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All I Want

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You were seven years old when you first met him. It was a sunny day, with a clear sky and a light breeze that just barely moved your strands of hair. You were sitting on a swing, trying to push yourself as high as you possibly could. The doll with the two braids, that you named Lola and carried with you everywhere, was sitting directly in front of you on the sand. You lived just across the street, and from where you were sitting on the swing set, you could see your mom watching you from the kitchen window. But that day you had a goal as you sat on the black seat. You were determined to launch yourself far enough that you landed past the doll that you were using as your goal marker.

With a deep breath, you began swinging back and forth. After you reached a height you thought was good, you jumped off just as the swing reached the top. Screaming at the top of your lungs with glee you landed in the sand and quickly stood up, brushing the sand off of your clothes. You looked for your doll and squealed in delight when you saw that you had indeed landed past your goal.

“What are you doing?” You heard a high-pitched voice ask from behind you.

You turned around and saw a little boy with brown hair and large eyes widened as he waited for your response. You were too surprised to respond, but the boy didn’t notice and instead continued to speak. “I can jump more far! Watch me!”

You didn’t move from your spot until you saw this little boy with the tan skin and the large eyes run and sit on the swing and begin to rock himself back and forth. You quickly grabbed Lola from her position directly in front of the swing for fear of the boy landing on her and moved to the side, still too surprised to say something to the talkative boy. Instead you clutched Lola close to your chest and watched the little boy push himself on the swing with all his might before jumping off and landing just a little past the spot that you had landed in.

“See! I told you!” The little boy exclaimed happily, showing a large, box smile that revealed that his front two teeth were missing.

Instantly, all your initial surprise at the random meeting of this little boy turned into anger because he so easily beat a goal that you had worked so hard on all week to achieve. You dropped Lola to the ground and put your hands on your hips, making the angriest expression that you could make for a seven-year-old girl. “That’s not fair! You cheater!” you exclaimed, even though you saw with your own eyes that the boy had done nothing wrong.

The boy’s smile instantly faded, and he said “No! Not true! I promise!” He shook his head violently as he tried to convince you that he didn’t do anything wrong, and you immediately felt bad. You dropped your hands and looked down at the ground before you muttered an apology.

The next words out of the boy’s mouth caught you off guard, and you looked at him with a shocked expression as he said, “I can push you on the swing so that you can jump more far too!” You were surprised as the boy remained so friendly, even though the first words out of your mouth were something that was meant to insult him. How could he still be so friendly with you?

You shyly nodded your head and went to sit on the swing, with the boy behind you as he began to push you as hard as he could. You began to move your legs back and forth as well as your dad had shown you so that you could go higher and faster. You were beginning to enjoy the breeze that hit your head when the boy yelled, breaking you out of your reverie as he said, “jump now!”

And so you did, landing around the same spot that the boy had just landed in. You stayed sitting on the sand, but turned to the boy behind you and smiled widely. He laughed and ran up to you.

“What’s your name? I’m Taehyung. I’m seven years old!” He said when he reached you.
You quickly introduced yourself to him as well, “I’m Y/N. I’m seven too!”

The two of you played all over the playground that day, first on the swings, then moving on to the jungle gym and eventually the monkey bars as you challenged each other to make it all the way across without falling – a challenge which the two of you failed drastically.

“Hey Y/N! I think that we should be friends!” Taehyung yelled at the end of the day, as his mother held his hand and dragged him away from the playground.
“Yes! Let’s be friends!” you yelled back. “Bye Taehyung!”
He smiled and eagerly waved, “Bye Y/N!” A few seconds later, rounding the corner of the park and disappearing from your sight.

Once he was out of sight, you turned around and ran to your house across the street. Your mom was sitting on the couch in the living room, reading one of her books when you ran in. Jumping on top of her, you told her all about your new friend Taehyung and the fun time that you had at the park.

~

You were thirteen years old when you realized that you maybe, just maybe, you had a crush on your friend Taehyung. This all began at a classmate’s birthday party. You were sitting side by side in a circle, along with six other boys and girls as you played spin-the-bottle. Hyemi sat across from you with a smug smile across her face as she reached in to spin the empty soda bottle that sat in the middle. You bit on your thumbnail as you watched the bottle spin past you, once, twice, three times before it began to slow down.

The last person that you wanted the bottle to land on was Taehyung. You felt possessive over your best friend of six years, and didn’t want a girl as stuck-up and mean as Hyemi to kiss him, especially with something as special as his first kiss. So you watched as the bottle began to slow down more and more passing by each boy one by one before it finally stopped moving, pointed at the boy to your left. You wished that it moved just enough to pass him, eager to deny the truth that was in front of you. At the same time however, another girl sitting in the circle gasped causing Hana to smirk as she stood up from her seat across from you, while the rest of the circle hollered.

It was a well-known fact around your school that Hyemi had one of the biggest crushes on Taehyung. You however, had never asked Taehyung how he felt about her and he had never stated his own feelings either. In fact, you two avoided the subjects of crushes in general, mostly due to the large amount of discomfort that showed on your face whenever the subject was brought up. Taehyung always assumed it was because you didn’t have a crush on anyone, and he didn’t want to bring up a topic that you would have no idea on how to respond. You however, knew that it was easier to let Taehyung think that rather than admit the truth, both to yourself and to him.

Taehyung had a shocked look on his face as Hyemi crossed the circle, kneeling directly in front of him and placing her hands on both of his shoulders. He looked to his sides, at her hands on him and quickly looked back to her, when she leaned in and kissed him directly on the lips, causing the other girls and boys in the circle to squeal or laugh. You however, stayed silent, a knot forming in your stomach as you watched Taehyung receive his first kiss right in front of you. Not wanting to stare anymore, you quickly looked in another direction, before Hyemi had pulled away, but continued to watch her from your peripheral until she came back into full view and sat back down at her spot, a smirk planted on her face. You glared at her before turning to see Taehyung who was looking down at the floor in front of him, a touch of pink just barely visible on his tan skin.

The game continued for a few more people, each time the bottle skipped you landing on another girl of the group. Finally, just before it was your turn, Hyemi yawned loudly and exclaimed, “this game is getting boring. Let’s play something else.”

You had been in the middle of reaching for the bottle, but two of Hyemi’s friends and another boy nodded in agreement, discouraging you from taking hold of the bottle and having your turn. Hyemi quickly got up and ran to the radio to turn on some music before anyone could protest. You stayed in your position for a few more seconds before Taehyung spoke to you, “Hey Y/N? Don’t you wanna dance too?”

He offered you his hand, and you took it as he helped you up. When your fingers touched, your heart began to speed up and you were terrified that he could feel it. It was something that you really were not expecting, causing you to make a face as you got up. A feeling that you hadn’t felt all the other times that you had taken Taehyung’s hand. You looked at him, wondering if he also felt the same, but he stared back at you with a concerned look, asking “Is anything wrong?”

You quickly looked away and shook your head, pulling your hand back. Another wave of emotions went through you as you let go, instantly feeling the emptiness from where Taehyung’s hand used to be. You ran to where the group had already begun to dance across the room before Taehyung could say anything else. Leaving him standing, staring at you for a few seconds. Closing your hand into a fist, you wondered what exactly it was that you felt, but shoved the thought to the back of your mind when you saw him walking towards you.

Just before he reached you however, Hyemi grabbed him and pulled him towards her, leaving you standing by yourself among the rest of the group. You noticed two girls from your class dancing together, too shy to approach any of the boys present and quickly joined their group while you tried to forget all about the fact that Hyemi was dancing with your best friend a few feet away.

That night, the two of you walked together along the dimly-lit street. He lived just down the street from the park, and the two of you would walk together to and from school every day from the first day that you two found out just how close you actually lived to each other. You listened to him as he talked about Hyemi and his first kiss, keeping the bad feeling you had in the pit of your stomach to yourself. You were half listening to your friend, half wondering why you were feeling so down about the fact that Hyemi had hung around Taehyung the whole night.

“You didn’t actually get to spin right Y/N?” Taehyung asked, breaking your train of thought. You shook your head ‘no’, but stayed silent while he turned up to the night sky and said in a calm voice, “It’s okay. I’m actually kind of glad that you didn’t kiss anyone during the game.”

This caught your attention and you turned to look at him, but he kept his eyes upward, staring at the stars visible. You watched as you saw his boyish face, that usually had a smile look up at the sky with a thoughtful expression. Seeing him like this was a surreal moment, and you couldn’t find it in yourself to turn away. “What do you mean by that?” You asked when you realized he was not going to clarify the meaning of his statement.

“I just, I would have hated to think that your first kiss happened with one of those boys there. Your first kiss should be with someone that you like,” He responded.
His explanation left you bewildered. What he said didn’t make any sense to you, making you wonder why he cared so much about who you had your first kiss with. “But you had your first kiss during the game. Do you like Hyemi then?”
You heard his breath hitch, but he stayed silent for a few seconds before he finally looked down and turned to you. “Not really. She’s not the girl I like.” He sighed slowly before continuing, “But my first kiss doesn’t matter. Your first kiss does. I know how much you care about that.” He paused for a moment. “You have to promise me that you’ll have your first kiss with someone you like okay?” He gave you a small smile, one that made your heart almost stop and your stomach do a flip.
“Okay,” you nodded, a little too quickly as you tried to calm down your rapidly beating heart. You would have probably said yes to anything he asked you to do as long as he looked at you with that smile on his face.

The two of you reached the front of your house and stopped. Taehyung moved to stand in front of you, and he looked like he had something to say. You gazed back at him, waiting for him to begin to talk. He looked different, standing here in the moonlight, and you felt like you could stare at him forever. He took a couple deep breaths before he began, “Hey Y/N-”

“Y/N! Are you going to come inside? What are you still doing out there?” Your dad yelled from your front door, causing you to look away from Taehyung. You hadn’t even noticed when the door to your house had opened. “Hi Taehyung! Thank you for bringing home Y/N!”
“One minute!” You yelled back, silently cursing your dad in your mind for interrupting, before turning back to Taehyung.
He had a sad look on his face and said, “Go in. I’ll tell you some other time okay?”
“Okay,” you replied, somewhat hesitantly. You leaned in to him, noticing that he was getting taller every single day, and gave him a hug before running to your doorstep. You turned around once more and waved goodbye again before stepping into your house and closing the door behind you. Once you turned around, you saw your dad was sitting on the couch, watching something on the television; while your mom sat beside him, reading a newspaper with a headline about some conflict occurring in Europe.

“Did you have fun honey?” your mom asked, peering up at you from the newspaper.
“Yeah it was fine,” You said. “But I’m really tired so I think I’m going to my room.”
“Okay, let me know if you need anything. Goodnight sweetie.”

You nodded and turned to walk upstairs and down the hallway to where your room was. The purple walls covered in posters of your favorite groups and pictures of you and Taehyung that you found comforting made you feel more at ease. You flopped down on your bed and stared up at the ceiling. You wondered what it was that Taehyung had to tell you and began to think about your own feelings as well.

Why were you not able to look at the scene of Hyemi kissing Taehyung during spin-the-bottle? Why did it bother you so much when Hyemi pulled Taehyung over to dance with her?

You knew the answer to these questions, though you refused to admit it to yourself. So instead you thought about Taehyung, and wondered what he possibly could have wanted to say tonight. You remembered the way the moonlight kissed his tan skin, making your stomach twist in knots. You were scared of what that meant, scared of what would happen if Taehyung ever found out about those knots in your stomach.

~

You were fifteen years old when Taehyung got his first girlfriend. A girl who shared three classes with Taehyung, yet you yourself, had never exchanged a word with. Her name was Luri, and she had large brown eyes and long blond hair that reached her waist. She had a delicate figure, and a tiny waist. She was clearly one of the prettiest girls in your school, a fact that Taehyung proudly boasted of to your friends.

When high school began, your group of two had suddenly been expanded. Taehyung had such an outgoing and fun personality, that making friends was almost second nature to him. People were just attracted to his personality, bringing many people to him. Due to this fact, your duo became a trio at first, with the addition of a guy your age named Jimin. Soon thereafter, Taehyung befriended a few upperclassmen whose names were Namjoon, Yoongi, and Hoseok. Your group became inseparable pretty quickly. When one of the boys broke up with his girlfriend, you all came together and planned a way to cheer him up. If you were ever feeling down, you could count on the boys to bring up your mood. If one of the boys ever needed anything, you or one of the other members of the group could always help and the same was for you. Your favorite memory was the time that you had gotten your period one day while you were all at Yoongi’s house. It was Yoongi and Namjoon who took you to the store to go buy pads. Any girl would have been mortified, but they had all taken it with such ease that you truly felt at home with them. The six of you had somehow formed your own little perfect niche among each other, a bond that seemed unbreakable – at least, it had been until Luri came into the picture.

It started off with Taehyung leaving early while the six of you were hanging out without explanation. You tended to spend the majority of your time at Yoongi’s house across town along with the other guys. It seemed to be the meetup spot after school or on the weekends. Soon enough, instead of leaving early, Taehyung would just stop coming completely. It wasn’t until you confronted him one day during lunch about his sudden disappearance that he finally confessed to your group that he had been spending his time with Luri.

“What do you mean? Luri from history?” asked Jimin. Taehyung nodded, his smile wide and his eyes gleaming with pride at the fact that his first girlfriend ever was Luri.
“That really cute girl in your grade?” Hoseok asked as well.
“She’s your girlfriend?” Namjoon said, expressing his disbelief at how Taehyung could have landed a girl like her.
“Ah really you guys does it matter who his girlfriend is and why? We know why he’s been ditching us now,” Yoongi said in an effortless attempt to change the subject back to why he had been missing so often lately.

You stayed silent, just watching all the boys interact with one another from your seat at the corner of the table, a feeling of jealousy spreading through you. Jimin and Namjoon were incredulous about the fact that Taehyung had landed a girl as pretty as Luri and wouldn’t stop asking questions. Hoseok was patting your best friend on the back, laughing and Yoongi just laughed before looking back down at his notebook where he had been jotting something down. You tore yourself away from the beautiful laughing face that belonged to Taehyung and looked around the cafeteria, desperate for some sort of excuse to get up and leave the table just so that you wouldn’t hear the story of how he got his first girlfriend.

“Y/N!” You heard one of the boys yell behind you, causing you to turn your head back to the table.
“Yeah?” You said, reasonably confused at the sudden shift in attention from Taehyung to you.
“You’ve been pretty quiet. Don’t you want to hear how Taehyung managed to date one of the prettiest girls in school?” Namjoon said.
“Not really,” you replied. “When the conversation turns onto the topic of girls, I stop paying attention, and I really don’t care about Taehyung’s girlfriend.”

The statement came off coldly, colder than you had intended, and you saw Taehyung’s face drop almost immediately after you finished uttering the sentence. Seeing the happiness fade from his face made you immediately regret saying what you did, but before you could apologize the bell rang, signaling the end of lunch.

All of you rose from your seats, and you grabbed your bag as your group began to disperse for class. Taehyung had a class in the opposite direction than you were headed in, but you quickly grabbed his arm and he stopped, turning to look at you.

You took a deep breath before saying, “I’m sorry. I’m not having a really good day today and I took it out on you.” Realizing you still held onto his arm, you quickly released it, allowing Taehyung to turn around and face you completely.
“It’s okay,” He said. “I have to be on time to class, but let’s talk later okay?”
You nodded, letting him go to his class while you turned on your heel and walked in the opposite direction.

That evening, after getting back home from Yoongi’s house, that Taehyung was missing from, you headed up to your room and laid down on your bed as soon as the door closed. Finally allowing your shell to break, you let go of all the pent up emotions that you had bottled in since lunchtime. The pain in your chest felt like you were about to burst as you thought of Taehyung and Luri together. Part of you had expected him to show up at Yoongi’s since he had asked you to talk, but when it came time for you to go home, you realized that it was too late.

The tears fell down your face for what seemed like an eternity, as you tried to process what had occurred as well as your feelings for Taehyung. This crush that you had was turning into something more serious, something more painful when you thought about the fact the boy that you had harbored so many feelings for was now unavailable. You had told yourself that it was better that you had kept your feelings a secret but now that you were feeling all this pain, you seriously wondered if it was really the correct decision. Taehyung’s smiling face flashed through your mind, a smile that you had never caused him to have, a beautiful, radiant smile that he had because of Luri. You were grateful that you were able to see this, but heartbroken at the fact that you weren’t the reason that his face would light up for.

Sitting up in your bed, you headed to the restroom to wash off your smeared makeup and turned on the hot water in the shower. Stepping inside, you let the hot water splash on your body, welcoming the stinging pain from the hot water in a bad effort to distract yourself.

It was when you were sitting on your bed, staring at a framed picture of you and Taehyung, that you heard your phone ring. You saw Taehyung’s name on the screen and you immediately answered the call.

“Hello?” You said, cursing yourself after realizing just how quickly you answered. Taehyung probably thought that you had been waiting for his call, you reasoned to yourself in your head.
“Hey Y/N? Sorry for calling you so late. I- I meant to go to Yoongi’s but Luri and I-”
“No, it’s okay,” you interrupted him, not wanting him to finish the sentence, not wanting to know what he had been up to with his girlfriend. “Anyway, what did you want to talk about?”
“I just wanted to know what’s wrong. You seemed really out of it today,” Taehyung said softly.
You hesitated, not knowing how you could respond without giving him a hint of your feelings. Finally, you decided on something noncommittal and said, “There’s just a lot of things going on right now. I have too many thoughts in my head.”
“You know you can tell me anything right?” Taehyung asked. From the way he said it, you didn’t know for whose reassurance it was, but you agreed with him. “I just wish you would tell me, but I know when you’re ready you will.”
“Yeah.” You said quietly. Now it was your turn to ask for reassurance. “Hey Tae?”
“Yes?” He said.
“Promise me that we’ll always be friends and that nothing will ever change between the two of us?” You asked, your voice cracking as you held your tears back.
“You already know the answer to that. We’ll be friends until we’re both really old and really senile and can’t even control our own bowel movements anymore,” Taehyung replied, chuckling at his own joke.
“That is really gross Tae,” you said as you held back your own laughter, the pain in your chest slowly getting duller.
“I mean it though,” he said. “We’ll be friends for the rest of our lives, through all the ups and downs.”

~

You were sixteen years old when you realized that you were deeply, hopelessly, irrevocably in love with Taehyung. It was something that had probably happened a lot earlier, but something that you didn’t admit to yourself until Taehyung got his second girlfriend.

Seeing the boy that you loved so dearly with another girl – another beautiful girl at that – made your stomach drop every time you saw the two of them. There were always those forehead kisses that Taehyung would give to her that he often gave you in your dreams.

Jimin was the first to catch on to the fact that you maybe liked Taehyung as something more than friends. Maybe it was because next to Taehyung, Jimin was your closest friend. A close friend that was more observant than you would have liked.

You never confirmed Jimin’s suspicions about your feelings whenever he asked you about them. The only reason Jimin now suddenly knew was because he saw you step out of the room the day that Taehyung announced that he had a new girlfriend. Quietly, he followed you until he found you crying in the restroom and attempting to get yourself back together. He never asked you any questions, but even if he had, he knew you wouldn’t have answered them. Instead, he silently pulled you to him, wrapping his arms around your body and patted your hair. Without any further hesitation, you leaned against his chest and let all the tears that you had kept inside fall freely.

Yoongi, Namjoon, and Hoseok all figured out that your feelings for Taehyung were stronger than what normal friends would feel for one another at the same time, a few weeks after your encounter with Jimin in the restroom. It had all started with a simple conversation, one that occurred on those frequent hang outs that Taehyung missed because he was on a date.

“Namjoon, how many girlfriends have you had?” Jimin asked out of the blue, while the five of you sat in Yoongi’s living room watching a movie that ended up being a lot more boring than you at first thought. You had been leaning against Jimin’s side with your head on his shoulder, a place that you found the most comfortable position to be in whenever you spent time with your friends.
“Why do you even want to know?” Namjoon said, avoiding the question.
“I was just curious. I never see you with any girls so I was wondering if you’ve ever had a girlfriend.” Jimin explained, earning a scoff from the older friend. You looked up at Jimin, and drew back, hoping that the attention would not be drawn to you.
“I’ve had plenty of girlfriends.” Namjoon replied, still giving a vague answer. “Why don’t you ask Yoongi and Hoseok too? Why is it only me?”
This earned a small chuckle from Jimin, who responded, “Well because I’ve seen Hoseok with a girl a couple times and Yoongi’s kicked us out of his house before because he had a girl coming over.”
“What do you even think I do with all my time anyway?” Namjoon retorted.
“I don’t know. You spend every waking minute with us.”
“My life doesn’t revolve around annoying people like you Jimin.” Namjoon said, clearly getting irritated that the younger didn’t let up. “Hey and you act like if you’ve ever had a girlfriend! Where’s your girlfriend, huh?”
“I’ve had girlfriends before! Haven’t I?” Jimin said, turning to you for support. You quickly nodded, avoiding the glare that Namjoon would surely be giving you at this moment.
“Y/N! What about you then? Why haven’t you ever had a boyfriend?” Namjoon suddenly asked. You froze, trying to think of an answer that wouldn’t give you away.
“Hey! Why do you ask me? I wasn’t the one that even brought up this subject!” You protested.
At that moment, another voice that had been watching amusedly from the sideline chimed in, much to your chagrin. “Actually, now that I think about it, Y/N, have you ever had a boyfriend?”
You froze and turned to look at Hoseok, who had just innocently asked a question. Hoseok turned to look at you and continued. “I don’t think I’ve ever even heard you say you like someone.”
“Oh, well that’s because-”
“That’s because no one here interests Y/N! Right?” Jimin said, laughing slightly, finishing the sentence for you.
“Oh come on, the guys at school aren’t that bad!” Namjoon said. “There has to be someone you like!”
“Oh, um, well…there is someone…but it’s never going to happen. There’s no use in telling you guys,” You said, hoping that your admission of a crush would be enough to let you off the hook. Instead however, the confession just spurred a whole new round of questions due to the boys’ curiosity, leaving you mentally cursing yourself for thinking that such a thing could actually work.
“Who is it? Is he your age?” Hoseok asked.
“Is he older than you? Does he go to our school?” Namjoon said. You gulped as the two older boys asked you question after question, when out of the corner of your eye you noticed Yoongi lying on the couch, amusedly watching the interrogation occur.
“W-well he’s older.” You whispered, trying to think of a guy, any guy who you could use as your non-existent crush.
“I bet it’s that Jaebum guy, isn’t it? The one with the piercings all over his ears!” Hoseok suddenly exclaimed.
Jimin shot you a quick look before he turned to Hoseok and said, “Yes! Yes that’s him!”

Your eyes immediately went wide and you opened your mouth to begin the denial when Jimin gave you another look. It was then that you suddenly realized what Jimin was trying to do, and so you quickly played along.

You opened your mouth, about to agree with Jimin, when suddenly Yoongi’s voice came into the conversation. “It’s not Jaebum, but Jimin knows who it is.”
You gulped, turning to Yoongi and asking, “What makes you say that? What if I really do have a crush on Jaebum?”
Yoongi chuckled. “You don’t. I saw that little interaction between you and Jimin there. You two are lying. And I’ve seen you interact with Jaebum. You don’t even give the poor guy the slightest bit of attention, even though he’s clearly interested in you.”
“W-what? Jaebum isn’t interested in me! He’s just nice!” You argued.
“Anyway, who is it really? Is the guy you’re crushing on in this room?” Yoongi smirked.
“Why would he be in this room?” Jimin asked nervously.
“Well I figure that there’s only one reason why Y/N would be so hesitant to reveal her crush to us. You see, she’s usually really open with us,” Yoongi explained, turning to Hoseok. “Remember that one time she asked you to buy her tampons and complained about her cramps the whole day?”
Hoseok quickly nodded. “Yeah, I never realized how tampons actually worked until she explained them to me!”
“Namjoon, you’ve gone on those store trips before too haven’t you? In fact, we all have! And Y/N is so comfortable with all of us that she’s always told us everything that’s on her mind with no filter. I can only think of one reason why she would suddenly clam up, and only tell one person,” Yoongi explained. “The guy she likes, is one of us!”

You heard Hoseok’s gasp, and Namjoon’s approval of Yoongi’s argument. Since when had Yoongi noticed all of these things you did. How did he notice something that you yourself were not even aware of?

“So who is he?” Yoongi egged you on.
You glared at him. “I’m not telling you.”
Namjoon then joined in, but instead he turned to Jimin who had been look at the ground, biting his lip with his hands crossed on his lap. “Jimin…”
Jimin looked up at him, his face like a child who had just gotten caught doing something he shouldn’t have been doing. “What is it?”
“Is it Hoseok?” Namjoon pressed, causing Jimin to hastily deny. Namjoon continued. “Yoongi?” And Jimin, once again said no.
“Jimin I swear to God if you say anything-” You found yourself saying, causing Jimin to look at you nervously.
“Me?” Namjoon continued, making Jimin once again quickly deny. “Well, it can’t be you since you clearly know who it is.”
“It’s Taehyung isn’t it?” Yoongi asked, turning to you.
You gulped and Jimin jumped up and spoke. “No! You guys are ridiculous! Of course it’s not Taehyung!”

You groaned, knowing that Jimin’s fervent denial was all the proof that Yoongi and Namjoon needed to confirm their suspicions. Namjoon and Yoongi laughed, giving each other a high five, while you just turned to glare at Jimin who instantly avoided your gaze.

“Oh my god,” Hoseok said, being the last to realize what was going on. “You like Taehyung?!

~

You were seventeen years old when you decided that it was time to lay your feelings for Taehyung to rest. It was another year and another girlfriend for Taehyung. But this time, instead of bottling up your feelings, you now had four boys that you could vent to. Four boys that knew the truth about your feelings for one of their closest friends.

It was also the year that the war had started. A war that had begun as a small scuffle between two countries, that suddenly drew in every major super power as they all chose sides. At first you thought that all of you would be safe. When the news had spread that one country had declared war on another, you figured that being on a different continent would be enough to keep you and everyone that you cared about away from all of the danger.

And that was the way that the government in your country was portraying everything as well. As far as your country was concerned, there would be no direct involvement from the government as to the events occurring an ocean way.

As long as the war stayed on that side of the world, you and your family would be safe. All of your friends would be safe too, and so you ignorantly pushed the thoughts of the war from your head as you put away your phone and looked at the five boys playing basketball in front of you.

You couldn’t even tell that there was a horrible battle occurring at the same time in another country, because you just thought of those five boys on the court laughing as they dodged each other and attempted to score some points. It was one of those rare days that Taehyung spent time with the five of you, away from his girlfriend for the time being, and for that you were grateful.

It was girlfriend number three that made you decide that you couldn’t have these feelings for Taehyung anymore. After numerous subtle hints thrown at him from the guys, to your weak attempts to discourage him from getting another girlfriend, you realized that Taehyung was as thick as a concrete slab and that he would never have feelings for you that went beyond mere friendship.

You looked up at the boys again, and you saw Taehyung, who was wearing a headband to keep his hair out of his face, quickly dodge the boys and manage to score a three-point shot. He turned to look at you, with his wide boxy grin that you adored and waved. The sun had just begun to set and the light streamed past him, making him look almost like an angel which caused you to take a deep breath before looking at one of the other boys in an attempt to calm your heartbeat.

You knew then that falling out of love with Taehyung would be a lot harder than you originally thought.

~

You were eighteen years old when Taehyung volunteered to go to the army.

The alarm clock on your nightstand that had been playing music at the top volume suddenly cut to an emergency broadcast that played on the radio, making you sit up. The broadcast explained the event of a surprise attack on one of your country’s strongest and most vital military bases, killing close to five-thousand soldiers stationed there just a few hours earlier. You gasped and jumped out of your room to run downstairs, only to come in contact with your parents’ grim faces as they looked at you.

You heard the TV and the three of you turned to look at the wreckage that had been left from the bombs dropped on the base. You brought your hands to your mouth and held back your tears as you saw the destruction on the screen. Your dad had his arm wrapped around your mom, as she silently dabbed away the tears that had formed in her eyes.

There was an interruption of the footage, when suddenly the president came on the screen, addressing the whole country. He spoke of the attack as one of the most devastating attacks in history, one that had been brought on without provocation and with deceit from the attacking country. You fought back the tears as you listened to the speech, while the newscast played the presidential broadcast side by side of the footage of the destruction.

He spoke of the need for your country to take up arms and declare war against the country that had attacked, as well as its allies, and you knew then and there that your country would now be brought into the war that you had so naively tried your best to ignore. You gulped as you continued to watch the speech, letting the tears fall down your face as you walked over your dad who took you under his free arm and placed a kiss on the top of your head, assuring both you and your mom that everything would be okay.

A few days later, as you walked with your head down on your way to Yoongi’s house, you felt the somber atmosphere that had fallen over your neighborhood and, probably, the entire country. Your high school graduation had happened a few weeks earlier, but now instead of a fun summer to look forward to, you were unsure of what the next few months would bring. While Namjoon, Yoongi, and Hoseok were home for the summer, you knew that now that your country had been dragged into the war, your friends might be dragged right along with it too.

When you entered the house, you saw the five boys who you loved so dearly all sitting around the TV in Yoongi’s living room with serious expressions. They all glanced at you briefly, before Namjoon tilted his head slightly, an unspoken command to sit down written on his expression. Silently, you sat in the small empty space between Taehyung and Hoseok, and turned to look up at the TV as well.

The president was back on, this time announcing the declaration of war. He urged every citizen to do as much as possible to support the country in the time of need and to volunteer for any position in the army. Those who were not able to volunteer should do their best to support the troops from back home. The president warned of tough times ahead and future sacrifices to be made, but also assured everyone that you would all get through the dark times stronger and more united than ever before.

Your heart continued to beat faster as faster as the president continued his speech, and you quickly reached out and grabbed both Hoseok and Taehyung’s hands in an iron-like grip. They didn’t even register the movement, their eyes glued to the screen and you saw Jimin and Yoongi gulp from their seats on the other couch. You bit your lip, tears threatening to spill out as you thought about the not too distant future.

Once the speech was over, Jimin was the first to speak. “So what happens if we don’t volunteer?”
Yoongi lets out a defeated laugh, staring straight ahead. “If you don’t volunteer, you’ll get drafted anyway soon enough.”
“So what does this mean?” Taehyung asked, finally registering the grip that you had on his hand.
“It means were all going to war.” Namjoon sighed. “Sooner or later, all of us are going to be fighting in this.”
“But they can’t just force you to go right?” You asked, hopeful, although you knew in the back of your mind that there was no possible way that any of them would be able to escape being in the army. They were all young, fit guys at the prime of their lives – exactly the type of guy that was needed now that the country was at war.

Hoseok gently wiped a tear with his free hand that had fallen on your cheek, one that you hadn’t even noticed had come out. You were suddenly aware that it wasn’t the only tear that had come out, and you weren’t even sure when exactly you had begun to cry. Next to you, Taehyung covered your hand with his own, in an attempt to comfort you.

“What am I going to do without you guys?” You asked.
“You’ll be alright. You’re one of the strongest girls we know.” Namjoon reassured you, from the other side of the room.

Over the next few weeks, all of you tried to prepare yourselves mentally and emotionally for the inevitable. The first draft letter that came was Yoongi’s. You had all been sitting around the living room, pretending that everything was normal when Yoongi came back inside with the mail that had arrived. He set down all the envelopes except for one, which he tore open and read. Giving an incredulous sigh, he threw the letter on the coffee table in the middle of the living room, prompting Namjoon to pick it up to see what had caused his harsh reaction.

You looked up from where you had been playing a game with Jimin, and waited for Namjoon to speak. Seeing his downcast expression was all that you needed to see, making you completely freeze.

“So Yoongi is the first…” Hoseok said quietly, breaking the silence. Namjoon simply nodded and Yoongi stayed silent, a blank expression on his face.
“I can’t let you go by yourself.” Namjoon said, suddenly turning to Yoongi. “I’m going to volunteer. I’ll go with you.”
“Wait what?” Jimin exclaimed, caught off guard by the declaration made by Namjoon.
“If you guys are going, then I’m going too.” Hoseok suddenly said.
“What?” This time it was you who spoke up.
“Then we might as well volunteer too,” Taehyung added, to which Jimin quickly nodded.
“No!” Namjoon barked. Turning to Taehyung he said, “You and Jimin stay. Stay with Y/N until you get drafted. It’s not fair to Y/N if she suddenly loses all of us at once.”
“It’s not fair that you guys have to go at all!” You protested.
“What? What about you?” Jimin asked, standing up.
You got on your feet too, fighting back the tears you surely knew were beginning to form. “Are you two really going to volunteer?”
“Y/N, you know we love you, but I’m not going to let one of my oldest friends go to the war alone.” Namjoon responded, walking over to you and pulling you into a hug. You pulled him in closer to you, not wanting to let your dear friend go off to such a dangerous place, but you also knew that it would be nearly impossible to get him to change his mind.
“You’ll still have Jimin and Taehyung, they’ll take care of you while were gone.” Hoseok said, walking over and hugging you from behind.

Once they pulled away, you looked over at Yoongi who had been silent the entire time. He gave you a small smile, one silently urging you not to worry about him. Without hesitation, you quickly ran over to him and hugged him as tight as you can. Caught off guard by your sudden affection, he slowly wrapped his arms around you as well, giving you a light kiss on the top of your head while you began to cry.

“I don’t want you guys to go.” You said, still crying into Yoongi’s chest while he smoothed out your hair with one arm.
“I know.” Yoongi said softly. The two of you remaining in that position for what felt like an eternity.

When Yoongi’s draft date arrived, Namjoon and Hoseok were prepared as well. They said their goodbyes to their families at home, while you, Jimin, and Taehyung all accompanied them to the center.

Standing outside the large, gray building on a warm day in autumn, each of you were hesitant to actually begin saying goodbye.

Taking the initiative as he usually did, Namjoon walked over to Taehyung and gave him a hug. He whispered something in his ear before he let him go and turned to Jimin. He whispered something in Jimin’s ear as well, before coming over to you and throwing his arms around you in a bear hug.

You knew that this was his attempt to make you laugh instead of cry. You yelled. “Namjoon!”
After a few more seconds he finally put you down, and pulled away slightly, keeping his arms on your shoulders. “Take care of yourself okay? I’ll stay in contact as much as I can.”
You nodded, and jumped up, planting a kiss on his cheek. “You come back in one piece okay?”
He laughed. “Of course.”

Namjoon pulled away, and you turned to see that Hoseok was already waiting to give you your hug, having apparently already said his goodbyes to both Taehyung and Jimin while you and Namjoon had been having your moment.

Seeing Hoseok’s smile immediately made you feel all warm. You wondered how a boy as radiant and bright as the sun would do in the war, but you put your faith in him, giving him a long hug and a kiss on the cheek as well. Hoseok laughed, bringing his hand up to his cheek.

“Hoseok, promise me that you’ll forever be as bright as the sunshine?” You asked.
“Don’t worry. When I come back, I’ll still be the same.” He assured you.

Last was Yoongi. You didn’t notice when he had said goodbye to the other two, but he was already standing by as he waited for Hoseok to pull away and stand back. You had always had a soft spot for Yoongi, who’s silent, mysterious personality always made you wonder about him. Whenever he would speak, it was always to say something that he truly cared about and through his small, subtle movements, you knew he cared about you just as much as you cared about him.

Placing a kiss on his cheek as well, causing him to laugh softly, he said, “Don’t worry about me or Namjoon or Hoseok. We’ll be fine alright?”
You nodded, looking up at him as he stared at you with a soft expression, one that you hardly ever saw on his face. “Please stay in contact too. I want to hear about everything that is going on with you.”
“You have my word.” Yoongi said softly.

Then he pulled away, ruffling your hair before finally stepping back to stand with the other two at the entrance to the army center. The three of them waved at you, with a soft smile on their faces before they turned and finally entered the building.

You, Taehyung, and Jimin stood outside, staring at the entrance for what seemed like forever, not saying a single word.

Jimin was the first to break the silence. “You know, I don’t think it’s quite hit me yet.”
“I feel like they’re going to walk back out right now.” You said somberly.
“Come on you guys.” Taehyung said, putting his hand on the small of your back. “We should probably go back home.”

And so the three of you walked away from the army center, only turning to look at it once more before you rounded the corner. The thought that the next time the three of you would be standing at the entrance, you would be left alone lingered in your mind.

A few months passed, and the war carried on. True to their word, Namjoon, Yoongi, and Hoseok wrote to you often. Due to the sensitive nature of the communication lines, soldiers could only write letters and could only receive letters from loved ones back home in order to keep the phone lines clean as much as possible. The three of them had been placed in the same unit, and were all officially out of boot camp and ready for actual combat.

It was winter when the letter arrived for Jimin.

He had called both you and Taehyung to the park, to the bench that you three always sat at one day out of the blue. You and Taehyung both sat there, talking about nonsense, anything to keep your minds off of the inevitable, unaware of the reason that Jimin had called all of you together so suddenly. While you were thankful for the few moments alone that you got with Taehyung, your feelings still just as intense as they were before the whole war started, another side of you, a more cautious side, began to warn you of what the future might hold. Those feelings had all but been forgotten however, as the war progressed, there was no sign of them slowing down anytime soon.

When Jimin arrived, he didn’t say a word. He was barely covered, with only a gray turtleneck sweater, a mask, a beanie, and some gloves to shield himself from the outside chill. There was clearly something on his mind, and when he reached the two of you, there was an obvious tension that had been created. Silently, Jimin took out a folded paper from his back pocket, as if to hand it to one of you. You sucked in a breath and looked down, knowing what exactly was written on that paper without even having to read it. When Jimin saw that neither of you were going to reach out for the paper, he let it fall to the damp floor, giving a small, incredulous chuckle and shaking his head. The three of you stayed silent for a moment longer, hesitant to bring up the conversation that had been avoided since the day that Yoongi, Namjoon, and Hoseok left.

With your voice cracking, you were the first to speak. “Wh- What day?”
“Three weeks from today.” Jimin looked down, running a hand through his hair. “Listen, Tae-”
“Don’t say it.” Taehyung interrupted. “You’re not going by yourself.”
“You should stay with Y/N though. You need to take care of her.” Jimin argued, and maybe it was because of your feeling of dread, but something about the way that Jimin said it struck a nerve within you.
“Wait, I’m not a fragile girl.” You spoke up. “I can handle being alone.”
“But Y/N, I don’t want you to be alone. None of us want you to be alone. We care about you way too much.” Jimin explained.
“And I care about you guys too. But I don’t want you to go off to war by yourself. I don’t want either of you to leave. I didn’t want Namjoon, or Hoseok, or Yoongi to leave, but I handled it.”
“Y/N…” Taehyung spoke, turning to you. “Are you sure you’ll be okay with all of us gone?”
“What Taehyung? Two seconds ago you were ready to volunteer! I can handle it.” You said, getting slightly irritated. “Do you guys seriously think I can’t survive on my own?”
“Y/N, you know it’s not that at all.” Jimin protested.
You sighed and looked at Taehyung in the eyes, his expression was one full of concern but you pleaded. “Please, don’t let Jimin go alone.”

Your heart was beating a million beats per minute. You were breathing heavy in an attempt to keep down the feelings that you pushed to the very back of your mind out of concern from your friend. As much as you loved Taehyung, the thought of Jimin going off to fight in the war by himself was even more terrifying. It was incredibly difficult, encouraging Taehyung to volunteer, but you would rather that the two boys with you go off to war together, than alone.

“Jimin, please.” You said, almost begging. “Just let Taehyung go with you.”
Jimin stared at you for what felt like forever, before taking in a deep breath and giving a nod. “Okay.”
Taehyung gave a sigh of relief. “I should probably tell my mom then.”

It was then that a pain flashed through your heart, and you took a gulp to mask the pain as much as you possibly could. The three of you stayed in the park for another hour in silence, as if just to treasure the presence of each other. It was a comfortable silence, one of appreciation, and one that all of you knew would be one of the last peaceful moments that you guys would have for a really, really long time. It was only until you were alone in your room that you finally let the feelings out, crying more than you have ever cried before.

Not only were you losing your two closest friends, you were sending the two of them off to war. One of them with a heart of gold, whose compassion and smile seemed to ward off all evil and negative thoughts. The other, an outgoing and radiant person who seemed to have the world revolve him, at least, your world was one that did. Both of them were people that you cared for more than yourself, whom you loved so deeply, in different ways, that you didn’t think that you could ever love someone more. The thought of being without them during a time such as this terrified you, but you knew that as long as they were together you would be okay.

Three weeks later, the three of you were back at the large, concrete army building that you had been at just once before. The building had never looked more ominous, but the three of you stood in front, you holding onto Jimin and Taehyung’s hands in a tight grip.

Jimin turned to you, and wrapped his arms around you in a tight hug, causing Taehyung to drop your other hand and step away to give the two of you a moment. You hugged him back, neither of you saying a word as the tears began to flow freely. Your heart ached, and you weren’t sure what you could even say to him at a time like this.

He was the first to speak. “You know, Y/N, I’ve always thought that you were a really strong person.”
“I know.” You said, speaking into his chest, him resting his chin on top of your head.
“Take care of yourself okay?” Jimin said, his voice slightly cracking, and you knew that he was fighting hard to hold back his tears.
“You’re a strong person too Jimin.” You reassured him, pulling away to look into his eyes. “You’ll come back right?”
He moved a strand of your hair from your face, giving you a small smile. “I’ll fight as best as I possibly can so that I can come back home.”
His open ended promise did nothing to stop your tears that continued to fall, but you prayed in your mind that he would come back unharmed. “I’ll be okay. I’ll get a hobby or something to pass the time too.”
“You do that okay? I don’t want to hear that you went crazy from being away from all of us.” Jimin chuckled attempting to lighten the mood, and finally separated from you, his hands remaining on your shoulders.
“I promise.” You said, reaching up to wipe your tears with your sleeve.
“Oh! And one more thing!” Jimin exclaimed, before leaning down to whisper in your ear. “It’s now or never Y/N. I think it’s time you told him.” He then gave you a light kiss on the top of your head.

Your eyes widened, staring back at Jimin who had put his arms down and had begun walking backwards to where Taehyung stood. His small smile never left his face, as if to reassure you and cheer you on. Jimin stopped next to Taehyung, and lightly pushed him forward to you. You brought both your hands up, your tears slowing just for a moment as you saw Taehyung approach you hesitantly.

Once he reached you, you jumped, wrapping your arms around him and him quickly doing the same. You two hugged tightly, almost as if both of you thought that it would be the last time you two would ever see each other. You knew he was scared, even if he didn’t show it. With your arms around him, your heart swelled, but the pain was still prevalent among all of the emotions that you were feeling. Both of you refused to let go of the other, neither of you saying a word. You didn’t need to. After spending the majority of your life with each other, there were no words that needed to be said in this moment.

When the two of you finally loosened your grip on each other, but still holding on, you looked up at him and stared into his brown eyes, with him looking down into yours.

“Come back.” You whispered.
“It’s you and me forever remember? Till we’re both really old and senile and-”
“Can’t control our bowel movements anymore.” You finished the sentence for him, making the two of you laugh softly.
“Exactly.” He responded.

The two of you stayed silent, looking into each other eyes once again. A few moments later, he finally put his arms down, and turned to walk to Jimin who was now leaning against the wall next to the entrance of the building. You gulped as he took a step in the direction away from you, turning back to look at you with a sad look in his eyes, and then turn back around to begin walking away. Before you even knew what you were doing yourself, you yelled out. “Wait! Taehyung!”

He stopped moving, and turned to look back at you, his eyes wide in surprise, too surprised to say a word. Jimin’s words rang in your head, and you said them to yourself silently, it’s now or never Y/N. And taking a deep breath, you walked to where Taehyung was standing, at about the halfway point between you and the entrance to the army building.

You stood in front of him and took in another deep breath.

It’s now or never.

Without even thinking about it, you wrapped your arms around his neck and jumped up, smashing your lips against his. At first, Taehyung didn’t do anything out of surprise from the sudden kiss, but after a few seconds, his lips began to move with your own. You kissed him like if your own life depended on it, not caring about the people that walked by or Jimin standing just a few steps away. Your tears were still falling, and you felt them fall down your cheeks but you didn’t care. It felt as if the whole world had disappeared, leaving only the two of you in this sudden embrace as your kiss got deeper. Taehyung wrapped his arms around your waist, pulling you closer to him as you moved your lips against his. Together, your lips fit nicely, almost as if they were pieces of a puzzle and it just felt…right.

A memory flashed through your mind as your lips moved together, of Taehyung at the party when you two were thirteen years old. You remember the promise you made to him, of your first kiss being with someone that you liked. And smiling into Taehyung’s lips, you knew that you had done one better. You had your first kiss with someone you loved, the only person that you had ever wanted to kiss since the day that you had made that promise to him.

It was you that pulled away first, mostly to catch your own breath. Taehyung leaned his forehead against yours, him panting as he looked into your eyes. You stared back at him, finally ready to say the words that you had wanted to say since the first moment you realized that you had feelings for him.

“I love you Taehyung,” you said. “I’ve loved you since that party where Hyemi gave you your first kiss and now that I’m actually saying it out loud I think I’ve loved you even longer than that. I think I’ve loved you from the very first day that we met at the park when we were seven years old. I think I’ve loved you my whole life and I just wanted you to know that because I don’t know what the future holds but I know that I’ll regret it for the rest of my life if I don’t let you know that I love you.”
He stayed quiet, as if digesting the information his eyes never leaving your face, while you stepped back and looked straight at him.
“Go, you don’t want to make Jimin late for his draft time.” You said, tears still in your eyes.

He stayed quiet, his expression still one of shock, but he listened to you and walked to Jimin, his eyes never once straying from your face. Jimin patted his shoulder once Taehyung reached him, making Taehyung finally look somewhere other than you. Giving one last look at you, Jimin walked to the door and pushed it open. He gave a wave before he stepped inside. Taehyung stood in front of the door, giving one last look at you, now with something other than shock in his expression, though you couldn’t quite tell from where you stood.

You saw a hand, probably Jimin’s, lightly pull Taehyung’s from inside of the building and he took a step inside, turning once more to you before finally disappearing behind the door.

You brought your hands up to your mouth and ignored the tears that fell down your face. They were both inside, probably getting registered now, and you wondered when would be the next time that you would see them, or at least hear from them.

Turning your back on the ominous gray building, you walked home slowly, your tears never once stopping.

~

You were nineteen years old when you decided to volunteer as a nurse for the army.

It had been over a year since Namjoon, Yoongi and Hoseok had been sent off to fight in the war and only about eight months since the day that Jimin and Taehyung left too. Since then, you had received letters from each of them, each holding a special place in your heart. Every single day you checked the mail, waiting for a letter from one of the five boys that you had sent off to war. The mailman at first thought that you had been playing multiple boys when letters from the military would arrive so often. One day, the curiosity finally got the best of him and he asked you about the amount of letters from soldiers that kept arriving at your house. You explained to him that you were all friends, amused that he even asked you in the first place. After that day, without you even asking he would tell you whether there was a letter that had arrived for you or not.

You kept them all in shoeboxes under your bed, each boy getting his own box that you one day decorated out of boredom. You would get at least one letter from one of the boys at least twice a month, updating you about what was going on with them. Namjoon and Hoseok had been placed in the same unit, while Yoongi had been moved to another stationed near to them. Their letters mainly consisted of how much they missed the food from home and showering, and about the new friends that they had been making among their fellow soldiers. Jimin and Taehyung were in a fighter pilot unit together, something Jimin had revealed to you in one of his letters. Jimin’s letters constantly inquired about your well-being and avoided mentions of the war as much as possible.

You had only received about six letters from Taehyung. The first few completely ignoring your last time together, as he told you all about his life in the army. Taehyung complained about the difficulties of learning how to fly a plane and made jokes about how Jimin was doing worse than him. Those letters made you laugh, knowing that the two were trying to make the best of their time there.

And then one day, you received a letter from Taehyung that finally addressed the one thing that had never been discussed between the two of you. You quickly ripped open the envelope once you saw who it was from, and ran to your room to read it.

Hey Y/N!

I hope you’ve been well since the last time I wrote. I try to write as often as I can but now that we’re learning all these flying maneuvers, we have to spend more time in the air. But you wanna know something cool? I learned how to do a barrel roll! Soon I’ll be fighting all those guys up in the air and dodging them all and leading our country to victory! Just wait until I come home because then you’ll be really proud to be my friend.

And I know I’ve avoided writing about it, but I can’t stop thinking about what you told me the day me and Jimin left. Even when we’re flying, it’s never far from my mind. You know the other day we were flying at sunset and the sky looked so beautiful? The only thought that ran through my head was, “I wish I could show Y/N this.” There’s a lot of things going on here that I wish I could show you or I wish that I could talk to you about.

I hope you’re doing okay. When I come home let’s talk about what you said to me. I know what my response is, but it’s something that I would rather tell you once I’m back home, standing in front of you instead of written on a piece of paper. So will you please wait until I’m home so that we can talk? I hope you do and I hope that you understand why I would rather say what I have to say to you in person instead of through a letter that gets all smudged and dirty.

Remember, it’s you and me forever, no matter what happens between us or even around us. It’s you and me until we’re both really old and senile and can’t control our bowel movements.

I’ll see you soon okay? I’ll come home as a war hero and we can talk then. I promise.

Taehyung

You sighed, your hopeful mind wishing that Taehyung would appear in your room at that exact moment, just so that you could see his large, boxy smile, and those brown eyes that always mesmerized you. Your heart swelled as you saw him mention the promise that you two so often said to each other.

You looked around your room, before your eyes fell on the calendar that was hung on the wall, the next day’s date circled in a bright red marker.

After all the letters that you read from the boys, and all the news reports that came in on a daily basis, you had decided that you couldn’t just sit around and wait for them to come home. You had to do something. And so you walked over to your desk, and penned five letters explaining your rationale for what you had planned to do. Once you were done, you enclosed them in five different envelopes and wrote five different names on them. Putting enough stamps on each envelope so that you ensured that they got to their intended destination, you set them in a neat stack at your desk and made a mental note to yourself to take them with you tomorrow and hand them to the mailman.

They all contained the same content, each specialized to the boy it was intended for but all saying the same general thing. After watching all the news reports, you couldn’t just sit around anymore and let them risk their lives. There had been a call put out to search for nurses because the amount of casualties was just too high for the amount on reserve. It was when that announcement had been made that you knew what to do.

Two months later, you were done with basic training. You had received at least one letter from each of the boys each with their own thoughts on your actions. Namjoon seemed apprehensive, but ultimately supported your decision. Both Yoongi and Hoseok we’re proud of you, commending you for being so brave. Jimin’s letter was laced with concern, but stated that he would support you in all your decisions. Taehyung’s letter was also laced with concern, although he also commended your courage.

You were sent abroad, to help out where all of the battles were occurring. You weren’t sure where exactly each of the boys were stationed due to security reasons, but just being on the same continent as them made you feel closer to them.

As the war raged on, you saw things that you knew you would never forget. You heard things that you knew you would never be able to forget, but you pushed yourself forward, working with as much dedication and courage that you could muster and you prayed that you would never have to come face to face with one of the faces of the boys that you cared so deeply for. You took care of men of all ages day and night with horrible wounds that would have scared away the weak-hearted, and for once instead of hoping to see one of the boys, you wished that you would never have to encounter one of them in this place and that they stayed safe and sound wherever they were.

One night, you looked up at the sky, with Taehyung’s letter where he mentioned your last day together in your hand. With tears forming in your eyes, you wished on a shooting star so that Taehyung and the rest of your friends would get to go home safe and sound.

There was an eerie silence that hung in the air after you finished your wish, and you looked back outside the window. In the distance, you could see flashes of bombs going off and the distant shots that echoed through the land. Taking a deep breath, the tears finally fell. War truly was a cruel invention.

Chapter Text

You woke up to the sound of a loud bomb in the distance. It had become such a routine now that you didn’t even register the noise anymore. The loud sounds that resulted from battles and attacks did not surprise you, or even get a reaction from you.  They all just signaled the beginning of a new day – a new busy day. Sometimes you wondered what your life would be like if you had decided not to volunteer as a nurse, but the thought of you just waiting at home while your closest friends experienced the horrors of the war firsthand was enough to make you think that you made the right choice. There was no way that you were going to let them experience this alone. Though you couldn’t actually be next to them, you wanted to make sure that Taehyung, Hoseok, Namjoon, Yoongi, and Jimin all knew that you were with them through all the good times and all the bad.

 

It had been a year since that initial choice – a year since Taehyung had made that promise to talk to you after the war was over. The letters that Taehyung sent to you, that all of your friends sent to you really, became the thing that you looked forward to the most. The fact that you were abroad with them made them come more frequently, although the last time you had seen any of them had been the day they enlisted. They continued to update you, each boy’s personality still managing to shine through each letter you received.

 

But something had changed in the letters lately. Jimin’s letters had a sense of apprehension, as if his sudden short and curt replies to you seemed to be hiding something. They did not have the same feeling, the same personality, and even the things that he wrote to you about seemed more mundane than they had previously. It wasn’t just Jimin either. The last time you had received a letter from Taehyung had been over a month ago. You still received your biweekly letters from the rest of the boys, and you still sent out your own biweekly letters, even if that meant that you lost a few hours of sleep each night and there wasn’t much you had to update them on.

 

It wasn’t until almost two months after Taehyung’s last letter that you realized why his communication had ended so abruptly. You checked the makeshift mailroom that had been made in a tent a few hundred feet from the entrance of the hospital you were stationed at. It had become a habit to check the mailroom everyday, as you were never really sure on when a letter from the boys would arrive, except that you were guaranteed two per month. Instead, what you found waiting for you was a set of two letters from Taehyung’s mom which you found strange. She hardly ever wrote to you, choosing to send any messages to you through Taehyung or your parents. Bidding the soldiers sorting the mail a goodnight, you quickly ran back to your small room inside the hospital, sensing the need to be alone before you even opened the envelopes.

 

You took a seat at your desk and opened the envelope that was postmarked earlier, knowing that it was the one that you should read first. Sometimes the mail from home was so delayed that you would end up receiving multiple letters at one time, each postmarked months before, though these two letters were from two months ago – with each postmark dated just days from each other. You tore open the envelope of the earlier letter, revealing the crisp white paper inside and began to read.

 

Dear Y/N,

 

How have you been my dear? Your parents send me updates as soon as they receive your letters, and I’m glad to know how you’ve been doing. I feel just the same amount of pride as your parents do as you tell them about all of the soldiers that you have saved. You’re growing up to be a wonderful young woman with a bright future ahead of you.

 

I was wondering if you had received any letters from my son recently? I haven’t heard from him and I know that he maintains really good contact with you. It could just be that the boys are busy, especially now that they’re off being heroic and fighting, but if you hear anything could you please let me or your parents know? I would love to hear from you as well.

 

Take care of yourself darling.

 

There was an immediate sense of dread that came over you. The thought that something might have happened to Taehyung immediately came to mind. If he hadn’t been sending letters to you, it could have been because he was too busy, but not sending letters to his mother was so unlike Taehyung that you couldn’t help but think that there was something wrong. If there was one thing that he cared about more than your friends and yourself, it was his own family. Perhaps it was that and the combination of Jimin’s unusually bland letters that almost made you suspect that there was something he was keeping from you.

 

You took the second letter from the side of your desk, slowly opening the letter, as if part of you was afraid of what its contents would be – and you were afraid. Your subconscious refused to allow you to move faster, the letter holding one of the most frightening answers at that very moment. Unfolding the letter, you saw his mother’s large handwriting once again and taking in a deep breath you began to read. The first thing you noticed about the letter was that the writing was messier, with smudges and words that were almost illegible. The paper was also rougher in some parts, as if it had been wet and dried while it was being written.

 

Dear Y/N,

 

I’m sorry to be the one to tell you this, especially when you’re abroad. A few days after I sent my other letter, my husband and I were sitting at home. We had a knock on the door and there were two men there dressed in their uniforms. I’m so sorry honey, but they told us that our boy, my son, was missing in action. His plane had been shot down over enemy territory and that it was likely that my boy was likely dead though they could not recover his body.

 

They told us that his dog tag was found and they gave it to me. It feels like a part of me just died. Like the biggest and brightest light in my world has just ended. My husband has begun making preparations for his memorial service. I wish you and the rest of the boys could be present but I know that you’re off fighting the war. When all of you come back home, please come visit our house. It needs the life that my son and all of you brought.

 

I wish my boy had been able to tell you how he felt. I always considered you like a daughter, and I hope you considered me like a second mother to you. I always thought that you would marry Taehyung and become my real daughter but I guess that will never happen. My boy, he loved you so much. He told me that just about every single day as a child and as he grew up I never once doubted that those feelings ever changed. There was no other girl that he ever cared for as much as he cared for you. I’m sorry to tell you this over a letter, and I hope you can come over when you are back and this damned war is over. Please take care of yourself and try to focus on the effort first. Thank you, and thank you to all of your friends, for making my son’s life one that he was so happy to live and for giving him many memories that I’m sure all of you cherish.

 

Please, take care of yourself.

 

You read and reread the letter a million times after that initial reading. You refused to believe any part of that. Your heart began to beat increasingly fast and your breathing hitched. How could Taehyung be missing? How could the military just write him off as dead? You felt the emotions welling up inside of you, just bubbling underneath the surface, ready to spill out at the slightest movement.

 

There was no way Taehyung could be dead. Your mind was full of your memories with him, his brown hair and boxy grin that seemed to be permanently on his face. There was his deep voice that always lulled you to sleep and filled you with a sense of protection. You remembered the way his eyes crinkled when he smiled and the way his eyebrows furrowed when he was confused or angry. How could someone that your entire world revolved around be gone?

 

You felt the tears begin to fall from your eyes as the realization suddenly dawned on you. You would never be able to see him again. You wouldn’t be able to feel his hugs when he greeted you or said goodbye. You wouldn’t be able to hear that laugh that you swore was the most incredible sound you had ever heard or his smooth voice whenever he sang along to a song on the radio. The picture frame that sat on your desk, an old photo of you and Taehyung at the park during high school, suddenly became one of your most prized possessions in that moment. You took it in your hands, desperately wishing to go back to that time, or really any time before Taehyung had enlisted in the military.

 

How could someone as pure, as friendly, as bright as the sun be gone? If this war had never occurred, maybe Taehyung would be around. As you sat there, you realized that you would give up everything just to have seen his smile one more time.

 

This war didn’t make any sense to you. Nothing about what was happening to all of the soldiers out on the battlefield ever made any sense. The only people that seemed to be suffering from this war was everyone that was fighting, the people on the front lines, and the people whose lives the soldiers affected.

 

It felt like the wind had been knocked out of you. You could hardly breathe, struggling to get in air through your sobs. There was an immeasurable pain in your chest and you could barely think, your mind just filled with thoughts of Taehyung, of things you wished you had said and done before. You wished you could go back and tell him how you felt earlier. How different would life be if you had done that? Would he have been more careful? Would he have still died?

 

Taehyung was your world. How were you supposed to act when your world was gone?

 

~

 

17 MONTHS LATER

 

It was your birthday, yet you did not feel like celebrating. You didn’t tell any of your fellow nurses or supervisors. It had been months, a year and more since the day that you received the news about Taehyung, yet it still stung as if you had just received it minutes prior.

 

The boys had all found out through you, all except Jimin who was in the same unit as Taehyung and knew before even his mother did. He found out as it happened, you later learned, with Jimin being the last person to hear Taehyung’s transmission over the fighter pilots’ communication lines. Jimin was told he was not allowed to report anything until Taehyung’s family was notified through the formal military channels, and it became apparent to you that was why his letters had become so distant.

 

Since that news, the war had only gotten more brutal. The hospital that you were assigned to was forced to move closer to the battle lines as an attempt to get help sooner for all of the wounded soldiers that made it back to the base. The new hospital was in a large building that used to be a mansion for some rich aristocrat in the 17th century, but had since been turned into the main medical center for the allied countries. It was in the middle of the countryside, about five minutes away from where soldiers from your country and its allies had dug trenches opposite the enemy’s.

 

This particular day had started out with a relatively quiet morning, an event that you had grown to appreciate greatly since you enlisted as a volunteer. You were walking down the hall, when one of your coworkers sped by you, running to an emergency room with supplies spilling out of her arms. You had just finished treating one of your patients when another one of the nurses grabbed your wrist, pulling you to the foyer of the hospital.

 

“There was a large battle in the morning and it didn’t turn out in our favor. We got a message a few minutes ago that there was a large amount of wounded,” she explained, her face visibly worried. You simply nodded, immediately realizing what was coming, and turned to look at the entrance.

 

The foyer had two large, white doors opposite the main entrance that two nurses were opening. Inside that lay a grand ballroom, almost the size of a football field that had been converted into a large emergency room. You could see nurses rushing, moving soldiers that could be moved onto gurneys, clearing the beds for the expected patients. Other nurses came to wait with you and your coworker, the head nurse giving instructions for the large amount of soldiers you were expecting. As you looked around, you saw that even the nurses who were given the night shift that week were still working. You felt sorry for them, knowing they must be exhausted, you knew you would be. From the looks of all the available staff, it meant that the amount of wounded soldiers would be higher than usual.

 

“Prioritize the soldiers who can be saved! Those that need to be treated immediately that you can treat without the help of a doctor. We are running low on morphine and other supplies so please use it sparingly. There should be an extremely large number of soldiers being brought in very soon!” The head nurse yelled out as she walked down the line.

 

You could see other nurses biting their nails, and you looked down, taking in a deep breath. Having served for a year now, you had gotten used to all the blood and gore caused by war. Many patients you had treated had passed away and you felt yourself becoming numb to all of the atrocities. In fact, in a way it helped that you had managed to be able to witness an amputation without gagging, making you into one of the doctors’ favorite nurses to have in the operating room. You could focus better on trying to save their lives rather than on anything else as well. You always remembered that the soldier you were treating was someone’s friend, brother, son. The man in front of you could always be to someone else what Taehyung was to you. In fact, every man that ended up in front of you was Taehyung. He was every face you passed by, every patient you saw. You made a silent promise to yourself at that moment, that whoever you were left to take care of would survive at whatever cost. That was all you really wanted for your birthday.

 

You heard the first siren in the distance and watched as the truck turned onto the road leading to the hospital. All nurses and doctors immediately ceased speaking. Everyone was ready for the oncoming flood of wounded soldiers, all of you only hoped that there would be enough supplies to treat everyone.

 

Multiple trucks full of soldiers began arriving shortly afterwards, and men who were fine helped carry in those that were wounded. All the nurses sprung into action, pulling gurneys and leading men to beds inside of the large ballroom. There was yelling everywhere, cries in pain from the wounded and men yelling trying to explain what had occurred to the person they were carrying. You ran to the side, pulling a gurney with you and you saw a tall man with broad shoulders holding someone.

 

“Put him on the bed!” You yelled in his direction, pulling the bed so that he could reach it.

 

After laying the soldier on the gurney, you saw that he was shaking, possibly from all the wounds he had received, yet he made no noise as the other soldiers did.

 

“He was shot and then a grenade went off near us!” the man holding him explained, panicked and worried about his companion. “Please save him! He’s only twenty years old!”

You simply nodded to him, saying in a hurried voice, “I’ll try my best.”

 

He helped you push the gurney inside of the ballroom, while you searched for an empty bed, finding one on the row by the wall underneath a window. There he transferred the boy to the other bed and stood a few feet away as you began examining the soldier’s wounds.

 

He had burns all over his chest and arms, one of them reaching the lower half of his neck. There were other burns, some running down his left leg. Then there were the gun shots. You could count nine as you examined his body. On the left side of his body, one had hit his clavicle, two hit his upper arm, and another had hit his forearm. There were two more gunshots that hit the right side of his ribcage and stomach. The final three seemed to have hit his left thigh, with one grazing the side and leaving a surface wound. How this boy had managed to take all these injuries was beyond you, but you were sure going to try to make sure he survived.

 

You worked quickly, putting gauze on all the gunshot wounds to stop the bleeding. You could feel the other soldier’s presence behind you, watching as you worked with a frightened expression and you figured that the two were friends, slightly adding to the pressure that you had already placed on yourself. Once you finished covering up all the gunshots, you looked up, searching for the nearest doctor and noticing one a few beds away and doing quick exams on each of the wounded.

 

You began disinfecting all the burns, noticing the solider wince every time you touched him but never once making a sound. It struck you as odd, as the rest of the soldiers yelled out in pain while he stayed silent, only showing his pain through the intense shaking and a slight groan he would let out every once in a while. Dirt covered his body, making you worry about his wounds getting infected. If he was only twenty years old, you didn’t want him to lose an arm or leg because of an infection. You had seen too much of that already and one more life that could be permanently damaged by the war would only anger you more.

 

The doctor reached your patient within a few minutes, shining a flashlight on all the wounds and commenting on your quick work to cover up all the gunshot wounds. After a few moments he ordered, “He’s going to need surgery. We don’t have time to take him to the operating room, so wait here. I have to pull out the bullets lodged in his body. Give him enough morphine to last until I finish examining the rest of the patients.”

 

Nodding, you administered a small amount of morphine, watching the shaking slowly begin to stop. When you saw him begin to calm down, you changed the gauze covering one of his wounds that had soaked through. All around the room, there were cries of agony as the rest of the nurses ran around trying to keep their own patients alive. You sat beside this young man, waiting to make sure that he continued to stay alive and so that he would be ready for the intense amount of pain that you knew was sure to come when the doctor began to remove the bullets lodged in his body. The only thing you could hope for was that the morphine you gave him was enough to lessen the pain even slightly. You softly cleaned his face, removing all of the dirt from his cheeks and forehead in an attempt to calm him down. As you took off more of the dirt, you began to realize that this boy was actually pretty handsome. You noticed that he had a small mole underneath his bottom lip, another right under the very tip of his nose, and a mouth that was tinged a light shade of pink. His closed eyes also seemed as if they were actually quite large and he had soft features that made you want to try everything possible in order to save him.

 

As you were taking in every crevice, every feature that lined the boy’s face, the lead doctor came back to you saying, “None of the operating rooms are available. I’m going to remove the bullets here.”

 

You heard a gasp behind you, remembering that the other soldier who had brought him in was still standing a few feet away. It wasn’t the first time for you to witness a procedure usually done in an operating room to happen in the large ballroom, but you could tell that it was for him. He probably didn’t want to see his friend getting metal instruments poked into his body to remove bullets.

 

“You might want to go outside, possibly help bring in more wounded. This isn’t going to be pretty,” you warned him. “I will look for you when we’re done.”

 

He nodded quickly, running to the exit without a second thought. You looked at him for a few seconds longer before turning back your attention to the patient and waiting to receive instructions from the doctor.

 

A few hours later, most of the yelling had subsided – either from morphine or from soldiers passing away. You had been sitting next to the bed of the wounded solider, monitoring him to make sure nothing happened to him. You refused to let someone you helped die on your birthday, even if it was the last thing you did and continued to sit by him as the rest of the nurses began to retreat back to their rooms, exhausted from the day’s events. The sun had begun to set, casting a soft yellow glow in the room. You had taken a few minutes to run back up to your room to grab a book in order to keep yourself occupied. Around you, the other nurses had just finished their rounds, or were slowly wheeling those that passed away out of the room.  Earlier in the day, you had gone searching for his friend but could see that he was nowhere in sight, but you were too exhausted to do some deep search in the soldiers’ base.

