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#chat has no self preservation
misquotedladybug · a month ago
Chat Noir: Hello my darling friends guess who just got
Chat Noir: ✧・゚: *✧・゚:*INJURED*:・゚✧*:・゚✧
Ladybug: Obviously I hope you're okay but I want you to know that that was the most in character text you've ever sent me
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(Tumblr crashed after I sent that ask so I resent it) I mean, it was nice of them to make you breakfast. And you d i d have a broken leg.
Yeah, they put a good enough cast on it, no idea where it came from, and I snuck out. And yes it was, they made pancakes
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gale-gentlepenguin · 2 years ago
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Adrien Agreste is litterally that person that if he gets stabbed by a mugger and he would see the person next to him has a cut on their cheek and insists they get it treated.
“Sir you are bleeding!”
“So are you, you should get that treated.”
“You were stabbed.”
“It’s fine, I’ll deal with it later. But that cut of yours can get infected.”
“You can die!!!”
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lemonjoonah · 5 months ago
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The Garden Thief (M)
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Pairing: Jungkook x Reader Word Count: 9.3K Genre: Hybrid AU, romance/drama/comedy, enemies to lovers Warnings: Unprotected sex, oral sex (fem. rec.), they get down and dirty outside but no one else is there to see them, cum play? (just a little), there’s also a bit of mud (sorry, but also not sorry, they’re outside what do you want from me?!?!), referenced hybrid neglect and oppression (hybrids are wrongfully deemed as pets by law and the majority of society).  
Summary: Your beloved vegetable patch has once again been victimized by a hungry thief in the night. The prime suspect? Jeon Jungkook, your neighbour's rabbit hybrid. But when you finally confront him, he pleads innocent, and proposes a plan to clear his name.
A/N: I wrote this fic’s premise and opening scene for the ‘A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words Game’ that I played oh so long ago and now I’ve finally finished the tale!
...
“Oh for fuck’s sake, not again!” You swear upon seeing the leafy green remains of several carrots lying in your garden, inches from where they used to be buried. This maddening mystery of the vanishing vegetables has been playing out all summer. You’ve set out deterrents for every possible garden pest, rolling out chicken wire and spraying natural remedies to repel anything from bugs to small rodents. Yet you still wake to find that your garden has been robbed in the night. The only possible suspect you haven’t been able to protect against resides just next door, in fact—
You squint up at the boarded fence, spotting a pair of long dark ears peeking out over the posts. “Jungkook, is that you?”
The ears immediately disappear, ducking down behind the barrier. The sound of his hurried footsteps trailing away are followed only by the slamming of a door.
You rush into and through your own house carrying the wilted carrot greens. Exiting out the front, and over to the house next to yours, where you repeatedly press the bell.
The entry whips open on the fourth ring to reveal Jungkook. His face is flushed, beads of sweat racing down his brow, and a shirt that one would normally use to cover their chest, is instead thrown over his shoulder. “Something wrong neighbour?” He asks with a carrot stick in hand. Bringing it to his mouth, he taunts you with a bite and crooked grin.
“Is-is your caretaker home?” You stutter trying your best to swallow your nerves. Concentrating hard on his face, you plead with your eyes not to wander down. That’s exactly what he wants, a reason to put you off your mission, to make you so flustered that you have to walk away. He’s always trying to use his allure against you, and you hate how often he succeeds doing just that...  
“No, he’s at work.”
“When will he be back?”
“Not sure, maybe a week, or two? He’s on a business trip.”
Your gaze falters in it’s determination for a brief second as a drop of sweat descends from his neck to his chest. Holding your breath you watch it’s path, tracing the valleys between his muscles. When Jungkook finally wipes it away your brain catches up and scolds you for your weakness. “And he left you here, alone?”  You ask, while trying to recollect your dignity, reminding yourself of how much grief he has put you through.
“Of course.” Jungkook’s smile grows. “I’m not just some common pet. I know how to behave myself.”
The statement makes your brow twitch, enraging you enough to overcome his tactics. “I know you haven’t been here long, but you should know, people typically don’t like it when someone steals from their yard.” You lecture him, waving the carrot tops in front of his face. “So stop treating my garden like your own personal snack bar!”
“Now why would I take from you? I have plenty of food here, even got another delivery this morning.”  The hybrid kicks at a box next him filled with a vibrant collection of fresh produce and grains.
“I don’t know why. I just know it was you.”
“Prove it.” He prods, while taking the last bite of the vegetable from his hand.
The loud crunching gnaws on your composure, stripping you of any patience you may have had for the hybrid. “This all started when you moved in, and I’ve ruled everything else out!” You shout, but as good as it might feel to finally vent your anger, you feel as though you’re somehow playing into his hand.
“That doesn’t seem like very good evidence. It’s circumstantial at best. If you want to find out who the real culprit is you should have a stake out.”
“A stake out?”
“Yeah, you know, watch over the garden for the night, catch the criminal in the act. I could even help if you’d like.”
You scoff at the ridiculous notion. “You really think I should invite you over to guard my crops?”
“I do, so I’ll come over tonight? Say around seven?” You open your mouth to object, but the rabbit hybrid jumps from one statement to the next casually inviting himself into your own home. “Perfect. See you then.”
“I didn’t-no wait, that was sar-” The door closes between you before you can finish. Leaving you baffled and alone on the doorstep. You ready to knock but stop just before your knuckles hit the wood. Trying again right now is a lost cause, it’ll just play into his game. So why waste your breath when you know it’ll just end the same way? Tonight then, as he suggested, that’s when you’ll be ready to hit him with some hard evidence that he won’t be able to refute.
Admitting defeat for now, you retreat back to your garden to pick the surviving vegetables and contemplate the encounter. You wish your could have just spoken to Jungkook’s caretaker—fuck what was his name again? You’ve only seen the man a couple times since they took the house, but at least he doesn't give you a nervous knot in your stomach, or leave you confused and speechless like his hybrid does.
It’s been three months since they moved in. You were excited at first, to have new neighbours in your almost vacant cul-de-sac. Buyers don’t seem to be interested in the old houses with large lots in your area. Too much work to maintain, and not enough good job prospects to go around. So when you saw the sold sign go up you were beyond thrilled. Greeting the new residents with a fruit basket and a smile.
The rabbit hybrid you now know as Jungkook appeared rather shy at first, you did your best to welcome him. Always greeting him when he was outside, trying to engage him in small chat, but the first time you caught him during his workout everything changed. Until that point you had not considered him as anything but a prospective friend. You were stunned to see him in such a confident state, throwing around his weights like they were nothing. In that moment, with you too nervous to admit that you found him attractive, you became the anxious and blubbering fool in his presence, and he, unfortunately, took note. The once quiet and cute rabbit, became a flirtatious and bratty bunny.
And since then, whenever you would work in your garden he’d be on the other side of the fence grunting and panting. Staying close to the gap in the divider, a missing panel you had yet to replace. On days like today you would often look up from your radishes and accidentally lock eyes with the hybrid, drenched in sweat and showing off his skills.
Out of respect and self preservation you tried your best to not to pay attention, to keep your nose buried in your garden, but as the weeks went by the vegetables under your care started to disappear. The ample crops you tended to in the evening, lessened by morning, with only the refuse remaining to indicate it’s former presence. You didn’t want to point fingers immediately, but today was the final straw, and tonight no matter how hard he tries to distract you, you will find him guilty.
After harvesting the choice crops for the day and watering the rest. You dust yourself off, settling inside and in front of your computer; opening the visitors page for your place of work, the city's greenhouse conservatory. To help promote the centre in the community the staff all take turns writing articles revolving around their own projects or home gardens, and you’re up next in the rotation. You stare at the blank document for several minutes trying your best to concentrate on the task, but you are unable to think of anything other than the mischievous hybrid next door.
Embracing the topic of your aggravation, you start the post off with a title sure to catch the eye of any reader, ‘Garden Thieves.’
‘We’ve all been there, finding a tomato just about to reach its peak ripeness. We give it another day to grow into perfection, only to find it missing later on. In your absence something else has taken it into its own clutches. I myself have been dealing with a vegetable thief for several weeks, so if you are struggling like I am, here are a few things that might help. ’
You proceed to outline several garden pests uploading photos of their damage, along with quick remedies to deter their presence. Netting to block the sparrows, raised beds and fences to keep out most rodents or mammals, and a caffeine solution to stave off slugs.
‘I hope this may help you all in your efforts to keep your plants safe, but I must add a disclaimer. Unfortunately nothing here is completely foolproof. Even if you do follow all of these steps you still might lose some of your crops to a crafty critter. But I wish you the best of luck on all of your backyard battles. I myself plan to face off with my own long-eared menace tonight.’
You finish your post with a smile. Sending it off to your coworker Namjoon to get his approval before you make it public.
He calls a few minutes later, his laughter carrying through the speaker. “That was easily the best article you’ve written all year. You should definitely post it.”
“Thanks.” You chuckle, hitting the submit button. At the very least feeling a bit relieved to have one less task weighing on your mind. “I really appreciate it.”
“No problem. I take it you’re still having trouble with that hybrid neighbour of yours?”
“Yeah,” you groan. You’ve complained to Namjoon about the issue several times in the past month. It must have been all too easy for him to read between the lines and see what set you off to create this specific entry.  “But he refuses to admit it was him. It’s like he’s trying to make me question my skills as a gardener and I hate it! I went over to talk to his caretaker but he’s away on business for a couple weeks.”
“He left him alone for that long? What about food?”
“He’s been getting deliveries. By the looks of it, he has a healthier diet than I do.”
Namjoon pauses on the line giving you only a simple, “Huh...” in a long break.
“What?”
“Well it’s just-” A loud buzzing sound erupts through the phone line cutting off his answer. A noise you know to indicate someone is at the back door. “That’s weird. I didn’t think we were supposed to get anything delivered today. No one else is here.... did you have anything scheduled to come in?”
“No.” You double check the calendar sitting on your desk. “I shouldn’t have anything until next Monday.”  
Namjoon puts you on hold while he checks on the reason for the interruption, returning only a minute later. “It’s a delivery all right, but are you sure these aren’t yours? I’m seeing a lot of tropical species on the invoice. Combretum rotundifolium, Heliconia angusta, Myrciaria dubia-”
You mouth a swear as Namjoon carries on with his list. It’s obvious they are indeed the specimens of your expected batch. You're in the process of redesigning one of the tropical habitats. The lead director was adamant that the conservatory host a butterfly exhibition in the next coming year, and in order to support the grandiose endeavour you are required to introduce a vast amount of new flowering species over the next few months. “How many in total?”
“About two dozen. Looking pretty rough from the journey too.”
You’re not surprised by their current state. This summer is already one of the hottest and driest on record, and all the stock you had received this season was excessively wilted and near death because of it. “Do we have any holding houses with humidifiers available?”
“Not at the moment,” There’s a clatter in the background as Namjoon sorts through what must be the slack of clipboards. “But I’ve got the inspection chart here and your last delivery did just finish it’s quarantine. No signs of pests or illness, so they’re clear to plant. That should free up some space for you.”
“That’ll have to do. Thanks for checking.” Standing up from your desk with a sorrowful sigh. You mourn the loss or your afternoon off as you start to dress for a day of hard labour. Throwing on your work-issued overalls over your t-shirt and shorts. Unfortunately you can’t just leave the new stock to sit out under the beating sun. With little humidity outside and no protection they’ll be burnt to a crisp if you delay too long. But the worst part is that your planting staff isn’t scheduled until later in the week, and that volume of work will put you well into the middle of the night before you complete it. “I’ll be in soon to deal with it.”
“That’s a lot of planting to do on your own. I can help if you-”
“I can’t take you away from your trees, isn’t there a bonsai exhibition next week you have to prepare them for?” He’s been agonizing over this showcase for so long you couldn’t possibly inconvenience him now with your own troubles. “It’s fine, really. I’ll call to see if anyone else is willing to come in today.” You hang up letting Namjoon return to his tasks, and work your way down the contacts for the gardening staff as you prepare yourself to leave. Though as expected, all of those who answer have prior commitments and won’t be able to assist.
Grabbing your badge and plans for the updates to the garden you slip back out into the noon-day sun, so strong it’s turned your car into an oven on wheels. You’re just about to pull it into reverse when you spot the blinds shift in your neighbour’s window. Prompting you to recall the plans he had made for tonight.
With all the work you have, it’s doubtful you’ll be back home for seven. You return to Jungkook’s door to give him the news. He has it open before you can even knock, his usual smirk crawling across his face as he greets you.  
“About tonight... something has come up at work and I really don’t know how late I’ll be.”
His ears perk up. “You’re going into the conservatory?”
“Yeah,” you respond, somewhat shocked that he remembered where you work. It’s been a couple months since you mentioned it while introducing yourself to him and his caretaker. “An order came in earlier than expected. I’ll likely be planting all day and night.”
“I can help,” he offers, already stepping out to join you, and locking the door behind him.
“You want to help?”
“Of course, isn’t that the neighbourly thing to do?”
“Yes, but I wouldn’t want it or expect it from someone who terrorizes my own garden.”
“Allegedly,” Jungkook corrects. “And wouldn’t you rather have me with you, under your supervision, than here, all alone with only a measly fence between me and your impressive bell pepper harvest?”
“Stay away from my peppers!” You scold, pointing your finger at him. “Even if I wanted to take you, what about your caretaker? Don’t you need his permission to leave and work?”
“He’s never paid attention to my whereabouts before, and it’s not work if you don’t pay me. I’ll just be a volunteer. You have people volunteer all the time right?”
“Yes but-”  
“I’ll be on my best behaviour.”
“Alright, fine.” You finally agree though with a heavy dose of reluctance. Namjoon often brings his own hybrid in so it shouldn’t be a problem. “But if I see you nibble on even a single leaf, you’re coming straight back here.”
“Deal.” He rushes past you straight to your passenger seat and buckles himself in. Practically bouncing with excitement beside you as you pull out and head towards the conservatory.
The minutes pass and you try your best to focus on the road but you’ve never been so close to Jungkook in such a small space. And with his built frame taking up most of the car, he’s hard for you to ignore. His ears folded against the roof and his shoulders so wide they brush repeatedly against yours.
“Ever been to the conservatory before?” You ask, trying to divert your mind from the battle which builds inside you. A wavering war between frustration and attraction, with the former trying it’s best to pin down the latter, a move which only arouses the latter more...
“No, I’ve wanted to go ever since you mentioned it but my caretaker hasn’t had the time.”
“Oh.” A sense of pity joins the ranks of your emotions, nudging at you as you pull into the lot. “Sorry, I didn’t-”
“Why are you sorry?” Jungkook asks in a low whisper, snapping back to his flirtatious behaviours. His mouth turns up at the corner as he leans into you, so close that his drooping ears graze the top of your head.  “Would you have taken me earlier if I had mentioned it?”
“N-no,” you choke out. Placing your hand on his solid chest, you push him back and away. As tempting as his advance might be to accept, you know his forwardness to be nothing more than an act to make a fool of you. Why else would he try to both seduce you, and steal from right under your nose?  “You’re only here today because I am in desperate need of help, and I can’t trust you to be alone.”
...
You lead him through the unoccupied greenhouses. The conservation is closed to the public today (as it is every Monday and Tuesday); which usually allows for some time off, but at least now it’ll give you a chance to work unimpeded by visitors. Your own curated section is located in the most humid of all the houses, set in such a way to mimic the tropical environment you are attempting to represent.
The first stop is the holding house where the carts of new stock wait just outside.  Grabbing an empty trolly you enter and start to load up those that are ready to plant. Jungkook following your actions does the same, easily lifting the heavy planters that you yourself struggle with. “Thanks,” you whisper as he relieves you of a particularly burdensome tree. To which he smiles in return.
After making the switch, by placing the recent delivery in the house for it’s quarantine, you lead him to the supply closet. Where you collect a couple shovels, trowels, and two pairs of gloves. As you continue to scan for anything else you might require, Jungkook pops in behind looking at the shelves with a sense of curiosity. He reaches up and over you to a spray bottle labeled ‘slug repellent.’
“We won’t need that, it’s for the outdoor gardens,” You explain. “It’s just a mixture of ca-”
“Caffeine and water?”
You snap your gaze to him. “How do you know that?”
He bites his lip as a snicker starts to escape. “Just a bit of morning reading. I found an interesting article with that particular tidbit. One which also happened to reference the exploits of a long-eared menace.”
“Y-you read the conservatory blog? You read my post? No one reads that, there can’t have been more than ten views!”
“Which is such a shame.” He goads you. “I’ve found your work to be both informative and comical. You really have me rooting for you in your quest to catch your thief.”
You groan in utter fury. “Why must you be so-so-”
“Handsome? Funny? Caring?”
“Antagonizing!”
“Because you seem to take more notice when I am.” Jungkook answers, with a turn of his heel, his tail poking out from under his shirt as he starts to walk away with the cart. “And I like seeing that perplexed look of yours. Your nose is cute when you scrunch it up like that.”
You remain in the shed, your traitorous heart beating erratically over the fact that he called a part of you cute. While your more sensible side grabs your nose and smooths out the wrinkles he referenced.
“Should we get to work?” He calls out after you. “The sooner we finish, the sooner we can go home and expose that bandit of yours.”
You roll your eyes and follow him out, before taking the lead to your tropical glasshouse. The air sticks to your skin the moment you enter. Jungkook lets out a long exhale behind you tugging on the collar of his shirt. “Is it always like this in here?”
“It’s a bit warmer today, but not by much. Are you already regretting your decision to help?” You tease him.
“Nope,” he answers, slinging a shovel over his shoulder. “Show me where to dig, and I’ll get to it.”
Pulling out your plans for the new exhibit arrangement, you select a couple species placing them on the empty plots of garden as directed, careful to allow for future growth. Jungkook follows behind digging out their new homes faster than at least three of your staff members combined.
You stare at him for a second, unable to believe the pace at which he’s going. “Something wrong?” He asks, pausing to lock eyes with you.
“No, I just didn’t think you’d be so quick at digging.”
“I’m part rabbit, what did you expect?” Jungkook boasts with a chuckle and a raised brow. “I share their strengths. Especially when it comes to burrowing and fu-”      
His words are cut short when a fresh breeze from the outside washes over the both of you, a  sure sign that someone must have entered the greenhouse. Your neighbour goes rigid, his nose lifts into the air and his ears fall back flat against his head. “Jungkook what’s-” Leaping up he closes the gap and grabs you. Tucking you into him with his chin resting on your head, where a  warm and earthy scent envelopes you.  His breaths are quick and deep, causing his chest to rapidly rise and fall against your back.
Namjoon’s voice calls out to you. “... are you in here?”
“Over here!” You yell out in reply, before turning back to the hybrid who still has you locked in his clutches. “What the hell Jungkook? Let me go! Now’s not the time for your games.” Sure it might feel nice to be wrapped in his arms, to get lost amidst his aroma. At any other time you might even consider taking a moment before chastising his boldness. But here? Now? And with Namjoon coming to greet you? No, this is too much.
You try to push him away like you have before, but this time it’s as if he’s set in stone, and not registering you at all. He focuses only on the direction your coworker's voice hailed from. “That scent, he smells like-”
“There you are.” Namjoon interrupts stepping around a flowering bush and into view, looking surprised by your guest. “Oh, hello there.”
The point of Jungkook's chin rubs against your head as he grips you even tighter. Embarrassed and confused by the hybrids embrace. “Jungkook, this is Namjoon.” You introduce your coworker while delivering an elbow to Jungkook’s gut. He finally snaps out of his trace and lets you go though he continues to hover behind. “He works with the bonsai of the conservatory.”
“You must be the neighbour I’ve heard so much about, it’s nice to finally meet you.” Namjoon extends his hand to the hybrid, but Jungkook ignores the gesture, choosing to glare instead, with his nostrils flared and his ears pinned back.
“Jungkook?” You whisper trying to chase him from his mood.
Namjoon gives him a nervous smile. “You probably smell my hybrid, on me don’t you?”
“A hybrid?” Jungkook confirms, his eyes narrowed at Namjoon.
“Yeah, sorry, I didn’t intend to scare you. I’m sure the scent of a predator, especially a tiger, is a bit of a shock. He’s harmless, I promise.”
“Is Taehyung here?” You ask, hoping to see his affectionate part-feline companion.  
“Nah, he’s with a friend today. I needed to get some work done and he’d be more of a distraction than a help... but it would seem that didn’t stop him from scenting my shirt before I left.” Namjoon explains, and then turns to your neighbour again. “Jungkook would you mind if I borrow her for a second? I need help with one of my tropical species.”
Jungkook gives a solemn nod. For the first time since you’ve known him, he looks frightened, and somewhat hesitant to release you over to your coworker.
Worried by his current disposition, you reassure him with a squeeze on his arm. “Just keep digging where I’ve placed those pots and I’ll be right back.”
Namjoon leads you into the adjacent greenhouse where you can continue to keep watch of Jungkook through the pains of glass. But the instant the doors close between you, Namjoon starts bombarding you with questions. “Why didn’t you tell me? How long has it been going on? ”
You take a step back having been caught off guard. “Tell you what?”
“About you and Jungkook! Is the feuding neighbours just a cover story?” Namjoon’s eyes are wide and hopeful as he carries on, not letting you fit a single word in. “Don’t worry, I won’t inform anyone you're together. I know it’s not easy having a human-hybrid relationship out in the open. But I think you should be careful about going out into public because he’s far too obvious about it.”
“We’re not- we’re not a couple. Why would you think such a thing?”
“Because the way held you, he looked like he was marking you with his own scent. That’s what rabbits do isn’t it? They rub their chins on what they want to claim as their own.”
“They do what?” You ask, stunned by the possibility, before the realism settles back in. It must just be Jungkook’s idea of a joke. “No, that’s not what he’s doing, our connection is nothing remotely like that. Don’t get me wrong he’s very attractive, and he knows it.” You mutter the last part under your breath. “But-”
“But you really are having trouble with him. It's not a cover?”
“You think I would keep something like that from you?” Namjoon over the years has come to be your closest confidant. A good friend and coworker, you would never dream of hiding something like that from him.
“I suppose not.”
“Is that why you brought me back here, to question my relationship status?”
“Not entirely.” Namjoon shakes his head with a small dimpled smile and changes the subject. “I do actually want to get your help with one of my new acquisitions.” He points out an unusual tree on his work bench, much too big for the pot it’s currently situated in. It’s extensive roots spill out over the top and threaten to swallow the pot whole. “A Ficus microcarpa, far from the most sought after species when it comes to reputable bonsai, but I couldn’t pass this one up. It has such good character.”
“What made it grow in such a way?” You examine the plant and it’s container with care, prying between the roots and taking note of cracks starting to form in the terracotta.
“The last owner neglected it for far too long. It sat hidden in the back of a commercial greenhouse, still under the watering and fertilizing system, but since it was confined to such a small space it tried to root it’s way out. If I were to guess, it probably hasn’t seen a new pot for at least five years.”
“It’s a miracle it survived.” You nod impressed by the tree’s determination. “What’s your plan for it?”
“Give it what it wants, let it leach out. I doubt I would be able to pry it out entirely without causing significant damage to the roots that are gripping the sides, so instead I want to put another bellow to catch it and give it the fresh soil and room it needs.” Namjoon lays the tree and pot down on the table, and asks you to hold and support the trunk, while he taps and pokes at the bottom of the vessel with a metal trowel.  Enlarging the cracks, but not breaking the pot fully. It’s a tedious process. The small chunks of clay are removed piece by piece, giving him access to see and free some of the tightly bound roots inside.
While your coworker continues his task, your eyes are free to wonder. You check on Jungkook through the glass, as he kneels in front of the garden bed digging even faster than before.
Namjoon appears to notice your distracted state. “How's he doing?”
“Fine I guess.” You whisper. “He’s acting stranger than usual today though. He stole from my garden again. Invited himself over to my house, then here, and you saw what he did back there.”
“Huh...” Namjoon mutters, trailing off the same way he did on the phone.
“What is this ‘huh’ you keep giving me? You know I don’t like games Namjoon. If you have something you want to say, say it.”
“It’s about what you said earlier, how his caretaker leaves for extended periods of time. Usually if an animal is alone for too long they look for ways to stimulate themselves and resort to their natural instincts, scavenging and such. But he’s a hybrid and therefore part human, so if you were isolated and restricted to your house what would you do?”
“Probably look for the closest person I could find. So he’s acting out in my garden and teasing me, because he’s lonely?”
“I think so.” Namjoon responds as he extracts another root, freeing it from its confines.
“But why?” You ask, worried for the answer to come. “Why wouldn’t he just say something?”
“There could be a number of reasons. He might not understand what he’s doing on a conscious level, or he might be afraid to show any sign of weakness to you or anyone else. Jungkook is part prey animal, and humans are all too often predators.”
“If that’s the case...” You curse yourself for not realizing it sooner. The fury you held for him slowly fades away as you replay every encounter in your mind. He was literally jumping at the chance to spend time with you, to help you with your work, and you were to blind to see it. Your anger over your missing vegetables is so trivial in comparison to what he must have been going through. The loneliness he must have felt, and the inability to admit it, you can’t imagine how he suffered through it alone. “What can I do to help him? I have no legal claim to him Namjoon. What can I do within such limitations?”
He looks down at his work in progress. “The way I see it  you and he, like this small tree, have three options. You could maintain the status quo, leave him be, but how long will he be able to survive like he is? Creeping over the edge but grasping on to nothingness?”
You shake your head vehemently rejecting the idea while Namjoon continues.
“You could report his caretaker for neglect, breaking the container entirely, but that too could be very damaging to him, tearing him away entirely could put him in a state of shock, and in a home that is no better for him, while the legal battle is decided. Or...” Namjoon grabs another container, slightly wider than the one in which the plant is seated. Filling it with substrate he takes the tree clinging to it’s partial pot and places it on top. Pressing the newly freed roots down into the soil.
“You could support him, give him a better home just outside of his own where he can be himself and access what he needs. I personally think it’s your safest option for now.” Namjoon leads over inspecting the bonsai and lowers his voice to an almost inaudible whisper. “Until the day, when it is possible to fully cast the pot aside.”
You nod, though now left to grapple with what you could possibly have to offer the hybrid.  “I’m not sure I would be the best person to care for him.”
“I think Jungkook would disagree. He was already trying to scent you. That to me, implies his desire for something more in the realm of an intimate relationship.” You choke on your breath as Namjoon comes to an additional conclusion. Upon seeing your distress he makes a suggestion. “Of course you could keep it strictly to friendship between the two of you and I’m sure that will improve his situation, but his other needs will need to be met for him to feel completely at home...”
“His other needs? You think he wants to be with me? Intimately?! No! Surely he would have acted differently if that was his intent! He’s done nothing but tease me when he catches me even remotely looking in his direction.”
“So you have been looking at him!” Namjoon taunts you with a massive grin. Apologizing a second later when you proceed to glare at him. “But to answer your question, no, not necessarily. You have to remember most of society deems him a lesser being. He could be feeling a lot of guilt and pressure not to engage with you in that way. Though he might not outright say it, I bet his instincts will continue to shine through. I’ll even prove it to you.” Namjoon takes off a glove and rubs your head. “I bet this rabbit of yours will take less than a minute before he tries to replace the smell of my hand with his own again... trust me.”
You shake your head in disbelief. “I should probably get back to him.” You are just about to step away when your thoughts return to the long neglected plant. “Where do you plan to house that when you’re finished? Ficuses naturally belong in a more tropical location don’t they?”
“They do, especially if I want to give it a better chance. It’s going to need a place far more humid than this space.”
“Was this all your calculated way of guilting me to store it in my greenhouse too?”
“The thought might have crossed my mind.” Namjoon gives you a sly grin.  “But my logic is still sound in regards to Jungkook. He needs someone, he needs a better home... and it would seem he’s chosen you.”
...
You wander back to your greenhouse, still full of doubt. Finding Jungkook to have finished most of the required digging.
“Sorry for leaving you.”
“You-you okay?” He asks, upon seeing the dazed look on your face and then scowling in the direction that Namjoon led you.
“Fine, he just needed help with one of his plants. Sorry about earlier, I didn’t think you’d be affected by the scent of his hybrid, Taehyung is rather sweet though, you’d like him.”
“You trust him then?” Jungkook grumbles as he pierces his shovel into the ground. “You trust Namjoon and his hybrid?”
“Of course, why shouldn’t I?”
“Because it wasn’t just a tiger that I smelled. He’s been around a lot of hybrids. Every scent on him told me to run, all of them put there by dangerous predators.”
“Oh,” you shoot back in surprise. “I’m sure it’s nothing. Taehyung is rather popular, he has a lot of friends and Namjoon often caters them at his place. You don’t need to worry, you're safe here.”
“It’s not myself I’m worried about.”
Jungkook inches closer as you crouch to place the plants in the holes he dug. His nose twitches as he takes a deep breath, his eyes watching while you bury the root ball in the warm soil, firmly securing the trunk of the young tree.
While you are leaning down, Jungkook reaches across to the other side of you. Grabbing the trowel to your right despite the fact that the same tool can be found on his left. The bottom of his chin grazes the top of your head and lingers for a spell. Your heart stops in that moment while questioning his motives. Though Namjoon said he’d do just this, you still can’t be entirely sure that it proves him correct; Jungkook might just not have seen the other option available to him, and he’s never bothered about invading your space. This could be nothing, though there’s a small growing part of you that wants it more and more to be something.
“He’s a good guy,” you promise, returning to the conversation so as to not dwell on his actions. “He even suggested that I should bring you along more often, if you’re interested in spending some of your days here.”
“He did?”
You nod.  A small white lie, but not entirely incorrect, and if it gets him to accept Namjoon easier you’ll all be better for it. “I wouldn’t expect you to work, but you're more than welcome to just hang around. The staff here could always use some company and I’m sure it would beat staying at home alone all day.”
“I would like that. I would like that a lot, but would you want me to keep you company too?”
“If that’s what you want to do.”
“No, I need to know if that’s what you want.” He looks over to you pinning you down in his line of sight.  
“I suppose I would....” You answer and turn your head, unable to bear the nerves that his gaze brings. The both of you fall quiet. Knowing what you know now, being free of your anger for him leaves you vulnerable, open to his persuasion, and now you are no longer certain of how to act. So you start to rely on what has made him comfortable in the past, and interject with a new condition to bring an end to the awkward silence. “As long as you treat this garden better than mine back home.”
Jungkook lets out a long laugh. “I have nothing but the highest respect for your garden.”
...
When planting is finished your clothes are entirely saturated in sweat and your muscles aching from use. It’s hard to believe how much you’ve both done in such a short amount of time. While carting up the supplies, Jungkook’s eyes catch on something behind you. You look around spotting the newly potted bonsai on a back table. Namjoon must have dropped it off while you both were busy.
Looking at it now you can’t help but notice how even the shape of its leaves remind you of the hybrid’s ears, long, pointed, and reaching up to the sky. You consider your friend's words one more time and while Jungkook leans over to inspect the tree. Reaching out to his back, your hand shakes with hesitation before setting down on a spot just below his shoulder. He softens under your touch, a low hum leaving his lips. His attention turns from the plant to you. With your hand still in place, your arm is now wrapped around him, leaving only an inch between the two of you. You stand there fixed and unmoving, but content in the knowledge, that you seem to have left him speechless this time. His eyes darting away from yours, to your lips, your neck, and finally the hand you place upon his chest.  
Only to have the moment broken when you can hear and feel the rumble from his stomach. His nervous laugh follows as he reaches up to scratch behind his ear.
“Hungry?”
He nods in response, his eyes wide as he remains unusually silent.
“Come on, I’ll buy you dinner.” You offer as you turn him around to head to the car.
...
You both settle on a take out spot, and return home to wash up and eat.
After finishing your meal and tearing off your overalls, you both settle down on the hammock in your yard. With Jungkook’s legs long enough to touch the ground, he slowly rocks the seat back and forth.  He’s been near silent since that close moment together. He’s never had a problem with banter and flirtation, but now you’ve come to notice that any attention which can’t be passed off as a joke causes him to flounder.
Laying back in the hammock, both full and content, your eyes threaten to close after the long day as Jungkook continues to sit beside you. The sound of crickets lulling you to sleep. “Keep an eye out for that thief of mine will you?” You may not like games but if it makes him comfortable, and keeps him talking, you’ll continue to play this ruse with him.
“You trust me to keep watch without your supervision?”
“Are you suggesting I shouldn’t?”
“No, it’s just a lot more credit than you usually give me.”
“I think you’ve earned it.” You whisper as you finally drift off.
It feels like only a few minutes of rest before the sun sets and the air turns cool. Jungkook’s chin comes to rest on the top of your head like it did back in the greenhouse. He shifts his weight, burrowing his arms around and behind to cover you as he takes deep breaths. You lean into him seeking the warmth of his chest. No longer restricted by your childish anger to enjoy his company is a welcome relief, you only wish you could relinquish him of any of his own troubles and doubts.  And then, you feel it, a drop of cold rain hitting your neck. The hammock moves again as he adjusts, the back of his fingers running across the damp spot. Another finds your cheek and he wipes that away too, your skin shivering in response.
But when a speck lands your mouth he stops. You wait, a second, then two. Your anticipation grows with face heating up and your chest tightening as you continue to crave his touch. You want him to wipe it away, to touch you, to act on whatever desires he might be keeping. You part your lips with the desperate hope that he will take the hint. Rejoicing when the warm pad of his thumb spreads the drop across the delicate skin.
He comes down on to you, his mouth catching any and all remains of the droplet as he encases your lips. Jungkook places a hand on your neck while the other grabs the ropes of the hammock, his legs straddle your hips. The scattered rain turns to a downpour as he remains fixed to your mouth, even his form isn’t enough to shield you from the current washing down from the sky.
As your hands reach up to his own damp and curling locks entwining your fingers in the strands he moans and nips. But as quickly as it started, so too does it end. When Jungkook snaps up as though jolted from a dream. His ears point back as an apology flows from him. “I-I’m so sorry. I shouldn’t have done that.”
“Jungkook,” you call out to him but he ignores you as he tries to detangle himself. When one foot hits the ground. You grab his waist and try again. “Jungkook, you don’t have to be sorry.” But instead of stopping he merely pulls you off and along with him, sending you both to the muddy ground, but this time with you on top of him.
“Are you okay?” He asks the loud pouring of the rain forcing him to raise the volume of his voice.
You chuckle at his concern considering he’s the one flat on his back. “I think I should be asking you that question instead.” You pause as he mirrors your grin. “Why did you stop? Did I do something wrong?”
“No.” He looks up at you, his brow furrowing. “You did nothing wrong. It was me. I was the one acting on my instincts. I shouldn’t have done that when I know how much you hate me.”
“I don’t hate you...” You explain, trying your best not to be drowned out by the water cascading down. “The things you did might have annoyed me, but I get it now. I’m just sorry it took me so long to notice.”
“Notice what?”
“How fucked up your situation is. For not realizing how alone you must have been. How caged you must have felt. I’ve been so focused on my own little world that I didn’t realize what was happening or why you were acting the way you were. I like you, a lot, but I was too wrapped up in my frustration to say how I felt...”
“It’s not your fault.”
You shake your head. “I am not innocent in this. I should have been paying more attention.”
“Then pay attention to me now.” He begs with his round eyes shining up at you.  
“But in what way? As a neighbour, as a friend, or maybe something more?" Your voice cracks in desperation, trying to find his needs while also hoping they are the same as yours. “Is that why you were always teasing me the way you did? You wanted something more?”
“You really want to know?” Jungkook’s tone is low as it grips on to his every word. “I did it because it was the only thing that could distract me from my incessant need for you. Seeing your reactions and having your attention kept me in check. I’m very different from you and I’m aware it could cause a problem. I wasn’t sure if you could ever fully want me because of that.” He reaches to rub around the base of his ears. “But every day that I looked over I wanted to hold you, to claim you, to take you right here on this very spot. So often I dreamed of jumping the fence and coming for you instead of...”
You smile down at him, noting his near admission. “Instead of?”
“Instead of watching from a distance.” He smirks, catching and narrowly fixing his statement. Pleading guilty only to his longing for you.
“Then do it.” You demand of him.
He groans from his position beneath you. “Don’t tease me like that.”
“I’m not. You weren’t the only one peeking through the fence Jungkook.” Reaching up to your collar you tug off your shirt. He follows your lead with his own to reveal his sculpted chest he’s taunted you with so many times. “I don’t care if we’re different from each other. I don’t care if it causes a problem.” You shift back on his body traveling from your seat near his stomach down to his hips, his clothed dick firm and pressing against you. A moan escapes his lips, confirming that you’ve made your point. “There’s no one else nearby, so if you want me so much that you’re willing to fuck me out here, in the rain and mud-”  
His hands come to grip your waist, and in one swift motion, he lifts you off, maneuvering out from underneath, to fall into place behind you. From there he pushes you down to your hands and knees, his body bent over yours. “You have no idea how much I want to.” He whispers with a kiss to your bare shoulder damp from the rain that continues to pour.
He takes off your bra before his face moves down your back, nose trailing against your skin and pausing at your shorts. Unfastening the button he pulls them down, freeing you of your underwear too before they are both cast aside. “I want to smell you, and taste you.” Jungkook takes in a deep breath, wrapping an arm around your legs, and barring your thighs. He buries his face between your legs, his tongue reaching out to deliver a long lick to your folds pausing after every lap.
Your palms dig into the ground, the cool mud coming to the surface to meet them. You buck against his tongue but the forearm holding you remains firm, sending your squirming downward to bury your elbows in the soggy grass too.
Jungkook chuckles as you inadvertently give him a better angle. From behind you can hear the zipper of his own shorts. Rubbing the head of his cock against your damp folds, he covers it with the slick of your slit, and with a long groan he eases it inside. He’s slow at first, letting you savor the girth and warmth of him. So you start to edge back and forward on his cock. Taking the time to enjoy every inch, along with the sounds that leave him. But when he returns to take control, the first thrust is so powerful, his thighs hit your ass with a loud clap, and every jolt of his hips after, drives you further down each time.
A stuttering groan escapes him as he fills you. Thinking he’s finished you lean forwards and until his cock pulls out, but in response he grabs your waist. Turning you over, back to the ground on top of the discarded clothes and facing him.
He lowers himself pressing his chest against yours. His fingers reach to grab your chin and take a kiss. His cock, despite having come only moments before, is hard once more and poised to enter once again.
“How are you-” You manage to squeeze a few words in the gaps between his kisses as he draws breath. “Ready for more-” Another pass of his tongue. “Already?”
“You have my hybrid traits to thank for that.” He moves to nibble on the side of your throat. “I have more to give you, if you want it.”
You nod unable to emit any noise other than a gasp as his mouth finds a sensitive spot on your neck. His dick forges in again, your slick and his cum dripping out of you as he fills you with himself instead.
You’ve avoided touching him with your own hands as they are patched with mud, but as his thrusts grow more powerful than even before, you’re forced to grab on his arms and chest. Leaving behind streaks of dirt which display the path of your grip. Jungkook doesn’t seem to mind though, in fact looks rather encouraged by your touch, and the marks you leave him.
“What a dirty woman you are, and getting me all messy too.” He scoffs while admiring your handiwork. “Can I return the favour?”
