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#jungkook au
violets-room · a day ago
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Put a peperonni on my ❤️
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Pairings: Mafia Boss!Jungkook x Reader
Summary: You are the mafias favorite pizza delivery girl and you finally meet the current mafia boss’s son....Jungkook.
Genre: Mafia AU, Angst,
Rating: NSFW
Word Count: 5.2K
Warnings: jungkook is abrasive, your panties are shown, death, dead body, prostitution mention, nothing really sexual happens this chapter..., guns mention, gunshots, gunshot wounds, blood mention, drug mention, some light harrasment from jk, curse words, kidnapping,
A/N: hi this one’s fun...can’t wait for the smut...no clue how long that will take @_@. Hopefully chapter three.......
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You were the pizza delivery girl the mob had grown fond of. 
It’s not like you tried to but they tipped extremely well and some of their bodyguards were the most handsome men you’d ever seen. You weren’t sure if it was the constant surveillance of their palace of a home or the fact that they seemed to own the entire apartment building but you were sure nothing legal went on there. Tonight was like any other night when you’d decided to head over to the mafioso’s palace. It wasn’t necessarily a palace but compared to your humble land in the middle of the city it definitely was. 
You waved at the entry man, almost skipping past him. He didn’t even bother to call upstairs as he had done during your first few weeks. Every time they ordered they’d made sure to put your name down. You leaned against the wall of the golden-stained elevator. When you visited, the golden leaf handles and the mirroring black sea of the floor of the elevator always entranced you. The ebony sea flowed into the hallway and you pressed your sneakers on the glossy tiles and made your way to the familiar door.
 You knocked on the door knowing the face that would show up. The man was elderly and you’d guessed that he’d used a fake name by the third time you’d shown up when his name was “Cuddlebuns.” 
 “Sooyeon,” said the older face at the door. You mirrored the smile on his face. He leaned in for a hug and you could smell some alcohol on him so you were sure he’d been drinking. This was definitely not the first instant he’d done this but he would usually be stopped by an ‘associate’ of his. 
This time he was alone.
 He had a habit of saying his daughter’s name when he saw you so you had just accepted it for now.
 “Hey Mr....,” you said as you pulled out his receipt, “Cookie Pie,” I said with a small chuckle. He let out a full teeth grin and patted you on your shoulder before pulling you in. You were frazzled by his actions and the fact that there was nobody else watching over him. Every time you’d come there would be a bigger gentleman with a face mask on and possibly a few scars. He’d always been watching over an unknown man but today there we none on duty. You stumbled in as the older man spoke.
 “Sooyeon, I haven’t seen you in ages dear,” he drawled. You immediately understood and nodded at him. He reminded you of your own grandmother. You weren’t sure how he’d missed the logo on your shirt but you weren’t sure what to do.
 “Uh,” you stuttered as he pushed you in. 
 “I see you’ve brought up our pizza as well.” 
 No tip this time, you thought, not that you minded, he regularly tipped at least $100 a pizza. You needed the money recently though, you’d had issues with your plumbing and a huge portion of your checks had gone to that.
 You nodded at his statements and sighed as you looked around at the swanky apartment. You’d had glimpses into it but not seen it. You peaked down a hallway on your right and heard a jumbled voice.
 How the hell were you going to get out of here? 
 You had at least five other deliveries and your boss was going to kill you.
 You sat on a cushioned chair and relaxed your body while your heart rate increased. 
 You really should’ve thought about all of this when he invited you in. 
 You should’ve said no. 
 You should’ve said that this was the wrong person but you really couldn’t help but be the nice daughter sometimes.
 “Sooyeon, you’ve gotten a little bigger,” he said, while pulling at your cheeks. You could only giggle and kick yourself for this.
 “Well, you know...”
 “Jungkook!” he yelled and startled you. You heard some complaining from the direction of the hallway and the pat of wet feet on the floor. Your heart thrummed in your throat. 
 What did you think you were doing?
 Playing the daughter of a possible mob boss would not make your top ten list of best decisions.
  You turned around to look at who Jungkook was when you noticed an especially fine specimen of a man wearing a towel around his waist. His brown hair dripped onto the glossy floor and covered his eyebrows. The water dropped from his legs and you glanced at how the H20 clung to his form. You immediately turned around before he could see your face, you were unsure of what the hell was going on. 
 “What?” Jungkook said. His voice sounded tired and desiring to be anywhere else.
 “Show some respect, your sisters here!” he said while unscrewing a bottle. 
 You were terrified to turn around again at this point. You were just trying your best to be a good person and let this older man see his daughter for the holidays. You waited for a moment before you heard a loud sigh and the padding of feet on marble floors. You were safe from whatever conflict was brewing, for now.
 “I’m sorry, Sooyeon, you know how he gets,” he said. You nodded and stared at the bottle. You needed to get your eyes checked because when you checked the brand you were sure it was worth about as much as you’d made last year. You saw him pour and instantly shook your head. You didn’t need to add this to whatever bill you were racking up. You sighed as you watched him continue to pour and ignore you. 
 This is why you needed to stop being such a good person. 
 This was it. 
 This was your final sign to stop being a good person and only look out for yourself. He handed you the glass and you stared at it. You couldn’t help the small whine that came out of your mouth. 
 You were going to owe them so much. 
 You sighed as you took up the glass. It might as well be worth it. You heard footsteps as you tasted the liquor. It was the smoothest liquor you’d ever had but your anxiety had pushed up to 11 as it melted its way down your throat. 
 “Surprised to see Sooyeon back when you’re just as grinchy as ever,” the guy said. You stared at your glass and sighed.
 “Oh shut it, Jungkook. You’re lucky I-”
 That was when you heard the bullet shatter the glass and the happy old man’s forehead had been ripped by a bullet. Instantly you fell to the floor as bullets ricocheted through the glass paneling. 
 The only thing going through your mind was, how the hell am I going to get out of here. 
 You heard more and more glass shatter and fall. The old man’s eyes were peering into yours. You could only think of all of the times the man had treated you nicely, even now, before the blood oozed from the bullet and reminded you of the difference between him and you.
 You were alive and could continue to fight.
 You were alive and so so lucky.
 You would’ve cried if you weren’t afraid the sounds would tempt the murderers. In the chaos, you heard the now familiar voice of Jungkook’s and obscenities followed by grunts. The bullets stopped and all you could do was wait.
 You counted in your head.
 One one thousand.
Two one thousand. 
Three one thousand.
 You waited until you reach three hundred one thousand.
 “Sooyeon?” You heard his voice croak. 
 Fuck.
 Your hands shook as you pushed yourself off of the ground, slowly. You crawled over the body, trying your hardest to avoid the glass jutting from the pile of bullets littered all over the carpet. You crawled behind the couch until you saw Jungkook laying on the floor. Blood had leaked out of his arm and onto the floor. You could see that he had staunched the flow with a piece of his shirt. You covered your mouth at the amount of blood that was pouring out of him.
 “You bitch,” he said and you met his eyes. His eyes held the terror of life in them while also the fear of death. You couldn’t help but allow your body to move as if it were a robot. As if the only thing your body wanted to do was help this person who seemed to lose his father. You looked at the brown and dreary fallen drapery and ripped a large piece off. 
 He ripped himself away from you and pointed a gun your way making you drop the torn cloth and hold your hands up.
 You were definitely going to jail.
 “You fucking whore,” he spat out and you rolled your eyes. “You killed him an-”
 “Does the girl who works at Domino’s look like she knows anything,” you shouted as if you were surprised that you’d said that yourself. At this point, you knew you were going to have to die some way tonight and you weren’t going down without having said your truth. He scanned you over and then looked at his wound.
 “Throw it,” his voice sounded coarse and dry. You threw it over to him and he quickly wrapped it around his arm. You tried to focus on your breathing. 
 In and out.
 In and
 out.
 When Jungkook was finished he watched your exercise of breathing before rubbing the gun against his head and laying it on the floor.
 “Just .... come here and help me, alright?” You nodded instantly at his request and reached over to help him stand. He seemed intent on something, the way he stared off into the distance was as if he were listening for something you could never hope to hear. After a few moments on his feet, his whisper woke me out of my thoughts.
 “Yeah, we need to go,” he whispered while glancing at the front door. He murmured ‘shit’ as he looked around. 
 “There’s a backdoor entrance we use,” Jungkook said as he stared at the staunched wound then back at you. Your hands were unknowingly clinging to his bloodied shirt. Your breaths were shaky and you wished you were anywhere else. He reached his hand to your chin and pulled your eyes to his.
 “Snap out of it. It’s not over,” his voice rang in your mind back and forth until you snatched your hands away from him and looked up with a renewed confidence. 
 ⊱ ────── {⋅. ✯ .⋅} ────── ⊰
 “God,” he said, while he sighed into the back of your seat. You were still picking off cobwebs from the ventilation shaft he guided you through. You had no clue what was going on but there was a man in the back of your car bleeding out and all you could think about was how cold that random person’s pizza was getting. You started driving as if you had a mission to complete.
 “Where the hell are you going?” He asked while he sat up against the inside of your car door. After a few seconds of no answer, you heard the knocking of a gun at the back of your head and your heart freaked out. You stomped on the breaks forcing both of you to jolt forward in the middle of the road.
 “Holy shit, calm the fuck down,” he uttered. You held up both of your hands again, holding onto any last bit of light you had. Your eye bulged at the rear-view mirror when you saw the gun. 
 “I just really don’t want to be shot right now, in my life, sir.” 
 “Just pull over,” he said with a sigh and brought his pistol back to his side “and don’t call me sir.” 
 You pulled over while breathing heavily through your nostrils. You breaths were jittery.
 “Dude, I really had nothing to do with your father’s murde-,”
 “Really now, be quiet. I have a bullet in my arm and some chick I’ve never met told my now-dead dad she’s his daughter,” he said through scattered breaths.
 “I didn’t-”
 “Really. Shut. Up,” he said sighing as he looked at the roof. You pouted and bit at your lip.
 “Hospital?” you said, trying to think of ways for this guy to not bleed out in your car. You wanted to turn behind you but you were scared to even think when he pointed that gun at you.
 “God, will anything shut you up,” he said. You heard rustling in the back seat and in your rearview mirror you could see Jungkook peeling off his shirt. You settled your eyes back on the road. After a few minutes you could hear his voice again.
 “Listen,” he said while you the jingle of the gun played again, now back at your temple, ”you’re gonna drive me to my friend’s house, sweetheart, and we’re gonna figure out if you’re telling the truth”
 You only nodded.
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“What did you do to him?” Jimin said, a gun to your face. You panicked but this time slightly less so. You were terrified but you felt slightly calm enough to actually speak.
 “Ah- Um,” you said with Jungkook on your shoulder. 
 “Hyung, I’m gonna die she’s...with me for now”
 ---
 “Yeah, I don’t think she knows anything,” Taehyung said while watching this Domino’s pizza girl cry because she could see Jimin playing with a machete behind him. Jungkook had told him to mess around with weapons while they spoke about you.
 “Yeah,” Jungkook muttered as he watched behind the mirrored wall. He looked at you with a mild amount of disdain. He only wondered who would kill his father? Who was dumb enough to actually kill him?
 “We can’t exactly let her go,” Taehyung said as he watched you cry and try to impossibly wriggle you way out of your binds. 
Jungkook sighed at the thought. He watched her squirm in the ropes and watched you try to launch herself off of the chair.
 “We’ll just use her as bait,” he said while folding his arms and staring at you through the window.
 “You’re really too cruel,” Taehyung said. “She’s definitely got nothing to do with it.”