 

As you looked around the room, you didn’t notice when one of your other fellow nurses, a girl named Rachel, came up beside you with a pastry and a small, lit candle. Although you rarely spoke much to any of the other nurses unless it was about work, Rachel had become a close friend of yours. A few years older than you, her boyfriend had been drafted into the army a few days after he had proposed to her. She volunteered as a nurse to at least have a chance to run into him again, though she knew it wasn’t likely. She was one of the few who knew about Taehyung, including the news that managed to break your heart every single day but you saw her as a kindred spirit, as both of your reasons for enlisting were almost exactly the same as each other’s.

 

“Happy birthday,” she whispered. She had noticed the boy in front of you was sleeping.

You smiled, “Thanks.”

“Are you going to stay here all night?” She asked, looking concerned.

You turned back to the bed that held the solider, and said in a soft voice, “I can’t let him die. Not today.”

 

She didn’t say anything else. Instead she just patted your shoulder softly and turned to leave the ballroom. There was nothing she could say that would make you change your mind and you appreciated that she understood that. Rachel always understood your thoughts before you could even make a sense of them yourself and that was a quality of hers with which you were extremely grateful for. It made your life a lot easier and made working at the hospital more tolerable – even if you were surrounded by so much suffering.

 

After a few days had passed since your birthday, the hospital resumed its normal routine, though now inundated with more patients. You went back to the rounds that you did on a daily basis, checking on each of your patients and making sure that they were all doing okay. They had begun moving some of the wounded soldiers that had come in that day into rooms and as you checked your assigned rooms, you saw that you had three new patients to take care of. It didn’t surprise you. Everyday there was some new patient that was given to you.

 

It took two hours before you finally reached the last room assigned to you. It was at the end of a long hallway in the northeast corner of the mansion. You pushed a small cart with a tray of food and a few bandages and stopped at the door of the room. One more patient and you would be done with the first half of your shift and then be able to go to lunch. You sighed to yourself, already feeling drained from the previous rooms you visited. Slowly pushing the door open, you walked inside and instantly recognized the face of the soldier in the room.

 

His eyes were closed, but after spending the entire night by his bed, his sleeping face had become so familiar to you. When you couldn’t sleep, you had found yourself studying his face as if it was a piece by Michelangelo, taking in every single detail of his features. You paused for a few seconds, looking at his face and wondering what his life was like before the war even started. Did he have a girlfriend back home? Did someone else confess to him before he enlisted like you had to Taehyung? Something about him reminded you of Taehyung, but it wasn’t his looks. They didn’t look anything alike.  Maybe it was because he was around the same age as you and Taehyung, though something told you that was not the case.

 

You walked to the edge of his bed, picking up the clipboard with his chart on it to read what you were supposed to administer to him. His name was Jeon Jungkook, you read. The chart called for a redressing of all of his wounds twice a day as well as a few other steps for medication to keep infections from happening in any of his wounds. The cabinet on the opposite wall from the bed held all the bandages and gauze and some of the medicine, and you walked over to pull some out.

 

Pulling a stool to the side of his bed, you slowly began to remove the old bandages that had hardened due to the dry blood and applying some hydrogen peroxide softly to disinfect the wounds. As you treated him, you began to think about Taehyung once more, bringing a dull ache to your chest again. If you were completely honest to yourself though, your mind never wandered from him though. He was in everything that you did. You removed all of the old bandages and looked down at the soldier’s wounds, you couldn’t help but think about Taehyung and his last moments, your mind continuing to drift from this boy to Taehyung as you worked. You hoped that he hadn’t suffered like this boy had, hoped that he didn’t experience the pain that you were sure Jungkook had even though you gave him massive amounts of pain medication. You could not imagine what it must have felt like to have a grenade explode near you and get shot multiple times and somehow still survive.

 

It was when you had finished redressing the wound by his collar bone that you realized that his large eyes had opened. It was also then that you noticed that there were tears in your eyes, and you wondered when you had begun to cry.

 

His large eyes looked at you in surprise and you couldn’t help but jump away. Staring at each other for a few seconds in complete silence, you were the first to break into movement. Quickly giving him the prescribed medicines and leaving the food for him in a distance that he could reach, you ran out of the room as soon as you were able to, pulling the door behind you shut. You leaned against the door to his room, waiting for your rapid beating heart to slow down as you took in deep breaths. If you went back to the nurses’ station like this, they would ask questions that you didn’t even know the answer to yourself.

 

You weren’t sure what caused you to be so caught off guard. He was just surprised to see you, at least that was what you thought. He probably hadn’t been expecting the nurse treating him to be crying. You wiped the tears from your eyes and looked down for a few seconds in a feeble attempt to calm down your heart before it burst out of your chest.

 

It was the next day before you saw Jeon Jungkook again. You had taken the rest of the previous day off, asking one of the other nurses to cover your afternoon shift because you were feeling under the weather. You couldn’t admit to yourself that it was simply because you didn’t want to run into him again. Now today, you had once again finished serving and treating the rest of your patients before you found yourself standing in front of Jungkook’s room.

 

You stood outside his door for a minute, collecting yourself before you did something else dumb around him and before embarrassing yourself once more around one of your patients. Taking in a deep breath, you gave yourself a little bit of a pep talk as a feeble attempt to get you to open the door.

 

You knocked twice on his door to announce your presence and then stepped inside, pulling the cart holding his food behind you. Today, he was awake and the second that you walked in, his eyes immediately went wide in recognition. You tried to pretend that you couldn’t feel his stare, but when you looked back at him a few moments later, you could see his curious eyes watching your every move.

 

Sitting down on the same stool you sat on the previous day, you gave him a quick warning that you were going to be giving him a bit of morphine so that he wouldn’t hurt so much while you tended his wounds. Jungkook nodded, continuing to stare at you in an almost apprehensive way.

 

After waiting a few moments to make sure that the morphine’s effects had begun to kick in, you began to redress his wounds. You started at the legs because those were the furthest away from his curious, large, doe eyes that you would eventually have to face. You were dreading having to get near Jungkook to redress his collarbone wound, but you continued to repeat to yourself that you were a professional and that no soldier before had ever caused you to get so flustered around him, so you didn’t see why Jungkook had to be so different.

 

You slowly worked your way up his body, disinfecting and redressing every single wound and dabbing the cotton ball soaked in hydrogen peroxide on all of his burn marks. You were sure that the majority of his body would be covered in some form of scar for the rest of his life, yet of all of injuries had happened on his body – none had hit his face. It wasn’t until you had finished redressing the collarbone wound, and finally moved your head away from the mere inches where he was, that Jungkook spoke.

 

“Why did you cry yesterday?” He said, in a voice so low that you almost didn’t hear it.

You paused, in the middle of pulling the cart over his bed to place his food in front of him. “What?” You asked, knowing it was the only thing that you could muster in your shock.

“Yesterday, when you were treating me. You were crying and then you ran out,” Jungkook responded, his eyes still full of curiosity and a hint of timidness.

You looked down, unsure of what to say. You weren’t even sure yourself why you had begun to cry, so how could you even explain it to him?

“I mean, you don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to,” he said, staying silent as he waited for your response, as if somehow he knew that you yourself didn’t have an answer to his question.

You stayed quiet, hesitant to answer. When he noticed your hesitation, he spoke again. “Sorry, I was just curious. I thought I had done something while I was asleep.”

That was what made you look over at him, taking a good look for the first time since you walked into his room, straight into his eyes. “It wasn’t you. I’m sorry. I wasn’t sure myself either why I had begun to cry if I’m being totally honest.”

 

You laughed shyly, hoping to diffuse the tension that had developed between the two of you. You began to move so as to distract yourself from his silence and assumed that you had sufficiently freaked him out, so you turned to take the food tray from the cart. After placing his food in front of him, you walked over to the door and it wasn’t until you were in the middle of stepping out of his room that you heard his soft, melodic voice say, “See you later!” causing you to let out a smile and a soft laugh as soon as you were sure you were out of his sight.

 

In the afternoon, you usually had to redress the wounds of some of the soldiers per the doctors’ orders. There was also the second round of food that you had to deliver to all of the patients that had been assigned to you – including Jungkook. You seemed to breeze your way through the rest of the patients on your list, feeling lighter than you had in months. As you made your way towards Jungkook’s room, the last on your list, you couldn’t help but feel something. You were not quite sure what the feeling was, but the closer you got to his room, the stronger the feeling grew inside of you.

 

It was late afternoon when it was finally time to help Jungkook once more. You did a quick tap on the door to let him know that you were coming in and turned to pull the lunch cart with you before opening the door with one hand. As soon as you opened the door, you heard an unfamiliar laugh, immediately recognizing Jungkook’s voice soon after.

 

You opened the door fully, revealing to you that Jungkook had a visitor with him, and feeling your stomach drop slightly at the sight. He was sitting on the edge of the bed, turning to face the boy laying down. Since spending so much time around soldiers and interacting with them, you had learned the differences between the uniforms of the men and you could tell that Jungkook’s visitor was not just a normal private, but a higher ranked officer instead.

 

It was when the visitor turned around to face you that you instantly recognized him as the one who had brought Jungkook in to the hospital that first day. Now that you had time to breathe, you took a good look at his face realizing that he, too, was extremely handsome. His light brown hair, cut short fit his face well and his broad shoulders were emphasized by his military uniform, which now that you had a closer look, recognized as that of a corporal.

 

His face immediately lit up in recognition of you as well and he gave you a smile, giving you a greeting. “Hi! I remember you!”

You nodded slightly, giving a light smile before leaving the lunch cart by the door and walking over to the cabinet that held all the bandages and syringes for the morphine.

When you turned around again, it was Jungkook that spoke, a look of bewilderment clearly written on his face, “Have you two met before?”

You shook your head at the same time that the other man answered, “Not formally, no. When I brought you in, she was the one who took you.” After you finished gathering all the bandages and cotton balls that you needed, you walked over to the other side of Jungkook’s bed, causing the other man to ask, “Do you need me to move?”

“If you can, I just need to redress the wounds. I don’t know if you want to stay and watch that. It might not be pretty,” You finally answered him mirroring your words from your other meeting and remembering his eager run back outside when he heard the doctor say that he was going to remove the bullets.

Your answer caused him to laugh. “Compared to what I’ve seen on the battlefield, this is nothing. That other time, I was just feeling really frantic about everything. Also, I’ve grown up with this kid. I’ve seen more of him than I would have liked over the years.”

His answer caused your eyes to grow wide, as you were surprised of the sudden change from just a few days ago, while Jungkook protested his friend’s response, firing a jab of his own at him.

“More like, I’ve had to put up with your obsession with yourself these last few years,” Jungkook said.

 “By the way, thanks for saving this kid. I don’t even want to know what his mom would have done to me if I hadn’t brought her son back alive,” the visitor said after the two finished their banter. “My name’s Seokjin but you can call me Jin if you’d like, all the pretty girls I meet call me that.”

You had been cleaning the burns on Jungkook’s leg, eliciting a slight hiss from Jungkook as the antiseptic touched his wounds. You looked up and with a smile and a small laugh at his not-so-subtle flirting, answered him, “I’m Y/N. It’s nice to meet you.”

Jin smiled back at you, turning to Jungkook and saying, “She’s the nurse you were telling me about right?”

 

You paused and turned to look at Jungkook, whose large eyes were wide and his face was slowly turning a deep shade of red.

 

“What? No…” Jungkook said feebly, refusing to turn to you.

Jin laughed from his seat, “Then who else was the really cute nurse you said was tending to you. I think Y/N’s pretty cute.” He then turned to you, addressing you directly. “Hey, Y/N, does anyone else help him out?”

“Not that I know of,” You said in a quiet voice, feeling more self-conscious than you had already been feeling despite the compliment from Jin. Maybe it was the fact that you knew deep down that Jungkook had been talking about you, but you felt your face heating up.

Jungkook cleared his throat, his cheeks a tomato red now as his friend kept embarrassing him, and then spoke, “Jin, don’t you have to go order people around or something?”

 

Feeling the need to leave the room as soon as possible, you began to speed up your treatment of Jungkook’s wounds, caring less about whether he would feel any pain or not while you disinfected. The last wound you had left was the one on Jungkook’s collarbone, the one closest to his face and the one likely to cause you to make eye contact with the boy. You had purposely put off tending to this particular one for that very purpose.

 

Jin was telling Jungkook a story about his interactions with the generals as you moved to better reach the wound. After unwrapping it and removing the old bandages, you lightly dipped a cotton ball in the peroxide before turning back to Jungkook. Unconsciously, your eyes moved to catch a glance of Jungkook’s eyes that were staring at you with the same amount of curiosity as they had they day you began tending to him. From where your face was, you had a clear view of his jawline, admiring the sharp angle that moved slightly with each breath he took.  It was almost intimidating, knowing that Jungkook was staring at you and the second your eyes met his, you quickly looked back down at his wound. After doing a quick round of disinfection, you wrapped up his wound in a new bandage and got up to dispose of the cotton balls and old bandages. When you walked over to the food cart to prepare to exit the room, Jin spoke to you once more.

 

“You’re leaving already? Wow, you work fast,” He said in a joking manner. You replied with a nod, prompting him to speak again. “Do you have many more patients to take care of after him?”

“Nope,” You answered. “He’s the last one on my rounds.”

“Then why don’t you stay for a little while longer?” Jin asked you, motioning towards your now empty seat beside Jungkook’s bed.

Your heart began to speed up, and you turned to look at Jungkook whose face seemed like almost a mystery for once. While still looking at his face, you replied to Jin. “I would, but I have a lot of charts I need to complete by tonight.”

 

You finally left Jungkook’s room after a groan from Jin and one last feeble attempt to get to you stay for a longer period in the room. The charts that you claimed needed to be completed had actually been finished during the break between your first and second rounds. You just weren’t sure if you would be able to handle being in that room any longer. Jungkook’s mere presence had an such a profound effect on you that you could barely speak. Perhaps it was your first real encounter, when Jungkook saw you crying that made you so embarrassed to be around him. You knew it was unprofessional to say the least and as you walked back to the nurses’ station you were repeating to yourself that Jungkook was just a patient. He was just someone that you needed to treat and that he would be back out on the battlefield as soon as he recovered completely. He seemed the type who would be reckless as well, judging by his wounds. When he recovered, it was almost as if there was a guarantee that he may end up back in the hospital once again. Yet as you finished your shift, he was still in your mind.

 

The rest of the day seemed like a blur, and before you knew it, it was time for your first set of rounds the next day. You went about tending the soldiers assigned to you as if you were almost in a daze, your mind refusing the banish the thought of Jungkook from your head. One of your patients even asked if you were feeling okay because you seemed distracted. You could never admit to them that it was because your mind was focused on the room at the end of the hall.

 

With every room and every patient that you finished treating, you found yourself getting almost giddy at the thought of seeing Jungkook once more. It was a strange feeling, you contemplated, and you had to remind yourself again that he was just a patient and you were in charge of treating him. Somehow, thoughts of Jungkook was making it hard to remember that he was a patient.

 

It would be another hour before you were standing in front of his room again. With a light knock, you turned the handle to his room with your other hand and pushed the door open. You pulled in the food cart and set it beside the door and then turned to look at Jungkook, who was already sitting up and giving you a smile. He was alone today and you couldn’t help but wonder what he had been doing before you walked in. The window above his bed let in sunlight that shined down on him just right, making him look beautiful. You smiled at him in response, and gathered your supplies from the cabinet before taking your seat beside his bed.

 

As soon as you began treating him, Jungkook spoke almost immediately. “How are you?”

You dabbed a cotton ball on his leg, causing him to wince before responding. “I’m okay.” You smiled at him softly, returning to focusing on your work in silence when his voice suddenly came through again.

“Have lunch with me.” He said. You stopped working on disinfecting his leg, putting the cotton ball down and turning to look at him.

“What?”

He smiled, his teeth making him look like a bunny. “Have lunch with me,” he repeated.

“Why?” You asked, looking at right him, searching for any sort of sign that would tell you that he was joking.

“Because, I want to spend more time with you and you’re only ever in here for 30 minutes max when you come to put new bandages on all the gunshots and burns,” Jungkook said, his smile never leaving his face.

His answer caught you off guard and your eyebrows furrowed as you spoke again. “But why do you want to spend more time with me?”

He answered bluntly. “I want to get to know you better and I think that you’re really pretty.”

 

Jungkook’s sudden forthrightness caught you off guard. Yesterday, he was blushing when Jin asked if you were the nurse he kept talking about, yet today he was suddenly really flirty. At least, you believed it was flirting and deep down inside, you hoped that it was.

 

After a few seconds of silence on your part, you finally replied, talking slowly. “I don’t think that’s a really good idea.”

Jungkook’s face fell for a few seconds, before he suddenly pulled it back into his smile and said, “Why isn’t it a good idea? There’s no rule that says you can’t eat lunch with the soldiers is there?”

“No, there’s not,” You said, pausing slightly to pick up a new cotton ball and resume tending to all the injuries on his body. “But you’re my patient.”

“Well, just think about it as giving me some much needed counseling! I’ve been cooped up in this room for the past few days and I’m starting to get a little stir crazy not doing anything.”

His response caused you to give a slight laugh, and he spoke again. “That was really cute. You should really smile more often, it suits your face better.”

You felt your face getting red and refused to look up at him as you worked on disinfecting all of the injuries. “Thanks.”

“So how ‘bout it? Spend your lunchtime in here with me. I promise I can make you smile more if you just let me.”

You gave a slight laugh and took hold of his left hand where a burn mark was creeping onto the back of his palm and began to dab the cotton ball, “Fine. But just this once okay?”

He gave you what you were starting to realize was his signature smile and said, “Okay” before tilting his head slightly.

 

After you finished redressing all of Jungkook’s wounds, you left his room wondering about what your lunch break would bring you. You honestly did not know what to expect if you were being honest with yourself, but you were slightly excited. Lunch couldn’t come soon enough.

 

It was after you had finished filling out your morning charts and an unbearably long staff meeting that it was finally time for you to begin your second round of visits to each one of your patients. You purposely waited to take your lunch break until you were done with this second round, saving Jungkook for last once again. It would be about two hours before you finally reached his room.

 

Jungkook seemed almost giddy as you redressed all of his injuries, which you found odd considering that the wounds were still relatively fresh and probably still stung quite a bit every time they were disinfected. He talked animatedly about how excited he was for lunch, so much that you found it quite adorable. It was only when you began to prepare to leave the room, his face suddenly became crestfallen.

 

“I thought we were having lunch together?” He asked, his giddiness suddenly gone.

His reaction caused you to smile a genuine smile, one that you hadn’t done in a long time and you felt your heart swell with happiness. “We are. I have to go get my lunch now from the cafeteria. I’ll be back soon.”

 

You speed walked back to the nurses’ station, informing your supervising nurse that you would now be taking your late lunch. Walking to the cafeteria, you could see the soldier assigned to mail duty passing you by once again. He smiled at you, letting you know that there were two letters waiting for you in your box and you thanked him. After picking up your lunch, you dropped by the office to see who had sent you the letter. When you saw Namjoon and Jimin’s name on the envelopes, your mood immediately perked up even more at seeing that they had finally written to you. You made a mental note to yourself to pick them up once you were done with your shift and walked back to Jungkook’s room with your lunch tray.

                                                                                        

His food lay untouched as he waited for you to return. It was only when you began to eat beside him that he finally ate as well.

 

“You seem happier than you did before you went to get lunch,” Jungkook remarked.

This caused you to give a slight pause. Just how easy were you to read? “Oh yes, actually, I am,” You said.

“That must have been one exciting walk to the cafeteria,” he joked.

You laughed slightly, embarrassed at how easily he was able to pick up on your mood change. “I received mail from some very important people to me today. I haven’t heard from them in a while so I’m actually kind of glad that I finally received letters from them. It’s probably because my birthday just passed but still, it’s the thought that counts.”

“Your birthday just passed? When was it?” Jungkook asked, his eyes going wide.

You nodded before answering him. “It was just a few days ago, about a week. Actually, it was the day that you were brought in.”

His eyes went even wider as your response registered in his brain. After a second or two, he said, “Well, happy belated birthday – though I do feel honored that you chose to spend it with an unconscious me.” You laughed at his joke, before Jungkook spoke once again. “Also, important people? Is one of them your boyfriend?”

You vehemently shook your head, “No they’re not. They’re my friends. I’ve known them since high school. They’re all currently enlisted but in different areas.”

Jungkook’s face immediately lit up, showing that bunny smile that you were beginning to grow so fond of. “So you’re single then?”

Laughing once again, you responded, “Yes. Yes I am.”

 

The lunch ended on a high note, so much that you were reluctant to leave his room when your lunch break was over. Even after reading Namjoon and Jimin’s letters wishing you a happy birthday in your room before you went to sleep, the lunch was still the highlight of your day. Without even trying that hard, Jungkook had convinced you to spend your lunch break tomorrow with him as well before you left his room that day and what had started out as something that you claimed would only be once, turned into a near-daily occurrence for the two of you. Jungkook was suddenly extremely flirty the next day during lunch, spouting cheesy pick-up lines any chance he got and causing you to laugh loudly. Every single lunch afterwards, he would pull out another move on you, making you smile in the process. You never took it seriously, believing that Jungkook’s flirtiness was just part of his personality – a stark contrast to the first few days that you knew him. Every once in a while, Jin would join the two of you for lunch as well, first updating the two of you on what was occurring on the fronts and then goofing off as well.

 

It was refreshing for you, giving you a breath of fresh air from what the atmosphere at the hospital was always like. The war seemed to almost drain the life and vitality from the people serving, both in combat and behind the lines, but in the small, northwest corner room of the makeshift hospital, it was as if life was suddenly brighter and a war had not been raging outside.

 

After a month, Jungkook’s burn injuries and gunshot wounds were almost healed to the level where he could be put to battle once again. He remained at the hospital, but was now free to walk around the wing and the courtyard to regain his strength. You knew that your lunches with him would be coming to end soon, a thought that you banished from your mind whenever it began to creep up. Another thing that you would banish from your mind were your own creeping feelings that had begun to blossom. Something that you had to constantly remind yourself to ignore, but became more and more difficult to do with each passing day.

 

You also learned a lot more about Jungkook. He was extremely competitive, telling you stories about his and Jin’s constant debates with each other and from their childhoods. He also told you about the scar on his cheek and how he received it when he and Jin were fighting over trying to reach the computer when they were both little.  Whenever Jin would join the two of you, you would witness their banter first hand, seeing how the younger would rebel against the older of the two. He told you about the many sports he had joined, being the best player in almost all of them as well.  You also learned about the passion that Jungkook had, throwing himself deeply and completely into whatever it is that he wanted to do. He told you that while in school he had begun to learn to dance and was recognized by his classmates as the best dancer. He also loved to sing, something that you had yet to experience listening to for yourself. You could see that underneath this confident façade he often had on, he was quite bashful about some things as well, like his singing, and you began to learn to tell when he would try to cover something up. He made it seem like his only weak spot was actual school, or more specifically, math. He explained to you that learning about history and math never really grabbed his attention and he was glad to be rid of them once he graduated, only to be drafted into the military shortly after.

 

When Jungkook was finally allowed to leave his bed, your lunches together began occurring outside at some picnic tables in the courtyard that were usually empty after your second set of rounds. It was on one of these days, that you two were sitting outside, laughing about a story you told about a time when Namjoon had broken Yoongi’s television in one swift move, staying true to the “god of destruction” nickname your friends had awarded him.

 

When you two had stopped laughing, there was a peaceful silence that had fallen over the two of you. Jungkook had been sitting next to you on the bench, his back leaning against the table and his legs stretched outward as he stared up at the sky. You had been facing the table, where your food tray sat, half-eaten. Your body had been turned to face Jungkook, your food forgotten as you stared at his profile, admiring his beauty one again. It was almost ethereal, being able to see someone with the looks that Jungkook possessed sitting less than a foot away. You wondered how any one person could ever brush past him without stopping and admiring his beautiful face. You almost couldn’t believe yourself how lucky you were to be sitting beside him. After what seemed like a long pause of comfortable silence, Jungkook turned to you, his large, brown eyes locking with yours.

 

“What are you doing? Admiring my beauty?” Jungkook asked, smiling as he looked at you.

You didn’t laugh this time, entranced by the way his eyes looked at you. Before you even realized, you responded honestly, “Actually yes I am.”

 

Jungkook seemed to almost freeze at your response, his smile disappearing from his face causing you to snap out of whatever trance you were under. You began to stutter, looking down and attempting to come up with any excuse for your answer when Jungkook spoke again.

 

“Go out with me.” He suddenly said, before you could formulate an explanation, his face remaining completely serious. You almost thought it was a joke at first, until you looked back into his eyes and saw an intensity lurking within them. When Jungkook realized that you weren’t going to respond, he spoke again. “I’m serious. Go out with me.”

 

There was another silence on your part. You weren’t sure what it was, but at that moment Taehyung’s face suddenly came to your mind. You remembered his childlike smile and his laugh and how those were the things that seemed to almost give meaning to your otherwise plain life before this war started. You felt as if you said yes to Jungkook’s request, it would suddenly negate everything that you had ever felt for Taehyung. It was as if by accepting Jungkook, you were betraying your love for your childhood friend.

 

You didn’t notice when you had begun to cry, but suddenly Jungkook’s arms were around you, holding you as tears streamed down your face. Your chest hurt as you remembered Taehyung and your favorite memories together. Images of his box smile became intertwined with Jungkook’s voice and it all suddenly became too overwhelming to bear, especially as you realized that Jungkook’s arms were holding you in a tight embrace.

 

You quickly pushed Jungkook’s arms away, pushing him to the edge of the bench as your tears continued to fall and Jungkook stared at you with surprise. You stood up and stared at the ground below your feet, refusing to look at the confused boy sitting in front of you.

 

“I…I…I’m sorry. I can’t do this,” You said, and turned to run inside.

 

As you ran to the workstation, your supervisor took notice of your state and immediately grew concerned. You saw Rachel and the other nurses at the station look at you with worry as you attempted to wipe the freefalling tears from your face. You somehow managed to ask yourself to be excused from the rest of your shift with Rachel volunteering to take over the rest of your duties for the day just before turning back around once only to see Jungkook walking down the hallway, his face laced with concern as he watched the occurrence, and you turned in the other direction and ran to your room.

 

You felt ridiculous, your face red and swollen as all your pent up feelings from Taehyung’s disappearance over a year and a half ago came to the surface once again. Jungkook had simply asked you on a date, yet it felt like that request meant that Taehyung’s entire memory would be gone. You knew that it was impossible for something like that to actually happen, yet it still felt that way. Your burgeoning feelings for Jungkook felt to you as if they were invaders, sent to eliminate any and all love that you ever felt for Taehyung. It was as if you owed it to him, that boy with the tanned skin and a grin that lit up an entire room, to remember all of those feelings that you held, and still continued to hold for him. The feelings you held for Taehyung and the feelings that you held for Jungkook had to be mutually exclusive. You couldn’t see for yourself how one could function with the other present.

 

When it was time for dinner, you didn’t leave your room, resulting in a late-evening visit from Rachel as she brought you a tray of food from the cafeteria. She didn’t ask you any questions, though you could tell she was worried about you and wondered what had caused you to feel so much agony. She had known about your daily lunches with Jungkook, in fact, she was always delighted to hear about how each meal went. You were sure that the thought that Jungkook had been the cause of your tears had crossed through her mind at least once since you came back from your break that afternoon.

 

“If that boy is the reason you’re a mess I will go to his room and wring his neck,” Rachel told you, making you smile slightly at the image that had popped into your mind.

 

Had it really been Jungkook to have caused you so much pain? You knew it was unfair to cast all the blame onto him. If anything, he had become one of the brightest parts of your days. When there were no new letters from any of the boys, he was the brightest part of your day. You asked Rachel to inform your supervisor that you didn’t feel well enough to come into your shift the next day and she obliged without a single question asked.

 

The next day, after you were sure that everyone had left the cafeteria in the morning, you carefully stepped out of your room. Your eyes were red and swollen from crying the whole night, your hair a mess from the lack of sleep that you experienced as a result of all the feelings you held. You picked up a tray of food and quickly walked back to your room, successfully evading everyone. Once you were inside of your room once again, you placed the tray that held a depressing meal on your desk and sat down at the chair.

 

Taking a bite from the apple, you pulled out a couple blank papers from your drawer and began to write a letter to the one person who you felt you could count on to tell you what you needed to hear and who you could freely express all of your thoughts to.

 

Dear Jimin,

 

I hope you’ve been doing okay. I hear the battles have been picking up pace lately and I’ve been kind of worried about you and the rest of the boys. Please promise me you’ll be safe. I know you probably haven’t received my last letter to you since I only wrote it a few days ago but I just don’t know who else I can talk to, or in this case write to.

 

I’ve told you about him in another letter, but just in passing. His name is Jungkook and he was one of the soldiers that I’ve been caring for here at the hospital. He was brought in on my birthday and I’ve basically seen him every single day since. We started having lunch together and…oh Jimin, it was so nice to finally laugh again. I haven’t laughed or smiled like that since before all of you enlisted. Since before Tae…disappeared.

 

He’s made me smile so much since then, and he’s listened to all of my stories about all of you. I haven’t told him about Tae. I don’t know how I ever could. How do you summarize everything about him into a conversation? But Jungkook, he asked me to go out with him, and it just felt so strange for me. It felt like if I let myself develop feelings for someone other than Taehyung, his memory would just fade as well as all the feelings I have. The feelings for Taehyung were one of the only things that has kept me going for so long, how do you suddenly just throw them away for something new?

 

I hope you’ve been well. Thank you for everything that you’ve done for me and for reading this rant. I miss you.

 

Y/N

 

The next morning, you finally recovered enough of your emotional stability to manage to bring yourself to work but before you showed up for your shift, you ran down to the tent where the mail room had been designated. One of the soldiers, with whom you had developed a nice acquaintance with due to all your visits to the mail center, greeted you and took your letter addressed to Jimin. After having a brief conversation about the war, you returned back to the hospital and sat down next to Rachel for the early morning debriefing.

 

She gave you a small smile and put a hand down on your knee, giving it a slight rub as if to welcome you back after the emotional outburst. She never did end up asking any questions, though you could see the wonder and worry etched on her face.

 

Once the morning meeting was adjourned, you walked with Rachel to the nurses’ station to grab the charts for each one of your patients. Your face immediately scrunched up in confusion as you noticed that the pile of charts was significantly smaller than it was two days ago.

 

Rachel noticed your confusion and began to explain, “Yesterday a general came down out of the blue with one of the doctors and they went around examining everyone to determine who would be discharged. They gave us no warning and we ended up being so busy processing all of the discharges!”

“Why would they do that? Half of my patients are gone,” You answered, judging just from the smaller stack in front of you.

“It’s not just yours. Half of everyone’s are gone! The general was demanding for any soldiers who could walk to be discharged from the hospital even if they weren’t fully healed yet. You should have seen the faces of some of them when they heard they were going back to the barracks. Poor things,” she answered, her voice laced with sympathy.

 

Her explanation set off an alarm in your head. Jungkook had been able to walk since a couple weeks prior and you immediately thought of whether he had been discharged as well. With a few more pleasantries, the two of you each headed to your respective wings and began your rounds.  You refused to look through the charts to figure out if Jungkook was still at the hospital or not, but as you worked your way through each chart, your heart slowly began to drop.

 

You were at the room two doors away from Jungkook’s room when you reached the last chart, seeing the name for the soldier in the room beside his. There was a pain that shot through your heart as you thought of how your last encounter with him ended. You mindlessly treated the last soldier that managed to escape the checkups and stopped at Jungkook’s door as if something was willing you to go in. Taking in a deep breath, you walked inside only to see that it had already been cleaned by someone, with any semblance of Jungkook gone.

 

You didn’t cry, but you felt the tears beginning to form as you pictured the smile he always greeted you with whenever you entered. Part of you wondered if you would ever see Jungkook again, and you hoped that you would eventually. Filled with regret, you left the room and walked back to the station, reminding yourself that if it was meant to be, it would have happened. It might have been your fault, and although you had been full of regret over how you handled the situation, another side of you was relieved as you remembered your previous emotional outburst.

 

~

 

About a month had passed by since you had last seen Jungkook when you received a letter from Jimin. You thought back to the day when you had written the last letter to Jimin and wondered what kind of response he could have written to that. The war had picked up pace in some places, while in others – such as the location where the hospital had been set up – it had slowed down. In fact, most of the soldiers, the lucky ones at least, when on-duty had been spending their time practicing drills and even had the luxury of getting a day off every two weeks and being allowed to go into the nearby city for some entertainment. You were grateful for the change of pace, seeing how the newfound leisure time of the soldiers had begun to boost up their morale in the seemingly endless war. Even the hospital had seen a reduction in patients and severe injuries.

 

At the end of your shift one day, you went to dinner with Rachel and some of the other nurses, as they talked about how some of the soldiers had asked them out now that they had some free time. You stayed relatively quiet throughout the conversation, remembering your unintended, yet disastrous, refusal of Jungkook. They still had no idea what was the real cause of your sudden emotional outburst. You had told no one except for Rachel who seemed relieved when you finally told her the real reason.

 

Once you were back at your room, you finally sat down on your bed and carefully sliced open the envelope containing Jimin’s letter with a letter opener. You pulled out the letter only to see that it contained multiple pages all written in his handwriting. Unfolding it, you began to read.

 

Dear Y/N,

 

The war has started to pick up pace over here. We’re being sent out on more scouting missions and more missions to bomb the enemy now. Don’t worry about me. I’m one of the best fighter pilots in my squadron so you really have nothing to worry about. I’ll make sure I come back alive.

 

As to the whole Jungkook situation, although I am concerned that I’ve never met this guy, Y/N, you deserve to be happy. I know starting a relationship right here, right now probably isn’t the greatest idea you’ve ever had, but you spent your entire life loving Taehyung which I still find amazing. Don’t think that by letting yourself have feelings for this guy that your feelings for Tae will just suddenly disappear. Feelings don’t work that way. If they did, you would not have loved Tae for as long as you did and you definitely would not have volunteered to come to the war.

 

I’m happy that someone has made you smile and laugh. I’m happy that someone has made you happy. The only thing that concerns me about Jungkook is that, again, I haven’t met him. I need to screen all potential suitors for you and make sure that they are ready to take on the challenge of dating a girl with four very protective brothers.

 

Don’t think of it as betraying Taehyung or forgetting about Taehyung. I know you’ve had the hardest time dealing since he passed, but you and I both know that he would not want you to become a spinster and make your life into a shrine to him. By letting yourself fall for Jungkook, you are not throwing away your feelings for Taehyung, it’s more like, you’re opening yourself to new experiences. I do think that you should tell this guy about Taehyung though, if you haven’t yet. Maybe not right at the beginning, but you will need to explain to him why you’re so hesitant. It’s not fair to keep him in the dark about something that basically was your life for so long.

 

I hope nothing’s changed between the two of you and if it has, hopefully for the better. Honestly, just grow a pair. The damn mail takes such a long time to arrive. Hopefully you don’t read this when it’s too late.

 

Take care of yourself,

 

JM

 

You stared up at the ceiling, wishing that you had this sooner. Everything that Jimin wrote made complete sense to you and you knew it was the truth all along, you were just too afraid to admit to it. You laughed in disbelief, wondering how it is that you came to be in this situation.

 

The rest of the week passed by in a blur and before you even noticed, it was the day before your own day off. After reading Jimin’s letter, you had been in a daze, just going through the motions of everyday life. Your mind was too preoccupied with thoughts of Jungkook and Taehyung to fully register the occurrences around you.

 

You were seated at the nurses’ station by yourself while everyone else went to get their lunch. At least one of you was always required to be seated at the station during lunch in case a nurse was needed. On this day, it happened to be your turn.

 

It was a quiet day at the hospital. You had been flipping through a magazine that Rachel had lent you, reading about the latest trends in the fashion world being referred to as “military chic.” You felt it ridiculous, looking at all the stylish suits for women in dark green and navy colors, drawing heavy inspiration from the uniforms of all the decorated officers. How could any of them really know what was going on at the battlefronts from the comfort of their homes? Turning the war into another fashion trend only made you irritated as you thought of all the sacrifices that the soldiers had made.

 

You felt the presence of someone standing in front of the nurses’ station, but kept flipping through the magazine, assuming that they were taking a second to gather their bearings and figure out in which direction to turn as most of the hospital visitors did. However, this person did not leave. Instead, they cleared their throat and you were compelled to look up to see what they wanted.

 

What you saw were two large brown eyes look back at you, along with a familiar smile that you had not seen in a long time, causing you to freeze, your mouth open in shock as your mind processed the sight in front of you.

 

Jungkook gave a small laugh, sending shivers down your spine and began to speak, “Did you miss me?”

 

You could hardly believe that Jungkook was in front of you. His hair had been growing out at the hospital but now that he was standing in front of you, it was noticeable that it had been cut short once again. He also looked noticeably different in his uniform and his frame looked larger, almost as it had when he was brought in. Yet, the one thing that remained the same was the bunny-like smile that he always had on his face.

 

Sensing that you were too surprised to respond, Jungkook spoke once again, “Did you?” He asked, clearly expecting an answer as he gave you a pointed look.

Once you finally managed to pick your jaw up from the floor, you replied. “It’s been a while since I saw you.” You said, attempting to keep your cool as your heart began to beat furiously in your chest.

You could see a flash of disappointment run across his face at your answer, but his smile almost immediately covered it. “The people who were discharged were forced to do an insane amount of drills. We thought they were sending us to the battle zones! Jin managed to pull some strings and use the small leverage he had to convince the generals to finally give us a day off like the rest of the soldiers here.”

You eyes opened wide. “Really?” you asked.

“The Generals must have been in a good mood the day Jin decided to approach them,” Jungkook spoke, his eyes never leaving your face. “They decided to give us two days off. Probably felt bad for all the drills they made us do.”

You smiled, wondering why Jungkook was acting like if the last time you saw each other you had run off crying. “Sounds like you owe Jin a lot.”

He nodded, and giving a slight chuckle he said, “Yes I do. He’s going to hold this over my head for the rest of my life.”

You laughed, “Besides the hell training, how have you been?”

“I’m alright. I had a lot on my mind.” Jungkook said, looking at you. Your face fell and you could feel the blood begin to rush to your cheeks. “But right now I’m honestly just glad to see you.”

 

You could feel yourself freeze, afraid to look back up to see the expression that would be on Jungkook’s face. It only took a few seconds for him to realize that you weren’t going to say anything, so he spoke again.

 

“I know that there’s something you’re not telling me. I’ve known it since the first day that I was conscious enough to register you in my mind,” Jungkook spoke slowly. You looked up at him, seeing an earnest expression, but still seeing the caution as he thought about the words he was saying. “But I really think that you should give us a try. You have to admit that we are actually really good together. Our daily lunches before I was discharged from the hospital are proof of that.”

 

You continued to look at him, the surprise in your face evident.

 

“You’re not very good at hiding your emotions, Y/N. Even when you were laughing, I always sensed that there was a sadness about you,” Jungkook explained. “And I mean, we’re in war. You mentioned you had friends enlisted. It’s more rare to find someone without some emotional baggage.”

You couldn’t take your eyes off of his face, it was as if you were trapped in his gaze, when you finally spoke. “You don’t seem to have any.”

“I do too, but it’s not written on my sleeve as it is with you.” He answered. “I like you Y/N and I know you like me too. You wouldn’t have spent all that time with me if you didn’t. I don’t know what it is that’s making you say no but I know that you’ll tell me in your own time. All I’m asking is for you to just please just give us – this – a chance,” Jungkook said, rambling as he looked at you, a fierce determination in his eyes. “I know you won’t regret it.“

 

You couldn’t stop looking at him, barely registering what he was saying as he spoke to you. You could hardly believe that this was the same boy that would spout those cheesy pickup lines on a daily basis just to get you to smile. You knew that his rant was him placing his pride aside in order to stage an attempt to get to you. You admired the way that Jungkook went after what he wanted, in every single way. He was mid-rant when you answered in a soft voice.

 

“Okay.”

 

At first you thought that he didn’t hear you, as he continued to speak with the same fiery passion that his voice had taken on.  “-and I really think that you would be able to have- wait…what?” His face immediately changed from one of determination to one of confusion and a bit of wishful thinking.

 

You let out a small laugh, finding his expression adorable. “I said yes.”

Jungkook’s face changed once again, this time a large smile dominating it. “Really?”

“You were right. About everything. So yes,” you said, a shy smile on your own face.

His face still had the large smile as he spoke again, “So then when are you free? Please say tomorrow because it’s my last free day and I don’t know when they’ll give us another.”

You laughed again. “Tomorrow happens to be my free day too.”

“Great! Be ready in the morning then! 11 o’clock, I’ll wait for you in front of the hospital!”

You nodded, “Okay.”

 

He smiled at you in response and left and your eyes instinctively followed him as he turned the corner, only finding yourself making eye contact with the rest of the nurses who had been watching since who-knows-when with giddy excitement.

 

They immediately rushed over to you the second that they were sure that Jungkook was out of hearing range, immediately demanding details as to how the relationship between the two of you developed.

 

“This was why you always ate lunch later than everyone else wasn’t it?” One of them asked.

“This whole time I could have sworn that it would be Johnny to ask you out.” Another remarked. “He’s got such a big crush on you.”

 

You laughed as you tried to deflect every question that they threw at you, but it wasn’t until the supervising doctor came by that everyone finally let up and got back to work. It was only Rachel that looked at you with a smirk that caused the red on your cheeks to deepen further.

 

The next morning, you woke up unreasonably early. Your heart was pounding loudly inside your chest as you realized that it would be the first time you had gone on a date, ever, with anyone and the fact that this date just happened to be with Jungkook of all people. You didn’t have much clothes with you and barely anything that could be passable for being worthy to use on a date which resulted in you asking Rachel to help you put together an outfit, borrowing a halter, floral-print sundress that she had brought with her and some blue sandals that complemented the detailing of the flowers.

 

You stared at the dress hung on your door and slowly got up to begin to fix your hair, undecided as to the style that you wanted. It was either that or do your makeup, which you were even less decided about. Your bag of cosmetics that you had brought from home had barely been touched and had begun to gather dust in your drawer and you wondered whether you could even pull off whatever look you decided to go for.

 

There was scarcely a sound outside, and the sun was shining through the window into your room. You decided that first you would go get yourself breakfast, before returning back to the stress of preparing for your first date ever.

 

You knew that Jungkook had already seen you with barely any makeup and you were surprised that he still decided that he liked you regardless, but now that it was an actual date, there was a sudden pressure of looking pretty for the date. Jungkook knew you well, too well it seemed, but something about spending time with him in this manner, with this label, caused your nerves to act up.

 

Once you were back in your room, you started to apply your makeup. Opting to go for a simpler look because of the sundress, you hoped that this look would be fine for whatever it was that Jungkook was planning. After dinner the day before, he had dropped by once again to visit you, only to let you know that he had a plan ready for the two of you and refused to reveal anything else. The anxiety of not knowing what to expect was killing you, and it made you wonder how many dates Jungkook had previously been on. You imagined he was like Taehyung, having a few serious girlfriends but being loved by the whole school. The fact that he was in every sport and managed to still find time to dance and sing made you believe that he must have been insanely popular.

 

Somehow you finished getting ready, though not really paying attention as you wondered about Jungkook’s life pre-war. You were still lost in your thoughts when you looked at the clock only to see that the clock had struck 11 ten minutes ago. You jumped up, knocking over a bottle of water that you had on your desk and ran around your room as you searched for your bag. Finding it hanging on the doorknob, you ruffled your hair once more and straightened out the dress before running out of your room.

 

Jungkook was leaning against the passenger side of a black car, one that was not an army vehicle, but instead a convertible, making you surprised. He was looking down at something and was dressed in a white button up shirt that fit him just right, some black jeans, and brown boots and he looked… absolutely incredible. You stopped at the top of the steps that were in front of the entrance to the hospital, laughing in disbelief as you wondered how he managed to get his hands on the car and also to pause and really admire how beautiful Jungkook truly was. He looked up at that moment, and a wide smile came across his face, silently willing you to come down the steps.

 

When you finally stood in front of him, he pulled the passenger door open for you only saying with a small laugh and a sigh, “I thought you were going to stand me up.”

You got inside the car, watching as he half-ran around the front to get to the driver’s side. It was when he had turned the car on and begun to drive that you answered, “Sorry. I got kind of distracted and didn’t notice the time.” You explained, then slightly raised your voice. “But more importantly, how did you get this car?”

It was Jungkook’s turn to laugh as if he had been expecting you to ask that question. “Jin befriended someone in town, managed to convince them to let me borrow the car. The guy just has a way with words, or maybe the friend just really likes corny jokes.”

“Sounds like Jin alright,” You smiled. “So then, what’s the plan?”

He turned to you, smiling mischievously as he answered, “You really think I’m going to tell you? Just wait and see.”

 

There was a brief lull in the conversation before Jungkook spoke again. “You look really pretty by the way.”

You could see his cheeks begin to take on the slightest tint of red, though you could feel your own cheeks begin to burn up. “Thanks. So do you.”

 

There was another lull, but one that wasn’t uncomfortable in the slightest. Spending time with Jungkook just felt so…right to you, and you hoped that he felt the same. The two of you matched so well together and the friendship that you two had built earlier truly made it all come together. There was also something different about the way that Jungkook was handling himself. His usual confidence seemed less prominent, and he seemed more unsure of himself. Though you had to admit that you would never have been able to tell this if not for the long lunches that the two of you used to have. Though it had been a while since one of those lunches occurred, you knew Jungkook’s usual demeanor better than you knew your own.

 

You could see the nearby city in the distance slowly getting closer. It had not been damaged by the war and every building still stood, majestic and tall with all of its rustic architecture. Your eyes immediately widened as the car went in, the streets changing from mostly dirt to pavement, and the density of people steadily increasing.

 

“Have you been here before?” Jungkook asked, noticing your reaction to suddenly being in the city after spending so long in the countryside.

 

You shook your head, unable to take your eyes off of the scenery outside. You had no idea where Jungkook was taking you to but you didn’t mind if it was just a drive, so that you could finally see a scene that you used to take for granted while you were at home.

 

It was about twenty minutes and a handful of turns made by Jungkook when he finally parked the car along the sidewalk. He turned off the car and quickly ran around, making sure that he opened the door for you before you even had a chance to unbuckle your seatbelt. He extended his hand out to help you get out, and you looked up at him only to see a bit of shyness hidden in his eyes.

 

Once you were out of the car, he closed the door behind you and stood beside you. He walked slowly, letting you admire the scenery of the tall buildings and the mix of colors present. It seemed as if this small city had never been touched by the war, as if it was a small oasis in the middle of the destruction.

 

Jungkook made no attempt to hold your hand, making you feel a bit insecure, slightly doubting what his intentions were but not vocalizing your concerns. You wondered what was going through Jungkook’s mind as he walked silently beside you, his hands in his pockets.

 

“This way,” Jungkook said when the two of you reached a corner. He gave a left and you followed suit, staring at his broad back.

“Will you tell me now where we’re going?” You asked.

He turned to you, still giving you the smallest of smiles. “You’ll see in a minute.”

 

Jungkook was right. Just a minute later, you saw a movie theater appear, its marquee board announcing a movie that you had never heard of.

 

“Taking me to the movies I see,” You said playfully.

Jungkook’s cheeks took on a tinge of red again, and you realized that he was actually pretty shy about this date. Nothing like the confident boy that you had gotten to know over time. “Are you shy?” You asked.

Your question caused an immediate answer from Jungkook, as he loudly exclaimed, “No!” His cheeks only getting redder.

 

It suddenly made sense why he made no moves, and why he had been so quiet since the two of you got out of the car. You couldn’t help but smile as you saw him aggressively deny any shyness. It made you feel relieved as well, to know that you were not the only one who was nervous about the date. You didn’t know what it was. He was just Jungkook, the same person you were tending to just a few weeks ago.

 

You kept pace with him, reaching the ticket counter at the same time as you leaned against it and watched as he ordered your tickets. His polite smile as he spoke to the theater worker left you mesmerized as you watched him. After paying and taking the tickets from the clerk, he turned to you, a soft smile on his face, and said, “Ready?”

 

You nodded, standing upright as he turned to the theater doors. It was a small venue, with only one small screening room and done in a very classic style, with ornate walls and columns painted in gold and red colors. Jungkook handed the theater worker at the door your tickets and then turned to you, reaching for your hand as you saw a light shade of red begin to form on his cheeks. He led you to the concession stand, standing beside you but never letting go of your hand, even as he ordered the popcorn and drinks for the two of you. Your heart was beating fast as you looked down at your intertwined fingers. His hand was a bit rough due to all the trainings in the military and his long fingers completely encompassed your own hand, but the way they molded together just felt correct. Everything with Jungkook felt fitting.

 

You held the big bucket of popcorn while Jungkook carried a cup holder with both of your drinks, not letting go of your hand once as he led you to some seats towards the back. There were a few more couples spread about the theater, but a large distance between everyone. It was only to turn around that Jungkook finally let go of your hand.

 

“Have you heard of this movie?” Jungkook asked when the two of you had settled into your seats, clasping your hand once more and placing them on the armrest between the two of you.

You turned to him, shaking your head. “I haven’t been keeping up with pop culture lately.”

“I haven’t either,” Jungkook admitted. “Jin recommended it. I don’t know how he does it to have so much free time on his hands.”

 

The room suddenly darkened, the only thing illuminated was the screen at the front of the room. The two of you stared at each other in the darkness of the theater for a few more seconds afterwards, until you finally turned your head to the screen when the movie began. As the movie played, it was the last thing on your mind as you were unable to take the focus off of Jungkook beside you. Somewhere throughout the movie, he had begun to draw circles on the inside of your hand and you became hyperaware of everything that he was doing beside you, electricity running throughout your entire body. The popcorn that he had purchased stayed forgotten on your lap, and you began to watch Jungkook out of your periphery. He didn’t show any sort of reaction on his face, his eyes remained focused on the film in front, but his hands continued to draw circles on your palm. You would never have even noticed when the film was over if not for everyone around you beginning to stand up and talk loudly as they walked out of the theater.

 

You followed Jungkook out of the room, throwing the half-eaten forgotten popcorn into a trashcan by the exit. He led you out of the theater by hand, walking slowly down the street in front of the building.

 

“Now it’s time for part two,” Jungkook said, turning to you and smiling.

“I’m assuming you’re not going to tell me again?” You asked, inching closer to him as the two of you walked.

He laughed, “We’re just picking up something first. Part two is outside of the city.”

Knowing there wasn’t much more that he would tell you, you decided to change the subject to a question that had been burning in your mind. “Hey, Jungkook?”

He responded with a, “Mmm?” And you continued, “Why did you push so hard for this date?”

Jungkook turned to you, his large doe eyes almost hypnotizing you and the cute, bunny smile appearing, “Because I like you Y/N.”

 

You were surprised at his nonchalant confession, wondering how he could shift from being too afraid to hold your hand to suddenly confessing how he felt about you. His mercurial personality was only piquing your interest more.

 

Jungkook stopped at a small deli tucked between a bookstore and a grocery store. He pulled you inside, finally releasing your hand to motion for you to take a seat at the counter facing the window. You leaned your back against it, watching Jungkook approach the cashier and pull out his wallet once more. The cashier went to a counter, grabbing two ready-made sandwiches and placing them in a bag. Jungkook paid and then turned back around, tilting his head slightly when he saw you. It was one of your favorite habits of his, whenever he would tilt his head, and watching him do that as he looked at you only made you smile.

 

You got off the stool, and waited for him by the exit. He pushed the door with the hand holding the sandwiches and took ahold of yours once more, his fingers lacing through yours. The two of you walked slowly, knowing that you were headed back to the car. He seemed a lot more relaxed now than he had been when he first picked you up. It was beginning to feel more like one of your lunches that you used to have, except now it was occurring outside of the hospital and the two of you were dressed a lot nicer…and Jungkook was holding your hand.

 

When you two reached the car, Jungkook began to drive once more in the opposite direction of the hospital as he took you further away. He turned onto a dirt path about five minutes from the outskirts of the city, driving calmly and singing softly to a song you recognized on the radio. You were grateful, to finally be able to hear the singing voice you had heard about as it sent chills down your spine.

 

“You have a really nice voice,” You pointed out, turning to Jungkook as he stared at the road.

“Do I?” Jungkook asked.

“Yeah. It’s really soothing, comforting too,” You said.

“I’ve always liked music, singing and dancing. It’s a nice release from the world, though I haven’t done it much since coming over here if I’m being honest.” Jungkook sighed, glancing at you briefly as he drove into a wooded area. “I just sing songs that I like. I’m not that great at composing or producing yet, though I would have liked to learn.”

“Two of my friends from home like composing and producing. You would probably have liked to meet them,” you answered, thinking of Yoongi and Namjoon.

“Maybe when this whole thing is over I will be able to,” Jungkook said with a smirk.

 

He only drove for a few more minutes before stopping in a shady area. He opened the his door and got out of the car, running around the front to open the door for you. You took hold of the sandwiches he had left in between the two of you and took his hand as he helped you step out.

 

“Wait a minute,” He instructed after he closed the car door behind you. He walked over to the trunk and opened it, though you were unsure of what he could be looking for. Once he closed it, you saw that he now had two blankets draped over his arm. He walked up to you, taking your hand as he began to lead you off the dirt road and over a trunk.

 

“Where are you taking me? You’re not planning to murder me are you?” You asked as you looked around at all the greenery sitting in the middle of nowhere.

He laughed, “No. Just trust me.”

 

The two of you walked for twenty minutes, with Jungkook being a complete gentleman and helping you over rocks and tree trunks bigger than you could step over. After what seemed like forever, the trees opened up, revealing a large, green meadow.

 

“Well? Doesn’t this seem better than a murder?” Jungkook joked, causing you to lightly hit him on the arm.

 

He led you to a spot in the middle, laying out one of the blankets on the floor and motioning for you to take a seat. You placed the sandwiches on the blanket and took a seat with Jungkook sitting in front of you. He quickly handed one of the sandwiches to you and then took his.

 

“How did you find this place?” You asked, your eyes scanning the clearing before taking a bite from your food.

“It was while we were on a drill. We were just patrolling the forest during a practice run, and we got ambushed by other soldiers pretending to be the enemy. My squad split up and I ran here. I kept on running for a while and found this meadow,” Jungkook explained. “Fell asleep around here and woke up two hours later with the general yelling at me and making me to clean the toilets and showers for three weeks.”

You laughed, “Really?”

“Yeah! When I was thinking about what we should do today, I just kept thinking about how much I wanted you to see this place,” He said. “It’s nice right?”

You nodded in agreement, his bunny smile filling you up with warmth.

 

The two of you finished your sandwiches fast and then laid down on the blanket beside each other. Jungkook propped himself up on an elbow to look down at you and reached over to take your hand and begin drawing circles on your palm once more. You were turned to him, his fingers’ light touch sending jolts of electricity throughout your body.

 

“Your hands are soft. I really like them,” Jungkook said, staring at his fingers as they continued to move around your palm.

“I noticed,” You answered him in a quiet voice, remembering the way he did the same thing at the movie theater.

 

Your heart was beating fast and you were barely able to speak. You continued to look at Jungkook’s beautiful face, his large doe eyes flicking up to look at you when you unconsciously placed your hand on the side of his face. Jungkook’s eyes flickered to yours, his face had a serious expression as he looked at you. He stopped tracing your hand, taking hold of your wrist firmly.

 

It was then that he leaned over and you suddenly felt his lips on yours. It was almost magical, the way his soft lips felt and at first you were too shocked to move. When you finally got used to the sensation of his lips, yours began to move slowly along with his, his tongue begging for you to open your own mouth. You let Jungkook lead, mimicking every one of his moves back to him as fire spread throughout your entire being. It was like a jolt of electricity running throughout your whole body – like if the only two things that existed were the two of you, and the only thing that mattered was his lips on yours. Jungkook slowly deepened the kiss, one of his hands softly cupping the side of your face.

 

He suddenly pulled away, panting as he looked down at you. “I’ve been wanting to do that for a long time.”

 

You stayed silent, still not able to believe that this was really happening. This time it was you to reach around his neck and pull him back down to you. You could hardly believe your bold action, knowing that you had only been kissed one more time before, the day that Taehyung enlisted.

 

Taehyung.

 

You quickly pulled away, sitting up as Jungkook looked at you with surprise. You heavy breaths began to slow down as you thought of your first kiss, your only kiss before today. Jungkook sat up a few seconds after you, looking at you with concern as he wrapped an arm around you.

 

“Did we go too fast?” Jungkook asked, leaning over to get a better look at your face, his arm comforting you as you tried to catch your breath.

You shook your head, turning to him and feeling your stomach drop as you stared back at his face, now etched with worry. “Sorry, I’m sorry. It was fine, you were fine. It was…more than fine.” You answered with a sigh.

“Then what’s wrong?” Jungkook asked softly.

You moved, letting Jungkook’s arm fall. You knew it was unfair to Jungkook to keep him in the dark about Taehyung, even Jimin had told you so. If you wanted something, anything, to happen between the two of you, he needed to know.

 

You took in a deep breath, and turned to look at him. “Do you remember the first day I treated you? Not the day you were brought in, but after.”

He nodded. “You were crying.”

“I was looking at you...and at that moment, you reminded me so much of my…friend Taehyung,” You explained.

Jungkook’s eyes flickered in recognition. You had mentioned him previously in passing, when telling him stories about when you were younger. “I remember that name.”

“He died, almost two years ago in the war…At least that’s what we think. The official reason is missing in action,” You explained, watching slowly as Jungkook’s eyes went wide. “We grew up together, I was seven when I met him.”

He nodded, fixing his posture. He was ready to listen to whatever it is you were going to say. “So he was really important to you.”

Before you could even control yourself, the words began to tumble out. “He was more than important. I’ve loved him all my life, if I’m being totally honest with you.” You paused, Jungkook’s eyes going wider as he bit down on his lip. “When I treated you that first day, all I could think about was whether the two of you had any similarities. Whether there was a girl back home waiting for you to return or whether he had suffered the day it happened like I’m sure you were suffering when you were brought in.”

Jungkook’s mouth went into an ‘O’ shape as all the puzzle pieces began to fall into place in his mind. You could almost see the gears working in his brain as you continued to talk.

“When you first asked me out, I felt like I was betraying Taehyung and his memory. I had promised myself to love him for the rest of my life and I freaked out at the thought that I may have feelings for you,” You whispered.

“That’s explains your reaction that day,” Jungkook said in what you hoped was an understanding tone.

“I was scared of what I felt for you, what I feel for you. I was afraid that the second I let myself fall for you, Taehyung would disappear from my mind,” you said. Jungkook nodded, waiting for you to continue. “But the truth is…I probably fell for you a long time ago.”

 

You saw Jungkook freeze in front of you and you could see him contemplating what you just told him and you sat beside him in silence as he took in your sudden confession.

 

It felt like an eternity, waiting in the silence of the meadow for Jungkook to speak again. “How do you feel now?”

You turned to look at him, concern still evident on his face. You nod, “I’m okay.”

Jungkook reaches out to take both of your hands into his hold. “Y/N…I really like you, and if you need this – whatever this is – to go slow, we can do that. We’ll go at your pace.”

 

You stared at Jungkook in shock, completely surprised that he was being so understanding. He really was too good to be true.

 

“I’ve never loved someone my whole life, not how you loved your friend or for as long as you loved him,” Jungkook spoke. “But, I really like you. I won’t push you for anything, but please, this is all I’m asking for…don’t push me away.”

You looked at him, letting the words sink into your mind. “Do you really mean that?”

“Y/N, of course I do. You’re one of the most incredible girls I have ever met, and I met you in the military. I can count the amount of girls I know here on one hand.”

“Does that mean you wouldn’t have paid attention to me if there were more girls here?” You asked jokingly, attempting to lighten the mood.

“It means that makes me like you a lot more, knowing that you took a plunge – that I’m assuming was done on impulse – most girls won’t take,” he said. “And that makes you even more incredible to me.”

 

He lifted up one of your hands, bringing it to his lips and placed a feather-light kiss on it.

 

“Also, I don’t have a girl waiting for me back at home. At least…not that I know of,” Jungkook said, laughing slightly. “Except for my mom, if she counts.” He added, eliciting a laugh from you.

 

The two of you stayed in the meadow for a while longer, with you resting your head on Jungkook’s chest listening to the beat of his heart and his smooth, velvety voice as he sang softly a song you had never heard. You felt at peace in the meadow, as if nothing could get you down, not even the raging war that was occurring just miles away from where you two lay.

Chapter Text

After that first date, Jungkook stayed true to his word, never pushing you for anything. His quick understanding of your feelings for Taehyung left you bewildered, yet at the same time only increased how you felt about him. It was almost like Jungkook was too good to be true. He was everything that you had dreamed of.

 

Jungkook got into the habit of visiting you at the hospital when his duties were done for the day, talking to you at the nurses station when you were there or having dinner with you at the hospital cafeteria. His charm even managed to work on some of the supervising doctors and some of the nurses, making him a popular person around the hospital. He also really liked to watch you work, begrudgingly admitting to you on your second date that your nurse uniform was one of his favorite things on you. Despite both of your busy schedules, somehow you two found time to go on dates – taking full advantage of the ones than landed on days off.  They were always simple, but comfortable and they usually ended with you two spending the evening in the meadow. It had become a special place for the two of you, where the two of you could just focus on each other and nothing else.

 

You could scarcely believe that he was real. He never pushed you for anything, and teased you lightly for habits that he found adorable. He told you stories about his life back at home, realizing that he lived on the opposite coast from you. His stories almost always included Jin in some way or another, giving you the impression that Jin was one of the biggest influencers for why Jungkook enlisted of his own volition.

 

On your fourth date, after enough pestering from you, he reluctantly told you about his past girlfriends. The two of you were sitting on the bench in the courtyard that had become so familiar to the two of you. After going on so many dates with Jungkook, you realized how natural the whole routine was to him. The initial timid persona he had displayed that first date had quickly gone away by the second date, and Jungkook began to carry himself with such an aura of confidence that you couldn’t really believe he had blushed the first time he took you out, even though you had witnessed it firsthand. It only made you wonder even more about him, including wondering about his past relationships.

 

Before you even realized what you were asking, the words slipped out on their own. “How many girlfriends have you had?”

 

Jungkook turned to look at you in surprise, his eyes similar to a deer caught in headlights. You had always assumed that he had dated at least one other girl before coming to fight. The way he carried himself on the rest of your dates seemed evident of that fact, but you just really wanted to find out everything that you could about the beautiful boy sitting beside you.

 

“Why do you want to know?” Jungkook asked, wary as he looked back at you.

“I’m just curious,” you answered, and you really were just curious, at least, that’s what you kept telling yourself.

Jungkook hesitated, looking away from you for a few seconds before answering. “Don’t you think we should leave the past in, you know, the past?”

 

You couldn’t help but laugh as you watched Jungkook begin to fidget. He wasn’t succeeding in hiding how uncomfortable he was. It was if he had been put on to stand on trial and you were the prosecutor on the verge of securing his conviction regardless of how he answered.

 

“I told you about Taehyung because you wanted to know, remember?” You teased. “And I just want to know more about you. How you became…you.”

Jungkook still looked hesitant. “But that was different!” He protested. “Taehyung was a vital part of your life and somewhat the reason why you refused to go out with me. I had to know about him.”

 

His visible uncomfortableness with the situation amused you, and you couldn’t help but laugh as he continued to think of reasons to avoid answering your question. “What? Did you not date anyone at home?”

 

Jungkook gasped, seemingly about to give a fervent denial of your question when he closed his mouth again, thinking of how to formulate his answer. “I did date a few girls,” was all he said when he did answer.

 

You gave him a pointed look, urging him to continue talking, and still amused at his behavior. Jungkook sat up straighter, turning to you and taking hold of your hand.

 

“You might regret hearing this,” Jungkook warned, looking at you hesitantly. “Like, a lot.”

 

You felt a slight tinge of apprehensiveness, suddenly worried about what he might say, though eventually your curiosity beat out the reasonable side of your brain. “It’s fine. I just want to know more about you.”

 

Jungkook sighed, and with some reluctance, spoke again. “I’ve had six girlfriends, my first one was when I was fourteen.”

Your eyes went wide and your mouth dropped in shock. “Six?”

Jungkook nodded slowly. “I was kind of popular back at home. It helped that Jin was my friend too, even though he was older. Some of my ex-girlfriends, well most of them, are actually older than me too.”

 

You stayed silent, processing the information through your mind. Meanwhile, Jungkook kept talking, only dropping more and more bombshells on you. “My first girlfriend, we were young and it was dumb. We were only together about two months.” Jungkook let out a soft laugh. “It was with my second girlfriend that things got more serious. My first time was with her.”

 

Before you even realized it, you were asking a question that you weren’t even sure you wanted answered. “Wait you’re not a virgin? Did you do it with all of your girlfriends?”

 

Jungkook turned to you, with a look of surprise and slight offense on his face. “Did you really think I was a virgin?”

 

“Well…” You began, unsure of what your answer could be. Though you had never really thought about it, you knew in your mind that there was no possible way that Jungkook could be a virgin. It was just the way he carried himself and the way he acted that made you believe that he had definitely had more experience in the dating department than you had. After all, he didn’t spend the majority of his life pining after one of his best friends like you had done. After a long pause, you answered him. “No, I didn’t expect you to be. Sorry.”

 

Jungkook laughed again. “I get it, don’t worry. You don’t really think about these things until you’re actually talking about them huh?” You nodded your head in agreement. “If it helps, I was never one of those guys that messed around with girls and then moved on to the next one every week. I’ve only slept with five girls and each one of them was my girlfriend at one point or another.”

 

“Oh,” was all that you could muster out. You knew what kinds of guys Jungkook was talking about. You were even friends with them. You knew that when Yoongi would abruptly kick you all out of his house it was because he had a girl coming over. Hoseok and Namjoon would sometimes hook up with girls at parties as well, though not as often as Yoongi. It seemed like only Jimin and Taehyung didn’t hook up with girls, though Taehyung had almost become a serial monogamist in front of your group, much like how you imagined that Jungkook was before you met him. You knew what those guys were like, and although thankful that they had never tried anything on you, those kinds of guys were never your favorite. The only reason why you tolerated your friends’ antics was because they were your friends and though they pulled the same moves as every other guy out there, your friends never disrespected a girl or forced her to do anything. They were just a loud, rowdy group of overprotective brothers that were ready to pounce on anyone or anything that came near you, though they essentially did those very things that they protected you from to other girls.

 

“What about you? I told you my dirty laundry. I think it’s time I heard yours,” Jungkook said, nudging your arm slightly.