“Help me come first and you can do whatever the fuck you want.” You gasp on the brink of your climax.  
His ears perk up and a grin streaks across his face. “Close are you?” He grabs your calf and wraps your leg around his back, the other follows suit and his hand comes to rest on your lower back pushing you up and into him effectively grinding your mount against him.
You gasp and flinch with the sudden pressure, but he holds you firm as your back arches to meet him.
His hips beat on at a rapid pace, a small whimper escapes him as you reach the peak, tipping you over the edge. The chilling rain can in no way can douse the searing heat that spreads through you. You're still gasping when his jaw clamps down hard, his teeth poised upon your skin. The first pulse of his cock comes inside, but on the second he pulls out to splatter your chest and stomach with the rest. His hand comes to clutch his shaft, spilling more out and on to you with each stroke.
After every remaining drop has been cast on you he smiles, dragging his fingers across the rain drenched mess of mud and cum on your skin. “Never thought I’d ever see you so thoroughly soiled.”
You giggle at his remarks through your deep breaths. “And now that you do, what do you think?”
“I think it suits you, the dirt, the rain, and me...” He lowers himself down onto you, with his head now resting upon your shoulder. “It’s too bad though. Now I just want more, but we’re both far too filthy to carry on like this.”  
You turn to whisper at the base of his ear. “Who says we can’t continue in the shower...”
...
You wake early the next morning with the sun spilling into the room, lighting up your bed, and the hybrid sleeping next to you. His ears and nose twitching as he continues to rest. Slipping out from the covers, and into a set of clean gardening clothes, you exit the room with as little sound as possible.
On the tile floor of your hall, muddy footprints trail from your backdoor to your bathroom.  A smile pulls at your lips as you recall the events which brought them there. Jungkook had been so excited to keep going he picked you up and rushed you inside.
The feeling from the warm water and hands in contrast to the cool rain was enough to bring back the waves of pleasure. He was so thorough in washing you down, you might have to ask him to join you for another this morning and repay the favour.  
Outside in the garden you find all your harvest from the day before present and untouched. You’re pleased by this new development, but it’s not the fact that your crops are intact which makes you happy, it’s the comfort in knowing that Jungkook didn’t feel the need to take them.
A few minutes later the hybrid in question comes up behind you wrapping his arms around your waist pulling with him a blanket he took from the bed to cover the both of you. “Morning.” He mumbles, as his nose finds the crook of your neck where he exhales with a deep and relaxed sigh.
“Morning.” You respond, enjoying the tickle of his breath before you turn around to better see him. “It seems the thief didn’t strike last night. ”
“I guess they found a new garden to plunder and devour?” Jungkook suggests, giving you a sly grin, before he opens his mouth again. It’s easy to see that he’s getting ready to confess, his face shifts to a stern expression as he looks down at the ground, the guilt weighing heavily upon his brow. Placing your index to his lips you stop him. No longer needing to hear those words of admission, you offer a new proposal instead.
“Maybe, but that was just one night. The thief might still come back. So if it’s alright with you I would like you to stay here. Until we can be sure they won’t return.”
Jungkook lets out a satisfied chuckle, pushing aside your finger and pulling you tighter into his warm embrace. “You’re right, I suppose it would be safer if I stayed.” His lips plant a kiss on the top of your head where he then rests his chin. “A temptation as enticing as this, shouldn’t be left alone and unattended.”
...
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hyungieyoongi · a month ago
Text
Just Friends
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Pairing: Jungkook x Reader
Genre: Angst (y’all I was in my feels) + Fluff + Best Friends to Lovers who are dumb and cannot figure out their feelings + Non!Idol AU
Word Count: 2.3K
Warnings: Mentions of a car accident and the hospital, but nothing gory or sad or scary, I promise!!
---
Jungkook stood up when you entered the coffee shop, the bells tingling above the door to alert the owner that you were there. He held two coffee cups in his hands; you could only assume he had gotten you your favorite. He had memorized your order a long time ago.
His dark hair was pushed back from his forehead, the sleeves of his white button down pushed up, suit jacket hanging off of his chair. He knew you liked to come here after work, figuring he’d run into you eventually if he stuck around.
Your eyes went wide, and you instinctively took a step back, away from him. His face immediately fell, looking hurt that you weren’t beaming at him with a toothy grin like when you were younger—his favorite smile of yours.
The two of you had been best friends since you could toddle, your mothers putting you together for play dates and cooing at how cute the two of you were when you would fall asleep on your play mats next to each other amongst your toys. You were there for each other through your awkward phases in middle school. You cheered for him on the sidelines as he became the high school football star. But you both decided to go your separate ways during college. It was mostly a decision you made out of self-preservation—you had quickly started to realize your feelings for your best friend were no longer platonic.  
You stayed in touch, seeing each other over breaks, your heart faltering a little every time you heard about his latest hookup or fling at his university. You had a serious relationship in grad school—you even thought he could be the one—but you decided to move to different cities after you graduated and couldn’t make it work. Jungkook was there for you while you cried on the phone. Just like he always was. He was the one constant in your life, and the two of you had found your way back to each other, living and working in the same city.
But those feelings of love for him were always there, knocking on your head and your heart, urging you to do something to make them go away. So, you decided to pull back, dodging his calls and making less and less plans. You hoped it would go back to how things were in college—living connected, albeit separate lives, mutually content in your own existences.
Seeing as how he was standing in front of you now, Jungkook didn’t seem to take the hint.
You knocked into the lady coming in behind you in your haste to create space between you and Jungkook, and you quickly apologized when she placed her hands on your shoulders to steady you.
“Careful, sweetie,” she scolded. You gave her a quiet apology. Realizing you were trapped, you sheepishly walked up to your best friend, your lips in a grim line.
“Hi, Jungkook,” you said, your voice cracking with nerves.
“Hey, can you join me? It has been a while. I’d like to...chat,” Jungkook said, hesitantly holding your coffee out to you.
You nodded, sitting down and immediately taking a sip, wincing as the hot liquid burned your throat. Anything was better than having to speak to the person you couldn’t bear to look in the eyes right now.
“You’ve been avoiding me. Tell me why.”
“Jungkook...”
“No, enough of this, tell me what’s going on.”
“I’ve been busy.”
“Bullshit.”
You winced, and Jungkook fidgeted in his seat, uncomfortable with the tension at your table.
“Did I...is there something I did wrong?” Jungkook asked, his eyes big with worry.
“No, you didn’t do anything wrong.” You traced the side of your cup with your finger, focusing on the feeling of the ridges of the hard cardboard as you tried to steady your breathing.
“Then what is it you’re not telling me? Because you practically disappeared for the past month, barely responding to my texts or my calls. I’ve been worried, Y/N. Please just...talk to me.” Jungkook’s eyes were glassy, and you felt the guilt pressing in on you like a physical force at making him feel this way.
“Jungkook, I-I’ve been thinking, and I can’t pretend anymore,” your voice was barely above a whisper, Jungkook leaning in to hear you clearly. “I’ve spent too long being in love with you. I can’t pretend to not be anymore. I’m exhausted.”
“You...you love me? But we’ve always just been friends I-”
“You don’t owe me anything. I just can’t keep living a lie. So, it’s easier to just, not be around you anymore. I can’t be around you anymore,” you pushed back from the table, feeling your eyes sting with unshed tears at your confession.
“No, don’t go, wait-” Jungkook said frantically, fingers wrapping around your wrist to stop you. You pulled your hand back to your side, clenching it in a fist. Your skin burned where he touched you.
“Please-I didn’t know...” Jungkook confessed.
You huffed, frustrated. “Really? Everyone knew. Our mothers knew. Our friends knew. I tried to ignore it; I tried dating other people and had to watch you do the same. Everyone but you could see how stupidly in love with you I was. How can you say you didn’t know?”
“I didn’t! I-I’m sorry, I should have known, but, Y/N, I need a second to think about this!” Jungkook ran his hands through his hair, and you realized that you two were causing quite the scene in the quiet coffee shop. You had to get out of here. Now.
“I can’t give you time right now. I can’t do this. I tried to make this easy for you by gradually leaving your life. Like how I went to college so far away, remember? We were fine then. You’ll be fine now,” you were staring at your shoes, refusing to make eye contact. “Let me go. Please.” You pleaded. Jungkook gulped, clearly wanting to say more, say anything to get you to slow down, let him think through this, but you meant what you said. Every word. You turned, pushing yourself out the door. You didn’t look back to see Jungkook’s devastated face as he watched you leave him.
---
You knew it wasn’t fair—springing your confession onto him when he just wanted to see you, talk to you. You had to do this for your own self-preservation. It was out in the open now, you could move on. You had to move on. Jungkook was strong, he had always been strong. He could get through this. You’d see him at holidays when your families would get together. You could act like old childhood friends that had lost touch. It would all be okay.
At least that’s what you kept telling yourself.
Jungkook didn’t try to get in touch with you after the confrontation at the cafe. You filled the void caused by the loss of his friendship with work, taking on more responsibilities and spending your time late into the night at the office.
It had been three weeks since you had seen or spoken to Jungkook when you got a call a little past midnight at the office. Not from him, but from your mom. You answered right away, worry coloring your tone.
“Mom? What’s wrong? Is everything okay, it’s late,” you said into the phone.
“Honey, it’s Jungkook. His mom just called me.” You held your breath, fearing the worst. “I know you said the two of you had a falling out, but he’s been in a car accident. Can you go to the hospital?”
You shot out of your seat, immediately grabbing your keys.
“I’m on my way. Where is he?”
---
You tried to keep your breathing steady as you drove to the hospital that Jungkook was taken to, your knuckles turning white with how hard you were gripping the steering wheel.
Please be okay. Please be okay. You were repeating the mantra silently in your thoughts over and over again.
You found out what room he was in, your steps against the bright linoleum tile ringing in your ears as you made your way to him. You opened the door, expecting the worst.
Jungkook was sitting up in bed, his left arm in a sling. He looked up when he heard the door open, eyes going wide when he saw you. You did a cursory glance over him, checking to see if anything else was out of place. You moved toward him automatically, ignoring the silent plea of your name falling from his lips. You looked him over again, reaching out to place your hands on his cheeks, checking to see if he had any injuries on his face.
“Y/N,” Jungkook tried again, louder this time. You dropped your hands, stepping back, tears stinging your eyes as the realization that he was okay—in a sling, but otherwise fine—hit you.
“Are you okay?” you asked, voice breaking into a sob. Jungkook immediately reached for you, pulling you down next to him, wrapping his right arm around you and into his side.
“Shh, shh, I’m alright, Y/N, it’s okay, I’m okay,” Jungkook reassured you as you cried into his chest.
“My mom called I thought-I was so worried,” you sniffled.
“My phone died as I was on the way to the hospital. I haven’t had a chance to call eomma back. I’m sorry you were so worried.”
You sat up, looking at him incredulously.
“You’re sorry?! You could have been seriously hurt. Look at you-you’re in a sling! I could have lost you, I-I” Jungkook silenced you, placing his right hand on your cheek, using his thumb to wipe away the tears that continued to fall.
“You’ll never lose me, Y/N,” Jungkook whispered. The weight of his words were apparent. You knew he wasn’t just referring to the accident.
“I pushed you away, I was so selfish,” you said, ashamed.
“Hey, hey, I’m right here,” Jungkook said, holding your face in place so you had to keep your eyes on him. “You needed space, and I needed time to think about…everything. None of this is your fault.”
“How can you say that? When I just spouted my feelings at you instead of talking to you like an adult! And tonight, when I heard you were in an accident, all I could think about was how my best friend was all alone and hurt because I was selfish.”
“Please stop saying that, love, please.”
You got up, pacing in front of Jungkook as he sat on the hospital bed, watching you as you wrestled with your emotions, frazzled from the sight of seeing him here, adrenaline wearing thin.  
“Y/N, please sit back down. You look like you’re going to pass out,” Jungkook urged.
“No.”
“Don’t be stubborn, Y/N, come on, sit down. You can’t argue with me, I have a broken wrist, remember?” Jungkook pointed to his sling, using it against you to get you to do what he wanted. You stopped pacing, sitting back down next to him, leaving space between the two of you. He scooted closer, your thighs touching. He grabbed your hand, enclosing your fingers with his with his good hand. He paused for a moment, before speaking calmly despite the situation.
“Did you know I told eomma on my way here to call you? You were the person I cared the most about seeing. You were the only one I wanted here with me. You.”
“Jungkook, I-”
“I’ve been repressing how I’ve felt about you for so long, that when you told me you felt the same way, I didn’t know how to react. I had given up any chance of being with you as more than a friend. I didn’t think there was any possibility that you cared for me, the way I cared for you.”
“What are you saying?”
“I’m saying I’ve been in love with you for years. You left for college, you dated that guy in grad school–aish, I can’t believe I had to watch you almost get engaged to that man,” Jungkook squeezed your hand tighter at this. “I had to watch you from the wings like it wasn’t killing me. I thought when we moved back to the same city as adults we might have a chance. That I would finally be brave enough to tell you how in love with you I’ve been this whole time.”
Your mouth opened slightly, shocked at his statement. You had pictured this moment a hundred times—the bright lights of the hospital and the smell of disinfectant spray around you was not what you had pictured. But the feeling of your heart seeming to swell to twice its size—that was exactly like you had imagined it.
“You love me?” you echoed his words to you in the café back to him, Jungkook chuckling at your expression.
“Yes, I do. And I am really hoping that you still love me, too.”
“Of course, I do,” you breathed, wrapping your arms around him tightly.
“Ow, ow, watch out,” Jungkook warned, maneuvering you out of the way of his injured arm, but pulling you tighter to him anyway. “Now will you please stop avoiding me so I can be with my best friend? With the girl I love?” Jungkook murmured into your hair. You nodded against his neck, a smile overtaking his features at your silent response.
“I’m going to have to drive you everywhere, aren’t I?” you asked as you pulled back from his grip, smiling at him despite your sarcastic tone. Jungkook scrunched his nose, his eyes squinting in amusement at your question.
“It’s part of the deal–being in love with me means you have to help me recover.”
“And how are you going to repay me?”
Jungkook leaned forward, his lips brushing against yours.
“How about we start with this?” You met him the rest of the way, eagerly pushing your lips against his as you melted into the kiss, carding your fingers through his hair as his arm held you securely by your waist next to him on the bed. His lips felt like home.
You just hoped the doctor didn’t walk in any time soon.
---
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A/N: If there’s anything I learned from doing this, it’s that vampirerry is an utter WHORE. Good for him!!!! As for myself, I’m done with the semester and my term projects and finals left my singular brain cell fried, so this was a nice way to get back into writing again. I hope you guys enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it! Thank you to the anon that suggested it, this was super fun to do! :D
read you’re someone i just want around here
word count: 6k
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A = Aftercare (what they’re like after sex)
Harry is very attentive when it comes to aftercare with Y/N. The sex they have is often rough and includes toys, degradation, and multiple rounds, so he believes aftercare is non-negotiable. Rough sex can be fun, but if it’s not followed by a lot of communication and post-performance support, it can take a hard emotional toll on a person. Even when intimacy isn’t meant to be inherently sentimental, there has to be a certain level of connection and etiquette surrounding it, or it could end badly for both parties involved. He always checks on her immediately after they finish, simply to gauge her headspace and how her body is responding, and after he’s made sure she’s alright, he goes into his usual routine of skin-to-skin contact and gentle coddling. Reassurance and praise is just as important afterwards as it is during, because it’s good to let a partner know that your appreciation runs deeper than just the physical need felt in the heat of the moment; everyone deserves to feel valued beyond their body. 
Harry proceeds to clean Y/N up after every session, because it’s the least he can do since she’s usually the one getting the brunt of the work. He’ll fetch a clean towel dampened under warm water to wipe her clean, or he’ll offer to help give her a bath or a shower— whichever route she prefers. Harry dresses her, and changes the sheets if need be, and tucks her into bed to ensure she’s nice and comfortable. If it’s been a particularly intense session, he’ll go the kitchen and bring back a snack and a drink— a granola bar and a Gatorade, or some chips and her favorite juice, or if she’s feeling especially hungry, he’ll happily go out of his way to prepare her an actual meal— and he insists on feeding it to her bit by bit until she’s come to enough to handle it on her own. If she’s not hungry, he at least brings her a glass of water and urges her to drink it; better to be safe than sorry. After that, more cuddling is the status quo, which normally ends in Y/N falling asleep in his arms, and Harry has absolutely no problem with that at all.  
B = Body Part (their favorite body part of theirs and also their partner’s)
Harry’s favorite body part of Y/N’s is probably her chest. Yes, he likes it for sexual reasons— obviously— but there are innocent reasons for his fascination, as well. He likes how responsive she gets when he touches her there— how he can get her going just by groping her the way she likes it, or by using his mouth to tongue across her nipples until she’s writhing in pleasure and whining for more. He loves leaving hickies all over her tits, probably more than she likes receiving them. It’s just so fucking hot seeing himself marked all over her, especially when she’s putting on a bra and he can see all of the dark bruises scattered across the cleavage spilling from the undergarment. Filth aside, he also enjoys loving all over her chest. Absentmindedly cupping them while they’re snuggling, nuzzling his head between them while they’re watching television, massaging them under her shirt with his large palms as she sits back against his chest, sipping a glass of wine and chatting away, unwinding after a long day. It’s a form of intimacy; it provides a type of closeness nothing else can. 
As for his own favorite body part, it’s a tie between two different areas. He loves his thighs— they’re one of his most prominent features. They’re thick and meaty and sensitive, so they’re the perfect sweet spot to touch when he wants to get riled up. Given his previous response, it can be easily deduced that he likes to get hickies there, as well. The marks look great peeking out from under his briefs (for the short amount of time they last, anyways) and they make a great accessory to the large tigerhead tattoo along his left thigh. It’s artwork, really; a proper Picasso. 
His other favorite body part...well, take a lucky guess. It’s likely not that far off— literally, considering it hangs right between his thighs. 
C = Cum (anything to do with cum, basically)
Harry’s personal preference is cumming inside. He adores feeling the way Y/N tightens around him when he finally orgasms (she’s just so warm and soft and unbelievably tight; it’s like she was made for him), almost as much as he loves seeing her reaction. Her body will immediately start to wriggle and her back will arch as she releases broken little whimpers, clinging to his shoulders with her nails and begging him to fill her until he’s milked his worth. Hearing her ragged breathing and feeling her sweaty chest stutter against his is enough to do him in, but when she goes as far as to gnaw on his ear and whine a soft little, “Want it all, baby. Want you dripping out of me when we’re done.” Well, that’s enough to kill him all over again. 
Of course, there are times when Harry likes seeing himself all over her, too. On her outstretched tongue, or smeared across her pretty face and plush lips (she looks particularly cute when it ends up all over her eyelashes), or streaked over the valley of her tits, or pooled at the center of her tummy. If he’d been taking her from behind, then he likes seeing it run down the backs of her thighs, or splattered across the dip of her spine. And if she’d been giving him a handjob, then seeing himself dribbling down her fingers is just as good. Why? Because those fingers usually end up in her mouth, which means he ends up all over her tongue, and so the cycle comes full circle. How poetic. 
D = Dirty secret (pretty self explanatory, a dirty secret of theirs)
Did Harry suggest wearing a matching set of a vibrating cock ring and buzzing bullet to do grocery shopping once? Yes. Did he drop three glass jars of peach preserves by accident as a result, causing them to have to book it out of the bread aisle while trying to look as unsuspicious as possible, which failed horribly because they were literally hobbling like a crippled elderly couple? Also yes. Did they end up fucking in a Target fitting room? Definitely. 
E = Experience (how experienced are they? do they know what they’re doing?)
A lot of experience. Tons. Immense amounts. Insane amounts. Two hundred years of the same seven continents just means two hundred years worth of sex across every single one. And it gives you plenty of time to find the clitoris, as well as giving you a chance to learn the female anatomy like the back of your hand. That being said, Harry doesn’t doubt he could make Y/N cum with his wrists tied behind his back and a blindfold strapped to his face. In fact, he’s made her cum just by using his thigh, so that in itself is enough credibility to last him several more lifetimes. The toy chest in his closet and the fact that he’s well-endowed are bonuses— he knows more than enough tricks to keep her satisfied with just his tongue. Not to mention his fingers— they’re long for a reason.
F = Favorite position  
Funny enough, Harry doesn’t have one. He’s spent so many decades cycling through every possible position in existence, it’s gotten to where he can’t pin-point a preference; all positions are unique, and they each have their own appeal. Reverse cowgirl is nice because he likes watching the way he stretches Y/N open with every plunge of her hips, and it also gives him the luxury of marking his rings across her ass in the process. Regular cowgirl is nice, too— having her chest bouncing in his face is nothing short of a divine miracle, in his opinion. Doggy style is a staple, and there’s always different add-ons he can apply to spice it up; for example, taking her from behind with her wrists tied to her ankles, or bending her over the kitchen counter with her face pressed into the marble, or fucking her against his glass wall with her hands and chest flushed to the cool surface as their breaths fog the floor-to-ceiling window. 
Missionary is a tried and true option, and just like it’s prior counterpart, it can be enhanced with a variety of extra tricks. Bondage is a good condiment, against the wall is always a nice touch, spread-eagle never goes wrong, and just having her legs wrapped around his lower back is more than enough. However, he does have two favorite variations of the position. The first is when he mounts her legs onto his shoulders or along the inside of his elbows to open her up more, and then just ramming his hips down at a very specific angle that hits her g-spot just right, pounding her into the bed so hard she tears the sheets off the mattress. The second is a cowgirl-missionary hybrid: he sits back on his heels and uses the steep downward slope created by his thighs as elevation, pulling her ass onto his tilted lap and swinging her legs over either side of his hips. He gropes her waist with his palms and yanks her forward, bouncing her against his cock and watching her completely dismantle as he nudges all the right places with as much speed and force as she deems fit. 
And then there’s fucking from the side, but that’s a whole other extensive conversation he doesn’t have time for. 
Actually, maybe Harry will entertain it for a minute or so. He usually throws one of Y/N’s legs over his neck to get a deeper range, manhandling her roughly onto her side and yanking her closer to his body by her waist, grasping it with stern vigor and holding her down against the mattress, grunting out a gravelly, strict command along the lines of, “Stay fucking still.” He’ll drill into her at a brutal, consistent pace, staining his fingerprints along the curves of her torso and sponging damp kisses onto her ankle, smirking into her skin as he watches her fist at the duvet in a futile attempt at maintaining her bearings. It’s pretty evident that she can’t, though; the way her eyes lull around their sockets from his harsh stride does a terrible job at hiding her lack of self-control, alongside the fragmented curses she gasps out whenever he nudges her g-spot with the head of his cock. 
“Oh, that was such a pretty noise. Did I hit that little spot you like?”
Her response will be begrudging, as always, which he thinks is ridiculously useless considering he can see her burying her face into the pillow to hide how her jaw drops open in sheer rapture. “No.”
“No?” The vampire leans forward, stretching her leg towards the headboard and preening at the garbled squeak that escapes her gritted teeth, plunging deeper as he lowers himself to her level. He knots her hair around his knuckles, tugging sharply until her face is tilted back enough to meet his fiery gaze. “Then why are you starting to shake?
G = Goofy (are they more serious in the moment? are they humorous? etc.)
It depends on the mood, honestly. There are definitely serious moments, but Harry enjoys the humorous ones just as much. He already adores making Y/N laugh and smile on a regular basis, and that desire only grows when he’s buried between her thighs, simply because she just looks so fucking cute laughing with her hair splayed around the pillows in a messy halo, her sounds of glee stuttering due to how sharply she’s jolting against the bed. He loves feeling her giggle into his mouth as he cracks sarcastic jokes and makes stupid witty comments that break the intensity in the air, especially because she’s usually clever enough to return them with some of her own. Then they both end up snickering like idiots as he tries to keep a solid pace, which eventually tapers to a messy, haphazard stride as their laughter drowns out their goal to the point where he has to take a genuine break to collect himself. There’s tons of examples— how could there not be? Sex is hardly ever perfect, so awkward moments are not only expected, but guaranteed. What better way to handle them than with a bit of humor?
There was an incident once where Harry accidentally knocked their foreheads together so hard, they both bruised (which he responded to with, “I’m pretty sure this isn’t what Cosmopolitan meant when they suggested matching couples tattoos.”). Another time, he got so into the moment he didn’t realize he was jack-hammering the top of her head into the backboard until she brought it to his attention (and made a comment saying it sounded like a sped up version of the beat to We Will Rock You). A bad case of the hiccups. Y/N burping right in his face halfway through his orgasm. A random leg cramp that made him think he was going to need amputation to survive. Accidentally rolling off the bed or couch onto the ground and nearly dislocating both of their spines in the process, getting his cross earring tangled in her hair and nearly ripping off his ear trying to get it out, and the unfortunate collapse of a pillow fort he’d spent over an hour building. He even sneezed in her face once, and when she instinctively went to shove him back, she wound up slamming her palm into his nose so hard he nearly passed out. Nose bleeds aren’t necessarily sexy, per se, but he just dug blindly through her nightstand until he found two new tampons somewhere in that black hole she calls a drawer, shoved them in his nostrils, and kept going. No one can ever accuse him of being unresourceful. 
Queefing. Lots and lots of queefing, which he usually starts mimicking with his mouth, and then she responds to that by whining and telling him to cut it out, and then he takes to mocking her whining instead. It normally finishes with them laughing so hard that Harry’s cheeks hurt from smiling so big, but it’s a good type of pain. The best type of pain. 
H = Hair (how do they groom?)
Harry likes keeping himself neat and orderly, but he doesn’t enjoy going bare, so trimming is his grooming preference. There’s just something so unappealing about a completely smooth dick— it looks like raw chicken and it’s fucking disgusting. He doesn’t have anything against a good bush, but it tends to get unruly and he’d rather not have to overcomplicate his shower routine. And honestly, he can’t trust himself because last time he had a full front yard going, he got shitfaced and tried to braid it on a dare. Keeping the hedges trimmed is the ideal landscaping option, and it just looks way hotter— a uniform dusting of hair is a good accessory and it just makes everything look more cohesive, given that he also fancies keeping his happy trail thick. It’s all about aesthetics, isn’t it? 
I = Intimacy (the romantic aspect)
It’s no secret that Harry’s been somewhat detached from intimacy for the last two hundred years or so. Intimacy is reserved for genuine romance, and that’s something he hadn’t entertained since before the lightbulb was invented. But now that he has Y/N, intimacy has crawled its way back out from the deepest recesses of his subconscious, where it had been shoved into a bottomless pit with the rest of his trauma. He likes it— he likes opening up to her in any way he can, because sharing those obsolete parts of himself with someone again is more fulfilling than he ever imagined. He likes kissing her randomly when she’s halfway through a sentence, just to feel her words die off abruptly in her throat as she gives into his gentle gesture, a delicate smile spreading across her satin lips. He likes whispering sweet phrases of encouragement into her hair when they’re tangled amidst sweaty limbs and rumpled sheets, reminding her of how much he cares for her and how beautiful she looks when she’s so far gone and how she makes him feel like his entire body has been set alight. He likes sponging soft pecks across the stretch marks along her thighs and across the dimples on her belly, her skin candy and velvet on his tongue as she releases a watery sigh that lets him know he’s doing all the right things in all the right places. He just likes letting her know she's special to him, in any and every way he can. 
Intimacy forges timeless bonds, and he reckons that assumption is unarguable, considering he knows a thing or two about eternity. 
J = Jack Off (masturbation headcanon)
Harry likes to jack off, obviously. Who doesn’t? It’s why he has an entire section of his toy chest dedicated to self-pleasuring tools. Vibrating cock rings, an array of lubes that range from temperature-changing to sensation sensitivity, and a few pocket vags that get the job done whenever Y/N is out of commission (usually because of work). His favorite one is an electronic sleek black model that is made of a premium silicone material and has a variety of massage settings, suction strengths, and internal textures. It’s designed to make the session feel more real, and yes, it was expensive, but self-love is always worth the splurge. 
The beauty of living on his own is that he can get off wherever and whenever he wants, without having to stress about someone interrupting an important step in his pampering routine. He usually does it in his room and on his bed, simply because Y/N’s pillow is close by and the experience is heightened when her scent is swimming around his hazy, bliss-drunken mind. If Harry is feeling particularly needy, he’ll ditch the toy all together and just hump one out against the mattress or cushion. If it’s a particularly restless day, he’ll take a toy downstairs and lazily play within himself on the couch while browsing through Netflix. Those instances usually average a few tamer orgasms rather than a single large one, but he’s not complaining; his stamina comes in unapologetic waves that stem from a never-ending supply, and he certainly has the time to kill. If Harry gets the sudden urge in the shower or while he’s relaxing in his jacuzzi, he won’t bother fetching a trinket; he’ll just stroke one out with his hand, using the cool metal of his trusty lionhead ring to tease the tip until he brings himself to orgasm. It turns out daylight crystals have more than one use. 
There is one common factor amongst all these different choices, though: Y/N is present in every fantasy. And if the vampire is feeling especially bold, he’ll grab his phone and take a video of whatever he’s doing to himself, and then she’ll have a nice little gift waiting for her once she gets out of the café for the day. That usually leads to him receiving a present in return later that evening, and then he’s dialing her contact before the clip is even done playing, and then what he does during his alone time doesn’t require him being so alone anymore. 
K = Kinks 
Harry has tons— in fact, he has so many, he can’t really keep track. And he also has the sneaking suspicion that if he were to ever jot all of them down, he’d end up locked in some type of sex addict rehabilitation center. Bondage is a big one, so he’ll start there. He’s great with ropes, given that he learned his way around them ages ago. Chains are nice, but they can be a pain to set up without the right equipment; he’s thinking of getting a reinforced metal hook installed into his ceiling, like the one in his storage closet, which he uses to keep his punching bag secure. Handcuffs, obviously— velvet-lined, straight metal, fuzzy coverings, he’s got it all. Dominance, degradation, Daddy, Sir, choking, brat-taming, spanking, flogging, slapping— impact play in general, to be honest— spitting, wax, praise, begging, masochism, branding (mild stuff, no molten metal shit), collaring, discipline, dirty talk, edging, exhibitionism, face-fucking, face-sitting (with him on the receiving end), giving oral (is that a kink? It is now.) gagging (both the action and using the actual object itself), breeding (he hates that term but that’s the official name, unfortunately), teasing, voyeurism, role play, and… he thinks that’s it. Oh, and blood, but that doesn’t really count for apparent reasons. 
L = Location (favorite places to do the do)
Y/N’s couch is sacred, at this point. Their entire relationship started on that lumpy, worn excuse of a sofa, and it’s seen them through their progression from strangers to friends with benefits to lovers to more. It’s comfortable enough, the dark color hides any explicit stains, and the cushions always smell of her signature mixture of honey and lavender combined with Snuggle fabric softener. It’s finicky, but irreplaceable. His kitchen counter is a close second. It’s provided a lot, taken a lot, been through a lot— through a lot of Lysol wipes, to be specific. If it wasn’t marble, it likely would have been reduced to chunks and rubble by now, courtesy of his enhanced strength gripping the edges as he slams her against the smooth surface. The backseat of his Cadillac is consecrated, as well; there’s just so much erotic appeal to fucking in a car with rock music blaring in the background, muffling the obscene sounds of bodies connecting and a mixture of fever-pitch moans. The couch, the counter, and the Cadillac— the Unholy Trinity. 
The jacuzzi is nice, too, but for the sake of his clever little “c” alliteration, he’ll leave that one as an implied token. 
M = Motivation (what turns them on, gets them going)
As much as Harry claims he likes full submission in bed, he can’t deny that he loves being challenged. Delivering punishment and coaxing out an orgasm is so much more satisfying when he has to fight for it; it’s so fucking hot watching his girlfriend try to best him in a power struggle, especially when she finally— and undeniably, since he always wins— caves under his will and winds up begging him for what he otherwise would have gifted her freely. That’s where the brat-taming kink comes into play. He likes it when she mouths off and makes snarky digs, and he enjoys it even more when he tries to set her in place and she amps her disobedience as a result. There’s nothing more attractive than a battle of wits with someone who is a perfect match in every way. And when she channels her attitude into physical gestures, it riles him up beyond compare. For example, when she smirks and rolls her eyes, despite the fact that there’s trails of tears staining her cheeks and mascara smeared all over her waterline? Christ, he could go feral. 
N = No (something they wouldn’t do, turn offs)
No feet, no feces, no beastiality. There’s probably more, but those are the ones off the top of his head.
O = Oral (preference in giving or receiving, skill, etc.)
Receiving oral is great— he highly recommends it, solid ten out of ten— but giving it is so much better. Harry’s always been a giver, even when he was young and barely knew his way around a woman’s undergarments. The stereotypical expectation for a person who is beginning to explore their sexuality is that everything they do, they do for their own gain. It’s a selfish realization, yes, but it’s a primal type of selfishness that no one can truly be blamed for. It’s a simple concept: when you start having sex, you want as much personal benefit as possible. It’s only natural. But from the second Harry became sexually active, he came to find that providing release to his partner outweighed the bliss he could get from letting them pleasure him instead. It’s not direct pleasure, but rather cognitive, which more often than not translates itself physically. And when it comes to Y/N, that euphoria manifests tenfold. 
Nothing compares to having his face buried between her legs as she tugs and yanks at his hair desperately, her chest heaving and jaw falling open as he uses his tongue to unravel her from the inside out. Spitting sloppily onto her folds and hearing the raw gasp of aroused shock that escapes her sore throat, which causes his swollen lips to spread into a dirty grin as he latches onto the sensitive bud at the thick of her core, fiddling with it until her legs are trembling uncontrollably around his sturdy shoulders. Watching her features go slack as he bobs his neck fervently between her thighs, swiping the bridge of his nose across her clit over and over until the entire bottom half of his face is drenched in her excitement. Fucking his tongue into her and feeling her buck against his jaw as she holds him in place with her fingers tangled in his curls, whimpering his name repeatedly in a voice so shattered, he could probably build a mosaic with the fractures. Feeling her drip down his chin and into the collar of his shirt, savoring how sweet she tastes as he pins her hips down against the bed and groans feverishly into her cunt, his ego idolizing the image of her so disheveled under his influence. 
A measly blowjob is hardly any competition to that. Harry could very well cum just from eating Y/N out. In fact, he has, and that in itself is all the proof he needs. 
P = Pace (are they fast and rough? slow and sensual? etc.)
This is one of those other factors that depends on the mood. If Harry has been waiting all day for it, his impatience bleeds into his rhythm, which means he settles for fast and hard. It means he settles for bending her over the back of his couch with one palm around her throat and his other fingers in her mouth, pounding into her with so much force, the sofa starts shifting across the ground. If Y/N has been teasing him endlessly for a decent amount of time, it’ll be rough and deep, but not fast; he’ll drag it out for as long as possible, just to make her regret acting like such a spoiled brat. That’s when he brings out the paddle, or the crop, or just manhandles her across his lap and spanks her until she’s apologizing profusely through her whines. If he’s in a soft, romantic headspace, it’ll be slow and sensual, with lots of gentle caresses, giggly kisses dusted across eager lips and droopy eyelids, and penetrating strokes that make his toes curl and tummy clench. 
Pace is relative, but the message behind it is all the same: I want you more than anything, and I’m going to show you just how deeply I mean it. 
Q = Quickie (their opinions on quickies, how often, etc.)
Quickies are fun, Harry will admit. They’re filthy and messy, and they show just how far gone two people are for each other to the point where they can’t wait to feel one another at a later time; that they need to be together now, or they’ll go absolutely insane. Quickies are saved for when the urge strikes at random times. For when he’s out with Y/N at a park, sitting under the shade with his head in her lap as she combs his curls out of his eyes and thumbs over his chin affectionately, and the sun filters through the tree canopy just right to where it illuminates her lashes and the suppleness of her cheeks in a manner he deems ethereal. For when they’re at the mall, walking hand in hand and licking at ice cream cones as they survey the shops, and she reaches over to wipe a bit of Rocky Road off the corner of his mouth, replacing the stain with a soft stipple of her lips instead. For when they’re out eating dinner and playing footsie under the table like immature teenagers, and she’s trying to steal a French fry from his plate but he keeps fighting her off with his fork because, “I told you to order your own, but you wanted those disgusting potato skins instead!” And she’s laughing so brightly and unapologetically, giving him a look that so obviously tells him she can’t wait to get him alone, and nothing seems quite as flawless as that fraction in time, then and there and nowhere else.
These simple but memorable moments cause him to get love boners, which he jokingly refers to as “sniffy stiffies,” where “sniffy” has to do with being sentimental, and “stiffy”...well, that one is pretty self-explanatory, no? It always ends with them shagging in the car, or in the family bathroom of a diner, and in the case of the park, in an obscure area of the forest that lines the jogging trail. 
Quickies are just that— fast, but meaningful nonetheless, because they come from a place of genuine emotion. They’re fleeting, but unforgettable. Sniffy stiffy quickies, if you will. 
R = Risk (are they game to experiment? do they take risks? etc.)
Taking risks is the norm in Harry’s life, especially when it comes to his sex habits. He’s proven time and time again that he has no problem riding along the seams of a dare and just barely making it out unscathed, so experimenting outside of the bedroom is just another day in the life. Fingering Y/N in a music room in an antique shop, getting road head during a two hour drive back to Los Angeles, ripping his girlfriend’s panties out from beneath her dress at one of California’s most prestigious restaurants— the list is endless, really. Harry likes to think he has a gift for coming up with inspirational quotes on the spot, so he’ll lend his expertise here and now: “A life without risks is a life that isn’t worth shit.” It even rhymes, so he knows sorority pledges will have a ball putting it in their Instagram bios. A bit of charity work for the bird-brained. 
S = Stamina (how many rounds can they go for? how long do they last?)
Endless stamina. Literally. Vampires don’t stay tired for long, so he could be ready to go again within seconds. And he can last long, as well; his stubbornness and pride depend on it, and he likes making his partner cum first as an ego boost. He can go as many rounds as Y/N can and more, though he won’t push it. He doesn’t want her to end up in the ER with a bruised cervix. 
T = Toys (do they own toys? do they use them? on a partner or themselves?)
Harry could run a sex shop from his closet; Y/N doesn’t take the piss by calling him “Fifty Shades” for no reason. He uses them on himself, he uses them on her, and he got high once and tried to sword fight Y/N with a dildo, so it’s safe to say he definitely uses them quite a bit. If his Lovesense Lush 3 vibrator could talk, he’d be drawn and quartered for excessive debauchery. 
U = Unfair (how much they like to tease)
Harry loves teasing, that’s no mystery. Winding people up is one of his most practiced skills, so of course that would channel into his intimate life. He’s mastered it, though it’s not like it’s hard. A drawn out blink here, or a feathery touch there. An inch of space between his and Y/N’s lips to establish some tension, or squeezing her inner thigh with his palm hard enough to draw a tiny squeak from her chest. Touching her through her clothes, or leaving a trail of wet kisses down her throat and stopping right at her cleavage. Biting the sensitive skin along the inside of her knee, or dragging the tip of his cold nose down the center of her twitching tummy. Lapping slowly at her nipples until they perk up, or sinking a single long digit inside her and keeping it there just to feel her clench around it needily. And once he gets a pattern going, teasing molds into edging, edging molds into begging, begging molds into praise, and before he knows it, he’s hit four of his kinks with one roll of the dice. 
