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The Bet

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Jeon Jungkook does not believe in fate or destiny—or comeuppance, for that matter. Sometimes Taehyung proposes that things are “written in the stars,” and Jungkook proposes that Taehyung smokes too much weed. Coincidences are coincidences, nothing more and nothing less.

At least, that’s where Jungkook stands until five Very Important Occurrences make him wonder.

 

Occurrence #1, when Jeon Jungkook learns that Timberlands are not good running shoes.

 When Jungkook entered university, he asked his mother for a motorcycle. She got him a moped. It’s small and drives so slow sometimes Jungkook thinks he could run faster, but he has to admit, it’s pretty useful to run errands off campus. He and Taehyung tried to paint it in a vain attempt to make it look cooler, but they learned quickly enough that house paint does not hold up well on motor vehicles. Now it’s baby blue with streaks of faded black. He complains about it on the regular, but he names it after his favorite superhero anyway.

He leaves Stark braked on the sidewalk next to an awfully pretty silver Tivoli that’s parked illegally in front of the store. Jungkook only wanders the aisles for a few moments to pick up enough ramen to last the coming week, with some choco pies for good measure. He stands at the register when he hears a nasty metal screeching sound that grates on his ears. The cashier leans to the side to look past him, and he turns around.

“Oh, fuck.”

Stark lies on the ground by the Tivoli, and a long scratch adorns the side of the car from the door handle down to the sill. Jungkook throws money onto the counter without counting, grabs his bag of snacks, and runs out the door. He loops the bag around his wrist and bends to straighten Stark, whose handle shows wear from the impact.

“How did you fall, huh?” he says.

He’s in the middle of lifting Stark when someone yells. A guy with enviously large muscles runs toward him, keys dangling from his hand.

“What the fuck did you do to my car?”

Jungkook prides himself on his ability to make split-second decisions. Others have told him that he’s rash, but he finds it a useful trait to have. Especially in situations where a guy twice his size is about to kick his ass. He turns around and books it so fast he almost drops his grocery bag.

“Get back here, asshole!”

“Sorry, Stark,” Jungkook mutters, weaving through confused pedestrians as he skids around the corner of the street.

“There’s no point in running, I’ll turn in your plate to the cops—”

He glances behind him. The guy is catching up frighteningly quickly. Jungkook’s feet pinch uncomfortably in his hefty Timberlands. He nearly trips over himself in his haste to turn another corner.

“You were parked illegally,” he shouts back, breath lost in the wind pushing against his face. “How you gonna explain that to the cops?”

He hears the guy swear. A surge of energy propels him over a bench and into the little park tucked between the multitude of city shops. Halfway through the park, dodging some kids playing Frisbee, he looks back. The guy’s gone.

He collapses face-first onto the grass under a tree and groans, chest heaving.

“You’ve betrayed me,” he says to his shoes. “I thought Timberlands were supposed to be a guy’s best friend.”

                              

Occurrence #2, when Jeon Jungkook learns that bare feet are even worse.

When the girl he goes home with after a party turns out to have a boyfriend, and said boyfriend turns out to be the guy with the Tivoli, Jungkook’s first thought is that Taehyung would call this “karma.”

Of course, there’s not much room to think when he’s ducking past a massive angry dude to skid down the stairwell of Eunbi’s apartment building. The Boyfriend might have bigger muscles than him, but Jungkook’s fast. That’s the only reason he got away the first time. He takes the stairs three at a time, cement cold on his bare feet.

“Get back here, you fucking prick,” the Boyfriend yells. He’s a good two floors behind. “First my car, now my girlfriend—”

Jungkook propels himself over the last railing with a rather impressive leap and bursts out the door, kicking it shut behind him. It clangs but he can still hear the Boyfriend shouting. He shields his eyes from the abruptly harsh sunlight and runs around the side.

“Jungkook!” A voice calls. He looks up. Eunbi leans out of a fifth floor window, waving, her delicate dressing gown loose around her shoulders.

“Why didn’t you tell me you have a boyfriend?” He tries to sound intimidating but it comes out like a whine.  

“Oops,” she says, and giggles.

Oops, he thinks. Fucking oops. “Can you at least toss me my clothes?”

But then the door bangs open and Jungkook starts running with an annoyed huff. His favorite snapback lies somewhere on the floor of Eunbi’s bedroom. And running through campus wearing only a pair of Iron Man boxers is not exactly how he wants to be remembered. He can almost imagine it, years after graduation, some bratty freshman—I heard this dude did the walk of shame but, like, to the max. He halfheartedly tries to hide his chest as he runs (he likes his chest, he’s worked hard on his chest, but this is not how he wants people to see it).