 “We might be able to end this sooner with her,” he said, his chair tilted back some.
 Taehyung nodded. “I really wonder what goes on in your mind sometimes.”
 “How are we going to-”
 And everything went black.
 ⊱ ────── {⋅. ✯ .⋅} ────── ⊰
 “Is there really no way we could loosen these up?” you said while leaning on the chair as you stared at the gray-haired male in the singular yellow light of the room. You wanted to smile at him because he was cute but you just didn’t know what to do. 
 There was just no way you could get out of here.
 He looked at you and played with the machete in his hand. He seemed bored and you wanted to cry in fear. Your heart began pumping when he sat it down and walked towards you. 
 You didn’t know what to do when the light shut off. 
 You internally freaked out a bit but at this point, you had accepted your death and you knew there was no way you were getting out alive.
 “Stay quiet,” Jimin’s barely familiar voice whispered. You let out a breath you didn’t know you were holding and stared down at the place where the ropes should’ve been. You could hear him walk away. You waited and kept your breath’s steady, hoping they didn’t sound too excited. As soon as you heard a door close you quickly knocked tilted your chair forward until your face fell to the floor.
 You let out a breath and hoped that no one had heard that but you didn’t have time for worry. You pressed your bound arm and knee against the floor and used your shoulder for most of the effort. As you pressed onward, in your bound state toward the crate, you thought about how you were never going to be ungrateful ever again. That if a pizza delivery seemed as if it were from the mafia that you did not need that much money to survive anyway. When you reached the crate that you remembered Jimin sat the machete, exhausted from the caterpillar-esque movements — you pushed your neck against the crate until you sat in an upright position. You sighed against the old wooden smell of the crate. 
 It smelt as if it had been on the roaring waves.
 It smelt like freedom. 
 It smelt like your cat’s meow and you couldn’t wait to see her again.
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“What the hell was that?” Taehyung asked while the darkness submerged his view. He could hear the ricochet of gunshots and immediately searched for his gun on his person. Jungkook let out a cough.
 “Whoever this is is constantly one step ahead of us,” Jungkook said, in the darkness he sounded the same in the light, uncaring. Taehyung could hear the jingle of a gun in the room and he knew Jungkook had found his. They fumbled out of their small safe room searching for whoever dared to interrupt them
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You didn’t know how you got away. 
 You didn’t know how you managed to survive but you did it. Fortunately they didn’t check your person and you’d saved your car keys. You couldn’t wait to take a shower and relax in the suds of your bathtub. You didn’t want to think about how Jungkook would be after you again, to keep your mouth shut. You looked at your hands, which still had rope marks biting into them. You rubbed your hands over them. 
 You couldn’t be that terrified ever again. 
 You needed to get away from this town as soon as possible, you thought as you opened up the front door to your apartment. Your cat mewled as if they had been waiting when you knew just how hungry they were. You sighed and dropped everything to pet them.
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“What the fuck do you mean she went missing,” Jungkook said, his eyes deranged with mild anger. He groaned as he stared at the men he’d phoned for backup.
 “Sorry, I went to check up on you guy-,” Jimin spouted over the phone
 “Yeah, whatever,” Jungkook sighed. “I’ll take care of it,” he said while tugging the submachine gun onto his shoulder. 
 ⊱ ────── {⋅. ✯ .⋅} ────── ⊰
 “I know baby,” you said to your kitty. You stared at her as you pushed the cat carrier into your car. You knew Jungkook was on his way to get you and there was no way you were going to stay there your whole life, wasting away.
 As you were about to get into your front seat when you stared at the van in front of you and noticed the bumper sticker on the van mirrored the van at Domino's the night before. It took a few moments before your reality set in.
 You were being followed. 
 You were being followed, closely.
 In that moment, your hands were behind your back and your forehead was on the top of your vehicles. Your eyes watched your cat in your driver’s seat when she meowed at you/
 “You really thought you could get away from me,” he said, right into your ear. You wanted to cry for multiple reasons. One because you’d found the murderer’s vehicle and two because Jungkook and you were both going to die.
 “Jungkook, please watch out,” you said. Before you could hear the ‘huh’ you knew was coming you heard the clang of bullets and fell when he unclasped his hands in surprise. You fell onto your cat, tired of the number of bullets being thrown at you in one day. What sucked, even more, was when Jungkook fell on top of you all of the breath left your body and the cage stabbed into you even more. You pouted at his weight before you noticed the gun in his right hand next to you.
 “Good looking out,” he said as he turned to you and the glass in your car bursted. Your day was shitty and the mafia owed you a lot of money you were never going to get back. 
 “So, are you going to kill them or?”
 ---
 Jungkook seemed as though he wanted to rip the man’s arm off when he started questioning him. You had to tell Jungkook to not kill the man when he finally did get the answers he wanted, you didn’t want to be an accomplice to a murder. The man had quite a few words on your habits since he’d been stalking you, almost as if he were trying to get you to kill him. Almost as if it was worst to be alive and suffer becoming a mafia hostage. You couldn’t blame him. 
 Jungkook didn’t listen. He dragged him far away so that at least you couldn’t see it. You definitely heard the gunfire.
 “So, uh, you have a problem with flushing all the time, huh?” Jungkook said as you both looked through the stalker’s van and scavenged for anything that could help you find out more about the gang that had ordered the hitman.
 You rolled your eyes and blushed. “Don’t trust him.”
 “Enough said,” he said as he picked up leftover food and turned over pictures of you.
 “Huh,” he said as he looked at the pictures and you snatched them away from him.
 “You’d be pretty hot in not granny panties,” he said as you tore up the photos. You didn’t need any[b] more embarrassment today. You really couldn’t believe that day had become the worst of your life.
 “Maybe after this, you can buy me some new underwear,” you said. You really weren’t up for whoever Jungkook was. The moment you two were even in the same room your life took a turn for the worst.
 “Why should I when you’re not even a sugar baby,” he said, noticing a weird mark in the truck. He took out a knife in his back pocket and carved the strange marking.
 “Honestly, after how many times I’ve almost pissed myself, I think you owe me some,” you said with a yawn. You heard the cutting of the fabric and a small ‘yes,’ from the annoying guy.
 “We’ve got our culprits,” he said as he pulled up a small sheet of paper.
 ⊱ ────── {⋅. ✯ .⋅} ────── ⊰
 “I could’ve stayed home,” you complained at Jungkook. You were wearing a too-tight red dress and some woman Jungkook knew had done up your hair. You had to shave your legs and get your eyebrows done by that same lady.
 “You’re gonna get put to work for something,” Jungkook said while he did his own cufflinks. You tried your best to look as unladylike as possible but Jungkook kept putting his hand on the small of your back, forcing you to straighten it and every time you caught eyes he smiled and pointed at his own smile. It was an exercise in restraint to not want to murder this man. You groaned and gazed at Taehyung who seemed to be the only voice of reason here.
 “Can’t you be his date?” you asked helplessly to Taehyung.
 “If we had any heels in my size, trust me, darling I’d take your spot,” Taehyung said as he fiddled with the camera he had placed on Jungkook’s tie. He looked over at you and winked and you couldn’t help but blush, was this the pretty boy mafia or something?
 When you leaked out of the car together, he put his hand around your upper arm and spoke to you.
 “He’s not into girls so don’t get your hopes up on being a sugar baby,” he whispered to the cave of your ear and you groaned. Nothing good was going to happen to you and Jungkook made sure of that.
 ---
 You didn’t know how much of an underbelly Seoul had. Jungkook know everyone there and they were more than shocked Jungkook was there after his father’s passing less than a day ago. He’d only spoken briefly to people but he always had his arm firmly wrapped around your waist. You definitely weren’t going to get away from him again, not that you wanted to. There were so many gangsters around you that you didn’t want to be away from the one person who was actually concerned for your safety. More than a few had asked where you were from and how you’d met Jungkook. You just lied and told them you were a prostitute he hired, much to his chagrin.
 “So, you’re just going to keep up the prostitute lie,” he said, with his arm resting on the top of your chair. His thumb had been absentmindedly rubbing against the strap of your dress. You nodded while sipping on champagne. You pressed your fingers to the golden jewelry lining your neck, you still couldn’t believe you were even wearing it. You were currently seated at a round table surrounded by other don’s, you assumed. At that table was the man who matched the description and photo Jungkook had shown you. He was older, definitely around Jungkook’s father’s age. Jungkook sighed as he watched you and then glanced away before speaking again.
 “Sit on my lap, slut,” he said barely above a whisper but he knew you’d heard it. You couldn’t help but pout slightly as you slowly made your way onto his lap. You sighed as your weight fell onto his.
 “And don’t pout,” he said with his hand pressed onto your stomach, “be a good slut and maybe I’ll buy you something.”
 You had to keep yourself from rolling your eyes.
 “She’s a beauty,” the old man across from you said. You felt Jungkook’s hand move from your stomach to the hem of your skirt. 
 “Yea, she’s alright,” he said while his fingers played with the lining of yor dress and pushed it up until it reached your stomach, revealing your panties to the world. You blushed and immediately stood up. You couldn’t even look at the elderly people who were as astonished by his actions as you were. You immediately stood up and muttered something about the bathroom before skittering away. You still couldn’t believe that happened while you were washing your face. Your fist slammed on the counter. 
 What an asshole, when you heard the door open. You saw the man in the photo come in and you were greeted by his red and heated face in the bathroom lights. You were about to yell at him when he spoke.
 “Jungkook said you could use some support baby gi-”
 That was when Taehyung stepped out of the bathroom stall. 
 “Why did Kookie take so long,” he groaned as he waved his gun to the face of the man. You were at this point looking yourself in the bathroom mirror. You wondered why life was hell for you when the man started screaming and Taehyung wrapped some clothe around his mouth. Why couldn’t you have a normal life and normal things? No, you had to have this life. 
 ⊱ ────── {⋅. ✯ .⋅} ────── ⊰
 You heard the crunch of bones as Jungkook pounded the guy’s head. You were in the front of the van pondering on your next escape attempt. You watched him for a moment before turning to Taehyung who was sitting there eating a Snickers bar. 
 “Is there any way I’m leading a normal life again?” you asked.
 “Probably not,” he said while stuffing his face. Your stomach growled. You’d barely eaten at the event, too anxious about the ending. Even though Jungkook had told you numerous times to eat, you couldn’t.
 “Is he always,” you heard him punching away at what seemed to be turning into corpse and you shivered, “like that,” you asked.
 Taehyung looked at you for a moment before a smile sneaked onto his lips. You could see a bit of caramel on them.
 “If your father was murdered, wouldn’t you be the exact same way,” Taehyung asked. You stared at Taehyung whose gaze left yours and back to Jungkook. You saw Jungkook talking to it now and you sighed. You barely remembered your father so it wasn’t exactly the same.
 ---
 “I’ll buy you something,” Jungkook said as he dropped your luggage in the elevator. You nodded and stared at his reflection inside the elevator. It had been a week since his father’s death and he had not let you step foot inside your own house. You had tried multiple times to escape but every time Jimin or Taehyung had found you. 
 “Underwear would be nice,” you said as you stared at the metal walls of the elevator. Your pressed your finger’s on the cool surface, wishing for a pastime.
 “Don’t think I’m doing this to be nice,” he said, “you’re just being a really shitty prisoner.”
 You rolled your eyes. 
 The shittier you were the better. 
 “Whatever, as long as my cat’s with me, sir.”
 “No one wants to keep you here,” his voice echoed through the elevator. You groaned. As if it ever mattered what anyone wanted anymore. He made it sound like his hands were tied. You nodded and wrapped your arms around yourself.