V = Volume (how loud they are, what sounds they make, etc.)
Harry is very vocal in bed, and he’s not ashamed of it. He knows for a fact that Y/N loves it, and if him being loud gets her worked up, then he’ll let his throat go out in the process. He’s noticed that in different situations, he has an arsenal of sounds for each. If he’s being rough and dominant, he tends to groan, grunt, and growl. If he’s being desperate and needy, he turns to whines and whimpers to communicate how he feels. If he’s too zoned into the moment to distinguish all his emotions, broken moans and stuttered mewls are his default. No matter the circumstance, they all take the same route: they start low and soft, and escalate in volume proportional to the intensity of the moment. So what if half the building is hearing him orgasm for the third time as he mocks his girlfriends sobbing pleads and calls her his “dirty fucking whore”? Let’s be honest, it’s probably the highlight of their week. He has a great voice— a sultry, deep baritone that compliments his English accent nicely— and anyone would be lucky to hear it spew the filth it does. He’s yet to get many complaints, so he doesn’t intend on stopping. 
W = Wildcard (random headcanon)
An honesty hour moment seems interesting, so he’ll confess a few tales from his past. The first time Harry ever went down on a girl, it was against a tree in a garden and he nearly asphyxiated under all the layers of her gown. A couple of years later, he ended up getting oral from a reverend’s daughter against a tree, too, for the morbid irony and associated religious revenge. And to drive the point home, oral was only the beginning of what she gave him. His first decade as a vampire was definitely his pettiest. 
X = X-Ray (let’s see what’s going on under those clothes)
It’s not uncommon knowledge that Harry’s well-endowed. He remembers how insecure he was the first time he had sex— a shocker, he knows; he was insecure?— and how he knew barely anything regarding sizing and how to use his assets accordingly. But it’s been ages since then, and now he definitely knows his way around his own body (let alone his partner’s), and he most certainly knows that he’s above average not only as a person in general, but when it comes to what’s in his trousers, as well. Harry won’t specify inches— he loves how speculation drives others mad— but it was big enough to give Y/N a decent pause the first time she pulled down his pants, and it’s big enough to leave her absolutely fucked every single time, without a single miss. If that’s not credibility at its finest, then he doesn’t know what is.
Y = Yearning (how high is their sex drive?)
Harry’s sex drive is insatiable, to say the least. His vampirism combined with his narcissistic tendencies makes the ideal cocktail— cocktail— for the constant fuse that’s always burning under his skin. He’s ready to go at all times; Y/N just has to say the word and he’s pulling on a pair of sweatpants as he grabs his keys, hopping down his complex’s corridor toward the elevator on one foot as he tries to get his last shoe on the other. Lazy morning sex is probably his favorite; he’s come to find it’s when he’s most pent up, usually after a sleepless night of feeling Y/N’s body heat radiating through all of his cold limbs. It also sets a great tone for the rest of the day, and he just loves seeing Y/N wake up to him lying on his side with his temple resting on his fist, his elbow propped against the mattress as he poses the other on his hip in a theatrical diva stance. He’ll smile at her giddily with all his pearly teeth, dimples twitching as his lashes flutter dramatically, dirty intentions written clear all over his face (“Good morning, hon—” “Wanna have sex?” “Harry, it’s ten in the morning.” “Is that a yes? Because it’s not a no.” “I haven’t even brushed my teeth!” “That’s fine, I’m gonna stick my dick in there anyways.”) 
All in all, his libido is insane, and he’s lucky that Y/N’s is up to par or else he would have worked her into an exhaustion-induced coma by now. 
Z = Zzz (how quickly they fall asleep afterwards)
Harry just...doesn't. Maybe once every few weeks, but definitely more often now than before he had his girlfriend. Sleeping just comes way easier when he has someone he cares about resting beside him, their inherent warmth thawing the stiffness from his muscles and putting his racing mind at ease. He feels safe enough around Y/N to let his guard down— both literally and metaphorically— and that seems to help with his supernatural insomnia; it sedates that nocturnal hyper-instinct in his brain that demands he be aware at all times, muffling the animalistic part of him that has been manning the reins for the better half of the last two hundred years. He doesn’t need to be so on edge anymore when everything he needs is just an arm-length away. Especially when she’s usually willing to lend her chest as a pillow, and who is he to neglect her wishes.   
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thalfox · 8 months ago
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Obey Me Theory: Simeon's Virtuous Birthday
Simeon's birthday event may have passed, but here's a theory for it nonetheless 👀
As with a few events of late, this one felt like it ended a little prematurely, not quite following through on the setup. Arguably, this is deliberate, to encourage fans to piece the puzzle together without being shown the answer verbatim, but at the same time... it's a little frustrating.
That said, Simeon's choice of request for each demon brother was very revealing. The brothers are of course the Avatars of the deadly sins, seven brothers for seven sins. And for every sin, there is a matching virtue.
(Note, gifts from MC, Luke, Solomon, Barbatos and Diavolo are not included here but arguably MC gave the most virtuous (celestial) gift, Solomon and Luke the most sinful (Devildom/sorcery) gift, Diavolo the most human world gift, and Barbatos, as ever, entirely neutral 👀)
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As I've written before, the original seven virtues were not the ones most commonly spoken of today, and were largely disregarded in general public knowledge in the medieval period because they didn't line up perfectly with the established seven deadly sins.
(The four cardinal virtues - temperance, fortitude, prudence, justice - and three theological virtues - faith, hope, and charity - are still well known to many a church goer.)
Thus we have the more familiar seven virtues of today - humility, charity, kindness, patience, chastity, temperance and diligence.
The resulting pairs of sin and virtue are: Pride and Humility; Greed and Charity; Envy and Kindness; Wrath and Patience; Lust and Chastity; Gluttony and Temperance; Sloth and Diligence.
Charity is also known as Generosity, Kindness is also known as Gratitude, Chastity is also known as Purity or Innocence, and Envy has a history in Vainglory.
These last ones are important, as Lust itself is an oversimplification borne of translation. Formerly it simply meant desire, any desire, whether that be for sex, money, power, love, and so on. It is separate from Greed and Gluttony in that it can be wholly committed in one's thoughts alone, centering on the self above all others.
Chastity then is only related to the less flexible meaning of Lust. Whereas Innocence and Purity both relate to the full meaning of Lust, to put another before one's own desires, to act unselfishly, to give with no strings attached or motive of ingratiation.
While Envy primarily focuses on jealousy, and in Levi's case is practised in a very self-depreciating manner, it also encapsulates Vainglory, an old sin that held an excessive belief in one's own attractiveness and abilities. Vanity, self-idolatry, boasting... all fall under Envy.
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These virtues are oft described as the opposite of each sin, which isn't correct. Rather these are the golden means that exist between two unhealthy extremes.
As an example, the opposite of greed is not charity or generosity, but the dispassionate wasting of money and resources, or giving away so much that you yourself become a burden upon others. Charity and generosity do not require you to give all that you have, to bleed for others, only to give an amount that maintains your own health and mental fortitude.
The true opposite of the sins then are pathological guilt, prodigality, timidity, servility, sexual shaming, insensibility, and fantasicism.
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Seven Virtuous Requests
Simeon cleverly asks each demon to gift him something that requires they embrace the virtue that corresponds to their designated sin.
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From Beel and Belphie, Avatars of Gluttony and Sloth, he requests a very hard to find crimson fruit that grows a considerable distance away. This requires two specific virtues - Temperance from Beel, so that he doesn't simply eat the fruit himself, and Diligence from Belphie, so that the apathetic demon doesn't give up despite the distance and difficulty in attaining and retrieving the gift.
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From Mammon, Avatar of Greed, he requests a pricey and hard to obtain vintage of Demonus, that requires Mammon to spend significant time and money on fulfilling the gift. Mammon even uses his own notoriety as the Avatar of Greed as proof that no task is impossible for him - which paradoxically would include this virtuous task of Charity and Generosity!
(Although we already know that Mammon regularly practises both Charity and Generosity, as shown in various Devilgrams and chats.)
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From Satan, Avatar of Wrath, he requests the birthday party to be held at a venue with a very grumpy owner who is infamously hard to convince. Simeon himself mentions Satan's own fantastic ability to make connections, and despite a known short temper (see Be You Devilgram), Satan is able to use a great deal of Patience in securing the gift.
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From Levi, Avatar of Envy, he requests a video edit, that requires Levi to spend time showing those around him in a good light - especially Simeon - and demonstrating his own gratitude towards the TSL author. Levi is flattered by the idea that he gets to show off his great editing skills - that is, his Envy is flattered, even in the pursuit of a task of Kindness and Gratitude.
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From Asmo, Avatar of Lust, he requests a fragrance made - quite literally - of innocence. Asmo has no idea what this fragrance is, despite saying he knows almost every scent in existence, and he has to ask for help. The creation of the scent requires tears shed on behalf of someone else that he cares for, to which he insists crying over himself would work. In the end, he sheds tears of frustration and sadness at not being able to fulfil Simeon's request - ie tears for Simeon - and the gift is complete. Asmo has put Simeon's happiness above his own wants and desires, feeling pain for unselfish reasons, and thus has acted in both Innocence and Purity.
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Finally, he requests from Lucifer, Avatar of Pride, a simple photograph of the two of them. We know already that Lucifer hates having his picture taken, it's been the subject of many a chat and event. Regardless of his reasons for this (which will feature very soon in the second volume of Wolf At Your Door!), the manner in which he enforces this is a manifestation of his Pride, deeming such things beneath him, too trivial to be bothered with.
(Pride is usually thought of in opposite terms, an excessive admiration of one's own self-image, but as Lucifer shows, it can also be an excessive policing of one's own self-image, to the extent of wiping other people's memories to preserve it!)
Allowing a picture to be taken with Simeon, something one of his oldest friends has always wanted, requires Humility. To put his Pride to one side and concede to his friend's wishes, something he notes he will only do as it is Simeon's birthday. Indeed, the angel did not even dare ask before the day itself, lest Lucifer disappear on him!
~~~
So, a clever angel indeed, who gets every Avatar Lord to practise the virtue that corresponds to their sin. How virtuous!
Until, of course, one considers exactly how Simeon manifested each virtue...
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In order for Beel to have Temperance, Simeon himself practised Gluttony for a specific rare fruit.
In order for Belphie to have Diligence, Simeon himself practised Sloth in not going himself.
In order for Mammon to have Charity, Simeon himself practised Greed in wanting an expensive and hard to find alcoholic drink.
In order for Satan to practise Patience, Simeon risked provoking Wrath in an unnamed demon known for being grumpy and intolerable.
In order for Levi to practise Kindness and Gratitude, Simeon himself practised Vainglory and thus Envy in his veneration of the self.
In order for Asmo to practise Innocence and Purity, Simeon himself practised Lust in his desire for a scent that required Asmo's personal cost (his tears of sadness) to create.
And in order for Lucifer to practise Humility, Simeon himself practised Pride in his wish to override Lucifer's own discomfort and force him into sharing a photograph with him.
~~~
Depending on where you stand, this event was a lesson in the seven (celestial) virtues, or in how an angel can master seven deadly sins with an innocent smile ( ಠ▿▿ಠ)و ̑̑
~~~
Further reading:
Obey Me: Seven Heavenly Virtues
The History of the Seven Deadly Sins & Lords
~~~
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midnightstarlightwrites · 6 months ago
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Can I Commission Some Common Sense?
Adrien never thought a girl’s bedroom would be his downfall, yet here he was.
In front of him, Marinette led him up the stairs to his room and it took every ounce of his control not to start sweating profusely. Luckily her back was to him, or she might have had questions as to why his jaw was locked so tightly.
Hindsight was a horrible thing, as this was not a problem he’d foreseen when he’d first kissed her as Chat Noir. The idea he would be in her room as Adrien, pretending like he didn’t know every single spot where they’d made out, simply hadn’t crossed his otherwise preoccupied mind. Now he was paying for that oversight.
“I really worked hard on this one, so I can’t wait to show you!” Marinette chirped, grabbing his hand and pulling him through the doorway.
“Oh? I bet you say that to all your commissioners,” Adrien tried bantering back, despite his mouth feeling like sandpaper. She didn’t know he’d already seen it once before, the night he brought her back here after her near-drowning experience.
The night they’d confessed their love to each other.
Marinette turned around, beaming, and it was like an arrow cut straight through his heart. Squeezing his hand once, she let it go and waved her arms similarly to how a magician might reveal his final act.
“I don’t actually. Mainly because I haven’t had such a fun commission before!” she replied, poking out her tongue.
Oh god her tongue. I know that tongue. Oh my god stop thinking of the word tongue! Adrien’s head screamed at him. Images from their previous escapades flicked through his mind and he found himself wanting nothing better than to melt through the floor.
“We-eell I’m honoured,” he half-laughed, half-wheezed.
Marinette nodded approvingly as she stepped backwards towards her mannequin. A sheet covered the outfit so Adrien couldn’t see the contents below it until Marinette decided on the big reveal. “Good! You should be. I haven’t been able to take as many commissions due to how much studying and making stuff for my university has swallowed my schedule. So it was nice to let off some steam but also did you know that-”
Her foot snagged on the edge of the rug and she tumbled backwards. Without thinking, Adrien swooped in to catch her, his arm wrapped around her waist. For a moment, they both froze, and Adrien saw a flicker of a memory pass across Marinette’s eyes, the same one he shared.
Pulling herself to her feet, much more quickly than she had done when he’d been Chat Noir, Marinette slipped out of his embrace with a shy, slightly embarrassed “thanks.” She turned her back to him, the back of her neck tinged pink and she played with her green ribbons.
Adrien stared at the ground with no small degree of guilt. This wasn’t fair to her, was it? It was like he was tricking her into loving him. But how could he confess to her when Ladybug didn’t even know his identity?
He’d always thought he would tell Ladybug his identity first. She’d been the only one, at least in his mind, that had any right to ask him and vice versa.
But that was before they’d defeated Hawkmoth, before Ladybug had almost died because of his family.
He had no idea what to do now.
“Are you ready?”
The words snapped him out of his melancholy thoughts and Adrien looked up to see Marinette on the opposite side on the mannequin, fingers twisted into the fitted sheet much like they’d been twisted in her bedsheets the night when-
SHUT UP, STOP IT, STOP THINKING ABOUT IT. YOU ARE A GENTLEMAN AND YOU WILL NOT THINK ABOUT THAT RIGHT NOW, his mind began screaming at him again. He turned his gaze away from Marinette’s fingers and stared into her eyes instead. It was safer, but not by much.
“Nope!” he replied honestly, with a smile that hopefully came across as genuine rather than pained. His heart hammered in his throat.
Marinette laughed, rolling her eyes at him and completely unaware that his response was a truth with many layers of deception. Like a lasagne of lies.
I am going to hell right? Yeah. Yep. Going to hell. This is fine.
With a great flourish, Marinette pulled the sheet from the mannequin to reveal the cosplay he’d commissioned from her. She tossed the sheet to one side, stepping into a high-lunge and sticking her arms out towards the mannequin with a squeak of delight. “Here he is! Squall!”
And finally Adrien had something to preoccupy his mind other than his lover standing right next to him. Yes it was true he’d seen the outfit once before, but his thoughts and feelings had been in such a turmoil that night, he hadn’t really taken it in. Now he was free to survey it top to bottom, mouth open in awe at every intricate detail.
“Wow,” he gasped, the geek side of his brain taking the wheel,  “This is insane, Marinette! A perfect replica.”
And he wasn’t just saying that because he loved her. It really was damn good. As he’d stated, it was a perfect replica of the Final Fantasy character he wanted to cosplay. At the Gaming Club’s encouragement, he’d been convinced to go to the next Comic Con with the rest of them. They usually all decided on themes for a group cosplay. Last year the theme had been action-adventure games, this year it was JRPGs which was far more of Adrien’s wheelhouse.
“Well?” Marinette wiggled, a pleased grin on her face at his reaction, and Adrien wanted nothing more than to kiss her right then. “Don’t you want to try it on?”
“OH HECK YEAH!” he cried excitedly, a sudden outburst for his civilian self. Stepping back with a sheepish look, Adrien scratched the back of his head. “Sorry. But yeah, I would love to try it on.”
Marinette blinked at him. Some emotion flitted across her face, but it was gone before Adrien could recognise it. Turning her back to him, she began to undress the mannequin and put the clothes gently to one side.
So that he didn’t completely lose himself in the idea of her fingers undressing him, or worse become jealous of a freaking mannequin, Adrien turned to stare at her room instead. On the wall above her desk was a board full to the brim with photos. Old school friends, a very young looking Marinette with her arms wrapped around with a puppy-faced Alya, a much scrawnier Nino in an oversized shirt playing what was probably his first deck, and a bunch of other faces he didn’t recognise.
It warmed him to see images of her growing up in a loving, supportive environment. A part of him wished he’d been there, had been her age, gone to her school, made friends with all of those happy faces instead of spending so many years alone. Would all the people in her class photo have liked him? He didn’t know. But it was the missed opportunities that hurt him the most. At the Gaming Club, when people would talk about their school days with laughter, Adrien remained silent.
A shift in the air, and Marinette was standing beside him looking at the photos too.
“You ok?” she asked.
“Hmm?” Adrien half-shook himself out of his reverie. “Oh yeah, I was just thinking about what it would’ve been like if I went to school. I mean, I totally get why I was homeschooled now, what with everything that happened to my mother. But I still feel like I missed out on a lot.”
A warm weight settled against his arm. Marinette pressed a hand against him in comfort. Her touch was a sliver of moonlight touching a cold, dark forest. Without thinking, he reached up and gave her hand a squeeze, feeling reassurance.
“I try not to think about it too much or I get sad,” he sighed.
“I think it’s ok to think about stuff that upset you, or hurt you in the past, without trivialising it,” Marinette replied. “It’s also ok to talk about it too. I know I sometimes feel bad about my missed opportunities. I had… a lot of responsibilities growing up. Some were thrust upon me, others I chose for myself, but it left me with not a lot of free time. Occasionally I wonder what it would have been like if I’d let myself be a bit freer. We all have regrets.”
There was something missing between her words, some unspoken secrets lingering in the gaps. Like lemon juice poured on a secret message, but the invisible ink had yet to reveal itself. Yet, no matter how curious he was, Adrien wouldn’t pry, wouldn’t seek out the secrets himself. He got the feeling that that was the extent of what she wanted to say and he was honoured enough that she’d trusted him with a little piece of her past not just Chat Noir.
“The good memories are easier to talk about though, right?” he said and Marinette nodded in agreement.
Adrien gave her a warm smile. Returning the gesture, Marinette gently slipped her hand away from his arm and he found himself missing the comforting weight of it instantly. She picked up his commissioned outfit and held it out to him, placing it into his arms with such care that she might as well have been placing a baby into his arms.
“Try it on!” she cried out excitedly, changing the ever-so-slightly sombre mood from before to one of excitement. “I’ll be downstairs making some snacks, come down when it’s on and we can see if it fits properly!”
It was hard not to get caught up in her excitement, so Adrien didn’t fight it. “Sure thing!” he chirped and, placing the outfit onto a chair, Adrien began to unbutton his shirt on instinct. It was only when Marinette’s eyes widened that he halted, mortified. “Sorry, sorry! Model habits! I’m just used to getting changed in front of fitters and stuff.”
“Oh, yeah, no, it’s totally fine,” Marinette replied, already in the process of leaving. “Will just get the shirt- I mean- snacks. See you in a bit!”
She left, or rather fled, the scene, nearly impaling herself on the doorknob as she did so.
Adrien ran a hand down his reddening face, wishing he had any sense of self preservation, and that his brain didn’t turn into a puddle of mush around her for once. His only boon was the fact that Plagg was currently napping in his bag, else he’d never hear the end of it.
Just try and forget that ever happened. EVER, he thought as he changed from Adrien’s civilian clothes and into the Squall cosplay he’d commissioned.
Every inch of it felt like it was crafted with finesse, with a care Adrien didn’t really feel as much. Yes the quality of the fabric wasn’t the best he’d ever felt, but that didn’t matter to him. If he’d wanted a commission made from the purest real leather, or actual fur, he’d have commissioned the litany of designers at his fathers company. They would have spared no expense for the son of Gabriel Agreste.
But Adrien hadn’t wanted that. He was just lucky enough that Marinette had had the time to complete the commission for him.
He wanted something he could feel proud to stand in. This was something his friend had made for him. He’d never had such a luxury before. And yes, as Chat Noir, she was something other than a friend, more like a lover.
No matter what though, Marinette had always been his friend first. Now he was wearing something she made for him. That meant more to Adrien than any world-famous designer or wealthy costumers clothes ever would. Standing there, in the childhood bedroom of a baker's daughter, wearing the clothes she alone (no teams, no assistants, just her) had researched, resourced and made, Adrien had never felt so rich.
Eventually he stopped standing at the mirror, ogling at how amazing the cosplay looked, and decided to go and show Marinette her handiwork.
She was in the middle of pouring apple juice into a glass when he traipsed downstairs. Glancing up, her jaw dropped. “Woah! Monsieur Agreste! That outfit really suits you!”
The apple juice overflowed, spilled onto the counter and then off the edge. Marinette jumped back with a squeak and hurried to mop it up, her face flushed with embarrassment.
“Well it’s all you!” Adrien encouraged, “the fit is absolutely spot on.”
Marinette spluttered an awkward thanks at the turn of phrase and Adrien couldn’t help but be endeared. Surely she was used to getting compliments by now?
Once she’d recovered from the apple-juice spill and the apparent shock of Adrien’s compliment, Marinette approached her handiwork. Her eyes narrowed in a scrutinising way as she searched for any errors in her work.
“Does it feel ok though? Can you move your shoulders and arms up and down freely?” she asked.
“Feels like I’m moving through a cloud!” Adrien replied, demonstrating by rolling his shoulders back one at a time. As he did, Marinette zoned in on the place just above his left shoulder.
“Aha! I knew I’d missed something! Come with me.” Without thinking, she grabbed his hand and dragged him up the stairs. Adrien barely had time to panic about the contact before they were back in her room.
“Can you sit for me? This shouldn’t take too long to do and it’ll be easier to do it on you rather than the mannequin, but you’re kind of tall you know?” she chuckled gesturing to her chaise whilst she rooted around for her hand sewing equipment.
Adrien obeyed her commands, once again trying to ignore the fact that he had made out with Marinette in the very place he was currently sitting. She’d been straddling his lap and- if you start thinking down this path you are going to die so STOP.
Gathering some white thread in a needle, Marinette approached the faux fur on his shoulder. “I was going to just finish securing this side of the fur. It’s fully attached to the jacket, but I didn’t want it flapping about too much so I thought I’d hand sew the last bit. I’ve done one side but I… something came up and now it looks a tiny bit uneven.”
“Right, of course,” Adrien replied, thinking about the reason why she’d been distracted. In a way, he was glad she wasn’t telling him why. Ladybug and Chat Noir liked to keep the news of the wayward akumas out of the way of the public and only got the police involved if the akuma was particularly dangerous. The general public tended to panic about wayward akumas, often thinking that Hawkmoth had come back to wreak havoc a second time.
Although, in the turmoil of the night where Marinette had to deal with the latest wayward akuma, the night she and Chat Noir had confessed their love, he hadn’t had time to discuss discretion with her. He was glad that Marinette was on the same page as he and Ladybug were. Either that or Ladybug had told her to keep it quiet before she’d had to leave town and have Chat Noir step in to help Marinette. They did know each other, though the extent of that acquaintanceship, Adrien wasn’t sure.
He was interrupted from his musings when Marinette’s chest almost hit him in the face.
It was a strange thing, to have two impulses so at war with each other that they completely cancel the other one out. On the one hand, Adrien’s impulse was to throw himself backwards, away from her chest and probably head-over-heels off the chaise.
The other impulse was a lot more damning, and involved moving forwards.
Neither option was good, so Adrien sat there, frozen, his eyes glazed over, his lips pressed together and his fingers digging so hard into the underside of the chaise that he was sure he could hear the fabric ripping.
Then, blessedly, Marinette shifted and her chest was no longer in front of him. She was so into her work that she hadn’t noticed his suffering, which Adrien was hugely grateful for.
“I’m almost done,” she said, shifting the collar. Her fingers brushed against his neck and Adrien let out a tiny, involuntary whine.
“S-sorry,” he stammered, trying to keep still and calm himself down, “ticklish.”
“Oh!” Marinette giggled, before dropping her voice teasingly as she continued her work.  “Well don’t worry, I’ll be gentle.”
You are KILLING ME HERE, Princess.
Although Marinette was true to her word, and it really only took a few minutes for her to finish, hours went past for Adrien. When she finally cut the last bit of thread and turned away from him with a happy “There, all done!” Adrien felt himself almost collapse forwards with relief. “Ok, now let’s get a good look!”
Adrien stood on admittedly shaking legs and went back to the mirror. Once again he distracted himself with how amazing the commission had turned out. “This is absolutely incredible, Marinette,” he said sincerely. “You have a real gift.”
“Ah well,” she shrugged, but looked pleased with his praise. She flexed her bicep. “Genius is 1% talent, 99% work after all.”
“Not sure I’d agree with those statistics,” Adrien replied, spinning away from his mirror. “Would have to conduct a proper and fair test first.”
“Ok Monsieur Space Science,” Marinette rolled her eyes and approached him, bopping him on the nose. Adrien loved moments like this, rare that they were, where he could simply relax around her, tease her as his civilian self and have her respond in kind. The good kind of butterflies fluttered through his stomach.
“Shall we take some photos? I feel like an outfit this good has to be shared with the world, right?” Adrien asked, twisting into a few practice model poses and exaggerating them enough to make her laugh. He beamed.
“Maybe, but we shouldn’t share them right now I don’t think,” she said walking back towards her desk and leaning against it. “Your face and social media comes with a lot of clout. If we post stuff online, I’ll get a lot of attention which I don’t really want at the moment, especially with my studies. But once the convention arrives, all my studies should have died down and I’ll be able to handle the inevitable flood of people to my socials. Also I don’t want you to think any of us are taking advantage of you because of your social media following. You know that’s not why I took your commission...right?”
“Of course I do!” Adrien reassured. “You haven’t got an underhanded bone in your body.”
A shadow crossed over Marinette’s face but she turned to look at her wall of photographs and Adrien couldn’t analyse it further. When she next spoke, however, her tone gave no indication there was a problem, so maybe Adrien had imagined it?
“Ok so no socials now but I could put it on my wall! I just realised I don’t have any pictures of you up there yet! We have to fix that!”
Grabbing her phone, Marinette flipped it to selfie mode and stood beside Adrien. “Ready?”
Adrien stood by her side, angling himself to get as much of her outfit in the shot as possible. Due to their height difference, he crouched a tiny amount so he could fit more into frame (but subtly enough as to not potentially offend her). His heart was glowing.
Yes, it was true, his civilian self was restricted. He couldn’t hold her, kiss her, touch her and flirt with her the way he could when he was Chat Noir.
But he was still going up on her wall of photos, and that was enough for now.
“Ready,” he confirmed, mirroring her peace sign.
The camera went off, and Adrien smiled.
---
Day 8 of @adrinetteapril is commissions! So I thought I’d write a WDDM short! Hope you like it :3
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softykooky · a year ago
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the habits of a broken heart.
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☾ genre : soulmates au, unrequited love, art student!JK, english student!Y/N, angst, fluff, subtle enemies to lovers
☾ pairing : jeon jungkook x reader
☾ summary : jungkook and you are soulmates. so says the matching crescent moons on both your wrists. however, things are never as easy as they seem, and you are quick to learn that falling in love with someone who does not believe in love is a one-way ticket to heartbreak. 
alternatively,
“You still are, you know. Worth it.” You release a shaky breath. “But I was stupid to think that I am too.”
☾ word count: 26.3k (my biggest one yet!)
☾ author’s note: this took forever oh my gosh! i really hope you like it! it’s my first time writing such a big single piece, and trying a different style. thank you so much for your support, always! please let me know what you think ♡
The first time he had his heart broken, Jeon Jungkook had been 13 years old. He was fresh out of middle school and so ready to face his freshman year with an impressionable mind and plenty of voice cracks to earn him months worth of teasing. You see, at the age of 13, Jungkook wasn’t something to swoon over. He had yet to grow into his ears and Dr. Park assured him that his braces would be off as soon as she could get them. He was a little lanky and a bit too reticent to be considered social. So when a girl in his grade comes up to him, nervous and stuttering, and asks him to go to the heavily romanticized homecoming dance, Jungkook has already come to the conclusion that she might be his soulmate, even if he was far too young to get his mark yet. 
Her name was Mina, and Jungkook is confronted with this memory every time he visits home and his mother makes the family flip through the photo albums dating back to his high school years. He grimaces every time he sees the picture of them together. Him in a pink button-up to match her offensively ugly ruffled taffeta dress. 
Mina broke up with him three months after that picture was taken, through one of her friends no less and in front of his entire gym class. Jungkook couldn’t remember how long he cried for while he felt the pain from his first heartbreak would never go away, regardless of how much time passes. He held onto his mother and sobbed out the agony and humiliation of Mina not wanting to be his girlfriend anymore, and how he had lost his soulmate before he even knew it was her. His mother assured him that without the mark, there was no way to be sure and that there was hope. But back then, all Jungkook could think of was ways to avoid Mina the next day, especially when they sat next to each other in 3rd period biology.  
At 13 years old, Jungkook thought he would never find love again. 
He is 18 when he stands alongside his parents in a pale examination room and awaits his destiny. He’s leaving for college the next day, yet the only thing that’s making him nervous is the mark that will inevitably appear on his wrist in the next few minutes. The same one he would find on his soulmate’s, and Jungkook wonders if there is the possibility of scaring everyone away when the first thing he’ll ask on a date is: can I please see your wrist? 
To say the least, Jungkook is petrified. Because that mark on his wrist is going to serve as a constant reminder of his missing piece, and Jungkook knows he’ll always feel lacking until he finds them. It’s a crescent moon. Small and black and nestled comfortably on his skin. He knows many times the marks don’t have any correlation with the couples, but Jungkook wonders if you are an astrologist. Or an astronaut. Or just had a weird affinity for the moon. He smiles when they congratulate him and can’t stop himself from thinking that he might be in love with you already. Wherever you are. When he leaves for university, he feels less lonely when there is a crescent moon to accompany him. 
Contrary to the beliefs of his 13-year old self, Jungkook does fall in love again. Hard. This time, it was a girl with brown hair and big eyes and a smile so pretty he could see it from across a crowded room. She was a grade below him; a frazzled college freshman with no clue to where her lecture hall was, and he: a sophomore who had a compulsion of changing his major every other month. When he met her, it had been chemical engineering and three weeks before that was film composition. Her name was Yoojung, 18 years old while he was 19.
 Her soulmate mark is a single star, and even though he knows she is not his soulmate, he can’t help but to think how perfectly their marks complement each other. How they would make a perfect night sky. 
They had met at a frat party, no less, and the combination of cheap booze and bad hiphop music had made her look so incredibly gorgeous under the dim lighting. They had their first kiss in a random person’s living room, highly intoxicated and much too irresponsible and Jungkook had barely even remembered it in the morning until she showed up at his doorstep and invited herself in. Yet it wasn’t too long before he made a perfect space for Yoojung in his life.
 Each day after his physics lecture, he’d go to her dorm and they’d chat over breakfast until she had economics at 10 o’ clock. After she was done, he’d insist that they go get a greasy hamburger at the joint his friends took him to when they got high and, she’d end up dragging them both to the health food restaurant that prided themselves on only using organic. Leave it to Jungkook to find himself a vegan girlfriend. 
Sometimes though, when he looks at Yoojung, his mind drifts to his actual soulmate and a little flower named guilt blooms in his chest. But he is so young and his other half could be anywhere in the world, so Jungkook thinks there is no harm in allowing himself to indulge in a little affection. These days, it wasn’t completely abnormal for soulmates to part ways, and when Yoojung is in his arms, Jungkook likes to think that his soulmate would understand. They would want him to be happy. In the middle of synchronizing their busy student schedules and sneaking in quick kisses through cramming for finals, he had found it unnervingly easy to fall in love with her. 
Deeply and blindly in love. 
Yoojung brought him home to her family on fall breaks and the occasional winter vacation and Jungkook had melded perfectly into their dynamic. The son I never had, her father would tell him over the dinner table while her mother constantly made sure his plate was piled high. Her little sister was visibly in love with him, and would ask Yoojung where he was every time she came home from university, yet avoiding him at all costs when he was there. 
Jungkook’s own family, however, was a different story. To put it delicately, they had liked it more when he came home by himself and left her at school. It had put a strain on their relationship sure, but at the end of the day, Jungkook loved her. A simple love. 
Every day he remembers that their marks do not match. But if this is love and he feels like he is on cloud 9 with every moment they are together, Jungkook begins to doubt if the universe’s will is truly divine and successful. Maybe Yoojung was his soulmate and it did not matter what was on their wrists. 
He loved her intensely, and she did him. She was the first thing on his mind when he woke up and manifested in his dreams when he slept at night. To Jungkook, Yoojung could do no wrong. Like some sort of divine being or angel that the heavens sent just for him, and he found himself thinking maybe he wouldn’t mind spending the rest of his life beside her. 
But he would come to learn that the higher the climb...the harder the fall. 
Jungkook and Yoojung were together for the better part of 4 years before she cheated on him with a guy that she’d supposedly met a couple weeks ago. When Jungkook screams at her asking why she had been disloyal, Yoojung shows him her wrist. Her single inked star. 
“I found my soulmate, Jungkook. And I love you so much, you know I do. I didn’t know how to tell you so I…”
The rest of her words fade into white noise and all Jungkook can do is look at her and commit every detail to memory as he feels her fade farther away. Her teary and remorseful brown eyes. Her plush lips. The fan of her eyelashes and the mole on the side of her temple. He’ll never get to see her like this again. 
“I was ready to be with you, soulmate or not. I know it’s not fair but I wanted the same from you”, he whispers, falling down on the couch and burying his face in his hands. 
“Soulmates be damned, the universe was wrong. I was so hideously in love with you. How could you not at least tell me when you met him?” Jungkook feels his heart collapsing in on itself with every word of resignation. Of burgeoning acceptance. Yoojung can only mirror his desolate expression and stares down at the star on her skin.
 Jungkook wishes it were a moon. 
“Just go, Yoojung.” 
It would have hurt less if it was only a one night stand with a stranger she did not know the name of. He was in love and spineless enough to move past a one night stand. However, Yoojung had found her soulmate and fallen in love with him. Jungkook had merely acted as a placeholder for the real deal to come along and sweep her off her feet. 
This time he doesn’t cry. Just stares out the window of his living room and wonders what it would be like to disappear altogether. When the door is slammed shut, and he is left to nurse his aching soul, Jungkook apologizes in advance to the person that shares the same mark on their wrist as him. He no longer believes that soulmates exist. 
When Jungkook looks back at his 13 year old self with the innocent construct of what heartbreak feels like, he wants to laugh and maybe slap that stupid boy upside the head. Yoojung had destroyed him. Destroyed the innocent and starry-eyed person that he’s tried so hard to preserve. Destroyed his vulnerability and bright outlook on life and in their place, cultivated walls of rock and steel meant to keep everyone out and him safely tucked inside. In her wake, Yoojung left behind a shell of a man who pushed his emotions so deep he became numb and forgot what it was like to feel. 
So Jungkook does what he always does to push away the hurt. He changes his major; to art history this time. He stacks up bracelets on his wrist to forget the mark of a moon. He scrapes up his rainy day money and treats himself to the most expensive pair of Saint Laurent boots he’s ever worn. He tests the limits of the human liver, and takes advantage of the biceps and jawline he’s acquired since high school to establish a reputation. 
To his friends, Jungkook remained raucous and always down to order infinite rounds of shots until he couldn’t see straight. To those that looked even closer, Jungkook was so completely shattered he didn’t even feel it anymore. 
The second time he had his heart broken, Jungkook was 23. He promised himself he wouldn’t let it happen again. 
“For the last time, Jimin, I’m not going to give you a blowjob so you can pay for my student loans.”
You don’t know how many times you’ve had this conversation with your roommate. Most of the time, it was convenient to have a roommate whose parents were loaded and sent him monthly installments that looked more like small loans than allowances. You knew he just wanted to help. Heck, he probably would be willing to pay them off for you without the promiscuous favor, but you had made it clear to Jimin that you wouldn’t be riding off of his charity. 
“Ugh, Y/N you’re really no fun”, he sighs, falling backwards onto your twin-sized bed and feigning devastation. You reward his melodrama with a giggle, ruffling your hands through his fried hair. Jimin had a knack for changing his hair color as quickly as his mood. 
You look at the bill that’s staring back at you from your computer screen, and it feels like it’s just reached out and punched you in the face. “Hey do you think it’s a common mistake for bank tellers to add a few too many zeroes?” 
“Y/N.” 
“Yeah, you’re right. I’m rationalizing as a self-defense mechanism.” Sometimes it was annoying that your roommate had a degree in psychology. Then again, Jimin was making more money than you and your degree in English. 
You sigh deeply and look up at the ceiling in attempts to quell your tears of frustration. And also because it is a plea to whoever is up there controlling your destiny: please I’m begging you. Melt my debt away. 
You and Jimin sit in comfortable silence and he plays with the hem of your worn comforter while you scroll through the emails you have been ignoring in your inbox. You want to smash your head in at all the deadlines. Times like these, there is one thing that brings you comfort and always has since you turned 18. 
The quaint little crescent moon that sits right atop your radius. 
You had a habit of pressing your thumb against it and feeling your pulse against the mark, stupidly wondering if your soulmate’s heartbeat has synched up with your own. If he was out there somewhere, touching his mark and wondering the same about you. He was taking his sweet time, that’s for sure. Jimin sees your nervous tic and sighs again.
“You’re so hopelessly romantic it makes me want to barf, Y/N.” You scowl at his words and chuck a pillow at his unsuspecting face. 
“I don’t understand you, Jimin. Your soulmate is out there and you’re not the slightest bit curious? You don’t want to do anything extra to find them?” Jimin looks at you with a knowing smile.
“That’s exactly it, though. I know they’re my soulmate and I’ll find them when the time is right. So why worry about it? It’s better not to force anything.” His statement is followed up with a grin and his fingers reach out to pinch your cheeks. This was the dynamic of your friendship. He is easy-going and flows like a careless river. You’ve read one too many books to not vie and daydream for the moment you lock eyes with your soulmate. 
Your mom always said that you’ll know just from a look. It’s like getting hit over the head with a ray of sun, she said. Like suddenly their eyes are the only eyes you ever want to look into again. Since then, you’ve dreamt for the day you find someone with that same moon on their wrist. For now though, you had more immediate concerns more along the lines of crippling debt. 
“What do I do, Jimin? Should I be a stripper?” He laughs and the thought makes you groan. You couldn’t even walk in heels, much less try to dance or look like you didn’t have two left feet. Stripper life just wasn’t for you. 
