseok would be busy right now. He itched to talk to someone as his thoughts would not settle down, so he jumps right up from the floor and quietly exits the living room, out into the hall and out the door. He stops right outside on the porch and sits down on the top step, his phone illuminating and casting a soft glow on his face as he presses the call button on Hoseok’s contact profile.

            The phone rings and he couldn’t stop his leg from bouncing, feeling anxious. After about several rings, Hoseok finally picks up the phone.

            “Jungkook-ah, is everything okay?” Hoseok says.

            Jungkook lets out a laugh, “Hello and Merry Christmas to you too, Hoseok.”

            Hoseok laughs on the other end of the line, “Merry Christmas Jungkookie. What’s up? Sorry— it’s just that you don’t normally call, and when you do it’s an emergency.”

            Ah. “I just wanted to check on you and Yoongi hyung.” Jungkook decides, figuring he could put aside his sexual identity crisis on pause and talk to Hoseok when they get back from the break.

            “Oh Jungkook!” Hoseok exclaims, making Jungkook inch away from his phone, “You’ll never believe it!

            “I take it went well?”

            “Even better!” Hoseok sighs happily, “My parents— they’ve always known, and just waited for me to come out, and they wanted to reassure me nothing was going to change, that they still love me just as much. Oh, and they welcomed Yoongi warmly, and everything was just so nice— I’m still in shock, but Kook I’m so happy. This is the best Christmas ever.” Jungkook could hear Hoseok’s voice cracking towards the end, probably shedding tears of pure joy.

            “I’m happy for you hyung,” Jungkook smiles, hugging himself under the cold winter night, “Is Yoongi hyung still there?”

            “No, he left yesterday for Daegu. I can’t wait to see you after the break, there’s so much I need to tell you!” Hoseok is giggling, and Jungkook finds it adorable, as well as contagious for he couldn’t help the grin on his face hearing his best friend so happy.

            “I can’t wait to hear it,” Jungkook says.

            The duo continues to talk for a while, updating each other of how their break was going before they hang up because Hoseok was about to sing for his grandmother. Jungkook shoves his phone back into his back pocket and walks back into the house and to the living room, his feet padding softly against the carpeted floor.

            He notices that not only has Chaeyoung fallen asleep, but so have the twins. He smiles to himself as he leaves the room once again to grab some spare blankets, draping them over his dozing cousins and making sure to add a bit more firewood under the mantel to keep them warm. His parents pop in to inform him that his aunts and uncles have gone up to their respective guest rooms, and that they were about to go up to rest too.

            “Aren’t you going to sleep in your room?” His mom asks, one foot already on the stairs.

            “Nah, I’ll stay with them here.”

            “Okay, good night honey.” Mrs. Jeon sends him a flying kiss before moving to walk up the steps beside Mr. Jeon, their hands intertwined as they glance at each other lovingly.

            “Good night.” Jungkook smiles sleepily, feeling the tiredness aching in every bone and muscle in his body. He grabs his own pillow and blanket, settling on the empty couch. The only light coming from the flickering flames of the fire. Jungkook watches it, listening to the firewood cracking in the heat, little specs of ash floating and disappearing just as quickly. His eyes never move away from the fireplace, listening as well to the soft hums of his cousins’ snoring in deep slumber.

            Despite exhaustion, the sleep doesn’t come and Jungkook finds himself staring up at the ceiling for who knows how long. His feet are playing with the end of his blanket, his fingers weaving together on top of his stomach as a frown forms on his face. For some reason he couldn’t understand, he couldn’t take his mind off of Taehyung. He can’t stop thinking of his eyes that was filled with so much curiosity, his big bright and boxy smile that he unconsciously mirrors sometimes, his long and slender finger that comb through his hair by habit.

            Jungkook groans, but stops midway when he remembers he wasn’t alone. Tossing his blanket to the side, he decides to get up and walk over to the kitchen, opening the fridge open and grabbing a bottle of water. Jungkook uncaps the bottle, chugging down the water.

            He glances at the clock hanging on the wall, it read 2:38 am. Jungkook shivers despite the layers of clothes he has on, shuffling back over to the fireplace. He slightly regrets not sleeping in the comforts of his own bedroom where he has a heater, and a thicker and warmer blanket to keep him through the night. But he just shrugs it off, going back to the couch and burying himself using the blanket.