 Once inside your new suite, you were happy to find your kitty playing around on the couch. You stumbled in, to give her love,  before Jungkook’s cough interrupted your happiness.
 You turned around to see that Jungkook had a black box in the hand that wasn’t holding your luggage. He threw it at you.
 “Merry Christmas,” he said before closing the door. You opened it and found choker with a cat covered in diamonds. You couldn’t help the smile that came onto your face as you put it on and looked at yourself in the mirror.
 “Well, I guess this is almost as good as underwear. Better late than never.”
To be continued . . . ?
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[Bonus Scene]
 “She’s really cute,” Jungkook said as he covered his mouth and watched you on his phone getting ready for bed. Taehyung nodded and yawned. They were in the backseat of a black suede car.
 “I really don’t think she’ll be able to get away,” Taehyung said in a deep and sleepy voice.
 “We’ve got people patrolling so, is the constant surveillance really necessary,” Taehyung said.
“No,” he said while shifting around in his chair. “But it’s fun.”
Taehyung nodded and pressed his hand on Jungkook’s shoulder. Taehyung could definitely tell that Jungkook had found a new toy to keep him preoccupied since his father’s death. Taehyung hoped for her sake she was loyal.
 ⋆⋅☆⋅⋆(A/N): What’d you guys think? Kookies so mean but he’s nice when you get to know him. Like if you like it reblog if you wanna make me scream at home!! ⋆⋅☆⋅⋆
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jeonggukieverse · 17 hours ago
Hey author, sorry for the incomplete request, the scenario is up to whatever you would like :)
Hello author just saw your prompt request and I hope you won't mind doing prompt #4 and #6 with Jungkook or namjoon 👀 thank you
4: “What? Why are you crying?”
6: “You’re my whole world, you know?”
Am I forgetting something?
Pairing: ArtistJungkook x CEOReader
Genre: Established Relationship, Fluff
Warnings: Just the some swearing, Main Character is a little dramatic, Jungkook is the boyfriend that no one deserves
Word count: 2.4k+
A/N: Annon, hope you like it! This was a lovely prompt choice! Had so many different directions but I chose a nice fluffy story for you
and im still looking for a bata reader for future chapters so hit me up if you're interested :)
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You can’t quite put your finger on it but you can’t help but feel like you’ve forgotten something. Something very very important.
You stare at yourself in the bathroom mirror while you scrub away at your teeth deep in thought. What is it that you’d forgotten? You were so busy trying to search every tiny corner of your brain for this hidden piece of information, you didn’t even notice your boyfriend slip his arms around the middle of your waist.
“Good morning, meatball” he said leaning into the crook of your neck in a sleepy voice.
“Jungkook we’ve been together for 4 years now, when are you going to let that nickname go?” you chuckled while looking at him in the mirror.
“Never! Cause I have never and will never meet a girl who was willing to physically fight me in the middle of a subway over the last meatball sub” you felt his body shake with amused laughter.
“Hey, never come between a hungry girl and her favourite sub. You just unfortunately had to learn that the hard way.” you joined in his laughter as you both reminisced to your first encounter.
He unwrapped himself from around your waist and both proceeded with your morning routines. It’s the stupid little things like this that you love about being with Jungkook. Just mundane things like brushing your teeth together feels so intimate with him. Jungkook had this way of looking at you, a way that made you feel that there was no one else in the world he’d rather be with. You were his person and he was yours.
Your thoughts were then interrupted by that persistent nagging feeling.
“Babe, was I meant to be doing something today?” you asked, still trying to rack your brain over this absolutely irritating feeling.
“Today?” he asked, with toothpaste dribbling onto his chin
“Yeah, I can’t help but feel like I’ve forgotten something really important. I can’t for the life of me recall what it would be.”
“You really forgot, huh?” he said with a smirk on his face. You hated when he did this! Jungkook loved having one over on you. He loved being the one with the power. He loved it when you couldn’t reach the cereal on top of the fridge so he’d have to reach up and get it for you, he loved when you asked him to take a few shopping bags off you because they were too heavy but most of all, Jungkook loved when he had information that you wanted. It amused him to no end.
“Not today JK! It’s really gonna get on my nerves, please just tell me!” you practically begged.
“Nah, meatball you’re gonna get it all on your own. If you don’t remember by tomorrow, I’ll let you know for sure” he finished washing up and strolled out of the bathroom. You hated when he was this smug, he would hold this over your head the entire day. You would be damned if you gave him the satisfaction. So, you try as best as you could to put it out of your head.
You both kissed each other goodbye and got in your separate cars to drive to work. Jungkook was a very talented painter. Talented was an understatement. The media had dubbed him a ‘modern day creative genius’ and they were absolutely correct. All of his work felt alive and so beautiful. To even watch him work was an experience to behold. When the two of you had first started dating, he whisked you way to his studio late one night, you both drank wine and talked about everything and anything. He suddenly told you to stay still, you didn’t know what he was doing but you obeyed. When he was done, he had revealed a painting of you. Too see yourself as he saw you through his eyes was almost magical. It was early into your relationship but it was that day you decided that you were in love with him. You were his muse and he was your artist.
You had been thinking about your boyfriend so much that you hadn’t even realised you’d arrived at work.
You were a little different to Jungkook. While he was the creative, you were the mogul. The youngest ever CEO to own and run a multimillion-dollar corporation.
You hopped out your car and walked into your building and headed to the elevator. Your office was a lovely glass structure right in the middle of the city centre. You can see Jungkook’s studio building from your office, it brought you a little comfort as you had not been able to see him much recently. You were just nearing the tail end of a huge project that had been occupying most of your time. There were nights you didn’t get home until 3am only to find your world already asleep in your shared bed. Days turned into weeks and weeks turned into months. Everything blended together in a big bunch of time that you’d missed. You felt completely neglectful of Jungkook but being the angel he was, he understood completely. You don’t deserve him sometimes.
The elevator dinged and you walked up to your office door. Just as you were about to push open the door:
“Morning, boss” chirped a familiar voice.
“Morning Josie, what do we have planned today?”
Josie was your PA, she started working here a few months ago and you don’t know how you’ve survived this long without her.
It was torture but you managed to sit through 8 meetings, 2 seminars and 3 finalising project proposals but you did it. Finally, the project was finished and could finally spend some time with the love of your life.
“Any plans for the weekend Josie?” you asked casually as you both prepared yourself to head out for the day.
“Me and the Mr are planning to go watch that new Super hero movie that just came out. I’ve heard it’s really good, there’s meant to be a real good plot twist at the end” she explained as she followed you out of your office.
“Ah nice, I’ll have to go with Jungkook to see it. I know he’s a whore for a good super hero movie” you both giggled in unison.
“Is that what your planning to do tonight” She asked.
“No? Why, what’s happening tonight? Am I missing something?” you asked. You had put it to the back of your mind but you should have brought it up sooner. Josie had a great memory; you knew you could count on her to help you remember.
“You-you forgot, didn’t you?”
“Oh my god, Josie not you too” you sighed hoping she wasn’t as much as a power fiend as Jungkook.
She looked at you and paused, hesitant if she should indulge your question. She decided to put you out of your misery and pointed to the calendar next to your desk and there. There you saw it. Circled 5 times and underlined 6 times in red.
“OH NO!! OH, FUCK THIS CANT BE HAPPENING. OH NO, NO NO!” You shot out of your seat
“Boss calm down, I’m sure he’ll understand” Josie rushed in an attempt to comfort her panicked boss
You sprinted to your car ignoring the strange looks you got from your Josie and all your other employees. At this point, you didn’t care.
You were so stupid. How the FUCK do you forget your boyfriends fucking Birthday!?
And he knew! That little shit! That’s why he was so fucking smug in the bathroom! Okay, you had to calm down and figure out how you were going to make it right?
You looked at the time. You had 3 hours until he got home. 3 hours to dig yourself out of this hole.
You were in a huge predicament because you and Jungkook had a tradition that you would never buy each other gifts. You would both always make something so the other person knew it was from the heart. Usually you did pretty well, last year you made him a photobook of the years you’d spent together, the year before that you took a painting class and painted him a portrait of the two of you. It sucked but he loved it because he knew it was from your heart and you tried your best.
What could you do that would come from the heart in 3 fucking hours?!
You knew! You could bake him a cake. He loved cakes. You’d never baked a day in your life but how hard could it be? Right?
Wrong.
It’s like the universe was punishing you for forgetting one of the most important days of the year. Because, the food delivery workers had decided to go on strike this afternoon, so a few shipments of deliveries hadn’t arrived. Don’t worry, they had most of the necessities, they just didn’t have any: flour delivered, eggs delivered or sugar delivered. So, you were screwed. They said the next supermarket over would have some but that was an hour drive away and you didn’t have that kind of time.
You panicked and just brought what you could and hurried back in your car to drive home. It was only when you arrived in your driveway that reality set in.
You really forgot your boyfriends birthday. The tears began to fill in your eyes at the actuality that Jungkook was the most important person in your life and you had forgotten his birthday. You let the tears stream down your face as you sobbed behind the when of your car.
‘NO!’ You said to yourself. ‘Pull yourself together and do your best! Jungkook deserves at least that much’. So, you did. You took your incomplete list of ingredients to the kitchen and got prepared to do the best you could.
Things were going relatively well, granted you had to make some substitutions. You only had 1 spare egg in the fridge cause Jungkook made you guys omelettes this morning, so you used 1 instead of the recipes required 2. And Jungkook’s protein powder could double as flour, right?
You popped the makeshift cake in the oven and looked at the clock. Okay, only 30 minutes till he gets home and the cake should be done in 20. That gives you a 10-minute window to make it look like you didn’t forget.
As you rushed around to tidy the kitchen you caught a glimpse of your reflection in the microwave door. You looked an absolute mess! You ran upstairs to try and tidy yourself up a little.
You were upstairs fixing your hair until you heard a beeping coming from throughout the house. Oh no! The cake!
You sprinted downstairs to find the kitchen covered in smoke. You rushed over to the oven to try and salvage the only hope of salvation you had. Could things get any worse? Well, it could.
You heard the front door open and an all too familiar voice shouting into the house
‘_____?!______?! Baby are you okay?”
You heard his footsteps run through the house to the kitchen. Every step you heard get closer to you the more you wanted to cry. How could you face him? You were so ashamed of yourself in this moment, you just wanted the room to swallow you up and never let you out.
“Baby, what’s going on?” he asked through stuttered coughs.
He ran to the window and pulled it open to let the smoke out. You couldn’t even do that. God, you felt like such a failure.
He saw you sat on the floor next to the oven. You weren’t moving so he scooped you up in his arms bridal style and carried you to the living room. He ran back to go and sort out the absolute carnage you had left in the kitchen while you were again, avoiding all types of eye contact.
He eventually came back once things had settled and sat right in front of you.
“Hey, meatball? What’s wrong? Are you okay? Did I do something wrong?” he questioned, trying to look into your eyes. That last question was what caused the floodgates to breakdown and you just began to uncontrollably bawl. After you forgot his birthday, he thought he’d done something wrong?
“What? Why are you crying?” he said, worry lacing in every word. Tired of your avoidant behaviour he took your cheeks in his hands and made you finally look at him?
“Baby, please talk to me, what’s wrong?” sincerity poured out of him with every word he spoke.
“Kookie, I’m so sorry I forgot it was your birthday today! I’m so sorry! There’s no excuse but I didn’t mean to, I’ve just been so busy. I tried to make you a cake to make up for it...but t-the sup-per-market d-didn’t ha- “
He enveloped you into a warm hug, cutting off your teary apology. He felt warm, he felt like home. You knew he wasn’t mad at you but still, you couldn’t help but feel like he should be.