“Hm...I could call in a few favors for you at the office. Get you an internship or secretary position.” 
“Maybe. Too much nepotism. Your father owns the office you work at”, you remind him, and his eyebrows crease further in thought. God, maybe you do have to be a stripper.
“Wait!” Jimin yelps so suddenly you almost fling the computer off your lap. 
“I think I know someone. He’s been looking for a model for his art portfolio or something, and he said he’s willing to pay.” Jimin reaches for his phone and his thumbs type up a storm while you watch from the sideline. 
“I think he mentioned it’s about a month-long project. You’d just have to be on call whenever a stroke of genius arrives.” 
“That sounds great! I’m an amazing model!” you crow, to which Jimin giggles again.
“The several candids I have in my camera roll tell a different story, Y/N.” Naturally, he receives another pillow to the face. But you follow up with a cheery kiss to his cheek as you rejoice in the new opportunity for cash flow by a celebratory dance, which looks more like a wiggle when you remain seated on your bed. 
“Thank you, thank you, thank you!”, you chirped, “I owe you one.”
“Hey...I know how you can repay me.”
 When you look towards him, his eyebrows are raised inquisitively and there’s a devilish smirk on his lips.
Jimin gets a third pillow to his face that day. 
Jungkook’s favorite type of arguments to get into is whether Neo-classicism or post-impressionism had the most impact on European art and architecture. Call him a snob, but he loves to prattle on about Degas and Caillebotte until his opponent tires or concedes out of pure exhaustion. Jungkook regards it as a battle strategy: bore your enemy so that they stop fighting. 
He’s in the middle of a heated debate with his classmate from graduate school when he receives a phone call from Park Jimin. Now, Jungkook has no idea how or when Jimin became an installment in his life, or how he’s roped his way into his inner circle. He just remembers waking up one day with a killer hangover and finding that there was a pink-haired stranger lying on his floor. When he tried to shoo him out, the stranger shoved a wad of money in his shirt pocket, muttering “just five more minutes”, and Jungkook was in no position to deny easy cash. Jungkook now considers Jimin one of his close friends. 
“What’s up, Jiminie?” He laughs into the microphone. 
“I told you not to call me that, you brat. I’m older than you.” 
“I’m taller than you.”
“My dick is bigger.”
“I-okay fine you got me there.” He hears Jimin wheeze over the line as he tries to rein himself in to say what he needs to say. 
“In all seriousness, though. I have a proposition for you.” Jimin lilts in a mischievous tone, which makes Jungkook nervous enough to get up from the café table he had been sitting at with his friend and careen to a quieter corner. 
“Shoot.”
“Okay, so you know how you were telling me about your portfolio for the gallery. The one you have to submit by the end of the season? How you needed a model on call 24/7 in case inspiration struck?” 
Jungkook wants him to spit it out because he has been searching high mountains and low valleys for someone that would be willing to be his muse for a month or two. Constantly at his beck and call so he can finish this damn portfolio and get his name out there in the art world. Maybe start debating post-impressionism with the cream of the crop. 
“I think I’ve found someone to do that for you.” Jungkook exhales in relief at his words.
“She’s my roommate and she’s super low on cash and unemployed with a bachelor’s in English literature, so she’s got time to spare.” Perfect. That way, Jungkook can call her whenever he needs to.
“That’s amazing, Jiminie. Can she meet me at the art building tomorrow at noon? We can start right away.” Jungkook breathes through the phone, a small weight coming off his shoulders now that another thing had been accomplished. One less thing he had to worry about on the journey to his goal. Jimin confirms the plans and they exchange pleasantries before Jungkook hangs up as the man on the other line starts screaming about his burning lunch on the stove. 
Jungkook catches sight of the mark on his wrist when he looks down, and quickly rearranges his bracelets so that it is once again covered to his eyes. Out of sight and out of mind. 
The gallery portfolio had been a thorn in his side. It had been months in the making and if he allows himself to reminisce, Jungkook remembers the nights he and Yoojung stayed up until dawn and talked about his blossoming interest in art. How he wanted a space of his own to display his works. Back then, she listened to him with stars in her eyes and basked in the afterglow of post-coital cuddling, promising that she would help him achieve it. 
His heart sinks at the memory of the imprint of her tresses of hair spilling on his bedspread. He burned those sheets the second she left. 
Jungkook represses his intrusive thoughts about Yoojung and wills her to get out of his head. He forces it down until it feels like he’s just dumped ice water over his heart and vomited out any semblance of emotion. He makes his way back to the cafe table with a sly smile that hides the internal ache he’s promised himself to never let anyone suspect of. 
“So what were you saying about Renoir’s Moulin de la Galette?”
The art building is situated besides a library, with a bakery flanking its left. Two years spent at the university, and you’ve never once stepped foot there. Maybe it was the daunting abstract sculpture on the front lawn or the prejudices you held against annoying art snobs on their high horses, but you often found yourself subconsciously avoiding the space in intimidation. 
“Okay, Y/N, you’re going to do this so you can pay off your loans”, you whisper under your breath, words meant for your ears and no one else’s. “And if he asks you to pose nude, you run the opposite direction.” 
It was easy to get lost in the building. For art students that know how to draw, they really took advantage of abstractionism to make the most confusing map you had ever seen in your life. Luckily, with some direction from the vapid front desk secretary and some intuition, you were able to to find room 62B. You don’t think you’ll be able to forget the number 62B if you tried, Jimin had screamed it to you so many times as you left the apartment. 
The door soundlessly opens with a nudge of your hand and you stick your head inside.
“You know when Jimin told me he found me a model, he didn’t mention her lack of punctuality.” His voice is calm and subdued with no lingering annoyance, even if his words are uncourteous. You whip around to him and the first sight you see of Jeon Jungkook is merely a tuft of brown hair behind a vast canvas. And some expensive looking leather boots that anchor his feet to the ground. 
You clear your throat and approach with an outstretched hand and the shiniest smile you can muster. 
“I’m Y/N. Jimin’s roommate. It’s nice to meet you.”
“You can call me Jungkook.”
It is when he steps out from behind the canvas that you finally understand what your mother meant when she said meeting your soulmate feels like getting hit over the head with a ray of sunshine. You can’t describe it any other way, but that’s exactly what it feels like. Like the air becomes so sweet in your lungs it turns to viscous honey. Like suddenly the person standing in front of you is Valentine, encapsulated. 
You know he feels it too, yet you don’t know why he forces himself to remain blasé, and if you hadn’t seen his widened eyes and heard the gasp from his lips you would have never suspected anything at all. Stranger courtesy is abandoned and you forcefully grab his wrist, turning it over to find his mark while pulling up your sleeve to reveal your own. 
A little black crescent moon.
Right on the pulse point.
Just like your’s. 
When you finally muster up the nerve to look into his eyes again, you wonder if it is healthy for the human heart to beat so fast and so thunderously it feels ready to jump out of your chest. Jungkook, however, still wears that same expression on his face. Flat and cold, not even a glimmer in his eyes. He stares at you disinterested and wrenches his wrist from your grasp. 
“Wait, Jungkook...aren’t you….”, you sputter through a desperate smile, “aren’t you happy?” He stays silent and trains his attention on the canvas in front of him, but you can see the conflict that swirls in his iris. 
“I’ve been looking for you for so long! And I’ve finally found you. In the art building no less, just my luck that-”
“Y/N, I don’t know what you expect from me but I’m not looking for anything right now.” 
There were no objectively ugly words. But you think the ones that have just spewed from Jungkook’s lips come pretty close. They stoke a fire in your chest.
“What do you mean? We’re soulmates”, you faltered, sinking deeper into confusion as you stare at the unaffected man in front of you, whose only concern is the conglomerate of paint on his palette. 
Jungkook sighs monotonously. Almost as if he had better things to do than be here.
“It’s only a mark on your wrist. And we just happen to have the same one. Amazing that you still think somehow one single person was made entirely just for you.” His words are bored and he doesn’t even have the decency to look you in the eye when he speaks. You think you might want to punch him if you weren’t so speechless.
“Look”, he sighs as if you were inconveniencing him, “I’m not going to sugarcoat it and tell you that I’m the one you’ve been looking for this whole time. We have the same mark, but...I’m not the guy you want.”
“B-But...I’m your soulmate. We-we’re made for each other.”
Jungkook scoffs harshly, and you want to sink into the ground. “That’s just a silly myth.” 
“So you don’t...believe in soulmates?” The words felt wrong to say when all your life, finding your soulmate felt like the ribbon at the end of the finish line. But here he was now, and you felt so small under his gaze. Like you weren’t meant to be there and standing in the same room with him was a concoction for heartbreak.
“No.”
Jungkook’s syllable pangs in your ear, and you think it might be your least favorite sound. Then you leave. And if it was hard for you to meet your soulmate - the person who you’re destined to be with - who doesn’t believe in you, then walking away from him was a different cross to bear. 
You take the bus home and ignore the glare of strangers when you burst into tears at a red light, and cry the rest of the way back. Your mother hadn’t described this. She prosed on and on about the feeling one gets after finding a soulmate but never mentioned to you how it feels when you find out they want nothing to do with you. What do you do when you realize the person you’ve been chasing for forever has been trying to run away at the same time? 
Jimin holds you together that night on your bedroom floor, while you break apart and scratch at the moon on your wrist until your skin breaks. He listens to the words you sputter; as much as he can decipher when they are drowned out by the painful sound of your sobbing. Jungkook’s beliefs bleed into your consciousness. Perhaps he is right and perhaps there is no such thing as true soulmates, and the marks are obsolete. 
However, when you fall asleep in your friend’s arms from the physical fatigue of violent crying and the sheer mental exhaustion of meeting Jeon Jungkook, your mind comes to a more painful conclusion. 
A more truthful conclusion.
Your soulmate only needed to meet you to decide that he did not want you.
Jungkook doesn’t believe in soulmates. He thinks they’re a stupid coy to give people false hope. An illusion to feign happiness and to take Yoojung away from someone she genuinely loved. Though in the hours of the night, when he is by himself and the bed feels too big for one body, Jungkook wonders if there is truly a reason why someone has an identical moon on their wrist. But he is still so broken and unhealed from the wounds Yoojung left behind.
 So instead of soulmates, he thinks about what she must be doing. If she’s eating well. If she’s moved in with her own soulmate and if they’re happy together. Jungkook is an involuntary masochist and he pays for it with every pillowcase that becomes stained with his tears. 
He sighs out an expletive after downing a shot of whiskey, relishing in the familiar burn as it slides down his throat. Alcohol doesn’t seem to be working efficiently, though. He’s only barely tipsy after years in college building tolerance, and he can still see your face each time he blinks. Like you are imprinted on the back of his eyelids. Jungkook wonders why Jimin had cancelled on the group tonight. 
There is a little devil called remorse and it stands atop his shoulder, unseen by everyone but him, and Jungkook decides he will get rid of it by calling another round of shots. From his seat in the dirty booth, he can see Min Yoongi and his soulmate practically dry humping on the dance floor. If anyone asks him if he ever gets jealous seeing soulmates happy and in love, he’ll laugh in their face and tell them he pities people like that. People that are so blinded by the system. But loneliness is a stern mistress and it makes him think of you. How lovely the moon looks on your wrist. How your hand felt so warm when it caressed against his skin. 
He tips his head back again. Vodka this time.
“Dude, are you okay?” 
To his right comes Kim Taehyung, designated driver extraordinaire, and he looks at Jungkook with friendly concern laced with amusement. Jungkook nods contentedly. 
“Soulmates are so bullshit, Tae”, he snickers, fingers tracing the rim of the shot glass and smirk on his face to mask the bitterness of both the alcohol and his heart. Taehyung spares a knowing glance, resting a hand on his friend’s shoulder with the weight of knowledge of Jungkook’s past. 
The night is young and so is he. He drinks until he can no longer taste the liquor and forgets altogether about what had happened only a couple of hours before. Until the crescent mark on his skin just looks like a shapeless black blob, and it makes him smile. He thinks he likes it better that way. 
Taehyung drops him home and personally tucks him into bed while he is still in jeans and his shirt smells like the bar. His sleep is dreamless that night. When the morning comes and his friends tease him about how he begged Taehyung not to leave, Jungkook will laugh and blame the alcohol for his foggy memory. He won’t tell them that he does remember, and that he was only grasping at any warm body to soothe his aching loneliness.
Usually when he first opens his eyes in the morning, Jungkook is thinking about the next class he has to attend and if he is late (which is usually most of the time). This morning, albeit morbidly hungover, Jungkook thinks of the apple strudels they sell at the bakery next to the art building. Mrs. Kim always gets the pastry to filling ratio just right. But when he opens the door with a jubilant smile on his face and the scent of baked goods already in his nostrils, Jungkook has a feeling apple strudels will have to wait. 
There you are. In all your messy-haired glory, huffing like a caged bull in the doorway of his apartment, fiery gaze directed completely at him and all he can think to say is:
“How do you know where I live?” Jungkook schools his face expressionless in your presence. He hopes this will discourage you, but it only makes you angrier. 
“Park Jimin”, you snarl. 
Of fucking course, it’s always Park Jimin. Jimin who drunkenly sleeps in his bedroom and now Jimin who is leaking his address to any stranger.
“Um”, Jungkook stammers and takes a step back, “what are you doing here? Didn’t I get my point through yesterday?” He can see the statement catching you off guard, and the fury in your eyes dwindles to dejection. Only for a millisecond though, before you are aiming your wrath at him once again. 
You take a deep breath. “What is wrong with you?” 
Jungkook can think of a lot of answers to that query. He opts to interpret it as a rhetorical question and keep his mouth shut. 
“You just...found your soulmate! I’m your soulmate! And you don’t even want to get to know me? At all?”, you scream exasperatedly. Jungkook catches the gaze of a middle aged lady who is not-so-discreetly staring at the two of you, and pulls you inside his apartment by your arm. If you weren’t so frustrated, you would have been flustered at the physical contact. 
“Listen. Soulmates don’t end up together all the time. I’ve told you I’m not really interested in anything right now and it’s not a priority”, he takes a breath through his passionate monologue, “and I’m sorry that that’s not something you expected, but I….don’t want a soulmate.”
Maybe...he just doesn’t want you. 
When he says them out loud to a living breathing person, Jungkook realizes how cruel it sounds. He can see it in the way your eyes have become glossy under his living room lights and the way you shrink into yourself as self-defense against his blows. He rationalizes that he’d rather tell you the truth than lie to you now, only to hurt you later. Really, he’s doing you a kindness. Right?
You turn your back to him to gather your thoughts, and wipe the tears that you refuse to let him see. The salty drops sting the raw skin of your wrist after last night, and you are brutally reminded of the current reality. His brutal honesty makes you want to abandon all hope, but you were a woman with a plan. You came here for a reason, not to just lose your temper in your soulmate’s apartment and tell him what you really thought about him.
“I have a proposition for you”, you asserted calmly, staring Jungkook in the eye as he remains unbothered. 
“Now I reckon something’s happened to you to make you lose all your faith in soulmates, so I’m not forcing you to do anything you don’t want to do.” Your eyebrows furrow when you speak focusedly.
“We don’t have to be together. That’s your will. But…”, you hesitate, pushing past the uncertainty and fear of another rejection from Jungkook, “will you let me at least try? You don’t have to promise anything. Can we just start as friends?” 
Naturally, Jungkook wants to shoot down your offer, kick you out of his apartment, and pretend like he never met anyone by the name of Y/N. Call it divine intervention but when he looks at you, pleading for any semblance of connection, he feels a tug at his heart strings. So Jungkook makes another promise to himself. He would let you “try”, whatever that entails. But there was no virtual possibility of letting you any closer than necessary. 
You both stand in contemplative silence before he lets out a resigned sigh. “On one condition”, he responds slowly, but there is already a premature grin growing on your face and you don’t think you could stop it even if you tried.
“You still have to be my model for the art portfolio.”
You agree before he even gets to take another breath. 
“Deal.” 
When you finally make your way out of Jungkook’s apartment, parting ways with an awkward number exchange and a ‘see you later’, there is a simultaneous feeling of hope and desolation. The optimism for Jungkook combines with the insecurity that perhaps you, just as you are, is not nearly enough to make someone fall in love. Especially someone who disregards their soul connection to you. 
You walk back to your apartment with a heavy heart that warms with embers of determination. Jeon Jungkook was an enigma. A Bastille fortress of self-defense mechanisms and destructive tendencies, and you know that there is unresolved pain. Call it a soulmate instinct or something, but you see it in his eyes. You see it in the way his face begs to show emotion but his mind refuses to acknowledge. 
You know Jungkook is not obligated to accept you after the dust settles, much less fall in love with you. Under the peach blossoms of the campus sidewalk, you make a promise anyway.  To yourself and to your soulmate and the silly little mark on the inside of your wrist. Even if he does not love you, you vow to help Jungkook learn to love himself.
When you are harshly woken up at 5:30 in the morning, the last person you expected to be blowing up your phone was Jeon Jungkook. If it weren’t for the pure exhaustion seeping through your bones, you would have been excited about your soulmate calling you. Alas, slumber was your soulmate now. Jungkook would have to step down. 
On the other side of the paper thin wall, Jimin is frustratedly banging from his room, your ringtone reverberating throughout the entire apartment. You pick up his call without even opening your eyes.
“Hello?” 
“Y/N I need you to come to my apartment as soon as you can.” There is no sleepiness in his voice. Just clean and cold like it always is and he has hung up before you get the chance to scold him for waking you up at this unholy hour. You’re about to give him a piece of your mind but you remember he is paying you very handsomely for your efforts, and reluctantly drag yourself out of bed to call an uber. Thank god he doesn’t live too far away otherwise you’ll stick a foot through his canvas for the transportation bill. 
The front of Jungkook’s apartment door is strangely therapeutic, and you find yourself falling asleep standing up after you’ve rung the doorbell. Either time passes too slowly when you are sleep-drunk or Jungkook moves to get the door as quickly as your grandfather does. Whatever the case, you are about to pass out on his doorstep if he doesn’t come soon.
“Y/N, why are you just standing there? The door has been open.” 
“Jungkook. Why are you making me do this so early?”, you yawn, pushing inside the apartment. 
Jungkook takes in your discombobulated appearance, and almost wants to laugh. You were still in your pajamas, and the bun on your head now looked more like a heaping blob that drooped down your temple. It was obvious that you had just rolled out of bed and he almost feels bad for disturbing your sleep, but he does not decide when his strokes of inspiration spontaneously appear. 
The living room is bombarded with Jungkook’s art supplies and stray canvases, and you take note of the clay sculpting table that blends in as furniture next to his kitchen. You plop yourself down on the stool across from Jungkook’s easel, eyes still half closed and impossibly tired.
 In this moment, Jungkook wipes the fact that you are his soulmate from his mind. He needs to do the portfolio. That is all he’s keeping you around for, and the only reason he agreed to your plan was so that you would remain his art model. 
In the silence of his makeshift art studio, Jungkook paints whatever comes to his mind, referencing your figure on the stool for the curves he can never get right without a model and need for a human presence to translate onto his canvas. You become more lucid as time goes by and the sun starts to rise from outside his window, sitting up straighter and paying more attention to his concentrated face as Jungkook pours himself into his creation. 
Looking at him in this light, you realize that he is beautiful. And not just because he’s your soulmate. Jungkook’s hair is scruffy and stubbled, undereyes sporting impressive dark circles. But the way he caresses the paintbrush and the way his body moves to the beat of the painting is poetic. He glances at you sporadically, eyes darting to and fro to capture as much as he can before the creativity burns out. He is beautiful and it makes your heart ache to know that he does not want you. In spite of the bond the universe has created. 
You wonder if in his focused hazed, he notices the new glaze across your eyes and the silent sound of your soul calling out for his. You wipe away the first dripping tear as quickly as it came. You know Jungkook sees, but does not bat an eye and you can’t tell if you’d rather prefer him to acknowledge it. 
It’s 8:00am when he puts the paintbrush down, takes a step back, and surveys his work. His eyes trail over each organic line and areas where he decided to use burnishing instead of cross hatching. It’s far from perfect, but it’s enough. 
“Okay. You’re free to go”, he announces, plucking the painting off the easel and resting it against the wall, hidden from your eyes. 
“W-What? That’s it?”, you sigh disappointedly, “you’re not even going to let me see it?” Jungkook shrugs. His detachedness makes you want to rip your hair out and sob into your pillow at the same time. You don’t understand how a person could be so unfazed. 
“S’not ready for debut. Thanks for showing up, though.” He doesn’t spare you another glance. Just goes back to cleaning his brushes and dumping out the glasses of murky paint water. You ignore the twinge of hurt in your chest and slide off the stool. 
“Okay, fine. Now it’s my turn. Would you like to go have some breakfast?”, you smile expectantly to Jungkook, who stares at you with an indifferent gaze. His first instinct is to make up a half-assed excuse to get out of this, eager to detach himself from you as much as possible and avoid any more interaction. However, he was insanely hungry, and the glimmer in your eye just looks so hopeful even Jungkook couldn’t bear to shoot you down.
He sighs with resignation. A little breakfast couldn’t hurt, and he wasn’t going with you necessarily. You were just...going to the same cafe in the same direction as him and likely sitting at the same table. Yeah, that’s it. 
“Hurry up, I’m hungry.” 
“Wait...actually?”
You blinked in shock at his lack of resistance. 
“Yes. Now come on. I know a place with really great apple strudels.”
You weren’t aware that by ‘breakfast’, Jungkook actually meant sitting in complete silence and wolfing down food like your life depends on it. You want to be grossed out when he inhales 3 apple strudels in less than 10 minutes, crumbs flaking on his shirt without a care in the world. Yet you just feel endeared. The sight makes you smile. And maybe if Jungkook did not detest you, you would have leaned over and kissed the cinnamon sugar right off his lips. 
“So….”, you sip on a sweet coffee, “Jimin told me you’re going for a masters in art history?” 
Jungkook nods halfway through a bite of his pastry. “Yup.” 
“Is it something you’re really passionate about?” you inquire, desperately wanting the conversation to delve into something that wasn’t so surface level.
“Uh huh.”
“What are some other things you’re interested in besides art?”
“Totally.” 
Jungkook is completely clueless. He only spares glances to the windows and occasional looks to his oh so precious breakfast treats. You want to slap him and be angry, but you only sigh. It shouldn’t be so hard to talk to your soulmate, yet it felt like trying to pull teeth when he was so completely disinterested in you. You wonder if this is worth it.
You look up at him from your steaming cappuccino cup and use your wildcard. 
“In my opinion, Botticelli’s Birth of Venus did little for the Italian Renaissance movement.” 
Your statement almost has Jungkook falling backwards in his chair and choking on a piece of fruit filling, eyes growing as wide as saucers when he finally processes what you just said. A flaming insult to the entire art historian community. 
“What do you know about Botticelli?”, he sneers, and you internally celebrate for this is the most emotion Jungkook has shown since meeting you. 
“I know that his work supposedly epitomizes the spirit of the Renaissance”, you swirl the coffee in your cup nonchalantly, lips curving into a knowing smirk. “But if you ask me, Bellini’s San Giobbe Altarpiece did much more to encapsulate the values of 15th century Italy.” 
Jungkook’s speechless expression is one that you want to take a snapshot of and frame it to your wall. It is glorious, and arguably more artful to you than Botticelli himself. So what, you had conveniently forgot to mention to him about the class you took junior year of college, with a professor that made you engrave the fundamentals of Italian painting in your brain. It’s so much more gratifying to see him stunned silent. 
Across the table from you, Jungkook feels a warm smile itching to display itself. Before it can appear, he disguises it as a cold smirk. He feels something akin to a butterfly at the pit of his stomach, but blames it on indigestion and the inhuman pace at which he devoured his breakfast. Yeah that must be it. There was no way he was feeling butterflies. 
He cracks his knuckles, raises his cup to gulp down a lukewarm green tea, and rests his elbows on the table separating the both of you.
“I don’t suppose you could tell me your thoughts on the influences of neo-classicism in the 18th century?” 
“No, Y/N, turn to your left a little”, Jungkook frustratedly sighs behind the camera lens.
“Your left or my left?”
He pauses. “....left.” 
To any outside eye, you and Jungkook look like two buffoons trying to take pictures on what might possibly be the windiest day of the season, under the peach blossom trees. Jungkook had called you earlier that day and stressed about how he needed mixed media in his beloved portfolio, and photographs were the next topic of interest. Though you couldn’t understand why he couldn’t just set out a fruit bowl on his windowsill and call it still life photography.
Jungkook stares down at his camera, dissatisfaction clear on his face. You almost want to apologize for your abhorrent modeling skills but hey, he was the one that chose you. 
“Hmm...try staring at that boat in the distance”, he dictates, standing beside you and aiming the lens at your side profile. You do as he asks, but don’t hear the shutter of the camera. Jungkook sighs again and leans forward, so close you could feel his warm breath hitting your skin. You hope he doesn’t notice the beet blush on your cheeks.
Jungkook’s hands meet your chin when he uses it to slightly tilt your face downwards. He positions you in the way that he wants you to pose and you finally understand why photography is considered an art. Because it’s almost as if Jungkook is molding you like clay, to get the silhouette he wants to capture with his camera lens. The day is brisk, but his skin on your’s lights you on fire. 
“Okay, that’s…..that’s perfect”, Jungkook breathes, hurriedly picking up the camera that had been hanging onto his neck by the strap and angling it. At the moment his index finger presses down on the button, there is a gust of wind that surrounds the both of you.
The breeze loosens a strand of your hair and it falls into your eyes. You let your eyes drift close for a second, smiling into the cold air that tingles on your skin. Jungkook’s breath catches in his throat and he thanks the skies for the howling wind so you wouldn’t be able to hear his thumping heartbeat. But surely it’s only because it’s cold. And absolutely nothing else. Jungkook coughs inconspicuously to snap himself out of his trance, sighing in relief when he realizes your eyes are still closed and that you hadn’t noticed his internal struggle. 
He drags you to a bridge next and makes you lay on the cold wood to which you vehemently object before you remember that he’s paying you and that you want him to fall in love with you, not dislike you more than he already does. After the bridge, Jungkook makes you kneel beside the park pond and dip your hand in the icy water and you find yourself wanting to do the same thing to his precious camera. 
Before the two of you have realized, the sun sets into the horizon and tinges the sky in a combination of purples and pinks that Jungkook himself has a hard time replicating on canvas. He aims his lens at the clouds and takes a picture that he knows won’t make it into his gallery. He just felt the need to have something to remember this day by. For no reason in particular…
A buzzing coming from your coat pocket alerts you both of the time that has passed and how the sky has considerably darkened since you began the session. When you fish your phone out, Jimin’s contact photo is staring back at you while the marimba ringtone continues playing. You put the phone on speaker.
“Hey Jiminie”, you smile and Jungkook catches a glance of it. And the discomfort in his chest is definitely, 100%, not jealousy. Not at all.
“I told you not to call me that! What is with you younger people and your disrespect for the elderly?” The corner of Jungkook’s lips twitch into a subtle smile at the similarity of your’s and his conversations with Jimin. 
“Okay, okay, grandpa. What’s up?”
“Can you come home ASAP? I may or may not have broken the stove trying to make soup.” 
The redundancy of his confession makes you sigh, as Park Jimin desecrating your shared kitchen space was not a rare occurrence by any means. 
“I’ll be right there”, you chided through the line, “please do not cook anything else before I arrive.” 
“Thanks Y/N-ie, you’re the best!” Jimin’s voice is far too cheery and you make a mental note to nag him a little extra when you get home. The phone call is ended promptly and you turn around to Jungkook, eyes widening in surprise when he has already packed up all his photography gear. The sky had turned dark and the streetlights had been turned on to illuminate the park. If you had craned your neck upwards, you would have noticed the stars that awoke again to shine down upon the city. But you didn’t. You only saw the stars that were twinkling in Jungkook’s eyes. 
“Uh”, he stammers, “I’ll walk you home. It’s late.” 
“Oh! Uh...Thanks.” Though he was still cold and indifferent, your heart jumped in elation. Perhaps this could be considered baby steps. 
The trip home is quiet, only the sounds of your tandem footsteps on pavement and the rustle of a breeze through tree leaves fill the space of silence. But the quiet is not uncomfortable. Just a bit awkward as you two try to figure out how to be around one another. Jungkook’s hands are shoved in his pockets and your fingers itch to intertwine themselves around his own. To press your soulmate marks together and feel them calling out to each other. But you and Jungkook are anything but normal soulmates. For you are already head over heels in love with him and he is adamant on not sparing you a crumb of affection. 
To your disdain, the apartment was closer than you thought and the short walk with Jungkook ended before it really even began. You could practically hear Jimin’s impatience emanating from the third story of the building. 
“So I’ll see you later?”, you smile meekly. Jungkook readjusts the strap of his camera bag before nodding. He is walking away before you turn around to enter the apartment building and even though it was something small and mundane, you wished he would have waited to see you get in safely. You make your way inside, more downcast than you had been before.
You don’t see when Jungkook turns around. You don’t feel the reassurance that washes over him when the door shuts safely behind you. 
That night, Jungkook is reminded far too much of Yoojung. When he goes to make his usual chamomile, he finds her mug at the very back of the tea cabinet. She must have forgotten it when she packed up her stuff. When he spoons in the sugar, he remembers how Yoojung drinks her tea with honey instead. And when he feels himself start to fall apart, he remembers how Yoojung is not there to keep him together. 
Jungkook pushes away his pain, abandons the lukewarm mug of tea, and opts for an early bedtime to sleep away the ache. The camera sitting on his nightstand, though, beckons him to look over the photos you both had taken that afternoon. 
In the moment, he had been dissatisfied with the pictures, always thinking there must be a better angle or a better position you could shift into. However when he looks down at his camera now, in the quiet and solemnity of his bedroom, Jungkook can’t help but to think they are absolutely perfect. 
He doesn’t know whether to credit his own artistic skill or you; for breathing life into his photographs. It’s the lines of your hands, the slope of your nose, and the stray strands of your hair that makes his pictures more human. 
The ones he ends up picking though, are not perfectly  staged and not the ones where he made you change the position of your stance for 10 minutes. No, the best pictures were the ones he took without you noticing. When you had just been enjoying the cool breeze or admiring the beauty of peach blossom season. When you point out a cool looking bird and when you stared annoyedly past the cameras lens (at him no doubt). 
Yoojung is gone from his mind for just a tiny fleeting moment. For little reason at all, Jungkook finds himself smiling. And there is only the company of the moon to see it. 
 It is ten o’ clock in the morning and Jungkook comes to a realization that in the couple weeks since he has met you, he has sighed more times than he has in the past 23 years of life. Jungkook sighs when you text him first thing in the morning about the dream you had the night before and describe it in painfully vivid details. He leaves them unanswered. Sometimes he wished you would just email him the google document instead. He sighs when you fidget in your seat when he’s trying to paint and keep focus, but you are only interested in asking him the snacks he has in his fridge or when he’s going to finish. He sighs when you and Jimin collectively trash his art studio by spamming his $1,000 camera with ugly face pictures and sword fighting with his sable paint brushes. Jungkook often has a hard time believing that both of you are in graduate school. 
Today, he sighs when you bombard into room 62B of the art building; what is supposed to be Jungkook’s completely zen and peaceful creative space. You are tiptoeing around him as you always do, scared that you’ll do something to set him off and your soulmate will disown you for good. He glances at you once, eyes quickly darting back to the sculpture he is molding on the clay table and saying nothing. 
“There’s a new cafe that just opened right across from the apple strudel place”, you gulp tensely. “I was gonna go check out the competition.” Your words seem deaf to Jungkook’s ear and he only furrows his eyebrows, fingers fussing over the mass of clay. There was just something he couldn’t get right. He didn’t know what it was. 
Jungkook pushes away the sculpture frustratedly, wipes his hands on his apron, and finally looks at you. Maybe he did need a break and come back to it with fresh eyes. That’s all it was, though. A break. He wasn’t going because you asked him to. 
“They better have blonde roast otherwise you’ll be compensating me for my time.” Jungkook is as ruthless and blunt as ever and you decide to look past it as you always do. Him agreeing to go with you was a mini success. 
“Welcome in! You’ve stopped by at the perfect time. The strawberry scones have just been taken out of the oven!” The cafe employee is far too enthusiastic for receiving minimum wage and greeting grumpy people off the streets who just want to be caffeinated. His name tag reads Jung Hoseok. 
“Oh, strawberry is my favorite”, you whisper, the statement only meant for your ears but Jungkook picks up on it anyway. He declines to tell you that strawberry is his favorite as well. Hoseok’s eyes light up when you and Jungkook approach the entrance, like he finally succeeded at luring a customer. 
The cafe isn’t anything special. A bit more modern compared to the one across the street and you think you prefer the latter because this new one doesn’t have the owner’s handsome son standing at the cash register. He may not be your soulmate, but even you had to admit Kim Seokjin was a beautiful man if there ever was one. However, this cafe is warm and has ceiling length windows that let in an obscene amount of sunlight. Jungkook makes a mental note to try some pictures here in the future. 
Jungkook’s phone buzzes in his pocket and you are already leaving him behind in the dust, walking straight to the counter and peering up at the menu deep in thought. You turn around to see that he is immersed in mysterious conversation, and take it upon yourself to order him a drink. 
“I’ll have a matcha latte. And uh…”, you decide, trailing off as you wonder what kind of drink Jungkook would enjoy. “And an iced vanilla mocha latte, extra whipped cream, extra chocolate syrup. Do you guys have rainbow sprinkles?” 
A little sugar never hurt anyone. Especially someone so often bitter like your one and only soulmate. 
When Jungkook hangs up and makes his way to the corner table where you are situated, the sight of the concoction on the table is enough to give him an instant cavity. You hide your smile behind the mug of matcha. He grumbles and sits down swiftly, sticking the straw past his lips in defiance and you can only watch expectantly. 
“Well…do you like it?” 
This is when Jungkook realizes you didn’t order this to spite him. You just had completely zero idea what he liked and disliked and chose the first thing you thought was best. As cold as he is, he doesn’t have the heart to tell you that when he drinks coffee, he likes it black. No cream, no sugar, and the darkest roast with the most caffeine to push him through those nights spent in front of a canvas or over a clay table. 
Jungkook fights to keep steady from the ambush of sugar and wills himself to swallow it down. There is sticky chocolate syrup on his hands and it feels cosmically more uncomfortable than paint. But Jungkook manages to look up at you and nod, to which you reward with a smile. 
“I knew you would like it”, you say smugly, giving yourself a mental pat on the back. “You look like you have a giant sweet tooth.” There is a mellow giggle that follows your statement. Jungkook feels a flutter at the bottom of his stomach, and convinces himself it’s only because it sounds so much like Yoojung. He catches sight of the moon on your wrist, and pushes the feeling away even farther. 
The two of you spend the rest of the midday there, tucked away in a corner of a cafe and losing track of time as you always do. Jungkook finds himself forgetting about the mountains of work he has to do to finish his art gallery portfolio, and the unfinished sculpture back at the studio that’s just not right. 
Today, he allows himself to enjoy your presence and get to know you more. Your favorite color is yellow. You had a dog named Benny when you were a child. You detest beer with a passion, but enjoy a nightly glass of pinot grigio. Jungkook barely notices when the entire cup of coffee has disappeared. Every last rainbow sprinkle.
On second thought, he feels that maybe there was something sweeter than his unexpectedly delicious iced vanilla mocha latte with extra whipped cream. Maybe that something was sitting right across from him, rambling about the fundamentals of English literature with unexplained vigor. 
Jungkook’s soul feels lighter when he goes to bed that night. And when he finally succumbs to Morpheus, his last lucid thought is of you; sun beams coming from the large cafe windows that comb through your hair. He looks at you through his mind’s eye and all he can see is the potential heartbreak you have the power to put him through. The fan of your eyelashes. The curve of your smile. The plush of your lips. All he can see is Yoojung as she crushes his soul in her bare hands. 
Yet in the midst of his internal conflict, Jungkook’s subconscious allows him to fall in love with you a little bit. Perhaps not love just yet, but affection. Like a toe dip in uncharted waters or sticking his finger in a bowl of creamy cake batter just for a taste. The walls he has built are still there, strong as ever, but perhaps a couple bricks look a bit askew. He doesn’t know, but his soul calls out to your’s through the fortress.
“Y/N I don’t know why you thought this was a good idea.”
“Oh hush, just close your eyes and point where your heart tells you to.”
In the lobby of a train station, facing a map and an ETA board is where you and Jungkook will be embarking on your next “date but not really because you don’t believe in soulmates so let’s just hang out”. It had taken a good two hours of nagging and whining on your part to convince him to abandon his portfolio for just a little bit to go an outing. Now standing here, with you excitedly bouncing next to him and a mystery destination, Jungkook feels something akin to utter regret. 
“What if I choose somewhere that’s a thousand miles away? Or just in the middle of nowhere?”, Jungkook groans, still putting up an unbothered and cold front. 
“Well then we will go somewhere that’s a thousand miles away or in the middle of nowhere”, you quipped back at him. Jungkook had a feeling he wouldn’t be able to get out of this one. 
He reluctantly places a hand over his eyes, sighing with resignation before pointing to a random spot on the map. There is a giggle that sounds to his left and Jungkook finds himself wanting to hear more. 
“Wonderful choice”, you smiled, “couldn’t have picked it better myself.” 
Jungkook peeked his eyes open one at a time, scared of seeing what his intuition has chosen for your guys’ spontaneous destination. He breathes out a sigh of relief when he sees that his fingers landed on a town on the outskirts of the city, 20 minutes away from the university. He silently thanks the universe for not sabotaging his wallet and time. 
“We’re never doing this again, Y/N”, Jungkook speaks as you are in front of him, skipping happily to the front desk to buy two train tickets. 
“Wasn’t it fun, though? The thrill?”, you chuckle at his demeanor, to which he only shakes his head vehemently. You note the newest thing you’ve just learned about Jungkook: he has an aversion to uncertainty and spontaneity. 
The train ride was as brief as it was uneventful. You spent the time rambling to Jungkook about all the quips and quirks about yourself and he only listened. Though he kept quiet, his face was free of any annoyance or indication that you were speaking too much. Jungkook only stared at you and unknowing to you, he soaked in every bit of information like a sponge. If anyone asked, he could tell them what foods you were allergic to, what colors wash you out, and what vegetables you hated the most. 
“Wow you didn’t have to pick somewhere so far away, Jungkook.” You muse as the two of you step out of the train car. So far away in fact, that if you were to crane your head up enough, you would be able to see the university from a distance. 
“Hey, you were the one who made me choose”, Jungkook spares a rare smile, “Would you rather we have shelled out our wallets to go on an 18-hour train ride?”
“Okay, fair point.”
The city was as abundant as it was big, and the both of you walked aimlessly from avenue to avenue, stopping occasionally whenever you see a dog you just can’t help but to pet or whenever Jungkook complained about his sore feet. As cold and indifferent as Jungkook made himself out to be, you’ve quickly come to realize that he’s actually a big baby. He still hasn’t let you in or even lowered his walls by a tiny centimeter, but you like to think that even agreeing to go anywhere with you could be considered significant progress.