He reaches for his phone on the side table and opens his Instagram. Pictures of his friends’ holiday celebrations fill his timeline, some standing with their families and posing next to their Christmas tree, others traveling for the holidays to countries that weren’t snowing, swimming at the beach or up in the mountains overlooking the vast country sides of places Jungkook has yet to visit. And as he scrolls through his feed, he stumbles upon a picture Jimin posted. It was a picture of a Christmas tree decorated with balls that seemed to have drawing of a child plastered on it.

‘The little things that make Christmas a whole lot more special.’ Read the caption under the photo, and right after the sentence, a person was tagged. Jungkook feels his heart racing as his finger hover over the name. He taps down on the handle and a new page loads, anticipation building. And as soon as the profile pops up, Jungkook unconsciously smiles. It was Taehyung’s Instagram profile. Jungkook silently thanks the gods that Taehyung’s account wasn’t private, allowing him to view the man’s photos. Sliding down, he’s met with dozens of beautifully taken photos of nature, and of some people. He recognized Jimin in some of the photos, as well as Taehyung and Jimin’s parents.

One post captures Jungkook’s attention and he taps on it to get a better look, it was a video of Taehyung who seemed to be just staring at the camera at first, music playing in the background, but then Jungkook is caught off guard when Taehyung starts to lip sync and dance to the music, the camera getting more and more shaky as it ends. His lips start to curl upwards as he watches Taehyung be silly, until his teeth start to show and now, he’s full on grinning at a video of Taehyung.

He catches himself smiling like a dork, snapping himself out of it. But then his phone starts to slip out of his hands, so he grips tighter on his phone only to realize his finger had found its way on to the screen and hits the like button. His jaw drops in shock, realizing what just happened, then he taps on the heart once again to unlike it. He winces when he realizes that the video was posted about 5 months ago. Was he that far into checking Taehyung’s feed? Heat starts to radiate through his body, climbing up to his ears and suddenly he kicks the blanket off. His hands fly to his face, covering himself in embarrassment and could only hope Taehyung was a sleep and did not get any notification of Jungkook liking his video.

 


 

Their house was in full swing with lots of guests, mostly their neighbors slipping in and out of their house to join the party. Every year it was like this for as long as Taehyung could remember. His family celebrated Christmas with their neighbors, leaving their doors wide open for anyone who wished to join the festivities. As the night grew later, people started going home, greeting their family a Merry Christmas before disappearing down the street and into their own houses.

            Taehyung was currently holed up in his bedroom with Jimin, and a few other kids from their block. They were playing a game of Uno, a stack of cards positioned in the middle of the room floor, Jimin sitting on the bed, Taehyung leaning back on Jimin’s legs, and the rest gathered around in a circle. They had brought up some drinks, and stolen some plates of food from the kitchen and brought them upstairs.

            “So how are you and your boyfriend?” Taemin asks Jimin, taking a card from the stack.

            Jimin smiles, feeling butterflies at the mention on Namjoon, “Going strong, I really like him.”

            “I think you mispronounced love.” Taehyung jokes, earning a kick from behind.

            “I’m happy for you, Jimin.” Sungwoon says, turning to smile at Jimin who returns it.

             “How about you, Taetae?” Seojoon asks, “I haven’t seen Hyunjae all night.”

            Taehyung snorts in response, feeling slightly bitter at the mention of his ex-boyfriend. He feels a hand on his shoulder and sees Jimin giving him a comforting smile.

            “He and Hyunjae broke up.” Jimin answers for him.

            All their friends gape up at him, shocked by the news. “Since when?” Hyungsik asks, bewildered.

            “How are you feeling?” Jongin adds.

            The game of Uno is easily forgotten as Taehyung runs their friends through on how he broke up with Hyunjae. They all listen intently, Jimin keeping his hands right on top of Taehyung’s shoulder as he goes on about with his story. In the end, he finds himself more at ease like the weight of the break up has finally been lifted off his shoulders. Taehyung smiles to himself, unaware of the empathetic words coming from their friends.

            The buzzing of his phone on his thigh is what snaps him out of his reverie, pulling him back. While his friends are all busy talking to one another, he takes this chance to glance at his phone, an Instagram notification saying jjk97 liked your post.

            “Hey Chim, isn’t this your junior?” Taehyung asks, tilting his phone in Jimin’s view. His screen displayed Jungkook’s Instagram profile, and right underneath the bio pointed out that Jimin was following him.

            “Yeah, why?”

            “Nothing, he liked a video I posted a while back.”

            “Looks like he wasn’t careful while stalking you.” Hyungsik chuckles.

            “Oh please, like you’re smooth?” Seojoon teases.