“There’s not much to tell, if I’m being completely honest.” You answered softly, placing your head on Jungkook’s shoulder and trying to rid your mind of thoughts of Jungkook with someone else. He was with you now, you kept repeating to yourself.

“What about Taehyung? You said you loved him your entire life but you never dated him?” Jungkook asked.

“No.” You answered, closing your eyes and taking in a deep breath. “You’re the only person I’ve dated. Our first date was my first date…ever.”

You could hear Jungkook’s quiet gasp, and you lifted your head to see his large eyes open wide as he looked at you in complete surprise. “Well, now I feel like a dick for telling you about my past relationships.”

You laughed, taking one of his hands and holding it in both of yours. “Don’t feel bad. I was the one who asked you remember?”

Jungkook turned to you, “But how? You’re so pretty, there had to be guys lined around the block to date you.”

Smiling, you answered, “Yeah, but when you’ve got a group of 5 loud boys around you all the time, dating prospects are limited. And I was never really interested in anyone but Taehyung.”

“Oh,” Jungkook said in response, a contemplative expression on his face.

 

It wasn’t until later that night that you really began to think about Jungkook’s experiences. You had simply been curious, but after finding out that Jungkook had dated not one or two girls, but six, your insecurities began to drive you wild. You began to doubt yourself, and the next time that Jungkook came to visit you for lunch, he could immediately tell that you had still been thinking about what he told you.  Jungkook’s ‘I told you so’ moment became etched permanently afterwards in his mind, ready for him to bring up whenever he wanted to tease you. The only good thing was that he balanced his teasing with assurances that he really liked you, and he wanted to continue to see you as much as he possibly could.

 

It was your fifth date when you realized just how much you loved Jungkook. The two of you were on a bench outside of the hospital, with Jungkook resting his head on your lap. You were reluctant to go back inside the hospital and Jungkook was reluctant to let go of your hand that he was holding in a firm grasp. He had been wearing another white button down, one that was slightly see-through in the sunlight, and you were wearing another dress borrowed by Rachel, her closet becoming one with a revolving door for you almost. The sun was beginning to set, casting a warm, orange glow on Jungkook’s face as he stared out straight ahead.

 

It was Jungkook that spoke first. “Y/N, be my girlfriend.”

 

He did it in his normal fashion, his requests always sounding more like demands rather than answers. It was something that you found charming but equally annoying. It was his confidence that allowed him to speak like he was sure of what the answer would be.

 

He sat up and turned to you, looking you deep in your eyes and brought his hand to his lips, planting a light kiss. “Be my girlfriend. Let me call you my girlfriend instead of just the girl I really like.” He said, whispering against your fingers and sending shivers down your spine.

You sucked in a deep breath, his dark brown eyes keeping you locked in his gaze.

“You’re the greatest girl I’ve ever met and I want everyone to know how much I like you,” he explained, his eyes never leaving yours.

It was as if your heart had stopped beating and your mind had stopped working, because the next words out of your mouth almost seemed to have slipped out on their own. “I love you.”

 

Jungkook still had your hand pressed to his lips, his eyes were still locked on yours and you could swear that you could hear a pin drop, even though the two of you were outside and there was a group of soldiers goofing off 5 yards away. You couldn’t believe that those words had escaped your lips, but the second that they were out in the open you realized just how true they really were. You loved Jungkook. You loved the confident persona that he always put on display, as well as the relaxed personality that would only come out when the two of you were alone. You loved his competitiveness and even the teasing that he subjected you to. You loved the cute bunny smile that would appear on his face whenever he was happy and the large, doe eyes that had an almost hypnotizing quality to them. You even loved the small mole underneath his lips and the one on his nose, that seemed as if it was there to remind you that this perfect boy who although was good at everything he attempted, was still human. And of all of these qualities, they just made you realize how much you loved him.

 

Jungkook stayed frozen in place for a couple seconds, then finally responded. “Say it again.”

You could feel the blood rush to your cheeks, immediately becoming overwhelmed with shyness over your own words. You pushed yourself, even as your cheeks became red hot. “I- I love you.”

 

Then his hand was behind your head, crushing your lips to his in a frenzy. It almost hurt at first, but you were quickly overwhelmed with the feeling of Jungkook’s lips on your own. He wrapped one of his hands around your waist, keeping the other one behind your head as he continued to kiss you feverishly.

 

“I love you.” He said in between each feverish kiss that he placed on your lips.

 

You placed your hands on his chest, causing him to stop kissing you, placing his forehead against yours as he tried to catch his breath.

 

He laughed softly. “I’ve wanted to say that to you since the first date. I was afraid to scare you off so I stayed quiet.”

You smiled at him, only able to tell him one thing and bursting of happiness as you finally got to say it. “I love you.”

 

Jungkook kissed you once again, this time a slower, more passionate kiss that seemed to light your entire body on fire. His hand moved from the back of your head to your cheek, cupping your face while his other hand stayed firmly around your waist pulling you as close to him as physically possible. You responded by wrapping your arms around his neck as he continued to deepen the kiss.

 

After a few seconds Jungkook’s lips moved from mouth and began to kiss your cheek, your jawline, slowly working their way down to your neck. The first kiss that Jungkook lightly planted on your neck sent jolts of electricity through you, eliciting a slight moan that escaped your lips, that only caused Jungkook to plant more kisses in the same spot. You could feel his lips suck on the spot, yet you made no move to try to stop him from leaving a mark.

 

When Jungkook pulled away, he placed his forehead on yours again, his eyes now darker, hungrier almost. “We can stop right now if you want.” Jungkook whispered. “If we keep going, I’m afraid I’ll want more than you’re ready for.”

 

You felt a heat pool in your stomach and in that moment, you knew that no one would ever make you feel as safe as Jungkook did, and you wanted him in every possible way that someone could want anyone. You didn’t respond, instead you pulled him in for another quick kiss.

 

You slowly moved your hands from around his neck, causing Jungkook to let go of the iron-like grip you didn’t notice he had on you. Then you stood up and asked, “Your curfew isn’t for another few hours right?”

His eyes immediately went wide, as if trying to process what your question implied. He nodded quickly, looking at the hand that you had stretched out before him. Taking hold of your hand and standing up, he allowed you to lead him back into the hospital.

 

Your heart was beating at a million beats a minute as you walked down the hallway. You were nervous as hell, but letting your body move of its own accord. The only sound in the hall was the clicking of your shoes as everyone else was still at dinner. You weren’t sure where this sudden boldness was coming from, but you continued to lead Jungkook by the hand to your room as he followed behind in silence. You were too nervous to look back, though you were dying at curiosity to know what he was thinking. When you reached your room, you unlocked it slowly and pushed the door open. You motioned for Jungkook to walk in, and he looked at you once before finally taking a step inside.

 

It was strange to see Jungkook standing in your room. He was looking around the small space, his eyes landing on a picture frame of you with all of your friends during high school that sat on your small bookcase. You took a seat on the bed, letting Jungkook examine the picture frame before turning to you and pointing at it with one of his fingers.

 

“It’s my friends,” you explained from where you sat. “Yoongi and Hoseok are in black, Namjoon has the pink hair and Jimin has the orange hair. Tae is the one with his arm around me. I think we took that during a beach trip.”

 

Jungkook nodded, turning back to put the photo on the bookcase again. He stayed standing in front of it a few moments longer as if trying to burn the faces of each of your friends to his permanent memory. You moved, almost out of your own will, to wrap your arms around Jungkook’s waist from behind, catching him off guard. He placed his hands on your forearms, allowing you to press your body up against him. He was too tall for you to look over his shoulder, so you looked around his arm and up at his face.

 

“What are you doing?” You asked.

He looked down at you, hesitation clear in his voice. “I’m worried that you’re pushing yourself…for me, which is the last thing I want you to do. What am I doing here Y/N?”

You looked up at him, seeing his concern for you and anxiety present in his face. “I brought you here of my own free will.” You moved your arms from around his waist to turn him around so that you were now facing him directly. “I love you.” You repeated. “And I want you in every single way I can have you.”

 

Those words seemed to set off a switch in him, because suddenly he was kissing you once again in a passionate, hungry kiss. His arms wrapped around your waist and you gripped the front of his shirt and began to walk backwards, leading him to your bed. Jungkook followed you willingly until your legs hit the edge.

 

Without breaking the kiss, Jungkook picked you up slightly and laid you down on the mattress before climbing on top of you, propping himself up on one of his elbows to keep his full body weight off of you. His lips detached from your own and began to trail back down to your neck as they had outside, leaving traces of his kisses lingering down your neck. You gasped when he nipped at another sensitive spot, feeling something new begin to build up in your lower body.

 

Jungkook moved one of his arms and began to caress your side. His hand traveling slowly down to the edge of your dress. Your heart was beating furiously and you were nervous, but you wanted to continue. You gasped again when Jungkook’s hand began to push up the skirt of your dress from underneath, feeling his fingers high up on your thigh and making the heat in your lower region more intense. He continued to kiss your neck, eliciting more gasps and moans from you.

 

Your heart was still beating erratically when Jungkook suddenly pulled you up slightly, using both hands to remove your dress as he pulled it over your arms and tossing it on the floor. You suddenly felt very vulnerable in front of him, as he stopped to admire your body in just your bra and underwear. You began to move your hands to cover yourself when Jungkook softly took them in his own hands.

 

“Don’t cover yourself,” Jungkook said. “You’re beautiful.”

 

He softly pushed you back down to the mattress and began moving closer to kiss your lips once again when he stopped.

 

“We can stop at any time. Don’t push yourself if you feel uncomfortable,” Jungkook whispered against your lips.

 

You simply nodded, wanting more than anything else for Jungkook to press his lips to yours once again. Jungkook hesitated once more, before finally pressing another deep kiss and running his hand up your side. You could feel his hand suddenly underneath you as he fumbled to take off the clasp from your bra, and you raised yourself up slightly against his lips as he unhooked it. Somehow managing not to break your kiss, you looped your arms out of your bra and felt Jungkook quickly throw it off the bed.

 

When Jungkook pulled away, you could see small beads of sweat beginning to form around his forehead and his hair beginning to stick to his face. He was straddling you and you sat up, now in your less-clothed form and reached up with shaky hands to begin unbuttoning his white shirt. Sensing your movement, he helped you with the last two buttons and let you push the shirt off of his shoulders, revealing the toned body underneath. You ran your fingers down the middle of his chest, admiring the crevices from his muscles and felt your cheeks begin to redden. His scars were visible in the light that was shining from the window into your room, reminding you of what Jungkook had been through.

 

Jungkook suddenly pushed you back down, giving you a quick peck on your lips before his lips began to travel down your neck once more. You felt his kisses on your collarbone and next on your chest, when suddenly his mouth was on one of your breasts, causing you to gasp at the new sensation. No one had ever touched you like this, and your nerves were still at an all-time high. One of his hands appeared on your other breast, as he softly caressed it while his lips lightly sucked at the other.

 

You let out a small moan at the feeling of his mouth as he continued to suck on your breast, only resulting in a more frenzied reaction from Jungkook as he switched to your other breast. Your lower region began to feel more moist and you found yourself wanting more and more stimulation. It was a completely new sensation for you, as Jungkook continued to explore your body, a sensation that only seemed to be making you crave Jungkook’s touch even more.

 

Jungkook suddenly pulled away, looking up at you from where he lay and whispered again, “I love you.”

Your nervousness receded for a few seconds, as you looked into his eyes and said, “I love you too.”

 

He propped himself back up on his elbow, his finger tracing down your stomach, echoing your previous actions. His hand stopped right before the waistband of your underwear, and he looked up at you once more, as if still expecting you to take him up on his offer of stopping anytime that you wanted. Your heart was beating ridiculously fast as you saw him look at you, his eyes darker, full of love and lust as he stared at you.

 

You nodded, “I’m okay.”

 

Suddenly, his other hand appeared and his fingers hooked your underwear as he slowly began to pull it down your legs. You lifted your pelvis slightly to allow Jungkook to remove your underwear more easily, Once you felt it come off your feet, you instantly closed your legs, and brought your hands to your face as your cheeks reddened.

 

You felt Jungkook pull your arm away from your face. “Don’t cover yourself,” He whispered softly, leaning over to kiss you on your lips once more.

 

His other hand moved, up your thigh, slowly spreading your legs apart as you fought the urge to cover your face once more. Jungkook sat up on his knees, looking at you spread out before him completely naked.

 

“You’re absolutely beautiful,” He said.

 

He moved one of his hands up your thigh, stopping right before your core which felt incredibly moist to yourself. His finger suddenly touched you, running through your slick folds and getting covered in your own essence.

 

Jungkook brought his finger up into his mouth making you gasp in embarrassment and shock at his lewd action and you felt your cheeks burning.

 

“You taste wonderful too,” Jungkook said with a smile once he removed his fingers from inside his mouth. He began to unbuckle his belt, pulling it out of the loops and tossing it on the ground before he got to work on the button on his jeans. His fumbling as he got off the bed to take off his own clothing signaled to you that he was just as ready as you were. He kicked off the legs of his pants, suddenly revealing the tent that had come out from his jeans. He pulled off his boxers, slowly climbing back onto the bed, causing your heart to begin beating furiously once again as you looked at him entirely nude.

 

His hand moved to your core once again, running through the folds upwards before he rubbed your clit, sending a whole new feeling throughout your whole body and making you moan loudly, completely forgetting about the outside world and whether someone would be able to hear you or not. He leaned down and pressed a kiss to the inside of your thigh and you watched him in fear out of the new sensation. No one had ever touched you how Jungkook was touching you right now, and everything that he did only made your core throb even more.

 

Then you felt Jungkook’s tongue lick a long stripe from your entrance up to your clit, causing you to gasp at how amazing it felt. He kept his finger on your clit and his tongue began to travel all over your region, lapping up the juices eagerly and eliciting multiple moans from you. You felt him remove his finger from your clit, quickly replacing it with his own mouth as he lightly sucked and moved his tongue all over you. His finger began to move around your entrance, lightly teasing it and making you mentally curse Jungkook for not giving you what you had begun to crave.

 

Then suddenly without warning, he shoved a finger inside of you, pumping in and out of you slowly. You gasped as you felt his finger curl inside, your walls constricting around it, adjusting to the new feeling. He pumped his finger in and out of you slowly a few more times before slipping in another finger, causing you to gasp. As Jungkook continued to move his fingers in and out, he continued to suck on your clit and you reached down and took ahold of his hair, relishing in the way that Jungkook was making you feel.  You could feel yourself getting higher with each of Jungkook’s touches, until suddenly you felt yourself release and feeling yourself tighten around his fingers. Your body began to shake and Jungkook quickly pulled them out and moved his mouth to lap up all of your juices as he rubbed your clit to maximize your pleasure.

 

You moaned loudly at Jungkook’s touches, still in disbelief at how good he was making you feel. It was when you finally came down from your orgasm that Jungkook finally lifted his head from between your legs, your juices covering his mouth and chin. He crawled over to you slowly, his hand wiping his mouth before he pressed his lips down on yours. You tasted yourself on his lips, a new taste that you had never experienced but when it was on Jungkook’s lips, there was not much that you wouldn’t eat.

 

“Are you ready?” Jungkook asked quietly, his lips still just millimeters from your own. You knew what he was asking you for nodded your head, giving him permission. “I’ll go slowly. We can stop at any time.”

 

You nodded once more, appreciating the fact that Jungkook was so insistent on making sure that you were ready for what was about to happen. You looked into his deep brown eyes, still full of lust and hunger, but also of love and you lifted your head slightly to plant the softest kiss on his lips.

 

He took your kiss as a sign to continue, and he moved to position himself right at your center. He pumped himself a few times, making himself moan. Then, you felt him right at your entrance, and looked up at Jungkook to see the slight hesitation still present.

 

“It’s okay. I’m okay,” You whispered, and pulled him in for a kiss again.

 

When you pulled away, Jungkook finally moved his hips to enter you. He went slowly, at first just putting in his tip and letting you adjust to the new feeling. You were still coated in yourself, making you lubricated enough to adjust easier. Jungkook moaned as he pushed himself further in slowly, and you could still feel yourself tighten around him. There was a dull pain in your center, but not something that was bothersome Jungkook continued.

 

You felt him buried within you, and he stilled once he was entirely inside, gasping loudly and placing another kiss on your lips. You moaned at the sudden feeling of fullness that you had never felt before. He pulled out faster, suddenly leaving you feeling empty and causing you to gasp.

 

It was then that he pushed himself back in, slowly settling into a rhythm that he felt you were comfortable with that was not too rough. You wrapped your arms around his back, moaning softly as you felt him go deep inside you with every roll of his hips. His lips were sucking on the same light spot on your neck, marking you as his. His deep panting only added to your arousal, ignoring the slight pain that you still felt every time that Jungkook entered you, and you dug your nails into his back, reveling in the way his body felt on top of you.

 

“Oh fuck, I love you,” Jungkook whispered, his rhythm breaking slightly as he muttered those words against your neck. He moved away from your neck, peering down into your eyes lovingly, and began to move faster. You looked back at him, mesmerized by the way he looked down at you, and tried to keep the stinging you felt out of your mind. You loved Jungkook, and being able to be in such an intimate position with him made everything worth it.

 

You felt Jungkook’s rhythm change sharply, and both of you gasped, looking upwards as he broke the pattern he had set for himself. You stared up at him, admiring his neck and the veins that were visible while your heart was continued to beat fast.

 

“I’m getting close,” Jungkook whispered, gasping one more time as his shoulders began to tremble.

 

He was rolling his hips more erratically, groaning at the way your walls clenched around him. You felt his hips continue to roll on top of yours, and you shifted slightly to allow him more access to yourself, craving the way he felt inside of you. Jungkook gasped, clearly nearing the edge, before he suddenly pulled out, releasing all over your inner thighs and making a loud moan. He collapsed on top of you, letting you feel his entire body weight above you.

 

You pushed his matted hair from his sweaty forehead, listening to his shallow breaths as he tried to recover himself, clearly worn out from his orgasm. You were trying to get your breathing back to normal as well, feeling euphoric as you looked at him, his head resting on your shoulder.

 

When Jungkook’s breath finally returned to normal, he sat up on your bed, pushing your own hair out of your face so he could see you more clearly. “Where do you keep your towels?”

 

You pointed to the small closet beside your bed, and Jungkook got up and walked over, still completely naked. He pulled out a towel from the small stack you had and began to look around the room.

 

“What are you looking for?” You asked in curiosity, finally sitting up. You pulled the sheets to cover your chest, remembering that you were completely naked as you watched Jungkook walk around your room, baring it all while being completely comfortable.

 

“Water, preferably warm,” He answered.

“You have to leave the room to get that,” You laughed softly. “There’s a water bottle on my bookcase though.”

 

Jungkook turned and took the water bottle, tilting it over to wet the towel that he was holding. He came back to you and quietly said, “Let me see you.”

 

You felt the blood rush to your cheeks as Jungkook pulled the bed sheet from you. He crouched down in front of you and turned you to him, giving him a full view of yourself once again. Your heart swelled as you watched him kiss you on your thigh before he began to clean you, dabbing the towel lightly over where his release landed. You couldn’t help but shiver at the cold towel, but waited patiently for him to finish cleaning you.

 

When he finished, he looked up into your eyes, flashing his large, toothy smile and you began to laugh. He stood up, placing another light kiss on your lips before walking over and taking his boxers from the floor. He tossed his shirt over to you and you put it on, letting the soft fabric cover your body. You turned to face him when you looked down at your sheets, noticing a small stain of blood and once again feeling the embarrassment wash over you.

 

Jungkook noticed the red stain as well and came over to sit next to you, placing his arms on your shoulders and looked deeply into your eyes. “It’s normal for your first time. I tried to make you as comfortable as possible so that you wouldn’t feel terrible.”

“Is that why you…” You began, remembering the way Jungkook looked up at you from between your legs.

Jungkook laughed softly. “Yes that’s why. I wanted to make you feel good at least once tonight just in case it didn’t happen during the other part.”

 

He kissed your forehead and then wrapped his arms around you, placing his chin on top of your head. The two of you stayed in this position for a few seconds, as you thought about how thoughtful Jungkook was.

 

“I love you,” You whispered against his bare chest. And it was true. You loved Jungkook with every fiber of your being, and you could not be any more grateful for how he treated you.

You hear him chuckle above you. “I love you too.”

 

He suddenly pushed you back, his hands remaining on your shoulders as he looks straight into your eyes. “I love you a lot, you know that right?” He asks unflinchingly.

You nod, “I know. I love you a lot too.”

“I really mean it. I feel like I may love you too much,” He says, laughing shyly.

 

You laugh too, moving to place another kiss on his lips. When he pulls away, he picks up the clock by your bed and checks the time before frowning.

 

“I wish I could stay. I really, really, really wish I could stay, but I have to get back before curfew,” He sighs.

Your heart drops as you remember that the two of you are still in the middle of a war and that Jungkook is still a soldier. “I understand,” is all you mutter, knowing that there’s nothing you can do about that until the war is over.

“I’m sorry. I really would stay if I could.”

 

Jungkook gets up to pick up his jeans from the floor, quickly slipping them on and pulling his belt through the loops. He searches the room, looking for his socks and you watch him slowly get dressed, hesitant to give him back his shirt.

 

“Keep the shirt,” Jungkook says, as if reading your mind. “I like seeing you in my clothes.”

You laughed. “Thanks.”

Jungkook smiling, picks up one of your oversized sweaters – a dark blue one that you had stolen from Hoseok a long time ago – that was hanging over your desk chair, and slips it on. “I’ll take this one and give it back to you the next time I see you.”

 

You nod and stand up, walking over to him. He has just finished zipping up the sweater when you reach him, wrapping your arms around his waist and pressing yourself to him as you look up at him, looking at the mole underneath his lip for a second. He smiles down at you, keeping in a laugh as he looks on lovingly.

 

“You’re making it really hard for me to leave when you’re being this cute,” Jungkook sighs.

“I wish you wouldn’t.”

“I wish I wouldn’t too.”

 

He presses another kiss on your lips, and you finally detach yourself from him, resigning to the fact that he had to leave you. At least you still had his shirt, which has a faint smell of grass and sandalwood and seemed to provide you some amount of comfort.

 

Jungkook walked over to your bedroom door, planting one last kiss on your lips before quietly stepping out. You stayed staring at the door for a few more seconds, mentally willing him to come back but knowing he would get in even more trouble if he decided to skip out on curfew – he was already cutting it close. At least he left you his shirt, a shirt that was almost sinful because of how good it looked on Jungkook. It smelled just like him, and you fell asleep thinking about Jungkook’s arms around you.

 

The next morning, Rachel was waiting for you at the table you usually sat at with a smug expression visible on her face. You could feel the dread creeping up your throat as you took a seat across from her, placing your tray on the table.

 

“So,” Rachel began slowly, giving you a look that only made you embarrassed. “One of our fellow nurses here told me that they saw a boy leaving your room last night right before curfew. She said she heard quite a bit too.”

 

You groaned, immediately covering your face in embarrassment as the memories from the previous night rushing to your mind. Jungkook was trying to be quiet but it was you that turned out to be pretty loud, leaving you feeling pretty mortified.

 

“And you know, I was thinking,” Rachel continued. “What boy could my dear friend Y/N have possibly been with? I mean, he had to have been great considering what was heard outside in the hallway. There was only one boy that I could think of that you could have possibly been with.” You raised your head, allowing Rachel to see your tomato red face which only caused her to laugh. She took a bite of her apple and then spoke again. “Jeon Jungkook huh?”

 

You nodded, the embarrassment clear as day on your face, which only amused Rachel further. Her excitement increased immediately as well. “Oh my god! How did it happen? How was it? Wasn’t that your first time too? If it was, that must have been one hell of a good time. I remember when I first did it, the guy I was with was so excited and it lasted like five minutes. I swear that was such a disappointment. Though I’m sure that Jungkook wasn’t that bad, I mean the things they told me they heard-“

 

“Rachel!” You exclaimed, interrupting her as she continued to ramble in her excitement.

“What?” She asked, confused as to why you suddenly stopped her. “Come on, you have to tell me something. One of my closest friends here just lost her virginity and I’m excited for her! Oh what it is to be young and in love. I mean, I know I’m in love and all too, but I’ve been with Jackson for five years now and we are way past that honeymoon stage, even though we’re engaged now.”

“Okay,” You said, taking a deep breath knowing that Rachel would not let this go until you have her what she wanted. “One question at a time though.”

Rachel only laughed, ignoring your statement. “So how was it? Don’t spare me the details, I want to hear everything. Everything. Like was he big? Did he know what he was doing? Was it his first time too?”

 

You lowered your voice, careful not to let the other nurses around you hear. “I don’t really know if he was big, it looked like he was. I mean, I have nothing to compare it to.” Rachel laughed, encouraging you to continue. “It wasn’t his first time. He told me a while ago that he lost he lost his virginity when he was fifteen, so he knew what he was doing.”

 

“Oh,” Rachel said. “Didn’t it turn out in your favor though? I’m sure he thought it through and made sure you were comfortable.”

 

“It was kind of a spur of the moment thing,” You explained, thinking back to your sudden confessions to each other. “It was happening before it fully registered in my mind, but yeah. He asked me a couple times if I was okay.”

“Do you regret it though?” She asked, her expression changing to one of concern.

“Of course not. I’m happy it happened. There’s nobody in this world who I would have rather experienced it with.” You answered, taking a bite of the bagel sitting in front of you that was all but forgotten.

“Well,” Rachel said. “I’m happy you’re happy. He seems like a good guy you know? I still think you’re crazy though for falling in love during a war and with a soldier, but hey, you can’t control who you fall in love with.”

You laughed. “It is crazy isn’t it? But with Jungkook, I feel like anything is possible.”

 

“That’s good. That’s how it should feel,” Rachel said. “You know how I knew that Jackson was the one I wanted to spend the rest of my life with?” You shook your head, looking at her. “It was our fourth date. Jackson had taken us paintballing in the afternoon. He always took us on these crazy dates that required so much physical activity but I always had such a good time.”

 

Rachel began to get this dreamy look about her as she spoke, making you admire just how deep her feelings for Jackson were. You hoped that maybe one day you would be able to talk about Jungkook that way, as you listened to her.

 

“Anyway, afterwards he took me to this outdoor theater to watch some really old movie, and all I could do was watch him instead of the movie. And all I could think about was how I couldn’t picture the rest of my life without him, as if I would never be complete if I didn’t have Jackson beside me.” Rachel paused shortly. “I knew our fourth date that I wanted to marry him. I would have to wait three more years before he asked me to and when he did, I was so happy I could have died right then and there and not have any regrets. I cried so much I couldn’t even answer him.”

 

The bell signaling the end of breakfast rang throughout the cafeteria, disappointing you slightly as you wanted to hear more about Rachel’s story. Rachel looked fondly out into the distance, disposing of the food on her tray as you followed her. She seemed to be lost in her own world as she thought about he relationship with her fiancée. You wondered if what you felt for Jungkook was even remotely close to what she seemed to be exhibiting about her own feelings. You knew you loved him, but what Rachel described seemed to be so much more than what you were feeling. You also thought about Taehyung and whether that compared, and you weren’t sure whether either feelings matched Rachel’s feelings about Jackson, though you imagined that maybe someday they would.

 

The rest of the week went by slowly. Jungkook still came by to see you any chance he got, being much more affectionate than he used to be, planting kisses on you every few minutes and wrapping his hands around your waist as well. Those so-called butterflies that everyone always talked about only seemed to be multiplying each time you saw him, making you feel as if you were ready to burst.

 

Jungkook’s laugh was like music to your ears. It was somewhat silly, and whenever he would bring Jin along with him, their combined laughter only made you join them, causing tears to fall out of your eyes without either of them even telling a joke. Jungkook’s smile seemed to become the brightest star in the sky. The large grin he seemed to always sport these days that showed his bunny teeth became your favorite feature of his. You studied everything about him, from the barely visible scar on his left cheek that he got from fighting with Jin as a child to the small mole beneath his bottom lip. He didn’t often sing to you, except for those rare moments when it was quiet all around and the only thing you could hear was the wind. It was in those times when he was truly relaxed that he would begin to sing softly, his breathy voice sending chills throughout your entire body.

 

Another week went by. Another week of you falling harder and deeper for Jungkook. He told you more stories about himself. His childhood filled with happy stories and playful fights with Jin. Though the two were not related by blood, you could see how much Jungkook looked up to Jin, regarding him as nothing else than his brother. You, in turn, told him more stories about you and the boys, showing just how much you admired and cared for each one of them. As Jungkook listened to your stories, he also told you about how he couldn’t wait to meet them for himself. They were your four older brothers, and Jungkook’s eagerness to get to know them only made your heart swell with happiness.

 

A third week passed and though Jungkook was still very much himself, he expressed concern over the fact that Jin had stopped coming by to see him, much less speak to him. He explained that he believed that your country’s military was in the midst of planning a large scale attack, and Jin’s sudden disappearance only strengthened his belief. As a higher ranked officer, both you and Jungkook knew that Jin must be involved in planning the move.

 

It was the fourth week when you finally found out why Jin had disappeared. There had been a sudden mandatory meeting called in the middle of your rounds for all of the hospital staff. You found Rachel waiting for you at the nurses’ station, linking her arm through yours as the two of you walked to the main foyer at the entrance where you usually had your staff meetings.

 

The hospital director, who was a high ranked military doctor, stood at the top of the steps with another high-ranked military officer beside him. He seemed to be a Major General, signaling to all of you that the news you would be receiving shortly was one that was of high importance. The foyer slowly began to fill up. As more and more people walked in and recognized the officer, whispers erupted as everyone began to theorize what the news could be. Rachel took your hand in hers, squeezing your hand tightly for support, though you weren’t sure which of the two of you it was supposed to comfort.

 

When all of you were finally in the big room, the hospital director began to speak. “Good morning, I’m glad to see all of you here today.”

 

You felt Rachel’s grip become tighter on your hand.

 

“We called you here to inform you that the hospital staff is being transferred. Your patients will be moved to a safer location, but the staff will all be transferred to the western frontlines,” The director stated.

 

You heard gasps and voices erupt around you, while Rachel stayed silent. You looked around at everyone’s expressions, as they all seemed to be full of fear. You felt it as well, and Rachel’s normally bubbly personality was missing, making you think that she was feeling it worse than you.

 

“There is a major offensive planned in the upcoming weeks and it is necessary to the effort that we have as many medical personnel on hand. The transfer is planned for this weekend. Thank you. You may all return to your normal activities.”

 

The director and the officer turned and disappeared as they walked out of view from the staff. There was a loud eruption of noise as everyone began to panic about what was to come in just a few days. Your heart was beating fast, a million thoughts running through your head – the most prominent of which was Jungkook.

 

When it was lunchtime, you immediately ran out of the hospital, only letting Rachel know where you were headed. You weren’t sure whether Jungkook would be available, but you needed to try. You needed to let him know as soon as possible what was occurring and that you would be leaving the safe haven of the countryside.

 

You ran as fast as you possibly could to the area where the soldiers were staying, not really paying attention to the other soldiers as you searched for Jungkook. All around, there were soldiers lazing about if they were on their break, or doing exercises to keep themselves busy but none of them were Jungkook. You quickly turned, crashing into someone who quickly held you in their arms to prevent you from falling. When you looked up, you recognized Jin.

 

“Y/N! What are you doing here?” Jin asked, worry etched on his face. You hardly ever came to the soldiers’ quarters, so seeing you at this place was new.

“I- I’m looking for Jungkook,” You said in between your pants as you tried to catch your breath. “Have you seen him? It’s important.”

“I think his unit just got done with their drills. He might be taking a shower right now.” Jin said. He pulled away, only holding on to your wrist as he led you to a bench beside a large green tent. “Wait here. I’ll go look for him.”

 

You only nodded and Jin gave you a small smile in turn as he began to walk in the opposite direction in search of Jungkook. You concentrated on slowing down your heart rate and catching your breath, which had left you exhausted after you ran. The other soldiers stared at you with curiosity, wondering which one of them it was that you were involved with. There was no other reason that they could think of as to why a nurse would be among them unless they were accompanied by a doctor. You tried to ignore their longer-than-necessary stares, focusing instead on your feet down on the ground.

 

It took a while longer before you saw two feet stop in front of you and when you looked up, you saw Jungkook staring at you worriedly. His hair was damp and he was wearing his military pants with a white t-shirt. He crouched in front of you, placing one of his hands on your shoulder.

 

“Y/N, what’s wrong?” Jungkook asked in a quiet voice.

“We’re being transferred…to the western frontlines. They just told us this morning,” You said, trying to hold back your tears. You didn’t want to hold back anything, informing him of what you had been told. Jungkook stayed silent however, making you look up at him to see what he was doing.

There were a few more seconds of silence before he answered. “I know. We’re being transferred there too.”

“What?” You asked, looking into Jungkook’s eyes.

Jungkook moved one of his hands to scratch the back of his neck as he spoke. “They’re planning some really big offensive. There’s not much going on here anymore so they chose us to be transferred and get involved. We’re actually getting deployed in two days, though one of the units is staying until this weekend to help you guys move. They told us this morning too.”

You could feel the tears beginning to form in the corners of your eyes. “Wait, you’re going to fight again?”

He looked straight into your eyes, placing one hand at each of your shoulders again. “It was going to happen eventually. I promise I’ll stay safe okay? You’re going to be there too, so we won’t be far away from each other.”

“But what if something happens to you? You’ve barely even recovered and now they’re making you go out and fight again?”

“It’s war Y/N. We don’t really have a choice,” he said softly.

 

You knew Jungkook was speaking the truth. You knew that letting yourself develop feelings for someone during wartime could only mean pain and hurt for both of you in the near future. It was a simple fact of life during a war that sacrifices needed to be made, even if that sacrifice was your life. Jungkook was only speaking the truth, but the pain that you felt in your chest was becoming too much to bear. The thought of losing someone else to the war was enough to completely break you.

 

The feeling in your chest was beginning to feel more and more constricting as Jungkook tried to rub your back in a feeble attempt to comfort you. You quickly stood up, surprising Jungkook who stumbled backwards slightly catching himself before he fell, and he stood up and looked at you with worry. Your first instinct was telling you to run again, this time away from Jungkook.

 

And that was exactly what you did.

 

You turned and began to walk away without speaking a single word to Jungkook, leaving him in complete surprise before he began calling your name. Yet every single time that you heard your name being called, you sped up your pace.

 

This war was beginning to wear you down, and all you could think about was getting away from anything that reminded you of it in that very moment – including Jungkook. You were almost out of the soldiers’ area when you felt something latch on to your hand, causing your feet to completely stop moving.

 

“Y/N,” you heard Jungkook say, panting slightly. He placed his hand on your arm, spinning you around almost roughly to force you to look at him. He lowered himself, making sure that he was looking straight into your eyes and then spoke again. “You know I wouldn’t go if I had the option.”

You didn’t say anything, instead choosing to watch Jungkook who was still panting slightly. His eyebrows were furrowed and there was a look of frustration on his face.

 

“I asked you not to push me away Y/N. It’s the only thing I’ve ever asked of you,” He said, his voice taking on a much stronger, much more dominant tone, though you could hear the frustration he was feeling. You sucked in your breath, listening and observing the sudden shift in Jungkook’s behavior from the nice guy who never pushed you to do anything you didn’t want to, to this new person standing in front of you.

 

“So don’t push me away.” Jungkook said. It wasn’t a request. You knew that much after spending so much time with him. Although he never really asked a question, choosing instead to word everything as simple orders or statements, you could tell which of those he would expect a response to, and this was definitely not one of those sentences.

 

Your long silence only seemed to further frustrate Jungkook, and he began to speak once again. “Don’t push me away Y/N. You’re my girlfriend aren’t you? I know we don’t call each other that very often but I assumed we were considering we told each other how we feel.”

 

Jungkook’s frustration was only shaking his confident persona. The two of you had never really openly referred to each other as boyfriend and girlfriend and hadn’t really breached the conversation since that day it was brought up. Neither of you ever even said those three words to each other after that night. Yet the two of you were very much a couple. You knew that Jungkook, had he been able to, would have been a lot more affectionate and a lot more open about your relationship, but he had chosen to respect that you needed time to adjust, going at a much slower pace than he normally would have with another girl, a much slower pace than he would have liked. Even though his affection had increased since that night, you knew he was still holding back. He was always holding back when it came to your relationship. You had a million thoughts running through your head, only making you stay silent.

 

His voice began to break when he spoke again. “Don’t push me away.” He repeated.

 

It was the pain, clear as ever in his voice that finally woke you up from your reverie. You could see the pain that you were causing him, and it hurt you to see how he was pushing away his pride just to ask for this. All that Jungkook was asking for was to let him in. “I’m sorry.” You whispered.

 

Jungkook immediately pulled you in tightly, surprising you as he held you in his arms for what felt like an eternity. When he pulled away, you spoke again. “It’s just the thought of losing someone else, of losing you…it scares me.”

 

Jungkook kissed your forehead, looking down into your face. “It scares me too okay? I haven’t lost anyone like you have, but I have you now and you have me. I’m not going to do something idiotic that could cost me my life. I have you now and I want to be with you when this is all over. I love you.”

 

“I love you too,” you whispered. Jungkook pulled you in, kissing you with fervor and making you feel lightheaded.

 

When Jungkook pulled away, you looked down at his watch, realizing that your lunchbreak was close to being over. Though you really wanted to stay and talk to Jungkook, you also had a mountain of paperwork to complete before the military began the process of transferring your patients to other hospitals. Jungkook waved you off and you ran back to the hospital, making it just in time for the lunch break to be over. Though your conversation with Jungkook had ended on a pleasant note, you couldn’t help shake the feeling that was still in your heart. You knew it was crazy to let yourself fall for Jungkook, but it hadn’t stopped you from doing so and now you were paying the consequences for it.

 

Jungkook didn’t come by once your shift was over, leaving you feeling uneasy for the rest of the night. This mood spilled over into the next day, and you got through your shift while barely managing to keep yourself together. Rachel had noticed the difference in your demeanor from your usual self, though she didn’t ask you the cause. You knew that she had already figured out that it would be because of Jungkook and the upcoming transfer. She was bound to have heard from someone else that the soldiers would be transferred sooner than the hospital staff would be.

 

As soon as it hit your break time, you walked back to the nurses’ station to let your supervisor know that you were taking your lunch. Rachel was standing at the station waiting for you, and you wondered why that was. However, you wouldn’t have to wait long to know why.

 

“Jungkook is waiting for you in the courtyard. He seems pretty nervous,” she said as soon as you reached her.

 

You gave her a puzzled look but nodded, turning to walk in the direction of the courtyard and foregoing your lunch for the day. You figured he would drop by at least once before the transfer took place the next day, though you weren’t expecting it to be during your lunch break. As you walked away, you heard Rachel yell out to you. “Don’t worry about coming back in time! I’ll cover for you until you’re donel” You yelled out a thanks to Rachel and turned back in the direction you were heading in, exiting through a set of double doors at the far end of the hall that led out to the courtyard.

 

Rachel was right of course, as the second you stepped outside you saw Jungkook pacing back and forth in front of your usual table. He was wearing his military uniform and his hands were in his pockets. As you got closer, you heard him mumbling something to himself as he looked down at his feet.

 

“Hey,” you greeted Jungkook, causing him to snap his neck up in surprise at your arrival.

 

Jungkook was speechless for a few seconds before he said, “Hi. I wasn’t expecting you so soon.” You tilted your head in confusion, and stayed standing a few feet from where he had stopped pacing. He continued to look at you, nerves clear on his face. “Oh! Right. Sit down!” He finally said, motioning to the bench and sitting down on it himself.

 

You took a seat beside him and stayed quiet, wondering why he was suddenly acting so nervous. Jungkook was rubbing his hands together and was taking in some deep breaths and you waited in silence. There was something so endearing about seeing him so nervous, though you weren’t exactly sure what was on his mind.

 

Five minutes later, you heard him mutter under his breath, “you can do this” before he turned and looked at you, with the familiar bunny smile coming out. “Hi,” he said, giving a nervous laugh right afterwards.

 

You couldn’t help but laugh at how cute he was acting, though in your mind you were wondering how you could possibly connect all these different sides of Jungkook together. Just the previous day he had become so dominant, before suddenly breaking and today he was acting as if yesterday had never even happened. Mercurial. That was the word you were thinking of. It seemed to fit his recent behavior, as you watched him fidget right beside you. The sudden shifts in his personality always caught you off guard, but they also made being with him just that much more interesting. When you finally stopped laughing, you responded again. “What are you doing?”

 

Jungkook let out a deep breath he had apparently been holding in. “There’s just something I need to do before I leave tomorrow because I don’t know when we’ll be able to see each other again. I know we’re going to be in the same place, but I honestly don’t know what to expect when I get there and whether we’ll even be allowed to move around much.”

“Oh,” you answered, waiting for him to continue.

“And I’m just really fucking nervous okay?” Jungkook said, turning to look you in the eyes for the first time since you stepped out into the courtyard.

You looked at him in bewilderment, unsure of what it was he needed to do. “You don’t have to be nervous with me. Why is it that you are?”

Jungkook looked worried, though of what you didn’t know. “It’s just, I’m worried that you’re going to think we’re moving too fast and I’m going to scare you away.” He turned to you. “Don’t think that I’m pressuring you in any way okay? Just…just give me a couple minutes.”

 

After you nodded, allowing him to take the time he asked for he stood up again, bringing his hand to his mouth as he bit his nail. Just watching him fidget was making you nervous and was making you worried about what it is he was planning on doing. His previous statement assured you that he was not breaking up with you, though it bothered you that he was even so worked up about this. The two of you were so comfortable with each other and now that you had slept with him, you figured that you didn’t need to hide things from each other and could be completely honest. But the fact that Jungkook seemed so nervous about something was making you worried about how the two of you would act in a relationship once the war was over.

 

“Okay!” Jungkook exclaimed after what seemed like an eternity. “I’m just gonna do it!”

“What is it Jungkook? You’re starting to worry me,” You said.

Jungkook immediately turned to you, flustered. “Oh no! I’m sorry, it’s my fault. It’s just I’ve never done this before and I’m just nervous.”

 

He took a seat beside you, biting his lip as he took your left hand in his while the other reached inside the pocket of his pants.

 

“Okay, don’t get the wrong idea,” Jungkook warned, pulling out a small, black, velvet box from his pocket. He let go of your hand to open the box, revealing a small, silver ring, set against the white inside of the box.

 

You gasped, immediately bringing both your hands to your mouth in confusion. He told you not to get the wrong idea, but you weren’t sure what other idea you could possibly get. You stared down at the simple band, lined with small, white gemstones around the outside. You weren’t sure you wanted to be engaged, much less married, but you also didn’t know how to say no to Jungkook. It suddenly made sense why Jungkook was so afraid of scaring you away. A ring made the relationship between the two of you twenty times more serious, and though you loved the boy in front of you, there was no way you were even remotely ready to be married in the near future.

 

You were still having this debate inside your head when he spoke again. “It’s not an engagement ring.”

 

He could see you visibly relax, though your eyes never strayed from the ring inside the box he held. You let out a deep breath, waiting for him to continue. “It’s more like a…promise. I don’t know when I’ll see you again, when I’ll get to hear your voice, or have any sort of contact with you once we leave and that thought honestly scares the shit out of me.”

 

Jungkook let out a small nervous laugh, but you felt a small pain through your chest. You hadn’t thought about something like that, about whether you would actually be able to see Jungkook once the transfer was complete. By your observations, the scale of this attack was going to be one of the largest of the war and they would need all their soldiers ready at a moment’s notice. That meant that the soldiers would not have much free time, if any.

 

“But I don’t want to go without letting you know how much I love you,” Jungkook continued, snapping you out of your train of thought. “So yesterday I was racking my brain, trying to think of how I could possibly let you know how I feel about you and Jin took me into town because he thought I was going to go crazy and needed to calm down.”

 

You let out a small laugh, causing Jungkook to pause and laugh with you for a short moment. He was nervous. You could see that much from how little he looked directly into your eyes. So you took his free hand in yours and began to rub small circles into it in an attempt to soothe his nerves. You couldn’t stand how nervous he was, partially because you feared that he doubted how much you meant to him.

 

“And so we were walking and we passed by this small store. Super small, like you could have missed it if you weren’t paying attention and I saw this ring in the window and I just bought it then and there. Jin thought I was crazy and he kept telling me how we just started dating and how you’re going to think that I’m moving too fast and then break up with me,” Jungkook said rapidly. “But I don’t know…I just...don’t want to go without you knowing how I feel about you.”

 

Jungkook took another deep breath, and then took back his hand. He used two fingers to pull the ring out of the box, and placed the ring in your palm, wrapping your own fingers around the ring and enclosing it in your fist. He placed his larger hands around your own hand and finally looked straight into your eyes. You stayed observing him, unable to say anything or do anything except listen to Jungkook’s monologue.

 

“You don’t have to wear it on your finger, or at all if you don’t want to. I just wanted to use this as, a symbol I guess, of what I’m about to tell you.” He took in a deep breath. “I love you Y/N. I love you so much that I can’t bear to imagine leaving you or you leaving me. I know we don’t say it often but I just want you to know that I love you. And this ring is my promise that I’ll come back from this war – preferably in one piece – just to be able to see you again and tell you that I love you again. Also, I just want you to have something to remember me by.”

 

Your heart was beating a million beats per minute and your heart only swelled with happiness. You threw your arms around him, keeping the hand with the ring tightly closed as you pulled him in, planting a kiss on his cheek, below the scar that you could barely make out.

 

“Is that a yes that you’ll wear the ring?” Jungkook asked.

You pulled away slightly, only to look him directly in the eyes. “Yes of course! I love you. Of course I’ll wear this. The thought of not seeing you for a while scares me too.”

You could see Jungkook’s shoulders visibly relax as he lets out a sigh of relief, causing you to laugh and plant another kiss, this one directly on his lips. “I wish I could stay longer, but they cut our lunchtimes today so that we could finish packing. We’re leaving at four in the morning tomorrow.” He finally says after you had finished planting kisses all over his face our of sheer happiness.

 

He takes hold of your left hand and unravels the fist you still had and takes the ring out. Jungkook then slips it onto your ring finger and places a light kiss on top of it in silence. You shiver at the contact between Jungkook’s lips and your finger, wishing that he wouldn’t pull away.

 

The two of you stand up, but stay directly in front of each other, both of you reluctant to walk away. You knew what it meant for the two of you the second you turned around. The uncertainty of the future was enough to make the two of you stay firmly rooted, each afraid to make the next move as you stayed looking at each other.

 

It was Jungkook to break first. He pulled you to him, wrapping his arms tightly around your body as he placed a kiss at the top of your head. You look up at him, causing him to lean down and plant another kiss, a more tender one on your mouth.

 

When the kiss finally ends, Jungkook remains just centimeters from your face and he speaks against your own lips. “Why do you always make it so difficult for me to leave?”

You laugh, reaching up to initiate a kiss of your own. “You make it hard for me to leave too.”

“I wonder when I’ll be able to hold you like this again,” Jungkook says softly.

You place your head on his chest, listening to his heartbeat before speaking. “Promise me you’ll take care of yourself.”

Jungkook laughed softly. “That was what my entire speech was about, remember? I promised you I’ll come back.”

“I know,” you replied. “I just want to hear you tell me again.”

Jungkook placed his chin on top of your head and took in a deep breath before pushing you away just enough to look you in the eye. “I promise I’ll come back for you.”

 

His simple words made your heart race and you wrapped your arms around his neck and pulled him down for one last kiss which Jungkook quickly reciprocated. It was almost out of desperation, out of fear of the upcoming days and what could happen to you or him. The war made life dangerous and the two of you kissed each other as if it would be your last, regardless of the promise Jungkook made.

 

The two of you were panting when you pulled away but still remaining in each other’s arms, and Jungkook looked at you with a smile. “I love you.”

You smiled back at him. “I love you too.”

Jungkook pulled away after your response. “I really have to go now.”

You nodded, giving his hand a tight squeeze before finally letting go. “Okay.”

“Don’t go falling in love with anyone else either okay?” Jungkook asked, poking your nose with a small laugh. “I’m going to come back and when I do, I better not see you in love with someone other than me.”

You laughed at his joke, the two of you knowing that it was impossible for you to feel this way about anyone else, not when you had accepted his ring as well. “I promise.”

 

He turned and began to walk in the direction of the road, turning to look at you and giving a wave. You waved back, feeling the same pit in your stomach that you felt when sending Taehyung off to war. It seemed almost unfair to compare the two feelings, but the pit that you felt in your stomach this time was a lot worse though you had learned to control your feelings better. You stayed standing in your spot until Jungkook walked out of sight further down the road, mentally willing him to come back but knowing he couldn’t. He was a soldier, and you were grateful he even managed to come see you before the transfer.

 

~

 

A week had passed by since the hospital staff had moved to the new site. The new location was close to a beach, and the weather seemed as if it was in a permanent state of cloudy and gloomy. The hospital at this location was broken up into two buildings, mansions again, due to the large amount of nurses and doctors. You no longer had a private room either and were forced to take on a roommate, though somehow Rachel persuaded your supervisor to let the two of you be roommates. It seemed that the generals had brought in people from everywhere to participate in the operation.

 

Jungkook’s worries about whether he would be able to see you at the new location proved to be true. You hardly had any contact with any of the soldiers in the area. They were all preparing for the upcoming attack and being worked from dawn to dusk, only allowed breaks to eat and sleep.

 

You didn’t even know where Jungkook could possibly be because of the large size of this new military base. This location was massive. Rachel and you had gone up to the roof of your assigned “hospital” one day and saw the rows and rows of tents, cars, tanks, and planes in the far distance. You couldn’t see where the end was, and you seriously doubted for the first time that even with the numerous amount of doctors and nurses transferred to the new location, there would be enough hands to tend to everyone.

 

There was a bit of downtime for you and the rest of the medical personnel as well. The only people brought in were for sprained ankles and exhaustion, and those were few and far in between. It seemed like they were making sure their soldiers would stay fit and ready for the attack and only those who weren’t as careful as others were being brought in. The hospital was under orders to not intake anyone as well, not unless it was a broken bone or a life-threatening injury, and when they were taken in, it would be about a day before a military convoy came to transfer them to another hospital. The beds were empty for the most part, and there wasn’t much to do but wait for the operation to begin.

 

You also wondered where your friends were, if they were here at all. Last you heard from them, Jimin was still in the Air Force and you thought it was likely that he could be here, somewhere near the numerous planes that you had seen from the roof. Hoseok and Namjoon were in the same unit, and in Hoseok’s last letter you received he mentioned that both of them were fighting in some other location. Yoongi was in a completely different area and was put in a unit tasked with helping a rebel force take back their country after it had fallen soon after it was invaded. You thought it was likely that at least one of the boys would be here, and you wished and prayed that they would all remain safe as well.

 

It would be a few more days before the attack commenced.

 

That morning, there was a sudden burst of activity as you and Rachel got downstairs. You had all been woken up hours before the day usually began. You checked the clock in the hallway as you and Rachel both groggily made your way down the stairs and saw that it was five in the morning. The doctors ordered everyone to take a red and black marker from a box in the foyer and make sure that every bed had gauze and hydrogen peroxide to disinfect wounds. Before you all left, they made another announcement.

 

“The military operation will commence today!” One of the head military doctors yelled. “Expect casualties, more than any of you have ever witnessed. There are ten times more men here than there are beds!”

 

A chorus of murmurs erupted and you turned to Rachel who looked up at the man with worry clear on her face. You knew that she was thinking about Jackson, and whether he would be participating in the offensive too. She had just about as much information as you and was equally as worried, if not more.

 

“When the injured begin arriving, it is when you will utilize those markers. On their forehead, you will place an ‘X’. A red one will mean that they can be saved and a black one means that there is nothing that we can do for them,” Another doctor explained. “Another group of nurses will be stationed before each of the large patient rooms, they will double check the marks. Only those that receive two red marks will be allowed in.”

 

You heard Rachel gasp beside you, and you began to shake. One of the other nurses yelled loudly. “You mean to tell us to give up and let some of them die without even trying?”

 

Another chorus erupted around you and the doctor responded, a serious expression present. “There is not enough gauze or bandages, much less morphine or any other form of medicine for the amount of injuries we are expecting. This system is to minimize the wasted resources and save them for those than can survive their wounds. We would rather let someone who has a fatal injury pass away than let someone under our care pass away for an infection.”

 

You knew the doctor was only speaking the truth. The system seemed like the only solution to the problem, though you had just as much apprehension as the other nurses about leaving some just to die. You understood why the system was created, though you weren’t so sure you liked it.

 

You spent the next hour checking and double-checking all the beds in the large patient rooms. Rachel was with you, as the two of you had chosen each other when the doctors ordered all the nurses to pair up. The two of you were silent, too anxious to speak. You knew all her thoughts were of Jackson and whether he was here participating in the operation. It was the same for you, though you were thinking of five boys who could be here. The two of you were also anxious because of what was to come. You two knew it would be horrifying and you had to prepare yourselves mentally, though those efforts were likely to go to waste the second casualties began to be brought in.

 

Once all the beds were prepared, you and Rachel both walked outside to the radio by the entrance to your assigned building. There were nurses and others gathered around radios all over the place, listening, waiting for the operation to start. You could see soldiers getting on trucks and preparing to leave in the distance without making much noise. There was a noise on the radio, and soon an operator came through clear.

 

“Operation Delta to commence in 15. Soldiers to your stations.”

 

You sucked in a deep breath when you suddenly felt a hand take hold of yours. Turning your head, you saw Rachel whose face looked as if she had seen a ghost as she listened. You squeezed her had lightly and gave her a soft smile, though she didn’t respond. She looked terrified, afraid of what would happen later in the day and you didn’t blame her. It was terrifying, to think of what all the soldiers could be going up against. To you, this massive attack seemed as a last ditch effort, as if they were just sending soldiers to their death, and you were scared.

 

“Pilots begin preparations for takeoff.”

 

You prayed Jimin would be safe if he was participating in this attack. You prayed that all of your friends would be safe and listened in pure anxiety as to what awaited them. The radio operator was counting down the minutes, and with every single number you could swear your heart only got closer to bursting out of your chest. With your free hand, you clutched the ring Jungkook had given you. It had been hanging on a chain since you could not wear it on your hands while you worked, and now you clutched it, praying for the safety of all of your friends.

 

“Proceed with operation.”

 

One of the doctors who had been listening in your group turned the dial on the radio, changing it to another frequency where you heard the voices of the soldiers. It seemed that this was the frequency that those that would actually be participating in combat were communicating in. All of the pilots began identifying themselves and announcing their next moves. You could only listen in anticipation, wondering if you would hear one of the voices that had almost become a distant memory to you. And then you heard it.

 

“This is Pilot Park, preparing for takeoff.”

 

You gasped, pulling your hand out of Rachel’s death grip bringing both hands to your mouth in astonishment. Tears were beginning to form in the corners of your eyes as you listened to Jimin’s voice through the radio, talking through his actions. You were afraid that something would happen to him, but relieved at the same time about hearing his voice.

 

However, your actions did not go by unnoticed by your peers. It was Rachel that questioned you first. “Who’s Pilot Park?”

You wiped a tear from the corner of you eyes, and looked down. “It’s Jimin.”

Rachel’s eyes immediately went wide in recognition of the name. “He’s one of your friends from home right? The one who’s friends with Taehyung?”

You nodded, afraid to say more for fear of breaking down.

 

“This is Pilot Park, we are airborne. On route to target.”

 

Your group listened in anticipation as the squad leaders and pilots would each talk into their radios, announcing their actions and locations. You paid special attention whenever Jimin’s voice would come on, each time with your heart beating a million beats per minute as you wished for Jimin’s safety. There would be another wait before the attack actually commenced.

 

It started with one of the pilots announcing that the enemy had come into view. Shortly thereafter, more pilots began announcing the same thing, including Jimin. You admired how confident and composed Jimin sounded through the radio. His voice sounded the same, but there was a new feeling to it, like a stronger, more composed Jimin that had grown throughout the duration of the war. However, your admiration did not last a long time, because soon thereafter a squad leader on the ground announced that the enemy had begun to fire. One of the pilots also announced that the other country’s soldiers had begun to fire. You could hear the shots faintly in the background of the audio, and you found yourself clutching Rachel’s hand once more.

 

Some of the squad leaders announced their advancement, while others announced that a certain area had been taken. You knew this was going to be a huge operation, but hearing the soldiers announce which location was captured made you realize just how massive the attack really was. It seemed like it was going well, as every fifteen minutes or so someone would announce that they had accomplished destroying a guard tower or something else, but you couldn’t really tell if it was actually successful or not. You would also hear the occasional radio of a squad experiencing heavy casualties or a plane being shot down. Those messages made you nervous, but you continued holding Rachel’s hand to provide you some form of comfort.

 

“We are receiving heavy fire!” Jimin’s voice suddenly said through the radio, causing you to gasp. You immediately moved closer to the radio, praying, hoping that Jimin would be okay.

 

“Our left wing has been shot! We are going down!” Jimin said into the radio, with the frantic chatter of the other soldiers in his plane. You couldn’t stop your tears as you listened to Jimin radioing the location of where his plane would go down.

 

“Our target has been destroyed! We are currently northeast of the target and going down fast-“ Jimin said before his voice was cut off. You could only assume that meant his plane had hit the ground and you choked back a few of your tears, knowing that you couldn’t get emotional at that moment. All you could do was pray that Jimin survived the impact.

 

It was almost cruel, the way that fate had brought one of your friends back to you in a way, only to force you to listen to their possible death right after. This war had begun to take its toll on you, forcing you to listen to the people you loved get hurt or taking them away from you completely. A tear escaped your eye, and Rachel rubbed your back silently as you listened, praying that Jimin would be alive.

 

It would be another two hours before all hell broke loose at the hospital.

 

You had all been listening to the radio as the action arose. There were sounds of gunshots, with some units announcing their successful attacks and others announcing their failed attempts. You could hardly tell how the offensive was going – there was too much going on at the same time. The generals and commanders that planned the offensive probably knew how to decipher the messages, but you could hardly be sure of what was going on. The only thing that you knew was that Jimin had gone down after successfully completing his mission.  You were worried about Jungkook and Jin as well, the only other people who you knew were involved in the fighting, though you weren’t exactly sure whether Jin was actually participating in the fight or not.

 

Jungkook had you worried however. He had promised you that he would come back for you, but you couldn’t help but feel scared about what he would do. Though Jungkook had made that promise, you could tell that he was a bit reckless when it came to fighting. How could you be so sure that he would make it back to you when you kept hearing about all the planes and soldiers going down?

 

The first ambulance arrived close to an hour and a half after the attack began, forcing all of you to disperse from around the radio and begin preparations for the oncoming slew of soldiers that would be showing up soon after. Nurses ran, bringing down about five soldiers from the ambulance as they began marking them with either the black or red marker that had been distributed to you all earlier. There was one solider who barely looked as if he was breathing, and you watched as a nurse marked a black X on his forehead. It made your heart drop, knowing that you would soon be sentencing people to death yourself without trying to save them. You kept telling yourself that it was the only way to save resources, but your heart still hurt knowing your very near future.

 

Soon after the first ambulance, more and more began to arrive – some just in trucks as they unloaded passengers. You ran to help unload people, quickly examining them to the best of your ability before marking them with a red ‘X’ or a black one. You were initially reluctant at first, as you maneuvered your way through the soldiers. You kept examining them, but you couldn’t quite catch your focus amidst all the tortured cries.

 

Your hands were shaking as you placed your hands on their foreheads, and they slowly began to get covered in blood, forcing you to wipe them on your skirt as you ran from soldier to soldier. You were breathing hard and you were shaking, and it only got worse as you kept hearing the cries of pain from the wounded soldiers. It was beginning to get harder to listen to, each time wishing that one of the trucks would bring Jimin, and each time being disappointed.

 

It was the best that you could hope for. You just wished that you could see Jimin being pulled into the hospital with a red ‘X’ on his forehead. There was always the possibility that he could be brought to the other hospital building, but you just needed that confirmation. You also hoped that you wouldn’t see Jungkook or Jin, or anyone else that you knew being pulled in if they were participating.

 

About half an hour passed before there was a tap on your shoulder. You quickly turned around only to see Rachel standing there. “The doctors want you inside,” she said. “Go. I’ll take over for you.”

 

You nodded and ran to the inside of the hospital, taking in a deep breath before you went up to one of the supervising doctors. He ordered you to begin treating the soldiers laying on the beds and you went to the nearest one, beginning to disinfect the wounds and fill in the charts with the injuries they received. The screams around you made it difficult to concentrate, but you tried to push through all of the pain you were witnessing. You couldn’t help but think about Jimin and about his last words that you heard in the radio. He was the last person that you wanted to go away.

 

After disinfecting and filling out the charts of about twelve soldiers, you moved on to the next bed, immediately recognizing the face of the soldier who lay in front of you. “Yoongi!” You exclaimed, running to his bedside. He looked over at you, opening his eyes wide and giving a faint smile before letting out a yell of pain.

 

He was dirty and covered in blood. You immediately grabbed the cotton balls and disinfectant, examining his body for all of the wounds that he had sustained. There were two gunshots that went right through his left arm. You quickly removed his shirt in search of more shots, only to see that another bullet had grazed the left side of his ribcage, just beside where any major organ would be.

 

You let out a sigh of relief as you began to disinfect the bullet wounds, searching for any other injuries and noticing a large bruise forming around the right side of his abdomen. Yoongi would hiss every time you placed any sort of pressure on the bruise, and would outright yell if you touched him anywhere that hurt, even though he seemed to be one of the quieter soldiers in the room. He watched you, unable to speak himself as he grit his teeth to deal with the pain he had to be feeling.

 

Part of you wished that you could stay, but you could see the overwhelming amount of soldiers that had already been let in and could see even more arriving, and you were forced to move onto the next one, with a quick promise to Yoongi that you would return as soon as you were able to.

 

Sixteen hours later, you sat down at a bench in the foyer, taking in as many deep breaths as you could muster. You were exhausted, having worked all sixteen hours without a break as you ran from soldier to soldier in an attempt to save as many lives as you could. It had finally slowed down, most of the casualties having been brought to one of two hospitals. You hadn’t seen anyone else you knew besides Yoongi, which could either mean that they had been killed during the fighting or they were safe. You prayed that it would be the latter. The sixteen hours consisted of you running from operating room to operating room, assisting doctors as quick as you can before another doctor pulled you in to another room. You hadn’t taken a seat in the sixteen hours, and the bench suddenly seemed like the greatest invention on earth.

 

Rachel was sitting next to you, her head on her shoulders as she began to slowly fall asleep. You shook her off in an attempt to keep her awake so that she could actually make it back to your room. When she finally woke up enough to be coherent, she spoke first. “Did you see anyone you knew?”

 

“My friend Yoongi. I was treating him,” You answered her, remembering that you had to go see him before you went back to your own room.

“You didn’t see Jimin?” she asked.

You sighed, “No. I’m worried.”

Rachel placed her hand above yours. “Don’t be. I’m sure he’s fine.”

You looked down, fighting back the tears that were threatening to come out. “I hope so. I want to go look for him, but I need to see Yoongi first.”

“I’ll go look for him, but if you don’t mind, I’ll go tomorrow. I’ll fall asleep on the ground if I go now,” Rachel offered.

“Thanks,” You said. “I really appreciate it.”

“No problem,” Rachel said in a quiet voice. “Just, if you happen to see a soldier named Jackson Wang, can you call me? I don’t know if he was in this, and I’m just really worried.”

You gave her a smile, a faint one that you could barely muster. “I’ll make sure to do that if I see him.”

 

She thanked you and slowly got up, announcing her retreat back to the room that the two of you now shared. You watched her lethargic walk until she disappeared around the corner and then got up slowly, walking into the large room with all the beds inside with only one destination.

 

Yoongi was sleeping, probably due to all the morphine you had given him to lessen his pain. His left arm had been bandaged up and put into a sling, while there was a another bandage covering his abdomen.  You pulled a stool beside his bed, taking his hand in yours and resting your head on your other arm that was now on his bed. You watched him breathe slowly, appreciating the fact that he seemed he would be fine before you drifted off yourself.

 

The next morning, you were awoken by another cry of pain and you quickly shot your head up to search for the source of the scream. You saw another nurse already administering morphine to the screaming soldier and waving you off so as not to make you go over. When you turned back around, you saw Yoongi looking at you, with a slight smirk on his face.

 

You rubbed your eyes slowly, then turned to him. “Do you need any morphine?”

He shook his head. “One of the other nurses came and gave me some while you were asleep.”

“Good.” You said before wrapping your arms around him in a careful embrace.

 

Yoongi was bigger, a sight you definitely weren’t used to seeing. You could tell that much even though he was currently bedridden. His body, which you remembered as skinny and seemed almost frail, was now muscular and thicker, and you could tell that the military had made him work out more than he ever had before.

 

“You missed me that much?” Yoongi joked in a quiet, breathy, voice when you finally pulled away from him. He let out a small chuckle,

You hit his uninjured arm lightly. “Of course you idiot. I haven’t seen you in forever and you barely wrote to me.”

He let out another chuckle. “Well now I’m here in front of you. You’re welcome.”

You laughed, “Oh what an honor. Thank you Mr. Min for this great privilege.”

“Have you heard from any of the others? Or about any of them?” He asked as soon as you were done laughing. It was easy to tell that he was straining to speak and laugh as you watched him, though you were expecting this question to eventually come up.

You weren’t sure how much he knew, so you gave him the safest answer. “You and Jimin are the only ones that I knew who participated in the offensive. I heard Jimin’s plane was shot down.”

“Oh.” Yoongi said quietly. “Hoseok and Namjoon were transferred somewhere. I don’t know what happened to them.”

 

You nodded slowly and looked down at your watch, refusing to let the negative thoughts come into your head. At that moment another nurse walked by, and you quickly stopped her, asking if the shifts for the day had been posted. Yoongi watched your interaction in silence, only speaking once the other nurse told you she’d bring you the clipboard with the shifts.

 

“You’re different now,” Yoongi said in a soft voice, giving your hand that was still wrapped around his a squeeze.

You gave him a soft smile. “You are too.”

“War can do that to someone,” Yoongi replied.

 

You didn’t respond to him, letting a silence fall between the two of you. On your end, you were happy to have one of your friends from home back in your life, even if it would only be until he recovered. You hadn’t seen any of them since they had each either been drafted or volunteered, much less heard their voice, and though in the back of your mind, you had the faces of the rest of the boys – including Jungkook and Jin – you were happy to have at least one of them in front of you.

 

The nurse came back, handing you a spreadsheet with the schedules on it, and you realized that your shift was set to start in thirty minutes. You thanked her and jumped up, making Yoongi another promise that you would come back later before sprinting up to your room and getting ready for your shift. You were exhausted but you had to pull through.

 

Rachel was sitting up in her bed, telling you that they had come by to let everyone know about their shifts in the early hours of the morning. She was not scheduled until the late afternoon and told you that she was going to be spending her morning looking for any sign of Jackson or Jimin.

 

“Park Jimin right?” She asked to double check the name, writing it inside a notepad she had in her pocket. She was wearing her nurses uniform, assuming that she would be more likely to receive information if she wore it.