He got on the sofa and laid with you until your sobbing had subsided.
“You must think I’m the worst girlfriend in the world. I’d completely understand if you hated me for a while.” You said, looking up at him, eyes all puffy and red. Your head ached and your nose felt stuffy. You hated the post feeling of crying but you felt it was the least you deserved.
He looked at you for a moment, not saying anything, just looking. He then raised his hand to your forehead and gave you a hard flick. This earned an ‘ouch’ from you and a snicker from him.
“How could I ever hate you? Plus, my birthday is only special to me cause it means I get to spent time with you. You’re my whole world, you know?”
“I know, and your mine”
He smiled down at you, smile reaching his eyes. You joined him; how did you get so lucky? How is he yours?
You both decided that tonight, you would order a pizza and watch Iron Man. You got up, he gave you a loving kiss and you both walked upstairs hand in hand. You were content. And you also made a mental note to put a pre reminder a few days before on your calendar for his birthday next year.
“Also, babe, when I was in the kitchen, I saw my protein powder on the side. What were you using it for”.
“It’s a long story” you replied not looking at him.
Crap, he was gonna kill you for wasting his powder.
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I'll get through the other prompts by the end of the week :)
Comments and reblogs would be highly appreciated, please let me know if you enjoyed it :)
taglist: @mwitsmejk
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howlsboba · 2 days ago
Text
when the sun and moon collide
Tumblr media
→ summary: all he wants is to stay in your sky like a star
→ genre:  fluff if u squint, angst if u squint / friends-to-lovers
→ pairing: dancer!jk x painter!oc
→ words: 4K
→ warnings: swearing, mentions of body shaming, oc is in a relationship
→ pg-15
→ a/n: this was just something i wanted to write! mostly inspired by their black swan performance in MAMA 2020. this is part 1 ^^
Sunlight seeped into the dark space of your art room. Sitting up from your makeshift mattress, you looked next to you to see your best friend deep asleep. You both had stayed up late last night as he watched you start a mural last night.
The only part you finished last night was a moon that lit up the night sky brightly. Getting up and fixing your hair, you got a little biscuit from your bag and watched as Jungkook snored. It was funny, in your opinion - how Jungkook complained about your snoring when he snores too.
Deciding to wake the man up, you jumped on the mattress, accidentally nudging his gut. “Morning, Koo!” You yelled into his ear, causing him to groan. He threw you a glare before getting up. “Annoying little shit.” Jungkook mumbled sleepily as he stretched. You gave him a sweet smile.
“I moved our clothes to the yellow box cause it’s bigger. I use the black one for my painting supplies now.” You told him, yawning after that.
It was normal for you and Jungkook to sleep at your little studio. It was a place that your parents gifted you when you were 16. It became such a habit that you both brought clothes just in case.
He put on a pair of jeans and a sweatshirt before tying up his hair. Handing you a skirt and a collared shirt, he mixed up some coffee for you both. The whole time, you looked at your unfinished mural. Though you did start it completely inspired, you didn’t know what to put next.
“Is that jerk going to pick you up or are you walking today?” Jungkook asked, pulling you out of your thoughts. You shrugged at that.
“He hasn’t texted me… so I guess we’re walking together.” You told him, not failing to see the smile on his face.
You raised a brow, “And Kang Minho is not a jerk. He’s a good guy that just needs to be more thoughtful… besides, you never wanna hang out with him.” Pointing a finger at him, who only let out a scoff.
“That guy is on the soccer team. The soccer team is a bunch of jerks.” Jungkook reasoned, “You only go out with athletic jerks.”
You squint your eyes at him, “Aren’t you an athletic jerk too?” You teased, motioning to his muscular build.
He gave you a smile, “I’m an artistic jerk - Immediately I’m better.” Jungkook stuck his tongue out at you, which you only returned with a middle finger.
-
Walking into the courtyard, you fumbled with your fingers as Jungkook brightly greeted his many friends. That was where you belonged, in your opinion. Staying in Jungkook’s shadow, not wanting too many people to notice you.
Plugging in your earphones, you waved goodbye to Jungkook as you headed separate directions for your first class. While you both enrolled in the same course, you were an artist while Jungkook was a musician - who also attends dance classes on the side.
Checking your phone, you smiled as you saw his text.
[9:46] JK: ...we’re doing swan lake this year fuck.
[9:46] You: your suffering is my happiness :DD
Tucking the device back into your pocket, you sat down on a chair at the side of the class - closest to the window. Each minute passed and more students filled the room. The teacher soon arrived and discussion started.
“Today, we’re gonna be going back to the basics; the techniques of handling a paintbrush. When watercoloring, I like to make my strokes rather graceful. Like a ballerina doing a pirouette across the stage.” She swayed as she demonstrated, humming a beautiful tune.
The professor turned around immediately once she noticed the laughs of people in the class. You paid them no mind as you practiced the technique, seeming it was fit as you took ballet classes when you were younger (only because it was a requirement from your parents.)
You were mesmerized by the fact two very different things could work together so well. Art has always been your passion, especially with the various classes your parents signed you up for.
“I don’t think I ever mentioned that before being an artist, I was a ballerina.” The old woman (probably in her late 50s) said, hand on her hip. “I won many awards and was dedicated to the art of it… however it all changed when I met my husband around your age - yes. He showed me this technique, painted me a mural, and I fell in love with art.” She explained.
Some people rolled their eyes, others only continued to laugh. You couldn’t help but speak out once you noticed. “I think that’s beautiful.” You mused, though the whole room seemed to have heard it.
The teacher smiled, “Thank you, Y/N… I take it you appreciate the performing arts as well?” You nodded shyly, not used to the amount of eyes watching you. “Ah. You’re friends with that Jungkook boy, right? Yes, he’s a very nice boy.” She murmured the last part as she turned back to the board.
“Now back to the lesson.”
-
A few hours have passed and both you and Jungkook finally have your break. Smiling and waving at each other as the other got closer. Sitting down on a bench, you both sighed in relief as your shoulders started to relax.
“How were your classes?” You asked him, closing your eyes.
Jungkook only shrugged, “Same old… they finally let me use the recording studio though.”
“Miss Choi used to be a ballerina, then she met her husband who painted her a mural and she immediately fell in love with art. It’s cute, isn’t it?” You breathed out, leaning your head on his shoulder.
He smiled, “So, what? Ya’ gonna become an athlete because of Kang?” Jungkook snickered, causing you to hit his arm, “What? You’re a sucker for romance.”
“Minho isn’t a romantic, but that’s fine. I love him anyways.” You mumbled with content, causing Jungkook to roll his eyes.
“I think I heard my name?” A raspy voice said from behind you, gently grabbing a hold of your shoulders. You smiled as you turned around, stood up, and hugged him.
Sighing into his chest, you look up at him, “You haven’t texted or called… What happened?” You asked him, now ignoring your glaring best friend.
You only managed to hear him mumble something about getting sick before he walked away. Minho smiled as he returned the hug, “Practiced all day yesterday and fell asleep as soon as I got home… I overslept too.” He explained, causing you to nod.
“Let’s get some coffee! I know we’re both on break for a bit.” You proposed, eyes slightly beaming at the mention of caffeine. Minho nodded at that as he chuckled, leading you into a nearby coffee shop.
Taking a seat by the window, you savored the taste of black coffee as it entered your system.
Your boyfriend took the seat in front of you, then let out a small sigh, “I don’t think Jungkook likes me.” You looked down at that.
“He’s just very protective of me… I’m sure he’ll warm up to you one day.” You said, biting back your tongue. Though you loved Minho, he hurt Jungkook too - yet you’re not sure Minho even remembers insulting him the moment he joined the ballet group.
It was you and Jungkook’s first week of Uni, so you were roaming around in the courtyard looking for clubs to join. While you chose another art club, Jungkook went for some dance clubs - another passion of his. As you watched Jungkook sign a form, you also noticed a tall man with broad shoulders appearing.
That was the first time you saw Minho. Following his movements as he sneered at Jungkook. “Don’t think I’d want to see a dude as big as you on stage doing little turns, mate. Would rather see you kick a ball on a big field with face paint on.” Minho had commented, nudging his shoulders.
Jungkook scoffed, “I bet I can kick your ass if I get on a field and take your place as captain - even if I’m a first year. To spare you the pain, I think I’ll be fine watching you lose from the bleachers.” He let out a petty smile before pulling you away from the booth.
He was always good at making witty comebacks. You weren’t sure if it was Jungkook’s natural sass that fueled it, or his observant eyes and quick brain that did… maybe it was both. As far as you know, Jungkook was good at everything. From sports to gardening, he seemed to be a prodigy at them all (except table tennis, which you happily cheered for.)
You got to meet Minho again the next week, though you were cold and ignored him the whole time (you couldn’t just forget what he did to your dear Jungkook), he persisted through it all and finally melted your ice wall.
Here you are now. Jungkook still hates his guts while Minho - you’re not sure if it’s intentional - acts like he’s forgotten everything that happened 2 years ago. Letting out a small sigh, you finished what was left inside your cup.
“I have practice now. I’ll see you later, pumpkin.” Minho cooed before pulling you in for a short kiss. You waved as he walked away.
Hearing a familiar laugh behind you, you turned around with a raised brow, “What is it, Jeon?” “Pumpkin?! He calls you pumpkin?” Jungkook howled with joy, slapping his knee as he chuckled.
Hitting his shoulder, you glared at him before walking ahead of him. He caught up quickly though. When he did, he put an arm around your shoulder. “Wanna see the ballet studio?” Jungkook asked, making you nod.
“Cool. We’re gonna be assigning parts for Swan Lake later.” Jungkook said, looking up at the clouds, “I hope I get the prince for once.” You smiled at that, “I think you’ll be amazing at it.”
Both of you simply ignored the people you walked past in the department, focused on each other and your conversation. You didn’t even notice the “Wicked Witch” pass by you.
“How has the Wicked Witch been, anyways?” You asked him, suddenly remembering she was a ballerina.
Jungkook shrugged, “She’s confident that she’ll get Odette… I’m not sure if it’s possible though, Mina seems a better fit for the role.” You agreed, knowing how beautifully Mina dances ballet (it brought you both to tears once.)
“Sera seriously needs to learn that being popular doesn’t mean you’re good.” You mumbled, causing Jungkook to chuckle.
He looked around before leaning down to whisper in your ear, “I heard her dad filed for bankruptcy. She’s been complaining about her entourage getting smaller.” Jungkook held back a smile as he saw your reaction.
“Lee Sera’s group of minions is getting smaller? If I were a nicer person, I would’ve felt bad.” You muttered as Jungkook took off his shoes. He nodded at that.
Preparing a seat for you inside that studio, you and Jungkook continued chatting about whatever came to mind. Their instructor soon came in, so you naturally hid in the darkest corner of the room. Jungkook gave you a small smile before paying attention to the announcements.
“To be clear, we are not doing the actual Swan Lake performance. Instead, an interpretation. Our dear Odette and Siegfried will be reunited beside the lake, where they first met. A pas de deux will be executed gracefully, other white swans will join them - celebrating the moment. White swans dance urgently before they turn into black swans.” She announced, looking each student in the eye.
You gasped slightly when you heard it. A pas de deux was a difficult move to execute. You’ve only seen it once in real life, when you and Jungkook were 10 and watching a performance. It only happened once, but you two were so in awe that you tried recreating it (resulting in Jungkook’s broken arm and your broken leg.)