Jungkook doesn’t notice the pounding of his heart whenever his hands graze against your’s, walking side by side so close he can feel the heat emanating through your coat. He doesn’t notice the peace he feels, just the synchronicity of his feet as he places them on the pavement. 
The fraught wind that blows straight at Jungkook’s face prompts him to look up from where his eyes were cast on the ground. He almost staggers at how strong it is, but finds himself weak in the knees for a completely different reason.
Of course.
Of all the days, of all the times, of all the people in this entire city.
Of course she had to be the one that was currently staring at him from across the intersection. 
The red light seems to go on forever. Either that or time has just spontaneously frozen, Jungkook can’t tell. But his eyes are fixed on hers and his feet bolster him to the concrete when all he wants to do is sprint the other way and forget he ever saw this ghost from the past. 
Yoojung looks as beautiful as the day she left him. 
She’s gained some weight and her cheeks have filled out, but it looks healthy on her now (Jungkook always chided her for forgetting to eat). She stares at him with a combination of shock and guilt and something he wants to overthink into affection but he won’t give himself that satisfaction anymore. She dyed her hair. Light brown looks good on her. 
She looks...happy. As happy as anyone can look when they’re rushing through thick crowds of a city, traffic horns blaring like a dilapidated symphony. 
In the heat of it all, it’s impossible for you not to notice Jungkook’s sudden change in demeanor or the way he has suddenly stopped breathing. When you follow his gaze, there is a girl on the other side of the street that shares the same starstruck expression and even from the outside looking in, you can feel the weight of something painful in his eyes. In her stature. 
When the lights turn green, the throngs of city dwellers migrate across and you stay beside Jungkook when he doesn’t move a muscle. Not even a finger twitch. But she does. And he can only fight to keep the ache away when Yoojung gets closer with every millisecond. Until she is standing right in front of him and he can smell her familiar vanilla perfume. 
“Jungkook”, she speaks, apprehension in her voice. “It’s been a while...how are you?” 
Yoojung only spares you a side glance while keeping attention on Jungkook and you only grow more curious as to who this strange woman is. 
He wants to speak so badly but his tongue remains frozen. He turns to you with flabbergast in his eyes and shakes his head to snap out of the daze of confusion. Of seeing the love of his life again. Or who he thought was the love of his life. 
“Could you give us a minute, Y/N?” 
You didn’t know why but the words that came from his lips made you feel disappointed. Perhaps you were just stupid for thinking he would introduce you. Tell her that you’re his soulmate and scream it at the top of his lungs with sheer pride. But your imagination has hurt you countless times and you had a feeling this one wouldn’t be the last. You manage a curt nod and push away the twinge in your heart. There was a boundary between you and Jungkook and today was not the day to cross it and introduce yourself as his soulmate to any random stranger. 
Once you are out of vicinity and have found solace in a bookstore 10 feet away, Jungkook allows himself to breathe in Yoojung’s presence. 
“I didn’t know if you were still in the city”, he falters, voice coming out quieter than he would have liked it to. But what was he supposed to sound like confronting the supposed love of his life. 
“I never left, Jungkook...my entire life is here.” She sighs, smiling lightly with eyes seeping with guilt. 
He scoffs. “I don’t know Yoojung, you seem to leave behind important things pretty easily.” Jungkook feels himself getting angrier and resentful by the second, and though he knows it is unfair of him, Yoojung’s mere presence brings back all the wounds he never truly healed from. 
Granted, on a concrete sidewalk next to a traffic light pole was not the best place to have a heart to heart about failed relationships. But when has the universe ever given Jungkook the best things in life. He is devastatingly cynical for someone who dedicates his career to art. 
Yoojung wears a frown on her face, but there is no vindictiveness there. Just an overwhelming sense of remorse that Jungkook communicates as pity. 
“I don’t know how else to say that I’m sorry”, she sighs, eyes falling to the ground. Jungkook wishes it would just open up and swallow him whole. 
“Then don’t say anything.” He turns to walk away.
“Wait! Jungkook can we...can’t we catch up or something? For a couple minutes?” Yoojung is visibly desperate, and her hands are outstretched as if wanting to touch him but keeping herself from overstepping the line. 
Jungkook glances through the window of the bookstore, and you are situated on a chair, already nose deep in a hefty book. He wants to smile and tease you for being such a nerd, but the weight of Yoojung’s presence makes him reinforce those walls of indifference tenfold. 
He exhales frustration and inhales temptation, looking back into Yoojung’s familiar eyes and nodding. Jungkook walks to a nearby bench and sits down with no words exchanged, looking forward coldly even when he feels her warmth next to him. A couple months ago, Jungkook would have set all his canvases on fire to feel her beside him again. Now, he’s not so sure.
“So…”, she starts, “who’s that cute girl you were with?” 
“No one.” He shoots out a little too soon with no hesitation. Yoojung gulps.
“You know Jungkook, it’s okay to find someone. I-I know I hurt you, but I’m glad if you’ve found someone who doesn’t.” Jungkook doesn’t say anything so she continues.
“I’m really happy for-”
“I never really forgave you Yoojung.” He stares blankly at the passersby and tries to ignore the ache in his bones. The one that’s been there the day she left and took a piece of his heart with her. 
“And I don’t want to blame you for my decisions but I want you to know that I push away a lot of people because of you. People that don’t deserve it.” From the corner of his eye, he can see her nod solemnly to his words and fidget with her hands in her lap. Part of him feels guilty for unloading on Yoojung. Part of him feels like maybe he deserves to. 
“What you did was really shitty. Astronomically fucking shitty. And I’ve spent the past eternity hating you and maybe I still do, but…”, Jungkook takes a deep breath, “I want to forgive you now. If not fully, then partially. I hope you can understand that.” He finally tilts his head to look at her and though the smile on her face is as beautiful as he remembers it to be, Jungkook no longer feels the longing. No longer feels the sting that he usually does when his thoughts take him back to the years they spent together. 
Jungkook doesn’t want to call it closure, not yet anyway. Sitting here on the bench, he still wants to scream and yell and tell Yoojung of all the nights he’s spent alone since she left. He still wants to drag her back and wonder if she could love him again like she used to. 
But he doesn’t. He listens when she tells him about her new job and her new apartment right by the lakeside. They share snippets of their separate lives. Just deep enough to rekindle something warm but shallow enough to not invite anything else in. 
When he walks away from the bench and into the bookstore, Jungkook stills feels the walls that he has built around himself. He is still scared of opening up and being vulnerable but the anger held for Yoojung for so long is no longer a raging fire. More so a wickering flame. 
When he spots you, though, he remembers why he built those walls in the first place. He remembers how easy it used to be for him to climb a high peak and fall to his demise. Your eyes widen when you catch sight of him, lips curling into a wide smile and clear excitement in your expression. The book in your hands is tossed aside and tunnel vision reserved for him and him only. Something blooms in his chest and he can’t remember the last time someone’s been so elated to just simply see him...aside from his dog. Jungkook reminds himself to act uncaring. If he pretends long enough, he’ll start to believe it himself. 
The train ride home feels longer than the one there. The minutes drag by and perhaps it is because of your drooping eyes or the way Jungkook is looking at you with a different tenderness than he has been before. His stare is not harsh. It’s soft and sweet, but subtle enough for you to wonder if you are just imagining it. The night has always been unforgiving and cold even in the spring, but perhaps all that’s needed to breathe some warmth, is a 15 minute train ride and a wrist with a crescent moon.
Yet every time you become more smitten with Jungkook, there is a harsh reminder that follows you everywhere like a designated storm cloud. 
Jungkook does not love you. And you are trying and you will continue to try but his eyes tell you something he is too courteous to say. You see it now as he sits across from you and admires the skyline from the window. It makes you wonder if it is soulmates he doesn’t believe in, or if it is just you that he can’t bring himself to accept. With every cold glance and wall that he puts up, you start to convince yourself that it is the latter.
“We’re here, Y/N”, Jungkook speaks quietly, interrupting your drifting thoughts. He turns around and leaves the train car with hands tucked in his coat pocket. Did you expect him to escort you out and hold your hand? Of course not. But you were tired of Jungkook being so indifferent to your existence. 
You follow him glumly out the doors that slide close after you step through. Then it zips off again and you wonder where it would have taken you if you just stayed in your seat. If Jungkook would have even noticed that you hadn’t followed him when he left. 
You sigh into the night air and wish it was winter so that your breath could be visible as a white cloud. Maybe then Jungkook would notice that you were a living being beside him. 
“Who was that girl that we met back there?”, you murmur hesitantly. Jungkook nearly chokes on air. 
“No one”, he responds curtly, effectively cutting off the conversation then and there. It makes your heart sink. She must be important and all you want to do is know every single detail about their relationship, but the look in his eyes warn you to not pry. 
You don’t think you can forget the way Jungkook looked at her from across the street. Like he had been lost this whole time and she was the North star. You saw the way his eyes twinkled in the midday sun and sparkled even more when she came closer. You wonder if you’ll ever be able to have that effect on him. 
“Hey, next time you should pick a place you and I both do not live in”, you giggle, nudging his shoulder with your own. It makes him smile and even though your heart feels heavy in your chest, Jungkook looks so beautiful when he smiles. 
The two pair of feet subconsciously carry you both to the front door of your apartment building and the scene is too familiar from the last time. You expect him to turn around and whisper a hushed goodnight under his breath, and you’ll have to watch the back of his head disappear down the street. But he doesn’t. Just stands across from you quietly and waits for you to say something. So you do. 
“Jungkook, I’m sorry if I brought up something you didn’t want to remember. I don’t really know your story but it seems you two have a lot of history.” You want to tell him how hard it is for you to be his soulmate when he is so clearly vying for the warmth of someone else. Someone who didn’t have a crescent moon on her wrist. 
“I know you’ll tell me whenever you’re ready, and if that’s never then I’ll keep waiting until forever. But I’m here if you want to talk or unload and I already know I can help because…” you fidget with your hands and look around nervously. 
“Well, because I’m your soulmate.” 
When you say it loud and explicitly, Jungkook thought the statement would have made him recoil. But it doesn’t. It just seeps through his consciousness and feels warm when he thinks about the weight of those words. You are his soulmate, regardless of if he believes in such a thing or not. You carry the same mark as he does on your wrist and somehow, by some intangible factor, the universe had decided that you were created for him and he for you. 
And when he looks at you. Really looks at you. When Jungkook processes your sincere words and how you manage to deal with his insurmountable boundaries even when you barely know him…
Jungkook has never wanted to kiss you more. 
So he does. 
Your lips taste like mint chewing gum and the ghost of words you wish to tell him but can’t. He feels you stiffen until you completely melt in his hold, and Jungkook cradles your face with both his hands, pulling you closer to him until there is no barrier between you but the clothes on your back and the emotional distance. You feel so far away even when you’re this near. Was it a trick of your imagination when you felt the moon on your wrist tingling? 
It doesn’t last as long as you would’ve liked it to. Jungkook yanks his hands from you like your skin scalded him and takes several steps back. His chest rises up and down violently when his breath comes out ragged, posture stiffening as the gravity of what just happened finally absorbs. You’re there, he knows you’re there and standing in front of him. So why is it he can only see Yoojung. Yoojung and the star on her wrist and apologies on her lips. Yoojung and the tears in her eyes when she walks away. 
You can only stare confusedly when his body goes rigid, and a sudden coldness envelops you both. 
And in the haze of post-embrace, like any two normal lovers, you catch something in his eyes that sets a heavy feeling in your stomach. Before you can confirm if it’s just a trick of the light, Jungkook is already running in the opposite direction and you can only see a shadow of sullen love that follows him. He is gone and you are standing alone, wondering how moonlight could feel so cold even on a spring night. 
You don’t get any sleep that night. Every time you close your eyes, there is only the sight of Jungkook’s disgust and regret to lull you to dreams. 
20 minutes away from your apartment, there is a boy who doesn’t sleep either. He won’t text or call to tell you that he can’t shake off the feeling of your skin on his and your breath fanning his cheek. He won’t admit to himself that tonight, when he looked at you, he felt the possibility of falling in love. He won’t tell you that the moon on his skin longs to be traced by your hands. No, he just shares those secrets with his pillow as its linen soaks up his tears. 
In the midst of it all, there is one verdict that becomes clear to him.
Jungkook wishes he had never told Jimin he needed a muse.
The next three weeks is dedicated to trying to get in touch with your soulmate. Through the whirlwinds of utter confusion and desperation, you try texting, calling, emailing, even showing up at his art studio and apartment to no avail. It seemed he had a talent for avoiding soulmates. 
It hurt, to say the least. That he left you high and dry after giving you the most intense
kiss of your life and doesn’t even have the decency to let you know he’s alive. The feeling of his lips still burns on your skin and you wonder if you are a complete fool for being so smitten with a person who, quite possibly, hasn’t spared you a single thought after that night. You just want - no you just need some clarity. 
Jungkook makes you wait another week before replying. 
It is an impossibly sunny day when you wake up. Your neck is stiff from sleeping like a contortionist and your heart aches even more than your muscles with every passing morning with radio silence from your soulmate. You want to call him and tell him you’re sorry. That you’ll forget anything ever happened. It hurts to even think about it, but for Jungkook, you would go through a little more pain so he would let you into his life. 
Outside the hall, Jimin is singing along to a familiar melody of a song you don’t know the name of and judging by the aroma that wafts through the cracks of your door, he has successfully made a pot of coffee. He has been an anchor throughout this whole thing, and sometimes you make a secret wish to the stars that Jimin had been the one with a crescent moon on his wrist instead. Perhaps that way, you wouldn’t have to go through the agony of chasing love that is constantly sprinting away from you. 
Your phone lays on the bedside table and buzzes innocently to start the morning. When you reach over and scroll through notifications routinely, there is a name there that makes your heart pang. Makes you want to throw up and celebrate at the same time. A text from Jungkook. Your fingers shake as you open it. 
I no longer need a model for the portfolio. Thank you for your involvement. Compensation will be provided promptly. 
The day you met him, you already knew that Jungkook was cold. He never dawdled around a painful truth or toed the line between bluntness and sparing feelings. Jungkook spoke his mind, collateral damage be damned. But this is a different type of cold. This one feels more like dry ice on warm skin. Like the numbing chill of a fading hope. Like winter’s first snowfall when autumn had promised you it would forever stay. 
Phone in your hand and tears threatening to drip down your cheeks, you wish you would have waited a bit more before opening his text. Perhaps that way you could have spent the rest of your morning basking in the spring sun, drinking Jimin’s inevitably bad coffee, having hope that Jeon Jungkook would grow to care for you. Perhaps if you hadn’t opened it so soon, your soulmate would still seem in reach. 
Jimin’s mug nearly drops out of his hand when the door of your bedroom is slammed open. He flings it to the side when he notices your red-rimmed eyes and the shaking hands that clutch onto a cellphone. You scream and sob at the universe, at anyone, asking why it was you that had to experience the chaos of longing. Jimin was there to hold you, as he always is, and helplessly listen to the sound of your heart breaking once again by the hands of Jungkook.
Room 62B of the art building is a place you hope to never have to visit again. Though it’s walls contain memories of you and Jungkook, and the evenings navigating his gallery portfolio along with your convoluted relationship, the wallpaper bleeds with a longing ache. A yearning pain. And if those walls could talk, you don’t think you would want them to say anything at all. They would only murmur what you are slowly accepting to be true.
Jungkook, your soulmate, wants nothing to do with you. 
When you hesitantly rap on the door with a fisted hand, the sound of him rustling from inside makes you want to run the opposite direction. It opens before you get the chance to change your mind and the sight of him nearly takes your breath away. He is beautiful as he always is, hair ruffled and mussed from undoubtedly running his hands through it compulsively. His lips are pink from biting on them and the dark circles under his eyes tells you of the dreams he has deprived himself of. 
Jungkook is painfully gorgeous and painfully not yours. 
“Y/N...I sent you a text earlier.” His voice is saccharine but the words taste so bitter. 
“I know. I read it”, you murmur, shrinking in on yourself. 
“I....Can we talk, Jungkook?” 
His eyes dart around nervously at your question, chewing on his bottom lip and tapping the toe of his shoe as if he was impatient and you were bothering him. And you have known that simply being around Jungkook hurts but the light at the end of the tunnel only continues dwindling. 
You understand why he is acting so restless when your gaze drifts past him and into the room. There is a girl perched on a stool, across from a canvas and easel that you know awfully well. You don’t recognize her but it’s only in your nature to begin comparing every aspect of yourself to this stranger. She sits on her hands and swings her legs back and forth, head in the clouds and eyes trailing the ceiling. She isn’t aware of the weight of her presence in the studio, nor the turmoil she has brought to you, who is standing just outside the door. 
The oxygen in the hallway thins and the breath you’ve been waiting to release since knocking catches in your throat. Coming here, you prepared yourself for a long and inevitably heart-wrenching talk with your soulmate. But you hadn’t prepared for the possibility that he had replaced you overnight. 
The only thought that blares through your mind is that this is your fault. For letting yourself think you were worth more to Jeon Jungkook than any other stranger. You can no longer find it in yourself to be angry at him. Just yourself. 
“You…”, you gulp down a whimper, “you replaced me.” 
Jungkook follows your vacant stare past him and sighs, realizing you had most likely deducted what this scene looked like. You would be right. Between the weeks of trying to understand what you were to him and the impending due date of the portfolio, Jungkook was sure the best way to move past this confusion was to just speed full steam ahead. That meant finding another muse. You were no longer an option.
You only stare down at the floor, but Jungkook begins speaking anyway. 
“Y/N, I…I’m sorry.” You scoff at his words, feigning anger when inside, you truly didn’t know if you could piece yourself back together this time. 
“Look, Y/N. It’s not you. It’s just that…”, he breathes deep, not knowing why it was so hard to say. “I’ve stopped believing soulmates were truly a thing a long time ago. I’m sorry.” 
It’s not the first time you’ve heard these words but it doesn’t mean they hurt any less.
“I didn’t want to initiate anything, Y/N, but you did and I let you and that was my fault to let anything start. I shouldn’t have when I knew nothing would come of it.”
It was a fault to him. It never should have happened. 
“So you just thought you would kiss me and decide that I meant nothing to you afterwards?”
“It was a mistake.” It was painful to think it but when you hear Jungkook say it, you experience a new kind of ache. A humorless chuckle bubbles past your throat.
 “I really thought you would grow to love me. Now I know it’s not your fault that I’m a complete fool. To fall head over heels for my soulmate who wishes he had never even met me. Much less share a mark.” 
You can see Jungkook’s eyes widen at your confession, but you can’t find it in yourself to care. It was the truth. He deserved to hear it. 
“You shouldn’t. You can’t.” He reaches up to pull at his hair frustratedly.
“Can’t what, Jungkook? Love you? You think I want to be in love with someone who wishes I didn’t exist?” You hate your voice for breaking, but its impossibly painful when he does nothing to deny your statement. 
“What do you want me to say, Y/N? What can I say to make this better?”
Try: I love you too.
“I don’t need you to say anything you don’t mean, Jungkook.” 
“Then shouldn’t you leave?”
Jeon Jungkook is cruel even when he doesn’t mean to be. There is oblivion in his gaze, and his question is one of genuine curiosity. But it still stabs you exactly where your heart is most tender. Yes, I should have left. 
“I guess I thought you were worth the pain, Jungkook. When you pushed me away and wanted nothing to do with me, I thought you were worth hurting for just to try a little more. Worth the uncertainty of being around you but never getting to actually be with you”, you numbly mutter, uncaring about the rivulets of tears down your face. Not like it wasn’t something he’s never seen before. There is more to come on the tip of your tongue, and Jungkook stays quiet to let you speak. There is conflict in his vision, but you don’t want to give yourself the false hope that he cares for you. 
Look where that has gotten you before. 
“You still are, you know. Worth it.” You release a shaky breath. “But I was stupid to think that I am too.”
Saying the words are revelation for you as much as it is for him. All this time, you’ve been running away from the truth in the pursuit of your soulmate. You hadn’t realized that the chase led you astray. 
“And I know that loving me is not easy. I’m…”, you force the words out so he can at least hear your turmoil by his hands. “I’m never really good enough for anyone. Why did I expect that I would be good enough for you?” 
Jungkook’s expression crumples into a frown. “Y/N, no, that’s not what I mean-”
“You don’t have to tell me what you mean, Jungkook. I meet you and the first thing you say is that you don’t believe in such a thing. I try to get close to you and all you know to do is push me away. And I try so hard to be enough but how can I when Yoojung still has your heart? So you don’t have to say it. I know what you mean.” You’ve stopped crying but the ache relents, and you can only look desperately at the boy who’s slipping from your grasp with every passing second. 
“I’m sorry.” The message is redundant.
“I can’t…” Rip off the bandaid. 
“I just can’t love you.”
The words make their way past his lips before he can stop them, and they shoot through your core ruthlessly. A sharpened dagger to soft flesh. It manifests itself in a physical pain that reverberates across your chest, and when the last strength left in you is used to stare at Jungkook through a pained and teary gaze, you are deaf to everything but those four words.
I can’t love you.
I can’t love you. 
I can’t love you. 
You’re not sure what he is sorry for at this point. If Jungkook is apologizing for not loving you, you don’t blame him. If he is sorry for entertaining the possibility, you don’t blame him. If he is sorry that you are the one with a crescent moon on your wrist, well...you don’t blame him either. All your life you cherished it like some kind of gift from the universe. Now, nursing your crumbling soul in front of Jungkook, you wish it had never appeared in the first place. 
You shake your head, tucking your lip in between your teeth to stop the sob in your chest from escaping. Through the crack of the door Jungkook hadn’t shut fully, the girl was still there, patiently sitting where you were supposed to and making herself scarce after inevitably hearing you bare your heart to a boy who had no interest in it. 
Humiliation goes hand in hand with heartbreak, and the embarrassment that comes with confessing your love and insecurity urges your feet to run home. But even you cannot deprive yourself of looking at him one more time. 
His wavy head of hair. The scar on his cheekbone that makes him look even more beautiful, if that were possible. The gloss in his dark brown eyes, and the way he looks at you through stone cold walls. You commit it to memory, however painful, before you walk out of his life. 
“Be happy, Jungkook.” 
You truly mean it. 
 The sound of your footsteps getting farther away from him is a sound Jungkook thinks he’ll remember for a long time. It almost prompts him to run after you, cradle you to his chest, and profess how sorry he is again and again until you can truly feel the sincerity. But he doesn’t. Only remains behind the self-procured walls and watches when your figure disappears down the hallway. 
Cold. Unbothered. Indifferent. That’s what he had always told himself when it came to you. But the hallway feels so lonely and the ghost of your presence feels even lonelier, and Jungkook wonders if he had been wrong. 
He walks back into the studio, permanent frown on his face and shoulders hunched over in stress. The paintbrush feels like a stranger rather than an extension of his arm, as it always does, but Jungkook begins painting anyway. Looking at the girl in front of him, he is reminded of the look on your face when you realized he had replaced you completely in the span of three weeks, without even giving you a notice. Her presence in his art studio suddenly feels entirely suffocating. 
“Mina, Get out.” 
“What?”
“Get out of my studio. I don’t need you as a model, anymore. Thanks.” His voice cut through the tension of the room, like a hot knife to butter. He recognizes it as the voice he always forces himself to use around you, and grows even more aggravated. 
The girl scoffs annoyedly, snatching her handbag from the floor and rushing out of the room. Obviously she had thought something more was to come from Jungkook’s art arrangement. He made sure to let her know that was not the case. 
There is a gnawing in his chest. Deep and subtle, but it becomes more prominent as the window view from his studio turns from blue to black. He ponders about spending the night in here, instead of going home to his bedroom where he is forced to consult with the agony of solitude. On top of everything today, Jungkook doesn’t think he can handle that. 
Every time he closes his eyes, he sees the pain in your face when he tells you that he can’t love you and he hears the shaking in your voice when you tell him the things that weighed on your soul. He thought the word “wither” was only reserved for flowers. Jungkook didn’t realize a person could wither until he saw it right in front of him. 
In truth, he didn’t know. He didn’t know if he could love you or not. And to Jungkook, that was already a feat in itself. He’s spent so many months convincing himself that his emotional fortress was impregnable. So many nights over whiskey bottles telling himself that love was only for fools and pretenders. To be uncertain about love, now, well...that’s something he is not yet ready to admit to himself. Much less admit to you. But letting you any closer was a fatal game. 
Being uncertain about love means being uncertain about getting hurt. Jungkook has a feeling he wouldn’t make it out in one piece if his heart fell into wrong hands. 
He does end up returning to his apartment that night. But the walk feels far too long and the air feels far too frigid, or perhaps is it because he can’t hear the tread of your footsteps beside him? 
Whatever the reason, tonight feels more lonely.
The stars tell him it’s because he does not like the person he’s alone with. 
Back in room 62B, there is an abandoned painting on a rickety easel. He hadn’t even had the will to wash out his paintbrush, and he’s sure he’ll pay for it the next day. Looking at the piece now, his professor would tell him that there’s too many colors. Too much contrast and nearly not enough depth in his strokes. But what was he to do when he had kicked out his new model and couldn’t get the image of your visible heartbreak out of his brain? 
A familiar wrist with a quaint crescent moon sits on the canvas, and he sure as hell didn’t use Mina as the inspiration. Jungkook reminds himself to throw out the painting tomorrow morning. 
The grease on Jimin’s skillet pan is always so hard to clean. The dish soap never truly cuts through the oil, and no matter how much you rinse it over with scalding water, it still feels soiled. On a normal day, it wouldn’t frustrate you so much. Today, a month-and-a-half after your soulmate made it clear to you that you had no place in his life, you want to throw the pan out the window and cry on the kitchen floor until it collapses with the weight of your tears. 
You settle for throwing down the sponge and making Jimin wash his own dishes.
The phone-that you usually now tend to ignore-buzzes on the counter, and you groan at your complete lack of desire to answer it. But the screen lights up with your roommate’s name and you hit the green button. 
“Y/N! How are you feeling, lovebug?” Jimin’s cheerful tone on speakerphone makes you want to cry. You can only imagine how terrible it is for him to be your roommate when all you know how to do now is mope and cry about a boy who probably hasn’t thought about you since. But he’s been holding you through all your breakdowns, and even sets up the air mattress on the floor of your bedroom when some nights are a little bit harder than most. 
“I’ve had better days”, you glare at the pan in the sink. “What’s up?’
“So I have a friend…”
“Jimin, no.” 
He sighs over the phone understandingly, but still not satisfied. “I know it’s only been a month Y/N, but it doesn’t have to be anything. He’s not looking for anything serious either. But maybe it would be good for you to take your mind off things.” 
It’s been a month. Four weeks. Roughly 31 days, and you still remember every word he said to you in the hallway of the art building. Every pause and quiver of his breath, and the way he looked so completely indifferent to your pain. Was one month enough for you to let go even after finding out Jungkook never planned to hold on in the first place?
“Look, you don’t have to decide now. I’m sorry for pushing you if you’re not ready.” His mumbling is apologetic and it makes you realize that Jimin genuinely means well. Maybe you weren’t ready to move on from Jungkook yet. Maybe you never will be. He was your damn soulmate, after all. But maybe a distraction couldn’t hurt.
“Okay.”
“Okay?”
“I’ll do it.” 
You can practically feel him smiling like an idiot over the phone. “Really?!” You sigh into the speaker and Jimin knows better to continue talking before you change your mind.
“His name is Namjoon, he works with me at the office. Super cute. Super hot. Super smart. Checks all your boxes!”, he rambles on about the nitty gritty details and though a part you is proud that you’re making the decision to move on with life, you can’t help but to realize that no one will ever be able to “check all your boxes”.
Not if they’re not Jungkook. 
“He sounds great, Jimin.” Anyone can tell your happiness is disingenuous, even through the phone. Jimin tells you that he had already planned a date (without your knowledge), and sends you on your way with a quick goodbye when his taxi arrives. The silence of the apartment after the conversation leaves you feeling even more weighted, but hopeful for the possibility of a distraction. You had a feeling you won’t be able to forget the likes of Jeon Jungkook if you tried. But, if only for a night, you were to forget the pain of loving him, you’ll take that chance. 
“What do you mean they all ‘feel the same’?” Jungkook is exasperated. He had drafted a complete version of his portfolio, working through the nights by the sweat of his brow. Now his professor was telling him that all his pieces felt the same and Jungkook thinks he might commit arson to the art studio.
Professor Sejin sighs contemplatively, taking off his glasses and throwing them on the table, all too familiar with Jungkook’s periodic art tantrums. 
“I mean that your pieces lack any variegation. The portfolio is well done and coherent, but the completed package is one-noted. It’s consistent. But too much so.”
Professor Sejin’s words make him fall back into the chair dejectedly, shoulders slumped and disappointment in his eyes at the critique of his art. Though it is hard to hear, Jungkook always welcomes productive criticism. The older man sympathizes with his downcast eyes and the visible stress on his back. 
“Look, Jungkook”, he affirms sincerely, “you just need to find some dynamic. Something to make people know that you can do more than one tone of art.” It’s obvious that the professor has a soft spot for the boy in front of him, who looks like his entire world is collapsing. The portfolio folder is handed back to him and Jungkook has the urge to burn it and not hear the word “gallery” again in the next decade. 
“I have faith in you. You’ll figure out what it is that you’re missing.” The smile on the man’s face is congenial. Genuine. And even though he has an ambitious amount of work to do, Jungkook finds the will to nod, haul himself off the office chair, and begin the trek back to his studio. 
The pinnacle of spring is approaching and the sun shines brighter with each morning. Not that he would know or care. He’s spent the last month locking himself inside, dedicating every fluid ounce of energy towards completing his project. It’s been surprisingly easier, and Jungkook finds himself finishing paintings, sketches, and sculptures with ease. Like untapped inspiration had revealed itself to him suddenly. Yet it still wasn’t enough...at least not according to Professor Sejin. 
Headphones drown out the cacophony of hustlers and bustlers with the laughter of children as accompaniment. He doesn’t allow himself to enjoy the music of the city. Not anymore. It gives him too much space to think, and Jungkook has a feeling that’s not good for anyone and definitely not good for him. 
The sight of a familiar bakery with particularly delicious apple strudels is enough to stop him in his rush, feet winding down until he is standing outside, staring at the door and wondering if he could go in without being reminded of you. Well, it might be too late for that anyhow, but further signs of protest are halted when he hears his growling stomach. 
Jungkook had morbidly underestimated your presence in the memory of his favorite cafe. You are everywhere. He sees your smiling face when he looks up at the chalkboard menu, soul vying for you to be next to him and excitedly choosing a new fru-fru drink that would undoubtedly have excessive sugar. He hears your giggles ruminating through the cafe while the other patrons only hear the music over loudspeaker. He practically feels you near, but that doesn’t matter now. It’s better this way. No one gets hurt this way. 
Jungkook plops himself at a corner table and buries his face in his hands, fingertips soothing over his pulsing eyebags and wrinkles he’s gotten from sleep deprivation. He desperately needs an espresso shot. Or five. 
“Hey…”, a voice makes him snap his head up. Jungkook recognizes the stranger as the owner’s son, who always stands guard at the cash register. The tag on his lapel reads Kim Seokjin, and Jungkook has a distant memory of you gushing over how nice Seokjin’s hair was. He had acted unbothered back then, but Jungkook would die before telling a soul that he was annoyed and jealous when you thought the cashier was cute. 
“Jungkook, right?”. He has a kind smile and a natural air of invitation. Jungkook nods. 
“I’ve seen you around a lot. Where’s that girl you always come here with?”
“I don’t see how that’s any of your business”, he nearly hisses, antsy at the mere mention of you. He instantly regrets it though. Seokjin looks like he’s been cornered with a blunt weapon, and it makes Jungkook sigh at his own asshole-ishness. 
“I’m sorry”, he mumbles, “just not a good day. At all.” 
There is a pause and hesitation before the boy speaks. “Do you...wanna talk about it?” Seokjin’s question is met with silence. 
There is a predictability about Jeon Jungkook. He doesn’t open himself up to anyone. He pretends that he doesn’t have problems so well, people start to become convinced. He avoids new connections like it’s the plague. But there is something so idiosyncratic about Kim Seokjin that makes him want to talk. Makes him want to trust a complete stranger. 
So Jungkook nods, depositing his black backpack besides him and lets himself breathe deep. 
“Her name is Y/N….”
In the lukewarm air of the café, Jungkook tells Seokjin about you. About the tiny crescent moon on your wrist that identically matches his - even unwraps his cloth to show it - and how he pushed you away hard enough to put an ocean’s worth of distance between the two of you. He tells Seokjin about Yoojung and the stars on her skin that have been plaguing him since the day she left. He tells him about that damn portfolio that refuses to be finished; one that he apparently has to start over because Professor goddamn Sejin says it's too boring. He allows himself to unload, and wow is it easier to breathe when you talk about your feelings. Jungkook reminds himself to do that more often. 
The “conversation” seems to stretch for hours (if a conversation can be considered one person unleashing all their hidden baggage on the other while they sit in silence). Jin listens intently through the entire ordeal, offering occasional nods and encouragement for him to continue. When Jungkook finally finishes with a deep breath, falling back on the chair looking completely worn out, Jin fixes him with a hot tea before speaking.
“The portfolio is important to you, Jungkook. If it’s important to you, you’ll find a way. Something tells me that you’re not one to give up so easily”, he quips with a playful lilt in his voice. Jin’s genuine faith in him makes Jungkook believe in himself.
“And as for Yoojung, well, I can’t speak on your pain. You are the only one that narrates your experiences but as much as she seems like a villain in your story, perhaps she has opened a door.” Jungkook thinks his voice sounds far too wise to be coming from a guy in his 20’s.
“Would you have known how to nurse a broken heart had it not been for her? I’m sorry she did that to you, Jungkook, but..Yoojung is your past. And I see so much in your future.” 
Jungkook only stares into the abyss of his tea cup. The reflection that stares back is someone he desperately wants to learn to love. When he looks up again, there is a sad glimmer in Seokjin’s gaze. Something so despondent that he feels second-hand pain. 
Jin pulls up the sleeve of his knit sweater. On his wrist sits a faded marigold, so blanched it almost blends in with his skin and makes him wonder if it will just disappear one day. Jungkook feels his blood run cold.
“It’s been two years since she died”, he stares solemnly at his skin, “I don’t think a day has gone by that I haven’t thought about her.” 
Jungkook’s thought about his soulmate mark disappearing before. Even hoped and prayed for it the days after Yoojung left. But now, when he sees it up close on Seokjin’s wrist, Jungkook doesn’t want to wish that loneliness upon anyone. 
“She was so damn...persistent”, Jin laughs, fondness dripping in every word. “Like your Y/N in that way, I suppose. She had a goal and was hell-bent on achieving it. She was so kind and strong and much more of a badass than I could ever be. I loved that about her.” There is sorrow in his voice when he uses the past tense, and Jungkook feels even worse for pouring his heart out about his very alive soulmate. 
“She was studying to be a doctor, you know? Ironic that even the best doctors couldn’t have saved her in the end.” His sentence trails off and he loses focus gazing out the window, fidgeting with the ring on his left hand with a faraway look in his eyes. 
“I don’t mean to ramble about my dead soulmate for no reason, Jungkook. And I’m in no position to tell you what you should or should not do regarding Y/N. But if I could restart this life with my soulmate, there wouldn’t be one second I would waste not at her side.” Jin’s tone is not accusatory or convicting. Just honest.
“It’s normal to be scared and apprehensive. Hell, I would be more concerned if you weren’t going into it with a shit ton of skepticism. I was terrified. Yet out of the billions of people that could’ve had my mark on their wrist, just knowing that she was that one was enough for me to love her.”
The cup of tea has long gone cold. Jungkook only manages to stare at the mahogany table, thoughts too heavy to voice aloud, so Jin continues. 
“I think I would give anything to know that such a person still exists for me. Someone out there that was chosen by an unknown, cosmic force for an unexplainable reason just for me. To see a mark that matches my own. Well…”, Jin breathes deeply, tears welling in his eyes but not falling, “I think that must be the most wonderful thing in the entire world.”
Seokjin’s words stick with him long after he has departed from the café. Long after the tea has settled in his stomach along with the weight of what a soulmate means to this stranger whose life story he has learned in the course of an evening. 
Even so, Jungkook’s not sure what he should feel. The fear of vulnerability still feels like a designated thundercloud above his head, and the thought of letting you past his walls makes Jungkook want to run the other way.
At the same time, the trepidation doesn’t feel so heavy anymore. It’s still there, and he can’t pinpoint exactly what happened but when he sees your smiling face behind his eyelids, Jungkook doesn’t feel scared. When he focuses on what you look like under sunlight, or your eyes staring at him through a camera lens, there is no fear of the broken heart you could leave him with. Just something warm. Something that feels an awful lot like...love?
 But what does Jungkook know about such things? 
He shrugs it off his shoulders, and readies himself for a night of inevitably restless sleep. He blames it on the impending due date of his beloved portfolio, but really, it is you. You and your insistence on trying every single coffee shop in the city. You and your convoluted idea of a date; letting your partner choose the location with their eyes closed. You and…
Just everything about you. 
He falls asleep well into 4am. The thin strap of cloth sits on his bedside table. Even if it is only for the night sky to see, Jungkook lets his soulmate mark breathe. 
It’s been so long since you’ve dressed up or cleaned up to go out anywhere, the reflection that stares back feels like a stranger. You’ve opted for a bold red lip, meticulously applying your makeup so that even the wing of your eyeliner was sharp enough to kill. Jimin forced you to curl your hair too, of course. The girl in the mirror looks beautiful. You know that she is beautiful.
So why is it that you can only see the face that is not enough for Jeon Jungkook? A person that he is unable to love. No, not even foundation can cover the face of longing.
“Y/N”, Jimin sing-songs, “hurry! You don’t wanna be late do you?” No, you don’t want to be late. You want to not go. Maybe retreat to your bedroom and cry the night away again. But you won’t tell him that when he is so clearly ecstatic that you’re spending a night out for the first time in months. 
The restaurant looks like it is entirely out of your budget. Well, you reckon any restaurant is out of your budget with all the debt that looms overhead and your painfully apparent unemployment. Waiting for Namjoon is less than exhilarating, and you spend the time fiddling with your bracelet that conveniently covers the crescent moon. These days, you can’t bear to look at it anymore. Your eyes are glued to the little mark, before a voice sounds from across the table.
“Sorry I’m late, traffic was insane. You must be Y/N, nice to meet you.” You weren’t sure what you expected Kim Namjoon to look like but were pleasantly surprised. Namjoon looks like he takes care of himself, neat and clean and sporting a very shiny watch that looks like 4 months’ worth of rent. 
“And you must be Namjoon. Likewise.” 
When he pulls out the chair to sit down, you can’t help but to notice the cloud on his wrist. It was smaller than yours but you had no doubt it felt just as heavy. If Namjoon felt your gaze on his skin, he did nothing to show it. 
“Hey, I know I just got here but…”, he sighs and takes a look around the room, “do you wanna get out of here? Find the cheapest and greasiest food we can?” His request makes you smile, and you grab the purse that rested on the table. 