Thankfully it’s still a little early for campus to be too busy on a Saturday morning. He loses the Boyfriend somewhere between the dining hall and his apartment building. The girl sitting at the front desk with her nose buried in a comic shoots him a bored glance.

“What’d you do this time, Jeon?”

“None of your business, Ahn.”

He ends up in the elevator with a guy who keeps shooting him sideways glances and snickering, like he thinks Jungkook won’t notice. Jungkook flexes a little and growls when he gets off on his floor, and the guy shrinks back.

Of course he doesn’t have his keys or his wallet or his phone. So he stands outside banging on the door until Taehyung finally opens it in a Pokemon onesie. It’s seven in the morning but he’s eating out of a tub of ice cream.

“Isn’t that mine?” Jungkook says about the onesie.

“What’s mine is yours and what’s yours is mine, my friend. What happened to you?”

Jungkook slumps forward, dropping his head on Taehyung’s warm shoulder, the adrenaline of the run finally catching up to him. “She has a boyfriend.”

For a moment Taehyung is silent, and Jungkook wonders if he might get a lecture or something. But then Taehyung laughs so hard he snorts.

 

Occurrence #3, when Jeon Jungkook discovers the aesthetic appeal of orange hair.

He sits in his usual corner of the dining hall when a boy slides into one of the plastic chairs two tables away. The boy first catches Jungkook’s attention because his hair is bright orange. It’s parted in the middle, falling in loose waves around his forehead. He has pretty skin and pretty lips and though he’s clearly fit, he looks small even sitting down. He opens a thick English book and reads it while eating a salad. Jungkook is briefly offended that a boy so beautiful goes to his university and he’s only just found out. By rule, Jungkook knows every beautiful boy and girl on campus.

He debates whether or not to take the empty seat next to him when a girl approaches. She’s cute, the skirt of her pretty blue dress bouncing as she stops by his side.

“Um, excuse me.” They are near enough that her soft voice carries over to Jungkook.

The orange-haired boy glances up absently. “Oh, hey.” She hesitates long enough that he says, “Is something wrong?” He has a light voice, high and musical with a slight lisp.

Jungkook can visibly see her steeling herself. “I, um, really like you and I was wondering if maybe we could go on a date. Grab coffee or something.”

The boy’s brow furrows, and she deflates. “I’m sorry, but I don’t really date.” Her head bows a little, and he hurries to say, “It’s nothing personal. I just don’t really have time. I’m sorry.”

She leaves, probably pretending to act all right, and the boy drops his head onto his book with an audible groan. He doesn’t go back to reading after that. Jungkook sits there with his rice and stew and watches the boy push around his food, chin in hand. He looks like he might start crying at any moment. Jungkook can’t remember ever feeling so sad after turning someone down.

After a little while, the boy leaves, and Jungkook returns to playing Piano Tiles.

 

Occurrence #4, when Kim Taehyung almost comes in handy.

They’re sitting on a bench outside the arts building when someone calls Taehyung’s name. It’s the orange-haired boy, switching directions to walk toward them. The bench fits three people but Taehyung’s legs take up the third space as he leans his back into Jungkook’s shoulder, playing some dumb coffee shop game on his phone. Jungkook sits slumped, his legs outstretched, an energy drink dangling from one hand.

Taehyung drops his phone on his stomach to wave. “Jimin!”

Jungkook glances between Taehyung and the boy named Jimin. He’s dressed like he just got back from the gym, cut arms on display in a loose tank, a sports bag hoisted over one shoulder. He smiles, but he might as well have punched Jungkook in the face. It’s the cutest smile he’s ever seen in his life. One small dimple, eyes curved into crescents, cheeks puffed out.

Jimin stops beside Jungkook’s sprawled legs, glancing at him as if waiting for him to move so he can reach Taehyung. Jungkook blinks lazily and doesn’t move.

“Excuse me,” Jimin says, a small note of irritation in his voice. Jungkook smirks and draws his legs back slowly, Timberlands scraping against the sidewalk. Jimin passes to stop in front of Taehyung. “Hey, here are your notes.” He tugs a stack of papers from his bag and hands them to Taehyung. “Thanks again for letting me borrow them.”

“‘Course.”

“Have you started studying for the exam yet? I heard it’s wicked hard.”