“More details will be explained later on. Earlier today, we held a short audition for the position of Odette and Siegfried. I have chosen the two lucky people.” The instructor said, holding out a piece of paper, “Odette will be played by our own Black Swan, Mina.”
The whole room cheered as Mina stood up and bowed. You clapped silently, eyes brightening as you imagined the performance. Now, all you hoped for was that Jungkook would get the part of Siegfried.
“There is a tie for Siegfried’s role, however. Between Jiwon and Jungkook, I cannot decide. Please take a partner that you have lots of experience with, and show us a little demo.” The instructor proposed, causing a little chaos in the room.
Sera automatically tried to be Jungkook’s partner for the demo, but he was already making a beeline to his teacher. The instructor’s eyebrows raised at whatever Jungkook had suggested to her.
“Where is Kim Y/N?” She almost yelled, looking around the room. People looked around too, but weren’t shocked as they knew you and Jungkook were great friends. You glared at Jungkook, who only shrugged.
You stood up and raised your hand, “I’m here, madam.” You said as a lump formed in your throat.
She looked you up and down before looking at Mina, “Get her into one of our extra leggings.” Mina nodded at that, before giving you a smile and gesturing for you to follow her.
“We have a lot of sizes over here, so I’ll leave you to it.” Mina said, “I didn’t know you do ballet.” She awed looking at you with curious eyes.
You shook your head, “I used to take classes with Jungkook for about 5 years, but I stopped once I realized I liked painting better. He was the one that fell in love with dance, really.” Mina let out a small ‘ooh’ before letting you change.
“I can’t believe you picked me.” You mumbled furiously as you stood in front of Jungkook. He put his hands on your waist before chuckling into your shoulder, “Madam said to pick someone I have lots of experience with.”
You rolled your eyes before nudging his gut, “You couldn’t have picked the wicked witch?” “I didn’t wanna be anywhere near her today.” Jungkook reasoned.
The music started and only then did your anxiety peak. You haven’t performed together in years. In fact, you haven’t performed in years - not even practice ballet. The only thing that came to your mind was what your old instructor reminded you every second of the day. “Point your toes.”
The flow was going well when you realized that you still memorized a piece. Jungkook lifted you up before attempting a pas de deux - it wasn’t perfect, but it felt close. You closed your eyes as you arched your left leg and stretched your right, holding out your hands to the side and making your fingers firm.
Your feet made its way back to the ground right before the music ended, giving Jungkook enough time to hold your waist and pulling you next to him. His breathing was loud in your ears as your heart thumped rapidly. Ignoring the slight pain in your legs due to your lack of flexibility, you both gave everyone a little bow before taking a seat.
The instructor nodded her head in approval, then watched the next demo. Jungkook sat next to you in the back of the class, handing you a bottle of water. “You did well.” He mumbled with a small smile, “Thanks for helping me out.” You returned the smile, “You owe me.” Jungkook chuckled at that, however both your expressions turned serious as the instructor walked towards you both.
“You do ballet, Miss Kim?” She asked, eyes staring at you like a hawk. You gulped down the lump in your throat, “I used to, madam.”
‘Madam’ nodded before writing something down on her notepad. “Jungkook will be our Siegfried!” She announced suddenly, causing you all to jump in your seats.
-
“I think madam took a liking to you.” Jungkook mentioned a few days later, taking a bite out of an ice cream sandwich you bought.
You tilted your head, “Why do you say that?” You asked him, raising a brow.
He thought for a bit, “She keeps comparing Mina and I’s chemistry to ours. Says Mina and I should get to know each other more or something. She doesn’t go a day without asking me about why you stopped doing ballet.” Jungkook recalled, looking up at the sky.
“I guess I’m just that good, huh?” You joked, rolling your eyes at the thought. It was a bit absurd, after all.
Jungkook nodded, “Yeah, you probably are.” No hesitation or uncertainty in his voice. You turned to look at him.
“You’re kidding right?” You asked him, watching his blank stare turn into one that meant he was in thought.
Shaking his head, he took another bite out of his ice cream, “You were really good the other day - considering you’ve been out of practice for almost 6 years.” Jungkook said, “Give yourself some credit, too.”
It was hard to take in, because you weren’t used to compliments on your dancing. Your old instructors always told you that your movement was sloppy and you were unfit both physically and mentally for ballet (Jungkook would always tell you otherwise.)
The comments on your body did take a toll on you, but after a while you just decided to leave the toxic environment. Taking a deep breath, you just nodded at what Jungkook said.
“Thanks, Kook.” You mumbled before resting your head on his shoulder.
“How’s your mural?” He asked you suddenly, catching you off guard for a moment. You shook your head, telling him that you’ve been uninspired, “You’ll get there eventually. Just take a look around you and maybe you can find something to help you out.” He told you.
Though the week had been a bit free, you were spending your free time with Minho - who whined whenever you wanted to go so you could spend some time in your art studio. You did take him there once, however he seemed uninterested the whole time.
Minho and Jungkook were two people you always compared. They were very alike and very different. The other was a good listener while the other always talked about himself. You didn’t mind in the end, though. You still love Minho with all your heart.
Jungkook took a look at you, and he knew immediately what was on your mind. He’s known you for the whole 20 years of your existence, and it slowly broke his heart. You deserve someone who appreciates what you did and what you love. He always hoped you’d find someone else that you could talk to about painting and why you don’t like a certain color.
“Kook, I’m tired. Can we go to my art studio, please?” You said, snapping him out of thought. Jungkook nodded at that, how could he ever say no to you?
He fished his phone out of his pocket, “I’ll call an uber so you can get some rest during the commute.” You hummed in response, closing your eyes slightly.
-
“How did your date go?” Jungkook asked as you walked back into your studio. He had brought his Nintendo to entertain himself while waiting for you to return from your date. It had been a week since the ice cream sandwich incident.
You shrugged before plopping yourself on the mattress, “He had to cancel for a gym session.” “Aw, I’m sorry, Y/N.” Jungkook frowned at that.
“Just when we were about to go to an art museum too.” You whined, burying your face into the flimsy pillow.
“I could take you next weekend.” He offered with a warm smile. You shook your head.
Sighing as you sat up, you gave him a tight smile, “You can’t keep filling in for him. At this point it would be safe to say that you’re my boyfriend and not Minho. I’ll just suck it up.”
Jungkook’s frown deepened and turned his whole body towards you, “He’s done this a fuck ton of times, Y/N. Maybe you’re seeing the red flags now? He obviously doesn’t care.” He said.
“Oh shut up. I’m going back to my apartment, stop being like that.” You muttered with annoyance, clutching your purse.
“I don’t need you to act like my boyfriend anymore. There’s nothing wrong with that.” You spat before slamming the door shut. Jungkook stared at the red door for a few moments before combing his hair in frustration.
His phone buzzed in his pocket, however it wasn’t you that had texted him.
[8:09] Jiwon: yo jk! we kinda need you back at the studio....
Jungkook sighed in annoyance, he shut off the lights and grabbed his things. He hoped he could still catch up to you, as you walked slowly when you were down.
To his shock, you were right outside the door. You looked at him with an apologetic smile, “Sorry for lashing out on you… I understand why you do what you do. Just a little embarrassed that this keeps happening to me. I hope you’re not mad.” You told him.
He patted your back, “I can never be upset with you, idiot.” Jungkook whispered as he pulled you into a tight hug. The memory of the text suddenly popped up into his mind and he jumped away.
“There’s something happening in the studio.” He muttered, “I need to go.” You nodded, “I can go with you. You guys might need help.”
As you entered the studio, all eyes turned to you. However your attention was on Mina’s ankle. You nudged Jungkook’s gut and pointed at it, making his eyes go wide. “What happened to your ankle?”
She looked down and bit her lip, “I was practicing the dance some more, then I moved my ankle the wrong way and fell on the floor.” Mina explained with a little shame.
“It will heal in a few weeks, I’m sure it will be no problem.” You told her, not knowing what you were trying to reassure her.
At that, you heard a cough from behind you. Madam walked into your line of view and put her hands on her hips. “We can’t afford delays. I’ll have to replace you, sorry Mina.”
The ballerina nodded slowly at that, you pat her back with a little pity.
“I’ll have to assign the next best person for it.” Madam said, making Sera’s eyes brighten, “Y/N, I hope you’re okay with playing Odette.” She told you with a smile.
You stood up at that, “I don’t think I can-”
“You work best with our dear Jungkook, and you managed to make an obviously amature a pas de deux look good - even when out of practice.” Madam pointed out, “You’re graceful, but it's a bit obvious you’re not as flexible anymore.”
Sera scoffed, “Madam, I don’t think that’s a good idea. She’s a nobody ‘ballerina’. You said it yourself, she’s out of practice.” She reasoned with the woman.
Madam raised a brow, “Do you have a better suggestion, Miss Lee?”
“Me.” Sera smiled, pointing at herself. Madam let out a laugh at that before turning her attention back to you.
“What do you say, Y/N?” Madam asked you, a little hope in her eyes. You looked at Mina, looking for approval. She agreed enthusiastically, eyes wide.
You took a deep breath, “I’ll do it.” The group cheered and Jungkook gave you a hug. You didn’t get the big deal, but maybe that was because you weren’t as passionate about it.
“You saved the show, Y/N.” Jungkook whispered in your ear a while later, “Thank you.” You gave him a small smile, “I’m gonna have to make a stretching routine again.” You groaned, making Jungkook laugh.
“I know you can do it,” He said as he pulled you into his embrace once more.
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noteguk · 6 months ago
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wicked | jjk | m
— summary; in which incubus!jungkook likes to ruin pretty innocent things, and you might just be the perfect target. 
— contents and warnings; smut, demon!jk, religious themes, multiple smut scenes, masturbation, lots of dirty talk, fingering, oral (fem & male receiving), deepthroat/gagging, mouth fucking, big corruption kink!! (the whole point of this fic actually), incubus!Jungkook x inexperienced!reader (not a virgin), dom!jk x sub!reader, thigh riding (mentioned), big demon cock, overstimulation, tit play, hair pulling, frottage, multiple orgasms, cum eating, cum play, creampie(s), jk has a huge dick and lots of cum :), crying kink, degradation but also praise, use of the word “slut”, jungkook is evil!! so there is a bit of gaslighting and manipulation, the complex morals of demon-fucking being swept under the rug in the name of entertainment
— words; 9.1k
— author’s note: this is one long and filthy mess and I have nothing to say to defend myself. By the way, if you’re not keen on corruption kink, you might want to sit this one out because I went a bit feral on it lmao 😬 and jk is a freaking demon!! of course he’s gonna be evil 
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Jungkook had always had a preference for the innocent ones. 
It wasn’t something that he had cultivated on purpose, no, it simply started to show in a weird, repetitive pattern that he could not quite define. All that he knew was that innocence was specially fun to break down, to stain with his wicked touch, to watch as it crumbled into an empty shell of what it once was. He searched for it — that inexperience, that angelic confusion — with thundering hunger, plunged his teeth into his prey with unmatched delight once he found it. Paradoxically, Jungkook did not like virgins as much. Strange, he knew. But virgins gave him too much work, which, in the end, often wasn’t fruitful — he noticed that most humans weren’t very interested in losing their virginity to a demon, and, well, it wasn’t because someone was a virgin that they were innocent too, that much he knew. 
And that was always his priority, in the end. 
True innocence was hard to find, and that was the most frustrating part of it all. Throughout all his years roaming the earth in search of souls to corrupt, Jungkook thought he might have encountered that special brand of purity only a handful of times. And yet it was so immaculate, so intoxicating, that it was all that he could think about. 