“Namjoon, I think that’s the best idea you’ve had yet.” 
You and Namjoon manage to find a diner that wasn’t far from the fancy restaurant, and you thank the skies that you didn’t have to pay $50 for a salad tonight. Just some pocket change for quite possibly the best and oiliest hamburger you’ve ever had. 
By conversation that happens through mouthfuls of food and faces smeared with milkshake residue, you come to learn that Namjoon is an unsurprisingly nice guy. He studies poetry, but is working as a secretary at an office, hence his connection to Jimin. He loves to garden and talks about his bonsai plants to you like they’re his kids, even pulling up pictures on his phone and gazing down at them fondly. It makes you smile. He plays the piano, and likes to take long bike rides when the weather permits. 
It’s nice to have someone reciprocate your effort. It’s something you haven’t experienced in a long time, all credit to one Jeon Jungkook. Namjoon is warm in all the corners where Jungkook is cold. 
In a word, he is pretty damn perfect. And if he had a crescent moon on his wrist, you probably wouldn’t bat an eye or have a lick of doubt in the universe. He encompasses everything you want, so alike you in so many aspects it makes you wary. If Namjoon had your matching soulmate mark, you would already be in love with him. 
But he doesn’t. And that thought alone keeps you from feeling anything but platonicity. He is not Jungkook. You don’t think anyone can make you feel the way Jungkook does. You want to curse the stars for making this so. 
It’s well into the night, and you both remain planted in the diner booth, chatting and chuckling over a plate of french fries. It’s when you drift off while he’s talking about his latest attempt at focaccia that Namjoon sighs and sits back in the seat. 
“What?”, you confusedly ask after he suddenly stops speaking.
He smiles. Stays silent for a couple seconds. Then speaks. 
“So what did your soulmate do to you?”
His question catches you off guard and you can only stare at him, frown on your face and words lost on your tongue. 
“You’ve been staring into space every 5 minutes this whole night, and fidgeting with your bracelet so much I’m surprised it hasn’t fallen off”, he explains, tenderness and sympathy in his tone. 
“Every time I speak, you have this sad look in your eyes and I have a feeling you’re imagining someone else’s face, Y/N. I’ve enjoyed talking to you...a lot. But I can tell you want to be somewhere else so”, Namjoon places his elbows on the table and gazes at you endearingly, “tell me about your soulmate.” 
You stare at Namjoon through shocked eyes, glistening with the onset of tears that you manage to keep from escaping. Gosh, you were pathetic. Already wanting to cry at the mere mention of him. Or maybe the fact that someone could see through your facade. You take a deep breath. 
“His name is Jeon Jungkook.” Your voice quivers, and Namjoon continues listening intently. You are reluctant to continue because you know that once this conversation begins, there is a chance you might have to confront yourself again with the pain of loving someone who doesn’t want love. You internally apologize to Namjoon in advance, for you might cry on this first date. 
“I…I’m completely head over heels in love with him  but after everything, I’m not sure I have the slightest clue what love is. Because what sane person can fall in love with a person who has made it clear that that love wouldn’t be reciprocated from the get go?”
You fiddle with the plastic straw in your milkshake, searching for the courage to go on and tell him about every thought that you have denied yourself the satisfaction of verbalizing. 
“He loves apple strudels, you know. Eats them every time like they’re the last apple strudels he’ll ever have and he doesn’t give a damn who’s watching”, you chuckle, gaze drifting off to space. There is a fondness in your eyes as you speak, and Namjoon does not miss it. 
“He’s as punctual as the day is long. One time I was late to a photoshoot and he almost made me cry lecturing me about the importance of being on time. But now I’m never late.” 
The memory makes you, as well as Namjoon, smile. 
“He paints like his life depends on it, and he’ll get oil paint on his face without noticing and sometimes I just want to reach out and wipe it off. But I think he’d murder me on the spot.”
“How come?”, Namjoon offers his first words in the midst of your monologue. You’re not sure what to say next. 
“Well...I think Jeon Jungkook might be the coldest person I’ve ever met”, you dejectedly sigh. Reality tastes bitter even with remnants of whipped cream on your lips. 
“Every time I was around him, it felt like I was willingly breaking my own heart just for the chance to know that he was next to me. That in this entire world of billions of people, the one with the same moon on their wrist was next to me. And...I guess I didn’t really need him to love me yet”, your gaze locks onto Namjoon and you find he is already staring at you with utmost curiosity and subtle pity. 
“Jungkook alone was enough. I just wish he could have felt the same about me.” 
Perhaps the reason why the truth is so painful to speak is because people have a tendency to run from it. Then when it catches up to you, it’s a harsh trip and fall to the rocky ground. There is no cushion when you land. 
Namjoon doesn’t offer advice. Doesn’t dish his own experiences to relate to your own or even make any comments from his perspective. He just sits and listens in silence, but it doesn’t feel like he is disregarding you. No, his eyes tell you that he soaks in every word. You hope you’ll get the chance to do the same for him...if he ever decides to share his story with you. 
The two of you leave the diner with a prospective to be friends, and no plans of a future second date. You had a strong feeling that spending the entire evening talking about your unrequited soulmate love had something to do with that. Nevertheless, though Namjoon didn’t work out as a distraction, you were glad to have met him. It made you realize something.
Even if Jimin thought you were ready to move on. Even if you thought you were ready to forget. It might be a lifetime before you finally let go of that boy.
The morning reeks of rain and dew, humidity nearly clawing its way through his window and turning his apartment into a swamp. When he wakes up, it is not to his blaring alarm clock, but the uncomfortable sensation of a sweaty shirt sticking to his back. Jungkook groans, already tired of this day. It seems hopeless from the beginning. 
As much as he wanted to stay home and crank up the air conditioner so much that his landlord would come running, Professor Sejin’s voice reverberates through his eardrums.
You art is too one-noted, Jungkook.
Be better, Jungkook.
You’re talentless and will never succeed, Jungkook. 
Of course, these are not Professor Sejin’s verbatim, more so Jungkook’s own mind that twists his teacher’s constructive criticism into something else. He is a master at feeding his insecurity.
Jungkook chugs down a lukewarm cup of black coffee, and his stomach growls for something with a little more sugar and maybe a dash of rainbow colored sprinkles. He guesses he has you to thank for that. The art studio is always a daily destination, and this day is no different. Jungkook has a plan to dedicate himself to fixing his portfolio and maybe finish that clay piece he never got around to. 
The studio is too cold for his liking; Jungkook can’t remember how many times he has begged the superintendent to lower the AC. The cold he can deal with. The loneliness, however, is a different story. Jungkook is always alone. Alone when he’s in his apartment. Alone when he’s in class. Alone when he’s in the art room. These days, aloneness feels more haunting when he knows he had the option to escape it, but chose to stay. A part of him is ready to admit that it’s because of you. 
Jungkook hums a random melody that had been stuck in his head since the morning, fingers gliding over the slick sculpting clay. The days are easier now. He doesn’t think about you so much when the sun is out and there is the bustling of the busy city to distract him. The nights, however, are just as difficult as they have been. Jungkook’s last drifting thought is of you, and your face torturously carries over to each dream. Like his entire being misses you but he refuses to accept it. 
He takes a deep sigh in relief once the sculpture feels finished. Professor Sejin wanted something more dynamic, so there: his very own realist clay piece drawing inspiration from Praxiteles’ sculpture of Aphrodite. He sits back in pride, admiring his own handiwork and giving himself a mental pat on the back. It looks great. Perfect even. It looks….
It looks like you. 
Jungkook pales at the realization as the clay face stares back at him. No, this was supposed to be Aphrodite, the goddess of beauty and love, inspired by the ancient Greek artist that sculpted her. Then why does she have your nose? Those eyes are definitely your’s and even those cheeks are identical. Jungkook hadn’t even realized that in the rhythm of his art, he got lost and accidentally sculpted your face instead. 
He walks away from the clay table and hurriedly yanks off the soiled apron around his waist, confusion swimming in every cell of his body. How had he just...made a sculpture of you? With no knowledge that he was doing it?
Jungkook leans with his back against the sink, staring down at the floor with furrowed brows and a thundering heart. With a sudden epiphany, Jungkook leaps from his position and pulls out all the canvases, printed photographs, graphite drawings, and clay pieces he’s made for the past few months. Everything he can grab in the small studio space. 
It is then that he comes to the daunting realization:
Holy shit.
Professor Sejin was right.
 Everything feels the same. His whole portfolio has one note and no dynamic or diversity because...well, because all of his pieces are of you. Not you, necessarily, but your breath has come alive on his art in some way, shape, or form. 
The multimedia painting he made two weeks ago using polystyrene sheets was supposed to mimic sunlight through a stained glass window, but Jungkook hadn’t even noticed he'd drawn the window of the café you dragged him to on its opening day. And the colors of the glass is just the twinkle of your eyes when they stare back into his. 
The photoset he spent hours taking around the city, after taking a 15 minute train ride, were just repeats of all the places you two went to that one day. The book store. The park. The streetlight where Yoojung stopped him. He hadn’t even realized he only saved the photos associated with a subconscious memory of you. 
Jungkook can’t explain it, but he feels you in every single picture. Every piece of art that his hands have manifested since you walked into his life, stupid smile on your face and that little moon on your wrist. He feels it...and call it artist’s intuition or something but perhaps that’s why Professor Sejin could feel it too. 
Even though he stopped making you his muse months ago, you are still the root of inspiration for whatever he’s produced since. And if that’s not enough to finally tell him what he needs to hear. Finally make him realize that he’s fallen in love with you without even knowing it, the universe doesn’t know what will. 
The minutes it has been since he realized your place in his life melts like slow dripping honey, feeling like an eternity when it is mere moments. Jungkook regains his focus in the haze. He knows what you mean to him now, but there was something he had to fo first. 
He swipes all his paintbrushes and palette knives to the side, sweat on his brow as he furiously rearranges his portfolio. He takes out the pictures of Mina - no one would miss them anyway - and trashes all the photos he took before he met you. He only uses the art he’s created post-Y/N and tucks them in the manila folder so rapidly, there’s paper cuts on his fingers. But he doesn’t feel them. Jungkook has only one objective. 
He snaps a picture of the new clay sculpture he’s just finished. The photo goes into the portfolio with the name ‘Aphrodite’, but Jungkook knows better about whose face that truly belongs to. Not that anyone would bat an eye. He thinks you are as beautiful as the goddess herself. 
The trip to Professor Sejin’s office is short, unsurprising though, since Jungkook sprints the whole way there. When he arrives, and the professor can only stare as he’s bent over and huffing violently trying to catch his breath, Jungkook reminds himself to spend less time at the studio and more time on the cardio. 
He throws the portfolio onto the man’s desk unceremoniously, nearly collapsing on the chair across from him and not ready to speak yet. Professor Sejin confusedly rifles through the folder quickly, too quickly, and sighs, ready to offer Jungkook yet the same critique again. 
He opens his mouth, but Jungkook cuts him off. 
“Before you say anything…”, he gulps, finally ready to admit the truth to himself. 
“I want you to know that I’ve met my soulmate, a-and there’s a reason why you feel that my portfolio is all the same. There’s a reason why you feel it’s all one-noted or that there’s no progression.” Jungkook takes a deep breath and closes his eyes, and you are there behind his lids. 
“It’s because she sowed the seeds for all of them. Everything. Those paintings and photos and sculptures are just symptoms of what I’ve been feeling this whole time after meeting her. She’s practically the artist, not me.” Professor Sejin stays silent at his monologue, gaze unreadable but eyes sharp and trained solely on Jungkook. 
“Maybe...Maybe art doesn’t need to be super variegated all the time. Maybe it’s supposed to be a cohesive unit and the pieces should string to each other. Maybe paintings should have a relationship to photos and them, to sculptures. Maybe you’re just...wrong.” 
He is exasperated and passion flows out of him through every pore. Jungkook looks expectantly at his professor, who has the open folder in his hand and still in the process of taking in his words. When the adrenaline starts to fade, he realizes that he just dissed his venerable teacher. 
“With all due respect…”, he coughs, “sir.” 
Professor Sejin lets Jungkook spend the next couple minutes in complete torturous silence so that he can finish reviewing his portfolio. The tension is cut with the sound of the man’s hands slapping together as he closes the folder. Jungkook prepares himself for a stern lecture.
However, when he looks up, there is a smile on the man’s face. There’s no malice there, or even disdain. He pulls off his glasses, sets them on the table, and sits back in the office chair, arms folded over his chest. Jungkook can feel his heart threatening to pound past his rib cage. 
“Jungkook…”, Professor Sejin declares, “I think you’ve got a contender for the gallery spot.” 
If someone had asked you what Jeon Jungkook meant to you, you would look them in the eye and tell them that he meant nothing. Because it’s easier to pretend that someone does not mean anything to you after they pretend that you do not exist. That the universe had not given you both matching marks and deemed that your souls were meant for each other. Jeon Jungkook is a stranger to you. One that you wanted so badly to love. But you’ve come to learn that no matter how hard you try; you can’t love someone who doesn’t want to love at all.
So the days trickle by as they usually do. Painstakingly slow and viscous with memories of a boy named Jeon Jungkook and the way he has hurt you enough to last a little bit over forever. 
“I understand why you don’t want to go, Y/N. But aren’t you the least bit curious? Especially after that fancy invitation in the mail?” Jimin’s query is innocent. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t make your blood boil. 
“I don’t know...the thought of going to my soulmate’s grand art gallery when the last time we spoke, he told me he can’t love me, just doesn’t seem appealing Jimin”, you snark, burying your face into the bowl of cereal you are now spooning far too aggressively. 
“But...it’s been months. And he wouldn’t have sent you an invitation if he didn’t want you to come.” 
This conversation has happened too frequently since that red envelope arrived at your apartment. You cried your eyes out when you opened it, both out of pride for Jungkook and the fact that no matter what you did, the universe found a way to keep you from moving on. 
A sigh heaves through your chest, and the cereal is abandoned by your loss of appetite. “I’m not going to show up there and have him tell me again all of the reasons he can’t be with me. I barely survived it last time.” 
“But what if, Y/N?”
There is a glimmer in Jimin’s eye and he radiates so much hopefulness for you, you can’t help but to feel it too. 
“Isn’t the what if already enough? You used to tell me that Jungkook was worth anything. Isn’t he worth the risk this time too?”
You don’t have anything else to say after that because as much as you hate to admit, perhaps Jimin is right. Jungkook is worth going through anything for, even if he wants to stay as far away as possible. Call it a fluke in the postal system that the invitation to his gallery landed on your doorstep, but can you allow yourself to read between the lines and dare say that he sent it himself? Can you put yourself through such a perilous thing like optimism?
Jungkook has left you battered and broken for the past months. But you would give your heart to him to break all over again if he asked. 
To say that you did not fit in with those dawdling around the art gallery was a gross understatement. You didn’t just not fit in. Your entire presence and aura defied every expectation, and suddenly, watching the upper echelon of the city mingle with champagne and gaze critically at Jungkook’s art, makes every breath feel like an insecurity. 
The boy in question was nowhere in sight, and you now regret not dragging Jimin with you. The invitation had specifically prohibited plus one’s, and though Jimin whined to no end about his hurt feelings and emptily promised never to talk to Jungkook again, you managed to keep him home. Now, you wish you were back at the apartment with him.
The pieces were, in short, completely breathtaking (to no surprise, of course, this was Jungkook you were talking about). Though you knew he always held doubt in himself, in the short time he allowed you to be in his life, you had never once thought he was anything less than spectacular. Yet you could not allow yourself to completely enjoy them. Each brushstroke and paint color you remember from his palettes, or the filters on the photos that you helped him with, was agonizing to look at. 
You are standing in front of a canvas titled “Windowlight” when a man comes up beside you. He nurses a flute of bubbly champagne and makes no move to gain eye contact. Unknown to you, Professor Sejin knows exactly who you are. He’s seen your face in his student’s portfolio one too many times. 
“Artful use of mixed media, isn’t it?”, he mutters.
“I suppose so.” 
“He’s quite the prodigy. Have you met him yet? I’m sure he’s lurking around somewhere.” The man takes a sip from his glass, smirk on his lips hidden from your eyes that still blankly stare ahead.
“Yes. He’s a...friend.” We share a soulmate mark. He hates my guts. 
He hums a sound of affirmation and you ignore the weird feeling it leaves in your stomach; one that tells you this stranger sees right through you. 
“Ah, how rude of me. Professor Sejin. Arts director and senior advisor.” He spares you a brief glance, but you make no move to shake his hand or pretend to be courteous. You don’t have the energy for it tonight. Just being in this building, surrounded by everything Jungkook has touched, makes you want to collapse into yourself. 
“It was nice to meet you, Y/N.” He speaks nonchalantly, and you almost miss the fact that you never told him your name. Your brows crease in confusion and you are ready to turn and interrogate the stranger, but he is already walking away, gliding smoothly across the gallery. Before he gets too far, though, Sejin cranes his neck and makes eye contact. 
“Oh, and be sure to visit the one called ‘Moon’. It’s upstairs, next to the Aphrodite sculpture on the second level exhibit”, he entreats, a suspicious lilt in his voice.
“Something tells me you’ll appreciate its…sincerity.”
Honestly, you’re not sure what you expected when you came to Jungkook’s art gallery tonight. But to be approached by a stranger who already knows your name, who dubiously instructs you to seek out a mystery art piece, was not on the list of expectations. Still...Professor Sejin’s words made you curious. 
Through the night, your eyes subconsciously seek out that familiar head of fluffy brown hair and a tall gait that always seems to stick out, even in a large crowd. It was as if Jungkook versed himself in complete camouflage, so much so that you began to doubt that he was even in the building.  
The traipse through the gallery is done in silence and solitude, and you tune out the sounds of popping champagne and raucous laughter coming from the second floor, as the patrons undoubtedly banter over which piece to auction off. You hope he keeps them. You’ve never seen someone appreciate art the way that Jungkook does. 
You catch sight of a few pieces that you recognize, ones that you remember him showing you when he had finished. You always excitedly told him every single one was a masterpiece, and Jungkook only rolled his eyes and made minimal effort at hiding the blush on his cheeks. Your steps falter when you come across a set of photographs in black and white, set in consecutive frames next to each other and it feels so warm despite the lack of color. Jungkook just had that special talent when it came to photography. 
It’s the bookstore. In the city during the impromptu train ride you had coerced him to take. Your heart catches in your throat as you recognize all the other ones immediately because well...you’ve been to all those spots. A familiar pressure builds in the back of your eyes, and you swallow down a whimper of pain. 
The urge to leave becomes too strong. But not strong enough to quell the slow burn of curiosity from Professor Sejin. There is a chance that you might not run into Jungkook at all tonight with the vast space and people bumbling through the corridors. It hurts to think that you might never see him again at all, but you’ll allow yourself another indulgence. Something is calling you. 
Moon. He titled it Moon? You grip onto your wrist reflexively and run your thumb over the mark, like you did when you were younger and still had hope for soulmates. The pulsepoint there beats under your finger and lets you know how alive you are. Compels you to give into your curiosity, even if it might decimate your already crumbling heart. The stairs that lead up to the second floor are short, but the trek feels like it knocks the wind out of you, or perhaps that was just the anticipation of what was waiting for you on the other side.
You were right to be scared. Because right in the smack dab center of the circular room is where you see it, and your gasp is one that can be heard from each wall and corner. 
A painting of you. A portrait from the waist up, with oil paint and so much detail, Jungkook has even managed to line the shallow wrinkles by your eyes when you smile. You have never considered yourself beautiful in any sense but the way he has captured you on canvas starts to make you believe that you truly are. You feel Jungkook in each streak of the brushstroke where he hadn’t spread the color evenly. It is as if the painting is alive, and though you are staring at yourself, it doesn’t feel like the way it does in the mirror. Doesn’t feel like a reflection. 
No, this feels like looking through Jungkook’s eyes. It is what he sees in you, rather than what you see in yourself. And what he sees is beautiful. Through the haze of shock and confusion as to why he chose this as the centerpiece, you don’t notice the warm presence that lurks behind you. The one that has watched your every move since you walked into this building. 
“Yeah, that’s my favorite one too.” 
You whip your head around so quick it nearly gives you whiplash, but the sight of him is the nail in the coffin. Jungkook is cleaned up in a black suit, and an unfamiliar smile on his lips he rarely lets you see. A genuine one that he’s tried to hide so many times but now that it’s clear and up close, you resent him for keeping it from you. 
Jungkook is just as gorgeous as the day you lost him. 
But looking at him hurts. You don’t know why you’re even here, and why he sent the invitation, or why he was standing in front of you now and there is not a sliver of antipathy in his eyes. You don’t know why your face is plastered in the center of the gallery. Most of all, you don’t know why you are still weak in the knees for Jeon Jungkook. 
“Although, I have to say, it was a close race between this one and the pictures I made you take at the lake, when you nearly dunked me in the river because it was so cold”, he breathily laughs but you aren’t able to get through the shock just yet. If Jungkook notices your starstruck state, he doesn’t let it affect him. 
“And I definitely have to give some credit to the one I painted after you told me about your dream”, Jungkook prattles on, “where you were a mermaid who planted peaches under the sea, remember? That’s an honorable mention.” 
These memories make you want to smile but in this moment, the best you can do is try to hold yourself together when your eyes begin to warm with tears. Jungkook stays silent when you do. He notices you haven’t said a word and your gaze refuses to meet his. 
“Why are you doing this, Jungkook?”, you curse yourself when your voice cracks. “Why are you telling me these things? Haven’t you hurt me enough?” Jungkook’s smile drops off his face, and for once, you can see your own pain reflected in his eyes. 
He takes a deep breath, hands hanging limply at his side that itch to wrap themselves around yours. To feel your skin. Feel your mark. 
“I…”, he hesitates in his words, “I remember that day every night when I go to sleep, Y/N. Every time I shut my eyes, I just see your face when I told you I can’t love you, and I don’t think I’ve ever felt such aching before. Not even when she left me.” Jungkook’s voice is tinted with desperation but it just makes your walls rise higher. 
He’s lying to you. Your tongue wants to protest, but he continues. 
“I see you in everything”, Jungkook breathes out, like he is also admitting it to himself. 
“The paintbrushes I can never put down to the black coffee I force myself to drink nowadays because the ones I actually like, the ones with too much whipped cream and vanilla syrup, just reminds me of you.” His brows are knitted, and his feet vie to step closer to your quivering form. But you look like a caged animal about to bolt at any moment. 
“And when I’m reminded of you, I am reminded of…”, he gulps down the fear, “I’m reminded of how I am utterly in love with someone who deserves so much more than what I have put them through.”
The blood that runs through your veins drops to subzero temperatures, and you swear in the split millisecond that you have absorbed what he’s just said, your heart ceases its beating. The world stops turning, and the waves still for a brief moment. You can’t find any words just yet, but Jungkook can see straight through you and your stupefied expression. 
“Y-you’re lying to me, Jungkook. Stop lying.” 
“I’m not lying, please…” Jungkook knows he’s losing you by the second, but he’s promised you he would persist. He just wants you to listen. Wants you to feel how sorry he is, and how his soul screams to be next to your’s. 
“I can’t explain how it happened. Like it was an epiphany. Like someone has been screaming at me and I had been ignoring them, and that someone was my own heart.” Jungkook doesn’t stumble over his words once. He does not stutter because it is the plain white truth. 
“Stop, Jungkook.”
“It’s been knocking on the door of my chest and when I finally let it in, it just yells and shouts ‘oh my god, you’re in love’ and then I realized oh my god, i’m in love. In between painting you and convincing myself that soulmates meant nothing to me, I’ve completely and unquestionably fallen in love with you, Y/N.” 
Jungkook can’t decipher the look on your face. Something between the lines of disbelief and heartbreak, and it makes him want to split at the seams at the pain he’s put you through. How he’s convinced you you’re impossible to love. He vows to make it right again.
“Jungkook-”
“And you’re wrong, you know. You’re not hard to love. Hell, I was dead set on never loving again and you managed to make me so smitten, I can’t paint or draw a damn thing without including some aspect of you in it.” Jungkook steps back and gestures to all the canvases and photos that hang on the wall. 
“Take a look around, Y/N. It’s all you. Every piece.” Once he says it, you finally notice Every piece of art in this room can be traced to you, or a memory you two share. It’s so clear, you don’t know how you missed it before. You feel yourself in the art Jungkook has poured his soul into. Instead of making you feel elated, these words that you’ve been waiting your entire life to hear just ignites the sting. 
“Just stop. Please.” It is only a weak whisper through your lips, and he ignores it. 
“If you can’t forgive me, I get it Y/N. I can’t forgive myself either. But can you just know that you are enough. You are more than what I deserve. And I know you told me to be happy, but there is no way I can possibly do that without you.” 
When your gaze falls to the floor, you notice that his wrist is clean of any bracelets or watches. Come to think of it, this is one of the first times you are seeing it clear and in the flesh. Jungkook doesn’t tell you, but nowadays, he doesn’t allow anything to impede on the sight of the crescent moon.
When your guard is down and you are distracted, he finds the perfect time to finally reach forward and take your hand in his. His touch is gentle when it wraps around your wrist, tugging off the ribbon that circled it, and revealing the matching mark. Your pulse jumps under his fingers, and skips a beat when he runs a thumb over the moon. You are already melting with such simple contact, and you almost allow yourself to succumb. Almost.
It’s as if suddenly his skin was scalding, and you snatch your wrist from his grasp at lightning speed. The tears that have strayed down your face are wiped away as quickly as they came. The surprise on his face is missed by your eyes because before he can comprehend what is happening, you are bolting down the staircase and out the glass doors of the gallery. No, you cannot forgive him yet. What would you do if he hurt you again? You don’t think you would survive. 
You ignore the pain of seeing his art pieces as you run, now that you know you are the muse behind them all. The only noise is the sound of blood rushing in your ears, and you are oblivious to the racket of Jungkook’s shoes clapping against marble flooring as he chases after you, expertly dodging the other patrons and butlers holding trays of champagne. 
And Jungkook? Well, he is oblivious to the complete turmoil that runs through your every nerve. He only sees your back, and not the way you bite your lip painfully to keep the sobs from escaping. Not the way your pain is exhibited clear as day in the crease of your eyebrow and the wrinkle of your nose. 
The air outside is so cold it bites at your nostrils, but makes it easier to breathe. The wind calms the thundering heart in your chest.
He must be lying. There was no way he had a change of heart now, not when he was so rooted in his belief before. There is no virtual possibility, on any plane of existence, on any dimension where Jeon Jungkook has fallen in love with you. 
Right?
The hand that circles around your wrist tightly to keep you from getting any farther tells you that you are wrong. He did come after you. Jungkook’s strength forces you to stop running, but you can’t find the courage to turn around and face him just yet. But you don’t make an effort to pull away, and he takes it as progress.
“You can run if you want, Y/N. You can walk away from me and from us, but don’t doubt that I’ll always be chasing after you. For as long as it takes.” He is panting and speaking through heavy breaths, but you hear him. Loud and clear. 
“I won’t let you leave again. Not like last time.”
There is no malice. No coldness, and for the first time since you’ve met him, his words feel like warm honey instead of monotone ice. He is utterly distraught when you turn around slowly, hesitant like you’re afraid he will break your heart right then and there. 
His heart shatters at the wetness at your waterline, and the way you look up at him; completely vulnerable and scared. 
“Do you promise?” 
There is a lot of weight in your three-word question. It’s not as innocent as meets the eye, and Jungkook knows it. He feels it. When you ask him if he promises, it is an invitation back to you. You are offering him your heart, which he has already broken and bruised, and trusting him to be careful with it this time around. Jungkook already knows he loves you. And if you let him, he’ll spend the rest of his life making sure this promise remains unbroken. 
“I promise.” 
It’s a commitment. One he used to be terrified of making, but it seems so easy when it’s for you. 
And when you fly forward to wrap your arms around him, Jungkook feels like home. Like the stars twinkle a little brighter and the earth stops spinning for a mere second, just for the two of you. You feel him squeeze you closer, just as tightly, and Jungkook wants to kick himself for depriving you both of a simple thing called love. 
You are here, souls and now bodies intertwined, and Jungkook lets the pain of past hurt fall away. Pain is so miniscule when you are by his side. When you pull back, Jungkook frowns at your red-rimmed eyes, and the tears that still persist. He wipes it away oh so softly, as if you were delicate clay and he, a sculptor. 
“Please don’t cry anymore, princess, it breaks my heart. I’m so sorry.” It is the softest, most sugary tone you’ve ever heard out of him. But hearing affection from his lips makes you feel that perhaps all of this sorrow, this longing, has been worth it. He has been worth it. He always has. 
“I love you, Y/N.” Jungkook’s words are almost as beautiful as he is. 
His lips are familiar when you lean forward and kiss him. Yet they are different. This time, the hands on your waist hold you a bit more carefully, even closer if that were possible. You can feel his thudding heart as it beats against your own, learning to match rhythms with each other, and Jungkook cradles your face in his hand like you are the only artwork he has truly been proud of. 
And it’s true. All the canvases and paints and camera film seem wasted now. Nothing he ever makes will be quite as alluring as the art he holds in his arms in this moment. 
“I love you too, you goddamn idiot.”
You meant it all those months ago, and you mean it now. If Jeon Jungkook was the sun, you would gladly change your name to Icarus. If Jeon Jungkook was the moon, then you are the tides that he pushes and pulls. If Jeon Jungkook belonged to you, well...you don’t have to imagine that anymore. He is your’s, as you are his. 
Old habits die hard, but they are not immortal. They wax and wane, and remind you that in the cosmic vastness of things, you are only human. Humans whose hearts beat in tandem and souls made to complete the other. Humans with identical crescent moons, lost but now found.
Old habits die hard. But you have learned to fix those of a broken heart. 
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finn-writes-stuff · a month ago
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i realize many of my requests are about reader being a little chaotic gremlin (staying true to the brand) so i want to make a request with a reader inspired by pebble (the beloved)
so can i get headcannons for whatever characters you want with a reader who likes to instigate chaos. from daring people to do random things to creating opportunities for chaos (subtly leading someone towards a scavenger hunt of items from different people, a map of secret bases etc etc)
yours truly,
gremlin anon
I’d blame Pebble for the trouble you get into if you weren’t so in love with them lmao
Wilbur, Charlie, & Techno x Reader
No specific warnings for this one! Just some light chaos. Gender neutral reader. This isn’t explicitly romantic, so read the dynamics how you please.
Wilbur
Wilbur is also an instigator of chaos, as he tends to pull people into his wild plans.
But he likes to be a direct part of the chaos rather than guiding it.
So when you dare him to do something stupid, he’ll turn it into a competition between him and someone else.
A scavenger hunt? Instead of just Wilbur, he’s got a handful of friends helping him look, so that he can chat with you to try and get hints
A map of secret bases? He can use this for plenty more chaos in the future. He’ll thank you kindly and tip you off to any of his new plans
You aren’t safe from being pulled into his plans though. The hazards of being close with him.
Charlie
Charlie is always up for chaos. You have a dare or a plan and need someone with a few less self preservation instincts? He’s your man!
He will try and get you to do the dares with him, even if you’re more able to break a bone then he is.
He’s the kind of person that will blindly follow along with things so long as you’re nice to him for the most part. So proposing a scavenger hunt will have him following the clues for the whole afternoon, in between giving you sunny smiles when he gets confused and turned around
He may ask if he can bring friends on the adventures you suggest, and even if they’re less likely to give into your chaos, it’s very difficult to say no to Charlie.
Technoblade
He knows what chaotic people are. Phil is a wildly chaotic person, Wilbur is half insane, and Tommy has been pulling him into schemes since they were little.
So he knows damn well that you are trying to start some chaos.
He’ll give into it here and there because he has his own chaotic side and he likes seeing you laugh.
The hardest to convince out of these three, but if you’re someone he cares about, you can convince him to do almost anything.
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astaroth1357 · 8 months ago
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More undateables with a demigod hades mc???
By request, have yourself a part two!! 
Demigod MC Series: Hades Pt. 2 (Un)Dateables Edition!
I will ask that y’all please don't ask for continuations of other gods unless I say it’s okay to do again. This series already fills my inbox something fierce and this is a one-off that I allowed for during the request window.  If I have to make ideas for new gods while continuing a bunch of old MCs, it'll burn me out fast...
Demigod MC Series: Intro, Aphrodite, Hermes, Hades, Dionysus, Demeter, Athena, Hades Pt. 2
Diavolo
Oh, he has no problem at all hosting a child of the Underworld, hell he even throws them a welcome banquet when he finds out! Hades is a dear friend - and practically a parental figure to him growing up - so he's more than happy to take in one of his children for a year.
Diavolo is actually one of the few people that the MC can talk to about their home with any kind of fondness. Usually when they bring up things like the comforting wailing of the River Coctyus, the brothers will give them weird looks... but Diavolo knows where they're coming from!
He spent numerous summers in the Underworld growing up doing things like pestering Charon on the River Styx or playing games with Cerberus (the other one) in the Asphodel Meadows... His beach house is actually modeled after his childhood summer home in the Isles of Paradise! Really, it can be a lovely place if the gloom doesn't bother you!
So in the spirit of his fond memories, Diavolo really tried to make their time in the Devildom a fun one!... in his maybe trying a little too hard way…  
Poor MC found themselves offered pretty much everything under the moon… Tickets or exclusive passes to different cultural events/festivals, invitations to gala events, and tours of nearly every inch of Hell by the Prince himself - it was… it was a lot for the poor introverted thing…
It didn’t help that Diavolo would have a hard time gauging if they were having any fun due to their naturally melancholic nature, which only pushed him to try harder… He means well, he does. He’s just not the most in touch with what would make an anti-social doom child happy...
It took Barbatos and Lucifer stepping in for the mortal to actually start getting some much needed space and that improved their experience significantly. Sometimes less is more, Dia… Less is more. But they appreciate his efforts anyway.
Barbatos 
Also has a pretty amicable relationship with the Ruler of the Underworld, though his is much more professional compared to Diavolo’s. He actually has a good deal of appreciation for the man for taking good care of the Prince during his visits, so he sees this as an opportunity to return the favor.
Like Diavolo, he’s rather focused on making sure the MC is having a good stay in the Devildom, but he’s much more subtle about it. He’ll come by the House often to check up on them and make sure everything is to their liking... 
Even the brothers notice that he treats them like anothering visiting Lord/Lady in that way, which he would argue they very much are and should be respected as one. It’s the least the Devildom can offer their father at this point.
His visits may also be an excuse for keeping an eye on the brothers to make sure they don’t do anything to inconvenience their “young guest…” To be honest, the entire House is a little paranoid about that… Nobody wants to know the punishment for hurting MC if Barbs is the one dishing it out...
Apart from watching out for them, Barbatos tries to encourage the MC to accept the Young Lord’s gifts (while also actively advising Diavolo to go easier on them at the same time). It would be so disheartening to him if his Prince feels like he hasn’t offered them the best experience that he could… He’s sure they understand.
Any time that he invites the MC to tea, they usually end up talking about their father in some way. Barbs knows a surprising amount about the god… He’s been around about as long as Chronos - preceding the birth of Aether and Chaos themselves - so he has some stories to tell.
The MC did once ask him why he doesn’t just run everything if he’s really been around for so long... his answer was: “Kings and their kingdoms will rise and fall… Worlds upon worlds are born, then cease to be. But time is what brings about all changes… So, I think I’m perfectly content with the power I possess. Wouldn’t you be?” 
Annnd they never asked Barbs another question like that again… and people think death is scary… 
Simeon 
He was honestly a little worried for their new companion for quite a while… It’s not like there’s never any sadness in the Celestial Realm or anything, but they seem to have something else entirely…
He’s heard stories about the Underworld. He’s never been himself, that’s usually a job for the Seraphim due to the… dreary nature of the place - but he’s heard it would make the Devildom look downright festive…
If he were being honest, he had half expected the MC to be obsessed with skeletons, ghosts, and other elements of darkness but that wasn’t the case. They certainly knew a lot about those things, but they appeared to have a healthy interest in the afterlife in general, so they asked him a lot of questions about the Celestial Realm, angels, and how the souls of the blessed are treated up there… It was surprising to say the least.
Of course he did the same and, frankly, Simeon found it incredibly wasteful that so many Greek followers find themselves just wasting away in a field of nothing for so long… but that’s neither here nor there.
He was also surprised by how gentle of an influence the MC ended up being on Luke as well. He had always suspected that the little angel just needed a bridge between him and Devildom to start finding appreciation for it, and the MC fit that bill perfectly - nothing he was used to, but still approachable enough to make everything less frightening. He thanks them a great deal for that… but...
It’s just that… Well they’re just so… depressing sometimes…! He doesn’t want to blame them because it hardly seems like their fault! They’re a very kind person, it’s just an atmosphere around them… It brings him to tears if he isn’t careful…
He’s invited the MC to Purgatory Hall on multiple occasions to chat and try to make them smile… When they do, the gloom is dispelled - even just a little - and they’re a truly beautiful creature regardless. It’s just so unfortunate that their life brings so much sadness...
Even so, he actually likes the MC enough to consider basing a character on them if he ever wrote another book. Something about a gloomy but sweet protagonist at home in a world of darkness sounds appealing… doesn’t it?
Luke
He didn’t know how to feel about the MC when they met. At first, he actually thought they were just as unhappy as he was to be there due to how depressed they looked but when they told him that wasn't true, he was really confused...
The Devildom is a dark, brutish, and dangerous place. Why would anyone feel at home down here??
But… well… He would spend time with them at RAD between breaks (partially to help scare off their many, many demonic suitors) and it might be weird to say, but they really made the Devildom look beautiful… literally.
The world just looks better when they’re around! It’s really hard to describe because it’s not something you notice much until they leave, but when the MC is around everything looks more vibrant and inviting! The grass gets greener, flowers grow bigger, and butterflies/birds hover around wherever they are like they have their own gravity - the realm loves them!
It started getting hard for Luke to hang onto his disdain for the place when they made it look so appealing… And then they started talking to him about the Underworld and the creatures they’d befriended there… creatures a lot worse than any demons he’d seen there...
Like. If the MC can be good friends with a bunch of rude walking corpses, then he could probably make friends with a demon right? There’s nice ones… kind of… 
Beel. He can make friends with Beel.
Like Simeon, he does feel bad that they seem so sad all the time… but unlike the older angel, he’s a bit more understanding that this is just how they are and enjoys his time with them regardless. (It helps a lot that just being around this little bean of a boy can lift their spirits anyway).
And you know what’s even better for him? When Lord Diavolo gives the MC tickets to things that they don’t want to go to, sometimes they’ll invite him along or give them to him instead! 
He’s gone to the Devil’s Coast with MC and Simeon sooo many times by now and he loves it!! Maybe the Devildom isn’t so bad after all, I mean, it can be a lot of fun when you go to the right places, anyway.
Solomon
Oh, he finds them both deeply fascinating and utterly terrifying - so just his sort of test sub-er, person!
He kids (somewhat), Solomon isn’t that dumb/lacking in self-preservation instinct. Experimenting on a child of death in a land of the dead (even if it’s not their “home turf”) would be asking for trouble. They’d have more than enough ammunition to fight him off and if their father found out? Immortality wouldn’t even begin to save him...