You nodded, frantically changing out of your dirty uniform. “Can you look for a couple more people for me please?”

 “Give me their names, I’ll look for as many as you want.” She said.

“Thanks,” You said. In between your movements, you began to list the names. “Kim Namjoon and Jung Hoseok. Can you also look for Kim Seokjin and Jungkook?”

“Jungkook’s last name was Jeon right?” She asked.

“Yes. I think all of them are just regular soldiers except for Jin. He’s a corporal if I remember correctly,” you told her.

“Got it! I’m going to look in the other hospital first and then ask around. I’ll let you know what I find out tonight!” Rachel said, stepping out of your room. “Can you look for Jackson during your shift in this hospital? I would really appreciate it!”

 

You finished getting ready a few minutes later, making it back down to your shift just in time for the beginning. One of the other nurses handed you an apple. “You weren’t at breakfast and I’m sure you didn’t eat yesterday,” she explained. You thanked her, and turned back to the supervising doctor who had just arrived to give each of you your assignments.

 

Throughout your shift, there were still some soldiers being brought in that were found along the battlefields. One of the nurses told you during your lunch break that the attack had been successful and could be one of the deciding factors of the war, though you hardly felt like rejoicing. How could you celebrate after hearing all the cries of pain for an entire day and the last few years? How could you celebrate when you weren’t sure whether your friend survived a plane crash or the fates of some of the most important people in the world to you? How could you even think about celebrating when the war took away Taehyung, the boy who was essentially your world for the majority of your life? You just wanted this war to be over and to have all the boys that meant a lot to you back, safe at home instead of out risking their lives.

 

At the end of your shift, you returned to your spot beside Yoongi’s bed with a tray of food for him and one for yourself. He smiled, thanking you for the food as he ate with one hand. You were taking a sip of your apple juice when Yoongi asked you a question.

 

“Whose ring is that?”

 

You looked down, noticing that the chain holding the ring Jungkook had given you had fallen out from inside your uniform. You had almost forgotten you had it on, the ring becoming almost a piece of you by that point.

 

“It’s mine,” You answered quietly, hoping that he wouldn’t ask any more questions. You just weren’t sure if you were ready to tell him about Jungkook yet.

“Well, who gave it to you then?” Yoongi asked, not letting the manner drop like you really wished he would.

“Just…someone,” You answered.

“Y/N, you can tell me if it’s a guy,” He said with a sigh. “It’s not like I’m going to get mad at you.”

“I’ll tell you when I’m ready, okay Yoongi?” You asked, hoping that it was enough to placate him.

 

He looked at you in contemplation before finally agreeing and changing the subject to something else. Your shoulders dropped in relief as he began to talk about his experiences during the war.

 

When you got back to your room late at night, Rachel was sitting at her bed. You walked over to you own bed, sitting in front of her as you waited for her to give you the results of her search. You thought about your own search in the hospital for Jackson, and hoped that she had found him somewhere else because he had not been in your rounds.

 

“You would not believe what had to go through to get you this information,” Rachel said. “But I have good news.”

“I’m going to start off with Jackson!” She said, making you smile in relief that she did find him. “I didn’t get to see him, but he did participate. He’s fine as far as I know, his unit didn’t have any casualties even! But they’re still fighting I think.”

Her smile was bright, and you watched her jump up and down. “That’s great to hear,” you replied.

“Your two friends, Kim Namjoon and Jung Hoseok? They weren’t involved in the attack here. They’re at the other border, apparently this attack came from two sides. A soldier friend of mine radioed and found out that the two of them are fine too!”

You hugged her in relief at the news, knowing that it would make Yoongi happy as well. “Thanks.”

“I’m not done!” She answered. “So Jimin was found and was taken to the other hospital, but he was let out today because apparently he barely had any injuries. They’re commending him because of how good of a pilot he is and there’s rumors that he’s going to get awarded a medal. Nobody on the plane was injured! Can you believe that?” You gasped. “I couldn’t find out where he is, but he’s probably at the Air Force tents?” She offered.

 

You smiled at her, knowing that there were still two people that she had left to notify you about. It was impressive how she managed to collect all of this information in just a few hours. You figured that it probably had a lot to do with her bubbly personality.

 

“Kim Seokjin didn’t participate in the fighting for the military offensive, he was with the generals – apparently he’s going to go up a rank soon. He’s still around this base somewhere from what one of the soldiers told me,” Rachel explained. “As for Jungkook…well he’s not in the other hospital. The soldier that told me about Seokjin told me that he thinks his unit is one of the ones chasing after the other country’s troops, but I can’t be too sure. As far as I know, he’s as fine as he can be during a fight. Wouldn’t it be funny if he was in the same unit as Jackson?”

 

You sighed in relief, giving Rachel a hug in appreciation. “Thank you for all of this. I don’t know how you did it, but thank you.”

Rachel laughed, “You don’t know the power of what a little bit of lipstick and some compliments can do for you.”

 

Your shift the next day began in the early afternoon, so after breakfast you headed down to meet with Yoongi to deliver the good news to him. You almost skipped as you went down the hallway, excited to deliver the news. He looked at you, bewildered as you skipped over to him and continued to stare at you strangely as you sat down beside him at your now-designated stool. He continued to stare at you in silence as you placed a bagel that you had saved for him on his food tray.

 

“Okay, as much as I want to thank you for the bagel, why the fuck are you so happy?” Yoongi asked, cutting right to the chase.

You laughed at his sudden bluntness. “It’s just, I have news about the boys! My friend did some investigating yesterday, mostly on my behalf.” Yoongi nodded, waiting for you to continue. “Namjoon and Hoseok fought, but they were at the other border. One of the soldiers radioed in to the other branch and found out that they were fine.”

You could see the way that Yoongi’s shoulders dropped in relief at hearing the news that his two closest friends survived the offensive, making you smile. “That’s good,” was the only thing he said.

“One of the wings on Jimin’s plane was shot off and his plane went down, but thanks to some of his maneuvering he wasn’t hurt and neither were the other people in the plane,” You said. “He might be getting a medal.”

Yoongi’s eyes went wide at the news, as if he wasn’t expecting such a thing to be possible. “Wow, our Jimin being awarded in the military.”

“Yeah, who would’ve thought?” You said with a sigh. “I haven’t been able to see him yet, apparently he’s not in the hospital. My friend is good, but she couldn’t figure out where he was though she did suggest checking with the Air Force people.”

“That’s not too bad of an idea,” Yoongi said. “Do you think I’ll be able to leave my bed today? Listening to these dudes moaning and yelling makes me want to scream too. If I can, I’ll go look for him.”

You laughed. “I’ll ask one of the doctors.”

 

At that moment, the large door to the room opened with a loud echo, causing both you and Yoongi to look in the direction of the entrance. You recognized the person who was the source of the noise almost immediately, causing you to take in a deep breath. Jin looked around the room, a confused expression on his face until his eyes landed on you.

 

“Who’s that?” Yoongi asked when Jin began walking in a fast pace in your direction.

 

You didn’t answer, too focused on Jin as he quickly made his way to you. He was dressed in his uniform, one that perfectly accented his wide shoulders and made him look as handsome as ever. His face was expressionless and he moved around the beds with ease. You watched him in silence, up until he reached you.

 

“Y/N!” Jin exclaimed, a wide smile suddenly popping up on his face. You stood up and wrapped your arms around him to give him a hug. Though the two of you weren’t as close, you were relieved to see him looking as well as ever. You momentarily forgot about Yoongi, who was watching the interaction behind you with confusion and surprise.

“How are you?” You asked when you finally pulled away, leaving your hands resting on his forearms.

“I’m great! Did you hear about the offensive? Well, I mean obviously you did since you were treating all these people,” Jin said, rubbing the back of his neck. “But can you believe that I was actually involved in the planning? It was my suggestion that ended up being the basis of the plan!”

 

You looked at him in shock, amazed at Jin’s success.

 

“Who knew that I would be good at military strategy? Apparently I may be promoted to a higher rank thanks to this though I would honestly just be happy with a medal,” He added, clearly happy to be announcing the news to someone.

“Wow, that’s amazing. I’m glad this went so well for you. I heard the mission was a massive success,” You told him.

“You heard? Wow,” Jin said in a dreamy voice, before suddenly snapping out of it. “Sorry, that wasn’t what I came to talk about. Jungkook asked me to keep you informed about his whereabouts whenever I would get updates. He thought it would help ease your nerves.”

 

You were taken aback, amazed at how well Jungkook seemed to know you. Since the end of the offensive, you had been worried about not knowing where Jungkook could possibly be and he had already thought of the situation. You knew that Jin would be extremely busy, but he still took the time to fulfill Jungkook’s wishes, making you aware of just how much he cared for his younger friend. Even more so, Jungkook’s thoughtfulness made a warm feeling rush over you, appreciating the way that he seemed to think of everything. He read you so well it almost scared you.

 

“Oh, so what’s the news?” You asked expectantly, though there was a tinge of fear in the back of your mind.

“He’s fine, so you don’t have to worry about that,” Jin smiled. “He’s in one of the mobile units though, so he’s not around here. When we win this war, he could be one of the soldiers that ends it.”

You looked back at him in surprise, unsure of what to say, though you were relieved that Rachel’s own information had been confirmed.

Jin noticed the worry etched on your face and immediately spoke again. “Don’t worry! His unit hasn’t lost a single man yet. He’s among the best of the best. I’m tracking them closely.”

Jin’s quick rebuttal seemed to calm your nerves a little bit. You trusted Jin to know what he was talking about, he was after all, in a higher position than most of the people in the room. “Thanks Jin. I know you’re busy, but thank you for coming to tell me.”

He gave you a soft smile. “You know, you’re my friend too. I would have come to tell you this with or without Jungkook’s request.”

 

You laughed, smiling at Jin and appreciating his consideration until you heard Yoongi clearing his throat behind you, suddenly reminding both you and Jin of the silent observer of your whole conversation. You quickly spun around, embarrassed that you forgot about your friend from home sitting on the hospital bed.

 

“Hi,” was all he said, flashing the two of you a smile that you recognized, a smile that let you know he was not pleased.

“Oh, sorry Yoongi! I completely forgot you were there,” You admitted, feeling slightly ashamed.

Yoongi gave you a nod, acknowledging your apology before turning to Jin. “Corporal.”

Jin walked over to the bed, stretching out his hand towards Yoongi’s uninjured hand. “Corporal Kim, Kim Seokjin.” He said, introducing himself in a much more formal tone that you were used to hearing from him.

“Private Min Yoongi,” your friend said in an equally formal tone.

 

You watched the strange interaction, feeling a slight tension between the three of you. It was possible that Jin could just be trying to keep up the pretense of him being a higher-ranked officer in the military, but Yoongi’s slightly hostile reciprocation made you confused. You weren’t exactly sure why the two of them had suddenly made such a strong shift in demeanor when they had both just been really casual and laidback when talking with you just a few moments ago.

 

“Yoongi is my friend from home,” You said, trying to ease the slight tension in the atmosphere around the three of you.

“Ah, I see,” Jin answered, giving you a slight smile.

You turned to Yoongi as he waited for your own explanation. “I met Jin when I was stationed at the other hospital.”

Yoongi nodded, turning once more to Jin. “Nice to meet you Corporal. Thank you for taking care of my friend here.” He paused, glancing at you. “I know she can be a bit of a pain in the ass.”

“Hey!” You protested, smacking him on his good arm lightly.

Jin laughed at the interaction between the two of you. “It was my pleasure, and she was only slightly a pain in the ass by my observation.”

You turned to look at Jin in shock at his sudden admission, his teasing smile letting you know that the tension had been erased. “I hate both of you.”

The two of them laughed loudly, amused by your reaction, until Jin patted your shoulder. “I wish I could stay longer, but I’m supposed to be meeting with my superiors in about thirty minutes.”

You nodded, going for another hug. “Thanks for everything.”

 

He smiled at you and gave a wave to Yoongi before turning on his heel and walking to the entrance. Both you and Yoongi watched him until the door clicked shut, finally informing both of you that he was gone.

 

“So who’s Jungkook?” Yoongi asked the second you turned back around.

You knew you should have expected that to be the first question that came out of Yoongi’s mouth the second that Jin was out of the room, but you were still caught off guard and stayed silent as you looked at your friend.

“Well?” Yoongi asked with a smug smile, clearly expecting an answer. “I think he has to do with that ring you wear around your neck.”

You sighed before responding. “I’m just- I’m not sure how you’ll react.”

“Are you engaged?” Yoongi asked, raising his voice.

“What? No!” You quickly denied.

“Then why don’t you want me to know?”

“I just…I mean Tae was one of your closest friends too,” You whispered, remembering the dull pain you still felt whenever you thought about the beautiful boy with the box smile.

“I’m sure Jimin knows about this guy and he was much closer to Tae than I was,” Yoongi pointed out, causing your face to fall. “Just tell me who this guy is.”

 

You hated how predictable you seemed to be to all of the guys you considered your friends, knowing Yoongi was right about Jimin knowing. You wore your emotions on your sleeve, and even when your friends acted as if they did not notice how you were feeling, you knew that the more observant ones did.

 

You sighed deeply before you answered, with a slight hint of reluctance. “I met Jin through Jungkook…sort of. When I was at the other hospital, Jungkook was brought in and I was put in charge of taking care of him.”

“Ah,” Yoongi said, pleased with the fact that you had decided to talk before he had to coax it out of you himself any further.

“I mean, it’s probably not a surprise to you since you already know where this story is headed,” you began. “While I was treating Jungkook we got closer, but at first I didn’t want anything to happen between the two of us.”

“When did you two meet? Like how long after…” Yoongi’s sentence trailed off, and you saw the apprehension on his face to bring up the one topic that you two seemed to dance around.

“I don’t know. About a year and a half?” You answered. “Well when I met him. We didn’t start dating dating until just about a month or two before we were transferred here though.”

“So what’s that ring for if you’re not engaged?” Yoongi asked. “Him staking his territory?”

“It’s just a promise,” You explained. “A promise that he’ll come back.”

Yoongi nodded in response, letting you know that he was dropping the subject. He was never really the type to ask for details, a trait that you were suddenly thankful for.

“Just, don’t tell Hoseok or Namjoon about him?” You asked him. “I promise I’ll tell them when I’m ready okay?”

“Okay,” He nodded. “You seem to really like this guy.”

You gave a small smile, “Yeah, I really do.”

“You really are dumb though,” Yoongi added. “Who the fuck falls in love in the middle of a damn war?”

 

~

 

SIX MONTHS LATER

 

Everything you had heard about the military offensive had been right. It turned out that the massive operation really had been the turning point of the war, and everything seemed to be turning out in your country’s favor. Jimin had received a medal recognizing the way he flew, though they sent him back out to fight soon after awarding him the honor. You never were able to find him, but you received a letter from him about two months after the operation letting you know that he had been transferred to another theater in the war, where the fighting didn’t seem to be slowing down just yet.

 

Jin had been promoted in ranks, suddenly making him busier than before though he still found a way to come and visit you. At first you thought that it was just because Jungkook had asked him to keep you company. However, you realized after getting to know him better that he really was just trying to get away from all the tense strategy planning that he had suddenly become involved in. You felt honored to be able to give him somewhat of a release from what you figured was a highly stratified life.

 

Yoongi was discharged about two months after he first arrived at the hospital and though you were grateful to have spent so much time with a friend from home, you were also pleasantly surprised that Jin and Yoongi seemed to get along. On the rare occasions that the three of you were together, the two of them spent their time making jokes that, though you found funny, would make any bystander groan in annoyance. 

 

Even after Yoongi was sent back to the frontlines and Jin was sent to another base, remembering those couple months with the two of them was enough to help you push through the war. You had even received a few letters from Jungkook letting you know that he was alive and well and reassuring you that yes, he was keeping his promise though the two of you had not seen each other in a long time.

 

The war still took its toll on you. At times, you wanted to just give it all up and go back home, but you knew what a dumb idea that would be. It wouldn’t be fair, you told yourself, that all of your friends were forced to stay fighting in a battle that wasn’t theirs and you could just go home. It also wouldn’t be fair to Taehyung, who gave his life for a war that he should have never been in. It almost felt like you would be betraying his memory, to give up the war and go back home.

 

But, oh how much you hated the war. It seemed senseless to you, to lose a countless amount of lives so that governments could fight about ideologies and establish their dominance over one another. You hated listening to the screams of pain on a daily basis, though you handled it better than other people. How could anyone really ever feel at home in a war?

 

The war was winding down however. You knew at this point it was just a matter of waiting for the official surrender from the enemy countries. The fighting that did occur seemed to be last ditch efforts and now the hospital had been turned into one that was caring for the liberated prisoners of war.

 

The man you were treating in front of you had finally gone to sleep. You stared at his skinny body, in disbelief as to how a human being could be so starved yet still survive, there had to be some amazing will to keep him holding on to his life. As more camps controlled by the enemy were liberated, more horror stories about the torture they put people through began circulating, and you began to witness these things firsthand yourself, making you wonder if the violent, bloody, loud scenes of soldiers screaming in agony were worse than the starved human beings that had now become your patients.

 

Rachel came in and walked over to you, whispering in your ear to go to the foyer. There would be an announcement on the radios soon and it was supposed to a huge one. You stood up, leaving your sleeping patient in his bed and quietly followed Rachel out to where a large amount of hospital workers had already gathered.

 

There was a large radio in the middle and upon staring at it more closely, you saw that the dial for the volume had been turned all the way up. All of you stood around the radio in silence until the president came on.

 

“It is on this day, that we announce the surrender and formal end of the war that had plagued our countries and continents for the past four years. All fighting has ceased and now we will begin the long and arduous process of reconstruction and recovery as we head to a new world of peace. I would like to recognize the valiant efforts of every one of our soldiers and the sacrifices that countless others have made. We would not have achieved this without the contributions of every one of our citizens.”

 

The room immediately burst into cheers and you wrapped your arms around Rachel, tears falling out of your eyes in happiness and relief. The two of you hugged tightly and cried, knowing that you would be able to go home soon as the everyone else cheered around you. The elation that you felt in your chest was indescribable and you were relieved that you wouldn’t have to see the violent scenes of war soon, as well as be able to see your parents.

 

You would have your friends with you once more all in the same place once again soon and there would be two more additions with Jungkook and Jin. You didn’t think about the missing place for Taehyung, refusing to let the thought enter your mind as you celebrated the end of the war with Rachel and the rest of the nurses.

 

~

 

TWO MONTHS LATER

 

Your alarm clock rang out and you groaned, slamming your hand on the top of the clock to turn it off and sitting up. You had been home for a week and you were still adjusting to your old room. You looked around at all the pictures on your wall with all of your friends, looking at Taehyung’s bright smile every single time.

 

It was a bittersweet feeling though, to look at all of the photos. You remembered the way you felt about Taehyung, and probably still did, even though he was gone. All the photos on the wall only reminded you of those feelings, serving as a stark reminder of what could have been.

 

Jimin and Namjoon had arrived home a few weeks before you, on the first round of troops to be sent home. Hoseok, Yoongi, Jin, and Jungkook were all still abroad however, helping out with the reconstruction of many of the destroyed cities. Though you were impatient to see Jungkook, before you left you had received a letter from him saying that when he was finally discharged he would spend about a month at home with his mom before coming to see you in your hometown.  You understood why, though you hated the fact that he lived across the country from you. The two of you would be leaving war to enter into a long-distance relationship, which had you feeling somewhat anxious.

 

You slowly got out of bed and walked over to get a change of clothes before taking a shower, thinking about the fact that you would be visiting Taehyung’s mom today. When you first got back home, there was an entire welcoming party waiting for you, including Jimin and Namjoon who you hadn’t seen in years either. Among them was Taehyung’s parents, who pulled you in for a hug as if you were their own daughter before his mom begun to cry. Shortly thereafter, your parents suggested that you visit them once you were settled back home, and so you promised to visit them as soon as you could.

 

However, you were anxious about everything. As you slowly got ready, you wondered whether you should tell her about Jungkook, but now you freely wore the ring on your finger or as a chain whenever the mood struck you, the question would come up regardless of whether you brought it up yourself.

 

And that was exactly what occurred as you sat in Taehyung’s living room.  You looked around and saw the one portrait they had of Taehyung in his military uniform in a large frame above the mantle. You had never seen him wearing the uniform in person and looking at the photo only made your heart heavy. Taehyung’s dad had gone to work, so it was just you and his mother sitting on the couch across from you. The tea she had set for you stayed untouched as you continued to stare at the photo.

 

“He looked handsome didn’t he? I wish I had seen it myself,” his mom remarked. “Did you ever see it?”

You shook your head, and began to play with the ring that you had on your finger out of sheer nervousness.

“What about the other boys? Did you get a chance to see them in their military uniforms?” she asked.

“Yes, but only Yoongi. Namjoon and Jimin haven’t worn their uniforms since I got back and I haven’t seen Hoseok since the war started,” You explained quietly.

“They must have looked so handsome,” she remarked, making you nod. The uniform did fit Yoongi well the few times that you saw him in it.

“Did you make any new friends while you were over there? It must have been hard not to have any of the boys, I know they were your entire world.”

You nodded. “I made a couple new friends. One of them was a nurse, her name was Rachel.”

“Why did she volunteer?” She asked.

“Her fiancé had been drafted so she followed him,” you answered in a soft voice.

“I wonder, if Taehyungie had still been with us if you two would be in a similar position too,” she whispered, her voice choking up.

 

You sucked in a deep breath, the simple ring that rested on your finger suddenly weighing a thousand pounds. It wasn’t like you were engaged, but just the simple promise meant that Jungkook meant a lot more to you than most other people and you weren’t exactly sure just how Taehyung’s mom would take the news. You told your parents about Jungkook your second night back home, sparing them from having to ask any questions about the ring that looked like an engagement ring. They seemed happy for you, almost relieved that you weren’t still preventing yourself from doing things in memory of Taehyung.

 

“He loved you so much you know,” she added in a low voice, only making you feel more guilty as you attempted to cover the ring.

“I know, I did too,” you whispered, feeling almost guilty at your admission.

“I can see you hiding that ring you know,” she replied, a smile that looked like it was hiding some pain behind it present on her face. “Who is he?”

Your eyes opened wide, unsure of how to answer.

“Sweetie, I know how much you loved my son. Another girl wouldn’t have stuck around for so long, watching him date all those other girls. I would have been more worried if you hadn’t fallen for someone else.” You sighed and looked down. “If you fell for him, I’m sure he must be a wonderful boy.”

“He really is,” you said softly, a small smile threatening to form.

“Well where is he then?” She asked in an attempt to defuse the slight tension.

“He’s still abroad, helping with the reconstruction,” You explained, trying to ignore Taehyung’s photos all around the living room. “He gets discharged in a few weeks and then he’s going home for a month to spend some time with his mom.”

“He seems like a sweet boy. Does he live far away?”

“Yes, he actually lives across the country. He’s going to come visit me after settling down at home,” you answered.

“Well, any boy who cares for his parents the way that this boy seems to has to be a gentleman. I’m glad you found someone you care for,” she answered.

“Yeah,” you said, happy that she seemed to take it a lot better than you thought she would.

 

Another four weeks passed by and you spent them mostly with Jimin and Namjoon, helping Namjoon move into an apartment he had gotten for himself closer to the city. He was making the first steps of the plans that he, Hoseok, and Yoongi had created before the war began, and you smiled realizing that Namjoon at least had no intentions of letting the war disrupt the future he envisioned for himself any further.

 

Jimin had decided to begin applying for college, something that you did with him as you shared new study tips with each other. He assumed that the two of you would be going to college together and he began applying to the same schools as you did, which only made you feel more relieved about the next big step in your life. Your parents were worried that you were moving too fast, claiming that you had just gotten home, but you had already gotten tired of doing nothing but waiting for your friends and Jungkook to get back. You hated the idea of being idle while Namjoon had taken up his music production that he used to do in high school with Yoongi.

 

Jimin also seemed to be spending much more time with you, as if he was afraid you would disappear and because something about him just seemed as if he was tired. He had begun showing up at your house at odd hours, sometimes because he couldn’t sleep and he would just throw pebbles at your window until you woke up. Though you hated being woken up, Jimin would explain to you that he was having trouble sleeping and it had become an almost nightly routine for the two of you. He seemed a lot calmer when he left from talking with you than when he showed up at your house and you were glad it seemed to ease his nerves a little, ready to sacrifice sleep just so Jimin could be happier.

 

One night after coming home from Namjoon’s apartment, the new hangout for you and your friends though it was technically only the three of you, your parents informed you that there was a letter from abroad waiting for you. You quickly ran to the table where they had left it and sat down on the living room couch while they headed up to their room to go to sleep. You saw that the envelope read Jungkook’s name and you swelled with happiness when you unfolded the letter, recognizing his writing almost immediately.

 

Dear Y/N,

 

I have great news! I’m getting discharged a lot sooner than scheduled! By the time this letter reaches you, I’ll probably be home. I leave on the 16th of June, so if its past that day when you are reading this then I’m home!

 

You stopped reading, glancing at the calendar on the wall and realizing that it was actually June 25th, only making you even happier than just receiving his letter.

 

It’ll probably be a while before I can get in touch with you once I’m home since you don’t even know my home address. I’ll write it at the bottom of this paper for you so that you can write to me! And please do. Please. I’m going to be bored out of my mind when I’m not eating my mom’s food since it’s still going to be a while before Jin comes home too.

 

But I’ll write my home phone number at the bottom okay? And you can call me as soon as you can so that I can finally hear your voice again. It’s been so long since I heard it that I’ll probably yell in happiness.

 

I think I’ll be able to visit you around mid-July. Does that sound alright with you? Just thinking about seeing you once again makes me so excited. You’re still wearing the ring right? You better be!

 

But really though, I miss you so much. I can’t wait to see you and feel you again. I love you.

 

You hugged the paper in your hands, smiling at the thought of seeing Jungkook so soon. He seemed excited to see you and you were going to call him the second that you reread the letter two or three times as you tried to convince yourself that it was real. You were in the middle of your second rereading when there was a loud knock on the door. 

 

You put down the letter, glancing at the clock in confusion as it read 11:00 PM. Who could possibly be visiting at this time? You had taken Jimin’s headphones by accident, so you figured that it might be him asking for them back. It could also just be one of his random visits because he was having trouble sleeping again. You put down the letter on the bookshelf by the television and then you began to skip over to the door, a growing smile on your face.

 

“Jimin! You won’t believe what the letter I just received says! I’m just so happy!” You said, talking loud enough so he could hear through the door as you made your way over.

 

Jimin didn’t respond, but you ignored his lack of enthusiasm. You reached the door and turned the knob quickly, swing the door open to reveal someone that was not Jimin standing outside. You gasped, feeling like everything you knew had just been flipped and the wind had just been knocked out of you, and you were only able to say one thing in your state of shock.

 

“Taehyung.”

Chapter Text

Taehyung was seven years old when he first met you. He watched as you played with your doll, trying to land further and further every time you jumped off the swing while your doll sat in front of you. He was new to the area and you were the first kid his age that he saw that very first day in the park. Somehow he knew that he wanted to be your friend and so he stood there watching you, until he finally felt brave enough. His mother was sitting next to him, encouraging him to go out and make friends. You squealed in delight soon afterwards, and Taehyung watched you not even realizing that he had stood up and gotten even closer to you.

 

“What are you doing?” He asked when he was right next to you, only to be met with your wide-eyed gaze at his sudden appearance. It was clear you weren’t expecting anyone else to be in the park. So Taehyung spoke again, “I can jump more far! Watch me!”

 

Taehyung ran to the swing and jumped on, pushing himself with all of his strength back and forth. When he finally picked up enough speed, he jumped off and landed just past where the girl with the doll landed. He hoped that would be enough to befriend you so that you could see how cool he was.

 

“See! I told you!” Taehyung said, smiling widely as he brushed off the sand from his shorts. The little girl watched him in surprise, clutching her doll close to body until she suddenly threw the doll down to the ground.

 

“That’s not fair! You cheater!” You yelled, and Taehyung’s smile immediately dropped.

 

“No! Not true! I promise!” Taehyung frantically said. He really had just done it all himself so he didn’t know why you would accuse him. There were no bad intentions, he just wanted to impress you enough to be your friend. He looked down, forcing himself stop the tears that were beginning to form when the little girl muttered an apology in a voice that was barely a whisper.

 

Taehyung thought that maybe she wanted to jump further too, and then a brilliant idea came into his head. “I can push you on the swing and then you can jump more far too!” he exclaimed in a loud voice, showing his smile once again.

 

You shyly nodded and walked over to sit on the swing and Taehyung happily followed you. He used all of the strength his short arms had to push you, though after a while you were basically swinging by yourself. Taehyung watched you and yelled when you should jump, which you followed instantly. His eyes followed as you landed in the same spot he did earlier and Taehyung couldn’t help but immediately smile. He ran over to you proud of your new accomplishment.

 

 “What’s your name? I’m Taehyung. I’m seven years old!” He said when he reached you.

“I’m Y/N. I’m seven too!”

 

Taehyung played with you for the rest of the day, moving from playground game to playground game. He challenged you to things and so did you and he laughed a lot as he spent time with you. It only made him really sad when his mother came up to him to say that it was time to go home. She took his hand and began to lead him away from his new favorite playground, but he turned to face you once more.

 

“Hey Y/N! I think that we should be friends!” He yelled loudly.

“Yes! Let’s be friends! Bye Taehyung!” you yelled back as you waved eagerly.

“Bye Y/N!”

 

As he and his mother rounded the corner, his mother asked him in a loving voice, “How is your new friend Taehyungie?”

“She’s really nice and she’s really pretty! Mom when I’m older I’m going to marry her!” Taehyung declared loudly as she led him back to his house down the street from the park. His mom only laughed and patted him on the head and he smiled at her touch, already waiting for the next time he could go to the park.

 

~

 

Taehyung was thirteen years old when he had his first kiss. A classmate had invited him, and by extension, you, to their birthday party and somehow through all of his socializing, the two of you had been dragged into a game of spin-the-bottle. Taehyung sat beside you and he watched anxiously as the bottle spun around the middle, each time praying that another boy wouldn’t get the opportunity to kiss you. Without trying, he spent the entire game mentally willing the bottle to move past you, feeling relief every time it landed on another girl.

 

Which is why he was so surprised when he didn’t even notice that the bottle landed on him, leading to a loud commotion erupt around the circle and the bystanders in the room. It was a known fact that Hyemi, the most popular girl in middle school, had the biggest crush on Taehyung, but the fact was that Taehyung wasn’t interested in her that way. There was no girl that seemed to catch his attention at school. None of them were you.

 

His crush that had developed the very first day that he met you, including the declaration he had made to his mother on the way home was never far from his mind. When he started learning more about feelings and crushes growing up, he realized that was exactly what he felt for you and so he continued to be best friends with you so that he could be near you. The only problem was that you never seemed to show how you felt about him, or anyone for that matter. You always seemed so uncomfortable whenever the topic of crushes came into the conversation that Taehyung just stopped mentioning it altogether, even though all he really wanted to do was tell you how much he liked you.

 

He looked up, surprised as he watched Hyemi move closer to him. She was always direct so her actions did not surprise anyone in the circle who was watching. It was when she kneeled in front of him, placing her hands on either sides of his shoulders that people began to snicker. Taehyung felt trapped, even more so when she placed her lips on his and he heard the eruption of squeals and hollers in the room. He didn’t know what to do, his arms falling limp at his sides as he let the kiss just happen. He didn’t care much for Hyemi, but he didn’t want to push her off of him and embarrass her, even if she did just steal his first kiss.

 

When she finally pulled away, Taehyung immediately looked down and felt the blood rush to his cheeks. He had not expected Hyemi to be so upfront, though he knew that was her personality. There was also the slight embarrassment he felt from having his first kiss in such a public setting. He had always imagined that his first kiss would be with you when he finally got the courage to admit his feelings and say them out loud. In fact, he had dreamed up an entire scenario down to how you would react and the weather on that day. He didn’t imagine his first kiss happening in a room full of people watching, especially with you beside him and the girl who was kissing him to be a girl like Hyemi. This was just about the opposite of what he had dreamed of.

 

The game resumed again shortly afterwards and Taehyung willed himself to look up slightly, refusing to look anywhere but at the bottle and reverting back to mentally willing it to land on anyone but you. The thought of looking up at you scared him, so he focused instead on your hands that he could see out of his peripheral. He was terrified for your turn, knowing that it would be inevitable. It would take a miracle for you to avoid your first kiss here.

 

But the miracle did come in the form of Hyemi, who right before you spun the bottle announced that she was bored of the game and requested a new one. Though he was still annoyed that she had stolen his first kiss, he could not have been more grateful for her presence and her distaste of you. Suddenly that vendetta had become the greatest thing in the world to him. A few of her friends joined in on her declaration and Taehyung cheered in his mind about the fact that you didn’t get the opportunity to have a turn. He knew it was selfish of course, but he just didn’t want anyone to kiss you. No one was good enough to be with you, except for himself he thought. That was what he constantly repeated in his mind. The only thing he needed to do was actually build up the courage to tell you that and pray that you felt the exact same way about him. He was just too afraid that you didn’t.

 

Some of your classmates began dancing and Taehyung stood up. He turned to look for you only to see you still sitting on the floor. He reached out his hand to you and asked, “Hey Y/N? Don’t you wanna dance too?” He hoped you would say yes.

 

You placed your own soft hand in his and Taehyung’s heart sped up. The two of you didn’t hold hands, except for rare occasions, and Taehyung was trying his hardest to remain composed. He turned to you, noticing that you had made a face and his heart immediately dropped. Maybe holding his hand grossed you out too much and made you uncomfortable.

 

“Is anything wrong?” Taehyung asked, afraid of what your answer may be. You responded by shaking your head and pulling your hand back forcefully and Taehyung’s heart dropped again as he felt the warmth from your fingers suddenly disappearing from his hand. You ran from him before he could ask anything else and he stood in the same spot, staring at you as you reached another group of your classmates.

 

He could feel someone watching him but ignored it and instead turned to walk over to you. He wouldn’t let his hurt feelings stop him from being with you and he wanted to know why you had such an extreme reaction. You couldn’t be that disgusted by holding his hand he figured. The two of you were best friends after all. Taehyung had just taken a few steps when another hand placed a strong grip on his wrist, and he turned to see who it was.

 

Hyemi didn’t ask him any questions and instead looked at him with a predatory grin and pulled him to her, leading him to the center of the makeshift dancefloor. Taehyung didn’t fight it though, ignoring the way his heart ached at the thought that you didn’t like holding his hand. Maybe it was better if he didn’t confess to you, he thought.

 

After the party Taehyung found you again, refusing to let you walk home by yourself regardless of your insistence that you would be fine. Even if his heart hurt, he would never pass up the opportunity to spend some time alone with you. He tried to pretend he wasn’t feeling anything, talking animatedly about Hyemi and his first kiss though he didn’t care much for the girl. The only thing he cared about was whether you would have a reaction or not, but instead you listened to him and only contributed when it was required. So Taehyung decided to turn the conversation on you as the two of you walked down the street. He just wanted any reaction from you at this point, even if it was just as his best friend. He didn’t know why you had become so distant over the course of the party.

 

“You didn’t actually get to spin, right Y/N?” He asked and saw you shake your head. He looked up at the sky, wondering if this would be a good time to finally confess. Though you had reacted to your hand in his badly, Taehyung thought that nothing would happen unless he told you how he felt. His rollercoaster of emotions that he had experienced that night had led him back to the same place that he had originally started at. Making a decision, he pushed aside his pride and his hurt feelings as he tried to talk himself into confessing. The sky above the two of you was dark, and Taehyung looked at the stars wishing on them for luck.

 

“It’s okay. I’m actually kind of glad you didn’t kiss anyone during the game,” Taehyung said slowly, hoping that you would catch on to what he wanted to say. He had rehearsed this moment in his head over and over, but now everything that he had thought about was suddenly gone. He would have to improvise his speech and just hope for the best. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see you turn your head the second he finished speaking, though he couldn’t quite register your expression.

 

“What do you mean by that?” you asked.

“I just, I would have hated to think that your first kiss happened with one of those boys there. Your first kiss should be with someone you like,” Taehyung explained.

 

In his mind, he said that your first kiss should be with him. Oh, how he wished it could be him to give you your first kiss. He would feel like the luckiest guy in the world and he could live off of that memory for the rest of his life.

 

Your next question caught him off guard. “But you had your first kiss during the game. Do you like Hyemi then?”

“No! No! I like you!” Taehyung screamed in his mind, but instead he took in a deep breath and finally looked to you. “Not really. She’s not the girl I like.” He finally said. “But my first kiss doesn’t matter. Your first kiss does. I know how much you care about that.”

 

It was true. The one time the two of you had talked about how you imagined your first kiss, you told him this story that seemed to come right out of a fairytale. It wasn’t a coincidence that Taehyung’s ideal image of when he confessed to you was very similar to how you described what you wanted your first kiss to be like.

 

“You have to promise me you’ll have your first kiss with someone you like okay?” Taehyung said, praying that it would be him. It just had to be. He gave you a wide smile, masking the nerves he felt inside of himself. He had to confess to you tonight before all of his feelings burst out of him, he thought.

You nodded quickly. “Okay.”

 

The two of you reached your house quicker than Taehyung had anticipated. He stood in front of you, contemplating how he should say it. This wasn’t anything like how he imagined, but he couldn’t keep it inside of himself any longer. You looked at him, not moving from your spot as you watched him, and Taehyung began to feel the pressure. He had to do it.

 

Taking in a few deep breaths to calm himself, he opened his mouth. “Hey Y/N-“

“Y/N! Are you going to come inside? What are you still doing out there?” Your dad yelled from your front door and Taehyung felt like screaming.

“One minute!” You yelled back, and Taehyung’s heart dropped. He could tell you were waiting for him to continue, but with your dad standing just a few feet away, the opportunity just passed him up.

Reluctantly, Taehyung said, “Go in. I’ll tell you some other time okay?”

 

He saw you hesitate, but finally agreeing. You wrapped your arms around him in a quick hug and Taehyung wished it was longer but you let go and ran inside your house, your father waving to you from the doorstep and closing the door behind him.

 

Taehyung stared at your door for a moment, waiting until he saw the light in your room go on before turning and walking in the direction of his house down the street. He felt like punching a wall, silently cursing your dad for coming in at the worst possible time. He wasn’t sure if he would ever be able to confess to you again and there was another part of himself, the part that always placed negative thoughts on him that told him that you just didn’t feel the same way and that maybe he should just forget about the whole thing.

 

If it was meant to be, it would happen, he told himself.

 

~

 

Taehyung was fifteen years old when he got his first girlfriend. He thought she was really pretty from the moment she stepped into his first class of the day. He then saw her in his third class and once again in his last class. She introduced herself as Luri, and it became quickly apparent to every guy in school that she was one of the prettiest girls that had ever stepped foot in your school’s history. Taehyung definitely thought she was beautiful and was even more flattered when she asked him out.

 

In high school, Taehyung befriended a group of guys who immediately accepted he and Y/N as part of their group. Among them, he grew especially close to Jimin because they were the same age and so naturally it was Jimin that he told first about his upcoming date, but only telling Jimin that he had been asked out, not telling him who it was that asked. He didn’t tell you about the fact that Luri had asked him out and that he had accepted. It was better that he had decided to wait and see how things progressed with her before he told you and Hoseok, Namjoon, and Yoongi.

 

So Taehyung left early one day from Yoongi’s house which had become the spot for all of you and met up with Luri to see a movie. It turned out that she was really cute and though somewhat straightforward – reminiscent of Hyemi who had moved to another city before high school – he liked her. He pushed whatever remaining feelings there were for you to the bottom of his heart and let himself fall for Luri, liking the attention she gave to him. It helped that she was drop dead gorgeous too, that was an important factor in his mind. Luri was different from you, who bottled up your feelings and seemed to avoid relationship talk like the plague. It was refreshing in a way, letting himself fall for someone else and it felt like a weight had been lifted off of his shoulders. Taehyung began ditching the hangouts, spending time with Luri instead without so much as an explanation to the rest of the guys – somehow he still didn’t want you to know though he refused to figure out the reason why.

 

Then one day during lunch, you demanded to know why he suddenly dropped your group without an explanation and he was forced to confess to your group, avoiding eye contact with you entirely as he talked about Luri.

 

“What do you mean? Luri from history?” Jimin asked, and Taehyung smiled widely. The fact was, even though he hadn’t wanted you to know, he still wanted to boast to the rest of his friends about dating one of the hottest girls in school and at that moment, his pride beat out anything else.

 

Hoseok and Namjoon immediately bombarded him with questions, in disbelief about Taehyung’s news and he happily answered each of them, his ego increasing even more when they heard about the fact that it was Luri who had asked him out. Yoongi on the other hand seemed disinterested, trying to focus back on why the topic had been brought up originally but only in a feeble attempt. Whatever it was he was writing in his notebook seemed to be more important to him than the conversation that was occurring. You, on the other hand, had a blank expression on your face and just watched Taehyung answer every question boastfully but never contributing to the conversation once. He pretended not to notice your lack of reaction, focusing instead on the massive ego boost his friends were giving him.

 

You had been looking around when Hoseok called to you. It was Namjoon that then spoke, “You’ve been pretty quiet. Don’t you want to hear about how Taehyung managed to date one of the prettiest girls in school?”

 

Taehyung felt his throat clench, remembering that yes, you were still sitting at the table, listening to him brag about his girlfriend. He felt somewhat guilty, though he wasn’t sure exactly why. His mind was telling him that he shouldn’t be, yet he still did. At least he felt that way until he heard your response to Namjoon’s question.

 

“Not really. When the conversation turns to the topic of girls, I stop paying attention, and I really don’t care about Taehyung’s girlfriend.”

 

It sounded harsh. You had said it in a tone of voice that Taehyung rarely heard from you, one that definitely made clear your distaste for the topic of conversation. But Taehyung also felt hurt. You were his best friend, yet you didn’t care about his love life and someone who had become an important figure to him?

 

The table fell quiet after your response, but as if by some divine intervention, the bell signaling the end of lunch rang at that exact moment, giving your group of friends enough of an excuse to get up without making the moment any more awkward.

 

Taehyung didn’t say goodbye to anyone. His pride was hurt – at least he thought it was his pride. But then he felt a hand take hold of his arm and he looked up and saw you looking worried.

 

“I’m sorry. I’m not really having a good day today and I took it out on you.” You said, letting go of his arm.

 

Whatever slight anger and disappointment he felt immediately dissipated. He always forgave you too easily, it was ridiculous. “It’s okay. I have to be on time to class, but let’s talk later okay?” He said, making a mental note to call you after he got home from his date with Luri when you nodded.

 

That night, Taehyung came back to his room feeling nervous. Luri had broached the topic of them having sex and he had instantly clammed up. He knew that it would eventually happen. Luri really liked him and he really liked her, and everyone their age was doing it anyway. Yoongi, Namjoon, and Hoseok had all done it as well so if he had any questions he could have also asked them. It only made sense to have sex with Luri, but he still felt really hesitant about the whole idea though he wasn’t exactly sure why. He wasn’t sure about a lot of things if he was being honest, but he didn’t want to delve into what was sure to be a jar full of messy feelings. In the end, he still agreed and promised Luri that they would do it soon and that made him nervous.

 

He was just about to go to sleep when he remembered that he needed to call you, and so he leaned over and took the phone in his hand, dialing your number.

 

“Hello?” You said when you answered.

“Hey Y/N? Sorry for calling you so late. I- I meant to go to Yoongi’s but Luri and I-“ He began to explain, his mind wandering back to the conversation with Luri.

“No, it’s okay. Anyway, what did you want to talk about?” You said before he could finish his sentence, something that he silently thanked you for.

He paused, trying to formulate a sentence and then spoke again. “I just wanted to know what’s wrong. You seemed really out of it today.”

Taehyung knew you were hesitating. After spending the last 8 years as your best friend, he knew that you didn’t like to talk about your feelings. “There’s just a lot of things going on right now. I have too many thoughts in my head.”

Taehyung frowned at your answer. It was vague and it bothered him that you didn’t feel comfortable telling him what was bothering you. He was still your best friend right? “You know you can tell me anything right?” he asked, hoping that would get you to open up, but adding something so that it didn’t seem like he was pushing you. “I just wish you would tell me, but I know when you’re ready you will.”

“Yeah,” You answered. “Hey Tae?”

“Yes?”

“Promise me that we’ll always be friends and that nothing will ever change between the two of us?” You asked, and Taehyung heard your voice crack.

He smiled a little bit, feeling relieved that you still wanted to be his friend but feeling a slight tinge of pain at the thought of nothing ever changing between the two of you. He decided on an answer to lift the mood up and said, “You already know the answer to that. We’ll always be friends until we’re both really old and really senile and can’t even control our own bowel movements anymore.”

He gave a soft laugh, even more so when you answered, “That’s really gross Tae.”

“I mean it though,” Taehyung said. “We’ll be friends for the rest of our lives, through all the ups and downs.”

 

Taehyung really did mean it, though he wasn’t so sure he wanted to stay just friends for life.

 

~

 

Taehyung was sixteen when he got his second girlfriend. He and Luri had broken up a few months prior because she had grown jealous of his friendship with you. Though Taehyung spent the majority of his time with Luri, she had demanded that he cut off ties with you and Taehyung had tried to explain countless times that the two of you were just friends and that you had the same group of friends, she couldn’t seem to get the thought to leave her mind.

 

It was an ugly breakup to say the least and he had his first broken heart. His heart only healed after the consolation from his friends, including multiple pep talks by you in order to get him to come out of his room. He really liked Luri, and though he didn’t love her, he had lost his virginity with her and she would always be in his mind as a fond memory, at least that was what he told himself.

 

His new girlfriend however, was still really hot – maybe even more than Luri as Taehyung liked to believe. He proudly gave the announcement to his group of friends and got multiple pats on the back from the guys, but he couldn’t exactly remember what you had reacted like. He had noticed that you and Jimin had grown closer however, and the idea that the two of you may have feelings for one another gnawed at his insides. He could just have been misreading things, but it seemed like there were secrets that he had begun to be left out of and he didn’t like that one bit.

 

Taehyung would watch as you would rest your head on Jimin’s shoulder and whisper things to each other and wonder what the two of you could possibly be talking about. It also annoyed him immensely that you could be so affectionate with Jimin but move away immediately whenever the two of you touched. Taehyung was supposed to be your best friend, not Jimin, so why did it feel like you were closer to Jimin now?

 

He chose to ignore the nagging feeling inside of him, though he didn’t take his new relationship as seriously as he had with Luri. In the back of his mind, he expected that this relationship wouldn’t last very long, even if she was insanely hot.

 

~

 

Taehyung was seventeen when he had his third girlfriend. When he told his friends about his new girlfriend, their reactions seemed less enthusiastic than they had in the past but Taehyung passed it off as them expecting him to have another hot girlfriend. He pretended not to notice how all of them would whisper something to Y/N at one point or another during their time at Yoongi’s house. They would have hushed conversations whenever they thought Taehyung was out of earshot, before suddenly a loud laugh would erupt from you and a smile would be on the other’s face. However, it still bothered the hell out of him as it seemed that once again, he seemed to be out of the loop on something within their group of friends. He knew it was slightly his fault, spending most of his time with his girlfriends but he just didn’t expect them to continue to hang out and make memories without him, especially you.

 

Taehyung made a decision to hang out with his friends more, even though he had a girlfriend. If he was being completely honest, she was kind of boring and Taehyung had pretty much only said yes to being her boyfriend for the simple fact that she was really gorgeous and he was really horny all the time. He felt awkward about being like Namjoon, Yoongi, and Hoseok who continued to hook up with girls at parties, but he needed to get his relief somewhere – even if he couldn’t really stand the girl that he was dating. It did make his life easier though, he had seen Namjoon and Yoongi get slapped from time to time due to their antics. Somehow, Hoseok never had any problems with any of the girls he hooked up with and he wondered what his secret was. Some girls even came back to him at times, even though he was sure Hoseok would make it clear to them that he didn’t want anything more than a hookup.

 

You had yet to have a boyfriend too, which Taehyung found odd. He thought that you and Jimin might have had feelings for each other and had expected the two of you to begin dating at one point only to be surprised that it had been over a year and there was still nothing new.

 

He still thought that until he saw Jimin making out with a girl at a party that you didn’t go to, and Taehyung confronted him in a drunken state. “What the fuck man? I thought you liked Y/N!”

Jimin’s eyes opened wide, and he gently pushed the girl who has moved on to kiss his neck away. “What are you talking about?”

“You two are always together and are always so touchy with each other. Why haven’t you put the fucking moves on her yet?” Taehyung answered, ignoring how his heart still somehow hurt.

Jimin looked away for a second and then looked back at him. “it’s not like that with her.”

Taehyung was confused. “What?”

“I mean yeah, I did like her at one point,” Jimin said. “If I’m honest I think all of us except maybe Namjoon and liked her at one point.”

 

Taehyung’s eyes went wide at the revelation. All of his friends had had a crush on you at some point? Where had he been when all of this was happening?

 

“But it’s not like that with her. We’ve all gotten over it. She’s just like our sister now,” Jimin explained quietly.

Taehyung didn’t quite believe Jimin when he said ‘all’ but he let it slide. He didn’t want to cause any sort of problem between the two of them. “Oh okay.”

 

Taehyung nodded and walked away, turning back a few seconds later to see that Jimin had started to make out with the same girl from before. He made his way to the kitchen shortly afterwards as his mind filled with thoughts of you and what you could possibly be doing right now if you weren’t at the party with them.

 

He really needed another drink and maybe a night with his girlfriend to take his mind off of you.

 

~

 

Taehyung was eighteen years old when he volunteered to go to the army.

 

There had been a major attack on your country and shortly afterwards the president made a speech on national television. When you, Jimin, and Taehyung graduated from high school, there had been a somber shift in the atmosphere around all of you, as if none of you were sure why you were celebrating in the first place. The rest of your group of friends who had graduated the year prior had taken on learning music production during their first year of college, though Namjoon had decided to declare a second major in literature and Hoseok had declared a second major in dance.

 

One day, shortly after graduation, Taehyung had been sitting around with the rest of the guys around the television. That seemed to be the only thing that the group did nowadays as the war began to take an even larger presence on everyone’s lives. Taehyung heard you walk into the living room, but didn’t take his eyes off the screen, just waiting for what was sure to be an announcement of a declaration of war. He heard you shuffling around until you squeezed into the empty space between him and Hoseok, and turned to the television as well.

 

Taehyung was right of course. The president did indeed announce a declaration of war and urged all young, able-bodied men to volunteer for the military. He felt your hand suddenly take hold of his, but he could barely react as he thought of what awaited him. Nothing could change his future now, he only hoped that he would make it out of the war alive.

 

Jimin was the first to break the silence. “So what happens if we don’t volunteer?”

Yoongi let out a laugh, not even bothering to turn to him. “If you don’t volunteer, you’ll get drafted anyway soon enough.”

 “So what does this mean?” Taehyung didn’t even realize he spoke next until he was done.

“It means we’re all going to war,” said Namjoon with a sigh. “Sooner or later, all of us are going to be fighting in this.”

“But they can’t just force you to go right?” Taehyung heard you ask.

 

None of them answered your question because they all knew that you knew the answer. Taehyung turned to you and saw you begin to cry though he could tell that you were pretending to be strong. He admired that about you. He watched at Hoseok wiped a tear that fell down your cheek and Taehyung placed his other hand over yours to comfort you.

 

“What am I going to do without you guys?” you asked and Taehyung could feel his heart ache once again.

“You’ll be alright. You’re one of the strongest girls we know,” Namjoon said from the other side of the room and Taehyung gave him a slight smile. They all cared about you as much as Taehyung did and he was grateful for that.

 

The next few weeks were full of angst and fear for Taehyung and the rest of your friends. He and the boys tried to prepare themselves as much as possible, both mentally and emotionally, for what was to come. Yoongi had decided to sleep with as many girls as possible, getting his fill in as he explained before he was cut off in the military. Namjoon and Hoseok had as well, but their focus had shifted more towards spending time with their families, as had Jimin and Taehyung himself. All the boys anxiously awaited the draft letters, having decided the same day the declaration of war was made that nobody in the group would go alone to the war.

 

Yoongi was the first to receive the letter, something that Taehyung had expected. Yoongi was, after all, the oldest of the group. Taehyung had been sitting around Yoongi’s living room with everyone when Yoongi walked in and read a letter before throwing it on the coffee table in the middle and giving a breathy laugh. Namjoon took it in his hands and Taehyung watched his friend’s eyebrows furrow and just look at Yoongi in silence.

 

“So Yoongi is the first…” Hoseok said after a silence that felt like an eternity. Namjoon nodded in confirmation and Yoongi continued to stare straight ahead with a blank expression.

“I can’t let you go by yourself,” Namjoon said. “I’m going to volunteer. I’ll go with you.”

 

Namjoon’s sudden declaration caught Taehyung off guard and it only served to make him more uneasy as he heard Hoseok jump in too.

 

“If you guys are going, then I’m going too.”

 

Taehyung heard your surprised response to Namjoon and Hoseok’s announcements, but before he could stop himself, he too said, “Then we might as well volunteer too” motioning to himself and Jimin who nodded quickly in agreement.

 

“No!” Namjoon loudly said, turning to Taehyung and looking him straight in the eyes. “You and Jimin stay. Stay with Y/N until you get drafted. It’s not fair to Y/N if she suddenly loses us all at once.”

 

Taehyung knew that Namjoon was speaking the truth but part of him felt like he shouldn’t let his older friends go off on their own to war. He and Jimin would be going anyway, so what difference did it make? He watched as you began to cry, questioning why they even needed to go to war in the first place and his heart hurt. It always hurt him to see you cry. Namjoon’s adamant refusal of letting he and Jimin enlist was already an order – Namjoon had always been somewhat the leader of their group – and Taehyung knew he had a point.

 

He watched as the older boys wrapped their arms around you, trying to stop the tears that seemed to be falling from your eyes and Taehyung only winced as he thought of what awaited you in the future.

 

When Yoongi’s draft date finally arrived, Namjoon and Hoseok were ready to enlist that same day. All six of you walked to the military center downtown and waited to say goodbye. Standing outside of the gray building, everyone was too afraid to make a move.

 

Namjoon was the first to take initiative, walking over to Taehyung and wrapping his arms around him in a hug. He leaned down and whispered in his ear, “Take care of her alright? And tell her how you feel before you regret it.”

 

Taehyung watched in bewilderment, wondering when his friend figured out his feelings for you, as Namjoon let go and turned to Jimin while Hoseok came up to him, giving him a long hug too. Yoongi came next and repeated the motions of the earlier two and Taehyung began to choke back his tears. It didn’t make sense to him, the war. He knew he was going to be fighting in it soon enough and he couldn’t stand the thought of it. He didn’t see why everyone needed to be brought into something that he considered a pissing match between a bunch of countries.

 

Taehyung stood beside you and Jimin, watching the three elder boys enter the building, knowing that none of you would see them for a long time. Even long after the door closed behind them, the three of you stayed frozen to the spot and staring at the building until Jimin broke the silence. Taehyung urged Jimin and you to move, not being able to stand the sight of the building where he would soon enter. He didn’t know when, he just knew it was coming.

 

One winter day a few months later, Jimin had called Taehyung and you out to the park that had become the meetup spot since Yoongi’s house became unavailable. Taehyung had been joking with you, something he had tried even harder to do ever since the other three boys had enlisted. His method was to keep you distracted in order to keep you from being sad. The last he had heard from them was that they were all in the same unit and had just completed boot camp.

 

Jimin came up suddenly and Taehyung looked at his barely dressed state. It looked like he was dressed for a warmer fall day, not a snowy winter day. He didn’t say anything as he stood in front of them and Taehyung could barely see his face beneath the mask he had on. In silence, Jimin took out a folded piece of paper from his back pocket and stretched his hand out so that one of you could take it. Taehyung knew immediately what the paper was, too scared to take it in his hands. He knew what its contents were and he knew what was to come next. Eventually he would receive something very similar as well. After a while, Jimin let the paper fall to the wet ground and let out a chuckle.

 

Taehyung could hear your voice crack when you asked what day Jimin was supposed to show up at the center. His heart started pounding when Jimin announced that it was three weeks away. Jimin ran his hands through his hair and began to speak, “Listen, Tae-“

 

“Don’t say it.” Taehyung said. “You’re not going by yourself.”

“You should stay with Y/N though. You need to take care of her,” Jimin replied.

Taehyung could tell that it struck a nerve with you because the next words out your mouth sounded irritated. “Wait, I’m not a fragile girl. I can handle being alone.”

“But Y/N, I don’t want you to be alone. None of us want you to be alone. We care about you way too much,” Jimin said.

“And I care about you guys too. But I don’t want you to go off to war by yourself. I don’t want either of you to leave. I didn’t want Namjoon, or Hoseok, or Yoongi to leave, but I handled it,” You replied.

Taehyung knew you were speaking the truth, but some part of him wanted you to ask him to stay. If you did, he would do it in a heartbeat. “Y/N…are you sure you’ll be okay with all of us gone?”

“What Taehyung? Two seconds ago you were ready to volunteer! I can handle it! Do you guys seriously think I can’t survive on my own?”

“Y/N, you know it’s not that at all,” Jimin protested.

 

Then you turned and looked straight into Taehyung’s eyes, causing his heart to jump inside of him under your deep gaze. “Please, don’t let Jimin go alone,” you pleaded.

 

Taehyung wished you had asked him to stay, because although he was terrified about going to war, all he really wanted to do was be with you. Yet, whenever you looked him straight in the eye, you could have asked him to jump off a skyscraper and he would gladly do it. He would do anything that you asked of him, even if it meant going to war.

 

“Jimin please. Just let Taehyung go with you,” you said right after, turning to Jimin.

Jimin stared back at you, biting his lip and clearly contemplating your request. Taehyung waited patiently for Jimin to make up his mind. After a while, he finally took a deep breath and nodded. “Okay.”

Taehyung let out a sigh he didn’t know he was holding in. “I should probably tell my mom then.”

 

Taehyung stayed with you and Jimin in the park for another hour in silence. He didn’t know what you were thinking, though he was sure that you were hurting as you thought about how you were going to lose two more of your friends. He was worried about you for sure, but he also had to figure out how he was going to break the news to his mother that he was going to volunteer.

                                                                                                 

That night, Taehyung sat both of his parents down and told them about how Jimin had received his draft letter. They both looked concerned and almost as if they pitied him, making some remarks about how his parents must feel. Taehyung felt a lump in his throat and was choking back the tears. He thought about how his parents would feel, knowing what they knew.

 

“I’m going to volunteer when he goes to enlist,” Taehyung said in almost a whisper. He could see immediately how his mother’s face fell at the news while his dad’s face remained stoic, no doubt thinking about all the possibilities of what could happen in a war. “I would have gotten a draft letter eventually,” he added.

“But why do you have to volunteer now? What about us? The rest of your family? Y/N?” His mother asked. 

“I’m not letting Jimin go alone. Y/N, all of you, will be fine without me. Nothing’s changing my mind about this,” Taehyung answered.

 

Taehyung’s heart felt heavy at his parents’ silence. He didn’t want to go to war any more than his parents wanted him to. The difference was that Jimin was going to be alone if he didn’t go with his friend.

 

Three weeks later, Taehyung was back at the same concrete building that he had last seen when his three older friends enlisted, only this time he would be the one to walk inside while you would be standing alone on the outside. Your hand was holding on to Taehyung’s and Jimin’s hand in a tight grip and he knew you were just as nervous as he was.

 

Jimin turned to you and pulled you in for a hug, forcing Taehyung let go of your hand and step off to the side. He moved further away in order to give the two of you space. Jimin was just as much your friend as he was and Taehyung felt like there was something that you two had been discussing in private as you whispered to each other in low voices while you were still wrapped in his arms. Taehyung saw Jimin kiss the top of your head and he felt a tinge of jealousy run through him. He was jealous of how affectionate Jimin could be with you, yet still claim that there was nothing going on. It always annoyed him how you could be so affectionate with Jimin yet always flinch with himself. Jimin whispered something else in your ear and Taehyung could see your eyes widen from where he stood, seeing Jimin’s smug smile as he walked over to him.

 

When Jimin finally reached Taehyung, he pushed him lightly towards you. Taehyung felt nervous as he walked over to you, trying to memorize every feature that he liked of yours from the way you smiled, to the way that clothes fit on you. You were crying, yes, but Taehyung still believed that you were one of the most beautiful girls that he had ever seen. Everything about you was trying to be ingrained into his memory, every last detail. When he finally stood in front of you, you wrapped your arms around him in a tight embrace and Taehyung felt like his heart was going to burst out of his chest.

 

Maybe today would be the final opportunity Taehyung had to tell you how he felt about you. He always knew how he felt about you, even as he dated other girls but he just never believed that you would have feelings for him. In his own mind, part of him believed that you would be better off with Jimin or one of your other friends and maybe that was another reason why he decided to ignore whatever lingering feelings he had for you.

 

The two of you didn’t say anything as you held each other, both of you wanting to elongate the time for as long as possible, but eventually Taehyung couldn’t stand not being able to see you anymore. He pulled away slightly, staring deep into your eyes while you looked back into his brown ones.

 

“Come back,” You whispered, sounding pained.

“It’s you and me forever remember? Till we’re both really old and senile and-“

“Can’t control our bowel movements anymore,” you finished, causing the two of you to laugh at the fond memory.

He felt his heart warm as he said, “Exactly.”

 

Taehyung looked down at you, trying to remember the way that your eyes would crease when you smiled. The moment between the two of you was quiet. Taehyung didn’t want to ruin this with a confession. He wanted you to remember him as your closest friend, as the guy you grew up with and as someone who you could be proud of. He didn’t want you to have the last memory of him confessing to you. If it made you happy, he would keep whatever feelings he had for you bottled up entirely, just so he could have you as a friend.

 

Eventually, Taehyung let go of you and turned to begin walking in Jimin’s direction a couple feet away. He turned to look at you once, making a vow to himself to bottle up his feelings, and then turned and began walking away.

 

He had barely taken a few steps when you called out, “Wait! Taehyung!”

 

Taehyung watched as you walked over to him, wondering what you had forgotten to tell him. Then, without even giving him much of a warning, your lips were suddenly on his. Taehyung felt time stop, surprised at the sudden sensation, wondering if it was really happening. The only thing that confirmed the reality was the feel of your own body against his and your arms around his neck. He could feel your tears on the side of your face but he began to move his lips with yours, letting the moment happen.

 

Before he even realized it, you pulled back slightly and Taehyung rested his forehead against yours as the two of you breathed heavily. Taehyung was still in shock, but the feeling that had spread throughout him felt like nothing else he had ever felt.

 

“I love you Taehyung. I’ve loved you since that party where Hyemi gave you your first kiss and now that I’m actually saying it out loud I think I’ve loved you even longer than that,” you said. Taehyung’s heart begun to swell up as he listened to you speak. “I think I’ve loved you from the very first day we met at the park when we were seven years old. I think I’ve loved you my whole life and I just wanted you to know that because I don’t know what the future holds but I know that I’ll regret it for the rest of my life if I don’t let you know that I love you.”

 

Taehyung could barely speak, listening to you confess your pent-up feelings. It was everything that he had ever wanted to hear and now he couldn’t think straight. It was as if everything he had thought about was just suddenly gone and it brought him back to when he was thirteen years old. He had gone his entire life thinking that you didn’t feel the same way about him and now that he was enlisting you revealed the truth. Taehyung had always dreamed about this moment – the moment when he would confess. He wanted to say everything to you as well. He wanted to tell you that the same night he had his first kiss, he wished so terribly that it had been you and not Hyemi. Everything about it felt right, but now that the moment had finally arrived Taehyung had lost his voice, he had become a rock that could barely process the information. And he hated himself for it.

 

“Go, you don’t want to make Jimin late for his draft time,” You said before Taehyung could say a word.

 

His feet moved on their own, listening to you as he continued to process everything in his mind. Your sudden confession, the tears streaming down your face, he couldn’t bear to turn around, not when you had told him the very words he had always wished to hear. He kept his eyes on you as his feet led him away from you. The only thing that broke Taehyung out of his trance was the feeling of Jimin’s hand on his shoulder, and he finally broke eye contact with you to turn to his friend who had seen the entire scene unfold in front of his eyes. He followed Jimin to the door of the army building and watched as he pushed it open. Jimin turned to you and gave you a wave before stepping inside.

 

Taehyung on the other hand stood in front and turned to look at you one more time, his expression turning into one of disappointment for not telling you what you wanted to hear as well. Inside his mind, he was berating himself for suddenly going quiet when he felt the exact same way that you did. While his heart swelled, his mind was disappointed in himself as he saw you standing a few feet away.

 

Jimin pulled his hand from inside the building, letting him know that he needed to come inside and Taehyung took one step, feeling the cheap linoleum underneath his shoe before looking at you once more. You looked absolutely beautiful and Taehyung took one more mental picture before turning around and going inside, resigning to his new life.

 

~

 

When Taehyung was nineteen years old, he wrote you a letter.

 

He and Jimin had been sent to the air force after boot camp and now the two of them spent the majority of their time up in the air, learning how to maneuver planes and even learning a few tricks. Taehyung had caught on fairly quickly, he had been surprisingly adept to learning how to pilot a plane much to Jimin’s chagrin. Taehyung knew how lucky he was, especially as he met soldiers from all over the country, to have been placed in the same unit as his best friend. He felt like he could take on the world as long as Jimin was by his side.

 

He felt like he could take on the world as long as you were by his side as well. Everyday while he was up in the air, he constantly thought about the sunrise and sundown and how he wished that he could take you up in the air and show you everything. He thought about you when he wasn’t thinking about flying a plane, and you were never far from his mind. His previous letters all focused on his time at boot camp and about how hard it was to fly a plane – he still didn’t know how he could address the fact that he had remained quiet when you had made him the happiest guy alive.

 

So when Taehyung sat down and wrote you this specific letter, he told you all about how he wished you were with him. He promised you that the two of you would talk about your confession when he came back home, knowing full well that he would use his time in the military to properly build up the courage to tell you his own feelings for you. He also reminded you that it would always be the two of you forever, until both of you were really old and senile.

 

He was even more surprised a few weeks later when your reply to him revealed your own side of the plan. Jimin had also received a letter from you, and they both essentially announced the same thing: you were enlisting as a nurse and would be sent to the same continent as them.

 

“Fucking Y/N,” Jimin said in exasperation as the two of them lay in their beds after reading your letter. Taehyung laughed in response at Jimin’s reaction. It was rare that his best friend cursed, especially directed at you. Meanwhile, Jimin continued. “She’s gone insane. We should have never left her, look at what she’s doing!”

Taehyung laughed some more. “You have to admit she’s being pretty brave. Stupid, but brave.”

“Wonder where she gets that from,” Jimin muttered under his breath, only making Taehyung laugh harder at his little jab towards him. “Aren’t you worried Tae?”