So, when he finally found you, he thought he was about to lose his mind. 
Every once in a while, the universe would switch around in a way that everything would fall into place. As an immortal being, Jungkook saw that happening time and time again: empires rising and falling, soulmates meeting one another by random chance, the cure of a horrible sickness being discovered by accident. And it was that same incidental energy, probably catalyzed by his ravenous desire, that took him straight to your home. 
Well, perhaps it wasn’t that poetic. But saying that the rebellious teens having a slumber party upstairs had mistakenly summoned him into your apartment complex didn’t exactly have the same impact. 
But Jungkook was never someone to bite the hand that fed him — as a creature of the shadows, he had to exist as a bottom feeder, recieving what the universe gave him and twisting it into something he could gladly use. Even if he had been frustrated about the entire ouija board fiasco (turning lights on and off and levitating glasses of water weren’t precisely his favorite pastimes), it took him about two seconds to detect the sweet, aphrodisiac aroma of a stainless soul calling to him. And it was close. Very close. 
Bottom line, the teens ended up having a very disappointing spiritual conversation with a trickster entity, but Jungkook was led directly to his favorite meal. It was a win in his book.
The demon wanted to have you since the very first second he saw you. Jungkook was instantly plunged into your soul like it was a furnace heating up the entirety of your living room; a gorgeous white, rose-gold glow that emanated out of your skin and called for him to feed on like a siren calling for a lonely sailor. There was no doubt in his mind that he had finally found what he had been looking for, someone so delicate and pure that he would adore to break down. Jungkook really, really, really wanted to ruin that pretty soul of yours. 
And what a pretty soul you had. Jungkook stuck around to find out that his first impressions of you, regardless of how fascinating they had already been, were just the tip of the iceberg — the demon watched you turn into an overwhelmed, gasping mess every time one of your friends started talking to you about sex; experienced you mentally fight with your impulses and go to bed frustrated every night because you thought it was too dirty to play with yourself. Because you were embarrassed, overwhelmed even, at the idea of your own pleasure. 
That thought alone made him salivate. He knew you weren’t a virgin (those were impossible to miss), and that was why he couldn’t understand your hesitation and shame when it came to those subjects. He did not notice any trace of religious guilt or something of the sort, did not believe your parents were especially overprotective. You were just so… timid. 
It was an exquisite find, he realized, a perfect little thing crafted just from him to destroy; a timid human with pure morals and repressed desires. You were almost too good to be true. Handmade for him. 
And that was why Jungkook decided to wait. He held himself back for a long time, watching you closely, learning everything he could, thinking how he would proceed with his plans before, finally, deciding it was time to present himself to you. The most obnoxious part of that process — regardless of the person he was dealing with — was making a good first impression. Being a demon, that often went as well as anyone would expect. 
Yes, you screamed, you cursed and cried. Yes, you sat on a corner and prayed for two hours straight. Yes, you even brought a priest to exorcise the place — which made the demon a bit nauseated for about three days — but Jungkook actually thought that the whole ordeal went down well enough. He had had worst experiences in the past and, after some time, you eventually (kind of) adapted to his presence. Just as he had expected, you were pure enough to actually try and see some sort of salvation for him. It was almost cute. 
It seemed as if you thought that Jungkook was some sort of religious trial, maybe a lost soul seeking for guidance. Whatever it was, it opened a door for him to settle inside your home, a base of cautious trust that he could stand on. 
To be fair, he was kind of at fault about that, instigated that process a bit. Jungkook learned that sometimes, a peace offering was enough to make someone believe in him, and he did not hesitate to take advantage of that. You just needed a little push. 
“I will leave if you want me to, darling,” he had told you during a particularly stormy night, leaning against your kitchen counter casually. A glass cup had splattered all over the wooden tiles after he had surprised you with his random materialization, and you were too scared to step over the broken glass and run. “But let’s just talk for some time. I’m a demon, but I’m not evil. I’m not here to steal your soul or something.” 
Which was completely untrue (besides the soul part, that wasn’t his department), but he doubted you cared, since humans loved to hear pretty lies so they could comfort themselves with it. You wanted to see some niceness in him, that was all that you needed, and a request for your consent seemed to be enough. 
Besides, Jungkook wasn’t a fool when it came to his demonic advantages — he knew what he was, knew that his image was ever-changing, reflecting one’s ideal partner. He did not know what face you saw nor the voice that you heard, but he knew that it was tempting, he knew that you would fall for it. He was made for that, after all, to be molded after one’s most innermost desires. 
So he wasn’t surprised when you accepted to join him in a harmless dialogue. A silly little talk couldn’t be an issue, right? It wasn’t like you were going to sell your soul for one sack of potato chips by mistake or something. It was fine. Kind of. 
Even if you were still wary of Jungkook and his demonic shenanigans — because how could you forget that very important and inhuman detail — you were gradually allowing him into your life more and more, breaching the opening into your mind. It reached a point in which he was basically cohabiting with you, popping up at the most random of times to bother you during a work meeting, or maybe commenting about the horrible chickflicks you watched every Saturday night. Jungkook was a pleasant breakfast conversation, a late-night gossiping session after he had spent the day spying on your noisy neighbors. He was fun. He was kind. He seemed like he cared, like he was trying to do better. 
Big mistake: you started to trust him; to want him there with you. And that permitted him to move into the more... interesting parts of his plan. 
The sex dreams Jungkook gave you were often too much, woke you up with a pool of wetness and an unbearable ache between your legs. You whimpered in your sleep and fumbled around on the bed until you were gasping yourself awake, groping the sheets as you tried to ignore those carnal urges. The images were so vivid, the touches still lingered on your skin, and the pleasure of the acts you had dreamt about was still blooming inside your abdomen. It was incredibly difficult to let it go, the idea of sinking your hand beneath your underwear and dealing with that piled-up frustration became more and more tempting every night. 
But no. You couldn’t allow yourself to do it. It was too much. 
And for the first few days you managed to ignore it — to move on with your routine, to bash those sensations and images into the darkest corners of your mind so you didn’t have to think about them any further. Yet it became harder and harder to let them go and, against all fibers of your morals, you eventually found yourself wanting to fall asleep just so you could experience that overwhelming pleasure all over again. 
You pushed it aside until you just couldn’t anymore. Desire consumed you whole until there was nothing left to hold it together. And you eventually gave in. 
It was a magnificent thing, those first few cracks on your innocence. The shame that permeated your features when you finally realized that you were too horny to function, the fluttering of your eyelashes when you let your fingers play with your clit like you were discovering your pleasure for the very first time. 
Morning after morning, Jungkook hid in the shadows of your room and watched you cry and whine as you played with yourself, hand flying to your mouth every time you dared to make a loud sound — you didn’t want to be caught, didn’t want people to know that you were doing something so dirty to yourself. You almost looked guilty, he noticed, with your brows furrowed together and your eyes covered by a thin veil of tears. Jungkook fucking loved it, wanted to carry that image for eternity. Your agonizing self-indulgence made every second he had waited worth it. 
But by the time you came down from your high (sometimes after you had indulged into your second, third orgasm in a row) it was all gone, and he was left with an even stronger hunger to have you. 
Jungkook was patient, however. He wanted to see you break before he could have his taste; wanted you to beg for him to touch you instead of him asking for your permission. That was how his little game went: if everything worked out like it should, you would be the one pleading for more by the end of it, sinking down into your own perdition without even noticing the mess that you were creating. 
And everything happened just like he wanted to. 
It took you a few weeks to build up the courage to confront him, but there was a point that you could not hold it back anymore. “I know you’re doing it,” you told him sternly, walking into the living room with your arms crossed before your chest. 
It was a bright summer morning and the birds were chirping outside, the golden sunlight suddenly stopping on its tracks as it found the dark, brooding figure in your apartment. Then, there was only the shadows of his presence and the nefarious glint in his eyes. He always looked like that — like he was living on a dimension of his own, choosing to be affected by (or to affect) the material world or not. Jungkook really was an otherworldly being, so dangerously close to an angel but so far away from it. 
The demon only hummed at your words, sprawled on your sofa like he owed it. He was wearing a red satin robe that morning, opened all the way down to his muscular chest, and you swore your mind went blank for a second. “Doing what, my darling?” He has his eyes focused on the book in his hand, some strange human theory about sexuality that he found incredibly funny. “You have to be more specific, I do a lot of things in my free time.” 
You sighed heavily, clearly annoyed. Jungkook thought you smelled particularly delicious that morning, noticed traces of your wetness still clinging to your clothes, and he had to fight back a groan from leaving his throat — acting unaffected sometimes was really hard. No pun intended. “You know what I’m talking about,” you said. He adored how direct you had become, avoiding those stuttering sentences you used to throw his way. You were used to him, after all. He had done a great job bringing your defenses down. “You’re putting these… thoughts in my head. Making me dream… things.”
Direct, he thought, but still unable to speak openly about such lewd subjects. It was a gradual process, after all. 
Jungkook raised one eyebrow, but did not move his gaze from the page. That man, Freud, was hilarious. “Which thoughts, my darling?”
You rolled your eyes, but the heat on your cheeks betrayed your embarrassment. Jungkook knew you wouldn’t say it, he just wanted to see you struggle with the idea of doing it. “You know which ones, Jungkook.” Another heavy sight left you and suddenly you were losing your cool. “You’re messing with me.” 
“Maybe I am.” Jungkook raised his gaze from the book, staring you down. Your shoulders fell, all the vigor leaving your body once you met his eyes. It was his appearance, his aura, the threatening spark in his crepuscular stare — it all hit you at once, a quiet request for you to be a good human and check your posture around him. “Or maybe it’s just your filthy little mind acting up, baby. You can’t blame me for what your body wants.” 
And, when his stare navigated back to the book, you realized that the conversation, as brief as it had been, was over.
Funny thing was: you never asked Jungkook to stop. And you realized that it was because some twisted part of you was actually enjoying it — that teasing, those vulgar dreams, the sexual frustration that washed over you as you were coming down from your orgasm. The more you played with yourself, the more you came to admit that it wasn’t enough — you always felt empty, worked up, trying to find something that you couldn’t reach alone. It was never enough. It was a hellish, perpetual edging that was driving you up the walls. 
To make matters worse, you knew for a fact that you could expel Jungkook at any given moment and put an end to everything — you had researched it, and he had confirmed it himself. Demons could not stay for long if the human did not consent to their presence, but there was something in you that really wanted him there. You wanted his warmth surrounding you, wanted his honeyed voice telling you everything you wanted to hear. It was an inebriating presence, a soft buzz in the back of your mind: the desire for him to hold you, for him to touch you. Jungkook had ruined you in such a way that, even if you asked him to leave, you knew that the stain he had left on you would stay for much longer than that. 
It was terrifying to see a demon as a sexual partner, but how could you not see him like that? Jungkook was the most attractive creature you had ever been graced with, everything he did, every small movement or flickering of his stare, was so sexual that you almost cried out in pain. He teased you: he whispered in your ear and hugged you from the back; caressed your face and roamed his eyes all over your body. You thought that he was so dazzling, so charming; you wanted to feel his large hands all over you, squeezing and playing with you, wanted to have him inside you. Wanted to lay back and let him do anything he wanted with you. 
The thought of doing that with a demon, regardless of how nice he was to you, was absolutely insane, you knew, but you simply weren’t thinking straight at that point. You could only think about him — Jungkook, Jungkook, Jungkook — and you just knew that your own desires weren’t planted by him. The man had simply instigated something that already existed inside you, a flame that he threw gasoline on, and now you were watching as it set your entire mind on fire. 