That being said, questions aren’t necessarily experiments… and oh boy, does he have a lot of them.
If the MC isn’t being pestered by Diavolo or the brothers, then they’re probably having to put up with Solomon nipping at their heels trying to get them to use their powers or answer all sorts of “innocent” scientific questions…
“MC, reanimation of Greek dead requires a blood offering, correct? Do you have to sacrifice animals for that process or do you allow them to feast on your own?”
“MC, when you’re controlling a skeleton do you move the body as a whole or do you have to animate each individual bone due to their lack of ligaments?”
“Think fast!! Oh look, you just caught the skull of my good friend, Richard! Could you bring him back from that, or should I fetch the rest of him?” 🙂
They put up with it because, believe it or not, he’s not nearly the weirdest person they’ve ever met (a lot of crazy people drift in and out of the land of the dead…) and well… they’re a pretty lonely person too so it’s not like they have a lot of standards when it comes to friendships anyway.
But the second they breathe a word of this to Barbs or Diavolo, this boy is on his way to a royal restraining order… Where does he even get those skulls…?
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Is there a limit to how much I can say that's something is cool? Because that's really cool how that happened. But also the fact you were down there for an entire day with a broken leg :(
More like 15 hours, but it was still the next day so I guess a whole day, and no limit!
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gale-gentlepenguin · 2 years ago
Chat noir: (Sees ladybug get hit) Ladybug! you can't be so reckless. You need to rest, take it easy. If you push yourself too hard you will get hurt.
(also chat noir)
Chat noir: Im fine it was only one cataclysm to the ribs, I can function. ignore the blood coming out of my mouth.
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beauty-and-passion · 11 months ago
Text
Why Wrath is the safest choice for Orange
I promised this post months ago and it's finally time to talk about this.
You read the title: yes, I believe Orange will be Anger/Wrath or whatever name will be used. I will use Wrath here, just because it's more encompassing, compared to just "Anger".
I will explain why I think Wrath is the most plausible choice for the Orange side and I will do it through ten points.
These points haven’t been chosen randomly, but they’re based on what the show told us and what we can logically deduce from story & characters until now. If you want, you can consider them the criteria any kind of Orange side has to meet - no matter if it’s going to be Wrath or something else.
Of course those are just my thoughts and theories, so not all points might be right. But I think at least half of them are just necessary for the next side. In any case, if you disagree with me, feel free to reply and we can have a nice chat about this.
So now let's see the ten points Orange has to fulfill - and why I think Wrath fulfils them all.
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1. It makes sense Janus hides him
Sanders Sides is based on one simple concept: to know yourself. Thomas knows some sides of him but, over the course of the series, he finds out that there are sides he hid from himself, as Virgil explained in CLBG:
[Virgil]: There are sides to everyone that they'd prefer not to know about. But you are the boss, Thomas. Any information you want to know, you can know.
If Thomas wants, he can know about every side. If he doesn't want, Janus comes into play and hides the unwanted side.
So, whoever Orange will be, there should be a reason why Thomas wants him hidden. And Wrath offers the reason on a silver platter: Thomas' catholic upbringing.
As Logan explained in DWIT:
[Logan]: To the best of your ability, you try to live your life based on a moral code set by your faith, correct? "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you", "Love thy neighbor as thyself", et cetera.
Thomas has always tried to be a good person. And if you're a good person, you don't have a side like Deceit. Or Remus. A good person isn't a liar, nor an insane trash man.
So if Orange is Wrath, it would make perfect sense that Thomas wants him hidden deep down inside him. A good person isn't a wrathful one. Wrath is one of the seven deadly sins, a pretty big deal compared to something like Anxiety (who has always been free and known by Thomas). And Wrath is an even bigger deal, for someone who grew up thinking "thought is a precursor to action", as Logan said in DWIT.
_____________________________________
2. It makes sense he comes after Janus
Every decision should make sense from a narrative point of view. Both Joan and Thomas confirmed three seasons of Sander Sides and they have an outline to follow. So, while deciding this outline, they must've thought about the order of appearance of the Dark Sides.
That means that, whoever Orange will be, it should make sense he comes after Janus.
Janus is a big deal. He was considered the final villain, the evil mastermind behind everything, the leader of the Dark Sides. And even if now he's not considered a villain anymore, he's still a big deal. He's the gatekeeper, he's a very important side. And, while Virgil is named after a poet and Remus after a mythological figure, Janus is named after a freaking God.
So who might come, after such an important side?
Wrath. Why? Again, because of Thomas’ catholic upbringing. As Logan pointed out so well during DWIT:
[Logan]: Thomas' Catholic upbringing has instilled in him that thought is a precursor to action.
So, since every thought is a precursor to action, which is worse? Lying or getting angry at someone else? Being known as a liar or as someone who might snap and attack others, with words and/or physically?
That’s why Wrath will come after Janus. Because it's better for Thomas to be considered a liar, rather than an angry person. It’s more acceptable to be seen as a liar, rather than someone who might lose control over a fit of rage.
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3. It makes sense he’s related to Patton
There’s a peculiar moment during Why Do We Get Out of Bed in the Morning in which Roman is talking and we can see Thomas’ family tree. Among all ancestors and parents, for a moment we see Roman himself:
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Do you see that beautiful little line, starting from Roman and going out of the screen? That’s a huge foreshadowing, because this line implies a parental connection with a brother. A brother Roman has: Remus.
And then, while we keep scrolling down the family tree, we see Patton too:
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And he also has that little line going out of the screen. A line that implies another connection. Another brother.
We met six sides until now and no one claimed to be Patton’s brother. I know, some people theorize Janus might be Patton’s brother but it makes zero sense because, after three episodes he appears, no one has ever said “Hey, Patton, here’s you brother again”. Not even Patton himself. So why hiding it, while Roman never hid his connection with Remus, despite not linking him at all?
Because Janus isn’t Patton’s brother. Wrath is.
Now you may ask: why? Roman and Remus are both Creativity, they embody two aspects of the creative process. But Morality and Wrath? What do they have in common?
Emotions. Because Patton isn’t just Thomas’ morality, but also his heart and, as he himself said in Nostalgia part 1:
[Thomas]: Still, you're at the core of a lot of my happy feelings. [Patton]: I'm at the core of a lot of your feelings.
So while Patton covers part of Thomas’ feelings (and not just happy feelings, but we will see that in the next point), his brother might cover a different part of the emotional spectrum that is not under Patton’s control. The part related to anger, rage and hate.
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4. His existence makes sense
Why should Wrath exist? Why is it so plausible that the last side could be Wrath and not something else?
Because Wrath is one of the basic human emotions. I’m not an expert about this, but I did some research and found out we can split human emotions into two groups:
basic emotions: pure, can’t be deconstructed and the human expressions are universally recognizable 
complex emotions: made up of multiple emotions, the human expressions vary across people and cultures
Emotions like regret, jealousy, depression, courage, melancholy or indifference are all complex emotions. We had a great example in the last Aside (FWSA): when Virgil pushed Thomas towards Nico, he was sad for Roman, anxious because of his nature, scared of the outcome and his fight-or-flight reflex was screaming at him and all of that happened at the same time. The result of this mix was bravery: one single emotion that was the result of more elements.
But what about the basic emotions? What can be considered a basic emotion?
There isn’t an universal answer. Some researchers say basic emotions are 5, 6, 8, 28 or even more. But the lowest number of basic emotions I found was four: joy, sadness, fear and anger.
Until now, we know Patton and Virgil cover three of them. Virgil is the one responsible for Thomas’ fear, while Patton covers both joy and sadness.
How? The answer is the Nostalgia episodes themselves: Patton clearly demonstrated he doesn’t deal just with joy-related emotions like happiness and enthusiasm, but also with sad-related ones like nostalgia, repression and remorse.
That leaves out one basic emotion: anger. Which side covers this?
Roman? Nope, Roman covers pride, enthusiasm and other joy-related emotions.
Remus, maybe? After all, he makes Thomas feel disgust and shock, that are semi-basic emotions, both related to anger and fear. But anger encompasses also fury, irritation, bitterness, vengeful behaviors and so on. Remus may imply those behaviors, but he’s not the one responsible for them.
Janus? He’s more focused on keeping Thomas' mental health balanced, anger isn’t his field.
There’s a vacant position. And yes, it would be predictable if the last side fills it, but it would also make sense, from a logic point of view. Considering how basic and important anger is, I would find it very strange if this entire side of the spectrum is never covered by anyone.
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5. It makes sense he’s one of “the others”
To explain this point, there are two smaller questions that needs to be answered:
How can we be so sure Orange is one of the others?
It's simple: because Orange has been included (indirectly) in the "dark sides group" twice.
The first time was at the end of CLBG:
[Thomas]: Are there any other Sides that Deceit has hidden away from me? [Patton]: ...Yes. [Roman]: The Dark Sides.
And, once again, at the end of SvS - when Virgil said:
[Virgil]: Do not allow him (Deceit) or any of... his friends... to stick around that long ever again.
Friends, plural. Virgil isn't talking just about Remus, but about Orange too. And considering that Roman said all other sides hidden from Thomas are part of the “dark sides”, that implies Orange is one of them.
So if Orange is the fourth dark side, he's also friends with Deceit. And if he's Wrath, it means Wrath is friends with the embodiment of Thomas' lies and self-preservation.
But how's that possible? How can they be friends? Self-preservation, as the name suggests, wants to protect the self. While Wrath is dangerous and violent, it may put the self at risk. It's basically the opposite of self-preservation, right? They can't be friends! It doesn't make sense, right?
Wrong. Not only these two can be friends, but they should.
I would like to quote part of an article of the Northern Wyoming mental Health Center Website about how to manage anger:
The idea that anger is dangerous is not without merit. Angry people are capable of great violence. However, while anger can certainly be abused, it is more than a simple destructive force. Anger is also a critically important part of what might be called the self-preservation and self-defense instincts.
Wrath is determined by self-preservation. Just think about it: a lot of times, when people or animals have an angry reaction, it's not because they want to attack others, but because they want to protect themselves.
When a cat attacks you, it's because you're approaching it in a threatening way. If a bee stings you, it's because it wants to protect itself. A lot of animals would never attack humans and they do it just because they see us as a threat to their survival.
And we use anger in the exact same way, when we feel scared, injured or threatened. Why? Because anger is associated with danger, so if we show signs of anger, other people will stay away from us and we will be safe.
But there’s also another, deeper reason why anger is part of self-preservation: if there’s a potential threat, our brains can’t be indecisive or waste too much time analyzing that threat. In order to survive, we needed a faster reaction.
Thus, the presence of instinctual signals, like fear, anger and disgust. Basic instincts, that send us information directly to the most primitive, reactive parts of our brain. And they do it because they all answer to the same need: the basic instinct for self-preservation.
So not only this explains why Wrath would be Janus' friend, but also why Remus and Virgil are. Remember the previous point: Remus deals with disgust and Virgil with fear. Two of the main instincts related to self-preservation. Wrath would be the perfect final piece, perfectly connected to all the previous dark sides.
What does it imply Wrath being one of the others?
In order to answer that, let's take a look at Virgil's, Remus' and Janus' arcs.
When Virgil was first introduced (and for the whole first season), he was seen as a villain, a bad guy who wanted to scare Thomas and make him anxious every time he tried to do something. An enemy to defeat.
Then Accepting Anxiety came and we learned Virgil wasn’t a villain, nor a bad guy: he was useful, a strong alarm for Thomas, the embodiment of the fight-or-flight reflex. A good guy.
When Janus was first introduced he was seen as a villain, a bad guy who just wanted to make Thomas lie and didn’t care about his friends. An enemy to defeat.
Then POF came and we learned Janus wasn’t a villain, nor a bad guy: Janus wants what’s best for Thomas, he wants to protect him just like Virgil and cares for his mental health more than any other side. A good snake boi.
When Remus was first introduced he was seens as a villain, a bad guy who just wanted to scare the shit out of Thomas, shock and disgust him with his terrible, potentially dangerous ideas. An enemy to defeat.
But in the same episode we learned Remus wasn’t a villain, nor a bad guy: he’s annoying, his suggestions shouldn’t be followed, but he’s pretty harmless. And he’s half of Thomas' Creativity, so Remus is useful - at least, from a creative point of view. He can be a good guy - or at least someone competent in his field.
The “Dark Sides” all share the same arc: they start as villains, we and the other characters learn more about them and then we all find out the so-called dark side isn’t a villain, but just another good guy.
Wrath would perfectly fit this role. If you think about Wrath or anger, you would never think “Oh yes, this is a very good trait”. Just like you don’t think of “Anxiety”, “Intrusive Thoughts” or “Deceit” as good or useful traits.
So, since Orange is the fourth dark side, he would surely follow the same arc the other dark sides had. It wouldn’t make sense if he’s just a good guy from the start. Most likely he will be considered a villain, then we will learn more about him and, at the end, we will all find out he’s not a bad guy, but just another good boy.
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6. Can Wrath be good?
Now the obvious question is: how can Wrath be good? Wrath is terrible and awful. Both people and society condemn it. Wrath should be contained and limited: it completely changes a person, it takes out the worst of them, the most aggressive, violent parts. An angry person is a dangerous one.
That's what I thought and that's what we all think. Why? Because we associate anger with violence.
But that's not right. Anger is an emotion, violence is an action. We associate them because anger scares us, it's frightening, it has a devastating potential and it might lead to violent behaviours. But, again, they are not the same.
The thing is: wrath is a very powerful emotion. And when people aren't able to manage it, it may have destructive results - for both you and others. So we're scared and we repress anger, because we don't want to lose control, we don't want to hurt others, we feel bad and wrong.
And not only repression would strengthen the connection between Wrath and Patton (awww, they could be the repression brothers - in opposition to Roman and Remus, the repressed brothers <3), but repression is generally wrong, because it might lead to even more devastating results, like sudden bursts of anger, self-harm, depression and, sometimes, even anxiety.
So, how can Wrath be good? What's the good side of wrath?
Simple: would you willingly accept someone kicking you / trying to steal you something / forcing themselves on you? Would you be happy if, after working for months on a project, someone else steals your work and takes credit for it? Would you laugh if you see someone beating up a dog, a child or a sick person? Would you approve of someone casting out a woman, a person of color or a member of the LGBT community because "they're different from us"?
In all these cases (hopefully), anger will be your natural response: when you feel threatened or you're faced with injustices, anger gives you the strength to fight back. Just think about all the great social movements - or even the most recent Black Lives Matter: they all had their beginning in someone who was freakin' angry about something and that anger was powerful enough to push others, motivate them and lead to a bigger, deeper change that involved the whole society.
That’s the other side of Wrath, the good side: righteous Wrath. Being angry for good reasons and directing that anger for a big, powerful change.
Just imagine how beautiful it would be, if Thomas uses a whole side to convey this message that anger isn't good nor bad, but it's a tool. And he has even the perfect theme to use as an example: homophobia.
Homophobia has never been addressed in Sanders Sides, but Thomas’ sexual orientation has always played a big role in the series. I would be surprised (and disappointed) if Thomas never takes the chance to talk about something as important as homophobia.
And just think of how powerful the message would be, by using Wrath. Homophobia would be the perfect example of how much Anger has been the foundation of all the hate and inequities associated with this concept. But, at the same time, that same anger was also what pushed people to react to homophobia, to stand up, to speak louder and ask for the same right - and obtaining them. I don’t think there would be a more perfect side to talk about this.
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7. He would care for Thomas
Another thing the Dark Sides have in common is how deeply they care about Thomas.
Virgil is an alarm, someone who aims to protect Thomas from any kind of physical danger.
[Thomas]: You're like- like a really important alarm clock. Sure, the noise can be sudden and a little unpleasant sometimes, but it's important for me to recognize the concern, register it, and carry on, changing my actions, if necessary. (AA - part 2)
Janus is the literal self-preservation and he proved how deeply he cares about Thomas’ safety in the society and his mental health.
[Deceit]: I don't want Thomas to be disadvantaged in a world where you can die for not following the laws made in the name of a lie. (SvS)
[Janus]: But seriously, using a mobile game to hide from your sadness and regret at the wedding doesn't count as leisure time. Take some time for yourself, Thomas. (POF)
Remus wants Thomas to create something that will outlive him, that people will remember. He wants Thomas to face more mature themes and to challenge his public, to not treat them like kids anymore.
[Duke]: What will your legacy be? Will you even have one? (DWIT)
[Thomas]: I... don't wanna add to life's unpleasantness. [Duke]: Oh, so you're going to baby them? Do you wanna rock the cradle, Daddy? (DWIT)
Orange will care about Thomas too. Just like the previous Dark Sides, he will be considered a villain, but only after a while, it will be clear how deeply he cares about Thomas.
And, again, Wrath is perfect for this. If you think about Wrath, you don’t think of someone who wants what’s best for you. Wrath could easily appear as an enemy, a side who just wants Thomas to scream at everyone without any reason and to get angry for the smallest issues.
But we just saw that anger isn't "good" nor "bad". There can be a good, righteous side of Wrath, just like there can be a bad side. Wrath can be used to lash out at others and intimidate them, but it can also push people to react against injustice and correct something wrong.
So, how can this apply to Thomas?
Thomas is a very good person. He's imperfect: he's anxious, lies to himself and has a conflicting relationship with his creativity - but he's overall a very good person. He’s a nice guy, empathetic and sensitive, he tries to do the best thing, to be honest and to put his friends before him.
Do you know what happens to these kinds of people in real life? That it doesn't take long before others use this kindness to their advantage.
Personal experience here: I'm generally a shy person, I want to help others and I don't want to argue. So, when I started working, I was extremely kind to everyone, offered my help to all colleagues and was very accommodating. That led to other people slowly realizing they could make me do everything. They gave me huge parts of their work and, in order to process them all before the end of the day, I had to rush and do 20 things together non-stop.
They didn't do it with malice: I said nothing, so they thought everything was fine. But I was asking too much for myself and it wasn't fair. Every day I came back home angry, stressed and tired.
So, I started to toughen up. I stopped offering my help and when someone asked for it while I was already doing something, I just said the truth: I can't help you. At first I felt bad for them, but I had to think about myself too. I couldn't go back to stress myself 24/7.
And things went well: no one died for some more work, I did mine better and, at the end of the day, I didn't feel as devastated as before. I just had to be a little less "good".
Thomas is currently too good. He just gave up on a huge opportunity for his friends. And in general he's always been very accommodating, offering his help to everyone who needed it, despite his own needs. Like in The Mind Vs The Heart:
[Thomas]: Hey, what's up? -pause- Moving, huh? -pause- Bet you're calling me for a little assistance. -pause- Ummm... [Morality]: Do it! They're such a good friend, you gotta be a good friend too. [Thomas]: Umm... [Logic]: Don't do it! You already have two things going on that day and three the next day. You need optimal sleep and rest. [Thomas]: UHH... [Morality]: They'd do the same for you.
In the same episode, Thomas himself realized he was asking too much from himself:
[Thomas]: Dad Guy, you encourage me to do what's right, and to strive to do the most good in this world that I possibly can, and I appreciate that. But, a lot of times, I spread myself too thin. I also tend to make others a priority over me, and their feelings a priority over mine. And many times, that's great, it's necessary. But other times, I need to take time to make myself the priority and make sure I'M doing okay.
But he never did. Thomas keeps making the same mistake over and over, letting others push him around, step on him and asking him too much, just because he wants to be good for them. And so he ends up feeling like "a piece of dirt who has no control over his life" (as Virgil said in DWIT).
That's what Wrath might fight against. Not for Thomas to scream around and beat other people, but for Thomas to grow a spine.
Wrath's desire would be for Thomas to toughen up and stand up for himself. He can still be good, if that's what he wants: but he also has to be confident in his position, speak out with firmness and, when necessary, be strong enough to say "no".
So not only Wrath would take care of Thomas just like the other dark sides, but also help him stand up against other people (because not all people are good and bad people are just waiting for you to show a tiny sign of weakness to hit you back) and, more importantly, help him develop a stronger sense of self-respect.
And he would do that, by being harsh with Thomas. Why? Because it's the person who's harder on you, the one who loves you most.
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8. It makes sense his opposition to Logan and/or Patton
According to the color theories all over Tumblr, the Orange side will probably oppose Logan and/or Patton. I would bet more on Orange opposing just Logan, because we already have Janus opposing Patton and Remus opposing Roman (while Virgil... well, Virgil’s only enemy is himself).
Wrath, once again, would be perfect for this: Wrath is basically the opposite of Logic. Wrath “blinds” a person, when someone’s angry, logic is (figuratively) thrown out of the window.
And that could also explain a particular scene, the only scene in which we saw Logan showing a hint of fear.
Logan has never been afraid of anything. He even said it to Roman in Embarrassing Phases:
[Logan]: Wh- You're not frightening them anymore? Why not? [Roman]: Frightening us. You're not including yourself, why? [Logan]: I am fearless... and therefore powerful.
And he showed he’s never been afraid of any of the “dark sides”. He always had a civil relationship with Virgil, never been scared by Janus and he clearly proved he’s not scared by Remus at all.
However, there is only one moment, in which Logan showed fear. One single moment in Learning New Things About Ourselves.
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Since the first time I watched it, this scene caught my attention. During all episodes of Sanders Sides, the camera is focused on the sides' (and Thomas') faces, shifting from one to the other, but generally fixed on the same spot and just turning around. And if a side moves (like Virgil did in Embarrassing Phases, when he hid behind the handrail), the camera is still focused on his face.
That's the only moment the camera completely changed perspective and focused on Logan's hand. We saw him crumble that piece of paper, then we came back to focus on the sides’ faces.
Every decision has a meaning, especially in video-making. There should be a reason why a certain shot is filmed in a specific way. If Thomas & Co. decided to change the camera's perspective to focus on that specific action, it's because that action means something.
So... what did that action mean? Why was it so important to deserve a specific focus, different from all others?
Because it's the first time we saw an act of rage. Crumpling a piece of paper is, more or less, an universal sign of anger: by focusing on that, we are seeing, for the first time, anger boiling inside and its sudden release.
And the most interesting thing is that the side who showed anger is Logic. The one who isn't supposed to feel it. And not only he showed a clear sign of anger, but he lost control of himself for a second, enough to hit puppet!Roman with that piece of paper.
And now, look at how he reacted, after that:
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Look at this expression, look at how scared he is. Logan has never shown this level of fear (no, the scream he did in AA-part 2 when Virgil appeared cannot be compared to this). This is true fear.
And, again, it makes sense: anger is something that slips out of logic's control. Logic can explain everything: morals, lies, anxiety, the creative process. But anger is something out of any logic, it's the opposite of logic. So not only it would make sense, but Logan being scared by Wrath could also lead to a lot of interesting episodes and a great character arc.
In addition to that, let's analyze again that scene, because there are two extremely important points: first of all, Logan lost control of himself and got so scared by his own action, that he wanted to leave.
[Roman]: You hit me in the eye. You hit me in the eye, you freaking BOOKGERM! [Virgil]: Geez, L, that was pretty rough. [Logan]: I-I'm sorry. I-I don't know what that was. Maybe I should go.
A Side has never shown the desire to leave, never. Janus had to be chased away by Thomas, to leave. Virgil ducked out, but only because he wanted to help Thomas - but when it was clear they wanted him back, he gladly did. Until that moment, no one ever wanted to leave - and the only one who will leave is Roman at the end of POF (and we all remember why he left so suddenly).
Logan is the first side who wants to leave - and not because he was pissed at someone else like Roman. But because he was scared to be there. It's huge because, as said before, Logan has never been scared of anything or anyone.
And, even more important, when he expressed this desire to leave, Logan was stopped by Patton.
[Patton]: NO! We are NOT about to leave it there, mister! We can't continue this convo... if you're gone-zo.
Listen to how he says that "No! We are not about to leave it there, mister!". Those are, no doubts, the harsher words Patton has ever used. Then he sweetens his tone with a pun, but those words definitely sound like an order.
Yes, it could be that Patton just wanted to solve the "lack of communication issue" and he knew that, without Logan, it would've been pointless. But this harsh order came after that angry reaction. Maybe it’s just me reading too much into things, but it doesn't feel like a coincidence. Everything should have a meaning: not just camera shots, but dialogues too.
And this whole scene may just be a colossal foreshadowing of the kind of relationship there will be between Logan and Wrath - and how Patton might work as moderator between the two.
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9. It explains why Roman was supposed to be orange
In a previous occasion (probably a livestream now lost), Thomas said that, in his original plan, Roman was supposed to be the side with the orange color but then there was a change of plans that made Roman be the red side.
And this is a good choice: red represents passion, fire and love, important aspects of Roman's personality and functions.
But do you know what else red represents? Rage. Anger. Rage is typically associated with red color. So it's possible that, in the initial idea, Wrath was supposed to be the red side - for obvious reasons. But then, when Thomas developed all Roman's functions, red became a more suitable color for him - and that led to the chromatic change.
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10. It has been hinted one million times
The whole series did and it's still doing its best to hint a Wrath side literally everywhere. That scene in LNTAO I talked about in my eighth point was just an example, but I'll talk here about other details that can be considered hints.
The first is from DWIT, in which Logan says this:
[Logan]: Consider some of the seven deadly sins. Greed... Pride... Envy... Lust... Wrath... Five of the seven deadly sins are committed in your head.
Pretty interesting that he mentioned only these five and not Gluttony or Sloth, even though Thomas proved several times to be very lazy and to overindulge with food. Still, apparently Thomas is more of a greedy person, rather than a lazy one. And, well, considering he has Janus, I can understand why Greed. And why Pride/Lust (they’re respectively functions of Roman and Remus).
But these other two?
Well, I found an explanation for Envy. If we read the Wikipedia definition of Envy:
Envy (...) can be described as a sad or resentful covetousness towards the traits or possessions of someone else. It arises from vainglory and severs a man from his neighbor.
Okay, so what is vainglory? This is an archaic synonym for vanity, that is “the excessive belief in one's own abilities or attractiveness to others”. In other words, a form of Pride. And since Roman is the embodiment of Pride, that means Envy stems from Roman.
But Wrath? As said in my fourth point, Wrath is one of the basic emotions, so it doesn't stem from anything. And no one of the known Side showed any sign of anger, except Logan himself during that single scene in LNTAO - that could be another hint of Wrath.
And then we have POF, that is the festival of Wrath references: from the orange text popping up to say 43770 while Patton was talking how it's better to help others, instead of fighting them, to this moment, during another fight scene, in which Thomas has some peculiar moves:
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As you can see, Thomas has Attack, Dance, Items... and Blinding Rage. I bet it's all a coincidence that it popped out here during another fight scene.
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One huge cons
It's too predictable. Basically everyone said Orange is going to be Wrath and even the series itself said it's going to be him. Remus has been a complete surprise, because we were all thinking about Envy and no one expected another form of Creativity.
Bat, as I said, it would make sense that the last side is going to be Wrath, for all the previous ten points. It would be nice to get surprised, but until now I have never found another possible Orange able to fulfill all those points at the same time.
Except for this single possibility I will talk about now.
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A theory that's never going to be right
It all started with the Lantana camara.
Since Thomas put this flower shirt in his store, the fandom did what the fandom does better: speculate over everything. In this case, over every flower.
At first I didn’t want to analyze it, but since I had to talk about Lantana camara here, why not spend two more minutes looking into every flower and writing a post about them? And so I did.
Lantana camara: this flower is very strange, because it's toxic for animals and maybe for humans too. It's a very invasive plant: it can survive in a lot of different environmental conditions, without water, it's even "quite resistant to fire". It's a real force of nature.
And lantana symbolizes severity and rigour.
It could be a good plant for Wrath. Wrath is unstoppable, it can explode in every situation. It can make you feel better, but it can also be toxic. And, as said in the previous points, rigour can be associated with his desire to help Thomas grow some self-respect.
But while I was thinking about it, I joked around about the meaning because, I mean, "severity and rigour"? What could be considered “rigorous” in Thomas' life? His father? His religion?
And I just laughed because pfff, what? Thomas' religious belief? It's so stupid! First of all, it makes no sense Janus hides it.
But wait... it actually makes sense. Because, deep down, Thomas has a conflicting relationship with his religion. His catholic upbringing led him to split his Creativity in two parts and label one of them as "bad". His religion forced him to think about others even when he did not want to. It could be perfectly understandable Thomas doesn't want to see it as part of him.
From a narrative point of view, it would make sense it comes after Janus. Why? Because religion and faith are the trait d'union that connects all the sides. It would make sense that the final side to be revealed is the one who connected all others. Also, it has been hinted everywhere, since all the sides are connected to religion (just look at their playlists: basically all of them talked about it!).
It would make sense that he's related to Patton and opposes Logan. Religion and faith have always been linked to heart and emotions and there has always been a strong contrast between faith and science/logic.
It could lead to an incredible arc, because the embodiment of Thomas' faith could be seens as a villain AND a good guy at the same time. It could get along well with the dark sides and explain why they're all so obsessed with religion.
He would care for Thomas, just like all sides, because... well, religion’s job is caring about our immortal souls. And he wouldn't be just religion, but Thomas' faith. The most spiritual part of him, who wants to save him and protect him even after his life.
It would explain why red was supposed to be his color: because red is associated with Jesus, His birth (Christmas) and Passion. And red is also associated with heart and religious fervor.
And finally Lantana would be a perfect flower, because religion is strict and severe. Religion can heal, it can outlive everything. It can be toxic for some and a medicine for others. And it's invasive: ever heard of the famous sentence "Religion is the opium of the people"? Religion spreads everywhere, without control. It can suffocate other religions (and it did, several times), it stands up to anything.
And when I realized that... my mind imploded. Just like Wrath, Thomas’ faith just satisfied all 10 points.
And yes, I perfectly know this theory will never be the right one because Wrath is way more plausible that Religious faith. But no one suggested it and, considering the subtle references to religion scattered everywhere, I can’t completely set this possibility aside. Again, it will never happen, but if it happens...
Now the floor is yours: if you have a possible Orange who fulfills all those criteria, please share it. We can have some nice conversations about it and maybe even manage to find together a new possibility we haven’t thought yet.
In the meantime, thank you for reaching the end of this infinitely long analysis and, as always, take care.
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jamjar98 · 12 days ago
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The fact that I am a few years older than NCIS' run on TV is testament to just how damn long the show has been on our screens.
My earliest memories of the show are foggy snippets of Gibbs, DiNozzo and Kate doing their thing in the big orange room. Perhaps the most memorable are the comments that usually accompanied the show as the beloved steely eyed silver fox commanded our attention on screen, "That Gibbs surely is handsome." My mother would comment.
I would rediscover the alluring pull of those dazzling blue eyes several years later at the age of 16. My sudden attraction to a man who could be my grandfather would lead me down a rather hilarious path of self discovery. Did I have daddy issues? Were those blue eyes really that beautiful that age wasn't relevant?
The show now in its 11th year, would provide an escape from my 16 year-old life. A time during which I was forced to make all sorts of grownup decision regarding my future, leading to various uncertainties of who I was as a person. Yet, those blue eyes were always there to distract me for 42 minutes. I had 11 seasons to catch up on and so the addiction started. It was my dirty little secret, while friends chatted about the latest shows and trends, I clung to my geriatric love.
Today, I am far from the nervous, self loathing teenager I used to be. Well, I'm not a teenager anymore but the nervousness drops by for a visit occasionally. Through it all, NCIS was my constant, my crutch when life was falling apart.
In a span of 7 years the show had taken me on quite the rollercoaster ride. I've mourned the loss of beloved characters. Fallen in love with ships that would reawaken my love of writing and ultimately remind me of who and what I wanted to be. I've said goodbye to the same beloved ships as they were gunned down in a diner. Sometimes they were left behind in Afghanistan.
In its 19th season, I have to face the hardest goodbye of them all. A farewell to those constant steely blues that can make me swoon. It's admirable that Mark Harmon stuck with NCIS for so long. There's no denying that I mainly watched the show because of him, don't get me wrong I loved the other characters, but we all have our favourites.
So after 18 seasons and 4 episodes, 7 years of my life, I too hang up my NCIS hat. It doesn't mean I won't continue to preserve my love of Gibbs through my fanfiction. But in terms of tuning in every Tuesday, and as of late Monday, it's a tradition to which I say "So long".
But you're not a real fan! I hear you shout, perhaps I'm not after all. Yet, I'd rather say goodbye to the show while I still carry a fondness for it in my heart. I would hate for beloved memories to become tainted with resentment.
I look forward to revisiting my love of NCIS and Gibbs in my writing. My drafts are simply waiting for my life to settle down first. Those steely blues might be gone, but they will never be forgotten.
But most of all I will forever cherish the friendship I have forged with @from-stone-to-hallows . Although the LJ Gibbs era might be over, ours is just beginning.
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weepingalpacafuneral · 9 months ago
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I'm gonna make a LOT of allusions and comparisons to other media so buckle up motherfuckers, I’m talkin about Dream SMP.
I'm incredibly disappointed with post s1 DSMP.  The absolutely brilliant @limelocked​ states why more eloquently than I can, and I would check out his posts.
My main issue is that most major plot details are just manipulation, abuse, and betrayal nonstop. Characters don’t care about each other, it's just a shell game of power and doing the most to destroy things that people care about.  It spits in the face of people who try to build plots that don't revolve around manipulation and destruction, and just disincentivizes those plots in general. And yeah, anger and hurt sell. But DSMP has already been sold; everyone on Twitch and Youtube and Tumblr and Twitter *knows* what it is and most people have some form of familiarity with it.
Season one was awesome! It was still new, but it created new and unique plots and brought back rp to the mainstream mcyt audience! And yeah, you’re probably saying “What about c!Wilbur's arc? What about c!Schlatt's arc? That was all manipulation and destruction and abuse!” 
The problem with this argument is that Wilbur wrote a defined plot with an end in sight, and that end was his breakdown and the destruction of L’manburg; his arc was a tragedy.  But it was the *first* tragedy. It’s what the rest of DSMP’s arcs have been modeled off of; and wilbur ended his arc with the potential for rebuilding, handing off the torch to Tommy and Tubbo and the rest of DSMP.
Post that transition, the plots of manipulation and abuse and destruction and ramp it up to ten and never stop.  The main arcs post s1 completely missed the point of Wilbur’s ending, of the potential for community and resolution and *hope*.
Tommy’s exile arc and everything past it shits on the ideas Wilbur’s arc left for them to build on- it hammers the abuse and manipulation and depression and suicidal ideation that Wilbur’s arc used as a way to flesh out the ideas and effects L’manburg represented and strips them of any real meaning.
When we saw c!Tommy look out over the pit of lava, we didn't have the benefit of the acting and background Wilbur put into his character before he died. When we saw c!Tommy look out over a pit of lava, we saw a sad and hurt teenager contemplate suicide and we didn’t see anything else, other than the abuse and manipulation he suffered after, and the abuse and manipulation he deals to others.
Dsmpblr and Dsmptwt have talked a lot about the SBI family dynamic, or the lack of it (Again, go check out @limelocked​ because he goes way more in depth about myths and misconceptions about surrounding this).
I'd like to propose something adjacent but contrary to the “validity” or “canon-ness” arguments about family dynamic in DSMP.
DSMP found family baits us.
It's the goddamn MCU of “Hey these characters found each other and they've helped each other through hard times and they care about each other”.  Because let's be honest: these characters *DON’T* care about each other.  They manipulate and abuse each other, they lie and steal and hurt each other, they kill and imprison and hurt each other. 
Characters like Niki, who kept L’manburg together in s1, are repeatedly lied to and manipulated; c!Techno is used as a weapon so much that he can’t trust even people who genuinely care about him; c!Tubbo is forced into power by people he cares about and trusts and left to drown as they blame him for mistakes he couldn't help; and so on and so forth.
I think a lot about The Magnus Archives, everyone’s favorite horror anthology podcast that spawned a Lot of discourse about the tone of the ending, so much so that it even drew the creator’s attention, leading them to release a statement about how “The Magnus Archives is a horror podcast, it’s a tragedy, no one will be ok.” and how that's just so different from what Dream SMP has become.  The Magnus Archives was *always* a horror podcast and a tragedy. But Dream SMP was funny goofs, and then it had an overarching story that was a tragedy thanks to Wilbur in s1, and then it became what it is: non stop manipulation and destruction and abuse.
That's not necessarily a bad thing, and I certainly bear no ill will towards the creators furthermore, it is my choice to interact with this content.  But if you are a fan of Tommyinnit, or of SBI, and you see Wilbur’s “Minecraft but” videos or Tommy’s recent proximity chat videos, and you come to Dream SMP looking for the same fun goofs, and you find nothing but anger and tragedy, it's whiplash. It doesn’t matter if SBI or family dynamics are or are not canon in Dream SMP, because canon-ness of that specific family group does not necessarily dictate the existence of family in general, furthermore, the abuse and manipulation plots do not remove the validity or existence of familys; people who you love can do shitty things to you, and you can still love them.
The problem isn't that SBI or whatever friend/family dynamic you’re looking for isn't *real* or canon in Dream SMP, it's that the setting and the characters and the way those things interact make it irrelevant: if Tommy stopped using c!Techno as a tool and a weapon and stopped manipulating and lying to him, Techno could probably forgive him.  But c!Tommy doesn’t, and c!Techno protects himself accordingly, and it's all a vicious cycle because the characters don’t actually care about each other like we expect them too.
When I say “Hey, what if their characters were nice to each other”, it's not out of some misguided idea that the family dynamics could be real, as much as I wish they could. It’s because being nice is a radical fucking act, one that’s hard and sometimes unfulfilling; it’s because being kind, being loving is a goddamn *revolution* in a world where we are told to rip each other to shreds to survive or god forbid thrive.
When the world says “The deeper the grief, the closer to god” and we say “Maybe god is wrong and my sadness and my pain and my anger does not dictate my growth and personhood.”, it is a radical act, one that brings us closer to each other and to ourselves, one that rejects the systems that hurt us.
When I say “What if they were nice to each other”, I'm not only talking about Dream SMP. I’m talking about how telling it is that the media we flock to as escapism from our supremely fucked world is repeating wholesale and without criticism the abuse and subjugation we face as real people in the real world.
When I  think about Audre Lorde’s words “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare” I think that maybe my time is better spent caring about something other than pantomimes of my trauma by people far more privileged than I am until they can tell me a story worth listening to.
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scifigrl47 · 6 months ago
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A Day on the Town
Back in Feb, I linked to a fundraiser for my friend Bones, asking for any help people felt like offering them, and offering all that I had in exchange: a bit of fic, and the chance to give me a little prompt.
Bones met their goal, and the Google Random Number generator choice lot number 88.  This is the start of the fic they requested.  I hope everyone can get a smile out of it, and there’ll be more to come on AO3. 8D
*
Harris leaned forward in his chair, squinting at the screen.  “Goddamn Marty fucking Nichols,” he muttered under his breath, hitting his keyboard with just a little more force than was strictly necessary.
“That’s a hell of a name.”
Harris’ fingers stilled on the keys.  He took a slow, deep breath.   He looked up.  Nick Fury was leaning on the top of his cubicle wall, a tin in one hand, an oatmeal cookie in the other.  His eyebrow arched.  “I’m guessing Marty’s parents didn’t like him much.”  He took a bite from the cookie, making a considering sound under his breath as he chewed.  “Or is ‘Fucking’ an old family name?  I knew a kid, he got stuck with Hooker, and really?  If I was a parent?”