“Of course I am! But we know that when she’s set her mind on something, she’ll do it no matter what any of us tell her.”

“I’m just worried she’s going to try to save someone and then a grenade is going to go off beside her or something. She’s so reckless that its likely to happen,” Jimin sighed, contemplating how you would be as a nurse serving during wartime. “Do they even train the girls who volunteer to be nurses? They’re going to be a lot closer to the action than most of the people. They’re probably going to see a lot of really horrific things. That changes people.”

“I would assume they do,” Taehyung said. “She’s going to be closer than the two of us. We’re above everything but she’s going to see it all firsthand. That’s what I’m worried about.”

Jimin stayed quiet for a few moments, thinking about everything. “Hey Tae?”

“Mm?”

“She’ll be okay right?” Jimin whispered.

“Yeah, we just have to believe in her. She knows what she’s doing,” Taehyung answered, hoping he was right.

 

~

 

Another year passed by and Taehyung and Jimin both became experienced pilots in the war. They had flown all over the continent on missions and had come back successfully from each one, hitting their targets each time.  Taehyung was the better pilot of the two, something that Jimin always conceded though the difference in skill level between the two of them was small. Their unit referred to them as the Bulletproof Boys, complimenting not only their high mission success rate, but also their skills in flying planes and coordinating well with each other, as well as how it had become almost guaranteed that they would survive if they flew a mission with either of them. It helped that the two of them knew each other from back home as well. Taehyung knew how Jimin thought and Jimin knew how Taehyung thought. Their teamwork was impeccable and even their superiors noticed.

 

So when a highly important, highly dangerous mission was tasked to the commanders of the Air Force, Taehyung and Jimin’s names were selected to proceed on the mission. The two of them were soon called to the command center and briefed on the mission objectives.

 

It seemed fairly straightforward to the two of them. The dangerous part of the mission was having to fly over a large distance of enemy territory on a limited supply of gas. It really would take two skilled pilots to do the mission, that much Taehyung could tell. The commanders explained that the mission would take place overnight and that the planned route did not have any large bases on ground so they would be fairly safe, at least from tanks or other anti-aircraft weapons.

 

The mission would take place a week from the briefing and both Jimin and Taehyung could choose the men that would join them in the plane to drop the explosives on the target and navigate. There would be three other men on the planes besides the two of them. After their team was assembled, they ran practice drills to simulate the amount of fuel that they would have for the mission. It really was a delicate balance and it would prove to be a difficult challenge to make the fuel last long enough. The fuel was Taehyung’s main concern, though he ignored the nagging feeling in his stomach that told him to ask to be taken off the mission. He wouldn’t be able to get out of it anyway if he tried, he reasoned.

 

When the day of the mission arrived, Taehyung woke up with the same nagging feeling in his stomach and he continued to ignore it. He got ready slowly, still drowsy from the few hours of sleep he got. Jimin was sitting across from him on his own bed, in a similar state of mind.

 

When they reached the runway where their planes sat, a few of their crew members were already waiting as well as one of the generals that would be overseeing everything. Jimin called over his crew and Taehyung quickly imitated his friend’s actions. In his mind, he kept repeating to himself that the mission would be successful just as all the previous missions had been. He would be able to go back and sleep in his bed once the mission was over. He had done similar missions all the time, this would be no different from any of those. He wasn’t the best pilot in his unit for nothing.

 

About thirty minutes later, Taehyung sat in his plane slowly driving it to align at the end of the long runway. Jimin positioned his own plane behind Taehyung’s, waiting for the order to start.

 

“Pilot Kim from Alpha One, ready for takeoff,” Taehyung said into the radio once his crew gave him the signal that they were ready.

“Pilot Park from Alpha Two, ready for takeoff,” he heard Jimin say through the radio.

“Proceed,” the commander answered.

 

Taehyung moved some switches and pushed the lever beside him forward, feeling the force of the plane suddenly push him back against his seat. He kept his eyes ahead of him, staring at the end of the runway and glancing at the meters to make sure he had enough speed to pick up the plane. Once he hit the required speed, he pulled the wheel outwards and felt the plane begin to move upwards.

 

The plane lifted higher and higher into the sky, and Taehyung waited until hitting the altitude needed for the mission before speaking into the communication line again.

 

“Alpha One on route,” he said, followed by Jimin’s similar status shortly afterwards.

 

The target was an hour away, but that still left an entire hour of staying up in the air. Taehyung kept his eyes ahead as his navigator guided him in the right direction. He could see Jimin’s plane out of his peripheral and turned once to see Jimin waving at him. There were routine updates to the commander, who was back at the base with two generals as they listened to the mission.

 

Eventually, Taehyung’s navigator announced that the target should be appearing and Taehyung surveyed the ground. In the distance, he could see a large base.

 

“Target located, Alpha One will proceed with mission,” Taehyung said.

“Understood.”

“Alpha Two has spotted target. Will proceed as well,” Jimin announced.

 

Taehyung located the building that seemed to be the main center of the base and ordered his crew to get ready to drop the bombs. He lowered the plane significantly, giving his crew more of a chance to drop the bomb on the target and flew at a faster speed. He could hear Jimin’s plane nearby but couldn’t see it, bringing back the feeling in his stomach.

 

When the plane reached the building, Taehyung opened the hatch on the bottom and his crew let the bomb fall freely. Taehyung pulled the plane up just as quickly as he had brought it down, his arms stinging from the force he used to pull the wheel up.

 

“Explosives have been dropped on target, awaiting confirmation,” Taehyung said into the lines.

 

A loud siren began ringing throughout the base on the ground when Jimin’s voice came on the line. “Target has been destroyed! On route to home base now.”

 

Their route to the home base was different from the one they used to arrive at the target. It was longer and took a roundabout way to confuse the enemy if they followed them. Taehyung now followed the same course that had been planned out, assuming that Jimin’s plane was behind him. They were still over enemy territory which made Taehyung feel uneasy and he sped up the speed of the plane hoping it wouldn’t do much to change the fuel supply.

 

Then he heard a loud boom go off from the ground.

 

“What was that?” one of his crew members asked.

 

Taehyung’s navigator looked out the window. “There’s more bases! The alternate route they gave us is full of bases!”

 

“This is Alpha One. We are being shot at. Alternate route is compromised!” Taehyung said loudly into the microphone, hoping that Jimin was far enough behind him that he could still turn around and go in a different direction.

“Alpha One, Alpha Two, change courses immediately!” The commander yelled through the radio. “Navigators change course to nearest ally base!”

 

Another loud boom went off and Taehyung looked down at the ground. “Anti-Aircraft weapons spotted!” he yelled.

 

There was a loud crack that from the outside and it could have been mistaken for lightning and thunder if not for the crew members’ sudden scream of fear. The flight instruments in front of Taehyung began to beep loudly and the plane destabilized.

 

“What the fuck is going on Alpha One?!” the commander yelled, blaring into Taehyung’s earpiece.

 

Taehyung looked around and saw his crew pointing to the wing outside, noticing that it had been hit badly.

 

“Left wing has been hit! Plane is destabilized!” Taehyung answered.

“Alpha One what is your location?” Jimin’s asked, his panic showing through his voice.

“Alpha Two do not attempt to fly to Alpha One’s location! Avoid the area at all costs!”

 

Another loud boom came from the outside, and this time Taehyung saw his plane’s wing get hit, only this time it was the right wing. Taehyung knew then that the plane was going to go down. His only hope was to get it to fly far enough out of the enemy’s territory. He ordered the other crew members to put on their parachutes, hoping that they had enough time to find them before something else hit them.

 

He quickly said the coordinates his navigator gave him into the line and added, “Right wing has been compromised. We are going down!”

 

“Rescue team is being assembled now, continue updating on location,” the commander responded.

 

Taehyung struggled to keep the plane level, his arms burning at the force he needed to use to keep the plane up in the air. He continued to hear the loud booms of the weapons on the ground and the panicked voices of his crew. The only other person to remain calm in the plane was his navigator, who continuously gave him the new coordinates, though he struggled at maintaining his composure as well. Taehyung’s only priority was to get the plane out of the area, something that soon became impossible when the third loud crack came from behind the plane.

 

Taehyung turned around and saw a gaping hole at the very end. The navigator gave him another set of coordinates, screaming right after as the plane began going down quickly.

 

“We are going down! I repeat, Alpha One is going down! Send rescue team immediately to location!” Taehyung said into the communication line as the ground quickly got closer.

 

The only thing that kept running through Taehyung’s mind was the thought of not being able to see you. He panicked as he saw the ground approach, knowing he never got to tell you how he felt. He ripped off the headset and moved the well, trying to turn the plane around as much as possible from the horizontal position but knowing his efforts were futile. It was too late to put on a parachute.

 

And the only thing he thought of the ground got closer was you.

 

And then the plane crashed.

 

~

 

There was an overwhelming pain shooting across Taehyung’s entire body that caused him to wake up quickly, his eyes fluttering. He unwillingly letting out a loud cry of pain in the process as he attempted to process his surroundings. The last thing that he could remember was watching his plane spiral downward, and he didn’t know how much time has passed since then. Taehyung tried to sit up, groaning loudly as he moved his body to an upright position. His bones were stiff and he could hear the crack of his joints as he moved.

 

The sound of something burning was all he could hear in the distance and he could smell it too. Everything around him smelled of something burning and the loud cackling of the fire only amplified the fear that he felt in his heart. Taehyung quickly looked around, recognizing the many shattered pieces of his plane all around him. The pieces of metal looked as if they had been easily ripped, almost as if they were made of paper. A short distance away he recognized his navigator who was laying on the ground with his face down. Taehyung tried calling to him once, twice, three times, never once eliciting any sort of response from the man. Nobody else from his crew was visible from where he sat and he hoped that wasn’t a sign that they had not survived the crash.

 

His entire body was throbbing and he could feel the blood rushing through his veins and his heart beating at an accelerated rate. Taehyung began to examine his own body, passing off his navigator’s lack of response as due to being unconscious. He refused to think that it was anything other than that. Running his hands down his body, Taehyung looked at his legs, and realized that he had a gaping wound running alongside his left leg causing him to groan. He knew right away that it was going to cause him problems in the future. Continuing his self-examination, he could see even more bruises and cuts along his arms and felt something on his cheek, though he wasn’t sure if it was a cut or just dirt.

 

Taehyung was relieved however that he survived, even as he looked among the disaster. He was worried about the possibility that Jimin may have been brought down, but the last transmission he heard made it seem as if Jimin had been nowhere near the area when the shooting began, though he could be mistaken. Yet, there was still relief that he was alive – all he had to do was wait for someone from the military to come pick him up. There was always the chance that he crashed in enemy territory, but they surely wouldn’t leave him and his crew for dead right? Taehyung continued to think this, rationalizing to himself that he was too valuable to be left in the hands of the enemy. He was after all, one of the best pilots in the Air Force at the moment and that had to count for something.

 

There was another reason why he was relieved however. Even among all the wreckage and the pain that he felt all over his body, being alive meant that he was closer to finally being able to see you once again. Being alive to Taehyung meant that it was just a small bump in the road he had to get over before he could finally tell you how he really felt about you. He would be injured for a couple months sure, but he would still be closer to finally telling you what he had been wanting to tell you since he was thirteen years old. The only thing he needed to do was wait for the rescue squad to find him. He had given the plane’s last coordinates and they couldn’t have crashed too far from their last position. It was only a matter of time before the squad showed up for him. Maybe then he could get his leg fixed and be given a furlough or something so that he could go home for a bit.

 

Yet as he continued to inspect his body, he didn’t hear the arrival of trucks nearby nor the loud steps of the soldiers that got off the truck. Soon enough, he was surrounded on all sides by soldiers who all kept their guns aimed at him. Taehyung studied the uniforms closely, feeling a surge of fear run throughout his entire body when he realized that the elaborate gray uniforms the soldiers wore were of the opposing country’s.

 

He wasn’t so sure he was grateful to be alive anymore.

 

~

 

Taehyung had been walking for hours.

 

The enemy soldiers that had surrounded him threw him in line with other captured soldiers soon after they found him, without showing concern for any of Taehyung’s injuries. He had tied a rag around his left leg in an effort to slow down the bleeding and it had somewhat worked, but the pain of being forced to walk for hours certainly didn’t help. He could still feel the blood seeping out of the wound, getting more and more lightheaded every hour. The soldiers had taken Taehyung’s boots, along with every other soldier’s in line and they all continued to walk the rocky dirt path to their unknown destination.

 

Taehyung didn’t talk much, instead he observed and was too afraid to do anything else. He watched when a soldier lost their footing and fell down, only to be severely kicked multiple times by one of their guards. There was a pain in his chest and an overwhelming sensation of shame for his lack of action, but staring at the guns the guards held only made him even more scared. This was everything that he had always imagined war to be like. He knew that being in a plane removed him more than other soldiers, but now he was brought back down to the cruel reality that others had been experiencing – that his friends had been experiencing.

 

It was nightfall when Taehyung realized what they were walking to. In the distance he could see a train stopped. It’s online was barely visible in the moonlight, only the lamps along the station gave any sign that there was something in the distance. He wasn’t the only one who noticed, soon afterwards there were slight whispers among other solders talking about the train and wondering where the train would take them to.

 

“Maybe it’s going to take us to the border and exchange us for their soldiers,” one of them optimistically said. Taehyung only wanted to laugh. He didn’t believe that was where they were heading, not after they had forced all of them to walk barefoot. There were cuts all along the bottom of his feet and he could feel the blood. He saw the bloody footsteps of the soldiers he was following and he imagined that his own feet had fared no better, at least they felt like they hadn’t. There was a certain cruelty to the way they were being treated that told Taehyung that they weren’t headed to a nice resort by the beach.

 

Their group was also starving. He heard the muttered remarks the other soldiers made whenever the guards were out of earshot, many of them turning to Taehyung himself and asking him if he had any food on him. Taehyung was hungry too, but as the last to be forced into the group, he had no idea how long the others had been in captivity for. They could very well have been starving for days.

 

Taehyung was still lost in thought when they arrived at the train where there were even more soldiers already waiting for them. He noticed that there were actually two trains, both headed in the same direction. Before he could wonder why, Taehyung and the rest of the captives were forced into a single file line, bumping into each other as they got into the line their guards wanted. One by one, the guards began to walk down the line giving them a quick inspection and asking them a few questions. Taehyung was anxious as the guard moved closer and closer to him, watching him out of the corner of his eye.

 

“Name.” said the guard when he finally reached Taehyung.

“Kim Taehyung.”

“Rank.”

“Pilot.”

“Age.”

“Twenty.”

 

The guard gave him a once over and then moved on to the next person while another guard grabbed his arm and pushed him towards the train on the right. Taehyung stumbled as he was pushed up the ramp but managed to balance himself eventually, walking inside and seeing a large amount of captured soldiers already standing against the walls. They all had fear in their eyes and Taehyung was sure that he did as well. He quickly moved to stand below a window, noticing for the first time that the wooden car did not have any seats or much of anything else. The windows were high up, close to the ceiling and were covered with bars though they let in a small amount of light and air. He noticed there were buckets along the floor and wondered what they were for, until someone groaned in disgust when they saw what was inside and everyone realized they were supposed to be their toilets. Taehyung watched as the car slowly began to fill up more and more, realizing for the first time that they were all getting pushed together to fit as many people as possible.

 

When the train finally began to move, Taehyung was pressed up against the wall with only standing room around him. The guards had locked them inside the train car, and the window was too high up and too small for anyone to be able to see through or climb out of. It smelled of sweat and a mixture of other bodily fluids that Taehyung preferred not to think about, fighting the urge to gag whenever he thought of it. They were being hauled off worse than cattle, Taehyung thought.

 

Through the window, the only thing he was able to see was the sky, and he could see it slowly getting darker as the night progressed. Taehyung wondered where you were, if you were thinking of him. He could feel his heart ache at the thought of what was in store for him. All he wanted to do was be with you, but instead he was now being taken to some unknown destination where, if the journey to the trains was any indication, he would suffer more than any normal person should.

 

Taehyung didn’t think it was possible for someone to fall asleep while standing up, but he found himself waking up the next day still against the wall. His leg was stinging and he knew none of this would be good for his wound. He needed to protect it as much as possible, knowing that he wouldn’t be able to clean it anytime soon. The problem was that it was impossible to protect it at all, he could barely move.

 

People around him began to stir a few minutes later, some of the men groaning when they realized that they were still moving. Nobody was sure if the train had ever stopped throughout the night, and though Taehyung could see the sky from his spot underneath the window, his sense of time had already begun to deteriorate.

 

The train ride slowly turned into a pattern. They would sleep, wake up, complain about being hungry, complain about the foul smell, someone would guess as to how long they’ve been on the train for, then they would go back to complaining until people began to fall asleep. Taehyung was sure that he would go crazy listening to the people complain in the train car. He knew it smelled bad and he knew that he would probably kill for a chance to sit down, but he was just glad that whenever the day outside the car was windy, there would be a small breeze that would sneak through the window and that breeze was enough to keep him sane.

 

It was on the fourth day inside the train when the first person collapsed. They had only been awake for a few minutes when there was a sudden commotion from the other side of the train car. Though Taehyung was taller than many of the guys beside him, he still found it difficult to figure out what was going on, only that suddenly everyone was being pushed back. Taehyung placed all his strength into making his body as frigid as possible, almost ensuring that he didn’t lose his position next to the window, even while everyone else tried to make room for the soldiers who were causing all the noise.

 

The people who were at the source of the commotion began yelling out a name over and over, shaking the shoulders of someone who Taehyung assumed had fallen on the floor. A few minutes later, a discussion erupted about what to do with the people who collapsed. Taehyung blocked them out of his head and focused on the window above him, wishing that the train ride would end soon. He knew they probably would witness more people collapsing and it was something that he didn’t want to think about just yet.

 

On the fifth day, he finally got his wish. Taehyung didn’t think it could get any worse than the days-long train ride. There was nothing he had experienced previously in his life that could compare to the ride he thought. He fell to the ground out of sheer happiness to finally feel the outside air until an enemy solder kicked him in his stomach and pulled him up roughly, reminding him to the cruel reality he was now living in. He was shoved into a line with the other captured soldiers and they began walking through a small town. He looked around, as the civilians began yelling at them and spitting at them in anger and disgust. There was no way that Taehyung could figure out just what they were yelling out, but just from their body language and actions he could tell that they weren’t exactly the friendliest people.

 

They walked for a few more hours and Taehyung felt like his legs would give out any minute. He was worried about the gash on his leg, praying that it had not gotten infected. He didn’t even know if the wound had closed yet, he just really wished it was.

 

Taehyung looked to the distance, wondering where they were taking him when he began to see the beginnings of a cluster of buildings. They slowly came into view and Taehyung heard the gasps of some of the soldiers. He saw that the buildings were surrounded by high fences and as he got closer he saw that they were made of barbed wire. A few minutes later, he noticed the batteries and generators along the fences. Not only were they made of barbed wire, they were electric too. He was still taking in the sight of the camp when they arrived, still trying to comprehend the purpose of the location.

 

The group was led inside the camp, the large gates closing behind the last few and closing the door on Taehyung’s freedom. He was not sure if he would ever be able to get out this place and once again he wasn’t sure he was grateful to have survived the plane crash.

 

Once again, they were pulled into a single file line in front of one of six tables. Taehyung slowly got into one of the middle lines and waited to see what would happen next. Behind him, a soldier spoke.

 

“How old are you?” he asked Taehyung.

“Twenty,” he answered.

“Okay good, I hear if someone is too old or too young they get killed on the spot.”

Taehyung didn’t respond. He didn’t know how he could respond. Why would they get killed right away?

“What’s your name?” the soldier asked.

“Kim Taehyung.”

“Moon Sungwoo,” he answered in response. “I heard that you need to get sent to the right. The right is life, the left is death. That’s what I heard.”

Taehyung didn’t know what he meant and he hoped he wouldn’t find out.

 

Just then, people began to come out of the buildings all at once. Men dressed in white lab coats, seemingly doctors, walked to the tables they were currently waiting in front of with a look of apathy on each one of their faces. But they weren’t the ones who caused Taehyung the most shock.

 

In the distance, he saw people dressed in what looked like striped pajamas walking slowly to another location. They were extremely thin, quite possibly the skinniest people that Taehyung had ever seen. They made no conversation to each other and the only noise coming from them was the slight shuffle of their clothing and their feet. Taehyung was watching them when one turned and looked directly at him, and he saw their faces. Their eyes looked as if they were going to fall out of their sockets, looking disproportionately big compared to the rest of their face that was extremely thin. Their pinched faces gave Taehyung shivers as he realized what was in store for him as well – if he was ordered to go to the right as Sungwoo had said.

 

He didn’t notice when the line had begun to move, but before he knew it, his turn to stand at the front came. Once again, he was asked his name and his age and position and he answered in a soft voice. One of the men in the white coat came over and began inspecting him, causing Taehyung to hiss when he touched the wound on his leg. The man told the other one recording Taehyung’s information something in a language Taehyung didn’t understand and then a guard came and pulled Taehyung forward. With the butt of his gun, he pushed Taehyung toward the right and there was a wave of relief that overcame Taehyung. Other soldiers continued to watch as he slowly walked in the direction he was pushed in with disdain as clear as day in their eyes.

 

Sungwoo, the soldier behind him caught up with him shortly afterwards and walked silently beside him as guards suddenly turned worse and worse the further they walked into the camp. Some guards began to curse at them, calling them every slur they could think of, while others simply hit them with the butts of their guns and spit at them on the off chance that someone was knocked down to the ground. Taehyung didn’t know what to think or how to react, he was too afraid to show any sort of emotion for fear that a guard would pounce on him. He walked as fast as his injured leg would allow, trying his hardest to ignore the loud voices of the guards that they passed by. He continued to look at his feet, wary of seeing the faces that he had seen before he had been sorted into the right. They were horrifying and he had a dark feeling in his stomach that he could very soon be one of them if he didn’t play his cards right.

 

He and Sungwoo walked until they were pushed inside of a building and ordered to strip. Inside there were others who had already undressed sitting on benches and filled with fear visible in their eyes. Taehyung heard mutterings of “gas chambers” and “crematoriums” but did not understand what exactly they were talking about. Beside him, Sungwoo was also muttering something to himself but Taehyung didn’t want to ask what it was about. He unbuttoned his uniform slowly, placing the majority of his weight on his good leg. It seemed that the rest of the soldiers around him knew more than he did, yet no one seemed to let in Taehyung on the secret, not even Sungwoo who seemed to have attached himself to Taehyung since they walked over.

 

Once the group was all undressed, a guard opened a door at the end of a room and yelled an order for all of them to go inside. Instantly, those same mutterings that he had heard from the other people became louder as they were pushed inside of the small room, yet the guard ignored the panicked voices and pushed more and more people inside. Taehyung looked up and saw pipes running along the ceiling of the room with faucets that resembled those of sprinkler systems every few feet. He turned to the door and saw the last person pushed inside forcefully before the door closed and they all stood in silence and fear, waiting for what was to come next.

 

Taehyung had never realized just how much he took water for granted until it began to come out of the sprinklers from the ceiling. He didn’t know whether to drink the water or clean himself, something that he debated about for a few seconds before reminding himself of the wound on his leg. Though it had stopped bleeding a long time ago it seemed, he worked to remove the dried up blood and cleaned it as much as he possibly could before the rest of his body quickly. He was unsure of how many more showers he’d be allowed to have, so he relished this one as much as he could.

 

When they were led out of the shower they were handed clothes, the same clothes that he had seen the people wearing earlier with the stripes but Taehyung did not have time to think, quickly slipping on the oversized clothing and shoes before falling in line behind another person. The guards led them away from the showers to a large, wooden building on the far side of the camp. At first glance, it seemed like a normal building until Taehyung walked inside and got a whiff of the air.

 

It was dark and damp, with hardly any sort of insulation to protect from the air outside – that was the first thing that Taehyung noticed. The second thing were the beds or rather a bad imitation of a bed. They were all bunk beds with three levels, reaching just up to the ceiling. It seemed as if there were two people on each plank, causing Taehyung to grimace. The third thing was the ground, or rather, the apparent lack thereof. Though he could feel the floorboards underneath his feet, the ground was thick with dirt. The guards shoved the group inside and ordered them to choose a bed and Taehyung quickly ran to the first open one he saw, making himself as large as possible to discourage anyone from trying to lay with him, a move that ultimately resulted in failure once the doors closed in on them for the night.

 

The next morning, the entire camp was woken up at a time which felt much too early for any human being to be up at. Taehyung’s body was stiff from the hard surface of the wood. It didn’t help that he had been forced to sleep on the edge of the wooden plank, leaving him in a precarious situation throughout the night. The group was led down a long path where two guards handed them a piece of bread and a cup of water. Taehyung could hear his stomach growl and he quickly scarfed down the small piece of bread, finishing it a lot sooner than he had anticipated. He was just grateful he was finally able to eat something after days of starvation.

 

They were only given five minutes for breakfast before the guards forced them to get back in line and walked them to the furthest corner of the camp, an area that was settled against a range of mountains that stretched so far out that the end was not visible to anyone from the camp. At the bottom of the mountain directly ahead of them, there was an enormous gaping hole and a large amount of shovels with other mining gear laid out around it.  The group was ordered to pick up an instrument and Taehyung grabbed a shovel that was just in reach, following the group that had already walked into the cave just before.

 

The rest of the day was spent digging and blowing up more rock in order to dig the tunnel further deeper in. Nobody was sure what they were even supposed to be looking for, only that they were ordered to continue digging until they were told to stop. The cave was full of dust and no one was given any time to rest, except for bathroom breaks. Inside the cave, there was so much dirt in the air that Taehyung couldn’t see much beyond his fingertips. Without any sort of mask or goggles to protect from the dust, he could feel his lungs filling with all of the debris of the cave, but the voices of the guards watching the group were enough to make him continue digging and ignore the feeling.

 

He wasn’t sure how long he had been digging for when they were finally allowed to come back out. The moon was directly overhead, signaling to him that it was likely very late into the night. Taehyung’s entire body ached and he felt exhausted. The only food they had received the entire day had been the piece of bread making Taehyung regret his haste in eating it. He would have to force himself to save the bread for as long as possible the next day, especially now that he knew just what was going to happen in the camp.

 

The only thing Taehyung knew was that he needed to remain alive. The guards at the camp would surely lose the war soon, Taehyung had seen all the skills and weapons that his country had and knew that just his unit alone could defeat them, but instead there were multiple armies that had joined in the fight. He wouldn’t have to wait long, he reasoned. Once the war was over, Taehyung would be free to go back home and finally reveal his feelings he to you. A few months of suffering was nothing compared to the years of happiness he imagined with you.

 

Only, it wasn’t a few months of suffering. Taehyung could feel his body begin to wither within the first few days due to the diet of a piece of bread and water. He could see how Sungwoo’s face had begun to lose its fullness as they worked together. The wound on Taehyung’s leg was healing slowly which slowed him down as well. Sungwoo had taken to pulling Taehyung along with him in order to prevent a guard from beating him or shooting him as they had witnessed already more times than they would have liked. Taehyung didn’t like the feeling of helplessness, though he was grateful that Sungwoo was even helping him out. He never asked Sungwoo why, though he would give him a piece of bread at times in a show of appreciation.

 

Taehyung had begun to lose track of the days as well. The long hours they were forced to dig messed with his internal clock. They would always be woken up at the same time, but sometimes they would come out when the sky was still dark while other times the sky had changed into the warm colors of the sunrise. Other men in the group had begun to spit up blood a while after the digging had begun and the dirt on the ground began to take on a dark red color reminiscent of dried blood.

 

Once Taehyung’s leg healed, he began to help Sungwoo dig more. He would have liked to say that it was simply because he wanted to return the favor, but it honestly was because he had begun to see Sungwoo slowly deteriorate right in front of his eyes. The once full cheeks of the guy he met before they were sorted were all but gone, replaced with sharp cheekbones and sunken eyes. Taehyung was sure that he didn’t look much different from his friend, but he just felt worse watching it happen to someone else, especially someone who he had grown closer to – even if their conversations rarely happened.

 

Taehyung had also moved over to begin sleeping next to Sungwoo, finding it easier to sleep beside someone he had grown closer with, even under the horrifying circumstances. They would often have conversations with each other in hushed tones when neither could sleep and Taehyung had begun to think of these as a necessity. Without them, he would surely go insane as he had seen others quickly become while trapped in this hell.

 

One night Taehyung softly whispered to the boy beside him, “How much longer do you think we’ll be in here?”

Sungwoo yawned, “I have no idea. I keep wanting to fight, but lately all I seem to keep thinking about is giving up. Especially after what happened today.”

 

Taehyung knew exactly what his friend was referring to. In the middle of the day, their group had been pulled out of the mines and had been ordered to stand in formation. A guard of a seemingly higher rank arrived shortly afterwards, getting off a large truck and slowly walking down the line as he looked at everyone with disgust. He shouted something to the other soldiers and then took out his gun, counting loudly, “One…two…three…four…”

 

It was when he reached number five that he raised his gun, placing it directly onto the forehead of a man Taehyung had never spoken to and pulled the trigger. The officer restarted his count from one again, and Taehyung could feel his heart beating furiously inside his chest as he watched the officer slowly move closer and closer to him. The number five landed on the person beside him, making Taehyung’s ears ring due to the loud noise of the gunshot. He felt a splash his face but willed himself to remain unresponsive, especially as the officer stood in front of him and cruelly smiled as he said “One.” The officer continued to move down the line, eventually disappearing out of Taehyung’s peripheral. He could hear the officer’s voice get closer and closer to him once again. Sungwoo was behind him and he feared turning around to check if he was alright, praying that his friend did not get the dreaded number. Then there was a gunshot, though Taehyung could not tell if it had been directly behind him or not. He found out later that day that it had been a man who he had seen coughing up blood earlier in the day. Taehyung wondered if the officer had actually done the man a mercy by ending his life so soon.

 

“It happened right next to me,” Sungwoo whispered. “What scares me more is that I was jealous of him. I was jealous that he died while I have to continue to live through this.”

Taehyung felt a pang in his heart, knowing deep down a small part of him felt the same as Sungwoo. “Just try to think of something from home,” he said instead, though even he found it hard to do sometimes as well.

“What do you think about?”

“Me?”

“Yeah.”

“I think about my parents and how my mom is probably crying her eyes out as she thinks about where I am, if she even knows something happened to me,” Taehyung answered. “And I think about her.”

“Her?” Sungwoo asked him, his curiosity piquing his interest.

“She’s been my best friend since I was still a little kid. I’ve been in love with her basically my entire life even though I was too stubborn to admit it until I enlisted.”

“Does she love you back?” Sungwoo asked.

“Yeah she does. I asked her to wait for me and I’m sure she still is. I can’t wait to see her again after all this is over so that I can finally be with her. There were too many things preventing us before but once the war is over there’ll be no more obstacles,” Taehyung said. “It’ll just be me and her, like it’s always meant to have been.”

“I hope you do get to see her again,” Sungwoo whispered. “I hope we both get out.”

 

Taehyung began to tell his friend stories about the two of you and how you grew up together, hoping it would provide some comfort to his friend. He could see his mental health deteriorating and his will to fight for his life slowly leaving him. Taehyung knew it was happening to him as well, watching captured soldiers dying all around him. Some would collapse in the mines, while others would collapse on the road or would simply just not wake up from their barracks. He considered those who never woke up the lucky ones and sometimes he found himself wishing he was one of them though he would never tell anyone else.

 

The lack of food was beginning to affect many of the men as well. Though after the first few weeks or so, as Taehyung thought, a third element had been introduced to their diet: a rancid, thick soup consisting of potato skins and other rotting vegetables. They were so starved, that even that seemed like a luxury meal to them. If a man dropped his soup, he would throw himself on the floor, scrambling for the scraps before another man dropped and tried to take them. Taehyung could hear his own stomach growl every day and night and had taken to saving the bread inside his pocket to eat at night. Other men would do the same, but Taehyung had begun to witness fights occurring for a small piece of bread, even if it was just for a single bite.

                                        

The majority of the group that Taehyung had arrived with has slowly begun to wither down and die and Taehyung began to wonder with each passing day whether that day would be his last. He continued to think about his family and about you, but a part of him also wondered what would happen if he just gave up. If he gave up, there would be no more suffering and no more disgusting soup, but at the same time it would mean no more time with his parents or you. But he had a feeling everyone had passed him off as dead already, there was no indication that he had survived the plane crash other than the fact that his body wasn’t there – but would they have even bothered to check the site if it had been in enemy territory? Taehyung was not so sure that they would.

 

Maybe everyone had already mourned him. Maybe he was already dead in everyone’s minds. Taehyung didn’t know how to feel about that.

 

As more time passed, Taehyung’s body began to grow weaker. He still saved his bread, but could feel the way his bones almost felt like they would snap if enough stress was placed on them. Sungwoo, he bet, was in a similar state as himself and he measured his health based on Sungwoo’s own appearance and how Sungwoo would comment on his appearance. Taehyung still told his friend the nightly stories, but he felt that they had become useless. How could they provide any comfort to Sungwoo when they barely had an effect on Taehyung anymore? He had gotten used to all of the blood and death. He had gotten used to the cruelty and savage beatings received from all the camp guards and officers. He wondered if there was anything that could hurt him as much as the camp did and it didn’t seem likely.