            The boys fall back into conversation while Taehyung has them tuned out, going through Jungkook’s Instagram for a minute before shutting off his phone and urging everyone to go back to playing Uno.

            Slowly into the night, or rather early in the morning, Taehyung and Jimin’s friends started to leave until it was only the two brothers left in Taehyung’s bedroom.

            “So Jungkook…” Jimin mutters as he stands up, dusting the non-existent dust off his pants. A playful smile took over his face, his eyes glistening with an idea in his mind.

            “No, Chim.” Taehyung laughs, chucking a small pillow in his brother’s direction, “I told you, I’m not looking to be in a relationship for now. I just broke up with Hyunjae, what makes you think I’m ready to date again?”

            “I’m not saying you should make Jungkook your boyfriend, I’m just saying maybe give it a shot. Not him necessarily, anyone.” Jimin says, sitting beside Taehyung, “Distract yourself.”

            “Thank you, Chim. I appreciate your concern, but I promise you I’m fine.” Taehyung smiles, placing a hand on Jimin’s shoulder to reassure him. Although the idea of meeting someone new sparked some excitement in Taehyung, he figured he wanted this time to figure out who he is. For years he was together with Hyunjae, and while he was a kind gentleman, there were times Taehyung couldn’t deny that Hyunjae often dictated how Taehyung should act, and what he should do.

            After Jimin had retreated back into his own bedroom, Taehyung laid in his bed quietly, staring up at the ceiling. In his mind replayed the scene of Hyunjae visiting him at the library only to end up breaking up with him. Tears have started to form, and threatened to spill. Taehyung realizes he hasn’t cried since they broke up, so now as he lays alone in his bedroom, his thoughts his only companion, he lets the tears trickle down his face, feeling his warm liquid trail down his cheek and pool at the base of his neck, slightly drenching the collar of his pajamas.

            “St-stupid Hyunjae.” Taehyung’s voice cracks as he sobs into his pillow. The weight of the situation finally dawning on him despite the peace he thinks he has found. As he cries, he hears his door slowly creak open, the person who had entered silently made their way over to Taehyung’s side. When arms wrap around him, and the smell of vanilla invading his senses, he feels safe, “I love you, Mom.”

            “I love you, my baby bear.” Taehyung could feel his mom smiling behind him as she tightens her hold on him, “Go to sleep, I’m here.” And Taehyung does sleep, with the pain finally washed out of his system, and in the comfort of his mother’s arms, he’s sure he’s found peace and quickly drifts off into slumber.

 

            “I can’t believe the winter break is over,” Jimin pouts, shoving his backpack into the back seat before sitting in front.

            “You say that now, but once you’re reunited with Namjoon, you’d be taking it back in an instant.” Taehyung chuckles, sliding into the driver’s seat.

            Jimin could only roll his eyes in response, figuring he couldn’t say anything else to argue Taehyung’s statement. It’s true, he thinks, he would probably take it back as soon as he sees Namjoon. Jimin smiles to himself, buckling his seatbelt and waving one last goodbye to their parents before Taehyung starts the car and drives off back to their dorms.

            The car ride was peaceful. Not quiet, not loud either, but a moment where two brothers could spend some; although short; quality time together. Ever since they got into university, the duo who were inseparable since they were toddlers, hardly had time to just sit down and hang out. Although they did have their breakfasts together, occasional dinners and hang outs, it always felt cut short. Aside from that, they usually divided their attention with other friends, or their significant others. So, it was moments like these where Taehyung and Jimin could just breathe and revel in each other’s company.

            With music playing from the radio, the two brothers talked about life, ranted, gushed, and even wondered about what they could expect from the start of the new year. Taehyung expressed how he wanted this time for himself, to figure out who he is and what he wants without having to think of anyone else. And this makes Jimin happy, to know that despite the turn of events, Taehyung seems to have come out stronger. It was timely, Jimin thought, that Taehyung could enter the new year on a clean slate, to do things he has never done or even considered doing.

            “I’m excited for you, Tae bear.” Jimin whispers as they pull in at their usual parking space on campus.

            “I am too, a bit scared, but I think this just might be my year.” Taehyung says, unbuckling his seatbelt and stepping out of the car.

            As Taehyung and Jimin were walking towards their building, a familiar figure comes into view. It was Namjoon coming out of the building, hands stuffed deeply in his coat pockets as he braves the cold weather. “Joonie!” Jimin shouts, dropping his bags beside Taehyung before running toward his boyfriend. The icy wind harsh against his cheeks, but nonetheless the grin on his face does not waver as he bounces into Namjoon’s arms.