“Nah. Wanna study together?”

“Uh, yeah.” Jimin looks away, biting his plump bottom lip in thought. He runs a hand through his hair. It falls back into place slightly messy. It looks soft. Taehyung nudges Jungkook; he realizes he’s staring. “I gotta work tonight and tomorrow I have dance practice and Monday I’m volunteering at the school so, um. How about Tuesday?”

“Sounds good.”

“Cool, see you around.”

He waves and walks away after a brief glance at Jungkook, who is treated to a nice view of his firm ass as he leaves. As soon as he’s out of earshot, Jungkook jolts upright, shoving Taehyung off him.

“You know him? Who is he? Is he single?”

“Ow.” Taehyung rubs the back of his head where Jungkook’s shoulder bumped into it. “What the fuck?”

“I saw him the other day and goddam he is fine—”

“You look like you’re about to cum in your pants.”

“Piss off.” Jungkook turns fully in the bench to face Taehyung. “So you know him?”

“I guess. We sit next to each other in theory class. He’s an education major, too.”

“Introduce me.”

“We’re not really friends.”

“You know his name. He said ‘hi.’ That’s pretty much all there is to it.”

“I know all you might need to get in someone’s pants is a name and a positive greeting, but unlike you, I do have standards.”

“Remember when that guy said your hair was ugly and you fucked him anyway?”

Taehyung’s mouth curls into an unnecessary pout. “That was one time and he was cute.”

“All you have to do is introduce me. I’ll take it from there.”

“Listen, Kook. I know Jimin’s hot, but it’s probably not going to happen.”

“Is he straight? Because this one time I got a straight guy to—”

“Shut up, I don’t wanna hear it.” Taehyung shoves his fingers in his ears, humming loudly until Jungkook’s mouth stops moving. “He’s not straight.”

“So what’s the problem?”

“Jimin’s, like, notoriously single. As in, he wants to keep it that way.” Taehyung taps his lip thoughtfully. “I’m pretty sure everyone in our major has had the hots for him at least once, but he doesn’t date anyone.”

“I don’t wanna date him.”

“He doesn’t fuck around, either.”

“How do you know? You’re not friends.”

“Because everyone knows. Because everyone’s disappointed.”

“I could at least try.”

But Taehyung’s not listening anymore. His gaze has caught on a girl walking two Maltese puppies across the library. It’s the puppies that have his attention. Jungkook groans, knowing he’s lost Taehyung entirely.

 

Occurrence #5, when Kim Taehyung proposes a bet, and Jeon Jungkook starts to believe in fate. 

Jungkook takes Stark to a nearby auto shop to check on the brakes after the fiasco with the Boyfriend. His eyes still feel puffy with sleep, unused to waking up this early. Just his luck that the only appointment left was seven in the morning on a Saturday. The auto shop is small, barely enough room for two cars in the garage at a time, but it’s the closest one to campus and he heard that an honest and reliable man runs it.

He parks Stark outside the shopfront and jogs up to the door. Through the glass windows, he can see someone at the counter, back turned to the door. His hand touches the handle when the guy turns around, and Jungkook freezes. The orange hair really should have given it away. Jimin wears a navy blue mechanic’s jumpsuit, but he’s unbuttoned the top and let it fall around his waist to reveal a white tank top with a grease stain just under the neckline. For a moment Jungkook stares at his bare arms and smooth collarbones, and then he realizes that Jimin’s here. Jimin, who absolutely cannot know that he rides a baby blue moped.

He removes his hand and steps back, but that’s when Jimin looks up. Jungkook stares. Jimin raises a hand and beckons. He doesn’t really have a choice after that. The door chime tinkles when he pushes it open.

Standing across the counter from him, Jungkook is struck by just how small Jimin is.

“What can I help you with?” Jimin says.

“Um—my, uh—”

Jimin’s gaze travels behind him to land on the moped. His rather bored expression turns to one of amusement as he returns his attention to Jungkook. “That yours?”

He sniffs and resumes some of his usual bravado. “Yeah, what of it?”

“Nothing.” Jimin’s eyes twinkle, a soft curve to the end of his mouth. “So, what’s the problem?”

“Brakes. Parked him the other day, and he started moving all on his own.”

“You have an appointment, right?” Jimin sifts through a fat binder sitting on the counter, stopping by what must be Jungkook’s name. Even his hands are small, with cute, chubby fingers. “A mechanic should be with you in a few minutes.”