 

~~~

 

Taehyung wasn’t sure how much time had passed when he heard a plane fly overhead during breakfast one day. All he knew was that of the original group he had arrived him, now there were only forty or fifty left including Sungwoo and himself. They had survived longer than anyone had expected to in a camp where the prevailing philosophy was to work its prisoners to death. At first, Taehyung had passed the sound of the plane off as one of the enemy’s planes until he looked up and recognized the emblem on the wing. It was the same emblem that was on his own plane and every other plane from his unit. Inside, his heart felt something he hadn’t felt in a long time – hope, a feeling that seemed almost strange to him. It was only a few seconds that the plane had been overhead, but beside him even Sungwoo gasped and muttered a curse in amazement. Their allies were coming soon, Taehyung thought. They would be free soon.

 

The next day however, they were woken up at the same time. Instead of being led to breakfast the guards led them to the gate of the camp. It seemed as if there were thousands of prisoners in the camp but Taehyung had only interacted with those that he worked with. All of the prisoners were forced into four lines and every single guard from the camp surrounded them as an officer ordered to begin moving. There was a look of confusion on everyone’s face, but nonetheless everyone followed as fast as their legs allowed them to walk for fear of something else happening to them and they hadn’t been wrong with their suspicions. They all stepped out of the camp’s gates and Taehyung felt it was cruel irony that he had finally crossed the gates once again, only to still be a prisoner. After what felt like an hour of a fast pace, people began to fall behind, though the second that they stepped out of line a guard would come and place a bullet in their head without a shred of mercy.

 

There was a cart at the very end of the group, being pulled by more prisoners who would pick up the bodies of those who couldn’t keep up. Taehyung promised himself that he wouldn’t be among those unlucky few. He refused to die at the hands of any of the guards watching him, especially now that he had seen a plane that signaled their eventual freedom.

 

Taehyung wasn’t even sure how long they had walked for. The sun had been beating down on his head for so long and his mind had been too focused on the pain emanating from his feet to even pay notice to the time that had passed. It was only when the guards finally let them sit down around dusk that Taehyung even noticed that they had walked the entire day.

 

He took a seat beside Sungwoo and inspected his feet while Sungwoo did the same. He noticed the blisters and calluses that aligned the bottom, but only grimaced. Blisters and calluses were the lesser of the pain Taehyung had experienced in however long he had been in the camp for. It was Sungwoo that broke the silence between the two of them first.

 

“They’re all eating flowers and grass it seems,” he observed. “Maybe we should too?” Taehyung didn’t respond, looking around to confirm Sungwoo’s observations. His friend spoke again. “Don’t think we’re going to get fed anytime soon.”

Taehyung nodded and took a handful of grass from beside him. “Maybe we can pretend that this is actually wheatgrass.”

Sungwoo uttered a weak laugh, “Yeah. My mother used to make me those smoothies all the time and I hated them. Now I’m sure I could kill for one.”

“Just, don’t lose focus okay? We’ve made it this far.”

“Where do you think they’re taking us?” he asked. “Someone said they’re burning and gassing people in other camps. Maybe they’re taking us to one of those.”

Taehyung turned to look at Sungwoo, noticing that his friend barely even registered any sort of emotion as he spoke. “You think?”

“Would it really be so bad though? You see how they’re just shooting us left and right while we walk if we take even a step out of line. What if we just stop and let them do it to us too?”

 

Taehyung would never admit that he considered it for a second out loud. In all honesty, he wasn’t sure if he would ever get out of this seemingly endless hell. He could really just walk over to one of the guards and have them shoot him right then and there, but he just kept remembering his parents and you. Sure he was probably dead already in everyone’s eyes, but something told him to go home – that he needed to see everyone at least one more time before dying. Not to mention that he just didn’t want to give the bastard guards the satisfaction of another kill attributed to their names. He had been the top pilot in his unit for a reason and even if he no longer was, it was still a title that he thought of.

 

“Don’t give in to them Sungwoo,” Taehyung answered. “Don’t give up your life because you’re nothing but vermin to them. Don’t let someone like them be the reason you die.”

 

Sungwoo remained silent and instead took a blade of grass from the ground and began to chew on it.

 

The sun had not yet risen when everyone was woken up once again. They were all immediately ordered to get back into lines, only getting five minutes to do so before the guards began firing at those who were still out of formation. Taehyung could see Sungwoo beside him, a sleepy, exhausted face evident. He took his hand in his own, if only to have him keep up with the group. He could not bear to lose the only person he cared about in the entire group.

 

The sun was overhead when the guards ordered to stop beside an abandoned train station. Nobody was allowed to sit down, they weren’t even allowed out of formation, but the guards began to walk back and forth as they discussed something in low voices. None of them even paid attention to their group as they stood in the middle of the road. The prisoners all whispered amongst each other as they theorized about the sudden stop. It was obvious to everyone that they hadn’t reached their final destination yet.

 

At first, Taehyung almost thought he imagined the noise in the distance. It was only when the discussions between the guards got louder that he realized what was actually occurring and he hurriedly pulled on Sungwoo’s sleeve. Sungwoo instantly jerked around, clearly having fallen asleep while standing.

 

“Do you hear it?” Taehyung whispered.

“What?”

“Listen closely, over there,” Taehyung said, pointing in the direction of the sound.

Sungwoo scrunched his face up as he tried to listen. It was a few moments before he finally answered. “Is that-“

Taehyung nodded.

“The battle is really close then?” Sungwoo asked.

“I think that’s why we stopped. I think they’re trying to figure out what to do with us. If they see how the guards have left us, it’s really not going to fly with whoever’s coming,” Taehyung said.

“So then what do we do?”

“We wait. It’s only a matter of time.”

 

Not even an hour later, the guards each began to get on their vehicles except for a handful. Those on the vehicles drove off in a different direction while the ones who stayed ordered them to continue to march once again. It seemed as if everyone had the same idea because the pace was suddenly slower than it had been in the morning, as if everyone was trying to slow down enough to still be spotted by their rescuers when they arrived.

 

It was a few more hours before the guards suddenly stopped them again. Taehyung looked in the distance ahead of them, seeing a silhouette of a tank directly ahead of them. The guards began yelling at each other in their own language, leaving all the prisoners clueless as to what they were saying before they all suddenly turned around and began to run without a single word to the prisoners.

 

Taehyung and the rest of the group looked on in bewilderment as the guards left them behind, forgetting about the tank that was headed in their direction. It was not until that the tank was right in front of them that they realized why the guards had suddenly abandoned them. It was an allied tank. They were finally free.

 

Taehyung felt his knees buckle below him and tears come out of his eyes as he looked upon his rescuers. The allied soldiers looked at them with horror as they realized the magnitude of what the group of frail, thin prisoners had been through.

 

But Taehyung could only think about the fact he would finally be able to go home.

 

~

 

As they all later found out, the war had ended only two days after their rescuing. The group of soldiers that had encountered them had actually been of a neighboring country and they were forced to wait at the same spot where they had been found for vehicles to come pick them up. Some of the soldiers that had found them had decided to give chase to the guards that had run off, angered by what they heard from Taehyung and the others.

 

When the vehicles finally arrived, all the prisoners were taken to a makeshift hospital a few hours away where they were admitted. It was hectic to say the least, as people were assigned to rooms with four beds in them. Sungwoo was placed in the bed beside his own and the first night there, Taehyung and his friend broke down in tears out of sheer relief.

 

They were being fed in small increments and had IVs and other needles constantly prodded into them when doctors and nurses would examine them. One of the doctors had told Taehyung that he was lucky his wound on his leg had never gotten infected because he surely would have died. Taehyung still had the large scar however, the long patch of skin that was lighter than the rest of his leg to remind him of the event that landed him in the camp in the first place.

 

They didn’t know much about what was occurring in the outside world and they had yet to see anyone from their own country. No one had even come yet to find out their names, they were all simply referred to by their patient numbers. Taehyung had begun to get impatient for any type of information. He just really wanted to go home.

 

Taehyung could feel himself gaining strength with each passing day. The hospital was slowly introducing them to more and more food so that it wouldn’t overwhelm their stomachs, but Taehyung kept wishing for a burger and a milkshake. There was only a matter of time before he could actually go and get one. He didn’t know how much time had passed when someone finally came to ask them for their names, holding a thick packet in their hands. The packet contained the names of soldiers that had gone missing from every allied country, the officer explained, giving the reason for why it seemed so massive.

 

He asked each person in their room for their name, making a note beside their name after searching through the entire list. Taehyung felt another wave of relief throughout his body when he saw that the official designation he had been given had been MIA. Maybe that meant that his family didn’t think he was dead, that you didn’t think he was dead.

 

Another few days passed by when an officer from their own country showed up, a smile on his face as he greeted everyone in their room.

 

“Good afternoon, I am Corporal Kim,” he said. “I am here to take you all back home.”

 

Before they were sent home however, everyone from their group was awarded a Medal of Honor, corresponding to whichever military branch they belonged to. As it turned out, it was only Taehyung in their group who had been a part of the Air Force which made sense. Taehyung had been the last to have been captured, joining their group only after the plane crash. The rest had been in the army, including Sungwoo. They were told that the medal was for their extreme bravery and resilience during the war. Those who had passed away from their group were awarded the medal posthumously as well. Taehyung, although honored to have received it, couldn’t help but think that a piece of metal would never recover everything that he lost in the camp. He didn’t think anything could make up for that.

 

When they arrived back in their country, Sungwoo gave Taehyung his home address on a slip of paper, and Taehyung did the same. Promising to write to each other once they were settled in, they each separated at the arrivals gate with a long hug. It would be the first time they would be separated in years, as they had learned after some time out of the camp. Taehyung couldn’t believe that he had lost that much sense in time and a part of him grimaced at the thought of not having his friend. He watched Sungwoo walk away after they pulled away from each other, his friend still needed to take another flight to a different state, much to his disappointment.

 

As Taehyung walked out of the arrivals gate, he heard a loud scream coming from his right and looked up to see both his mom and dad already in tears. He quickly ran over to them, throwing his arms around each of them as he let his own tears fall freely. Taehyung never thought he would be able to see them again and just being in their presence felt like an enormous weight had just been lifted off his shoulders. He didn’t care about whoever was there, his eyes were only on the two people that he loved and missed besides you.

 

He didn’t even register the fact that you weren’t waiting for him with his parents.

 

~

 

Taehyung heard you before he saw you.

 

He was still finding it hard to believe that he was actually back at home, back in a soft bed with the pictures of the two of you from high school still hanging everywhere. He had promised his mother that he would wait to go and knock on your door in order to prevent you from being in shock, but now that he was trying to sleep he couldn’t get you out of his mind. His mother had seemed hesitant, wanting him to wait a few days before he went over. She had even asked him to stay put until she paid your family a visit to deliver the news, but it all just sounded crazy to Taehyung. He was still in disbelief that his mom hadn’t delivered the news to you when she had found out he was coming home, though he was sure there was some good reason for it. He couldn’t figure it out however, and it bothered him immensely to be so close to you but not be with you.

 

That very first night, he couldn’t get you out of his mind. The pictures on his walls just seemed to be willing him to go. He still wanted to see you as soon as possible, even if it meant ignoring his mother’s wishes that he wait. Before he even knew what he was doing, he was climbing out of bed and changing into a black pair of jeans and a t-shirt from his closet, clothes that he hadn’t worn in years and that felt strange on him now. They were still a bit oversized on him since he still hadn’t gotten back to the weight he used to be, but after a few months at home he was sure they would fit him better. He knew he should be dressed better for his reunion with you, but he just needed to see you and he didn’t care about anything else other than that.

 

He sneaked past his parents’ bedroom, making sure not to wake them as he closed the front door behind him. When he left his house, he had seen that it was 11:00 PM, but knowing you, it wouldn’t be too surprising if you were still up.

 

This led to a smile forming on his face when he saw the light from your living room still on as well as the light from your room. You were the only one who could possibly be awake in your house at this time of night. If he remembered correctly, your parents had the exact same sleeping patterns as his own which meant that they fell asleep really early. Your night owl tendencies had bothered him when he was younger but now he was grateful. He was glad that aspect of your personality hadn’t changed since he last heard from you and he took it as a good sign.

 

Taehyung slowly walked up the steps to your porch, taking in a few deep breaths as he wondered what your reaction would be. He hoped he would be able to kiss you once again and be able to hold you. He imagined your smile when he saw you, and your surprise at him suddenly reappearing in your life. He imagined a million happy scenarios in the short walk up to your front door, each happier than the last. His heart was beating fast and he could feel his hands shaking. Taking in a few more deep breaths to calm himself, he knocked loudly on your door. This was the moment he had been waiting for since he first walked into the building in the city to enlist.

 

He could hear your shuffling inside for a few seconds before you began to speak.

 

“Jimin! You won’t believe what the letter I just received says! I’m just so happy!” you said through the door. He swore his heart melted the second that he heard your voice again. His heart swelled with excitement as he anticipated the look on your face.

 

Taehyung’s eyebrows still furrowed in confusion for a split second as he wondered why you thought Jimin would be visiting you late at night. He quickly put the thought out his head however, there were more important things to worry about. He was finally going to be with you once again.

 

And then you opened the door and said one thing, “Taehyung.”

 

And the only thing Taehyung could do was stare at your surprised expression and wonder how he ever survived without you.

Chapter Text

You never thought you would see his face in person again. But now there it was, looking at you with an unreadable expression as he took the sight of you in. There were all sorts of emotions running through you and you weren’t sure which one to listen to. Something in your mind was telling you to take hold him and never let go. But there was another part of you that couldn’t even believe that it was actually real, that Taehyung was standing in front of you. Nothing made sense to you at that moment and you forgot about everything but the fact that Taehyung was standing right in front of you. You thought your mind was playing tricks on you, making you hallucinate, and there was only one way to figure out if he was real. Without hesitation, you threw your arms around him, feeling his chest as you pulled him closer. You realized that he was actually there. You weren’t hallucinating. Taehyung was alive.

 

“Oh my god, it’s really you,” you whispered against his chest as you fought to keep your sobs inside you. You didn’t even know you had started crying. When had this started and what were you even crying for?

 

His arms wrapped around you and the two of you didn’t say anything for a while, deciding to just stand on your porch holding each other for a long time. As you held Taehyung in your arms, you noticed that he was thinner, something that you found odd considering that both Namjoon and Jimin had both come back with more muscle mass than they knew what to do with – especially Namjoon who somehow managed to break everything he could get his hands on. Inside your head, your mind was just screaming, begging you to ask him what happened and another part was telling you that it was something that you didn’t want to find out.

 

You pulled away, looking into his dark brown eyes and noticed that there was a slight change in them. They were no longer those same carefree eyes that made you forget there was a world outside of them. Instead they looked weighed down by what they had seen, by what they had experienced. You didn’t want to think about what he had probably encountered, but you also knew it was something that you needed to know. Your mind wouldn’t let you rest until you had all the answers to the questions in your head. Nothing made sense at the moment except for the fact that Taehyung was currently holding you tightly against him and for now that would have to make do. It was you who pulled away first, catching Taehyung off guard for a split second. Taking his hand in yours, you led him to the living room and took a seat on the couch. Taehyung wordlessly followed your movements, taking a few seconds to look around the living room before turning back to face you.

 

“What happened to you?” You asked, noticing that he had tightened his hold on your hand right after you finished speaking. Taehyung remained silent and you couldn’t tell what he was thinking about, he seemed to be an even bigger mystery than you had originally thought. “I’m so happy you’re here.” You said, feeling tears forming in your eyes.

 

Taehyung didn’t say anything, instead taking you in his arms forcefully and placing a deep kiss on your lips. You reciprocated without a hesitation, deepening the kiss between the two of you as your lips moved in tune with each other. The air around you felt electrifying and your mind just kept willing you to wake up from this very realistic dream. Your heart was beating a million beats per minute as you took in what was occurring. Taehyung’s lips were chapped, but still felt the same as they did when he had enlisted in the first place. Your stomach was doing somersaults, but you continued to kiss him with as much force as he was doing with you, both of you desperate for the other after being separated for so long.

 

He pulled away first, panting heavily for a few seconds before he spoke. “I love you Y/N.”

 

It was something that you had always dreamed of hearing from him. Ever since you first realized that you had feelings for him when you were thirteen years old. You never let him respond to you the day he left, pushing him and rushing him to fight in the cruel war that you thought had taken him away from you. But now…now he was back and he was telling you the three words that you never thought you would get a chance to hear, and so you said the only thing that you wished you had said to him earlier, before everything changed.

 

“I love you too Taehyung,” You whispered back, letting him kiss you once again as you forgot about every question you had in your mind. You were only focused on one thing, the way that his lips felt against yours and the swell of emotions that had rushed throughout your body.

“I’ll tell you everything soon okay? Just…just let me be with you right now,” he asked in a voice that was almost a whimper when he pulled away again. You simply nodded, you would say yes to anything he asked of you.

 

As you looked into Taehyung’s eyes, something in you clicked almost immediately. Without thinking, you pulled Taehyung off the couch. He looked at you bewildered for a few seconds, confused by what you were trying to do. You leaned up placing a softer kiss on his lips before turning to walk out of the living room and towards the stairs. Behind you, Taehyung took ahold of your hand, causing you to stop and turn around.

 

“Do you mean…” Taehyung began, looking at you anxiously.

 

You simply nodded, wanting nothing more than to be with Taehyung and just revel in the realization that he was still alive. Taehyung looked at you for a few seconds, seemingly deep in thought, and you turned to walk up the stairs, pulling Taehyung right behind you. You sneaked down the hallway, careful to make sure you made no noise that could wake up your parents. Inside your room, you closed the door behind Taehyung as he stepped inside. The only light in your room was coming from the moonlight, but it was enough for the two of you to find your way.

 

You walked over to stand in front of the boy who you loved so dearly, placing another kiss on Taehyung’s lips lightly as if testing the waters. You could hear the sharp breath that he took in right afterwards, the eye contact between the two of you remaining constant. After that first light kiss, Taehyung took ahold of your waist and pressed his lips down on yours this time. You knew what this would surely lead to, and it was almost crazy to believe that you could be with Taehyung in this manner.

 

He slowly guided you to your bed, pushing you on it softly and climbing on top of you. You wrapped your arm around his neck and pulled him down slowly, noticing his hesitation in letting any of this go further. Your heart was beating a million beats a minute as you slowly took in the sight of him. You desperately wanted to know what he went through and erase any painful memories that could be haunting him. The demons he was battling were visible in the moonlight that reflected from his eyes and the only thing you could do was hold him and pray that he had the strength to defeat them.

 

With a small amount of strength, you pulled Taehyung down to you and kissed him softly as if to send him a message that what was surely going to happen was what you wanted. He was caught off guard for a moment, surprised by your action before he let himself get enveloped in the kiss. His hands began to move down the side of your body slowly, as if he was trying to ingrain every dip and curve of you in his mind. You let one of your own hands roam his body, noticing once again just how thin Taehyung really was. Before you could think too much about it, Taehyung broke the kiss and moved his lips to your jawline. Peppering kisses all the way down to your neck, you unwillingly let out a slight moan when he kissed your sensitive spot which stilled him for a moment. He raised his head, looking down at you with an unreadable expression that made you feel nervous. The heavy breathing from the two of you was the only sound in the room as the two of you stared at each other, each mentally willing the other to act as if daring the other to cross that boundary that neither of you had ever even thought to cross before.

 

It was Taehyung that broke first, a switch inside him flipping as he leaned down and gave you a more passionate, rougher kiss. Quickly snaking his arm underneath you, he pulled you to sit up against him. You felt his hands move to the hem of your shirt, slowly pulling it upwards as your heart began to beat faster. Your kiss broke again as you pulled your arms through the holes, letting Taehyung take your shirt completely off and watching as he tossed it to the side of your bed. Taehyung paused again, taking the sight of you in as you became more aware of Taehyung’s movements. You didn’t feel any sort of nerves as he looked at you, instead choosing to focus on your own actions. Anxiously, you moved your hands towards his shirt and gently pulled it upwards. Taehyung didn’t move, instead closing his eyes and allowing you to remove his clothing without protest.

 

After his shirt was off, Taehyung slowly opened his eyes as you gazed at him, realizing the line that the two of you were about to cross in your friendship. He pressed a light kiss on your lips, while his arm wrapped around you once more. You felt him fumble with the clasp of your bra after a few seconds and you couldn’t help but smile at him slightly, reaching behind you and helping him. You felt your bra immediately loosen and Taehyung pulled away once more, only moving his hands to the straps. You were sure that Taehyung could hear your heart as he slowly pulled on the straps, completely exposing your chest to the chilly night air and to him.

 

The two of you were idle for a few seconds, as Taehyung gazed at you underneath the moonlight that came in through the window. You wondered if he was as nervous as you were, a thought that eventually subsided when Taehyung leaned down and kissed your lips once again.

 

“I love you,” he whispered against your lips after pulling away.

“I love you too,” you replied in a breathy voice, the craving you felt for his lips and the rest of his body increasing with each passing moment.

 

Taehyung pushed you down once again, your back hitting the mattress softly. Taehyung’s hands began to roam your body once more, giving you goosebumps as they made their way up to your breasts. His large hands enveloped them as he kissed you and the yearning for him began to grow inside of you even faster. You let out another soft wail, only spurring Taehyung to move faster. One of his hands began traveling down and stopping at the waistline of your pants. This time, Taehyung didn’t hesitate and moved to unbutton them quickly. He pulled away once more to be better able to remove the next piece of your clothing, leaving you in just your underwear in a few seconds.

 

You pulled him back down to you, kissing him a lot more hungrily and gasping when his hand sneaked its way into your underwear. His fingers began to explore you, rubbing your clit and making you wail out once again. You remembered the fact that your parents were still sleeping in the room down the hallway and could hear you if you were any louder, making you bite down on your lip hard as you felt Taehyung continue to move his fingers in just the right way that only served to increase your arousal and your longing for him. His movements only worked to incite the need inside of you, making it much more difficult to keep yourself quiet. You moaned, feeling him slip a finger inside of you while his mouth began lightly nipping at your breast, reveling in the pleasure that he was giving to you.

 

Your arousal continued to grow inside of you, and you fervently moved your hands down Taehyung’s own body, unbuttoning the jeans that seemed to hang on his hips loosely. Taehyung pulled away from you before you could do more, moving off your bed in order to take off his jeans and his underwear a lot quicker and revealing his own arousal to you. He climbed back on the bed and hooked his fingers around your underwear, pulling it off in one swift motion. Before anything else happened, the two of you stopped and stared at each other, everything completely bare between the two of you. You could see the lust in his darkened eyes and you could imagine that yours looked the same. There was an intense longing between the two of you, one that had been building up your entire lives for this moment.

 

Taehyung moved towards you in a frenzied manner, slamming his lips against yours in an eager kiss. You wrapped your hands around Taehyung’s body, moving your mouth to his neck and kissing it hungrily. You moved backwards, pulling Taehyung down with you as he moved to position himself right at your entrance, not wasting any more time on foreplay. Taehyung looked down at you once more, as if waiting for you to give him permission. You nodded eagerly, returning back to nipping at his neck and feeling his tip right at the front of your core.

 

Taehyung slowly pushed himself inside of you, causing you to yelp at the sudden sensation. He moved his hips at a gentle pace stirring up even more salacious thoughts in your mind. Being with Taehyung felt wonderful in every single manner and the way he felt inside of you only made you realize how much you had wanted this. Your heart was beating fast and your mind was full of everything that you had ever felt for him. You moved your head, biting down on Taehyung’s shoulder as Taehyung began to move faster in and out of you. Taehyung let out a moan at the feeling, only spurring him to move faster and filling you up even more as he thrust deeper. You felt the feeling in your lower abdomen building up with each thrust and you bit down harder to keep yourself quiet.

 

His movements slowly began to get more erratic as he lost his rhythm, his orgasm beginning to creep up on him. He gasped, sucking in a large amount of air. He turned his mouth to your ear and you felt his hot breath on your skin causing you to break away and look deep into his eyes.

 

“God, I love you,” Taehyung said in a breathy voice and you would have said it right back if he had not decided to move his hand down to stroke your clit once again. You inhaled loudly, feeling a rush of euphoria soon after. You moved your hips in tune with Taehyung as he helped you ride out your feeling of pleasure for as long as possible. You couldn’t help but let out a moan as Taehyung’s own thrusts got faster and faster, his own orgasm causing him to let out a soft whine as soon as he pulled out of you, suddenly leaving you feeling empty.

 

You lifted your hand up to his cheek, the two of you trying to calm your heavy breathing as you stared into each other’s eyes. You couldn’t help but feel every sort of emotion that you had held for him for your entire life come to the surface. You kissed him softly, feeling his sweaty body roll off of you afterwards. You turned to face each other, the two of you still in bliss to finally have each other completely.

 

Eventually you got up and walked over to your closet to pull out a large shirt and a pair of shorts. After putting on the clothes, you tiptoed over to the restroom and pulled out a towel to begin cleaning yourself slowly. Once you were done, you returned to your room and found Taehyung already slipping his shirt on while still sitting on your bed.

 

“Did you clean yourself?” He asked, rubbing the back of his neck.

 

You nodded, walking over to stand in between his legs. Taehyung took ahold of both of your hands with his own, looking at you with a completely serene look in his eyes. It was the first time his eyes didn’t look weighed down and you were relieved. He gave you a soft smile and you bent down to place another light kiss on his lips. Taehyung stood up afterwards, towering over you and moving a strand of your hair off your face.

 

“Let’s go back downstairs,” he whispered against your lips. “I don’t want your parents to be any more surprised to seeing me than they already will be.”

 

You nodded, letting Taehyung take you back down to your living room. You watched him closely, noticing that he continued to walk to your front door.

 

“Where are you going?” You asked quietly.

“I should probably go,” he responded.

“No, please stay,” you answered quickly, taking hold of his hand once more, as if you were afraid of him disappearing again. Taehyung paused, contemplating your request before turning and leading you to your couch.

 

The two of you didn’t say anything else for the rest of the night, instead just holding each other as if neither of you could believe the other was really there, as if the two of you hadn’t just made love to each other. Falling over on the couch and never once letting go of each other, you spent the rest of the night in your living room. You were on top of him, tracing the features on Taehyung’s face, noticing the more pronounced cheekbones and the dark circles underneath his eyes. His face was thinner and it bothered you immensely as you tried to push down any thoughts of what you suspected had happened to him. You had heard all the stories coming from the soldiers when the enemy surrendered and every single detail horrified you. You refused to think that something similar had happened to Taehyung, refusing to believe that someone you held so dear to you could have suffered as much as he did.

 

So instead you focused on the fact that he was actually back. It was as if you were trying to ingrain every feature of his face into your mind for fear that he would disappear again. You never realized how much you missed his eyes and the way they crinkled when he was happy, his nose and the mole he had on the tip, his lips and his boxy smile, and everything else about him. Taehyung had settled for wrapping his arm around your waist, rubbing circles on your lower back and giving you a small smile, unlike the big, toothy ones he used to give before the war. His stare told you that he was studying you as much as you were studying him, the two of you too afraid to let go of the other in case anything else happened – in case you were separated from each other once again.

 

The next morning, you were both woken up by your mom’s loud voice, yelling in shock as she realized who was with you on the couch you had fallen asleep on.

 

“Taehyung!” Your mom said loudly, her wide-eyed expression taking in the sight of the two of you as you groggily sat up. You turned to Taehyung who was stifling a yawn and rubbing his eye, slowly forcing himself to wake up.

 

Your father came down the stairs, still in the middle of fixing his tie, “Honey, what’s wrong?” He asked, just before peering into the living room and seeing your very much alive best friend sitting beside you. He paused momentarily as if trying to figure out whether the boy sitting next to you was an illusion or not.

 

“What’s going on? I thought-“ your dad began.

“We all thought- what happened?” asked your mom, rewording her question.

 

Instead of answering, Taehyung looked at the wall clock and you saw his eyes go wide instantly. He stood up, taking a deep bow before answering, “I have to go. My mom will be worried if she hasn’t already called the police. It was really good to see both of you.”

 

Taehyung began to walk quickly to the door and you stood up and followed him, brushing past your parent’s incredulous expressions. Their minds were teeming with questions and you were sure they were all questions that you didn’t have an answer to yourself just yet. You expected that they would be ready to bombard you with them the second that the door closed behind Taehyung and that thought alone made you anxious to go back inside.

 

At your porch, Taehyung turned around and pulled you in for one more long kiss. “I promise, I’ll come back this afternoon. I just need to make sure my mom doesn’t tear the city apart when she realizes I’m not in my bed.”

“Okay,” you said, watching him as he quickly ran down the stairs and waved at you before he disappeared out of sight. The smile he gave you was almost like the ones he gave you from before the war and that was enough for you. It was enough to tell you that he was feeling at least a little better than he had when you opened the door last night.

 

He had told you that he loved you. Taehyung loved you and it only made your heart swell with happiness. Since when had he developed feelings for you? You had a million questions to ask Taehyung, none of which were answered throughout the night – both of you were too focused on letting the fact that you were with each other sink in. The most imminent thought was simply that you were able to create another significant moment with each other, changing the relationship between the two of you forever. You stayed on the porch for a while, looking in the direction that Taehyung had walked in until your mother called you into the house for breakfast. Both of your parents had already been sitting and eating at the table when you walked in, waiting so they could ask the barrage of questions that you knew would surely be coming.

 

“How is Taehyung back here honey?” your mom asked before you had even taken a bite of your pancakes.

You softly laughed at how quickly she started, in disbelief yourself. “I don’t know.”

“When did he get here?” It was your dad’s turn this time.

“Last night, as far as I know. I think he went home first,” you answered. “He said something about his mom when he left just now and he was wearing some clothes that he used to wear in high school.”

“What happened last night?” he asked again, and you could see the overprotective dad instinct beginning to kick in.

“Nothing. We didn’t talk much, I think both of us were just in shock,” you said, seeing your dad’s face relax once you answered. A part of you was relieved that your parents didn’t seem to have heard anything that had occurred throughout the night.

“Honey,” your mom began to speak in the same tone of voice she used whenever she was worried you were making a horrible decision. “What about Jungkook?”

 

It was as if time had stopped still and you were frozen in place, the mere mention of the other boy who you cared for suddenly springing back into your thoughts. You dropped your fork on the plate, remembering the ring on your finger. The very same ring that seemed to weigh a million times more than it usually did this morning. You had slept with Taehyung without the thought of Jungkook even entering your mind and it made a deep feeling of guilt run through you. Last night you had read his letter, believing it to be the greatest news you had received since coming back home, but then you completely forgot about him and his request to contact him as soon as Taehyung showed up at your front door.

 

“Honey,” your mom said, concerned as she placed a hand on your shoulder. You brought your head down, feeling the guilt swallowing you whole. “I know this must be very confusing for you.”

“I don’t know,” you whispered, looking down at your plate. “It didn’t even cross my mind.”

You felt a larger hand on your other shoulder and knew it instantly as your dad’s. “You have some time to figure it out. Why don’t you go for a walk to think?”

“I will. After breakfast,” you said softly, putting your head up. It was an empty promise. You were sure your dad knew, even if he pretended to believe your answer.

 

Once your parents left for work, you ran up to your room and took a long shower in an attempt to get rid of your feelings of shame that had come over you at the mere mention of Jungkook’s name. It felt like it was suffocating you, swallowing your entire being the more you thought about it. You needed time to sort yourself out, but you also needed answers to the questions you had for Taehyung. Without those answers, you didn’t see the confusion you had going away anytime soon.

 

After your shower, you slowly walked back to your room where you stood in the center for a few moments, taking a look at all the photos on your walls of you and Taehyung and the photo by your bed that now had a framed picture of Jungkook. Your ring felt as heavy as your heart and you were wondering whether the boy you had fallen in love with abroad would still keep his promise when he found out about Taehyung and what had happened with him. It made you feel even more ashamed as you remembered that Jungkook’s picture had been up and on display as you were kissing Taehyung, letting your bodies become one with each other. If the roles were reversed, you weren’t sure whether you would forgive yourself and that single thought made you feel sick to your stomach.

 

You dialed Jimin’s number, needing to talk to your friend who had helped you maintain your sanity throughout the war and once you were back home. If you just found out last night, it was even less likely that Jimin knew Taehyung was back. Your mind was full of questions for many people and you were only becoming even more lost in the web that you had inadvertently started to spin. Since when did Taehyung’s mom know he was coming home and how come she never came to give your family the news? Would his mom tell Taehyung about Jungkook or would she leave that up to you? And most importantly, what would Taehyung and Jungkook do when they found out about the other?

 

When Jimin didn’t answer, you groaned and threw yourself against the pillows on your bed, having to talk yourself into changing from your towel to actual clothes. You didn’t have the motivation to do anything except lay in your bed and stare up at the pictures of the boy who had turned your world upside down just when you thought you had finally fixed all the pieces. It was true that once upon a time your world was Taehyung, but when you thought he had passed away you rebuilt that world with more pieces, realizing that you needed to have more than one source of happiness for yourself. Yet, once again it seemed as if you were falling back into the same trap that was Kim Taehyung and you weren’t sure how you felt about that.

 

It was a while before you heard your phone ring and you jumped to answer the phone, hearing Jimin’s soft voice come through.

 

“Hey Y/N! What are you doing today?” Jimin asked, still blissfully unaware of the turmoil you were experiencing. That feeling wouldn’t last for very long, you thought, taking in a deep breath before you revealed what was going on.

“Taehyung is back,” you whispered, cutting right to the chase.

Jimin stayed silent for a long time before finally responding, “That’s not funny Y/N.”

“No it’s true. He’s back. He’s alive,” you answered. “He’s been alive this whole time.”

There was another long silence on Jimin’s end and you knew he could barely believe it himself. “How? What?” Jimin asked and you knew he was just as much in shock about the whole situation as you were.

“He showed up at my doorstep last night. I thought it was you and I was going to tell you about Jungkook’s letter and then I opened the door and he was just there,” you explained, the words rushing out of your mouth as fast as the tears that had begun to fall.

“Shit,” Jimin said, sighing into the phone. “What happened to him?”

“I don’t know. He said he was going to come back this afternoon but Jimin…I’m so scared,” you said honestly, whispering the last bit, finally admitting to yourself the whole scope of your feelings.

“Why would you be scared? Is he different or something?”

“He is different,” You answered, gulping as you fought to stop crying. “He told me he loved me last night and he kissed me and I kissed him back. Jimin…I betrayed Jungkook. And I’m scared that I might do it again.”

“Do you want me to come over for a little bit? Or maybe I can buy you some ice cream and you can let it out if you’d like? We can call Namjoon too,” Jimin suggested.

“Please,” you sighed, using your other hand to wipe the tears from your face.

“Okay. I’ll call Namjoon and ask him to pick us up. We’ll figure out a plan together okay?”

 

As you waited for Namjoon to arrive at your house, you slowly put on an outfit that seemed at least decent and that didn’t give off the deep troubles that you felt within you. After changing, you went to sit in your living room, staring blankly ahead and trying to concentrate on suppressing all of your feelings until you heard Namjoon’s car horn from outside your house. There was no sign that Namjoon knew what was going on when you climbed inside, his usual smile greeting you and instantly making you feel slightly more at ease.

 

Namjoon took charge of the conversation immediately, instead updating you on what was going on in his classes and how living at his apartment was going. He was clearly excited for the day that Yoongi and Hoseok were coming home, telling you that he heard from their families that they would be arriving around mid-July. Your heart clenched as he spoke, knowing that mid-July was around the same time that Jungkook was planning on visiting you. Another part of you was happy though at the thought of finally being able to see your friends again, especially Hoseok who you hadn’t heard from in months, much less seen since the day that he enlisted. Though you had seen Yoongi during the war, Hoseok had all but disappeared from your mind and you missed your bright friend.

 

After picking up Jimin from his house, you could feel his eyes cautiously watching you the entire ride to the ice cream shop. The three of you got out of the car and walked inside the small shop, each ordering a different flavor so that you could share amongst each other. You waited at the door for Jimin who had paid for your ice cream, and then the three of you took a table outside, wanting to feel the breeze of the summer air. Namjoon immediately took initiative of the conversation once again, just as he had in the car and not waiting for either you or Jimin to get fully comfortable in your chairs.

 

“So I know there’s something the two of you aren’t telling me,” he said, dipping his spoon into his cup full of chocolate ice cream.

“Who do you say that?” Jimin asked.

“Y/N got three scoops of cookies n’ cream. She only gets three scoops when something’s bothering her and you only pay for her things when she’s mad at you or you’re trying to make her feel better,” Namjoon said, motioning between the two of you. You had never even realized that Namjoon had observed the two of you so well before, learning things that you weren’t even conscious of doing. He had known the two of you for much too long, but in this case you were grateful he had brought up the matter – it saved you from some awkward maneuvering to the real topic of conversation at hand.

You and Jimin stayed silent, each of you mentally willing the other to tell Namjoon the news for a while before you finally caved in. “Taehyung is alive and he’s back home.”

Namjoon’s eyes immediately went wide. “How?” It was obvious that was not the news he was expecting from you.

“I don’t know anything else,” you said, going into the recap of the previous night as you had done with Jimin, while leaving out the details of what had occurred in your room.

 

Namjoon’s expression continued to shift as you explained to him that you just found out and that you didn’t know when his mother knew he was alive. He seemed to have taken it better than Jimin, who was sitting silently beside you and biting his lip. He seemed nervous, afraid of what he would encounter when he saw his best friend back from the dead and you were sure that your recap of the events from the previous night did not help to ease any of his nerves.

 

“So you don’t know? What about the guy you’re dating?” Namjoon asked.

 

When you had told him about Jungkook a few weeks after he had arrived home, Namjoon had taken the news really well, though he warned you about going into overprotective brother mode the second he met Jungkook. He was actually quite happy for you, noticing the ring that you had been wearing around your neck. He even admitted once on a drunken rant about how relieved it made him to know that Jungkook was serious enough about you to have given you a ring with such a promise. He really had gone into overprotective mode, and you were grateful to have a friend that cared so much about you. It had taken an enormous weight off your shoulders that most of your friends knew about Jungkook, except for Hoseok who you had a feeling would react the loudest of all of them. It would certainly be memorable, you figured, and hopefully it would be one of approval as well. Except the only problem was that now Taehyung was back in the picture and it only made your situation more complicated and you figured that Taehyung needed to know the truth before you could reveal it to Hoseok.

 

“That’s the question,” Jimin said.

“Taehyung doesn’t know about Jungkook and Jungkook doesn’t know about Taehyung,” you explained, laying everything out on the table for your much wiser friend to help you solve.

“I don’t know if you should tell Taehyung about Jungkook so soon after he’s been back,” Namjoon warned apprehensively. “He’s probably only been at home a day or two at most. I doubt he waited a long time to see you judging by his actions as you described them.”

“But if I don’t tell him wouldn’t that just lead him on? He needs to know about Jungkook,” you responded.

“He’s got a point,” Jimin said, backing up your older, wiser friend.

“I don’t trust myself around Taehyung,” you said, looking away as you felt the shame of your betrayal. You knew Jimin and Namjoon wouldn’t judge you, but just saying it out loud made you feel guilty. “I need to tell him.”

“We can stay with you,” Namjoon suggested. “If you’re not alone with him I don’t think he’ll do anything. Anyway, we want to see him too.”

“But the two of you can’t be with me all hours of the day until he’s finally settled in,” you said. “And this can’t stay a secret forever. Jungkook is coming to visit next month.”

“Just for a few days. You’ll tell him about your boyfriend soon enough, but just wait until we figure out his mindset,” Namjoon answered. “When are you going to see him again?”

“He said he was going to come over this afternoon,” you said.

“Alright, guess we’re spending the day at your house,” Namjoon said, signaling the end of the conversation.

 

The three of you finished your ice cream quickly, talking about other topics while avoiding the one topic that seemed to be on everyone’s mind. There was an unyielding tension in the atmosphere of the car as Namjoon drove back to your house, a tension that followed all of you into your living room where the three of you sat watching a bad B-list horror movie in anticipation of your recently resurrected friend.

 

Around the climax of the film, there was another loud knock on the door causing you to jump up from where you were sitting. Your head had been resting against Namjoon’s broad shoulders as Jimin had spread himself out on the other couch. Your jump immediately sent Namjoon into a frenzy as he tried to tickle you teasingly while you frantically pushed his hands away and attempted to get up to answer your door. You were still laughing when opened your front door, revealing a confused Taehyung staring back at you with his eyebrows furrowed. He had his hands in his pocket and was studying you once again, his eyes looking directly into your own.

 

“Taehyung,” you said, remembering the way you greeted him the previous night. “Hi.”

“Hi,” he said curtly; he didn’t seem too happy about the fact that you had visitors over, though he had yet to find out who they were. You motioned for him to come in stepping off to the side, which he did soon after, his steps bringing him directly into the entryway that opened into the living room.

 

You saw Taehyung’s eyes go wide in surprise as he spotted Jimin who had stood up from where he had been laying on the couch. Namjoon was looking right at him, still sitting down as he rested his chin on his enclosed hands. There was a moment of silence, the only thing making a noise was the ticking clock on the far wall. All three boys looked at each other, unsure of how to act. Jimin made the first move, immediately walking as fast as he could to Taehyung and bringing him into a fierce hug that Taehyung immediately returned. Namjoon walked over to stand beside you, taking in the reunion of the two boys who had begun to cry as they held each other. Watching them made your heart hurt, knowing that the two of them had probably let go of emotions they had kept bottled up since they were separated. When Jimin had told you and Namjoon the story of the mission when Taehyung’s plane had been shot down, he cried the entire night and you could see how much it weighed on him every single day to know that he had been the one to survive and make it back to the base unharmed.

 

Jimin pulled away first, rubbing his eyes to wipe away the tears that had come out. Namjoon walked over, giving Jimin a pat on the back before hugging Taehyung as well. You could see how grateful Namjoon was to have Taehyung back, his face showing the feelings he held inside as well. He always was the more reserved of your group of friends, only showing his emotions when he was either really drunk or it was three in the morning. Jimin walked over to you, and you instantly wrapped your arms around him and held him as he continued to sob, releasing all the pent up feelings he held inside. You remembered one of the late nights when Jimin had visited you. That one time when he had explained that many of the nightmares he experienced were of the night everyone assumed Taehyung had died, and that he often wished that he had taken his friend’s place at times when the war continued to drag on. The guilt he had felt for surviving while his best friend didn’t seemed to have taken over his life and you hoped that he managed to find some relief in seeing Taehyung alive once again.

 

Once the boys had finally pulled themselves together, you all walked back into the living room and took a seat on the couches. Taehyung sat by himself on one while the three of you sat opposite him and waited for Taehyung to speak. You knew it was slightly unfair to place Taehyung on the spot, but you didn’t know whether you’d be able to sit beside him and be just a friend. It was much safer to keep a distance between the two of you, lest you revert back to the girl who only seemed to think about the Taehyung that existed in high school. You placed your hand on your chest, checking to make sure the ring you had around your neck was still hidden underneath your shirt, a move that Jimin caught but turned a blind eye to. You needed to remind yourself that A) you were in a relationship with Jungkook and B) you still loved him more than you could possibly imagine, at least that was what the prevailing thought was at the moment. You hoped it would be enough of a defense against any and all temptations that Taehyung presented as he sat across from you.

 

“I didn’t expect to see either of you today,” Taehyung began, scratching the back of his head in nervousness.

“We didn’t expect to see you ever,” Namjoon responded, causing you to wince. Namjoon’s bluntness only served to remind you of the reality of the situation that all of you were currently in.

“Did you all think I was dead? Mom couldn’t stop crying when she picked me up from the airport,” Taehyung asked, his eyebrows furrowing once more.

“I heard your plane crash and the rescue team didn’t find any sign of you besides your dog tag,” Jimin explained.

“But that didn’t mean I was dead. That could have meant I was picked up. It could have meant anything,” he said, his voice getting slightly louder.

“Yeah but-“ Jimin began.

“Did you hear the stories about what they were doing to people? The things I witnessed-“ Taehyung stopped himself, looking away and biting his lip as he fought to hold back tears.

“Tae,” You found yourself saying. “What happened to you?”

“You don’t want to know,” he whispered, looking down at his feet. “I don’t want you to know.”

 

Jimin sighed beside you and you turned to see a look of concern as he watched his best friend struggling with his thoughts. There was an internal battle occurring in Jimin’s head as well, that much you could tell from his body language and the way he had begun to fidget in his seat. He could have been thinking about anything, but he was likely struggling as much as you were about the entire situation. You didn’t want to believe that what Taehyung had experienced was the same as the other stories that were coming out. It made you feel despondent, unable to really comprehend everything that Taehyung was holding inside. It only made sense that Jimin felt the exact same way that you did. Taehyung had been just as important to him as he was to you.

 

“We care about you. If there’s anything you want to tell us then please,” Namjoon responded, realizing that both you and Jimin were not prepared to say anything more.

Taehyung looked up and bit his lip as he considered everything. Then he slowly began, “I was picked up…after the plane crash and taken to a camp.”

“A camp? Like the ones-“ Namjoon began, before Taehyung interrupted.

“Exactly like those. It was mostly soldiers in the one I was in. Not a lot of the other kinds of people that they were targeting,” Taehyung explained.

 

You inhaled deeply, realizing the hell that Taehyung had been through. When the news started leaking out about what had been occurring in the camps, everyone was horrified, yourself included. Part of you refused to believe that was what Taehyung had experienced all those years in the war. He was too important to you and you couldn’t imagine someone you cared so much about had been suffering immensely while you had been comfortable in your own bed and your own room for the majority of the war. You had fallen in love while Taehyung was being put through hell and the only thing the news did to you was amplify the pain you already felt in your heart.

 

“They made us work all day in mines but we didn’t have any protection. Sometimes it would be 24-hour days,” Taehyung said, grimacing as he remembered everything. “I would see others begin to throw up blood after a while and we would all know they didn’t have long after. For food they gave us water and bread and a really disgusting soup once a day. It was never enough for us to actually have strength.”

 

You couldn’t help but bring your hands to your mouth in shock, realizing the depth of everything that Taehyung was telling all of you. He seemed so calm as he spoke, but you could see the way his hands had begun to shake. Taehyung was clearly having a hard time speaking about what had happened to him, but he remained composed as he told all of you the story of his experience.

 

“They would choose a random number and count off people, killing the person who the number landed on without hesitation,” Taehyung said, looking down at his feet once more. “We were all animals caged inside those fences. And the only thing they were trying to do was work us to death.”

“How did you deal with all of that?” Jimin asked, his hands turning into fists.

“I had a friend inside the camp. We took care of each other and we told each other things to keep our minds off everything,” Taehyung said, still looking at the ground.

 

There was a moment of silence, as everyone relaxed slightly when Taehyung mentioned his friend. Somehow it made you feel somewhat better that Taehyung wasn’t alone and that he didn’t have to suffer all by himself. Whoever this friend of his was, you were grateful that Taehyung had someone beside him and you silently thanked the stranger in your mind. You were hopeful that maybe one day you’d be able to thank him in person as well.

 

“I was the one who mostly talked. I had to convince him to keep living, so I told him stories. It was my mission to make sure he didn’t give up,” Taehyung said.

“Why didn’t you give up?” Namjoon asked. “Something had to have kept you going so that you didn’t give up.”

Taehyung’s head snapped up at Namjoon’s question. He looked directly into your eyes, causing you to freeze under his gaze. It almost seemed like time stopped still when the next words came out of Taehyung’s mouth. “It was you, Y/N. You’re the reason I didn’t give up.”

 

It all happened too quick for you to really register what happened right after. One second you had been frozen to the spot, with Taehyung’s gaze keeping you locked in place and the next you were brushing past the coffee table and running up to your room, knocking a glass of water over in the process. As you ran up to your room you could hear one of them calling after you, but you didn’t turn around. You felt immensely guilty as you thought about keeping Jungkook a secret from Taehyung and vice versa. It didn’t sit in well with you to have to cover your tracks with the two of them and it felt like it was consuming you whole. Taehyung had a lot of expectations coming out of the war and he had been relying on those same ideas in order to deal with the horrible realities of living in a camp. It only made you more ashamed to know that you’d have to tell him the truth, effectively burning any fantasies that Taehyung had to the ground.

 

You were sitting on your bed crying a river when Jimin hesitantly stepped inside your room and closed the door behind him. He took a seat next to you and you immediately turned to face him, not caring about whether your tears would stop coming out. They changed nothing about the situation at hand.

 

“He was in a camp Jimin,” you said through your tears. “He thinks I waited for him. I have to tell him. He needs to know.”

“Y/N,” Jimin whispered, wrapping his arms around you as you sobbed into his chest.

“I have to,” you said again, the ache in your heart growing deeper with each passing second.

“Think about how it’s going to affect him,” Jimin replied. “He’s going to be hurt. He hasn’t been home for that long; we don’t know what he’s like anymore or how he’ll react.”

“Please don’t make me keep this from him,” you begged. “He said he suffered all of that for me. I’m not worthy of that. It’s such an impossible standard to keep.”

Jimin sighed, rubbing your arms and placing his chin on top of your head. “Please, let’s talk to Namjoon and we’ll see what he says.”

“I can’t do this to him,” you responded more assertively.

 

There was a tap on the door and a click, and then Namjoon’s head appeared from the other side of the door. His face was composed, never letting on to what he was thinking as he walked over to stand in front of the two of you.

 

“Where’s Tae?” Jimin asked, loosening his arms from around you.

“He’s downstairs. I told him that you were probably just really anxious and felt overwhelmed about this whole thing. I said that I would come check on you,” Namjoon explained. “Jimin, you should go down and stay with him just to make sure nothing happens.”

 

Jimin nodded, letting go of you and giving you one last look of concern before closing the door behind him. Namjoon quickly replaced Jimin beside you and wrapped one arm around your shoulders, using the sleeve from his other to wipe your tears away.

 

“I know it’s hard and I know it’s asking for a lot,” Namjoon began. “But just wait. We don’t know his mindset and we don’t know how he’ll take it. The last thing we want is to lose him again after just getting him back.”

“I feel so guilty. I should have stopped myself yesterday, but I was so surprised and so happy he was alive. And now I feel like he’s expecting us to pick right back up where we left off,” you explained. “He needs to know.”

“And you will tell him soon. We just have to make sure he doesn’t do anything stupid. Taehyung is reckless and he thinks with his heart. I’m pretty sure that much didn’t change about him these past few years, but we still need to figure out what his mentality is,” Namjoon said.

“Fine,” you whispered, biting your lip. “But I’m not making any promises. If it gets to be too much then I’m going to tell him.”

“That’s fine. Just please hold it in until we can get a better read on him,” he said. “I know he’s going to be hurt no matter when you tell him. I just don’t want it to spiral into something even more devastating.”

 

Namjoon patted your back lightly and gave you a soft look before he stood up and walked out of your room in order to let you collect yourself in peace. You knew he had a point. None of you really knew whether Taehyung was the same person or not and it only made sense to be concerned about that first. Namjoon has always been the most rational one from your friends, thinking everything through to the last detail. His thought process always made sense and you knew he was only protecting Taehyung as much as he could from a potentially devastating set of news. All of you had to tread lightly with Taehyung until you knew what was going on in his head at least. However, it was that same desire of keeping Taehyung safe that was now becoming a huge burden on your shoulders. You had to be honest that there was a small part of you was angry at Namjoon for asking you to keep such a big secret hidden.

 

You weren’t even sure what your feelings were for Taehyung anymore. A part of you knew that you would always love him, but Jungkook was now in the picture too, and your feelings for Jungkook were just as strong as your feelings for Taehyung, if not stronger. Taehyung was the person that you had dreamed of your whole life, the one person that you had been waiting for. Jungkook on the other hand, showed up when you weren’t even looking for someone and slowly enough, he became the shining beacon in your dark world. To you, they were on two opposite sides of the spectrum. Taehyung was the burning sun, consuming anything and everything about you while Jungkook was the moon, providing light and hope in the darkness that had become your life and pulling you back up from your lowest point.

 

After spending a few more minutes in your room, you went into the bathroom to wash your face and clean up. After crying your eyes out, your outward appearance reflected exactly how you felt at the moment, but you couldn’t let Taehyung see any sign of that. It would surely tip him off that something else was going on if he saw just how hard of a time you were having with all the emotions you held within you. Once you managed to fix yourself up, you headed back downstairs, not ready to face Taehyung again but doing it anyway.

 

The three boys looked as if they had been in a deep discussion about something, one that stopped as soon as you walked back into the room. They each looked up, but you could only focus on Taehyung and the worried look he had on his face. It was unfair, you knew that much, to keep him in the dark about everything. It was obvious to anyone with eyes that he still cared about you as much as you cared about him. He was probably just was worried about you, but you couldn’t reveal your inner turmoil to him just yet.

 

You stood at the entryway and Namjoon turned to you and gave you a small smile, “We were thinking of taking Taehyung to my apartment so he could check it out. What do you think?”

“I think that’s a good idea. You can show him your studio,” You responded in a quiet voice, making sure to put a small smile on in order to make it more convincing. There was no way that you could reveal to Taehyung the truth, so you would just have to fake being okay with everything until it became too much to handle.

 

The three of you followed Namjoon to his car and you all climbed inside. Taehyung and Jimin let you have the passenger seat and you silently thanked Jimin for his maneuvering to get in between the two of you any chance he got. It was lessening your burden a lot more, something that you were sure Jimin had thought of.

 

Namjoon’s apartment was in an older section of the city. The neighborhood had recently become a popular area for students and musicians, leading to music blasting out of every window at nearly every hour of the day. There were murals everywhere and street vendors selling their own handmade products, while the bookstores were full of used books that had been shown much love from their previous owners. It was chaotic and mesmerizing at the same time, and to you it fit Namjoon very well.

 

The living room of Namjoon’s apartment was stocked with the bare minimum. There was a couch and a few chairs situated around a TV sitting on top of small table. There was an impressive speaker system set up underneath the TV and a bookcase on the far wall beside the balcony overflowing with books from nearly every genre. The apartment had two bedrooms, but Namjoon had turned one of the rooms into a studio and had moved his computer and another impressive speaker system in. Half of his collection of dolls of one of his favorite characters filled the shelves along the walls while the other half remained in his bedroom. When Yoongi and Hoseok moved in, as Namjoon was expecting them to do, the apartment would turn even more chaotic you imagined, but it would also be filled with the laughter of three boys who fit extremely well together.

 

Now the three of you sat in the living room, waiting for Namjoon to return with a case of beer from the convenience store nearby. Jimin was telling Taehyung about when his own plane was shot down, a story that you had heard before both from the radio and from Jimin himself. You were sitting on a chair, watching the two of them interact and only pitching into the conversation when prompted. There was a part of you that was still feeling afraid of everything and that prevented you from immersing yourself in the conversation. You just really needed a drink in order to get you through the next few hours. Your mind was filled with thoughts of Jungkook and the fact that you knew you still needed to call him was weighing down in your mind. You would make sure to do it tonight once you got back home, you thought.

 

When Namjoon finally did return, you followed him into the kitchen where he was taking out a few glasses from his freezer. Helping him pour the beer from the cans into the cups, you took two and went back out to the living room, handing one to Jimin and the other to Taehyung while Namjoon placed one in front of your seat.

 

Taehyung took a sip and made a deep sigh right afterwards, “It’s been so long since I had beer. This is incredible, even if it is just a cheap brand.”

Namjoon, who was sitting next to Taehyung had already drank half his glass. He turned to you, “I’m in the mood to drink a lot tonight. Y/N, do you have a ride home or do you just want to sleep over?”

“I can sleep over,” you said, smiling at him. Namjoon didn’t even know that you needed a drink even more than he did.

“Can we sleep over too?” Jimin asked.

Namjoon nodded, turning back to you. “If you need to call your parents, there’s a phone in my room you can use.”

“Thanks. I’ll do it later,” you said.

“Can I call my mom too? I don’t want her to worry about me,” Taehyung said, getting a nod from Namjoon too.

 

While the four of you sat and talked about everything that you had been up to, you studied Taehyung carefully. You noticed the furrow of his eyebrows when Jimin mentioned that the two of you had been looking at universities together and were also thinking of some on the other side of the country. He didn’t seem too pleased about the idea of the two of you potentially moving into an apartment together if you went to the same school, one of the potential plans that you revealed. Namjoon mentioned that Yoongi and Hoseok had already told him they were planning on reenrolling at their school again, and he looked really excited to be able to go to school with them once more.

 

“All of you seem to know what you’re going to be doing. I’m barely trying to figure out who I am again,” Taehyung said lowly, slightly choking up when there was a lull in the conversation.

“None of us know who we are,” Namjoon said. “We’re all still really young. We went through something horrible, you especially. It’s okay to take your time.”

“We’ve been home a few months already. We’ve had more time to figure this out. You’ve had a day,” Jimin told him.

 

Taehyung nodded, looking down at his empty beer glass for a few seconds. Then he stood up and went into the kitchen, telling Namjoon he was going to call his mom as well since he was already up. While he was out of the room, Jimin turned to you and Namjoon.

 

“He seems to be the same, just a lot quieter,” he stated.

“He’s probably just taking it all in,” you suggested. It had to be overwhelming to Taehyung to experience everything all over again.

“We did lay a lot on him at once. Let’s just give him some time to get adjusted back to everything,” Namjoon explained.

 

Taehyung came out of the kitchen with a serious expression before the conversation could progress any further, moving past you to his seat beside Namjoon. You had all expected him to take a lot longer than he had.

 

“What were you all talking about?” He asked innocently.

“We’re just wondering how you’re adjusting. Is there anything in particular you want to do now that you’re back?” You asked, changing the topic before he got more suspicious.

“I want to eat pizza and fried chicken…at the same time. I want to go to the beach too,” he said in a calm voice. “I think the beach will help me feel…free.”

“How about we order some fried chicken tonight? We can plan a beach trip when Hoseok and Yoongi are back and stay a few days,” Namjoon said, to which Taehyung just nodded.

 

Taehyung was calm the whole evening. Your conversation had even managed to make Taehyung laugh a bit at times, though he remained with a stoic expression on his face for the majority of the time. Once the beer had started to take its effect, he seemed to loosen up more, cracking a joke at times and ended up falling asleep on the couch at night. Jimin followed suit soon afterwards, the events of the day wearing down the two of them. You followed Namjoon to his room where he had extra blankets and pillows, leaving you his bed for the night and letting you wear one of his shirts to sleep in. You were thankful for your friend and how much he cared about all of you and you thanked him as he left his room, closing the door behind him on the way out.

 

Once you were in one of Namjoon’s comfiest shirts, you reached over and called your parents even though it was late at night. Getting the voice machine, you quickly left them a message to let them know you were staying at Namjoon’s. You knew they would be fine with it since they loved Namjoon and trusted him, and because it hadn’t been the first time you had slept over at your friend’s place since returning. If something were to happen to you because you had slept at Namjoon’s apartment, it surely would have happened by now and that seemed to be another reason why your parents were fine with you constantly crashing at his place. Once you were done with the voice message, you leaned over the bed, reaching into one of the pockets of your shorts and took out a slip of paper where you had written Jungkook’s phone number, having it ready for when you finally decided to call him.

 

You took a deep sigh and began punching in the numbers, your heart beating faster with each tone that you heard through the earpiece. His voice would probably sound the same, you reasoned, but you were afraid that it would be someone other than Jungkook to answer the phone. It was late at night and you knew it would probably cause a lot of disturbance in his house, but you needed to do it while you still had some of the courage that your buzz was providing you with. It would make the news you had to tell him much easier to say.

 

“Hello?” A hesitant voice said on the other side suddenly. It was a voice you immediately recognized and didn’t realize that you had missed so much. You couldn’t help the tears that formed around your eyes in pure happiness.

“Hi,” you said softly, hoping he couldn’t hear your sniffling.

Jungkook stayed silent on the other end of the phone for a couple seconds before he said, “Oh my god. I thought you weren’t going to call.”

“I’m sorry I took so long,” you said. Just hearing his voice again made you regret not calling him sooner. “There’s been a lot going on here.”

“I missed you,” Jungkook responded, not worrying about your vague explanation.

“Me too,” you whispered, remembering to keep your voice low so that it didn’t travel down the hallway. Jungkook seemed just as excited as you felt to hear from you after so long.

“Isn’t it really late over there? What are you doing up at 1 AM?” he asked.

“I know, but I just wanted to hear your voice,” you said. “I’m at my friend’s apartment and I wanted to talk to you.”

“How are you feeling?” Jungkook asked, his tone shifting slightly.

“I feel like mid-July is still really far away,” you told him honestly. You wished he was right beside you now, and his visit seemed like it would never come. “I found out Yoongi and Hoseok are going to be coming home around then too.”

“Jin told me he met one of your friends the last time I saw him,” Jungkook added. You thought that he seemed really curious about the interaction so you decided to give him a small summary of what occurred, remember Yoongi’s face as he waited for you to introduce him to Jin.

“He met Yoongi. It was slightly awkward until they started making fun of me,” you laughed, careful to keep your voice down once again. “I can’t wait to see you again.”

“Neither can I. Your parents know I’m coming right?”

“Yes. They’re concerned about the two of us but it’ll be fine once they meet you,” you answered honestly. “I’m sure they’ll love you.”

“Oh, that’s reassuring,” Jungkook said nervously.

 

You knew you had to tell him that Taehyung was back, you just weren’t sure how you could bring it up in the conversation. It was definitely going to be something he needed to know before he came, it would be unfair to catch him off guard. There was already going to be enough of a problem after you told him the full truth, but he at least needed to know Taehyung had returned. They both needed to know about each other before Jungkook came to visit.

 

“My friends have been waiting to meet you too,” you stated.

“I think I’m more scared of meeting them than I am of meeting your parents. Everything you told me makes you all feel like such a tight knit group,” Jungkook admitted. “And like they’ll murder me if I even make one wrong move. Jin said your friend was an interesting guy too.”

“Don’t worry. You’ll get along great with them. You have a lot of things in common with all of them if I’m being honest,” you replied, hoping that would provide a small amount of comfort. “By the way, I need to tell you something.”

 

It was the only way that you could think of fitting it into the conversation. There was no easier way to tell him than to just be direct, you thought. Even if it was just said to him as an afterthought, you hoped that would be enough for Jungkook. Once again, you were grateful that the buzz from the beer had yet to wear off – you’d really need it once you said the next set of words.

 

“Oh what is it?” he asked.

“It’s kind of important,” you said, pausing. You took in a few deep breaths, mustering up the courage to reveal to him the biggest news. Then, you talked fast. “It’s just…Taehyung is alive and he’s back.”

The other end of the line was silent for what felt like an eternity. You could hear Jungkook’s breathing, but that was your only indication that he was still there, but it killed you not to know what he was thinking or to even see what his face looked like. “What? I thought he was…dead.”

You could hear his careful choosing of the words, knowing he was feeling anxious. “We all did,” You said in an attempt to assuage his nerves. “But he’s back now.”

“Where does this leave us?” He asked suddenly. “If he’s back, what does this mean for us?”

You hadn’t expected him to be so abrupt. You thought that Jungkook would at least take a moment to let the news sink in, not dive directly into the discussion of your relationship.

 

It was the million-dollar question. You knew that whatever answer you gave him would surely affect the form of relationship the two of you were building. Jungkook knew Taehyung was back, but he was worried about how that would affect the two of you. He didn’t know that there was another piece missing, the piece from the night Taehyung showed up at your doorstep out of nowhere, but you couldn’t bring yourself to tell him about it. You’d wait until he was standing in front of you to tell him that bit.

 

“I love you,” you whispered, choking back your tears and your feelings of guilt. “That much hasn’t changed.”

“So, do you still want me to come visit you next month?” He asked hesitantly, almost as if he was afraid of your answer.

You were fighting back your tears, the guilt you felt eating you up inside, but you replied honestly to him. “More than anything else.”

“I’ll be there. Wait for me okay? We’ll…figure this out,” Jungkook said. He knew that you were having a hard time but his words provided you with some small amount of comfort. You wished with all of your might that you wouldn’t completely break him when he found out everything.

 “I will,” you whispered, agreeing.

“I have to go, or else my mom will yell at me for being on the phone so late. But Y/N?” Jungkook asked.

“Yeah?”

“Are you wearing the ring?” he asked nervously.

“I’ve never taken it off,” you said.

You could hear a relieved sigh from Jungkook through the phone. “Okay. I love you. Call me again soon okay?”

“I love you too. I can’t wait for July. Goodnight.”

“Goodnight.”

 

You looked down at your ring that was still hanging around your neck, the silver shining in the moonlight. It was really a beautiful ring, one that represented everything that Jungkook felt for you and everything you felt for him. When he asked you if you were wearing the ring, you knew that it was a question with much more meaning underneath the surface. The two of you had yet to be a proper couple, but there was now a major roadblock in front of the two of you – one that Jungkook seemed to be very nervous about. He had every reason to be too, you let yourself get carried away with Taehyung and you still didn’t know if you could control yourself either. There were too many feelings bubbling under the surface for you, feelings that you thought would never resurface.

 

The next morning, you woke up earlier than the rest of the boys who were still snoring loudly in the living room. Though your mind had been reeling with thoughts of the two boys who were currently in war over your heart, you had slept well due to the alcohol. You sneaked into Namjoon’s kitchen, looking through his cabinets and finding some pancake mix, an idea popping into your head as you set to work. Having grabbed Namjoon’s headphones, you slipped them on and pressed play on one of your favorite songs, turning up the volume and getting breakfast ready for your sleeping friends. One by one, the boys in the living room began waking up due to the smell of pancakes emanating from the kitchen. Taehyung was the first to wake up and you didn’t notice that he had walked into the small kitchen area and was leaning against a counter nearby. When you turned around, you nearly knocked the pan over due to the fright he gave you.

 

“Taehyung! You scared me!” You exclaimed, careful to keep your voice down so you didn’t wake up Namjoon and Jimin. You took off the headphones and set them on the counter beside you, taking a good look at the sleepy boy standing in front of you.

He cracked a small smile, another hint of the person he was from before the war coming out. The small smile he gave you made the nerves you felt go away almost immediately. “I’m sorry. It just looked nice to see you cooking. When did you learn?”

“I learned some things in high school actually. I cooked a few times for the guys but you weren’t there,” you responded, the second sentence immediately reminding the two of you of the past. You mentally slapped yourself for bringing it up, knowing it would probably be a sensitive subject. You noticed that Taehyung’s jaw hardened. He was clearly remembering his minimal presence in your friend group whenever he had a girlfriend and it didn’t look like he was happy to be reminded of those days.

 

At that moment, a sleepy Namjoon and Jimin walked inside. Smiles immediately appeared on each of their faces as they noticed the stack of pancakes on the counter beside the stove.

 

“Ah, Y/N, I love you!” Namjoon exclaimed, putting both of his hands together in thankfulness.

“Nice shirt you have there,” Jimin teased, stifling a yawn that was coming out afterwards.

 

You were still in Namjoon’s shirt, but you had pulled on the shorts you had been wearing the previous day. Namjoon’s shirts were always your favorite to steal – he always had the most interesting ones and due to his height and amazing frame, they always fit large and extra comfy on you. You noticed Taehyung had been staring at the shirt in confusion out of the corner of your eye before eventually focusing back on the pancakes.

 

“Can you all grab a plate? I’m almost done here,” you said, pretending that you didn’t notice the look on Taehyung’s face.

 

After breakfast, Namjoon took all of you home, talking about some paper he needed to write on the existentialist movement in literature. It all seemed to fly over your head, so you focused instead on the scenery as you let Namjoon talk. Afterwards, the conversation shifted to yours and Jimin’s applications to universities with Namjoon offering to some advice to the two of you get through the process. When asked what he would do, Taehyung simply responded that he just wanted to lay low for a bit and get adjusted back to life outside of war. It only made you wonder how much he was keeping bottled up inside and whether he would ever let one of you in.

 

You spent the rest of the day working on your applications more. In the evening, Jimin came over so that the two of you could look over each other’s essays. The two of you didn’t bring Taehyung up once, avoiding the subject as much as possible. You knew Jimin was doing it out of courtesy to you, knowing how much it was eating you up inside to keep the truth from Taehyung.

 

After your parents had gone to bed, the two of you stayed in your living room talking. Both of you were tired out from all of the university talk, pointing out pros and cons of each of the schools you were applying to and figuring out what each of their essays asked for. It was a complicated process and you were grateful that Jimin was working through it with you. The two of you sat on your couch, two mugs full of earl grey tea sitting in front of you.

 

“Last night was the first night that I had a decent sleep since I came back,” Jimin told you, a relaxed smile on his face. “I didn’t have any nightmares about the war.”

“Do you think it’s because Tae is back?” You asked.

“Possibly?” Jimin pondered, taking a sip from his mug. “He did come out in my dreams a lot, especially the night that it all happened.”

“I’m glad its provided you some sort of comfort,” you said. “I was really worried about you.”

“Are you happy though?” Jimin asked. “That he’s back?”

“Of course I am,” you responded with a sigh. “It’s something that I always wished for, to have him back.”

“But Jungkook makes it complicated?” Jimin added, earning a nod from you. “Have you even talked to Jungkook yet?”

“I called him last night when I was buzzed. I figured there was no better time to tell him what he’s got coming for him,” you said.

“What he’s got coming for him? Is he planning on visiting you?” Jimin asked.

“I never told you?” You asked, the realization hitting you. Jimin shook his head in silence, the confusion evident on his features. “I guess we must have been too focused on Taehyung. The night he showed up, I had finished reading Jungkook’s letter. He’s planning on coming around the same time that Yoongi and Hoseok are supposed to come back.”

Jimin leaned back against the couch, his eyes widening in surprise. “Well…shit. So, you told him about Tae?”

“I told him that he’s back yes,” you said, trailing off at the end.

“Not about the kiss,” Jimin said, seemingly completing your statement. “Or…whatever else happened that night.”

“I don’t think that’s something I should tell him over the phone,” you whispered. “And I know this is selfish, but I don’t want to risk him deciding not to come after all. I miss him so much that every day seems to pass by slowly as I wait for him.”

“You’re going to have to tell him eventually,” Jimin said. “But I do agree that it’s a conversation that you need to have in person.”

 

The two of you eventually drifted into a happier subject, thinking about your plans to live together if you got into the same school. Jimin left your house late at night, with the two of you agreeing to meet in the evening again for more application work. Namjoon had offered to help and the two of you figured you needed to make sure they were perfect before you gave them to your older, much wiser friend to look over.

 

The next week passed by quickly, filled with daily meetings with Jimin to study for the standardized tests and rewriting personal statements a million times. You weren’t surprised that the two of you had chosen to focus on your experiences during the war, and you definitely weren’t surprised when Jimin mentioned that he had narrowed down his choices for his major to Dance or Business. You, on the other hand, were still undecided as to which direction you should take. Part of you was telling you to go for nursing since you already had the experience, but another part of you told you to aim for something higher. You just didn’t know what that higher thing was yet and you hoped that you’d be able to figure it out soon.

 

Taehyung would join the two of you at times in the café, explaining that Namjoon was busy with his school work and it was too much work to even travel all the way to his apartment in the first place. He wouldn’t contribute much to the conversation, choosing instead to watch you and Jimin bicker over test questions and you couldn’t help but compare his demeanor to the pre-war Taehyung that would surely have joined in the conversation regardless of whether he had any real knowledge on the topic. Now, Taehyung would sit beside the two of you and listen, sometimes asking about the school or about yours and Jimin’s thoughts.

 

The question of where you stood with Taehyung remained unanswered. You noticed the way his stares would sometimes linger on you for longer than usual, an unreadable expression on his face. He had become an enigma and you had no idea what he could be thinking as he looked at you. Jimin had become a sort of impenetrable wall between the two of you and you made sure to never have a moment alone with Taehyung yourself. Your feelings were still a jumbled up mess. Every single time you looked over at the boy that your world used to revolve around, you could feel everything rush to the surface. He still managed to make you quiver with just a look in your direction and it was that exact feeling that made you hesitant to be alone with him. You hated the fact that you continued to revert back to your pre-war self whenever you looked in his direction, turning back into the same girl that was too afraid to admit her feelings to him.

 

You had also tried to call Jungkook at least once a day, though you weren’t exactly sure who the calls were meant to reassure. Jungkook was anxious, you could tell that much from your conversations with him. When he’d ask what you did that day, there was always the unspoken question of whether you had seen Taehyung that day or not. You tried to be as honest as possible, keeping hidden your messy emotions and that seemed to assuage whatever fears Jungkook had. Yet despite all of your efforts, you couldn’t help but feel guilty every single time you called Jungkook and you had to wonder whether it was because you were keeping the truth from him or because you were keeping the truth from Taehyung.

 

The calendar on your desk had a small countdown started on it a few days after Taehyung had arrived at your door. Jungkook was due to come on the 16th of July, meaning that there were only nine days left before you finally saw him again. The framed picture of your boyfriend only made you anxious and excited as the day of finally being able to see him again got closer and closer.

 

You were still at your desk rewriting a paragraph in your personal statement that Jimin had given you lots of grief over when there was a knock on your door. You hadn’t been expecting any visitors, knowing you were supposed to meet Jimin that evening once again. After finishing the sentence you were working on, you got up from your chair and opened the door, revealing Taehyung with the same stoic expression he always seemed to have on these days.

 

“Taehyung,” you said in surprise, opening the door wider. He gave you a small wave and you smiled at him softly, your heart beginning to beat faster as usual when it came to him. He hesitantly stepped into your room, his eyes scanning the walls and relaxing visibly when he saw that there were still plenty of pictures of the two of you up on your purple walls.

 

“I just wanted to see you,” Taehyung explained, taking a seat at the edge of your bed.

You sat beside him, remembering that Jungkook’s photo was still very much on display on your nightstand. “Is there anything that you wanted in particular?”

His eyes flickered for a split second to your nightstand, a movement that you almost missed and would have if you hadn’t been watching him so carefully. Instead he spoke, “I never asked you about what you went through during the war and I guess I just wanted to know.”

You sighed. “There really isn’t much to say. There was a lot of blood every once in a while, but for a long time nothing was occurring near the hospital I was assigned to.”

“You still wrote to the boys?” He asked.

“As much as I could. Actually…wait a moment,” you said, an idea popping into your head.

 

You got off your bed, crouching beside it and sifting through the multiple boxes you had underneath. The one that you were looking for was at the very back and you struggled to pull it out. After a few minutes, you finally managed to take ahold of it and you triumphantly sat back beside Taehyung on your bed. Taehyung’s eyes moved back to yours after staring at something on your desk.

 

You opened the box, watching as Taehyung’s eyes opened wide when he recognized the box’s contents. He reached inside while you said, “I kept them all.”

“I didn’t send you that many,” he said, his hand examining each letter for a few seconds. He eventually settled on one, pulling it out of its envelope. You looked over to see which one he had taken out, your heart aching slightly when you realized that it was the letter where he promised that the two of you would talk about everything after he came back.

 

“Everything was much simpler then wasn’t it?” Taehyung asked softly. “I was supposed to come back a war hero and instead I came back a war prisoner.”

“It wasn’t your fault,” you said, placing your hand on his shoulder. Taehyung took a notice of your action, though he didn’t say anything. “You just got caught up in a fucked-up situation.”

“It still had its effects. Everyone thought I was dead,” he said.

The two of you stayed silent for a moment as you tried to collect your thoughts. Eventually you spoke again, “Part of me never really believed you were gone, but I always thought it was just me not wanting to accept the truth.”

 

There was another long silence as Taehyung took in the weight of your words. It was true, and it was one of the reasons why you had been so hesitant to begin anything with Jungkook. Yet you still decided to believe in the end that he was really gone and that it was time to let those feelings for him go. You just never realized how much they would weigh you down if they ever came back.

 

Taehyung spoke after a few minutes, taking your hands in his and looking directly into your eyes. “I love you Y/N. I know you’ve been pushing me away and I don’t know why, but I love you and I want to be with you more than I’ve ever wanted anything else in the world.”

 

You felt the air escape your lungs, in surprise as to Taehyung’s declaration. The intense gaze he had in his eyes left you speechless and unable to move as you processed everything he said. Taehyung took advantage of the moment, crashing his lips onto yours once again. It took a few seconds for you to assess the situation, while Taehyung pushed you back on your bed without breaking the kiss. Eventually, your lips began to move in tune with Taehyung’s. The kiss was different from the first one he had given you the previous week. While the first one was full of relief and affection, this one was almost more desperate, as if he was trying to break down all the barriers that you had put up between the two of you.

 

Taehyung’s hand began to move along the side of your body, sending shivers down your spine as you relished in the way he caressed you. He pulled away after a while longer, looking down at you with a look that seemed to hold all the feelings he had for you. You moved your hand to his cheek, caressing it softly while Taehyung turned his head to place a kiss in the middle of your palm. You looked at where his lips met your hand, noticing the silver ring on your finger for the first time since Taehyung entered your room.

 

Immediately, you pushed Taehyung off, sitting up and placing your face in your hands. Those feelings of love suddenly gone and replaced with darker emotions. You were full of shame and disgust for letting yourself get carried away with Taehyung. It was exactly what you were afraid of happening and you knew that this one would be harder for Jungkook to forgive. Jungkook deserved better, you thought as images of his smile passed through your mind. You had reassured him that you loved him, yet it didn’t stop you from kissing Taehyung while wearing the ring he gave you.

 

“What’s wrong?” Taehyung asked, moving closer and putting his arm around you in concern.

 