            It takes a moment for Namjoon to register who had just jumped on him before he easily wraps his arms around Jimin who was currently hanging on to Namjoon like a koala, “Hey baby.” He whispers into Jimin’s ear before setting him back down on the ground, “Hey Taehyung.” Namjoon moves to give Taehyung a hug, then extends his arm downward to take Jimin’s bag from him.

            “Hey hyung.” Taehyung smiles.

            Namjoon couldn’t help but notice something different about Taehyung. He had a frown etched on his face, Jimin glancing between Taehyung and his boyfriend, wondering what was going through his mind at the moment, “You seem different.”

            “I feel different,” Taehyung says, his smile making him look brighter.

            “Also, he bleached his hair.” Jimin states.

            “That too.” Taehyung giggles.

            Namjoon smiles happily at Taehyung, giving him another hug, “I’m glad.”

            The three of them walk inside the building. Jimin and Namjoon visibly flirting beside Taehyung who would whine at them to cut it out, or get a room. They split as they exit the elevator on their floor, their rooms on the other ends. Taehyung hums to himself, dragging his suitcase with him and greeting some of his friends who he passes by down the hall. Soon enough, he could spot his door at the end of the hall, getting ready to drop dead on his bed and take a nap. Just then, the door beside his room swings open, his neighbor stepping out of his room.

            “Jungkook, right?” Taehyung squints, making sure he wasn’t seeing things.

            Jungkook; who apparently was his neighbor; greeted Taehyung with wide eyes, “A-ah, yes. You’re Taehyungie hyung, right?” Jungkook bows, surprised to see Taehyung. The memory of liking his post on Instagram coming back to him like a slap in the face.

            If there was any indication that Taehyung remembered that, it didn’t show, making Jungkook a little relieved. “Yeah.” Taehyung smiles, “Have you always been in that room?”

            Jungkook nods, “Why?” he asks, raising an eyebrow at Taehyung.

            “Oh nothing, it’s just funny that all this time we’ve been neighbors but I only really met you recently.” Taehyung chuckles, making Jungkook’s heart flutter at the sound.

            Jungkook is at a loss for words, his mouth is moving but all he’s able to do it stutter like an idiot in front of Taehyung. He clamps his mouth shut, mentally composing himself to respond to Taehyung, but then someone is calling his name from down the hall.

            Jungkook turns to the source and finds his friends coming over. He frowns and is about to make a face at them, hoping they get the hint to go away but Taehyung beats him to it, “I’ll see you around, Jungkook.” He says, disappearing behind the door of his room. Jungkook groans just as his friends reach him.

            “Hope we weren’t interrupting anything,” Yugyeom grins.

            “Jack ass.” Jungkook mutters, pushing past him.

            “Oh, is our Jungkookie upset?” Yugyeom teases.

            “Dude, cut it out.” Mingyu says.

            “What?” Yugyeom looks at the others innocently, “I just genuinely wanted to know if our little friend here is mad that we interrupted his moment with his little crush.”

            “I don’t have a crush on Taehyung hyung.” Jungkook grunts, stepping out of the building, his friends just right behind him.

            “Oh? Then you wouldn’t mind a small wager?” Yugyeom smirks. Jungkook halts, and slowly turns to face his friends. An eyebrow raised at him as if to ask what in the world was he implying? Yugyeom cocks his head to the side, amused “I bet 500 dollars you can’t get Jimin sunbaenim’s friend to fall for you before the school year ends.”

            500 dollars? Jungkook stares at Yugyeom in disbelief, wondering why Yugyeom would be willing to bet so much. Out of all of his friends, Yugyeom always seemed to irk Jungkook in ways he couldn’t understand. He knows that accepting the bet would be a bad idea, but a part of him wants to prove Yugyeom wrong, and rub it in his face.

            The look on Mingyu and Eunwoo’s faces tell him not to succumb to Yugyeom’s dare, but the two know it’s a lost cause. For as long as these four have known each other, Jungkook and Yugyeom were always at each other’s necks. They wonder how they even managed to stay friends, or whatever they were when all they ever did was get on each other’s nerves and try to piss off the other.

            Jungkook scoffs, puffing his chest out as he takes one step closer to Yugyeom, “You’re on.” He spits.

            “Oh Jungkook…” Mingyu mutters, he and Eunwoo sporting concerned looks while the other two continue to have a stare off. In that moment, all Mingyu and Eunwoo could think that this wasn’t going to end well.