You wanted him. And you had to have him. 
So you did. 
Those vivid nights and intrusive thoughts reached a level of discomfort that, after waking yourself up from yet another wet dream, you called for Jungkook like it was your second nature, begging for him to do something, anything, to relieve you of that self-inflicted anguish. Much to your delight, he appeared just as quickly, a devilish glint of lust shimmering in the back of his bottomless gaze. 
“Pretty little thing,” he had murmured to himself, standing next to your bed. You were sitting up on it, looking at him like he was your own version of salvation. At that moment, you couldn’t care about what he was or about which hidden intention he might have. All that you knew was that you were going to go insane if he didn’t help you deal with the hunger he had instigated. “Got yourself horny and now you need my help with it?”
“Yes,” you said, your chest heaving. The scenes from your indecent dream were still alive in your head, the ghost of your pleasure swimming inside your warm skin. There was a stickiness between your legs that you hated and adored at the same time, the tingling of anticipation that filled your core. “I don’t know what you’re doing to me, but… I just don’t care anymore. Help me, Jungkook, please.” 
He smirked, his black hair falling over his eyes. The heat of his palm met your thigh, making you tremble — everything was heightened when he was with you, every touch was heaven and hell at the same time. “Such a dirty human,” he trailed off, his fingers brushing up your skin, towards your shorts. Your breath caught in your throat when his digits pressed down against your clothed clit, making you whimper. They felt so much better than your own. “Want me to play with your pussy, darling? Want me to make you feel good?” 
You couldn’t nod fast enough, all inhibitions pushed aside. You felt strange doing it — you had never been so sexually desperate in your life, and you couldn’t tell where his influence ended and your own impulses started. Perhaps you were just as guilty as he was, unable to fight your own temptations. Perhaps it was all you at that point. 
“Need to hear you say it.” He undid the lace in your pajama shorts slowly, dwelling in the sound of your laborious breaths. Jungkook could smell your arousal exploding all around him, the sweet, sickening scent making him lose his mind; his cock fattening quickly inside his pants. “Can’t do anything unless you tell me to.” 
You swallowed dry, choking on your own words for a second. You couldn’t believe you were actually about to ask him that. “Want— Want you to p-play with... my pussy,” the words came out in a trembling mess from your mouth, falling on top of each other in an arrhythmic pace. If it was out of lust or embarrassment, you could not tell. “I want… want you to make me cum, please. Can’t take it anymore, I can’t do it by my-myself.” 
Maybe if he did help you, you thought, maybe it would all stop — those intense waves of hunger, that unquenchable desire inside your chest. Maybe that was all he needed from you. And then everything would go back to normal.  
Even if you weren’t sure that you actually wanted that to happen. 
Jungkook was aware of the fact that you had never been eaten out before (courtesy of your single terrible sexual partner in the past), so he took all the time in the world to do it; toying with your clit and licking your opening until you turned into a yelping mess underneath his tongue, tugging on his dark locks like you were about to die. He had a strong grip on your thighs, kept you in place while you came on his tongue like you were made for it, so pretty and ashamed that he thought that he was going to forget about his own self-restraint for a moment.
“Perfect little pussy,” he complimented as you came down from your high, two of his fingers pressing against your hole. The lower part of his face was covered by your wetness, his hooded eyes staring at you like you were the sexist thing he had ever seen. “Made to be fucked.” 
“J-Jungkook!” You cried out when his fingers entered you, the burning stretch making tears accumulate on the corners of your eyes. His mouth was back on your sensitive clit before you could protest any further, making your back arch off the bed. “T-Too much.”
He didn’t respond, only stared up at you with those piercing black eyes, silently daring you to cum one more time for him. You had asked for it, after all, so he was happy to provide. 
And when you didn’t try to push him away, he knew he had won you over. 
It wasn’t long until Jungkook was pleasuring you at every chance he got. He was burying himself between your thighs and tearing your leggings open while you were on your phone; licking and fingering you until you were cumming for him. He made you cum grinding against his thigh, made you touch yourself and edge your pussy until you were desperately begging for relief. He made you his greedy little slut faster than you could understand, could break you apart with just a snap of his fingers and watch you as you pleaded with him to finger you harder, deeper, just the way he liked it. 
Again and again, he would ask for your permission and, every single time, you would say yes — a flustered, embarrassed agreement that made his cock throb with desire. But, just as he made you cum and you were asking for more — to feel him inside you, his cock stretching you open like you knew it would — he was gone, leaving you just as frustrated as you had been before. 
Jungkook liked to play with his food, and that was the reason why he took his time before fucking you properly. He was teasing, of course. And it was working. Close to your breaking point, you were spending your days almost completely consumed by the thought of him — his overwhelming beauty, his caresses, the way he dove into your cunt with so much hunger that it seemed like he enjoyed it even more than you. Even when you went to sleep, you were plagued with dreams of him, some so vivid that you were sure were real; dreams of Jungkook moaning against your ear and grinding himself against your soaked folds, of his fingers rubbing your clit and his mouth sucking on your tits until the need for release shook you awake. 
And, yet, even in your dreams, he never fucked you. He was really cruel when he wanted to be, and it was driving you insane. 
“Jungkook,” you called his name one afternoon, when that thought was plaguing you once again. He appeared right after, wrapped in a dark suit and with his hair pushed back. He really was sin incarnate. “Can I ask you something?”
“Anything, my darling.” He stepped closer and placed a kiss against your lips. You instantly melted. “What is it?”
You swallowed dry, your initial spark of courage washing away. You could not hold your posture for long when you were under his stare like that, his alluring black irises lustfully gazing at your lips. “I… wanted to know…” you struggled, “I wanted to know why you never… go all the way with me when I ask you to.” 
Jungkook smirked devilishly. “Darling, I don’t think you’re ready for me to do that just yet.” His thumb grazed over your bottom lip, a hum vibrating at the back of his throat. “I bet this pretty mouth would be amazing around my cock, though. If you would like to do that.” 
Every single time, without fail, your cheeks would heat up and your eyes would widen at the sound of his obscene words. Jungkook used them so easily, like they were created by him, and you couldn’t get used to how tempting they sounded when they left his beautiful mouth. 
But there was only one problem about what he offered you, “I… I don’t know how to suck one,” you admitted, embarrassed. “I never… there just wasn’t…” 
His breath caught in his throat. Jungkook could’ve cum right then and there: overwhelmed by the sweet, stainless inexperience that had never fully left you. It was so endearing, he thought, the way you begged him to fuck you in the same breath that you admitted you didn’t know how to. You really were flawless. He would never come across anyone like you ever again. 
“You told me that you weren’t a virgin,” he said. Of course he knew that for sure, that was something his kind would never miss. He just wanted to hear you say it. 
“I’m not.” Your eyes darted up to meet his own. Jungkook still had hunger swimming inside his gaze, his teeth nibbling at his bottom lip like he was considering what to do with you. “I had… sex before. Once. I just didn’t get the chance to… you know.”
“Suck cock?” He completed, relishing on your shyness. Even after everything that you had gone through, you were still so pure, so uneasy to explore your own sexuality. Jungkook wanted to break those walls down. “It’s no reason to worry, my darling. I can teach you, if you want.” 
You blinked. “You can?” 
Jungkook smirked, placing a strand of your hair behind your ear. His mere touch made you dizzy, his husky voice wrapping like a warm blanket around your anxious soul. “I’ll do anything you want me to,” he purred. “All you have to do is ask.” 
The first time you saw his cock, you gasped so loud that Jungkook had to laugh. He would’ve been lying if he said that he didn’t love your reaction, the amazement in your gaze as you took in his size and all details about him — his reddened tip, already leaking for you, and the vein that beautifully stood out against his skin. Jungkook had length and girth, a dangerous combination that left you somewhere between excitement and worry when you thought about taking him inside you. 
“Come on, darling, don’t be shy,” he cooled, his slender fingers holding onto the strands of your hair. The tug he gave you wasn’t strong by any means, but it was enough to have your mouth moving closer to his member, already salivating. “Give it a lick. I wanna feel your mouth around it.” 
Slightly nervous, your fingers curled around his base to give you support, your hand looking absurdly small against his fat cock. Still, you did as he requested, your tongue coming out soft and flat against his tip, tracing circles on his crown.
“Good girl,” he praised with a heavy sigh. “Can you take it in your mouth, baby?” 
“I don’t know,” you mumbled, “it’s so big.” 
Jungkook chuckled at that, his hand leaving your hair so he could caress your cheek. “Let’s start slow, okay? You can stop anytime you want.” 
You nodded, heat spreading through your cheeks. He liked his lips at the sight, following your uneasy movements as you gripped his base tighter and leaned in, mouth enveloping his tip and giving him a slight suck. 
Jungkook sighed again at the feeling, but he was more entertained watching you struggle as your jaw moved to accommodate his thickness inside your mouth. It was a sinful sight and he was starting to lose himself in your concentrated expression when you decided to sink a bit more and suck him harder. 
“Move up and down for me,” he instructed and you did as he said, fighting against the burn in your mouth as you gradually took him deeper — just a bit more every time you lowered your head. “Use your hand too, baby, make me feel good.”  
You whimpered around his cock as your hand started stroking his base, covering the parts of him that your mouth couldn’t reach. Jungkook teached you just how strong you had to suck him, how fast he liked, and how much he loved when you moaned around his members. The sticky wetness between your legs was unbearable, only growing the more he allowed himself to curse and moan in delight. 
“Can I fuck your mouth, baby?” He asked and you looked up at him. Jungkook’s eyes were focused, watching your teary ones as you nodded around him. He smiled. “Good girl.”
A few months back, you wouldn’t have accepted that. But now, Jungkook had completely broken you down into a horny, weak mess, someone that would do anything he asked you to, and you loved every second of it. 
He was proud of his work. It was one of his best.
“Relax your throat,” he told you as his hands moved to the back of your head, giving an experimental tug on your hair. You tried your best to do as he requested, placing your palms against his strong thighs in a way to try and prepare yourself. Nobody had ever done that to you before, and you didn’t know what to expect. “Your mouth looks so pretty stuffed with my cock. I can’t wait to fill it with my cum.”
Your legs weakened with his words, a moan vibrating around his cock and he rolled his hips upwards, taking himself deeper inside your mouth; your eyes shutting at the sensation of his tip brushing harshly on your tongue. Jungkook didn’t hesitate to set a rhythm, thrusting up inside your mouth as you struggled to keep yourself open for him, your jaw aching with the position. It was only when you felt him hitting the back of your throat that you choked on his size, eyes watering as he groaned above you. 
“Fuck,” he cursed, eyes closing and head thrown back. Jungkook was an image of perdition that you could get lost in, the way he bit on his lip as he fucked your mouth making your ass perk up in need. You loved the feeling that you were just being used by him, simply a tool for his own pleasure. “Ah, I knew you could take me. You never let me down.” 
Your frail sob came out muffled around his member, the vibrations of your voice making Jungkook fuck your mouth faster, harder. Every time he hit the back of your throat you gagged, nails digging in his thighs and cunt clenching around nothing, imagining what it would be like to feel him inside your pussy. You also knew he could feel how horny you were, could smell your arousal for miles, and the idea made you whine out. 
“Such a dirty little thing,” he said, watching as a tear ran down your cheek. Jungkook loved how messy you looked, so desperate with his cock stuffed in your mouth. “You were so innocent when I met you, and now…” He groaned. “Now look at you. Crying around my cock like a good slut.” 