You shook off his hand, noticing the hurt that flashed across his face for a second, though he didn’t say anything and just watched you. Tears had become to come out, the guilt feeling like it was about to consume your entire being. You felt disgusted by yourself. Taehyung needed to know the truth and you didn’t care anymore about what Namjoon would say. He needed to know it now before it destroyed you and your relationship with Jungkook – even if you weren’t sure Jungkook would still even want to have a relationship after he found out the full truth. You took off the ring he gave you, feeling as if it was burning your finger from the guilt of your betrayal, and placed it on your nightstand beside his photo. The thought that you didn’t deserve to wear a symbol of Jungkook’s love ran through your mind.

 

Eventually Taehyung spoke again, a straight expression on his face. “Y/N. What’s the ring for?”

You looked at him for the first time since you began crying, choking out your words. “You need to know the truth.”

“The truth?” He asked. “Does it have anything to do with the guy on your nightstand?” You looked up at him, the tears stopping momentarily. He had a hardened expression that gave no insight into what he was running through his mind. “I was waiting for you to tell me what that’s about. I noticed it when I walked in.”

The silence that had enveloped the two of you was deafening, the only sound coming out was the sound of your sniffles as you tried to collect yourself. Slowly, you spoke, “That’s Jungkook.”

“Jungkook,” Taehyung repeated in contemplation, his gaze moving past you to the framed photo behind you.

 

You took in a deep breath. The next words out of your mouth were sure to break him and you both, and as much as you didn’t want to say them out loud, you needed to.

 

“He’s my boyfriend,” you whispered.

 

You could see Taehyung’s jaw harden as he processed your words. He turned his head to look directly in front of him and you could see the way his chest began to move up and down at a faster rate. The tension in your room felt unbearable as you waited anxiously for him to say something, anything.

 

“But you told me you loved me too?” Taehyung finally whispered, looking back at you.

“I did…I do,” you quickly corrected yourself.

“I asked you to wait for me. I promised you that I’d come back didn’t I?” he asked, his voice cracking as he took ahold of your wrists.

“I’m sorry Tae, but Jungkook-“

“No don’t say that,” Taehyung interrupted you. “Don’t say his fucking name.”

“It happened so fast,” you whispered, the tears returning to your eyes. Your heart was breaking further with each passing second, crying out in agony as every word you said hurt Taehyung even more. “I never meant for it to happen.”

“But it did!” He said, his voice rising in volume. “How long did you even wait? One year? One month? One day?

“I didn’t want to start anything,” you sobbed, feeling his grip tighten on your hands. “It caught me by surprise. I was ready to wait my entire life for you.”

 

There was a silence as Taehyung tried to compose himself. He was shaking and taking deep breaths, his grip on your wrists never loosening. The look in his eyes was unreadable, but you knew that you had hurt him deeply. Whatever you told him now would only hurt him deeper, rubbing salt in the wound even further. Your tears continued to come out as you watched him struggle with his own emotions, feeling like a terrible human being for causing him so much pain. A few more minutes passed before Taehyung spoke again.

 

“I thought you would wait for me? Why didn’t you wait?” Taehyung’s voice came out broken, as if all of his emotions came out with those two questions. And those two questions seemed to bring down your entire world.

You couldn’t think of a response. His pleading eyes were full of desperation and he remained looking into yours. You were still processing your thoughts when the words came tumbling out. “I thought you were gone.”

 

Taehyung’s grip on your hands loosened up immediately and you could see the places where his hands would surely leave a mark. You never noticed how tight he had been holding onto you, too focused on his face as he took in the truth. There were tears forming in the corners of his eyes, but he stayed silent. He looked down at his feet for a minute, eventually standing up and walking to your door. You didn’t have the heart to ask him to stay, waiting until the door he closed the door behind him before throwing yourself on your bed and letting your emotions consume you entirely.  You hated yourself for hurting him. You hated yourself for knowing you were going to hurt Jungkook the same way too. You felt like a monster.

 

It was one in the morning when you heard a tapping on your window, waking you up. You stirred in your sleep, opening your heavy eyelids and looking at your window as another pebble hit the upper left corner. You moved slowly, opening your window and looking outside to see Jimin standing in your backyard once again. Sighing deeply, you motioned to let him come up and after a quick nod, Jimin walked over to the side of your house and began climbing up while you moved over to sit on your bed.

 

You knew you looked like a mess, having fallen asleep after Taehyung left as you tried to forget the events that had occurred. At the window, Jimin cursed after banging his head against the window before turning to look at you. You couldn’t help but laugh softly as you watched him.

 

“Wow, you look like shit,” he said, sitting beside you.

“I feel like shit,” you responded, turning to look at your nightstand where Jungkook’s ring still sat.

“What happened to you? I called your house when you didn’t show up but your mom said you were sleeping,” Jimin asked. “She thought you might be sick.”

“I told Taehyung,” you sighed.

“About Jungkook?” he asked. You nodded in answer seeing his eyes open wide in surprise. “How did he take it?”

“Not well,” you said. “I feel like I’m a horrible person Jimin.”

“Hey,” Jimin said, placing both his hands on each of your shoulders as he forced you to face him. “You’re not a horrible person. None of this is your fault.”

“It feels like it is. This all happened because I fell for someone else,” you said.

“Y/N, look at me,” Jimin ordered with a stern voice. “No one can blame you for thinking Taehyung was dead. We all did. Even his own mom thought he died.”

“He thought I was waiting for him. And I was until-“

“Until what? Until Jungkook came along?” Jimin asked. “Do you love Jungkook?”

“Yes,” you answered without hesitation.

 “Why are you trying to blame this all on him?”

 

You were taken aback by Jimin’s questions, seriously putting into thought everything that you felt for Jungkook. Just this morning you were so excited to see him in about a week, but now the words that were coming out of your mouth seemed to say the opposite and you didn’t know what to believe. He wasn’t at fault for any of it, yet you couldn’t help yourself from thinking that Taehyung would not be hurt if you had never let yourself fall in love with someone else.

 

“I just feel so guilty for hurting Taehyung so badly. I can’t help but think that this whole situation could have been avoided if I had just-“

“Y/N, this situation is happening whether you like it or not. Taehyung can’t be mad at you for falling for someone else and thinking he died, or else he’s going to have to get mad at the rest of us too,” Jimin said, rubbing your back as he tried to provide you some sort of comfort.

“Can you go check on him Jimin?” you asked, taking ahold of his shirt. “He left without saying a word and I don’t know what he’s going to do.”

“I’ll go right now if you want. I couldn’t sleep anyway,” Jimin said.

 

You nodded and gave him a tight hug, grateful for always being there for you and providing you with some comfort when you needed it the most. It was unlikely that you’d be able to sleep anymore, so when Jimin left your room, you pulled out a random book from your bookcase and started to read in a feeble attempt to distract yourself from the raging war inside your mind.

 

When it was finally a normal time for people to be awake, you decided to take a shower to clean yourself up. The last thing you needed to do was worry your parents. Your mind was full of thoughts of Taehyung, wondering what he could be doing and whether Jimin was able to speak to him. You weren’t in the mood for anything that didn’t involve looking for Taehyung and explaining everything to him.

 

~

 

In the afternoon, you met up with Jimin at your usual café, noticing that he had split his lip while a band aid was placed just above his right eyebrow. Immediately, you rushed over to him and checked everything out of concern for your friend.

 

“Oh my god!” You exclaimed, leaning in and touching his wounds while you examined them. “What happened to you?”

Jimin winced and hissed simultaneously. “I talked to Taehyung.”

Talked?” you asked incredulously. “This doesn’t seem like you talked. At least let me clean them up for you at my house.”

“It’s fine,” Jimin protested, bringing your hands down. “I cleaned them before I came.”

You looked at him worriedly, moving back to your seat but not taking your eyes off Jimin’s wounds. “So what happened then during this…talk?”

“He’s definitely hurt,” Jimin said, taking a sip of the coffee you had ordered for him before he arrived. “I think he just needs time.”

“So what? Do I just leave him alone?” you asked.

“Just give him a bit to process everything. It’s gotta suck to find out the girl you love fell in love with is dating someone else,” Jimin said. “…Not that it’s your fault or anything.”

 

You winced, turning to look at the tea cup in front of you. The two of you didn’t talk for a few minutes as you processed the state of Jimin and the few words he said.

 

“Jimin, you’re coming home with me and I’m patching you up properly,” you stated when the two of you finished your drinks.

Jimin looked at you with a wide-eyed expression. “It’s really fine,” he said, ready to protest.

“No don’t give me that. I didn’t serve as a nurse during the war and not learn anything. You’re coming with me whether you like it or not,” you said decisively. Jimin didn’t protest afterwards, following you home in silence.

 

Another two days passed by without hearing about from Taehyung. You and Jimin got back into working on your college applications, neither of you bringing him up or even daring to. You weren’t calling Jungkook either, still feeling too ashamed of your actions to bring yourself to talk to him on the phone. However, Jungkook had began calling your house instead. You had instructed your mom to tell him you weren’t home the first few times, eventually caving in and answering his calls. He would talk to you in his usual cheery tone and you could just imagine the bunny smile on his face. It only made your heart ache more.

 

On the third day of not hearing from Taehyung, Namjoon called you.

 

“A party at your apartment?” you asked, bewildered.

“Yes! A few of my friends in my classes want to drink and I offered up my place. Come through!” Namjoon said excitedly.

“I don’t know Namjoon.”

“Come on! You can crash on my bed again, I promise you there will be no strangers having sex on it tonight,” he said.

You sighed. “Fine.”

“Great. I’ll see you later then,” Namjoon told you, hanging up right after.

 

You still didn’t know whether Namjoon knew what was going on. Both you and Jimin had successfully avoided the subject of Taehyung altogether, mostly out of fear that you would feel all of the rush of emotions come back to the surface, but also because neither of you wanted to discuss how to deal with the aftermath until it was absolutely necessary. However, you were pretty sure Jimin was staying in contact with Taehyung, even though he never mentioned it to you.

 

Getting ready for the party felt like a chore to you. After letting your parents know of your plans, you went up to your room to start fixing yourself up. Your makeup sat in a small box on your dresser and you tried to remember everything that Rachel had taught you as you got ready for your dates with Jungkook. You contemplated dialing Rachel’s phone number to ask for her perspective on the whole situation. It was likely she’d provide better advice than Jimin or Namjoon since she had actually seen yours and Jungkook’s relationship develop as well. It helped that she was also another girl and ever since you befriended her, you had noticed a stark difference in the type of advice she gave you versus what the guys would tell you. You also wanted to know how she was doing with Jackson and if she had started planning the wedding, knowing that she would make it an extravagant affair.

 

Making a mental note to call her later, you turned to add the finishing touches to your makeup, applying a liberal amount of lipstick to your lips and slipping it into your small wristlet. As you picked up your phone, you took notice of the calendar beside it realizing that there were only a few more days left before Jungkook was supposed to arrive. You still had no idea how to tell him anything, but for now you would go to Namjoon’s party and forget about everything for just a few hours. You even let yourself forget that you hadn’t worn Jungkook’s ring since the day that Taehyung was in your room.

 

When you arrived at Namjoon’s apartment, the party was already in full-swing. You didn’t recognize anyone as you continued to venture deeper into the apartment, making your way to the kitchen as you pushed through the crowd. Immediately you spotted Namjoon’s tall figure beside a large bowl as he held a red plastic cup in his hand and laughed at something one of his friends was telling him.

 

“Y/N!” Namjoon yelled when you reached him. It was obvious that he was already feeling the effects of whatever he was drinking. “Take a shot with me!”

 

You nodded, watching as Namjoon pulled out a hidden bottle of tequila from a cabinet and two shot glasses with it. He filled them up clumsily, spilling some onto the counter as he poured. It only amused you to see him fumble with the alcohol and that made you feel a slightly bit better. Turning back around, he handed you one of the glasses with a devilish grin on his face.

 

Linking your arm in his, the two of you brought the shot glass up to your lips. “One, two…three!” Namjoon counted and you tilted your head back, feeling the tequila make its way down your throat. You made a face, causing Namjoon to laugh beside you.

 

“What’ll you drink?” he asked you once you got over the taste of the alcohol.

“Anything,” you said. You really wanted to drink tonight and you didn’t care what the drink would be.

You saw Namjoon smile mischievously, filling your shot glass again. “Bottoms up.”

Shaking your head, you drank the shot, wincing once again at the strong taste. “Okay but for real, I want a drink this time,” you said, laughing.

“As you wish,” Namjoon said, grabbing a cup and filling it partially with tequila. He grabbed a bottle of juice and poured it into the same cup, handing it to you after whirling it a few times.

 

You took a sip, making a face at the strong taste of the tequila, but also being slightly relieved. Maybe this would be enough to let you forget about everything else that’s going on. Giving Namjoon a smile, you left the kitchen and began to look around for someone that seemed familiar, anyone.

 

Jimin was standing at the other side of the room, a cup in his hand and talking to a girl who seemed to be interested on getting to know him on more than just friendly terms. You watched in amusement from where you stood, catching Jimin’s eye after a few minutes. He opened his eyes wide, seemingly calling you over to intervene and you chuckled. After squeezing past grinding couples and grabby males, you finally reached Jimin whose face immediately broke out into a grin once you found him.

 

“Oh babe!” Jimin said loudly, putting his arm around your waist and pulling you close to him.

You looked at him curiously, catching on to what he was trying to do. “I was looking for you everywhere honey!”

Jimin silently thanked you, turning to the girl who had been talking to him. She looked surprised and slightly annoyed, sending you a dirty look. “Have you met my girlfriend, Y/N?” Jimin introduced you.

You stuck your free hand out, while the girl looked down at it in disgust. She turned back to Jimin, running a finger down his forearm. “Well if you’re ever bored, you know how to find me.”

 

You scoffed, watching as she walked away. Taking another sip from your cup, you grimaced once again and turned back to Jimin who had let go of your waist.

 

“What are you drinking?” Jimin asked you.

“Tequila with a splash of juice,” you said, taking a bigger gulp this time.

“Sounds delicious,” Jimin commented, taking a sip of his own drink. You, on the other hand, were finally starting to feel the effects of the shots you had taken.

“So why didn’t you want to talk to the girl. She seemed…nice,” you asked.

“She started talking about how her ex dumped her. She seemed a little crazy,” Jimin said, laughing slightly. “Thanks for playing along by the way.”

“Anytime,” you responded, drinking once again.

“I haven’t seen him here yet,” Jimin said after he saw you look around the room. “I know Namjoon invited him though.”

“Today I’m just focusing on this disgusting drink Namjoon made for me,” you said, pretending that what Jimin said didn’t affect you.

Jimin chuckled beside you, taking another drink of his own cup. “Whatever works for you.”

 

Once you finished your cup, you walked with Jimin back into the kitchen. Namjoon was still in there, laughing along with some of the people around him. When he spotted you, he immediately waved you over and introducing you to the crowd who you found out were friends from his classes. Taking it upon himself to fix your drink again, he handed you another strong drink and making a second for Jimin who looked upon the red cup in fear, taking it hesitantly from Namjoon’s hand. You finished your second drink much faster than the first, feeling the alcohol run through you and letting your mind become muddled with each passing second. It was a relaxing change of pace, and you found yourself on the dance floor moving along to the music that Namjoon’s friend would play. Jimin disappeared, or it could be that he lost you in the crowd that continued to move on the dance floor, but you continued to dance, letting your mind be free of everything that was happening.

 

A few hours later, the party began to thin out. Those who didn’t know Namjoon personally began leaving once the alcohol ran out, realizing that Namjoon didn’t share his remaining stash of liquor with just anyone at the party. You were tired and were still having a hard time finding Jimin, eventually giving up and deciding that he probably found someone to hook up with. Namjoon was still in the kitchen with the same group of friends and you decided not to disturb him, he was letting you sleep in his bed again after all.

 

Needing a bit of release from the stuffy air inside of Namjoon’s living room, you went out to the balcony letting the cool night air wash over you. The blinds for the door leading out to the balcony were still closed, and you were thankful for the privacy they now provided. You were still very much drunk, but it was relaxing to stand outside and look over the city lights below Namjoon’s apartment. It was even more soothing to just to stop thinking for a few minutes.

 

You heard the door open again and you turned to look at who the intruder was, coming face to face with Taehyung for the first time since you had last seen him. He didn’t say anything to you, instead moving to the railing and staying a short distance away from you. There was a beer bottle in his hand which he would take a sip of every few seconds or so. You were staring and because you were still drunk, you didn’t care whether he knew it or not. You just watched the way his throat would move as he drank his beer. The curves and dips of his profile were more prominent in the moonlight, shadows accentuating his strong features. You found yourself wondering if you would ever see that boxy smile of his again, wishing under all of the stars that he’d smile like that again one day in the near future. Taehyung didn’t say anything, instead looking up at the few stars visible from Namjoon’s balcony, and you couldn’t help but be reminded of when the two of you were younger.

 

“Do you remember when we went to that party in middle school?” you asked suddenly.

“Where Hyemi kissed me?” Taehyung said, finally turning to look at you.

You sighed, feeling your heart beat faster under Taehyung’s intense gaze. “Yeah, that one. I don’t know why, but just seeing you under the moonlight reminded me of that night.”

Taehyung looked down and let out a breathless chuckle. “You know, I was going to tell you that night how much I liked you, before your dad interrupted.”

You could feel the wind being knocked out of you due to Taehyung’s sudden confession. It didn’t seem real to you or even possible. “You liked me then?”

“I told my mom the day we met that I was going to marry you,” he whispered, turning away and looking at the city lights.

It all sounded too good to be true. Everything that Taehyung said didn’t make any sense. “But you dated all those girls in high school,” you responded. You were afraid of what Taehyung’s answer to that would be.

“You never gave off a vibe that you were even remotely interested in me,” he explained. “I thought dating Luri and all those other girls would just help me take my mind off of you.”

 

None of Taehyung’s words seemed logical to you. In your mind, you never imagined that your own feelings for him would be reciprocated, at least not until you confessed to him when he left for the war. You felt like kicking yourself, wondering if everything that happened was all because you had become so afraid so afraid of rejection.

 

“When did you fall in love with me?” Taehyung asked, turning to you again. You noticed that he placed his beer on the floor as well. “Like what moment exactly did you become aware that you wanted to be more than just friends with me?”

“When you walked me home that night,” you answered. “It bothered me so much to see Hyemi kiss you, and then you looked so wonderful under the moonlight and I started thinking about how I wanted to stare at your face forever.”

“Why didn’t you ever tell me any of this sooner?” Taehyung asked, a small hint of anger present in his voice.

“Why didn’t you?” You asked back. It was clear he blamed you for everything, and you knew you held some responsibility, if not all. But you also knew that he was just as responsible as you were. The two of you had kept your feelings for each other so bottled up and they had chosen to come out at the worst possible time.

 

The two of you stood staring at each other for a while, until he moved towards you. Taehyung pushed you against the wall, trapping you between his arms as he hovered over you. He looked down at your face, staring at you with a dark look in his eyes. The two of you stayed in the position for a long time, daring each other to make the first move. Taehyung was the first to break again, leaning down and kissing you roughly. Your teeth bumped against each other as the two of you kissed each other hungrily, all the pent-up frustration that both of you held being released. Taehyung moved your hands up above your head, pinning them with one of his own large hands against the wall behind you, never breaking the kiss.

 

His other hand moved down your side, reaching your thigh and grabbing you roughly. Taehyung moved his lips from your own, moving down to your throat and sucking hard as if he was claiming his territory. You unwillingly let out a moan at the sensation, fueling Taehyung even further. The two of you were lost in each other, focusing only on what was happening and forgetting about everything else.

 

It was Namjoon’s laugh from inside the living room that brought you back to reality and you immediately gasped.

 

“Taehyung, wait,” you said, struggling to take your hands out of his grip. “Stop.

Taehyung pulled away from your neck, breathing heavily as he stared back at you. “What?”

You pointed with your eyes upwards. “My hands.” He sighed and let go, standing up straight and waiting for you to continue. “We can’t do this.”

 

You could see the exact moment that Taehyung snapped. The lust from his eyes immediately replaced with anger once again and to be honest, it scared you.

 

“Is it because of him, Y/N?” Taehyung asked, yelling at you. “Because of Jungkook? That was his name wasn’t it?”

You nodded slowly, afraid to make a move that would anger Taehyung even more. Your hands were shaking as you watched him lash out at you, even though part of you thought that you deserved it.

“Have you even told him about me? That I’m back? That this is the third time that you’ve kissed me? That we’ve done more than just kiss?” He asked, kicking the wall of the balcony in anger.

“He knows about you,” you whispered.

“But does he know?” Taehyung asked you pointedly, and you knew exactly what he was referring to.

You could feel the tears coming out of your eyes again. “No,” you whimpered.

“I don’t understand why you’re with him! I’m back Y/N!...I’m back,” he said loudly, looking at you for a moment. He was breathing heavily, trying to calm himself down as you looked at him with fear present in your eyes. When he spoke again, you could feel your heart break even more. ”Why don’t you love me anymore?” Taehyung’s voice sounded full of agony, and he took a few more breaths before speaking once again. “Everything I went through, it was all for you. You kept me going when I was about to give up!” Taehyung shouted, his face contorting into one that could only show the immeasurable pain he was feeling.

 

You felt guilty, knowing that you were the cause of this pain. You felt like you had betrayed him, much like you felt before you admitted your feelings about Jungkook to yourself. Taehyung was supposed to be your forever. He was supposed to be your first and your last love, but then he died and was suddenly alive again and in the meantime, you fell for someone else. Taehyung looked at you with an expression of pure agony. He was suffering more than you could ever imagine and you felt horrible. You didn’t know what to tell him to make him feel better. You didn’t know if you even could.

 

“I’m sorry,” you whispered.

 

Those two words seemed to break Taehyung. He turned around, kicking the bottle he had placed on the ground earlier into the wall and shattering it into a million tiny pieces. He walked back into the living room and you could hear Namjoon calling after him. You couldn’t help but wonder when the music had stopped playing inside, too engrossed in the argument to remember that you two were still at a party. Everyone who was still at the apartment probably heard the entire thing and probably thought you were a horrible person, and you couldn’t help but agree with them. You sank down to the floor, bringing your knees up to your chest and clutching them tightly, crying underneath the same moonlight that had once helped you realize your feelings for Taehyung.

 

You didn’t know how long you cried for, only stopping when you felt Namjoon pat you gently on your back. He wrapped his arms around you and pulled you up gently, walking you to his room with one arm holding you the entire time. Giving you some privacy to let you change into another of his shirts, you called him in after you changed out of your clothes and sat next to him on the bed.

 

“Jimin’s with him,” Namjoon said without prompting. “He’s making sure he doesn’t do anything reckless.”

“Did everyone hear?” you asked, placing your head on his shoulder as he wrapped his arm around you.

“There were only a few people left.”

“They all probably think I’m a bitch,” you said. “I probably am.”

“You’re not,” he told you.

“Then why do I continue to hurt him this way? I’m not a good person Namjoon,” you argued.

“While I agree that kissing him every single time the two of you are alone isn’t exactly the…greatest method of dealing with the situation, I don’t know if anyone would do any different,” Namjoon said. “You’re in a crazy situation. Regardless of what happens, its going to be fucked up no matter what you do or don’t do.”

“Can you stay with me?” you asked. You were afraid of being alone and letting your thoughts run amok in your mind.

 

Namjoon nodded and proceeded to lay on the bed and you followed suit, turning over to face the wall and you let the sleep come over you. It was easier than you thought it was going to be, thanking Namjoon for the ridiculous amounts of tequila that he had poured for you when you had arrived.

 

The next morning, Namjoon dropped you off at home and you made your way directly upstairs to sleep off the hangover you felt. After taking a shower, you noticed the purple mark close to your jawline and you groaned. Jungkook was arriving in a few days and he would surely know what it was as soon as he spotted it. All you could do was hope that it went away in time and pray that your concealer would cover it for now. It seemed light enough that it could work, you thought with some blind optimism.

 

Your mom woke you up in the afternoon, letting you know that Jungkook was calling you and you groaned. Walking down the stairs slowly, you dreaded having to let Jungkook know what was going on.

 

His cheerful greeting only made you feel worse. “Y/N! I missed you.”

You sighed, “I missed you too.”

“Is something wrong?” he asked immediately, noticing the tone of your voice.

“I’m just hungover. Namjoon had a party last night,” you explained, leaving out the part that was weighing the most heavily on your mind.

“Oh, did you want me to call later? I just wanted to hear your voice,” Jungkook said. “I didn’t have anything in specific that I wanted to talk to you about.”

“It’s fine,” you said. “I’m just not operating at full capacity right now.”

Jungkook laughed on the other end. “What did you drink?”

“Namjoon made me a drink that was almost entirely tequila while the remaining bit was some juice he happened to have had on hand,” you explained. “I drank two of those.”

“Sounds like you had a hell of a night,” he responded. “I heard from Jin today.”

“How is he?” you asked, thankful for the change of subject.

“He’s coming home in a few weeks. He wants to see you too you know,” Jungkook said.

You managed a smile, happy about the fact that Jin was being released soon as well. “Tell him I’d like to see him when he gets back as well.”

“How are your college applications going anyway? Are you still looking at schools over here?” Jungkook asked suddenly.

“I’m looking at schools everywhere, but yes, some are close to you,” you answered vaguely.

“Well I’m rooting for you. I know you’ll get in,” Jungkook said cheerfully. “Hey Y/N, you still sound slightly sick. I think you should probably go back to sleep.”

“I’ll go to sleep in a bit,” you said, remembering that you needed to ask him for the time of his arrival at the airport. “When are you landing again?”

“I’m landing at four in the afternoon,” he said. “Just a few more days left. I’m excited.”

“Me too,” you replied, feeling a dull pain in your chest.

 

After hanging up the phone, you dragged yourself back up the stairs. Jungkook had no idea what he was in for, and his excitement only made you feel even worse.

 

~

 

Five days after Namjoon’s party, you walked through the airport at the fastest speed that you could manage without breaking into a run. You were running late, checking the clocks on the wall and seeing that Jungkook’s flight was supposed to have landed thirty minutes ago. You maneuvered your way around the people as you tried to get to the arrivals gate, ready to see the boy who you missed so terribly.

 

You were wearing your ring for the first time since everything went to hell and the mark on your neck had even disappeared. For the first time in what felt like months, you felt happy again and you decided to cherish those few moments of happiness that you would have before it all came crashing down again, as you knew it eventually would.

 

The arrivals gate came into view after a few minutes, and you immediately broke out into a run, hoping that Jungkook hadn’t stepped out yet. You didn’t pay attention to the people around you, crashing into someone who caught you in their arms and held you against their broad chest. You were about to push them away when you looked up, recognizing the smile with the mole underneath the bottom lip that your world had begun to revolve around. Throwing your arms around him, you held him tightly wishing that you would never let him go.

 

Jungkook kissed the top of your head. “I missed you.”

“I missed you too,” you whispered against his chest, placing a soft kiss right over where his heart was located.

Chapter Text

Jimin climbed back out the window to your room, making his way down the treacherous steps he used to climb up in the first place. His heart ached at the thought of seeing his two closest friends in such pain, and he couldn’t help but feel a little guilty as well. It was him that had originally encouraged you to pursue a relationship with Jungkook after all. Everyone thought Taehyung had passed away and he honestly believed that Taehyung would have hated to have seen you dedicate your entire life to him. Now, he wasn’t so sure that was the case and he hated the fact that he might have been wrong.

 

For once, he was thankful that his nightmares hadn’t let him sleep. He thought as soon as Taehyung showed up they would stop, thinking that the night spent in Namjoon’s apartment was a good sign. Unfortunately, as soon as he was back in his own room they had begun again. He didn’t know the reason why and he wasn’t exactly eager to find out either, knowing that there would probably be something deeper lurking underneath. But now, it was because these nightmares didn’t let him sleep that he could actually find out everything that was occurring and hopefully stop his two friends from making a dumb decision. For once, he was grateful that he had become accustomed to only sleeping one or two hours everyday.

 

Jimin sighed and placed his hands in his pockets, walking down the empty street as he made his way over to Taehyung’s house. He had no idea what he was in for, but he knew he had to make sure his friend was fine. Namjoon needed to find out soon enough as well and judging by the state that he left you in and what he was expecting from Taehyung, it would likely be left up to him to keep their older friend in the loop to the latest turn of events in the Y/N-Taehyung love story.

 

When he reached Taehyung’s house, he saw a light still on upstairs and proceeded to do the same thing that he would do for the late night visits to your own house. Picking up a few pebbles from the ground, he began to throw them at the window until it opened up and an expressionless Taehyung stuck his head out.

 

“What the fuck are you doing?” He asked. Jimin could see he was annoyed.

“Come down. I can’t sleep,” Jimin said. He hoped this approach would get Taehyung to open up, rather than forcing him to speak by asking a million questions.

“Don’t you go to Y/N for this kind of thing? Why me?”

“Just fucking come down already,” Jimin answered exasperatedly.

 

Taehyung didn’t respond, looking at his friend down on the ground with a straight face. Jimin watched as he moved back inside, closing the window behind him. He stood at the front of the house, hearing a few bumps from inside of the house and shaking his head slightly. Taehyung eventually emerged from the door, locking it behind him and walking up to his shorter friend.

 

“Come on,” Jimin said, and Taehyung followed him silently, looking up at the night sky.

 

Jimin led his friend to a small park a fifteen-minute walk away from Taehyung’s house. It was one that he had a habit of visiting whenever he didn’t want to bother you with any of his issues. Though he knew you’d never turn him away, he did feel guilty for stealing a few hours of your sleep every night. He was still finding it hard to adjust to life back at home, even though it had been months since he had returned. The silent streets and soft bed seemed so foreign to him now that he didn’t think he’d ever be able to go back to his pre-war self and that thought terrified him.

 

Without saying a word, Jimin picked up a charred stick from the floor and began mindlessly drawing small figures on the concrete path.

 

“I come here sometimes when I can’t sleep,” Jimin began, not taking his eyes off the creation he was making. “Everyone calls me a hero you know? For somehow not killing everyone on my plane when it was shot down.”

Taehyung didn’t respond, moving over to stand beside him and get a look at the drawing Jimin was making.

“Truth is, I hated being there and I hated the medal I got. It all just feels so fake to me. But now I’m back home and my bed seems too soft for me after sleeping in those horrible cots for years,” Jimin said, seemingly talking to the air. “One of the recurring nightmares is the night you went down.”

“You thought I died too,” Taehyung said quietly, and Jimin let out a breath he didn’t know he was holding.

“Everyone did,” Jimin said softly.

“Including Y/N.”

 

Jimin nodded, stopping the figure that he had been drawing and patting Taehyung on his back. Taehyung seemed so calm, but Jimin knew that there was a storm brewing in his head that would be unleashed if he did enough prodding.

 

“Did you know?” he asked suddenly, turning to look at his best friend in the eye. “About him.”

Jimin looked at Taehyung for a few seconds before nodding.

“Un-fucking-believable,” Taehyung said, raising his voice in irritation. “Namjoon too?”

“Yes,” Jimin answered, dropping the stick he was holding on the floor. It only seemed right to him to let him know the full truth of everything that had happened in his absence.

“And none of you thought to tell me?” Taehyung asked, raising his arms up in the air in exasperation.

“We didn’t know how you’d react. Don’t get mad at Y/N. She wanted to tell you as soon as you were back, but we forced her to keep it a secret,” Jimin said cautiously.

“I’ll get mad at whoever the fuck I want!” Taehyung yelled.

 

Jimin was glad the park was large enough to not wake any of the people in the surrounding houses. He had purposely taken him to the middle of the park, knowing there would be more than enough yelling from Taehyung to last a lifetime. He had never seen Taehyung this angry before and it bothered him to know that he played a part in why his friend was so hurt. He walked over to Taehyung, placing a hand on his arm before Taehyung smacked it off and pushed him away.

 

Taehyung was angry and hurt, but it didn’t stop the feelings of confusion that immediately came over Jimin. Instead, Taehyung turned to him and pushed him again, this time causing Jimin to stumble backwards a few steps.

 

“You knew!” Taehyung yelled, the pain coming out quite clear in his voice as he walked up to his friend and pushed him a third time.

 

Jimin had enough, managing to balance himself after the force of Taehyung’s third push. He breathed out and walked over to his friend, pushing him back with equal force and earning a look of surprise from his taller friend. It was obvious that Taehyung hadn’t expected Jimin to push back. However, the shock that had momentarily caused Taehyung to stop only lasted a split second because the next thing Jimin felt was the force of Taehyung’s fist as it collided with his cheek.

 

He stumbled backwards, moving a hand up to the right side of his face. Jimin could feel the blood rush to the spot where Taehyung’s fist had landed, but he had had enough. Though he knew that Taehyung needed to let out all of his anger, he was also aware of what Taehyung was trying to start. Letting out a grunt, Jimin walked over and punched Taehyung in his gut, watching as his friend let out a breath before the two began to punch each other incessantly. Jimin’s body was feeling the full force of Taehyung’s punches and he wondered how someone so skinny could still hit so hard.

 

The two fell to the ground with Jimin on top as he continued to hit his best friend hard enough to leave a mark, but still holding back the full amount of his strength. Taehyung was angry and he had made Jimin angry as well, but if this was what it took to make him talk then Jimin would willingly be his friend’s punching bag for the night. He considered it a sort of penance, believing that it only made sense to receive some of Taehyung’s rage for his own involvement in the development of your relationship with Jungkook. Eventually Jimin could feel Taehyung’s punches getting weaker and Jimin knew he was getting tired out before he stopped completely just two minutes later.

 

Jimin rolled off of him, the two laying on the dewy grass beside each other as they stared up into the night sky. They were both breathing heavily, catching their breaths from the sudden heavy physical exertion. Jimin could taste blood in his mouth and he knew he probably busted his lip in the process. It would just have to be taken care of when he got back home.

 

After catching their breaths, the two of them sat up, staring ahead as they felt the consequences of their fight. There were no apologies that needed to be uttered between the two of them and their friendship wouldn’t change either. There was a silent understanding that had occurred between the two friends, one that hung in the air around them and didn’t have to be said out loud. It was the result of knowing each other for years and of learning each other’s mannerisms well and now they had come to the true test. After a few minutes Taehyung spoke in a voice so low Jimin almost thought it was the wind.

 

“Why doesn’t she love me anymore?” he asked.

Jimin slowed his breathing, taking into account the enormity of his best friend’s question.

“I just…I just wanted her to love me,” Taehyung whispered, his voice breaking as he turned to look over to Jimin. “Why doesn’t she love me anymore?” He asked again, the heartbreak clear as day in his voice.

 

In the moonlight, Jimin could see a tear run down the side of Taehyung’s cheek. Taehyung bit his lips and brought his knees up to his chest. Placing his head on his knees, he began to sob loudly. Jimin looked down at his watch, noticing that it was just past three in the morning. Placing a hand on Taehyung’s back, he listened to his best friend cry for hours, his heart wrenching as he witnessed the pain that he was going through.

 

Jimin didn’t leave his side for the rest of the night, making sure Taehyung got home safely at dawn before returning to his own home and cleaning up his lip in the bathroom. He inspected all of the already-forming bruises around his body and sighed. It was a messy situation, that was for sure. One that would only get messier when Jungkook arrived the next week. He felt bad for Taehyung and yourself and he pitied Jungkook who had no idea what he had waiting for him. None of you had ever thought that your life would become this convoluted and Jimin couldn’t help but wonder what would have occurred if there had never been a war in the first place.

 

Jimin sighed walking into his room and jumping into bed. He hoped he’d be able to sleep more than just an hour this time.

Chapter Text

A few hours later, you were in your room trying on different outfits while Jungkook sat on your bed and inspected all of the photos on your walls. As you debated between a black dress and a blue one, you turned over to see your boyfriend looking intently at the framed photo by your bed that sat behind his own.

 

“There really are a lot of photos of you and Taehyung up here aren’t there,” Jungkook said thoughtfully. You hum in agreement, allowing Jungkook to continue his train of thought. “I can’t wait until you and I make even more memories together. Then I’ll be up here more.”

 

You couldn’t help but stare at Jungkook, the ache in your chest coming back. Once he found out the full truth, he wouldn’t want to be up on these walls anymore – but you allowed yourself to be selfish once again and let yourself entertain the idea. There were so many memories you imagined yourself to be making with Jungkook and with the rest of your group. He had the potential to fit in so seamlessly into your circle of friends, along with Jin, and you wondered if all of you had met in different circumstances if that would be the case. But instead, all of you were playing with the cards that you had been dealt and now it was time to figure out what to do – even if some of you weren’t holding a great set.

 

“Why did Taehyung act that way at the airport?” Jungkook questioned, looking back at you inquisitively. “I didn’t want to ask you there, but now that we’re alone I can. It’s been bothering me the whole day.”

 

You took a deep breath. It was only fair to Jungkook that he found out the truth and his question only brought a heavy feeling to your stomach. This could be the opportunity that you had been waiting for, the best situation that you could hope for when delivering such potentially devastating news to your boyfriend. But could you do it, right before Namjoon’s party? Would you allow yourself to be selfish once again and delay the revelation for another time?

 

You took a seat beside your boyfriend, forgetting about the two outfits on your desk and taking his hands into your own. Looking into his large brown eyes, full of thoughts and concern, you took a deep breath and began to speak.

 

“You remember how I told you about my feelings for Taehyung up until I met you?” you whispered, giving his own hand a light squeeze.

“Mhmm,” Jungkook responded.

“I didn’t tell you the full story,” you sighed.

“What is it then?” Jungkook asked, placing a hand on the side of your face to get you to look at him again.

“Before he left, I told him how I felt about him. I let everything out on the table right before he went in to enlist,” you began, feeling tears beginning to form in the corners of your eyes. “Before he went missing, he sent me a letter telling me that he had his answer to my feelings and that we would talk when he got back.”

“But that didn’t happen did it?” Jungkook whispered. “Because you met me right?”

You shook your head. “The last thing that he was expecting was for me to have met someone else. He thought that I would be waiting for him, waiting for the day that he was liberated and freed from the camps.”

“I take it he didn’t take the news well?” Jungkook asked.

“No,” you whispered.

 

This is where you tell him about everything that happened with Taehyung. You told yourself. This is where you tell him that you slept with him.

 

“Y/N,” Jungkook said. “Does Taehyung still have feelings for you?”

You nodded wordlessly.

 

This is where you tell him about the countless other times that you kissed Taehyung.

 

“Do you-“ Jungkook began. “Do you still have feelings for Taehyung?”

 

This is where you let him know the truth.

Chapter Text

Jungkook looks wonderful.

 

That is your first thought after seeing him for the first time since he left to go fight. His smile has remained exactly the same – still radiating enough light and happiness to make you want to smile right along with him. It has not been weighed down by the war, unlike Taehyung’s or even Jimin’s smiles, which always seem to hide more than what they’re letting on. Though you’re sure that Jungkook has witnessed and experienced his own fair share of things – and in this time, who hasn’t – you’re relieved that Jungkook is still just as radiant as he was before the two of you parted ways during the war.

 

But now that the two of you are holding each other for the first time in a long time, you can just feel the surge of euphoria that runs throughout your veins to every single inch of your body. His adorable, large doe eyes, his big nose, the scar on his cheek, the mole under his lip, every feature of his face that made him so uniquely…Jungkook. You never realized how much you missed the way his arms wrapped around you or even just the sound of his voice in your ear. In his normal civilian clothes that you had rarely ever seen him in before, he somehow managed to call the attention of every single girl within a short radius. You noticed for the first time the smell of his cologne, a scent mixed of sandalwood and something else that you couldn’t quite place a finger on. He had never worn cologne while abroad, but you realized now how much this scent suited him and only added to the image of Jungkook that you had ingrained in your mind.

 

For the first time since Taehyung showed up at your front door, you’re able to feel at entirely at ease even though you know that this feeling won’t last very long. In your mind at least, for just a few moments you were going to treasure this feeling of being with Jungkook without the added pressure of parents or friends or ex-crushes brought back to life. It helps that Jungkook seems to be in a similar mood as well, and the two of you remain standing in the airport for a while just savoring the feeling of holding each other once again.

 

Jungkook, of course, is the first one to pull away and move to place his hands on your shoulders. Though you are slightly dejected at the sudden separation of Jungkook’s body from your own, when you look up and see that familiar smile of his, the feeling is suddenly gone. And the only thought that runs through your mind as you look into his large eyes is, “I never thought that I could love someone as much as I love you.”

 

“As much as I’ve love to never let you go, we should probably move out of the way of angry travelers,” Jungkook says, and you can’t help but laugh at the similar wording he had to your inner thoughts. Maybe this was a sign that the two of you were meant to be? Maybe, just maybe.

 

Taking his hand, you lead him through the airport that you’ve only been in a handful of times. It’s as crowded as it has been the previous times you had been there, though this time, it just felt completely different. Holding Jungkook’s hand in your own seemed to have that effect on you and your view of the world around. As the two of you are walking, you explain to him that you had taken a taxi as you had yet to get a car of your own. Jungkook only nods in understanding as he follows you to the taxi station, his eyes scanning the entire area as he begins to take in the sights of your own city.

 

He's quieter than he has been on the phone with you lately, much like how he had behaved on your first date. It bothers you slightly, but you figure that you'd ask him once the two of you were inside the cab with some relative privacy rather than in the middle of a busy airport. He doesn't let go of your hand either, clutching it tightly in one hand while the other held his small suitcase. He didn't bring much luggage with him, you think. There's just a carry-on sized suitcase and an average sized backpack - though you figured that since he was only staying for about two weeks it would be enough clothes. You were curious about his dress style, realizing for the first time you had never actually seen the way that Jungkook normally dresses. A few outfits here and there on the couple dates you went on didn’t seem to cover it, and you were kind of excited to learn more. Though it felt like you knew a lot about him, you were realizing that your time together abroad would be much different from your time at home and the two of you would only be learning more and more things about the other.

 

Once it's finally your turn to get a cab, you climb inside and watch as Jungkook places his things in the trunk before jumping in beside you. He immediately takes ahold of your hand again and gives you a sheepish smile.

 

"So where are we going now?" Jungkook asks. "To your house?"

You nod, seeing the way Jungkook takes in a deep breath. You could see the nervousness begin to take hold of him, so you give his hand a small squeeze. "You'll be fine. They already love you."

"That's because they haven't met me and you've probably talked me up way more than you should have," Jungkook replies. "You probably told them I fended off five hundred enemy soldiers by myself in an orphanage in order to protect the small children and the nuns that took care of them."

You couldn't help but laugh. "While that would make them love you, they already know you spent an absurd amount of time during your career as a soldier in bed."

"Oh great, so then you talked me down so it's harder for me to impress them? Thanks Y/N, I really feel the love from you," Jungkook said teasingly, a smile on his face forming.

"Don't worry about it, they won't be mean," You say, taking your other hand and patting him on his shoulder. "You are staying at our house, so they won't be mean to you unless you do something. I promise."

"Speaking of accommodation, are you sure it's fine for me to stay in the spare bedroom? I really could have just gotten a hotel room or something so that I don't get in the way," Jungkook asks worriedly, letting the nerves get the better of him.

"Jeon Jungkook," you begin. "What happened to the confident, goofy Jungkook and why was he replaced by this nervous mess?"

"You know where he's at? Back at his house, chilling because he's not the one who's meeting his girlfriend's parents for the first time," Jungkook retorts.

"What? Did you not meet any of your previous girlfriends' parents?" you ask.

"Maybe like one? But it wasn't anything like this. And give me a break! I fell in love with a girl during a war when she should have been more focused on treating soldiers than dating," Jungkook says. “They probably hate me because I kept you from earning a Medal of Honor or something.”

"Don't be so scared you big baby," you tease. "Just focus on the fact that I’ll be right beside you and relax."

 

Jungkook glares at you before eventually turning his head and looking at the buildings pass him by. He continues gripping your hand tightly and you just sit back and watch the way his Adam's apple moves with each breath. You do feel slightly bad for him. He was being thrust into your life before the two of you had even properly settled into a relationship. Though you hoped that he would become a somewhat permanent fixture in your life, you knew at the same time that there were some things he needed to learn before that would ever be possible.

 

You were nervous to give him the full truth, knowing how hard it would be to forgive. The thought of losing Jungkook now, when you needed him the most, gnawed at your insides. It was a terrifying thought to imagine how Jungkook would react to the news that you had slept with Taehyung and kissed him on other occasions. He knew the story between the two of you, but it was because he knew that you figured that it would be much more likely that Jungkook wouldn't be able to forgive you. Whenever you imagined the scenario of you confessing, you would constantly imagine yourself in his shoes – and the immeasurable pain that you were sure to cause Jungkook almost made you want to keep it a secret from him forever. The thought of losing Jungkook scared you and though you needed to be honest, you didn't want to give up the relationship that had just begun to be built between the two of you. It almost seemed to you that it would be like pulling out a flower from the ground before it had even bloomed.

 

It was another thirty minutes before the taxi driver pulled up at your front door. You handed him the money from your wallet before Jungkook could even reach for his own and pulled him out of the car just as quickly. After taking his things from the trunk, Jungkook turned back to you, taking a deep breath as he looked upon your house. The two of you stood in front of the gate leading up to your door, staring at it for a few moments as Jungkook tried to calm his nerves down. Though you wouldn’t admit it to him, you were nervous yourself of showing him your house and your friends. It seemed like such a huge step to further cement Jungkook as a part of your life and you loved it. But it was because you loved it that there was just even more pressure to make sure that he didn’t hate you by the end of his two weeks with you.

 

Eventually, you decided that what you needed to do was give Jungkook a push and so you pulled him behind you, hearing his loud protests as you dragged him to your front door.

 

“Hey don’t you think you should show me around your neighborhood first?” Jungkook asked, grabbing your wrist before you could put your hand on the doorknob.

“With your suitcase and backpack? Come on Jungkook, you need to drop it off anyway,” you laughed, wriggling your wrist out of his grip.

“But Y/N!” Jungkook whined. “Hey, maybe it’s not too late to call the taxi driver back. TAXI!”

 

You only laughed again, amused by his nervous attempts to get out of the awaiting situation, while you twisted the knob and pushed the door open. You took a step inside, looking around and locating your parents in the living room sitting beside each other, as if they were ready for your boyfriend’s arrival. As soon as they spotted you, your dad put down his book and your mother turned from the TV screen where she had been watching a drama. Turning back to Jungkook who was still standing outside, you reached out and pulled him in. He stumbled over his suitcase as he made his way into your house, gasping as he took a look around before his own eyes settled on your parents in the living room.

 

“So you must be the boy we’ve heard so much about,” your father said as he got up from his seat.

 

Jungkook laughed nervously, scratching the back of his neck with one hand before stretching out his other to greet your father. He took Jungkook’s hand, giving him a firm shake with a large smile before turning back to you. Your dad only motioned for the two of you to walk into your living room afterwards, and you followed, sitting beside each other on the couch across from your parents.

 

“How was the flight over here Jungkook?” your mother asked, a warm smile on her face.

“It was a bit long,” Jungkook answered nervously. “But I was pretty excited so it didn’t feel like it was.”

“Well I’m glad you’re here,” your dad said. “It’s good to finally meet the boy who kept our daughter sane.”

Jungkook only laughed nervously at your dad’s joke, and you couldn’t help but mentally agree with him.

“I’m sure you’re tired,” your mom added. “Y/N, why don’t you show him the room where he’ll be staying? We can get to know him once he’s more rested.”

 

You nodded, eager to get Jungkook out of the room. You felt so bad for him, as he looked like he was about to faint due to the pressure. Something told you that your mother had also noticed Jungkook’s nervous energy and for that you were grateful. She could always read people better than anyone you knew. It was a skill that you wished she had passed on to you, but after everything that had occurred the past few days you realized that you were a lot more oblivious than you had originally thought.

 

Taking Jungkook’s hand in your own, you led him up the stairs and took him to the room right across from your own bedroom. Pushing the door open, you showed him the spare bedroom in the house – a room that only ever got used when family came to visit and it showed just by its pure decoration. Your mother had chosen to throw your grandmother’s old quilt on top, while the bedding all had frilling around the edges that made it seem like the home of an elderly woman. You could barely imagine Jungkook in a room like this, but in an effort to make his visit as comfortable and as easy as possible, your guest room seemed like the best option for his boarding. You motioned around, informing him of where the restroom was located and any other question you thought he might have. Jungkook nodded quickly with each new piece of information, swallowing every once in a while as he calmed himself down.

 

He was still looking around the room when you walked over and placed a delicate kiss on his lips. You laughed as his eyes immediately got wider, looking at you incredulously.

 

“Y/N, I would sincerely appreciate it if you refrained from any sort of physical affection that could possibly bring the wrath of your father upon me,” Jungkook said in a deadpan voice in the most formal sentence you had ever heard come out of his mouth.

You couldn’t help but chuckle. “Jungkook, it’s fine. He won’t kill you just for a peck,” you say. You go up on your tiptoes once again, this time placing a kiss just below his jawline, causing Jungkook to shiver slightly. “For this one though, he may get a little angry if he saw,” you say teasingly.

 

Jungkook immediately took two steps backwards, putting a bit of distance between the two of you and the only thing you did was laugh. His nerves were making him have all sorts of funny reactions and you loved seeing the way he would squirm. You tried to ingrain this moment into your mind as best as you could, knowing that happy moments such as these would be severely limited in the future. At least, you’d always have his cute reactions though – even if he decided that it was better for the two of you not to remain together.

 

For now, you’d just appreciate being with him and having fun with him in the limited ways that you could. It only made sense to make him happy for at least some part of this trip, before it would all come crashing down as you surely knew that it would.

 

~

 

After meeting your parents, Jungkook was in a much more relaxed mood. He had survived the first introduction of some of the most important people in your life but now the next meeting would involve all of your friends. It was almost more nerve-wracking in a way to have him meet your friends. Your parents were one thing, sure, but your friends knew a completely different side of you – and things that your parents had no idea about. You were sure that some stories about you were bound to come out – but you almost expected it at this point. Those boys knew you for such a huge part of your life and you could only hope that they liked Jungkook enough to treat him like one of their own.

 

The two of you were sitting on your couch, with you leaning against him as you reveled in being with each other once again. After being separated for months and everything that had happened since you came home, his presence seemed like a godsend. He was the oasis in the middle of the arid desert and just listening to his beating heart comforted you in a way that not much else could.

 

“So what’s the plan for tomorrow?” Jungkook asked, wrapping one of his arms around your waist to pull you closer to him. He was being much more affectionate ever since he had seen your parents step out to visit one of their friends and you definitely were not mad about it either.

“We’re meeting Jimin,” you said, letting out a deep sigh as you listened to his heartbeat.

“Just Jimin?” He asked again and you paused for a second, knowing the deeper meaning of his question.

“Yes,” you answered. “Yoongi and Hoseok are still abroad and Namjoon is busy with classes.”

 

Jungkook doesn’t say anything about your omission of Taehyung’s whereabouts, though you know he’ll want to talk about it eventually. The thought terrifies you because you know that any sort of conversation of Taehyung would have to include you confessing the entire truth to him. You did feel horrible inside, keeping such a big secret from him hidden. It was completely selfish of you to continue to string him along without giving him the full picture. If anyone deserved to know the truth, it was Jungkook. He had treated you too well for him to be repaid like this by you.

 

Yet, every single time you thought about letting him in on everything that had occurred between you and Taehyung, you couldn’t help but feel even more terrified at the thought of losing him. You had been separated from Jungkook for much too long to just throw it all away so soon. Your relationship had just been in its beginning stages when he had been ripped away from you and you wanted to get back to that same place – no matter how selfish it was. You would eventually tell him, just not so soon after he arrived, you resolved.

 

The two of you remained in the living room, talking about everything that the two of you had been doing since returning home until it was dinner time. Jungkook seemed a lot more comfortable at during the meal, talking with your parents and answering all of their questions in complete sentences. He even managed to make your dad laugh for a bit and you were thankful that your parents seemed to like him as much as you did. He was the first boy that you had ever brought home and you were glad that he seemed to be surpassing whatever expectations your parents had.

 

Although it did seem great that Jungkook seemed to be easing himself into your life so seamlessly, there was still the persistent voice in the back of your head that reminded you that the more ingrained he became in your life, the harder it would be to let him go – should he choose to – when he found out the truth. Your parents loved him and that only made you jump up with elation, but it could so very easily be ripped away from you at the same time and it was something that you had brought on yourself.

 

The next day, you walked with Jungkook down the streets of your neighborhood as you made your way to your usual café. You pointed out different spots to Jungkook, recalling memories that involved you when you were younger in order to keep him entertained. You never mentioned Taehyung by name however, afraid that it would trigger something in him that you were afraid to see at the moment. So instead, you talked about the time you fell off your bike and ended up breaking your arm on the corner down the street from your house. He seemed to enjoy those stories well enough and he seemed happy that you were sharing even more of yourself with every passing minute.

 

Jimin was already waiting for you at the same table that the two of you had spent countless hours studying at. He had been fiddling with the straw from his drink until he turned his head and his eyes located the pair of you. He quickly waved you over, and you pulled a nervous Jungkook behind you as you climbed the two steps to get to the table.

 

Throwing your arms around Jimin in a greeting, you whispered in his ear. “Please be nice. He’s nervous.”

 

Jimin only laughed in response, letting go of you and looking over at Jungkook who was currently watching your interaction while he scratched the back of his neck, a habit of his you were starting to realize was a nervous tick. Giving him a soft smile, you pushed Jungkook over to your friend and smiled.

 

“Jimin, this is Jungkook,” you said, breaking the silence.

Jungkook stretched out his hand and Jimin quickly knocked it out of the way, giving him a hug as well. “Jungkook, it’s about damn time I met you don’t you think?” Jimin said with a chuckle, his eyes brightening up as he put on his friendliest demeanor.

 

You saw your boyfriend nod quickly, making you let out a small laugh underneath your breath. He was more nervous than you had expected him to be, and way more than he would ever admit to. If this is how he was with Jimin himself, you couldn’t imagine how he’d act when he met the rest of the boys. And you definitely couldn’t wait for all of the teasing you had planned for him later.

 

“It has been somewhat overdue,” Jungkook agreed with Jimin. “But hey, now that we’ve met I’d love to hear about you and Y/N.”

 

You could see the hesitation in Jimin’s eyes, but nonetheless, he motioned for the three of you to sit down while a barista came by to take yours and Jungkook’s drink orders. There was a part of you that was praying that the two of them would hit it off, as if the rest of Jungkook’s visit would go smoothly if this one occurrence went well. However, deep down you also knew how much of a lost cause it truly was. Whether you wanted to or not, Jungkook needed to know the truth about your recent encounters with Taehyung – and that was likely enough to make him regret ever starting up anything with you and that single thought continued to plague your mind with every good thing that occurred.

 

“You just got here yesterday right? How was the flight over here?” Jimin asked as the three of you waited for your drinks.

Jungkook shrugged, “About as well as you’d expect it to be I guess. I sat in front of a mother with a loud baby.”

Jimin shuddered, letting out a laugh afterwards. “Sounds about right. Y/N told you that we’re looking at schools over there didn’t she?”

Jungkook nodded. “I’d love it if she came to school near my home. It’s really a great school overall and you’d both really like it I think.”

“Jimin still hasn’t decided on his exact major either,” you explained. “But I think we’re both pretty set on living together regardless of where we go.”

You could see Jungkook’s eyes go slightly wide, though it was Jimin who answered. “It doesn’t bother you right? That we’d be living together? I don’t want to cause any problems with the boyfriend – especially this girl’s first one.”

“No, I trust Y/N,” Jungkook said, turning to you and giving your hand a slight squeeze. “And the two of you are friends anyway. Where’s the harm in that?”

 

You felt a heavy weight on your chest, causing you to take in a shallow breath that was only noticed by Jimin. He flashed a look in your direction before turning back to your boyfriend who had begun going off on a tangent about why the two of you would love going to school near his hometown. Though the guilt was eating at your insides, you couldn’t help but smile at Jungkook’s obvious excitement about the prospect of you moving over there. He was really open to the idea of having you nearby and that only made your heart beat that much faster.

 

Eventually, Jungkook changed the subject once again, turning to you. “I know you’ve explained it to me, but I’m really curious about one thing.”

 

You and Jimin looked at each other, wondering in nervous anticipation as to the next words out of Jungkook’s mouth.

 

He turned back to Jimin who was across from him, “How the hell did she not ever date in high school?”

You felt your shoulders slump in relief while Jimin only let out a nervous laugh.  “Don’t get her wrong, there were a handful of guys who were interested in her.” Your eyes went wide, while Jimin turned to you and continued, “Im Jaebum is likely the most notable one.”

“Who was he?” Jungkook asked, a mischievous smile creeping up on his features.

“One of the school’s resident heartbreakers. Every girl thought he was the hottest person to have ever walked the halls of the school but he only had eyes for Y/N. Too bad we kind of formed a protective barrier against any guy,” Jimin laughed. “Having five guys surrounding you all the time tends to do that. Especially if one of them is as possessive as Tae-”

 

At that point, the waitress came back with a tray holding all three drinks. Setting down the three ceramic cups in front of all three of you, Jimin immediately jumped into the fact that he had been considering dance as a possible major as if having caught himself from finishing his sentence. The distraction worked however, and you could almost see the lightbulb go off in Jungkook’s mind as the two of them immediately began a conversation about the subject. While the two talked, you could feel yourself relaxing more and letting the aroma of the tea in front of you calm you down even more.

 

The conversation began to flow freely between the three of you, even resulting in Jungkook and Jimin teaming up against you a couple times as well. It was also the most relaxed that you had seen your friend in a while, something that you were thankful for as well. Jungkook seemed like a breath of fresh air for the two of you, letting you forget about the pending applications that were still left unfinished and the looming issue of a recently resurrected mutual friend of yours.

 

Seeing Jimin’s shoulders relaxed also made you feel slightly better about everything. You knew that he had been having trouble lately with his nightmares, and at times he seemed so jumpy that you thought he would hurt himself somehow. It seemed like Jungkook had allowed Jimin to reach a level of comfort that you hadn’t seen him reach since he returned from the war and you continued to mentally thank your boyfriend in your mind. He had no idea how much he was helping Jimin out, but it was still heartwarming to see such a genuine smile on Jimin’s face and it made you realize how much you missed the time from before the war – when everyone was still alright and the most stressful thing to worry about was not having something to do on Friday nights.

 

After several hours in the café, the three of you finally decided that it was time to go back home, with Jimin reminding you that Yoongi and Hoseok would be arriving the next day. All of you had found out the day after Namjoon’s party, but with the impendent arrival of Jungkook, the fact that your two friends were coming home had slipped from your mind completely and you felt guilty about it as well. So on the way home, you informed Jungkook that the two of you would be going to the airport to meet them along with Namjoon and Jimin. You were still unsure about whether Taehyung would also be there, but for the rest of the night you put the thought out of your mind. Enjoying every last bit of peace with Jungkook before all hell broke loose was still at the very top of your list of priorities.

 

You spent the night with your head on Jungkook’s shoulder as the two of you talked about what the future would hold for the two of you. Every single time that Jungkook would play with the ring on your finger, you could feel the same weight on your chest that had been bothering you lately. And though you also wished for everything in your conversation to come true, a part of you knew that it wasn’t likely as long as Jungkook stayed in the dark. You needed to tell him and sooner was better than later, but you allowed yourself to be selfish for the night, letting yourself believe for just a few hours that the future Jungkook had dreamed up was possible.

 

“I think it’ll be a great idea for the two of you to attend school nearby,” Jungkook said dreamily. “Then when I apply next year we can take a couple classes together and we can be that stereotypical campus couple, you know?”

You laughed. “Wearing coordinated outfits and spending every minute outside of class together?”

“Yes! And then since you’ll have your own place – well with Jimin – I can come over all the time and I’d be able to crash over there after all the late-nights we’ll be up studying…or doing something else,” Jungkook added suggestively.

“The thought of Jimin hearing us is enough for me not to want that to happen,” you protested weakly, knowing deep down that you agreed with him.

“Well Jimin can wear earplugs or we can be quiet,” Jungkook laughed, intertwining your fingers together. “And then when we graduate we can move in together. Can you imagine what that would be like?”

“It’d be a dream,” you reply almost absentmindedly, as an image of Taehyung flashed through your mind.

“I’m so glad that you’re still wearing the ring,” Jungkook said. “I love you so much sometimes it scares me.”

You turned to him, your eyes locking with his own loving gaze. “I love you too. More than you could possibly know.”

 

The next morning was almost an exact repeat of how Jungkook had been the previous day, his nerves winning the better part of him as he sat chugging his orange juice at the kitchen table. You couldn’t help but find the nervous Jungkook adorable, loving how he could be confident and cocky one moment to being a scared little puppy the next. It was always like getting to see a new side of him, seeing another one of his habits that you never knew existed. His time at your house was the closest you had ever gotten to actually living with him and every single moment you spent in your house, you fell even more in love with him.

 

One hour later, you were pulling Jungkook by the hand out of the taxi and dragging him excitedly to the arrivals gate at the airport. You immediately recognized Namjoon’s tall form standing against the barrier and ran up to him, never once letting go of your boyfriend’s hand as you weaved through the crowds of people in the area.

 

Laughing slightly in your excitement, you yelled, “Namjoon!”

 

He turned, his eyes opening when he realized who the person whose hand you were holding onto was. Standing in front of him, you spoke again, “This is Jungkook. Jungkook this is Namjoon.”

 

Finally letting go of Jungkook’s hand, he stretched out his hand to shake your friend’s as they greeted each other normally. Namjoon made a bit of small talk with Jungkook before turning back to the gate as people began to pour out once again. You could tell that Namjoon was more focused on the arrival of his two best friends, for which you couldn’t blame him for. You were just as excited to see them as well, finding yourself missing them more than you had originally thought now that you were standing in front of the arrivals gate.

 

You began to look around, noticing Jimin beside Namjoon and giving him a large smile and a wave. He repeated the motion back to you, only seeming concerned as he moved backward just enough to reveal an annoyed-looking Taehyung. You couldn’t help but wave hesitantly to him, even though your heart had begun to beat faster in fear due to having the two boys in such a close proximity to each other. Taehyung however, only turned back to the gate, completely ignoring your greeting and the presence of Jungkook, something that you were unsure of whether it had been noticed by your boyfriend or not. You stayed staring at Taehyung a bit longer than you should have, taking note of the fact that he had been swaying a bit as he looked over at you and as he stood looking at the people pouring out of the gate.

 

Turning to Jimin who had moved over to you, you whispered in his ear. “What’s up with him?”

Jimin only sighed, knowing immediately who you were asking about. “When Namjoon picked him up this morning, he had already been drinking.”

“It’s not even noon Jimin,” you responded in concern.

 

Jimin only shrugged and you couldn’t help but look back at Taehyung, worried about what else he had been up to since the last time you had seen him. He seemed to have a self-destructive nature and you were scared of what he could be capable of in his inebriated state.

 

Eventually, you turned back to the gate as you waited for the arrival of the remaining two of your group to finally arrive home, trying to put the thoughts of Taehyung out of your mind. You took ahold of Jungkook’s hand in anticipation, giving it a tight squeeze. Though you knew nothing was perfect, another part of you couldn’t wait until your group was whole once again. It had been much too long since the war had begun that all of you had been together and you figured that things may be slightly easier if your fractured group was one complete unit once again, physically, if not emotionally.

 

Eventually you saw Hoseok and Yoongi emerge from the gate side by side, each of them with large, military-grade backpacks and a small carry-on suitcase being wheeled behind them. You couldn’t help but call out to them loudly, the two of them immediately spotting your group by the railing in front. Part of you wished that you had made a sign, regretting not making their arrival as extravagant as you could have. Yoongi would probably have pretended to hate it, but you knew he probably would have loved it as much as Hoseok would have. Picking up their pace, they ran towards all of you, greeting each person with a fierce hug. It was with those hugs that your group was finally all together once again, even if it was a little fractured now.

 

Jungkook stood off to the side, watching with a smile as everyone surrounded the final two members of your group. When Yoongi let go of you, he turned to Jungkook, giving you a look of realization before walking over and taking him into a hug as if they had been friends for a long time. You watched in astonishment at Yoongi’s quick acceptance of Jungkook, even more so when Hoseok walked over and repeated Yoongi’s actions. You could see the unease leave Jungkook almost immediately as he looked upon the two boys in wonder, but you just felt your heart swell with happiness that they had no problem including your boyfriend into your group.

 

Jimin walked up beside you, a surprised expression on his face. “How do they know Jungkook?”

“We don’t,” Yoongi said, approaching the two of you with his famous gummy smile forming. “When I was in the hospital with Y/N, I met his friend and found out all about their grand love story.”

“Yeah and we agreed that you’d wait for me to tell everyone, but I see that Hoseok here already knows,” you say pointedly.

“He would have been the only one left out of the loop. If anything I did you a favor,” Yoongi shrugged, placing an arm around your shoulders.

“Anyway, how have you guys been? Did everything go okay over there?” Namjoon asked, changing the topic of conversation.

Hoseok shrugged, “Can’t say we’re great, but we are damn happy to be back here.”

“And we’re happy to have you back over here finally,” Namjoon said. “I was thinking of having a welcome back party at my place tonight if you two are feeling up to it.”

 

Yoongi and Hoseok both looked at each other, the smiles never leaving their faces as they nodded in affirmation. They might have been exhausted, but those two never seemed to turn down an excuse to party it seemed. Namjoon only pulled each of them in for another hug and you could have sworn that you saw his eyes get watery as he looked upon the two of them.

 

“We could also use it as the perfect excuse to get to know the guy who stole Y/N’s heart. After all, alcohol gets anybody to talk,” Yoongi said, turning to you with a mischievous look. “We’ll find out all the dirty details once he gets a few tequila shots in him.”

“Alright alright,” Namjoon said with a laugh. “Then let’s get you two home so that I can go set up. Anyone wanna help?”

 

You saw Jimin tell Namjoon he’d help, pulling along a staggering Taehyung behind him. Staring at the two with concern, Yoongi whispered in your ear.

 

“I don’t know what’s happened since the last time I saw you,” he began. “But Taehyung isn’t dealing with it very well is he?”

 

You could only nod in response, watching as Jimin led his best friend back to Namjoon’s car that was parked right outside the arrivals gate and helped him into the backseat with a little bit of force. After Hoseok and Yoongi climbed in as well, you turned back to Jungkook and took ahold of his hand as the two of you walked over to the cab station. At least you were going to be able to spend some time with Jungkook before you two headed to Namjoon’s party, not knowing what you would be encountered with when you arrived. Maybe it would work in your favor, and allow you to mentally prepare yourself for the mess that the party was sure to make.

 

A few hours later, you were in your room trying on different outfits while Jungkook sat on your bed and inspected all of the photos on your walls. As you debated between a black dress and a blue one, you turned over to see your boyfriend looking intently at the framed photo by your bed that sat behind his own.

 

“There really are a lot of photos of you and Taehyung up here aren’t there,” Jungkook said thoughtfully. You hum in agreement, allowing Jungkook to continue his train of thought. “I can’t wait until you and I make even more memories together. Then I’ll be up here more.”

 

You couldn’t help but stare at Jungkook, the ache in your chest coming back. Once he found out the full truth, he wouldn’t want to be up on these walls anymore – but you allowed yourself to be selfish once again and let yourself entertain the idea. There were so many memories you imagined yourself to be making with Jungkook and with the rest of your group. He had the potential to fit in so seamlessly into your circle of friends, along with Jin, and you wondered if all of you had met in different circumstances whether that would truly be the case. But instead, all of you were playing with the cards that you had been dealt and now it was time to figure out what to do – even if some of you weren’t holding a great set.

 

“Why did Taehyung act that way at the airport?” Jungkook questioned, looking back at you inquisitively. “I didn’t want to ask you there, but now that we’re alone I guess I mustered up the courage to ask. It’s been bothering me the whole day that he just blatantly ignored you – and me too I guess.”

 

You took a deep breath. It was only fair to Jungkook that he found out the truth and his question only brought a heavy feeling to your stomach. This could be the opportunity that you had been waiting for, the best situation that you could hope for when delivering such potentially devastating news to your boyfriend. But could you do it, right before Namjoon’s party? Would you allow yourself to be selfish once again and delay the revelation for another time?

 

You took a seat beside your boyfriend, forgetting about the two outfits on your desk and taking his hands into your own. Looking into his large brown eyes, full of thoughts and concern, you took a deep breath and began to speak.

 

“You remember how I told you about my feelings for Taehyung up until I met you?” you whispered, giving his own hand a light squeeze.

“Mhmm,” Jungkook responded. You could see the way that he tensed, remembering everything that had transpired between the two of you at the hospital.

“I didn’t tell you the full story,” you sighed, immediately feeling the guilt creep up once again.

“What is it then?” Jungkook asked, placing a hand on the side of your face to get you to look at him again.

“Before he left, I told him how I felt about him. I let everything out on the table right before he went in to enlist,” you began, feeling tears beginning to form in the corners of your eyes. “Before he went missing, he sent me a letter telling me that he had his answer to my feelings and that we would talk when he got back.”

“But that didn’t happen did it?” Jungkook whispered. “Because you met me right?”

You shook your head. “The last thing that he was expecting was for me to have met someone else. He thought that I would be waiting for him, waiting for the day that he was liberated and freed from the camps.”

“I take it he didn’t handle the news very well?” Jungkook asked.

“No,” you whispered. “Quite the opposite actually.”

 

This is where you tell him about everything that happened with Taehyung. You told yourself. This is where you tell him that you slept with him.

 

“Y/N,” Jungkook said. “Does Taehyung still have feelings for you?”

You nodded wordlessly, afraid of the words that would spill out of your mouth if you spoke.

 

This is where you tell him about the countless other times that you kissed Taehyung.

 

“Do you-“ Jungkook began. “Do you still have feelings for Taehyung?”

 

This is where you let him know the truth.

 

Yes, this is where you should confess everything to Jungkook. There likely won’t be another opportunity as well-timed as this to present itself. But how do you tell the person that you love that you cheated on them? How do you tell them that you betrayed their trust? That you could have told them about your transgressions a lot sooner, yet chose until they traveled across the country to let them know?

 

Jungkook wouldn’t hate you. That was as much as you knew. He’d be angry, yes, but he wouldn’t hate you. He was too good of a person to hold hate in his heart, but just the thought of fracturing the budding relationship that you two had been building was enough to make you swallow the confession back down and keep the truth that was screaming to be let out inside of you.

 

“No…I love you Jungkook,” you responded, feeling your throat begin to get dry. “You’re all I want.”

 

You saw Jungkook’s shoulders slouch down as the tension they were holding was released. You ignored the screaming in the back of your mind, ignored the way your heart continued to beat incessantly, and rested your head on his shoulder. Your own selfishness would be your downfall, but for now you’d let yourself be selfish once again. You just wanted more time with him and you’d take it in any form, even if you knew that it would only backfire on you in the future.

 

~

 

When you opened the door to Namjoon’s apartment, it was almost like traveling back in time to the last party you had attended at his place. There was a crowd of people around the door, barely leaving any space as you led Jungkook into the one room where you were sure to find at least one of your friends. As usual, you barely recognized any of the people in the apartment. Most of them were Namjoon’s friends or friends of his friends, just there to party and have a good time. You ignored most of them, finding their chatter to be somewhat annoying, but Jungkook on the other hand only looked around in amazement as you led him to the kitchen.

 

Sure enough, Namjoon was in almost the exact same spot he had been at the previous party – only this time he was surrounded by Hoseok and Yoongi who each held a cup filled with Namjoon’s deadly alcoholic concoction. As you approached them, you even managed to catch a whiff and you involuntarily gagged, remember the taste of the drink.

 

“Jungkook!” Namjoon yelled, moving past your two friends and pulling your boyfriend to the counter.

 

You watched in amusement as you leaned on the island across from the scene unfolding in front of you. Namjoon had already begun pouring enough tequila into Jungkook’s cup that you were sure he’d be blacked out after finishing it, if he couldn’t handle his liquor well that is. At least, you’d be able to learn a bit more about your boyfriend after seeing him drunk. You had to admit that you were slightly curious to see what kind of a drunk he was – imagining that he’d likely just have his stronger personality traits amplified like his competitiveness.

 

You were still watching your friends being forced to drink Namjoon’s concoctions when Jimin appeared next to you, turning to look as the three boys drank nonstop, with Namjoon egging them on with each gulp they took. He was on a mission it seemed, and you knew focused he got when there was an objective on his mind.

 

“Well, Namjoon is definitely making sure that they have a good time,” Jimin said, amused at the scene in front of him.

“More like he’s trying to make sure they don’t remember the night,” you countered.

Jimin laughed out loud. “Well, we’ll just have to make sure we have a play by play down of every dumb thing they do tonight won’t we?”

 

He handed you a cup with a smile, watching as you brought the cup up to your lips only to feel the burning sensation of the alcohol right after, immediately recognizing the made-by-Namjoon characteristic the drink had.

 

“Jimin, what is this?” You sputtered, turning to glare at him.

“Probably the same thing your boyfriend is drinking,” Jimin said. “Namjoon gave it to me when I walked in, but I figured you probably needed a drink more than I did.”

 

And just like that, you remembered once again the truth that you chose to continue to keep from Jungkook. Maybe Jimin had been onto something, you wondered, taking another sip of the ridiculously strong drink before you spoke again.

 

“Is he here yet?” You asked, not taking your eyes off of your boyfriend who had begun to sway a bit as he talked with your friends and laughed loudly at something that Hoseok had said.

“He’s here somewhere, probably brooding in one of the corners if I were to guess,” Jimin said. “I’m assuming you haven’t told him yet?”

You took another sip of the drink, beginning to grow accustomed to the almost-too-welcome burn in your throat. “I know I have to, but I just can’t bring myself to do it whenever I look at him. He’s so happy and he just fits in so well here.”

“The longer you wait, the worse it will be when it does come out,” Jimin said. “It’s better to nip it in the bud right now.”

“I know…trust me,” you replied. “But I just can’t bring myself to say it whenever I look at his smile and how excited he is to finally be together again.”

“Don’t you feel guilty?” He asked, his irritation with you growing with every excuse you found to conceal the truth from Jungkook.

Another sip. “Of course I do.” And it was the truth. You felt horrible, but you figured these happy moments were worth the ugly feelings you held within in you, the very same ones that were threatening to make you burst at the seams with each passing moment.

“Just…don’t be stupid. Tell him before he finds out some other way,” Jimin said, pushing himself off the counter and going back out into the living room without giving you another glance.

 

His words remained with you, giving you a sense of foreboding as if something was going to happen soon. You knew that he was beginning to grow upset with you, for how dishonest you were being. But you were also beginning to feel the effects of the alcohol and so you chose to ignore it, walking over to Namjoon and asking him to create one of his deadly cocktails for you hoping that it would numb your guilty feelings for the first time since Jungkook arrived.

 

After finally wrangling your boyfriend out of Namjoon’s grasp and after you were feeling sufficiently drunk, you led your boyfriend into the living room where the loud music and flashing lights distracted you from your emotions. Just as Jimin had predicted, you spotted Taehyung leaning against the far wall beside the door to the balcony with a drink in his hand, every bit as broody as you had expected him to be. You saw him before he saw you, but once his eyes connected with your own, he quickly looked away and chose to ignore your presence in the small room. He was wearing a leather jacket, one that he likely pulled out of Jimin’s closet and a dark pair of jeans, and he looked angry. Angry at the people in the room, at himself, and especially at you. The look you saw in his eyes before he turned away from you was enough to send shivers down your spine and remind you of what you had in store for you in the future.

 

You turned to Jungkook, pulling him towards you as the two of you began to dance to the music. Following the rhythm of the sounds, the bass thumping in your chest, your waists were pressed close together as the two of you continued to stare into each other’s eyes. His hands were on your waist, his thumbs through your belt loops and he continued to pull you closer than was physically possible. Both of you were sufficiently drunk, so much that when Jungkook leaned down to give you a kiss, you reciprocated without giving much thought to the people around you. The only thing you felt was Jungkook’s lips on your own and the heat that had begun to pool in your lower abdomen.

 

After what seemed like a while, the two of you finally pulled away from each other to stand at a more appropriate distance, not that anyone around you nor the two of you really cared. You were still feeling the effects of the alcohol, but Jungkook wanted another one of Namjoon’s concoctions because the effects of his first ones had begun to wear off. You reluctantly let go of his hand and moved to stand against the wall unwilling to brave the sea of people you would have to cross. You instead watched as he maneuvered his way around all of the party guests, eventually bumping into someone near the kitchen.

 

The person turned around, only for you to see that it was actually Taehyung that he had bumped into and you felt your heart drop immediately. You saw him say something angrily to Jungkook, before raising his hands and pushing Jungkook back with some force. Though you were still drunk, you quickly began to make your way through the people as you tried to reach the two boys, afraid of what would transpire if you didn’t manage to step in.

 

You could see a look of annoyance on Jungkook’s face as he walked closer to Taehyung, clearly trying very hard to contain his anger as he tightened his jaw, only to have Taehyung push him again when he was within reach. You tried to move faster, finding it impossible to get through some people when you saw Jimin grab Taehyung’s arm and pull him into the kitchen and out of sight. You reached Jungkook shortly after, pulling him in the direction of the bathroom and closing the door behind the two of you.

 

“What was that?” You asked, looking at him expectantly.

“You tell me. I said sorry and he pushed me,” Jungkook explained, placing has hands on the counter behind him.

“But did you have to approach him again. You could have walked away or something!” You say, your nerves causing you to raise your voice. You could see the way that Jungkook’s eyes flickered, his temper immediately rising.

“Why are you getting mad at me? He was the aggressive one,” Jungkook responded, appalled at your reaction.

Taking a deep breath, you let Jungkook’s words sink into your head. He had a point, though you didn’t like the fact that you had to admit it. You refused to let this be the first fight between the two of you. “You’re right. I’m sorry.”

Jungkook only shrugged, waiting for you to continue, clearly expecting much more words to come out of your mouth than the ones that already had.

“I just want you all to get along,” you explained, ignoring the nagging feeling in your chest. “It would really make me happy if all of you liked each other.”

“I’m trying, Y/N,” Jungkook replies. “He makes it so difficult to be friendly to him.”

 

Your heart aches because you know that he is telling the truth. The only reason why Taehyung hates Jungkook is because he is your boyfriend. You knew that if all of you had been born in a parallel universe and under different circumstances, they probably would have been great friends. Maybe it didn’t even need to be in a different universe, maybe all that needed to happen was that you weren’t part of the equation you figured.

 

Jungkook stared at you as though he was not fully convinced that you were feeling better, and part of you may have agreed with him in your mind. You couldn’t help the nerves that you felt regarding the fact that both boys in your life were currently in the same apartment with not nearly as much distance between them as you would have liked. Taehyung had always been reckless and a part of you feared that he would tell Jungkook what had happened between the two of you in a fit of rage. What you had done was unforgivable in any situation, but you had a feeling that if Taehyung was the bearer of bad news it would cause an even greater problem for everyone.

 

“I’ll talk to him,” you say before you even realize it yourself.

 

Jungkook gives you an incredulous look once again. You’re not sure if it’s because of the alcohol in your system or some other reason, but before he’s even had a chance to speak his disapproval of your decision, you are already on your way out the door in search of Taehyung. Knowing Jimin, he had probably pulled him into Namjoon’s room – the likeliest place to get some privacy in the midst of the crowded party.

 

You walked down the narrow hallway, stopping at the correct door and hearing a muffled argument coming from inside. You hesitantly, slowly pushed the door open and encountered an angry Taehyung yelling at Jimin who was holding his own against his friend, pain clear as day in his eyes. Even from a few feet away, you immediately spotted the half-empty bottle of vodka that Taehyung was holding in his left hand.

 