He gestured with the cookie. “I’d let that one die.”
Harris stared at him.  Fury opened the tin, and held it out.  “Cookie?”
Harris looked at the cookies.  Back up at him.  “I know it probably doesn’t look like it, but I’m working on something kind of important here,” he said.
Fury tipped his head forward, peering at his screen with a narrowed eye.  “You’re right,” he said.  “It doesn’t look important at all.”
“And despite that, it is,” Harris said with a wide smile.  “And I’m on kind of a deadline, so I think that I should probably-”
Fury smiled back.  “Son?”  He gave the tin a wiggle, making the cookies bounce.  “Take the cookie.”
Harris took the cookie.  He did not eat it.  “Has anyone ever told you that you bear a striking resemblance to the head of a national government security agency?”
Fury’s lips twitched.  “Every damn day.”  He selected a cookie, and put the lid back on.  “What’s Agent Nichols done to draw your ire, Agent Macintyre?”
“Nothing,” Harris said, and Fury gave him a look.  “I was just, you know, having a day, and I missed lunch, so-”
“The longer you lie to me, the longer I’m gonna be standing here,” Fury pointed out.
“He watches YouTube tutorials on the weekends to learn Excel tips and tricks, which is, you know, that’s cool, and I appreciate his dedication to his craft, but he’s just overcomplicating things,” Harris said.  He rubbed his forehead.  “LIke, it’s good to have a wide variety of tools at your disposal, sir, but you need to choose your tool based on your task.  And this?”
Harris gestured at the computer screen.  “This is a bagel.  And I asked for cream cheese for my bagel.  Just, you know.  Cream cheese on a bagel.”
Fury took another bite of his cookie.  “What kind of bagel?”
“What do you mean, what kind of bagel?” 
Fury shrugged. “You can tell a lot about a man by his choice of bagel.”
“What, exactly?  Other than he’s probably not gluten-intolerant?”Harris leaned back in his chair, ignoring how it squeaked.  “I don’t know?”
“You know,” Fury said.
“Fine, it’s-” Harris looked down at the cookie in his hand. “Cinnamon raisin.”
Fury chuckled.  “I’m starting to see why Cheese spends so much time down here.”
“Cheese?” Harris asked.
“Cream cheese,” Fury said.  “And your cinnamon raisin bagel?”
“Right,” Harris said, taking a bite of the cookie without thinking.  It melted on his tongue, crisp and perfectly seasoned.  He gave the cookie a suspicious look.  “Tools.  Use the right tool for the job.  I have a bagel, and I need to spread cream cheese on it, and every time I ask Nichols for a butter knife, he gives me a broad sword.”
With a sigh, Harris took another bite.  “And so instead of having my lunch, I’m down here, trying to stab a container of Philadelphia’s finest with goddamn Excalibur.”
Fury considered him, an unreadable expression on his face.  “You have a way with words, anyone ever tell you that?”
Harris thought about that.  “No, but most people stop talking to me,” he said.  Then, hopefully, he added, “Don’t suppose that you-”
“Nope,” Fury said.
“Of course not,” Harris sighed.  He went to take another bite of his cookie and realized it was gone.  He dusted off his fingers.  “So.  This was.  This was a nice chat.  I should just-”  He pointed at his computer.  “I should get back to work.”
Fury nodded.  “Yeah, I hear the boss is a hardass.”  
Harris wasn’t sure if it was smarter to agree or disagree with that.  He just sat there, smiling.
Fury grinned.  “Aren’t you going to ask why I’m down here?”
“No,” Harris said, his smile not budging.
The tin of cookies thumped against the cubicle wall.  “No?” Fury asked.  He sounded amused.  Harris didn’t know if that was a good sign or not.  “Why not?”
“Honestly, I’m terrified of the answer, so, no, not asking that question,” Harris said. He paused.  “You’re going to tell me anyway, aren’t you?”
“I mean, I can’t resist, now.”  Fury opened the tin.  “How long you been working for us, son?”
“Long enough to be very frightened of having you show up at my desk,” Harris said, “but to be honest, that I was pretty much at that point a day after I signed the contract.”
“Right.”  Fury was taking a lot of time selecting his cookie.  “I only ask, because one of the first urban legends that get passed around to the newbies is the one about the poker games where the heads of the various agencies get together and trade assets.”
Harris nodded.  “You…  Don’t seem the gambling type, sir.”
“You keep telling yourself that,” Fury said.  “So do you believe it?”
“Believe what?  That you gamble the employment contracts of agents at a secret underground poker game?” Harris asked.  Fury nodded, his attention still focused on the cookies.  “That seems both illegal and morally questionable, sir.”
“And many of my actions have been called just that,” Fury said with an easy smile.
Harris’ foot tapped against the the base of his chair, a rapid, sharp tattoo.  “Why are you bringing this up, sir?”
“Because we don’t play poker, but we do occasionally share resources,” Fury said.  “Intel and personnel and systems.”  He glanced up. “When it’s mutually beneficial.”
Harris did not like where this was going.  “I don’t benefit much, sir.”
Fury grinned.  “Yeah, that’s fine.  I didn’t get much for you.”  His head tipped up the aisle towards the elevators.  “C’mon, Agent McIntyre.  You’ve got a temporary reassignment.”
Harris nodded.  “I’m kind of busy here, sir.”
“Yeah, the-” Fury looked at his computer screen. “Bagel stuck on a broad sword, right?”
“I’m starting to regret that metaphor,” Harris admitted.
“I mean, I would, but it’s a matter of personal preference,” Fury told him.  “Pack it up.”
Harris saved his work with a couple of keystrokes and shut down the programs, one after another.  “I’m on a deadline here, sir.”
“Yeah, but your boss owes me a life debt, so I think I can get you an extension.” Fury stepped aside, waving Harris out ahead of him.  “Let’s go, Agent, time to serve your country.”
“Right.” Harris nodded, then nodded again.  He reached for his jacket and tried to ignore the heads that were peeking up over the cube walls all over the floor, bouncing up and down like prairie dogs checking for danger.  He smiled despite himself.  Self-preservation was the mark of his people.  
“Ready?” Fury asked, and Harris nodded.  “I do like a man who travels light.”
“It makes the cowardly fleeing for my life a lot easier,” Harris explained, and Fury laughed, loud and full, and every single member of the computer analytics department of SHIELD stood up as one.  Harris, not knowing what else to do, waved.  
Bob the intern waved back.  Everyone else just sat down.
“Well, I was popular for a moment,” Harris said.
“You’re welcome,” Fury said, tapping him lightly on the head with the tin.  “Let’s go.”
It was a short trip to the elevator, and an even shorter trip to the lobby.  Harris stared straight ahead, his hands limp at his sides.  “Director Fury?”  Next to him, Fury made a ‘yes’ kind of a noise, and Harris took a deep breath.  “Why me?”
“Let’s just say your reputation proceeds you,” Fury said, as the elevator door opened.  He tipped his head forward.  “This way.”
The lobby was bustling, people coming and going, SHIELD suits mixing with field agents, politicians and civilians, everyone moving with purpose and intent.  Everyone except one.
The woman was slim, of average height, her silver-white hair cut in a sleek, clean bob that framed the hard line of her jaw.  She was wearing a beige tench coat, belted neatly at her narrow waist, her eyes hidden behind massive sunglasses, the kind that seemed straight out of the sixties, or at least an Audrey Hepburn movie.
If she wasn’t standing in the middle of a spy agency, Harris would’ve thought she was one.  As it was, the outfit, from neat, polished black boots to her gloves, seemed oddly like a costume.
She looked over as Fury approached, her lips curling up in a smile.  “Well?”
Fury gestured at Harris.  “He’s all yours.”  He looked back at Harris.  “Agent MacIntyre?  Consider yourself on loan to a friendly embassy.  She’ll bring you back when she’s done with you.”
Harris nodded.  “What, exactly, did you get in exchange for me?” he asked, not really wanting the answer but not being able to resist.  Fury held up the tin.  “Cookies?”  Fury nodded.  Harris sighed.  “I don’t know if I’m flattered or insulted by that.”
“They’re very good cookies,” the woman said.  She reached up sliding her glasses off her her nose.  She smiled at Harris, very familiar eyes in an unfamiliar face.  “Hello, Harris.  I’m Shirley Coulson.”
Harris took a deep breath.  “Of course you are.”
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shelsgovroomvroom · 8 months ago
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SHELS!!!!
FLUFFY CORPSE INCOMING!!!!
sick corpse trying to livestream among us with the gang when the reader is out getting shopping and when the reader comes back they literally drag corpse out of the room and end the livestream for him.
This is something we all know he would do. -🐍
SNAKE WELCOME BACK TO MY INBOX. I HAVE MISSED YOU MY DUDE.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy 🖤🖤
——————————
You knew that Corpse wasn’t feel very well, when he woke up he could just tell that it was gonna be a bad day. But with his chronic conditions, that happened sometimes and you couldn’t spend every minute of those days with him. Even if you wanted to.
He promised you that he’d only be streaming for a little while and then he’s rest. In hindsight, you don’t know why you believed him. He’s never just streamed for a little while and he certainly wasn’t gonna start now.
You had some errands to run so you kissed him goodbye, wished him luck for his stream and left to do what you needed to. You hoped that by the time you returned, he’d already be finished with his stream.
Except he wasn’t finished with his stream. What he was, however, was in a terrible state. You could tell immediately that he was pushing himself too hard and should have ended the stream a long time ago.
He turns around to look at you and instantly knows he fucked up. You possess all of his self control and you were gonna use it to end his stream. You only needed to look at his chat for a moment to see that all of them were also yelling at him to end the stream as well.
You literally just took his hand and dragged him out the streaming room. He knew better than to argue, he had seen your wrath before he didn’t need to see it again.
Once you were sure he was in bed, you went back to his stream to tell them that he was ending it because he didn’t feel well. When you said that to the people he was streaming with, they all got really happy cause they knew he needed it.
His stream was happy too cause they could tell he needed to take a break. You wished everyone well and logged off. Then went to go join your idiot boyfriend in bed.
That man has the self preservation instincts of a duck crossing the highway.
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gingersnaaps · 6 months ago
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at your window
hanahaki: the fictional disease where a person, afflicted by unrequited love, grows flowers in their lungs and stomach. unless the love is reciprocated, the disease will grow fatal. there's one workaround, though - one that issei matsukawa is very interested in: the plant can be physically removed.
wc: ~3.8k
tags/tw's(PLEASE PLEASE READ): n*fw, masturbation only(no sex), stalking, snuff, gore, blood, yandere!matsukawa, sorta necro(attraction but not sex), noncon filming, fem!reader but no mention of genitals
a/n: for @suedebunn's april showers collab // this is the most self-indulgent thing i've ever written and i spent way too long on it. it's supposed to lean towards horror?
i don't want minors interacting with my content
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March 8th, 2013
[12:47 am]
The longer Issei sits outside your window, the harder it becomes to stop himself.
His face is pressed up against the dusty glass pane, peering inside at the outline of your sleeping body, and he finds that he can’t help but fixate on it. You look so peaceful, so tranquil, completely at rest as your mind flits between the shadowy realms that dreams inhabit.
He wonders what kind of wonderland you’re in right now - if it’s cotton-candy pink and delightful, just like you, or dark and hazy and spun with danger.
You’d look beautiful in any setting, he thinks, and finds his hand inadvertently drifting downwards.
His gaze rakes over the rise and fall of your chest, taking in the flashes of bare skin where your sheer nightgown rides up, his breath catching as his palm glides over his clothed cock. The friction feels so good - there’s no question that he wants this, needs this - and he wastes no time unzipping his pants and reaching in to free his dick. He doesn’t need to fantasize much, not when you’re mere feet away, instead making sure he sears every detail of your sleeping form into his mind: your fluttering eyelashes, your shallow breaths, the soft glow of your skin in the moonlight.
Issei quickens his pace, stroking up and down the shaft of his cock with purpose, thumb flicking over the slit. His breath huffs against the glass, clouding the surface until it’s dripping with condensation, but he still sees you as clear as day in his mind even as the real image of you blurs. You’re blissed out and relaxed, shoulders free of tension, your lips curving slightly into a smile.
He closes his eyes, rolling his head back as he works his cock, every single brush of his fingers leaving him twitching with sensitivity. You look like an angel, picture-perfect and frozen in time and consciousness, as if you were a framed picture or a museum exhibit preserved just for Issei to admire. Just for Issei. He lets out a quiet groan at the thought as he cums, his hips stuttering and cock jerking up.
You turn over fitfully in your sleep.
Looking down at the cum dripping off his fingers, he wants nothing more than to crawl in through your window and wipe it on your face. It’s an unmistakable mark of ownership, a sign that you belong to him alone, but he hesitates. He’s a bit of a shy guy, you see.
He can wait.
-
March 14th, 2013
[10:01 pm]
He has to conceal himself a bit better tonight than he would on his normal visits. This time, he’s a bit early, and you’re still awake.
His back is up against the siding of your house, right beside your window, but he can still see you in the periphery of his vision. You’re sitting at your desk, bathed in the warm light of your desk lamp, hunched over some math worksheet and scribbling furiously with the pencil in your hand.
Forget the moon; you glow even prettier as the world around you fades to dark.
Just like every other night, he takes in every detail meticulously. Your hair is messier than it was the previous day - maybe you hadn’t washed it in a while? He doesn’t mind, because it’s endearing when you’re messy and imperfect, barefaced in your pajamas, a little rough around the edges.
He thinks it’s similar to the way you’d look after being fucked stupid, if he closed his eyes and tried to picture you being ruined.
Issei tries very hard to ignore the way his cock strains in his pants at the thought.
-
March 23, 2013
[11:30 pm]
The mild spring breeze carries the sweet scent of fresh blossoms and green grass, leaving behind the wintry chill that he had to shiver through each night to be at your side - well, as close by your side as he could get.
These little visits have become a part of his life now, as ingrained as waking up in the morning or eating three times a day. It’s comforting for him to watch you from his spot outside your window each night, admiring you as you go about your nighttime routine, puttering from your desk to your bathroom to your bedroom.
He’s started to take some pictures, maybe even a shaky, pixelated video or two, just to tide him over when he’s alone by himself. They’re no replacement for the real thing, obviously, but it’s enough for him to be able to carry around a reminder of the way you look and sound all the time, even if it’s just a shadow of what you’re like in person. He’ll scroll through his camera roll, fingers trembling with excitement, hissing as he brings his hand down to stroke at his cock.
It’s always better in person, though. He sees you more clearly, hears the sound of your voice muffled through the walls, and most of all, he’s closer to you.
Issei likes to make it last, likes to prolong the pleasure as much as possible, so he always starts off with slow, gentle, pumps, gliding up and down his cock with his index finger and thumb curled into a circle. It’s honestly a miracle how you haven’t noticed yet, because he always tends to lose himself after he starts.
Face pressed close against the window in order to get the best view possible, his warm huffs of breath cloud up the cold glass as he strokes himself faster. His eyes rolling back into his head, his two digits of measured stimulation give way quickly to full, hard, pumps of his cock until soft moans start to spill from his mouth.
It’s hard to resist when you’re right there.
Tonight, you’re sprawled out on your bed, phone held above your face as you chat with your friend on video call. You’re shaking with laughter at some silly joke your friend’s telling, head thrown back and chin tilted upwards, face shining with joy, and he suddenly feels a warm, warm feeling of arousal course through him.
Seeing you happy turns him on, makes his cock so hard even though he just came minutes prior.
The sound of your voice carries through the walls, carefree and bright, chattering on and on about some assignment - or maybe it’s a complaint about the teacher, he’s not too sure - and he smiles contentedly at your silly little worries. Too cute, really.
You suddenly cough.
It’s an ugly sound, dry and strangled, and he cringes at the way your body tenses up and shakes. The coughing fit feels far longer than it actually is; every second of your hacking and wheezing is compounded by the panic gripping him. He watches, helpless, as your face turns ashen and grey, his heart seizing with dread and pounding in his chest.
It’s over as quickly as it begins.
You smile weakly, brushing it off as you apologize to your friend, but he can’t shake the uneasy feeling that settles at the pit of his stomach. He tugs up his pants, bare thighs and dick feeling awfully exposed in the night wind, and scurries back home. Maybe another night, then.
-
April 1st, 2013
[12:09 am]
You’re not in your room today.
Issei leans his head against the cold glass of your windowpane, hands shoved into his jacket, his mind clouding at the edges and overrun with possibilities. He doesn’t recall seeing you making plans with friends the previous night, and there’s not much you could be really doing right now - you have no boyfriend, no plans that he knows of, no real reason to just be gone.
He’s always thought of himself as a calm person. He doesn’t fall victim to temporary urges and flights of emotion the same way that Oikawa or Iwaizumi might, doesn’t do anything reckless on whims he knows will disappear just hours later.
But there’s just something about you that always makes him lose himself, isn’t there?
The window is fogged up with condensation, obscuring his view inside your room. He reaches out the sleeve of his jacket, wiping away the dew clinging to the surface, and squints as he tries to make out the scene in the dim lighting.
On the floor, awash in a pool of moonlight, lies a yellow flower petal spattered with blood.
-
April 4th, 2013
[4:46 am]
Issei’s not stupid.
He knows what the flower petal means, knows what your sickness means. He’s read about it in books, heard the tales from his parents friends, the whispered legends and hushed myths that make one thing clear:
You belong to someone else.
It’s a thought that fills him with revulsion. You already have Issei; is he not enough for you? Are you such a whore that his devotion falls short of what you’re so clearly greedy for?
He’s stopped restricting himself to just his nightly visits. They’re not enough, not when he can’t seem to go five minutes without his thoughts inevitably drifting to you - you in your fluttery, sheer nightgown, lying in your bed, your frame growing sicker and frailer as the blood drains from your cheeks and your coughing fits grow more frequent.
You can hide it from the prying eyes of your friends at school, from your teachers, even from your parents(as long as you make sure to roll your eyes a few times and lean into that murky, illusory persona of teenage angst), but here in your bedroom, your sanctuary, all your vulnerabilities crawl out and bubble to the surface, bared to your four off-white walls and his eyes only.
You can’t hide this from Issei; not the symptoms, and certainly not the disease.
He sets his alarm every day early enough to hear the nighttime croaking of frogs, the shrill, insistent chirping of cicadas, hours before the sky bleeds daylight, making his way over to your house. He stands outside, silent, his fingers pressed up against the window.
He doesn’t know why he goes anymore. You look ugly when you’re sick. Your healthy complexion has given way to grey, and his dick goes limp every time he tries to jerk himself off. It’s a reminder of the fact that he can’t ever have you the way he used to dream about: lively, healthy, and wholly devoted to him and him alone.
At this point, the pictures and videos of you are the only thing he has left, a pitiful reminder of everything you used to be. He has no use for those other girls from porn sites online, or even the scantily clad social media posts of his classmates. Issei only wants you, but you aren’t quite who you used to be, and every time he trudges home after staring through that stupid window, there’s always a bitter aftertaste in his mouth that makes his blood curdle.
It’s not that he’s jealous, exactly. He doesn’t really give a fuck who you’re pining after, because it’s you he cares about. He wants to own you, to possess your body, mind, and soul, wants you to end up at his side one day, acknowledging him with tears brimming in your lovely eyes, voice raw and hoarse as you chant thank you Issei, thank you, thank you for watching over me, Issei, i’m yours, Issei, i love you, Issei
Maybe it’s no wonder he can’t stop thinking about you.
-
April 19th, 2013
[11:52 pm]
He finds you passed out on the floor, surrounded by crumpled piles of faded carnation petals. They’re a sickly yellow, browning at the edges, tinged with blood and vomit and spit. It’s a scene straight out of a movie, illuminated by the waning moon, the cold, pale, uneven light casting shadows that dance across your body.
-
April 24th, 2013
[2:03 am]
Issei is nothing if not a practical man. If there’s a problem, he’s going to fix it.
He’s had enough of waiting, anyway.
-
April 25th, 2013
[12:00 am]
He’s never actually been inside your room before. It’s eerily quiet, save for your shallow, rapid breaths, all outside noises absorbed by the walls and curtains. It almost feels like he’s dreaming as he makes his way over to your bedside, his shadow stretching and bending in the distorted light like those funhouse mirror reflections.
Your lips are parted slightly, mouth agape as if in waiting, and he can’t help but run a finger along your cracked, ashen lips.
Issei shivers.
He’s never been quite so close to you before. It’s almost anticlimactic, the way he ends up at your side. He won’t lie; he had been hoping for a different ending, one with more sunshine and roses, one where you’d be smiling happily by his side as he tenderly holds your hand.
But he can’t change the way things are, and he’s more than willing to make the best of what he’s got.
He doesn’t have any surgical tools that might’ve been more fitting, but he supposes a kitchen knife - one he’d sharpened just yesterday - should work well enough. He runs a finger along the back of the gleaming metal, admiring the way it glints, brilliant and blinding, even in the midst of the dim room.
The old, worn, bed creaks beneath him as he climbs carefully on top of you, straddling your torso, taking care not to place too much pressure on your body. He reaches out to caress your face, brushing a loose strand of hair aside as he appraises you. In sickness, you were nowhere near as beautiful as you were before, but your proximity almost makes up for it; Issei can feel your heart thrumming beneath your skin, can feel the huff of your breath on his hand as your chest rises and falls.
He almost regrets having to do this.
Bringing the blade up to your chest, he begins to cut through your paper-thin nightgown. As the fabric rips, it falls to either side to reveal your chest, and his breath catches. The soft curve of your tits are stained with red, little green buds of growth peeking out from your chest and between your ribs. Blood blooms across your skin, thorns and stems pricking out from the smooth surface of your skin, standing out in stark relief as the sick, twisted, unnatural growth threatens to burst out of your body.
He flutters his fingers along your delicate skin, trailing gentle touches down your stomach, completely absorbed in the way you look and feel.
So absorbed, in fact, that he almost doesn’t notice the way you tense, eyes blinking awake, as pain lances through your body.
Issei’s quick, though - far quicker than you, at least, and by the time you open your mouth to scream, fear catching in your throat, he shoves a large hand over your mouth to muffle any of the unpleasant noises that threaten to spill out.
“Shh,” he whispers, voice hoarse and foreign in his own chest. He’s not used to speaking to you. “If you don’t hold still, it’s going to hurt even more.”
You freeze in terror at the implications of his words, eyes catching on the blade pointed at your chest. There’s a sudden urge to lash out, to fight back - but it quickly passes. You’re not stupid.
You know that he’s far stronger than you, far faster, and as his calm, remorseless gaze latches onto your body, you realize very quickly that any resistance would be futile.
He begins his work as soon as he feels you go limp beneath him. You’re still trembling slightly, shivering from both the fear and the cold, completely exposed, completely at his mercy. You’re still not sure who he is; maybe you’ve caught a glimpse or two of him in your classes in the past, but for the most part, he’s still a complete stranger.
Issei, on the other hand, knows you very well.
As the knife slips beneath your soft flesh, your bed quickly turns into a sea of scarlet, of vermilion and ruby, of wine-red blood that grows from a trickle to a stream to a rushing, spurting mess that stains your sheets and spills onto the floor. He can feel the spatters of your blood on his face, his clothes, can see the periphery of his vision growing red as the blank, white walls turn crimson.
He finds it’s a bit difficult to hold himself back.
Cutting you up feels like catharsis to him. He’s never seen you quite like this before, but he thinks this version of you looks very pretty, your eyes rolling back into your head, your chest shaking uncontrollably as he rips his knife through your flesh over and over again. A small, barely audible whimper slips from your lips, and he feels a shuddering mix of pleasure and revulsion wash over him.
The stark white of your bone peeks through the ripped, bloody mess. Perhaps he’s finally gone far enough.
There’s no slit or hole for him to find - he wasn’t quite so careful - but he reaches a hand in to dig around at what used to be your stomach, and begins to pull out the flowers from the roots. They’ve spread to your lungs, climbed almost all the way up your throat, the green stems and yellow flowers twisting and threading between your organs and ribs. He removes them one by one, meticulous and careful, tossing them aside as he searches and prods and kills every last trace of your disease.
The lungs are by far the hardest for him, the branches of tissue packed densely with blood vessels and capillaries, and he has to pry the clusters apart to remove the growth that’s embedded itself within the organ.
If you think about it, he’s really doing you a favor.
A wave of relief courses through him when he’s finally finished. It’s unfortunate that it had to end this way, with your face screwed permanently into that pained, tortured expression, but it’s nothing he can’t fix - he brings a bloody finger up and adjusts your features until they resemble something slightly more pleasant.
There’s no heartbeat anymore, he realizes, no rhythm thrumming and pulsing beneath your skin.
He climbs off of you awkwardly, swinging his legs back over the bed. The quilt, pooled around your ankles, is still remarkably clean considering what the rest of the room had been through, and he pulls the soft, white cover over your mangled body until it comes up to your chin.
If he moves backwards a little and squints, it’s almost like you’re still asleep.
And if he tries really hard, uses his imagination to fill in the gaps and blot out the unnecessary bits, the blood smeared on your cheeks and lips almost seems like makeup, covering up that ugly, ashen complexion from your sickness, like a rosy imitation of what he used to find so beautiful.
Maybe it’s all in his mind, but he thinks you really do look better dead than sick.
He knows it’s not right.
He knows he shouldn’t.
He also can’t quite bring himself to care.
Cursing softly under his breath, he hand wanders until it finds the growing outline of the bulge in his pants. It feels so good to do it right in front of you, especially when you look better than he’d seen you in weeks(as long as he sort of squints), and he shudders with pleasure as he palms his cock slowly.
He usually likes to hold back a little, but there’s really no point this time - it’s the last time he’ll ever be this close to you, so he might as well make the best of it, right?
His cock is rock hard and dripping with precum by now, straining with arousal against the pressure of his fist, gliding and stroking along his curved, thick length until he begins to feel that warm heat coiling in his stomach. He kind of wishes that you were still alive to see him jerking off to your perfect face, pumping his cock desperately as he fixates on the fake blush of your skin. It’s almost exactly how you look before you fell sick - minus the gore splattered on your sheets, of course - as long as he pretends that you’re still breathing, that your pulse is still thrumming steadily beneath those soft, white quilts.
He fists his cock a bit faster, rhythm increasing as he feels his balls growing heavier, his dick flushed and desperate for release. Although he’s sad that you’d never be able to fully participate, he supposes it’s for the best.
Better dead than hung up on someone else, right?
As he turns his gaze back onto the flowers he’d ripped out from your chest cavity, he feels a perverse burst of pleasure coursing through him. He can’t help but feel proud of the way he’s made everything right, how he’d gotten rid of that annoying little crush you’d been harboring for weeks. If he closes his eyes, he can almost see the way you’re thanking him from the afterlife, tears of gratitude and joy in your eyes at the freedom he’s finally given you.
Issei finishes with a low, pleasured, groan, his cum spilling into his waiting hand as he strokes himself through his orgasm. It’s one of the strongest orgasms he’s had in quite some time, and he can’t help but think it’s the commemoration you deserve.
As the blood rushing in his eardrums slows, the hazy, uncertain world around him seems to stop spinning, and he feels himself being pulled back down from his high. If he strains his senses, he can hear the nighttime din through your walls, quiet and ever-present. He looks outside, the streetlamps flickering dimly, staring off into the inky stillness of the star-lit night.
Funny that he’s finally on the other side of your window.
Maybe he should leave you one last present.
-
April 26th, 2013
[9:00 am]
When they find you in your bed the next morning, your mother screams and your father cries.
They never saw it coming, did they? You were a good girl, someone who always did what they were supposed to do, said what others told them to say, acted exactly how they expected you to. Never got yourself into the slightest hint of trouble.
It’s a horrific scene: their precious daughter, limbs mangled and organs torn up, stomach and chest cut wide open as if straight from a horror movie. The room seems to swirl with hostility, and the four walls, once your sanctuary, had turned into an image of brutal, bloody, violence - with your body as the centerpiece.
It’s not until they step closer that they realize the dried, white, glaze on your face is cum.
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sleeping-lilies · 7 months ago
Text
robin era jason, dick, and babs headcanons because there’s too much comedic potential to ignore
- dick and babs were the ultimate gossip buddies. whenever dick was with the titans for long periods of time, babs always filled him in on everything
babs: dick you’ll never believe what hal said to bruce last night, i even have videos. dick, the look on his face please—
dick, immediately locking doors so his teammates don’t hear the mad shit about to be dropped on main: tell me everything
- vice versa too, dick filled babs in on everything going on with the titans and all they can say is thank god those lines are bat secured with no villains being able to listen in, imagine deathstroke hearing through bat gossip that joey’s dating who?!?! 😳
- batkids have been and always will be the holder of superhero gossip. it’s a business, you see, but we’re getting off topic 😡
- lmfao anyways this is literally how dick finds out about jason
babs: anyways, jason—
dick: who the fuck is jason
babs: ....
dick: barbara?!?!
babs: ok promise you won’t freak out
- babs and dick’s first reaction upon meeting jason being “why is he so small i wasnt that small” “dick you were literally nine when you were robin—“ “he’s tiny” it’s like those two share the same braincell
- i’m making it so that dick gave jason his number earlier because i feel like it 😡😡😡 (not that it changes much other than the fact that i want more gossip dropped in dm’s)
- when dick gave jason his number, he went to babs like “give me jason’s number” “didn’t you literally just give him your’s?” “ya but i’m gonna make sure he texts me” “ya ok that’s fair”
- whenever jason didn’t want to be in the manor (fight with bruce, boredom, etc) he went to wherever the fuck babs lived and they would facetime dick and talk mad shit. it was a thing.
- despite them all being able to drive, babs was the only one during this time with an actual, legitimate, legal license (jason was too young to have a license and dick is too lazy/busy/whatever-excuse-he-wants-to-use to take the permit and driving test) so babs drove them around everywhere and it was a mess™ consisting of a bunch of backseat drivers
- “dick omg look at this video i found from the batcave” “omg he said robin gives him magic” “robin gives him magic” they both cry about it for years to come
- babs sometimes kidnapped jason after school after telling the head of wayne manor (alfred) and took him to get ice cream, then to the library while she worked. jason was the greatest kid in the library, he even had his own throne special chair just for him whenever he came provided by library staff who adored this absolute angel.
- jason 🤝 babs 🤝 dick -> i believe in annoying yet endearing nicknames supremacy
- nicknames include (some used by some more than others or just one, or by both equally because they’re annoying pick and choose my good people)
little wing (iconic, we all know this one fellas and who uses it)
red (used for babs, absolutely fantastic, but in the future it gets confusing because some people with their goddamn hero names 😡)
boy wonder (classic, babs calls them both that)
barbie (for babs, jason uses this one and he’s the only one able to get away with it)
dickie (jason just really gets away with everything huh)
dickhead (jason’s lucky he’s cute)
baba black sheep (jeez i’m on a roll with babs’ nicknames she’s so nickname-able and that’s very cool and sexy of her)
jay z
jay allen
jay jay jay (shut up, dickhead—)
big bird
and a bunch more i’m too tired to look for them in canon or make new ones up, but you get the idea
- dick can totally bake, and babs and jason keep bugging him when he’s baking and add more chocolate chips while pretending to not notice that he can see them 😡😡😡
- headcanon that jason had hero worship for babs and dick because they’re so cool in and out of costume and it never really went away when he got older listen his older brother and pseudo sister are so cool and that’s not his fault but he’ll never admit it
- barbie movie marathons because barbie is an iconic legend and they all recognize it. they have the fucking “she’s the queen of the WA-A-A-AVES” song memorized along with all other barbie movie songs, they sing it on patrol.
- dick and jason’s sibling dynamic was and is basically “ur a little shit and i hate you but i will literally kill for you”
- dick had tension with bruce while jason was just a little shit who would totally cause drama for the sake of it, and people never take advantage of this absolute power duo for destroying bruce
- dick sending cryptid texts to jason through a burner phone because he’s dramatic jason totally knew it was him about things that drive bruce mad, like leaving the shower turned to the coldest setting before bruce got there, leaving the lights in the batcave on, etc. jason, a wise little child, totally took advantage of this. bruce came to accept his fate
- the gc names, guys the group chat names
- jason crashing into titans tower whenever he wants and dick doesn’t bat (hAH) an eye, occasionally he very sweetly asks babs to come with him and she agrees but only sometimes because some people have jobs, jason—wait dick is being flirted with by who?!?! i’ll leave it up to your imagination ;) and they totally crashed titans missions too
- one time bruce was busy with the league while alfred was on vacation and bruce absolutely could not dip (i’m imagining bruce getting a call from the headmaster during an honest to god fight and bruce just picking up while punching the daylights out of some asshole) (“mr wayne, what is that noise in the background?” “sorry, headmaster, the cat is having a seizure”), so when jason got into a “fight” (read: some jackass picking on jason before he snapped and yelled at him and the bitchass kid tried to punch him and jason’s no quitter) bruce called dick who was an adult and legally family (yes dick is adopted sometime after jason was, stay mad) like “son... son please” and dick was like “oh no need to plead with me, this is too good” but of course this bitchass doesn’t have an actual lisence yet and he was hanging out with babs anyways so he and babs rolled up to gotham academy and the kids stared at them like “holy shit they’re so cool” ya dick and babs are those power couple, whether romantic or not, that turn heads, they’re just that powerful strolled into the office, bailed jason out while intimidating the headmaster because the altercation was the result of school staff negligence of actual bullying like those cliche tropes, said “ayyy you got that brat good” and get him chili dogs or whatever the fandom made robin jason’s favorite food. omg i just made an entire fanfic in rough draft form someone please steal it and write it in full form and send me the link
- jason is very very tiny, you see. babs and dick pick him up and move him for any reason, whether because they want to sit on that chair or to just throw him out of harm’s way and take the bullet for themselves.
- jason and dick both get adorable blushes on their faces it’s genetic yes that’s how genetics work shut up meanwhile babs’ ears turn red when she’s embarrassed and all three of them clown each other for it
- i yelled about this to my mutual (cough cough @littlespaceboii) who also added to this absolute dogshit headcanon and then in the discord full of mutuals, but the basement of wayne manor is haunted. dick found it when he was a little gremlin (i stand by that dick was the original demon child) (“you see damian, before there was you there was me” the real reason he was good with damian lmfao) and was like “omg this is so cool” @littlespaceboii came up with that it was just alfred fucking with bruce and so when jason first came and dick was comfy around him he was like “so have you been in the basement” and jason was like “im literally robin i’ve been in the batcave?!?!” and dick goes “no the basement, the haunted one” and jason’s like “hAUNTED?!?!” cuz jason has at least some self preservations and knows not to fuck with the spookies until he too became a spooky and bruce was like “there’s no ghost it’s not haunted” because he’s a skeptic and a party pooper and babs is like “no go on let him finish” even though she knows full well there are no ghosts or does she? and uhhhh basically they becomes ghostbusters 2.0 but cooler and funnier
- this trio is basically baby pan/bisexual jason and two resident expert pan/bisexuals solidarity but that’s literally canon. they go to pride every year that jason’s alive what who said that?
- they all tease each other for their crushes like all siblings/family friends do, i don’t need to say it but it’s important that’s emphasized for my well being
- yelled about this in the discord to the mutuals who added onto this absolute train wreck too, but jason used to play baseball during his robin days, and dick never showed up to those games with being busy as an excuse, but babs always showed up with bruce and alfred and took pictures for dick so dick could be like “mlb players are jobless now that little wing is on the scene” babs (and sometimes bruce) always shouted loudest for jason whether he was in the field or in the dugout and jason would get this extremely adorable blush on his face (jason finds out in the future why dick never showed up (cough cough ptsd from two face’s massive baseball bat which led to everything that came after including being fired and veangance academy and nearly killing two face and omg that’s a ride) and is like oh my god my childhood is even more ruined—)
- remember when i said dick got adopted after jason did in this new absolutely fabulous canon i just created? bruce did that because “ahhh fuck that’s my kid and i want him to know i love him through every means possible since i have the ability to do so” i believe in good dad bruce supremacy and made a whole thing where he invited dick to dinner for like a week to work up the courage and bonding to ask him and show him the adoption papers and then everyone cried :) bruce decided to finally adopt dick after jason referred to dick as his brother and bruce was like “...oh” and alfred was like 👀
- dick, as the first child hero and one of the first heroes period like at least a year or two before babs, holds the “back in my day” card over literally everyone in the hero community in general and pulls it out to annoy babs and jason even tho babs literally joined the scene only a year or two after dick
jason, shaking in his panties: it’s so fucking cold
dick, standing strong in his tits out outfit, who had to wear the panties on his own decision: oh, you’re cold? back in my day—
babs, throwing her boot at his face: god shut the fuck up—
and then dick doesn’t give back her boot and it becomes a whole thing with lots of tackling and play fighting and someone nearly gets thrown off they rooftop for funsies but anyways
also on a side note, babs would take off her cape and wrap it around jason whenever she noticed his discomfort with the weather, or use the weather as an excuse whenever she saw him uneasy for whatever reason and they never mention it to each other
- yelled about this in the discord to the mutuals at some point too holy shit i have friends, but those three are team rocket. they went out as team rocket for halloween one year after bullying bruce to let jason out only jason because he can’t tell dick and babs what to do and jason is under his care and when they do convince him, dick and babs bully jason into being meowth. manifesting jason in a meowth onesie ARTISTS PLEASE—
- dick finally took his license seriously and took his driver’s test after babs became paralyzed.
- those were a rough few months for those three. and then another rough few months for those two
- yikes, sorry to throw angst at you (sorry (unfeeling)) anyways, in the future alfred finds those old photos and shows the rest of the fam, so dick and babs bully jason, 6’2 jason that towers way above both of them, and once again bullies him into being meowth “for tradition, little wing!” “shut up, dickhead” the rest of the batkids lose their shit over this, naturally. bruce and alfred stand in the back teary eyed reminiscing the old days when things were a little more simple.
- discowing walked so terrifying handsome squidward red hood helmet could run (even tho the ugly helmet tripped and fell and missed the mark because discowing wasn’t ugly and will always remain superior, i feel i have committed a terrible crime comparing the two)
dick: jason what the fuck is that
jason: it’s fashion
dick: it’s terrifying
jason: i’m only following in my older brother’s footsteps 😔
dick: listen here, you little shit strangles him haha just kidding that illegal wait theyre vigilantes they don’t follow the law—
- these three and cass refer to the rest of the batkids as “the kids” (if she’s older than jason, sometimes she is and sometimes she isn’t and i’m really confused but whatever)
- babs and dick’s relationship with jason pre death literally shaped how jason treats his siblings post pit madness like he literally goes “what would red and big bird do?!??” when he needs to go into big brother mode over the “little ones” (“little” because tim and steph are adults and duke is nearly an adult himself oh my god he’ll graduate from high school soon and jason never got to do that himself he’s totally going to the ceremony legally dead or not) 🥺
- holy trinity continue hanging out with each other, whether lunch or games or whatever, and just enjoy each other’s company after long, rough years
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