“You’re not a mechanic?” Jungkook blurts, eyeing his clothes.

Jimin raises an eyebrow. “I’m kind of like an assistant.”

“Oh, I just thought—never mind.”

“You can wait in one of the chairs.”

Jungkook mentally smacks himself. He’s usually a lot smoother than that. He takes a seat by the window and glances periodically back at Jimin, who busies himself writing in the big binder. His fluffy orange hair falls into his eyes, and every now and then he emits a frustrated whoosh of air to shake it away. When he does his cheeks puff out even more than usual, and he looks downright adorable.

Jungkook is thinking about how tiny he is when the sound of a car’s engine causes him to glance outside. A silver Tivoli with a scratch down the side pulls up in front of the shop, right next to Stark. Jungkook’s eyes widen. Three times in one week might be too much for just coincidence. The driver’s side door opens, and Jungkook makes another split-second decision.

He leaps to his feet and catapults behind the counter.

Jimin steps back, too shocked to react at first, so Jungkook tucks in all his limbs to ensure that not a single piece of himself is visible. He looks up at Jimin, who’s staring at him with an open mouth. Jungkook puts a finger to his lips and mouths please.

The chime jingles as the Boyfriend shoves the door open rather forcefully from the sound of it. Jungkook tries to breathe a little quieter.

“Whose moped is that out there?” he demands.

Jungkook looks back up. Jimin has turned to face the newcomer, a neutral expression on his face. “I’m sorry?”

“The moped. Where’s the owner?”

“I don’t think I can release that information,” Jimin says smoothly.

“Listen, dude. The asshole who rides that moped scratched up my car and slept with my girlfriend. He’s got it coming.” The note of desperation in his voice makes Jungkook stifle a chuckle, a hand pressed to his mouth. Jimin’s foot shifts to nudge his side.

“That really sucks. But I’d get fired if I told you. Sorry, man.”

The Boyfriend sighs heavily. “Yeah, I understand. I came to make an appointment to fix the scratch.”

They talk for a little while, and Jungkook makes sure not to move until the chime sounds and Jimin’s foot nudges him again, harder this time.

“You slept with his girlfriend? That’s shitty.”

“She didn’t tell me she had a boyfriend,” Jungkook mumbles, rubbing his side and pulling himself up by the counter.

“Ah.” It’s obvious that Jimin doesn’t believe him.

The entrance of an older man who must be the actual mechanic interrupts any chance to pursue the subject. After that Jungkook can’t interact with Jimin much, busy with his moped and the mechanic. But when he gets home, he kicks his shoes off into the living room with unnecessary force and barges into Taehyung’s bedroom to tell him the story.

“Look, it’s meant to be,” he says when he finally finishes. “That’s way too many coincidences for one week. Everything’s adding up like some kind of teen movie shit.”

“I thought you didn’t believe in fate.” Taehyung looks a little offended, pushing Jungkook’s head off his lap. He has every right to be, considering how often Jungkook mocks him for his outrageous claims about destiny and stars.

“I don’t but this is too weird.”

“Seriously, Jungkook, he’s a losing battle.”

“Look at me. There’s no way he’ll turn me down.”

Taehyung’s lip curls in disgust as he eyes Jungkook head to toe.

“Hey, Kim Taehyung.”

“I’m still older than you.”

“Kim Taehyung.”

“Fine, if you wanna get rejected, go for it.” Taehyung settles against the wall, crossing his arms moodily.

Jungkook drops his head back on Taehyung’s lap. “Did you see his ass?”

Taehyung pats his forehead in mock comfort. “Mighty fine ass, it is. And you’re never getting your hands on it.”

Jungkook’s glare fades quickly into a mischievous grin. “Kim Taehyung, is that a challenge?”

Taehyung narrows his eyes. When it comes down to it, he’s awfully competitive. “Maybe.”

“What’s on the table?”

“Get Jimin to sleep with you by the end of the semester and you can use my Xbox whenever you want.”

“Are you serious? You’re putting your Xbox on the line for a bet I’m definitely going to win?”

“Don’t get ahead of yourself, brat. You’re guaranteed to lose.”

“In your dreams.”

“So what do I get if you fail?”

“I’m not going to fail.”

“I want you to do my laundry for a whole semester.”

“I don’t even do my own laundry.”

“Better start learning.” A wicked grin spreads across Taehyung’s face. “Deal?” He spits in his hand and holds it out for Jungkook to shake.

“Deal,” Jungkook says, and does the same.