“Well look who it is! Just the person that I wanted to see at this very moment!” Taehyung exclaimed in his drunken fit of rage. “Are you here to rub your perfect little relationship in my face again?”

“Tae-“

“No! Fuck you Y/N!” Taehyung yelled, pointing at you with the same hand that he held the bottle of vodka in. “FUCK. YOU.”

 

Jimin began to move to cover you from Taehyung’s rage but you quickly raised your hand to stop him. You deserved to bear the brunt of his rage, even if it came in this form. It was unfair to Jimin to have to get in between the two of you. After all, this whole problem only narrowed down to the relationship between you and Taehyung – and Jungkook.

 

You turned quietly to Jimin, “It’s okay, go back to the party.”

 

Jimin only gave you a look of concern and you nodded again to reassure him you would be fine. Even if Taehyung was drunk, you believed that he would never lay a hand on you. The Taehyung you knew wouldn’t touch you regardless of how angry he got. Taehyung still loved you, and that was the root the problem, because you still knew that you loved him every bit as much as he did. With a bit of apprehension, Jimin turned to the door, giving you one more look before exiting the room and closing the door behind him.

 

The first few moments alone in Namjoon’s room were filled with silence. Outside the door, the party continued but inside the only thing audible to you were Taehyung’s deep breaths and the sloshing of the vodka each time he took a swig.

 

“Taehyung,” you whispered, feeling the tears begin to form in the corners of your eyes. You hated witnessing what you had done to him firsthand.

“Why do you keep bringing him everywhere?” Taehyung asks. He spits the words out like they’re full of venom. “It’s like you want to remind me of it – your perfect relationship with your perfect boyfriend.”

“You have to know it’s not like that,” you whispered, watching as he took another drink. It was starting to worry you how he was drinking the vodka like it was water.

“Then what’s it like Y/N? Huh?” He asked, raising his voice once again as his hands went up as well in frustration.

“He’s a part of my life now-“ you began, before Taehyung cut you off once again.

“He was never supposed to be a part of your life!” He yelled. “It was supposed to be the two of us! You’re supposed to be with me! Didn’t I fucking tell you? It’s you and me forever!”

“I thought you were dead!” You yelled back, your eyes beginning to form tears as you felt your heart begin to break. “You disappeared and even your own officers wrote you off as dead!”

“How could you give up on me so easily? How could you think I wouldn’t come back?” Taehyung asked, taking a step closer to you.

“You were gone Taehyung. You disappeared over enemy territory! What else were any of us supposed to think was going to happen? It’s not like they were treating their POWs like they were fucking royalty!” You shouted, letting your emotions take control of you and feeling the need to stand up for yourself for once, even if it was to Taehyung himself.

 

Taehyung took another swig of the vodka he held in his hand and you couldn’t help but watch as he had barely any reaction to the harsh liquid. A part of you wanted to run over to him and pull the bottle out of his hand, but you knew he would only get angrier. Your heart felt like it was about to pop out of your chest from the adrenaline. But you were also full of anger because of Taehyung’s expectations of what would happen when he came home. It was unfair that he had placed such a massive burden on your shoulders you were angry that he had without a second thought. Guilt was the second emotion that you felt, because though you knew that falling for Jungkook was something that you couldn’t help, you understood that Taehyung was feeling immeasurable pain – due to you and from what he had experienced while he was abroad. You were his demon and you reminded him everyday of all the suffering that he had gone through, except he only saw you as his angel, as his saving grace.

 

“Then why the fuck did you sleep with me?” Taehyung asked through his teeth, his anger and the alcohol getting to him.

You weren’t expecting him to be so bold with his question, not with Jungkook in the next room over and thus, the question threw you out of sorts. You could only stand in place and wait for Taehyung to speak again.

“Did the kisses mean nothing to you? They didn’t seem like nothing when I showed up at your front door!” Taehyung pushed again.

 

You couldn’t think of any response to give him, knowing that you were every bit as guilty as he was making you feel. After all, you did everything that he was saying without a second thought as to who it would hurt or what kinds of consequences it would lead to. You didn’t think of what effect it would have on Taehyung, who had just gotten back from a war, from a camp where he had been nearly starved to death. You didn’t think of what Jungkook would feel, especially the longer that you kept it a secret from him.

 

And with that final thought, you took one more look at Taehyung before saying, “I have to go.”

 

You ran out of the room before figuring out what Taehyung’s reaction would be, your eyes immediately scanning the crowded living room before spotting Jungkook leaning against the wall by the entry to the kitchen.

 

Pushing your way past the people, you reached Jungkook who was watching you carefully with an unreadable expression. You were sure you didn’t look as composed as you had before you walked into that room with Taehyung, but at the moment you had more pressing matters to tend to than your appearance.

 

You leaned in, yelling into Jungkook’s ear to make sure he heard you over the loud music. “Let’s go home.”

 

Jungkook didn’t seem to question your sudden change of attitude, taking your hand in his and beginning the walk to the door. You didn’t bother to say goodbye to your friends. You’d see them tomorrow anyway, at least that’s what you hoped would happen.

 

Outside, the two of you climbed into a passing cab. After giving your address to the driver, you sat in an overwhelming silence, each looking out of the windows as if both of you knew what to expect when you arrived at your house. You were sure that Jungkook knew there was something that you had been keeping from him – something that had to do with Taehyung. He was too observant not to have noticed anything, but he was also too in love with you to ask what that thing was – as if he knew that the answer to that question would destroy anything that you two had between you. But your yelling match with Taehyung forced you to take a look at yourself and what your actions had caused, and it was no longer an option for you to keep everything concealed. Jungkook needed to know the complete truth of what had happened with Taehyung, or else everything would continue to be in this perpetual state of anger and resentment between the three of you.

 

You didn’t notice when the cab arrived at your house, only snapping out of your trance when Jungkook pulled lightly on your arm to get you to come out. You sighed, taking out your keys from your pocket and walking up to your front door, feeling like you were on a death march as you climbed the few steps to your front door. Your hands were shaking, and you missed the keyhole entry a few times as if your nerves were trying to stop you from doing what you were going to do when you stepped inside.

 

But instead of stopping when the two walked through the door, you took Jungkook’s hand in your own – savoring how it felt with yours. You took great care to memorize how it felt, everything including the callouses he had due to his time in the military, and tried to commit it to memory. You sat him down in the living room, giving him a slight peck and once again memorizing how his lips felt against your own, trying to ingrain everything about him into your head. Taking a few deep breaths for yourself, you took a look once again and memorized every single feature on his face, including the small mole underneath his bottom lip and the way his large eyes looked at you with adoration. It was a look you wished he would always look at you with, but one that you would unfortunately change tonight.

 

“What’s wrong?” Jungkook asked, breaking the silence between the two of you, his eyebrows furrowing in concern for you.

You sighed, feeling your eyes begin to sting. “I never told you the full truth of what happened when Taehyung got here.”

You could feel Jungkook’s hands tighten their grip around yours, as if his worst fears were about to be confirmed. Instead, he asked, “What do you mean?”

“When Taehyung got here,” you began, feeling something in your throat begin to rise up. “Something happened that night between the two of us.”

“Like what?” Jungkook asked hesitantly, and you could hear the fear in his voice, even if he knew what was supposed to be coming next.

“We kissed,” you whispered, finally letting out the truth and feeling yourself deflate a little bit. However, there was a much bigger piece that remained to be said.

“Just kissed? I mean I understand it must have caught you completely off guard to see him alive after you thought he was dead. I probably would have reacted in a similar manner if I had been in your situation. If it’s just-“

You interrupted his rambling, knowing that he was just making excuses for you. But these were things that you needed to be held responsible for, no matter how much you wanted Jungkook to believe the best in you. “No Jungkook.”

“No what?” Jungkook said, nervously. You could see the way his heart was breaking right in front of you. His voice came out in a whimper, as he began to beg slightly. “Please Y/N, please tell me that it was just a kiss.”

You choked back your tears, shaking your head. “It wasn’t just a kiss.”

“You slept with him?” He asked, and you could see the tears beginning to form in his eyes as well, another crack forming in his heart.

“Yes…I’m so sorry Jungkook,” you whispered, feeling the guilt swallowing you whole, wishing the earth would swallow you up in that instant. You didn’t want to hurt him and you didn’t want to see him cry in front of you.

“Did it just happen that one time?” He asked again.

“That was the only time we had sex,” you whispered. Your voice was beginning to crack. “But we kissed a few more times after that.”

“Why did you do it Y/N? Why did you sleep with him? I thought you loved me?” Jungkook asked, not even bothering to hold back his tears as he gripped your hands tightly. You remembered the same words that Taehyung had said when he found out about Jungkook, noting the similarity between Jungkook’s words now.

“I do Jungkook. I love you so much and you have no idea how much I hate myself for what I did,” you replied, your vision of him becoming blurrier and blurrier with each second as your tears threatened to drown you alive. A part of you wished that they would, that the whole world would swallow you whole and just stop you from hurting Jungkook anymore than you already were.

“But you slept with him? How can I even trust you? If it was just a kiss, I would have forgiven you in a heartbeat Y/N,” Jungkook groaned, sniffing right after to keep his own tears in check.

“Jungkook, I love you so much,” you cried. “I fucked up. I fucked up so bad and I hate myself for it so much.”

“But you still did it,” Jungkook said, letting go of your hands and standing up.

 

He began to pace in front of you, holding on to himself as he let his own tears and his own heartbreak show very clearly on his face. You watched the way he tried to comfort himself, as he wrestled with his thoughts in front of you, and you hated the fact that it was you that caused him to be this way. It was a horrible feeling, being the person to cause so much pain for the people that you loved and you hated yourself. You absolutely loathed yourself.

 

“Why Y/N? Why did you do it?” Jungkook asked, turning to look at you before sitting down beside you again.

“I don’t know. I saw him and everything came back to me,” you whispered, your tears falling down. “It was like I was seventeen all over again and I didn’t have you in my life anymore.”

 

Jungkook stood up again, and the only thing you could do was watch as his indecisiveness left him pacing in front of you. The only sound in your living room was your sniffling and Jungkook’s movements, him still battling with all of his emotions. Eventually he turned to you and said, “I need to get the fuck out of here.”

 

He turned quickly, running up the stairs and into the room he was staying in and closing the door behind him. You were frozen to your seat, trying to calm yourself down as you thought of what you could tell him in this moment. This was your worst fear right in front of you, losing Jungkook and you weren’t sure that you would be able to handle it.

 

You heard bumps occurring in the room above, and you were still crying when the phone in your living room rang. You didn’t even feel like picking it up, intent on letting it ring until whoever it was that was calling gave up. Though the huge weight had finally disappeared from your shoulders, it had been replaced with the overwhelming feeling of loss and regret, knowing that you probably had destroyed one of the greatest things in your life.

 

The bumping was still coming from inside the room upstairs and the phone kept ringing, and you ended up walking over and angrily picking up the receiving. This is what the end of your happiness sounded like after all.

 

“What!?” You yelled into the phone, your hiccups from your tears starting.

Hold on! She’s not fucking answering what am I supposed to do?” Jimin’s voice came through, making you realize he didn’t know that you had picked up the phone.

 

It was at that moment that you heard Jungkook’s footsteps coming down the steps, though they seemed heavier than before, accompanied by something else and you were afraid of what that other thing could be.

 

“Jimin what is it?” You said, your tears not stopping as you knew that Jungkook really meant that he was leaving.

“Oh shit, Y/N? What the fuck? Why weren’t you answering?” Jimin asked.

“Jimin what is it?” You asked exasperatedly, repeating your earlier question.

 

You turned to see Jungkook standing in front of you, his suitcase in his hand letting you know exactly what was happening and what he was planning on doing.

 

“Y/N, it’s Taehyung. He took Namjoon’s car when we weren’t looking and got into an accident. We’re at the hospital down the street from Namjoon’s apartment,” Jimin said. “Get here. Now.”

 

It felt like your whole world was crumbling down around you and the only thing you could do was watch it shatter into a million tiny pieces. You dropped the phone, not even bothering to hear what else Jimin was going to say and instead looked over at Jungkook, your tears beginning to fall.

 

“What happened?” Jungkook asked, swallowing to hold back his own messy emotions.

 

Instead you just grabbed your jacket and keys, running out the front door once again and listening to Jungkook’s footsteps behind you. You didn’t see the suitcase in his hand as he jumped into the cab right behind you.

Chapter Text

You fly through the hospital doors with no regard to the people around you, making a beeline to the front desk in order to find out where they have put Taehyung. All around you, there are doctors going about their business while other people sit and wait in the front, waiting for news about their loved ones or waiting to be admitted themselves. Out of the corner of your eye, you see that some of them are crying and other are trying to hold themselves together for fear of falling apart. You’re sure that you look no different from any of them with your frantic breaths and watery eyes, but you make no effort to change anything. You just want to make sure that your childhood friend is safe.

 

“Kim Taehyung,” you say when you reach the front desk, impatiently watching as the person sitting at the desk begins flipping through the hospital records at an alarmingly slow pace. You’re absolutely sure that there has never been a person who moves any slower than this attendant does.

 

Out of your peripheral, you see Jungkook has stopped a short distance from you. His expression unreadable and still, as silent as he had been on the ride over. In all honesty, you hadn’t expected him to follow you into the cab. You didn’t even tell him why you were suddenly in a rush to get to the hospital, or that the hospital was even your destination. Now that he knows who you’re here to see, you’re sure that he’s not very pleased to have decided to follow you. After all, he was about to leave your house when you answered Jimin’s call, the call that seemed to have made your whole world stop. You’re sure that it’s a sign that he still cares for you after he hears Taehyung’s name. He could have left then and there and you would not have stopped him, but he stays standing in the same spot waiting as you got more information from the world’s slowest desk attendant.

 

“He’s currently in surgery. The rest of your party is in the fifth floor waiting room. You can take the elevators to your left,” the woman at the counter said, motioning with her hands over to the far wall.

 

You thanked her quickly, turning and running to the elevators, intent on getting the first one that came down even if you had to push some people out of the way to do it. You heard Jungkook’s footsteps behind you too, keeping a short distance away which surprised you even more since you still fully expected him to turn around ay any second, deciding that he didn’t want to put up with any of the things that you had already put him through. Instead, when the elevator’s doors opened, he walked right in after you, standing beside you in silence as the elevator began its ascent. You could see out of the corner of your eye that he would gulp every few seconds or so, possibly thinking of what he should do in this kind of situation.

 

The doors opened to reveal another front desk, with a sign above indicting the waiting room’s location. You were instantly grateful that there was nobody actually manning the desk because you were sure you would have punched someone if you had to deal with another slow attendant. So you quickly turned to the left, noticing a large room occupied mainly by your group of friends, each in varying degrees of distress. You instinctively ran to Jimin, pulling him in for a tight hug while you finally let your tears fall down your face. You held onto him for dear life, afraid that if you would let go too soon that he’d disappear and get into some sort of accident too. All you could hear were your own sobs against his shoulder and all you could feel were his arms around you, trying to keep you in one piece. When you pulled away from him, you noticed that his eyes were red as well and it didn’t take you long to figure out that he had probably been crying right along with you.

 

“What happened?” You ask, holding onto Jimin’s arms for support and looking around at the rest of your friends.

It was Namjoon that answered you. “After you left, Taehyung stayed in my room for a while and then he just got up and left while all of us were in the kitchen. We were about to take a shot when we realized he was missing and we went looking for him.”

“Instead we found his empty bottle of vodka and Namjoon noticed his car keys were missing from his drawer,” Hoseok added.

“So all of us went outside to see what was up and we saw Taehyung in my car driving fast down the street but he was drunk and next thing you know…” Namjoon trailed off.

 

You noticed that Jimin had yet to speak, turning back to look at him and realizing how ghostly pale he was. His eyes were still red from the crying and you imagined how hard it must probably be for him.

 

“Did you see the crash?” You ask him in a voice low enough for only him to hear, gripping his arms a little tighter as you felt him begin to shake once more.

Jimin nodded. Another tear began to fall down his face as he choked out his words. “He’s not going to die right? This isn’t going to be the second time I see him die right?”

 

You could feel your heart shatter at that exact moment, not because of Taehyung or Jungkook but because you could see the anguish clear across Jimin’s face.  Your dear friend, who cared about Taehyung almost as much as you did, if not more. The very same friend who had experienced firsthand when Taehyung’s plane had crashed down and was now forced to witness Taehyung in a car accident in his self-destructive, impulsive decision. Seeing Jimin suffer was a new pain of yours, one that felt too fresh, too new, and only making you curse the war once again. Jimin, who had always been the most caring member of your group and the most empathetic, yet you never really realized just how deep his own scars from the war ran.

 

Inside, it only made you find another reason to hate yourself. You had become so self-absorbed with everything that had been occurring that you failed to realize that Jimin’s nightmares could not have been normal. It didn’t take a genius to figure out that the reason why Jimin was barely sleeping ran a lot deeper than just a bad dream, but you failed as a friend to put all of the pieces together.

 

“Oh Jimin,” you said, your tears rolling down your face uncontrollably as you pulled him in for another hug, promising him in your mind that you’d protect him from all of his demons as much as you could. You swore to yourself to be a better friend to him, one that would pay closer attention and be ready for whatever was to come in the future. You couldn’t lose him too, not Jimin.

“Fuck Y/N, it’s like the plane crash all over again,” Jimin let out, his voice muffled as he continued to cry against your shoulder.

 

You ran your hands through Jimin’s hair, trying to comfort him as much as you could, wishing that you could take all of his pain for yourself just so that he wouldn’t cry anymore. Looking around, you saw Hoseok with his hand up to his mouth, a few tears coming out of his eyes while Yoongi had his arm wrapped around him to keep him calm. Namjoon sat on Hoseok’s other side, seemingly fighting his own tears from coming out as his jaw tensed and his hands sat on his laps in fists. You remained standing with Jimin, letting his tears continue to fall out while you waited for any kind of news about Taehyung’s surgery and just praying that it would be good news.

 

Jimin had calmed down somewhat after a while and you led him to a pair of seats beside Yoongi, never letting go of Jimin’s hand for fear that he’d break down once again. You honestly couldn’t think of anything else to do, or anything that would help to calm Jimin down enough. You felt out of your element, unsure of your surroundings and what you could do to help everyone that you cared about. It was only when Jimin sat down and you heard Jungkook clear his throat that you remembered that he was still in the same room, having witnessed everything that had occurred since you entered the waiting room. It seemed like an eternity ago that you had confessed everything to Jungkook, rather than mere hours, yet he remained watching your group of friends with a blank expression.

 

“Does anybody want something to drink? Water or Tea?” Jungkook asked quietly, deliberately avoiding looking directly at you. You knew you deserved every bit of this silent treatment that he had apparently begun to give you.

“A tea please, any,” Hoseok said, with Yoongi asking for water right after.

You hesitantly looked up at him, noticing that he still refused to turn to you. “Can you get us each a chamomile tea? I think it’ll help calm Jimin down,” you said quietly, afraid that if you said any more he’d go off on you.

Jungkook nodded, looking to you for a split second before turning and walking out of the waiting room.

“Jungkook!” Namjoon called out after him. He looked back, once again avoiding your gaze while he waited for your friend to continue. “I’ll come help you.”

Jungkook only nodded, and the two of them left the waiting room and turned the corner, disappearing from your sight for the time being.

 

“What was that?” Jimin asked, sniffling a little. You only looked at him in confusion. “Jungkook wouldn’t even look at you.”

“He knows, Jimin,” you said quietly, reluctantly offering up the information. You hadn’t expected Jimin to still be so observant, considering his own state of emotions at the moment. “He was about to leave when I answered your call.”

 

Jimin’s eyes went wide, momentarily distracting him from Taehyung’s situation. He didn’t press you for more details, knowing that you were doing everything in your power to keep yourself from falling apart. It was too much for one person to experience in a single night, but you somehow had to get through it, even if you didn’t make it out in one piece. You needed to be strong right now, for Jimin especially, and you refused to let your own mistakes affect your closest friend. When Namjoon and Jungkook came back in with the drinks, you didn’t fail to notice that it was Namjoon who handed you your tea, or the fact that Jungkook had decided to sit at the seat next to the door instead of the empty one right beside you.

 

An hour later, Taehyung’s mother burst in through the door with his father and your parents following behind. Tears were spilling down her face as she went directly towards you, immediately pressing you for any answers.

 

“What happened?! What happened to my boy!?” She yelled frantically as she took ahold of your shoulders, your hand slipping out of Jimin’s in the process.

“Mrs. Kim,” you replied helplessly as she shook you roughly. You were scared, but you couldn’t be angry at her or push her away. She must be an even bigger mess than you were.

 

Taehyung’s father quickly took ahold of her, pulling her and forcing her to sit down across from you and quickly uttering an apology. You didn’t hold it against her. This was the second time that she received devastating news about her son, it only made sense that she’d react so strongly. You felt bad for her, knowing it couldn’t be good for her health to be put under so much stress because of events out of her own control.

 

“Honey, what happened?” Your mother asked, her voice laced with concern as she glanced over at Jungkook who was watching everything with a dark face.

It was Namjoon that spoke up, giving both sets of parents a very abridged version of the chain of events of the night. “Y/N had already left when everything happened. He got ahold of my keys when I wasn’t looking and took off in my car.”

“Why did you let him drink so much!?” Taehyung’s mother shrieked from her seat where her husband was holding her down, yelling at no one in particular, but it was you that felt the brunt of her anger.

 

Your mother gave you a comforting pat on your shoulder, turning to Taehyung’s mom and crouching down in front of her as she tried to calm her down. You took ahold of Jimin’s hand once again, refusing to let Jimin falter once again as you channeled all your strength into him. Jimin remained silent beside you, probably letting everything that he had just witnessed sink in.

 

When three hours into Taehyung’s surgery had passed, Taehyung’s mother had managed to calm down, though she continued to cry, constantly dabbing at her eyes with a handkerchief she held in her hand. Nobody spoke a word and you resorted to staring at the eggshell white linoleum underneath your feet. The mustard yellow color of the waiting room was beginning to look like a horrible color, taunting you as all of you waited in anticipation for more news about Taehyung’s condition. It felt like your world was crumbling down all around you and the very image of what would remain when it completely fell would be this linoleum floor and that damn mustard yellow color. You were too afraid to look up, to look in the direction of the door where Jungkook remained stoically, silently, if he was even still there. Whatever look was in his eyes whenever he looked over at you, it was certainly a look you deserved, just not one that you thought you’d be able to handle at that very moment. You figured he was trying to hate you, if he didn’t by now at least.

 

Hour five was when the doctor finally came into the waiting room, causing everyone to look up at once, hesitantly from some, expectantly from others. Not a single one of you knew whether it was good news that he came to give or bad news.

 

“Are any of you family?” He asked, looking around the room to all the expectant eyes.

Immediately, Mrs. Kim jumped up. “I am! I am. I’m his mother.”

“Well, Mrs. Kim, Taehyung’s surgery is complete. He broke two ribs and had some internal bleeding, but we managed to patch everything up in time before it turned serious,” the doctor explained.

“So will he be okay?” She asked.

The doctor nodded. “He will be fine, though he will have to remain here for some time so we can monitor him and his injuries. Taehyung is still currently under, but you may see him in a few hours when the anesthesia wears off.”

 

You felt yourself relax in relief, hearing gasps and hollers from everyone else in the waiting room. Yoongi only shook his head, a slight smile appearing on his face as he processed the news. Jimin hugged you once again, crying tears of relief this time. At least this time, all of you were aware that he had survived his crash. At least this time, he wouldn’t suffer as much and nobody would have to let him go once again.

 

Your parents offered to go pick up breakfast for everyone, refusing Jungkook and Namjoon who had offered to go along with them to help carry everything. You knew why Namjoon was doing so much, offering to help because it was his way of comforting everyone. You also knew that Jungkook was only offering to help to give him an excuse to leave the waiting room, but part of you hoped that it was because he still partly cared about you – even if it was just a little bit. This was the last place that Jungkook wanted to be in, especially given the current circumstances, but you still appreciated the fact that he remained, even if it was just to brood by the exit.

 

When your parents returned thirty minutes later, you took your plate stacked with pancakes and a fork so that you could share with Jimin, afraid to leave your friend alone for even a second. You watched out of the corner of your eyes as Jungkook begrudgingly ate his own breakfast, his eyes turning to you for a slight second before moving back down to his plate. You’d figure out what it is that you wanted to say to him later. For now all you wanted to do was take care of Jimin and make sure that he ate something to help keep him together.

 

It was around eight in the morning when a nurse came into the waiting room, with Taehyung’s mother jumping up as soon as she spotted her. Your heart ached even more the longer you watched her in the waiting room, just praying for the first chance to see her son. You couldn’t imagine the pain that she must be feeling and you couldn’t help but feel slightly guilty knowing you were partially at fault for why this whole situation occurred in the first place.

 

“Good morning, Mrs. Kim,” the nurse began, before being interrupted almost immediately.

“Is he awake yet?” She asked eagerly, never letting go of her husband’s hand as she looked upon the nurse expectantly. “Can we visit him?”

“Yes, the effects of the anesthesia have finally worn off,” the nurse explained. “The doctor is concerned about his mental health however. He has requested one of the hospital psychiatrists to pay him a visit later this morning.”

“But can we see him now?” His mom asked again, while all of you awaited the nurse’s answer.

“Yes, though due to his state we ask that only one of you be in the room with him at a time. He is still weak and could slip back into a critical condition, especially if he is overwhelmed,” the nurse said.

 

Mrs. Kim nodded, thanking the nurse for the news before turning to her husband. Nobody in the room made an effort to talk, giving the first visit of the day to her without protest. In all honesty, you weren’t sure if you even wanted to be alone in a room with him. After all, maybe seeing you would only serve to deteriorate his health.

 

And so, one by one, everyone had their turn going into Taehyung’s room until it was eleven in the morning, when the psychiatrist arrived. Both of Taehyung’s parents had gone in already, each spending almost an entire hour and a half between just the two of them. Afterwards, your parents each had a turn, then Hoseok, then Namjoon, then Yoongi. You never let go of Jimin’s hand, noting his hesitation as he waited for his own turn and you could see the relief that flooded his face when Yoongi walked back into the waiting room, explaining that the psychiatrist had arrived and kicked him out. You weren’t exactly sure which one of you was more nervous to see Taehyung, and a part of you still believed that if Taehyung saw you, something would happen. He was not your biggest fan at the moment and though it was true that you deserved every bit of hatred he had directed towards you, there was another side of you that hoped he wouldn’t lash out anymore.

 

Namjoon was the one who asked the nurse if your group could be notified when the psychiatrist was finished, still concerned that Jimin and you had yet to go see your friend. The two of you were, after all, quite possibly the two people that Taehyung cared about the most, regardless of how vehemently Taehyung would probably deny the second due to the current circumstances. Though Namjoon was coming from a considerate place and his intentions were good, you were even more anxious that he was trying so had to make sure you and Jimin each had a chance to speak with your best friend.

 

Once again, your parents offered to go grab lunch for everyone, but this time you all instead got up and walked down to the hospital cafeteria together, eager to step outside of the waiting room for a bit and see something other than the mustard yellow color of the walls, though the white linoleum seemed to follow you all.

 

You looked around for Jungkook, once again noting that he remained in the back of the group as all of you walked to the cafeteria. You don’t remember having heard his voice once during the whole morning and you wished he would say at least something to let you in on what was going on in his mind. Jungkook was the outsider in this scenario and that was the likely reason why he chose to remain on the outskirts rather than getting close to anyone.

 

As all of you walked, you linked your arm with Jimin’s in search of some form of comfort, also leaning your head on his shoulder as the two of you continued walking.

 

“I really thought he would have left by now,” Jimin said in a low voice, giving Jungkook a slight once-over before looking at you.

You looked around, checking to make sure no one else had heard Jimin, but everyone else seemed to be more engrossed in their discussion of Taehyung. Nobody was really paying attention to the two of you, including Jungkook himself. “I honestly thought so too. But something is keeping him here.”

“Talk to him when you two get a moment alone,” Jimin said. “He’s probably just waiting for that.”

You nodded, turning back to lock eyes with Jungkook at that exact moment before you looked away. His eyes were unreadable, giving no indication as to what he was thinking, but you couldn’t help but feel your heart break once again when his eyes met your own.

 

After lunch, you all return to Taehyung’s floor. The nurse at the front desk informs you all that the psychiatrist had finished and everyone turned to you and Jimin, wondering who would be the next to go into Taehyung’s room. It was definitely a lot of pressure to be under and you couldn’t help but feel guilty when Taehyung’s mother looked at you expectantly. You desperately wanted to scream and tell her that you were at fault for everything that had been happening with Taehyung. Maybe if you confessed everything to her, you would be able to find some form of penance within her scorn.

 

Hesitantly, Jimin stepped forward, letting go of your hand, and began walking to his friend’s room. Giving one last look at you before opening the door, you silently cheered him on and then followed the rest of your group into the waiting room. Jungkook once again sat by the door and this time, you swallowed your fear and took the seat beside him, noting that Jungkook made no indication to make you move. Maybe he just decided to let it slide for the day, not wanting to cause a scene in front of everyone. You saw that his hand was in a fist, his veins popping out and you knew that it didn’t seem like a very promising sign to you.

 

Jimin’s visit with Taehyung lasted nearly an hour and when he walked back inside, his eyes were red once again, but he gave a smile that let you know that he was fine. You felt relieved to know that nothing bad had crossed his mind, hoping Jimin felt slightly better after seeing his friend alive and well. You had honestly been scared of what would be the result of leaving him alone, but you also had faith in your friend and knew that he was much stronger than he gave himself credit for. You’d always protect him, but you knew that he could protect himself as well.

 

Jimin walked over to you, wrapping you in his arms. “Go in,” he whispered in your ear. “It’s your turn.”

“Will it be okay?” you asked back. Your heart had begun to beat a million times per minute as the fear and realization of what awaited you began to creep.

“Yes. He’s a lot calmer now,” Jimin encouraged, pulling away from you.

 

You nodded, turning to Jungkook who once again let no emotion show on his face. You wished you could read minds just so that you could find out what he was thinking about this whole situation. You didn’t know what he would tell you in this situation if the two of you were on good terms, but you liked to believe that Jungkook would have encouraged you to talk to him much like Jimin was doing now. Letting go of Jimin, you walked out of the waiting room at an agonizingly slow pace. Your heart was beating faster and louder with each step that brought you closer to Taehyung’s room. Part of you hoped he had fallen asleep in the process, just so that you could avoid this confrontation but you knew you needed to face him and receive whatever it was that Taehyung had in store for you.

 

You slowly turned the cold, metal handle on the door and opened it, looking inside and finding Taehyung wide awake as he sat up in his bed. He didn’t turn when you walked in, choosing to look out the large window that covered almost the entire length of the far wall. You were suddenly reminded of Jungkook, during the war and how he would eagerly await you every single day, sitting up on his bed with a large smile as he greeted you. You couldn’t help but compare the two of them, mentally chiding yourself for doing so right afterwards. It had been that same habit of yours that had brought you to this situation in the first place.

 

“Sit down over here,” Taehyung said, finally turning over to face you. You couldn’t help but shrink as his eyes fell upon you, though you were thankful that at least he wasn’t yelling at you at the current moment.

 

His look seemed to hold all the power in the room. You could feel yourself turn to stone as he set his eyes upon you, feeling yourself become shy under his gaze. Sitting in the chair that someone else had moved beside his bed, he looked at you and you couldn’t help but wonder what it was that he was thinking.

 

“We were all worried about you,” you whispered as you broke the deafening silence. You honestly weren’t sure what more you could say to him that wouldn’t set him off and you hated that you had become like this with your best friend. Once upon a time, anything said between the two of you would instantly put the other in a good mood, but now it seemed like treading carefully was the only way to act around each other.

“How did it feel? To find out that I had gotten into a car accident?” Taehyung asked, completely ignoring your statement. He turned, looking back out the window for a few seconds before looking back to you. His stare only made you anxious as you thought of what you could possibly say to him.

“It was horrible,” you answered honestly. “The thought of losing you, it was unbearable.” You wouldn’t say a single lie to him as he sat in that hospital bed. You wouldn’t hold anything back. It was the very minimum of what he deserved to receive from you and you wished that you could do more. He deserved so much more. You could feel a tear fall down your cheek, before adding. “Why did you do it Taehyung? You were drunk. You knew what would happen.”

“Maybe I just wanted to make you suffer a little bit,” Taehyung said, catching you off guard with his next words. His honesty stung, but it was exactly what you needed to hear from him. You wanted to know exactly what he was thinking.  “Maybe…if I got hurt you’d realize how much you love me.”

“Taehyung, you already know how much I love you,” you respond, another tear falling down your face. You wished he wasn’t in the hospital, wished that he didn’t feel this way. Wished he didn’t feel the need to hurt himself in order to prove a point to you. “It’s because I love you that we’re in this mess.”

“It’s because you love him too. That’s why we’re in this mess,” Taehyung countered. You didn’t even bother to respond to it, knowing he was right.

“Why would you do that? Didn’t you think about the fact that you could have died?” You asked, raising your voice slightly. You could feel your worry and anxiety begin rushing up to the surface and you were afraid of what would happen if you didn’t choose your words carefully.

“I already did once remember? If I came back from the dead once, I could do it again if I wanted to,” he responded. You felt the same pang in your heart you felt when the news of his plane crash had reached you. It was a low blow, though you understood exactly what he had been implying.

“Taehyung, you can’t keep doing this to yourself. You drank…so much,” you whispered. “You can’t let yourself go like that.”

“And who are you to tell me what to do, Y/N?” Taehyung responded quickly. “You’re not exactly the golden girl everyone thinks you are. Does he know yet that we’ve fucked?”

“Taehyung…please,” you plead, hoping he calms down. His vulgar choice of words hurts you, but you force yourself to stay.

It only takes one look at your face and a pain in his side for him to listen to you. “Sorry,” he says, a little bashfully which surprises you even more. “Y/N, can you leave? It’s not that I’m mad at you or anything, it’s just they gave me some medication when the psychiatrist left and I think it’s finally kicking in.”

 

You nodded almost immediately. If Taehyung asked you to jump off a cliff at this moment, you would do it if it meant that he would forgive you. You felt slightly relieved that he added that he wasn’t mad at you, hoping that it meant it was a good sign. You didn’t know what was running through his mind either, but the fact that he was able to have a somewhat civil conversation with you looked promising and you’d gladly grab onto whatever Taehyung was offering you if it meant keeping him in your life.

 

“Hey Y/N,” Taehyung called out when you placed your hand on the silver door handle.

You turned to look over at him, waiting expectantly for him to continue whatever it was he had to say.

“Can you come tomorrow? We can talk then,” Taehyung said, for once speaking to you in a tone that seemed almost reminiscent of the boy you knew from high school.

“Okay,” you whispered, giving him a light smile. “I promise.”

 

When you return to the waiting room, all of your friends look upon you with a mixture of fear and surprise. It was clear they had expected to be hearing a shouting match, or witnessing you running out with tears in your eyes, so when you stepped out with a casual expression on your face you could see the way they slumped their shoulders in relief. A part of you was relieved too. The last thing you wanted to do was subject your parents and Taehyung’s to the multitude of issues that had arose from your mistakes. You stood at the doorway, while Namjoon announced that he was going home, satisfied by the unexpected turn of events. Your other friends followed suit and so did your parents, everyone slowly filing out of the waiting room until it was only Taehyung’s parents that chose to stay behind.

 

You turned to Jungkook as your parents offered you a ride home, finally addressing him for the first time. You wondered what they thought was going on. Your mother, at the very least, had to have known that you and Jungkook were not exactly on speaking terms at the moment. “Shall we leave too?”

Jungkook nods, standing up and walking beside you as you made your way over to your parents’ car. You’re grateful that he doesn’t recoil or try to make a larger space between the two of you.

 

The car ride is silent the entire way home and when you step inside, your parents make no inquiries as to why Jungkook’s suitcase is still by the bottom of the stairs, for which you are also entirely appreciative of. Instead, they simply go up to their own room, eager to sleep for a while and get rid of some of the stress they had felt. Jungkook does the same, taking his suitcase with him and going up to the guest room and locking the door behind him. You’re left alone in the entryway, suddenly feeling more alone in your house than you had been in the hospital.

 

You don’t go upstairs, knowing that trying to sleep at that moment was a futile effort. A part of you is also afraid of what you’d hear if you went up, as if you’d be able to figure out what it was that Jungkook was planning to do. After all, maybe by now Jin knows what happened and possibly hates you for bringing all this heartache to his closest friend. Another part of you was also scared that if you went to sleep, you’d wake up to find Jungkook was gone. He probably didn’t think you deserved a proper farewell – you did cheat on him after all. Instead you turn and head back out, taking in the fresh air as you walked around your neighborhood. The air in your house was beginning to become suffocating and you were relieved to feel the fresh air against your skin, allowing you to relax a small amount. Without thinking, you found yourself back at the same park where Jimin had first revealed he had received his draft letter. It was the same bench where the three of you seemed to always end up at whenever you all were together after your older friends left.

 

It was almost poetic, you thought. The bench was a favorite location for you, Jimin, and Taehyung before the war and yet now that everything has changed, you sat alone in the exact same location. You still had your friends, of course, but part of you wondered which ones would truly be there for you. It was you that had caused all of the friction in the first place. It was you and your fickle, weak heart. They had been Taehyung’s friends before they had been your own as well, and though you knew they did care about you, Taehyung and the rest of them held an unspoken bond that you didn’t think you shared. You just wished that at least Jimin would remain by your side after everything was finally over. You’d never make any of them choose sides, but even without force, that outcome was likely to arise regardless.

 

Hours passed by as you sat on the bench, wondering what you had done in your past to deserve such pain and misery. You were just a girl who fell in love with a boy. That was honestly what had happened. Though, the problem was that you eventually fell in love with another – never forgetting to let go of the first. Did you love Jungkook more than you loved Taehyung? Did it even matter anymore? You couldn’t deny the years you had with Taehyung. The two of you held a history so deep and long that made it hard for you to imagine letting him go, even though you had learned to do so somewhat when you thought he had died. The problem was, Jungkook was the main reason that you were even able to let go of your feelings for Taehyung and now it seemed like Jungkook was letting you go too.

 

You knew you had to go back when the sky began to turn into a light shade of orange. The park had begun to clear as the laughter of the children slowly died out. Even the annoying group of teenagers on the next bench over had decided to leave until eventually it was only you that remained in the park. Reluctantly, you forced yourself to stand up and began dragging your feet all the way back home, knowing that whatever awaited you was surely something that would break your heart even further. There was nowhere for you to run anymore, no one that you could run to. All of your mistakes had caught up to you and this was the first thing you needed to do in order to begin righting all of your wrongs.

 

Jungkook was sitting in the living room when you arrived. He sat in the middle of your couch, his face in his hands, elbows resting on his knees, for a few seconds before he looked up, staring at you with the same expression he had in the hospital. You wished that he would look at you with love like he used to, like he did just yesterday before he found out the truth instead of this unreadable expression, the one that never let a single hint of what was going through his mind.

 

“Wh- Where are my parents?” You ask nervously, unsure whether he would even give you the privilege of being able to talk to him.

“They went back to the hospital. They’re worried about his mother,” Jungkook said. “They said to order pizza for dinner.”

“Oh,” was all you manage to get out, walking over to take a seat in the chair across from him, too afraid to sit beside him for fear of what he’d say or do.

 

Jungkook doesn’t say anything, choosing to rub his face with his hands once more. You can see how hard he’s thinking about something, how he’s trying to figure out what it is that he wants to say to you. A part of you wants him to yell, to scream and make you feel horrible for how quickly you destroyed your relationship. After all, you deserve it. You deserve to hear every mean thought he is thinking of you at this very instant, but you know that he won’t do it. Although he probably hates you at the moment, he still cares about you and though you wish that he would let out his anger on you, he won’t. He’s too good of a person to do something like that. You really don’t deserve Jungkook.

 

“I know you fucked up,” Jungkook begins, causing you to sit up and look him in the eye. His voice is hoarse, but he continues speaking. “You fucked up really bad.”

You nod slowly, hoping he lets out everything that he needs to in his own Jungkook way of saying things.

“Do you love me?”

 

You honestly had not been expecting him to ask that question but once again, you knew where it was coming from. Did you really love Jungkook? If you did, you probably wouldn’t have cheated on him. If he had even crossed your mind when Taehyung had showed up at your front door, the two of you would not be in this current situation. But there was another part of you that knew at the very bottom of your heart that you truly did love Jungkook. When you imagined your life five years from now, you pictured it with Jungkook. There was no dream of yours where Jungkook wasn’t in your life and you figured that was enough to provide you with your answer.

 

But before you can say anything, Jungkook speaks again answering his own question before you have a chance to. “You don’t. Not really. Not like you love him.”

“Of course I do. I love you so much that I hate myself for what I’ve done to you,” you whisper, looking down as you say it. You don’t think you have the right to say it directly to his face. He deserves to hear it from someone who would treat him a lot better than you had.

“Do you really, Y/N? Do you actually love me?” Jungkook asks again.

 

You don’t blame him for doubting your feelings. You brought all of this on and you deserve to hear everything that Jungkook wants to tell you. After all, love wasn’t hurting the other person until they left and you were only tainting the very image of love that Jungkook had in his mind. You’d be the girl in Jungkook’s past that whoever his future girlfriend was would hate with every fiber of her being.

 

“I love you,” Jungkook says. “I really do love you, so much that I kind of hate myself for it right now.” This causes you to look up, to look into his eyes and see the sincerity in them as he spoke from his heart. You know he’s in pain, probably much more than you are and the guilt continues to eat at you. “I love you but I can’t be with you if you’re still thinking about another guy.”

“I know,” you whisper, agreeing with what he said wholeheartedly. You don’t deserve to have someone like Jungkook love you. He doesn’t deserve to be dating someone like you.

“Fuck,” Jungkook says, throwing himself back against the couch for a moment before sitting back up. You can tell that he’s got a lot on his mind and he’s struggling to figure out how to say whatever it is. “You know, this isn’t the first time I’ve been cheated on.”

 

You could feel your heart stop, feeling even worse with Jungkook’s new revelation but not saying another word, not knowing what you could possibly say to him. You realized how little you truly knew about him, how much hope he had really placed on you and your relationship with him. If he never forgave you, you’d completely understand.

 

“My second girlfriend, Eunji,” he says, looking up at the ceiling.

 

You’re surprised, recalling what Jungkook had told you a long time ago. You remember him telling you that she was his first serious girlfriend, and the fact that she cheated on him had to have left a pretty deep scar that you likely had reopened for him. You truly were a monster, for both Taehyung and Jungkook. You just weren’t sure who you had managed to cause more damage to, not that it mattered much anyway. All that really mattered was the fact that you had caused damaged to two boys that had trusted you with their hearts.

 

“It was because of her that I did some pretty messed up things,” Jungkook added, looking at you straight in the eye.

“Like what?” You ask, suddenly scared of what he’ll say next. Another part of you panicking as you thought about everything he had told you. You begin to fidget with your sleeves, anxious and worried about his next words.

“When I told you about my girlfriends, I left out some details,” he says. “If I’m being honest, I cheated on all of them too. I’d get a girlfriend, cheat on her and then date the new girl. It was just this endless cycle but every single time I did it, Eunji was the one who came to my mind.”

 

You don’t know how to respond to Jungkook’s confession and it throws you in for a loop. The whole time, you had thought he was a serial monogamist, someone who couldn’t be single for more than a month before landing a new relationship. And though he somewhat was, you realize for the first time how messed up he actually was. Your image of the perfect Jungkook begins to shatter. The pedestal you had unknowingly placed him on begins to crack underneath and confusion runs through your entire mind. You’re unsure how to process this information, what it means for the two of you or why Jungkook even bothered to tell you this now that your relationship was on the brink of extinction.

 

“This doesn’t mean that I don’t love you, or that I was planning on cheating on you the second I got back. I just wanted you to know that I’m not perfect and that…” he pauses, licking his lips as he thinks of what he wants to say. “Well I fucking get it even if I don’t like it,” Jungkook explains, looking at you. “I didn’t feel bad about cheating on them while it was happening, but in hindsight I was a real asshole. So maybe I had this coming you know? Maybe this was karma deciding it was time that my heart got ripped out and torn to shreds too.”

“Jungkook, why are you telling me this?” You ask, confused about the point he was trying to make.

“I never planned to cheat on you. When I found myself falling in love with you, I found myself thinking, ‘this could be the girl I spend the rest of my life with.’ You see, you made me feel complete for the first time since I got cheated on back then,” he says. “You filled a part of me that Eunji had ripped out.”

 

And just like clockwork, you once again remember that you are a horrible person that doesn’t deserve Jeon Jungkook. You don’t even deserve to be in the same vicinity as him, a thought that sadly disturbs you even more because although he has been in your position, it was the fact that he had let you in so willingly that made you realize that you had messed such a great thing up.  You knew he was trying to make you feel better by letting you know that he wasn’t as great as you had made him seem, but now that you had seen his faults, it only made you realize how much you loved him.

 

Because you just didn’t care.

 

It didn’t matter to you that he had cheated on the majority of the girls he had dated. You liked to believe that people could redeem themselves and it was something that Jungkook had clearly been trying to do. Jungkook gave you the tool that could destroy him and he trusted you not to use it even though it had been, probably, his biggest mistake. Knowing that the perfect Jungkook was only a figment of your imagination made him seem a lot more human, a lot more like a person that you could have envisioned your life with. The ring he had given you was a sign of his commitment, of just how ready he had been to be with you, turning a new page in his life and beginning from a clean slate.

 

“Look, Y/N, you know I love you and I still care about you for some godforsaken reason,” Jungkook says with a little bit of anger in his voice – anger that was directed at himself, not you. He had made that abundantly clear throughout your conversation. “But I can’t be here. I can’t be with you. Not anymore and definitely not when you’re thinking about Taehyung.”

Though it hurts you deep inside, you manage to choke out your next words. “I understand.” You’re amazed you can even get the words out, the pain you feel is like nothing you’ve ever felt before.

“I found a flight. While you were out I called the airline and I booked myself a ticket,” he tells you.

“Wh-when do you leave?” You ask, knowing full well that you could never ask him to stay.

“Tomorrow at midday,” he says, looking at you with a look that tells you that he wouldn’t even stay if you had asked him to.

 

You can only turn away, not being able to bear looking at Jungkook any longer. It’s not that you won’t ask him to stay, because it’s actually quite the opposite. Every fiber of your being is willing you to ask him, to beg him if you must, but the only thing you can do is restrain yourself. Forcing him to stay here would only allow his resentment to grow until it eventually explodes and develops into an even larger mess. You don’t want him to resent you any more than he already does, because although he has admitted already that he loves you, any trust that there had been between the two of you was shattered the second that your lips were on Taehyung’s. Any relationship that remained between the two of you would only have broken the two of you down until all the love you felt would have turned into hate.

 

“That’s all I wanted to say,” Jungkook adds, standing up and walking over to the stairs before turning around once more. “I’ll see you tomorrow.”

 

You nod and he returns back a half smile, one that doesn’t reach his eyes. It’s probably as difficult for him as it is for you, but neither of you will back down. The two of you know what needs to happen, knowing when to quit in order to save at least some part of yourselves. You watch him walk up the stairs and then listen to his movements when he is out of view. Once you hear the door click upstairs, you get up yourself and head to your room, making sure your steps are silent. Upstairs, you take one look at the photo you have of Jungkook and that’s all it takes for you to begin crying once more. You don’t even bother to muffle your cries so that  Jungkook won’t hear you, though you really hope he can’t.

 

You had messed up the greatest thing you ever had experienced in your life and the only thing you could do was watch as it turned to dust.

 

The next morning, when you finally get the courage to make your way downstairs, Jungkook is already saying goodbye to your parents with the same smile that he had greeted them with. He never lets on that something had happened between the two of you, but you’re sure your parents are confused as to why he’s leaving so soon. However, you’re thankful that they don’t ask once again. Instead when they see you reach the bottom of the stairs, they only turn and head back into the kitchen, no doubt to speculate on what had occurred between the two of you and give the two of you some privacy.

 

Jungkook doesn’t say anything to you, turning and walking out of your already open front door. It doesn’t take long for you to figure out that he wants you to follow him and you quickly catch up, making sure that there’s no possible way for your parents to hear whatever it is he wants to say to you. You keep a safe distance of two feet away from him, afraid to get any closer in case you were rebuked. The tears are forming in your eyes again and you hate the fact that it feels like all you’ve done is cry the past couple days. You wish your tears didn’t come so easy but another part of you was relieved that you could still feel so much.

 

“I think I should go to the airport by myself,” Jungkook says, turning back to look at you. The taxi is still nowhere in sight, and there’s nothing much for Jungkook to do but wait beside you.

“I understand,” you say, choking back whatever tears were fighting to come out.

He faces you and you can see that he is fighting back some tears of his own. He manages to choke the words out, and you can just listen. “Just, take care okay?”

 

You wrap your arms around him, unable to hold yourself back anymore, unwilling to let him go even though you must. He pulls you in tighter to him and both of you know that this is likely to be the last time that you will ever hold each other so close, that you will ever mean as much to each other as you do right now. You try to remember his scent, the familiar mixture of grass and sandalwood still remaining on him since the very first time he had ever held you in his arms. You try to ingrain the way his arms wrap around you and the way your heart jumps at being in his proximity, though this time your heart is crying out in pain, begging him to stay with you. Eventually you pull away, looking up at him through your blurry vision.

 

“Jungkook, please don’t go. I love-”

“I know. I believe you Y/N. But I don’t need to hear that right now. I can’t.” Jungkook interrupted, stopping you from finishing your sentence. “I’m not the only one you love…and until you sort yourself out, I can’t be here.”

 

You hear the taxi stop in front of your house and almost immediately, Jungkook lets go of you, once again putting space between the two of you. He doesn’t add anything else, turning to the taxi and opening the trunk to throw his suitcase in. Jungkook takes one more look at you before climbing inside and you watch as the driver nods along to whatever Jungkook is telling him. The driver pulls off the curb and you can feel yourself suck in a deep breath, your tears still flowing out as Jungkook leaves you.

 

The distance between the two of you continues to grow larger and there’s nothing more for you to do. Yet, you remain on the sidewalk, staring off in the direction that the taxi driver had gone in, wishing that Jungkook would reappear but knowing deep down in your heart that you just lost him forever and it stung, it pained you more than anything ever had.

 

When you come back inside the house, you walk back up to your room and throw on the first thing you find that’s clean. Because although all you really want to do is curl up into a ball and cry, wallowing in your misery until the earth swallowed you whole, there was another boy in the hospital waiting for you to visit. You had reached your emotional capacity, but with your eyes still red you got up and went back downstairs, skipping breakfast and ignoring your parent’s worried glances. You head straight for the hospital before they even have a chance to ask where it is that you’re headed.

 

You grab your visitor’s wristband from the hospital front desk, slipping it on as you step on the elevator to take you to the floor that Taehyung’s room is located on. You can see Taehyung’s parents sitting in the waiting room as a doctor spoke to them, but you figured you’d ask about it later and you head straight to Taehyung’s room after giving his mother a slight nod to announce your presence. She glances at you for a split second, though her attention is almost entirely on whatever it is the doctor is explaining to her.

 

Taehyung is reading when you open the door. It’s a book that you hadn’t seen him read since middle school and you watch as he puts it down, looking at you expectantly. He seems to be in a better mood than the day before. There also seems to be a bit more color in his cheeks which calms you down slightly. Though your heart has completely shattered, you maintain your composure. It’s the last thing that Taehyung needs to see at the moment.

 

“I haven’t seen you read that in a long time,” you say as you walk to sit down in the chair beside his bed once again.

“I’m going to be in here for a long time. I need some form of entertainment,” he replies, giving you a slight smile.

“Well I’m glad you have something,” you say, looking down. “I can bring you something if you’d like. I’ll buy whatever books you want to read or bring you a board game if you want.”

 

Taehyung hums in understanding, not uttering another word. There is a lull in your conversation and you absolutely hate it, remembering the days when it seemed like you two would never run out of things to talk about with each other. The silence is painful, only serving as a reminder of what had happened to your friendship. Now the only thing that remained was the tension, the resentment, and the desire.

 

“The psychiatrist recommended that I be admitted into a rehabilitation center,” Taehyung finally says moments later, breaking the awkward silence between the two of you and catching you completely off guard. You don’t know why such a drastic move has to be made, why Taehyung should be sent away from his home.

“And what do you think about that?” You ask, looking at him with concern. You can see the way his expression shifts from contentment to annoyance. It’s something that is clearly bothering him.

“Apparently it’s not a choice for me to make anymore. The doctors decided that I’m too much of a danger to myself to be able to make a rational decision. My parents are discussing whether they think it’s a good idea to lock me up again,” Taehyung says, sounding irritated.

“But what do you think about it?” you ask. You don’t think his parents have bothered to ask him, but you truly want to know what he thinks about the whole situation. You know he’s not happy about it, but a part of you felt like it might actually be the best move for him to do due to the current situation.

“I don’t know Y/N,” he says, looking away from you for a few seconds. “I get it. I fucked up…bad. So I guess I understand if they do want to lock me up and send me away. I can’t say that it felt great seeing you and my parents cry over my dumbass mistake.”

“Don’t forget Jimin,” you whisper, remembering how fragile he looked throughout the night.  “I think he returned to that night your plane crashed. I felt horrible just watching him in the waiting room while you were in surgery.”

“I know, Y/N,” Taehyung whispers, looking at you. “He told me everything yesterday.”

“Honestly, it was terrifying,” you whisper. “When I got the call that you had been in an accident, I could have sworn I felt my heart stop.”

“Y/N,” Taehyung whispers and you look up at him, nearly freezing when he looks at you with so much intensity. It’s silent in the room for a few moments, the two of you trying to get your feelings in order, trying to figure out how to speak to each other without it turning into another argument.

“What is it?” You finally manage to say.

“Honestly, do you really love me?”

 

You can feel the tears forming in the corner of your eyes and part of you hates yourself for crying so much. It made you feel weak to let out so many tears and you were honestly surprised that you still had any tears left in you after saying goodbye to Jungkook. This whole thing could have been avoided if it had not been for you. Yet, you let yourself be so incredibly selfish and this is the result of the greed you had inside, of your unwillingness to let go of either boy.

 

Jungkook left as a result of your greed. You single-handedly managed to ruin the first relationship you ever had because you couldn’t make up your decision on who you wanted to be with. Taehyung had already been in a fragile state of mind and instead of helping him, the only thing you did was shatter it even more. You ruined the two of them and it was all because they loved you and the fact that you couldn’t control yourself, refusing to make up your mind while keeping the two of them hidden from the other. Maybe keeping your feelings to yourself was the reason why you had such a nice life before the war. Maybe, this whole thing would never have happened if you had never confessed to Taehyung before he enlisted.

 

With tears in your eyes and a little bit of a struggle, you finally manage to answer him. You can see that he had been holding his breath as he waited for your answer, his shoulders slumping when you opened your mouth. “You know I love you Taehyung.”

“Why do I feel like you’re not crying for me then?” He asks, reaching over to wipe a tear from your cheek with his finger. The careful way he touches you sends shivers down your spine. He treats you so delicately even though it’s you who should be treating him this way.

“Of course I’m crying for you,” you protest weakly, taking ahold of his hand. You’re not even sure you believe what you’re saying yourself.

“He left didn’t he?” Taehyung asked you, turning to look at the door and biting his lip. You could tell he was contemplating something in his head and whatever it was, he was having a difficult time deciding what to do about it.

“Who?” You ask, knowing that he was talking about Jungkook. Your heart began to ache as you remembered the morning, wishing that you could have done something, anything to have saved your relationship with him.

“Y/N, don’t play dumb. Please,” he said, turning back to you with a pained expression. You hear the pain in his voice. You can see the way his eyes are getting more and more watery with each passing second.

 

You don’t answer Taehyung, choosing to grip his hand tighter instead. You would give anything to get rid of the pain he was feeling at that moment, to get rid of that troubled expression he had on his face. You try to take away all of the pain he was feeling, wanting it all for yourself in order to protect him from any more heartache and tears.

 

“Y/N, I think you shouldn’t come to visit me anymore,” Taehyung says in a voice that is just above a whisper. “At least not for a while.”

 

The room becomes so silent that you could hear a pin drop. Everything fades away besides you and Taehyung and you feel the same immeasurable pain you felt when you received news that his plane had crashed. You’re confused as to why he said those words, part of you hoping that it’s just the medicine he has in his system talking. He couldn’t possibly be serious could he? He didn’t actually want you to stop seeing in the hospital…right?

 

“What do you mean?” You ask, almost terrified of the answer. Your heart is racing, you don’t want to accept the words coming out of Taehyung’s mouth.

“I think it’s better if you just stay away, at least until my heart doesn’t break at the thought of you,” he explains, his voice cracking in the process. He looks at you with a pained expression. You know this is probably as hard for him as it is for you, but you keep praying that you’re dreaming, that you weren’t losing the two of them in a single day.

“But Tae,” you begin to protest. “I can’t do that, you know how much I love you.”

“I know, Y/N,” Taehyung responds almost immediately. “But I can’t have you here.”

 

You couldn’t really believe that this was happening, that those words were actually leaving Taehyung’s mouth. Yet as you looked upon his face, you could see the internal battle that was happening in his mind and you knew he was having a hard time with what he was doing. He was forcing you out of his life, like he finally realized what a detriment you really were. He was cutting off the limb that was still pinned underneath the rock in order to survive. You just never realized that it would have been you to have been the toxic part of his life.

 

“The doctors think I can’t make a rational decision myself, but the truth is I can,” Taehyung whispers, giving your hand another squeeze. “The problem is, I think I love you too much and you don’t love me enough.”

“Taehyung, please,” you respond, almost begging for him to change his mind. You couldn’t lose him too, not again.

“I know, Y/N. Trust me, I don’t want to do this,” Taehyung whimpered, tears finally coming out of his eyes too. “I love you too fucking much and I hate this.”

“But what about forever?” You whisper, reminding Taehyung of the promise the two of you had made in high school.

“It’s not me you wish was beside you is it?” he responds slowly, almost as if he dreads the answer that you’ll give him.

 

Loving you had become a burden to Taehyung. It had become the source of all of his pain, even though before it was the thing that had allowed him to survive the war. And so, knowing that this would be the most selfless thing you had ever done, you stood up and let go of Taehyung’s hand as tears fell down the sides of your face.

 

“I love you Taehyung,” you said in a quiet voice.

 

Taehyung nodded and you turned to walk towards the door, only to hear him call after you when you reached for the handle.

 

“I love you too,” he said. “And maybe one day we can be around each other once again…even when we can’t control our bowel movements anymore.”

 

You couldn’t help but let out a small laugh, turning to him and giving him one last smile before stepping out of his room. There were tears falling down your face but you tried to remain stronger, even though you really didn’t want to. Just remembering when you two had made that promise to each other drove another piece into your already fragile heart. Taehyung was the second person you were saying goodbye to in a single day and you felt like this was the final piece of your castle that had finally been blown away. You understood why all of this was happening and the truth was, there was no one that you could blame but yourself for the way that things ended up. But your heart hurt. The pain you felt only continued to increase with each passing second and your mind didn’t focus on a single thing, as if you were trying to process everything that had occurred within the span of a few hours.

 

As you made your way home, your mind lingered on thoughts of Taehyung and whether he would get better eventually. You prayed with every bit of your heart that one day the two of you could meet again, hoping that all those years of friendship had not been for nothing. You knew you’d always care for him, always love him even if you weren’t sure you would ever see him again. He’d forever be with you, even if it was just in all of your memories.

 

You also thought about Jungkook and your heart only ached even more. You also wished for him to have a happy life, to be able to succeed in whatever it was that he set his mind to. Part of you hoped that he would find someone that he loved who would put together the pieces of his heart and care for it like the world’s most precious jewel. Jungkook deserved that and so much more and though your heart hurt as you imagined your life without him, you remembered that you had yet to take the ring off your finger that he had given you.

 

And maybe that was the only answer that Taehyung needed from you.

 

~

 

THREE YEARS LATER

 

Honey, I’m home!” Jimin yelled as he struggled to drag his suitcase into your shared apartment. You heard his deep breaths as pulled his suitcase behind him, looking for you in your small apartment.

 

You had been hunched over your desk, struggling to memorize the notes from your biology lecture that sat in front of you, but hearing Jimin’s voice immediately perked you up and you took off, running and throwing your arms around him in a bear hug. Whatever you were studying could wait. Your friend was finally back home and your apartment did not feel so terribly lonely anymore, as it always did when he took a trip.

 

He had gone home for a week, his midterms having ended the week prior. You envied the fact that he was a dance major, regretting your choice to pursue the idea of becoming a doctor every single time you saw him relax while you studied all of your notes. He got to somewhat enjoy his youth and his time at the university while you were locked up at home or in the library studying biology and physics and every other subject known to man. Jimin also went home much more frequently than you did, taking time to visit Taehyung whenever his friend was home from another one of his trips abroad.

 

The two of you sat down on the couch and you held onto his hand tightly, anxious to hear what news he was bringing about all of your friends. You remembered how the two of you had started university together, just like the two of you had planned to. It was the school that was close to Jungkook’s hometown, a thought that crossed your mind from time to time even though you knew you’d likely never run into him if he happened to be attending the same school. You were just grateful you were allowed to travel far away from home, away from everything that only seemed to remind you of Taehyung and all of your mistakes.

 

It wasn’t long into your first semester when Jimin’s nightmares began to grow worse and after a lot of convincing and begging from you, he finally agreed to see the school’s counselor who recommended that he take the next semester off. Apparently it had been stress, coupled with the fact that he had never faced any of his demons from the war head on that had left him with such nightmares. That much was clear to you and the only thing you could do was watch him and care for him in case he’d have another flashback. When Jimin returned with you for the second year, the fact that you were living together seemed to have relaxed him immensely and he told you that he would be taking more frequent trips home as well just to keep him calm.

 

He did ask you the first few times if you wanted to join him on those almost-monthly trips of his, but you always said no. If you were honest, you were unsure of whether you’d be welcomed back by Taehyung, not that you would ever have said that out loud. You always used your schoolwork as an excuse, though a part of you knew that Jimin didn’t really believe your flimsy reasons.

 

But this time, you felt lonelier than usual when he was gone. Suddenly, the apartment seemed much too large for one person and the only thing you could do to distract yourself from it was your biology notes. Every creak had turned into something twenty times louder and you always jumped when you’d hear someone knock on your door. You always restrained yourself from calling your best friend when he was home, but even this time you caved and called once only to hang up after the second ring. You were anxious, waiting to hear whatever news he was bringing with him and hoping that it would only be good.

 

“So, how is everyone?” you ask slowly once Jimin situates himself on the couch. He’s become used to this routine that the two of you have whenever he returns from home.

“I didn’t see much of Namjoon this time around, he’s got some sort of project coming up that’s worth half his grade apparently,” Jimin began, shaking his head slightly. “Yoongi and Jieun are still going pretty strong, she’s even started promoting his compositions to all of her friends.”

“Wow, I can’t believe he found someone to put up with him,” you said, astonished. “She’s got to be pretty amazing.”

“She is,” Jimin agreed, nodding quickly. “You’d like her, I think. She doesn’t let him steamroll over her and she even puts him in his place a couple times.”

“What about Hoseok?” You ask, curious about your vibrant friend.

“He’s the same as ever, still in love with dance as much as I am,” Jimin replies. “I told you right? That we’ve been dancing together every time I go home.”

 

You nodded, smiling as you remembered him. A part of your heart hurt knowing that it was your choice to put a little bit of distance between yourself and all of your friends. It wasn’t because they had each picked a side, it was just that you thought Taehyung needed everyone and your presence in the group could only serve as a detriment. In fact, your friends were pretty hurt by your decision, though they reluctantly allowed you to go through with it. So following up on your previous selfless decision, you chose to move out to campus as soon as you got the acceptance letter from the school. You told everyone that it was just to acclimate yourself to the new city faster, but you knew in the back of your head that you were doing it just to give Taehyung his friends back. You could make new ones, but Taehyung needed the friends that he already had.

 

“And what about him?” you ask, almost afraid of what he’ll say now that you’ve addressed the elephant in the room. You’re still slightly afraid to say his name, even though you’ve accepted all of your mistakes and had mostly healed from them.

“He’s doing better. He’s still traveling to help clear his mind, just like his counselor had recommended,” Jimin responded, giving your hand a squeeze. “He misses you too.”

You’re startled, turning to him with a confused expression, before whispering softly a truth that you only ever admitted to yourself when you were alone, “I wish I could just talk to him again.”

“He wants to talk to you too, but he’s still afraid of what might happen if he does,” Jimin said, wrapping his other hand around you to provide some comfort. “He still needs time but he’s doing a lot better now, trust me.”

“But how much time?” You whisper. Your heart hurts but you don’t cry. You haven’t cried since you said goodbye to Taehyung in his hospital room.

“He met someone at the center,” Jimin adds. “She traveled with him this last time. It’s nothing romantic, at least not that I know of, just two souls trying to find themselves once again, but they’re becoming pretty inseparable.”

“Oh,” you reply. You can’t ignore the dull ache in your chest upon hearing the news.

“I just thought you’d want to know. I think he’d want you to know too,” Jimin added.

 

You can’t deny that it doesn’t hurt, though you’re grateful for Jimin’s honesty. If Taehyung found someone that could help him piece himself back together, then you were happy that at least he wasn’t doing it alone. Your heart didn’t ache the same way that it used to whenever you thought about him, but you still longed to see his same boxy smile once again, missing the friendship that you two shared. You still held onto that small hope that maybe one day you’d reunite and go right back to being the same pair that you had been when you were seven years old. Three years without him had already been too long and you just wished you could have your friend back.

 

“Are you tired?” You ask, changing the subject, not very keen on keeping the conversation going. “I ordered pizza too if you’re hungry.”

“Ah, Y/N, I love you!” Jimin exclaims, jumping up and running to the kitchen adjoined to the living room to pick up a slice of pizza. You laugh at your friends happiness, forgetting all about the feelings that you had learned to keep bottled up inside of you.

 

You had the afternoon shift at the coffee shop on campus the next day, coming in just before the lunch rush began. It was a Friday afternoon and though you didn’t have any classes that day, there were still multitudes of people that did. As you arrived, you saw the line begin to grow longer as more and more people arrived for their caffeine fix and maybe a pastry or a club sandwich. You walked into the café with dread, not excited for the busy shift that was ahead of you. At least the time would pass by fast, then you’d be able to get home and finish your physics homework that had been causing you trouble the whole morning.

 

Your manager was at the register, taking orders from the line when he saw you walking behind the counter on your way to drop off your things in the break room. “Y/N, jump on the register when you come back out,” he ordered, distracted by the person who had begun to say their coffee order.

 

You simply nod, walking to the back and grabbing your apron from where it was hanging. When you come back out, you notice that the line had begun to go out the door and so you take over for your manager and begin to take orders as fast as you can, not even bothering to look up at the person as you write their orders on the coffee cups. Your one goal was to reduce the line as fast as possible, then you’d jump over to help your coworkers who were frantically making drink order after drink order.

 

It was about two hours into your shift when the lunch rush began to slow down and you were finally able to catch your breath for a few seconds. You were handing a plain black coffee to a customer when you heard the bell on the door ring as another customer walked in. Not even bothering to look up, you walked to the register and picked up another cup, ready for whatever this new person would like.

 

“Welcome, what would you like today?” You ask, still breathing somewhat heavily as you tried to recover from the rush. You hadn’t had a break yet and your body was beginning to crave one of those chairs in your back room.

“Just an earl grey tea please,” the customer responds. His voice sounds familiar, though you can’t really place it as you write on the cup. They were probably in the same class as you, it wasn’t too uncommon to run into your classmates at the only coffee shop on campus.

“Okay and your name please?” You ask as you punched in the price for the tea on the register before picking up the marker once again.

“Jungkook,” the customer says.

 

You almost drop the cup when you look up and your eyes fall upon the same bunny smile that you hadn’t seen in years. He seemed a little bashful, a little unsure of himself as he looked back at you. You’re not really sure what to say, your mind is in shambles as you try to take in the form of him right in front of you. His hair is longer, it doesn’t take much to notice that right off the bat. Jungkook is wearing a plain t-shirt and some dark jeans with just a black hoodie on top, yet he looks absolutely beautiful. He’s also a little bit larger and it’s obvious to you that he had been working out, even underneath the baggy sweater of his. You also realize that he’s lost more of the baby fat on his face. He looks older, more mature as he looks back at you, though you can still see traces of the boy you fell in love with all those years ago in the man standing in front of you. You’re also relieved that the look in his eyes isn’t one of contempt and that your reunion is not as awkward as you had always imagined it would be.

 

It’s the bell of the door that breaks you out of your trance and you quietly tell him the price of his tea before setting the cup down on the side for your coworkers to pick up. You watch as he looks down and fishes out his wallet from his pocket, handing you money. You can’t help but get goosebumps when your fingers slightly brush against each other as you take the money from his hand. In your head, you remind yourself that he’s not yours and that its purely a coincidence that he’s standing in front of you. If he was attending the same school, it was bound to have happened eventually, you reason.

 

When you hand Jungkook back his change, he clears his throat and you turn to him once more before he speaks. “What time is your shift over?” He asks you.

“At six,” you say without thinking. You’re not even sure why he’s asking you that question in the first place. You thought he’d want to forget that he ever saw you as soon as he left the coffee shop.

Instead, Jungkook only nods. “I’ll see you then.”

 

The next customer comes up to the register and you watch out of the corner of his eye as Jungkook takes his tea from the side and walks back out of the café. You watch him through the windows as he takes a sip of his cup, wincing a little – probably due to the hot water – and you can’t help but laugh a little.  You’re happy, but also slightly dejected, unsure of what it Is that he meant by his last statement, but refusing to let yourself be hopeful about whether he’d actually be waiting for you to get off your time at work.

 

You’re on edge for the rest of your shift, enough that even your coworkers have to ask you a couple times about whether you were feeling okay. You don’t tell them that it feels like you’ve just been visited by a ghost. When it’s your break, all you really want to do is run to the nearest phone and call Jimin, but it’s time for his dance class and you know he’s likely not at home. So you just sit in the break room and count down the time until the end of your shift, unsure of what to expect when you exit the café.

 

It’s a little after six o’clock when you step outside and see Jungkook standing in front of you with the smile that you thought you’d never see again on his face. You notice that his outfit is slightly different. He’s wearing a leather jacket over his hoodie and you immediately feel the chill of the evening air brush by you. Neither of you say a word, though Jungkook does motion to a bench on the patio by the café with a small smile and you nod anxiously, following behind him as he makes his way over.

 

It’s once that you set down your bag beside you that Jungkook speaks. “So, how have you been?”

His voice immediately makes you feel relaxed and your heart can’t stop beating as you look upon him, realizing how much you missed him. It feels like a part of you is finally complete once again and that alone is enough. “I’ve been okay. I’m studying to go to become a doctor,” you say nervously. You don’t know what else you can say. You brush your hair behind your ear as you continue. “I didn’t know you were attending this school.”

Jungkook lets out a chuckle, like he was expecting this question from you. “I was going to tell you that I had been applying your year too. It was going to be my surprise, but yeah I’m a second-year now.”

You know he doesn’t mean to, but when he brings up the past you can’t help but feel an ache in your heart. Though you think you’ve learned from your mistakes and have managed to somewhat move on, it still hurts to remember. “Me too.”

“Jin is here too, but he’s a first year,” Jungkook adds. “You have no idea how great it is to be his senior now.” He laughs as you remember his handsome friend. You can’t help but smile as you think of him, relieved that Jungkook still had him in his life.

“What are you two studying?” You ask, trying to keep the conversation going with small talk. You’re aware of the tension between the two of you, but you’re not ready just yet to let Jungkook go.

“I’m studying art. I’ve always been drawn to it, so I figured, why not?” Jungkook says with a shrug of his shoulders. “Jin decided on acting which I feel is perfect for him. He’s always been a bit dramatic.”

 

You can’t help but laugh at Jungkook’s words. It’s always been easy to laugh with him, you feel. And just being around him reminds you of just how tranquil it was being with him. He had been your oasis after all. It’s easy to remember why you fell in love with him in the first place as you sit on that bench, forgetting about the rest of the world around you.

 

“I didn’t really believe Jin when he told me he saw you at the café,” Jungkook then says. “I had to come see it for myself.”

“Jin was here?” You ask, startled at the mention of his friend once again.

“He said you didn’t notice him, but he ran to find me coming out of my class right after,” he explains, laughing.

“I wish I had seen him too,” you say, regretting the fact that you had been too focused on your work to pay attention to Jungkook’s friend. You couldn’t deny that a small part of you was relieved. You weren’t exactly sure what Jin’s opinion of you was, though it couldn’t be very high.

“Don’t worry, he ran out of coffee yesterday so I’m sure he’ll be dropping by the café a lot more frequently now,” Jungkook replies. “At least until he finally decides to go buy some more from the grocery store.”

 

The two of you catch up with each other, updating each other on what was going on with your lives but neither of you address the one thing that you’re sure he’s been the most curious about. You avoid the topic of conversation almost skillfully, though Jungkook doesn’t make much of an effort to bring it up at first. He seems more focused on finding out what you’ve been doing, but you can see the look of curiosity, of questioning in his eye that tells you it’s something he’ll want to ask before the two of you part ways once again. You’ve been sitting at the same bench for about an hour when there’s a lull in the conversation, and he finally asks you the question that you were dreading.

 

“So how is Taehyung?” Jungkook asks. There’s no malice in his voice though you can hear that it’s a bit shaky, a bit anxious. His expression doesn’t give anything away either, and you’re only more nervous to say the information that Jimin has given you.

“He’s fine. He has episodes every now and then and he’s been in and out of rehab a few times,” you say, looking down and playing with a leaf that had fallen on the bench in front of you. “He’s doing better though. Jimin told me that ever since he started travelling a lot he’s been a lot more stable.”

“Are you two…involved?” he asks, and you can’t help but look up at him once again. Of course he would ask that question. You had to have expected it due to the turn of conversation.

You shake your head after a few seconds of silence, reflecting more on the past few years than anything else. “I haven’t spoken to him directly in a couple years…actually not since you left. Jimin has been our point of contact for the most part.”

“How do you feel about that?” He asks, and you can’t help but laugh slightly thinking that he sounds exactly like a therapist. It’s exactly the same question that Jimin absolutely hates, one that he always manages to complain about whenever he has a session with his counselor.

“I know one day we’ll be able to talk again like we used to,” you respond, looking over at Jungkook. You can’t help the small smile that appears on your face as you think about the future. “It’s fine if we don’t talk right now. I just want him to get better. If that means I need to stay away from him then I’ll do it.”

“Oh,” Jungkook says and you wonder what is running through his mind at that moment. It’s quiet for a few moments, only the sound of the leaves rustling in the wind. Then he breaks the silence. “Do you still love him?”

The question catches you off-guard, though you quickly recover. You have to take a few seconds to think about your answer, unsure of it yourself. “I think I always will,” you say, noticing the way that Jungkook’s shoulders slightly slump down. “But the two of us weren’t right for each other and I know that now. I think he knows it too. I’ve known him all my life, you know? But it’s not something romantic anymore, not on my part…and I think not on his either.”

Jungkook doesn’t say anything besides humming in understanding and you feel the urge to speak again in order to prevent the situation from getting awkward.

“Are you…seeing anyone?” you ask, immediately kicking yourself right afterwards for letting those words come out of your mouth. You’re not sure if you want to know the answer to your own question.

Jungkook laughs and you feel the same butterflies you used to feel back then being revived once more as you look upon the way his eyes crinkle. “No I’m not,” he says with a little bit of a chuckle.

 

The moon has begun to shine down on the two of you. You’re the only ones left on the balcony as everyone else began to seek shelter in one of the buildings surrounding the patio. The moonlight looks beautiful on him and you once again try to ingrain every feature of his into your mind, smiling as you look at the small mole underneath his lip and the scar on his cheek. Just sitting on the bench with him tells you that he hasn’t changed much and he’s still very much the person that you fell in love with all those years ago.

 

Jungkook looks down at his watch soon after and you see his eyes go wide. “It’s already this time?” he says, grabbing his backpack and slipping it through his arms. “I have to go. I’m helping Jin memorize some lines for a scene he has next week.”

 

You nod and watch as he gets up and gives you a wave goodbye. You stay sitting in your spot, looking down at the leaf that you’ve basically destroyed at some point during your conversation with Jungkook.

 

“Hey Y/N!” Jungkook suddenly yells from behind you.

You turn to see him standing a few feet away, a huge smile on his face.

“I’ll see you again soon, right?” he yells from where he stands.

A laugh escapes your lips and you reply back equally as loud. “I’d like that!”

 

He gives you another wave, turning around and proceeded to walk in a hurry away from the patio. You watch him slowly become smaller and smaller in the distance until he finally disappears around a corner and you’re left to only think of him. You laugh to yourself once again, remembering his bunny smile. The feeling in your stomach hasn’t left since he disappeared, and you laugh again. Maybe your feelings for Jungkook haven’t changed a single bit and you wonder where that will lead you in the future.

 

But at this moment, all you really want to do is go home and pull out the ring that you have tucked away in the corner of your drawer, the very same one that you couldn’t find it in your heart to let go of, even bringing it with you to college where you were supposed to be turning over a new leaf. You held onto it for all this time and now it all suddenly made sense to you.

 

And you promised yourself then and there on that bench that this time around you’d be more vocal about your feelings and you’d be more honest with yourself and everyone around you. If there was one thing that the past had taught you, it was that you always had to stay true to yourself and those around you and you wished with all of your might that everything would turn out fine this time. That was all that you really wanted.