You snapped your eyes shut and moaned out, your body completely overtaken by lust. The pain in your jaw no longer bothered you — you actually liked having Jungkook pushing your limits, making you forget about your own discomfort so you could give him more pleasure.
“I’m gonna cum.” His voice came out hoarse and firm, sending shivers down your spine. You felt his cock throbbing inside your mouth, filling your taste buds with precum. “And you’re gonna be a good girl and swallow everything.” 
He didn’t need to ask twice, because you didn’t think that there was anything else that you wanted to do. Jungkook fucked your mouth for a few more seconds, his thrusts becoming erratic, before his tip crashed against the back of your throat and he came with a loud curse and a pull of your hair that made your scalp sting. 
You whimpered as you tried your best to swallow the thick waves of his cum, his hand firmly keeping you in place as you did so. Jungkook marveled at the feeling of your throat clenching, your tongue moving so you could wipe his cock clean. “That’s it,” he hissed, “swallow all of it.” 
Jungkook came a surprising amount and yet you managed to get it all. When he was satisfied, he let go of your hair and you gasped for air as you moved up, a trail of saliva connecting your mouth to his tip. 
“So pretty,” he said tenderly, caressing your hair. You couldn’t quite decipher his expression, but you got drunk on his praise regardless. “You did a great job. Now come here.” 
You did as he requested, crawling closer to him. You had just placed your body next to his when Jungkook got on top of you and placed his hand on your neck, pulling you into a hot, sensual kiss that left you seeking for air; his knee moving between your legs to spread them for him. 
His other hand moved down, down, until they were hovering over your pussy. The demon hummed once his digits met your soaked folds, wasting no time before plunging two of them inside your heat, stretching you wide. Your back arched at the feeling, a needy whine leaving your lips as he started to pump in and out of you, filling the bedroom with the sounds of your wetness. 
He chuckled when he pulled away, his lips swollen and pink after attacking yours. “Look at you,” he murmured, setting a deliciously slow pace in your pussy, “you got this wet just by sucking my cock, baby?” 
You nodded. “I like m-making you feel good.”
Jungkook smiled. “So cute.” He leaned in and placed a kiss on your lips. The motion was oddly gentle when compared to how he was looming over you, his presence almost threatening as he met your gaze. “Do you want to have my cock again, baby? Good girls deserve rewards.”  
You almost couldn’t believe his words, a mixture of euphoria and lust washing over you. To have him inside you was all that you wished for, you couldn’t agree fast enough. “Yes, please,” you whined, choking on your own words as he added a third finger, spreading you wide for him. Your stomach clenched at the idea of his big cock pumping in and out of you, his cum filling you up as he came inside your walls. You never needed someone so much. “Use me, please. I want to feel you so bad.” 
His entertained expression did not falter. Another peck against your lips, and he was removing his fingers from you. “Always so polite,” he cooled, pushing your back against the mattress and trapping your wrists under his hand, right above your head. “I love it when you beg for it.” 
You pouted. “But you never give it to me.” 
“Tonight I will.” Jungkook chuckled, his other hand moving down to pump his cock. He was just as hard as before, but of course you didn’t expect that his immortal body would work just the same as any other human, and the sight made your mouth water. “You want this fat cock, baby?” He raised his eyebrows, watching as you swallowed hard and nodded desperately. His hands were so large, but even they looked small when enveloping his member, his thumb coming to caress his tip, coating himself with his wetness and the remnants of your saliva. “Tell me. Use your words.” 
“I need it so bad,” you said, meeting his gaze. “Need your cock inside me, please.” 
Jungkook’s eyes shone in hunger and he licked his lips. You were getting so dirty, he thought, and yet you still got shy like you used to. “You need it?” He repeated, leaning his body closer to you. When he spoke again, his words were a cloud of heat against your parted mouth. “You need me spreading that pussy open, uh? Can’t wait to have this fat cock inside you, fucking you like a good slut.” 
You cried out at his words, fumbling with his grip on your wrists. “Yes, please, Jungkook, I—”
Your sentence got stuck in your throat when you felt him placing his tip against your entrance, teasing just enough so your eyes fluttered shut, body tensing up in expectation. 
Jungkook, however, liked to tease. 
“Relax, baby.” He pulled his cock back and rested it against your pussy, rolling his hips. You gasped when his crown brushed against your clit, your entire body focused on how heavy and thick he felt pressing down on you. “You’re so tense.” 
You moaned out at every slow roll of his hips against you, the filthy sounds of his cock dragging between your wet folds making you cry out in frustration. “Please, put it in,” you begged pathetically, eyes hazed with desire. “I c-can’t take it anymore.” 
Jungkook chuckled. “You sure, baby?” 
You nodded. “Yes, fuck, that’s all I want.” 
“Whatever my pretty human wants…” he trailed off, resting his tip against your entrance once more. Your toes curled when he started slipping in, the burning of his large member spreading you open giving you waves of pain and pleasure at the same time, “she gets.” 
You shut your eyes, head thrown back against the pillow. “Oh fuck, Jungkook—“ 
“Shhh… That’s it, slowly, baby.” He guided himself languidly inside you, taking his sweet time. Jungkook enjoyed the feeling of your cunt helplessly clenching around him as he entered you, getting tighter as he moved on. “I know you can take it.” 
You tried to move your hands away from his grip again, but it was fruitless. He was holding you too strongly and you were at his mercy. “It’s so much, Jungkook,” you cried out, feeling like your whole body was in flames. You’ve never felt anything like that before, you never thought you’d be so full. “You’re too big.” 
“Is that so baby?” He leaned in and placed a kiss against your lips — soft, tranquil. All the things that he wasn’t. “You want me to stop?”
You didn’t hesitate — you never did with him. “No, please, don’t stop.” 
Jungkook smirked at your quick response. He had really trained you well, turned you into his little, obedient fuckdoll. Fuck, it made his cock throb just thinking about it, realizing that he had just taught you how to suck him off because you were so innocent that you didn’t even know how to do that. And now you were squirming under him, trying to make sense of the feeling of his large cock filling you up. It was too perfect. 
“My pretty baby needs my cock so bad, doesn’t she? That is all that you need, more of my cock inside you.” He thrusted into you so hard that you were left breathless, stopping right after so he could hear your whiny moans. “Look at you. You were made to be fucked with it.” 
“It’s… so huge.” You were almost drooling at that point, your eyes crossed and mouth parted as Jungkook pounded inside you, slowly starting to set a rhythm. You didn’t think that you’d ever be able to experience that feeling with anyone else. “Feels… so good.” 
“You love it, don’t you?” He leaned in and pressed his forehead against yours, his hand still holding tightly to your wrists. Your breasts bounced every time he pistoned his cock inside you, making everything even more pleasurable. “My pretty mortal was made to take my cock.” 
“Y-Yeah, please don’t s-stop,” you cried out, two tears running down your face with the force of his thrusts. You couldn’t even think straight, your mind was a drunken mess, intoxicated on the feeling of his member pounding into your pussy. All those frustrating nights, all those dreams — nothing could ever compare, and you thought that you were ruined forever. “It’s so good.” 
Jungkook loved to see you cry when you were so stuffed with his cock, those ethereal tears running down your face as he rammed himself deep inside you. He also loved how your moans got when you reached that point: so high-pitched and broken, your brain unable to form a single comprehensible sentence. 
“Such a pretty mortal,” he praised, taking one of his slender fingers to wipe a tear off your cheek. “So pretty when you cry…” 
“It’s— It’s so big,” you whimpered meekly. It seemed as if that was all that you could say, that thought repeating like a broken record inside your hazed mind.
Your eyes were so blurried that you almost missed the devilish smirk that appeared on his lips. “You can’t take it, baby?” Jungkook teased, rolling his hips in a way that made your pussy clench around him. You moaned out his name and your head was thrown back against the pillow; another tear running down your face in endless delight. “You annoy me for weeks, begging to be filled up with cock, and then you start crying because you can’t take it? You should be more mindful about what you ask for.” 
“N-No, that’s not it.” You swallowed hard. “I- I c-can take it, I swear.” 
Jungkook hummed and leaned back so he could stare down at the mess he was making between your legs. He groaned in approval when he saw his thick cock sinking between your soaked folds, almost to the brim. “You’re taking it right now, uh?” He looked up at you, his obsidian eyes shining wickedly. “Such a good slut. You do everything I ask you to, don’t you?” 
You nodded, desperate. You felt like the world was closing in around you, suffocating you. Jungkook was too big, too thick, the way he stretched you out was nothing but filthy. You didn’t even know if you could speak at that point.
“Everything?” He leaned closer, releasing your wrists, his mouth inches away from your ear. His breath was hot and heavy, coated by hunger. “If I wanted to keep fucking you again and again, until I am satisfied, would you let me?” 
“Yes,” you moaned out. That was all that you wanted. 
Jungkook curled his hands under your knees and pulled your legs up, closer to your chest. The new angle was a delicious discovery, a particularly loud cry exploding on your throat as he continued to fuck you. “Even if you cum so much that you can’t even do it anymore?” His thrusts became harsher, hitting impossibly deep inside you in a way that got you seeing stars. “Would you let me use your pussy and fill you up with my cum until you’re dripping? Until you can’t take it anymore and I still won’t stop?” 
“Fuck, yes.” Your eyes fluttered shut, your thighs shaking with every new collision of his hips against yours. You’d let Jungkook do anything he wanted with you, you were beyond the point of questioning anything. “Please, Jungkook, I just— oh, fuck.” 
“So fucking tight,” he cursed, his hands digging into your flesh. “Such a good pussy, so wet and tight for my cock.” 
“I’m so close,” you cried out. “Please don’t stop.”
“Can’t stop, darling,” Jungkook hissed. His hair was a sweaty mess over his eyes, his chest heaving with the pleasure that was overtaking him — he could feel everything: your high, your lust, the desperation that emanated from your soul. It was all so lewd, so stained; he could get lost in it. He could almost taste the corruption that permeated your soul. “Not when you feel this fucking good.” 
You came around his cock soon after, with a high-pitched moan that sounded dangerously close to his name. Jungkook groaned and cursed at the sensation of your walls throbbing around him, those beautiful tears staining your face as he continued to fuck you — just as fast and hard as before, watching as you started to flinch from sensitivity. 
“J-Jungkook, it’s s-so much,” you complained. 
“You told me you’d let me use this pussy, baby,” Jungkook reminded you, his voice broken by a breathy moan. You could tell that he was close, his thrusts were too sloppy and desperate. “Until I’m satisfied.” 
“Y-yes,” you whined. You hadn’t changed your mind. 
“Gonna let me fill you with my cum?” He asked again, smiling at the weak little ‘yes’ you gave him. “Not gonna stop after I cum, baby. Gonna fuck you until you can’t do it anymore.” 
You opened your mouth to say something — what, exactly, you had no idea — but soon you were feeling his hot cum spilling inside you and your mind went completely blank. You didn’t know if it was because of what Jungkook was, but everything he did was extremely easy to turn you on, and his cum inside you was no exception. A whine left your throat before you could stop yourself, your entire body overtaken by a level of desire that you couldn’t even comprehend. 
There was a moment of internal confusion as he stopped to catch his breath in which you actually thought it was over, that Jungkook was going to walk away and leave you with that desire building inside you. But the animalistic aura that surrounded him did not let you rest. 
Jungkook found your eyes through the curtain of his dark hair. “More,” he groaned. 
And that was all the warning he gave you. Soon, he was turning you around like you were a ragdoll and pressing your face against the mattress. You whimpered when his hand came in contact with your hips, pulling them up until your knees were holding you up on the bed. There was barely any time to react before his cock was sinking inside you once again.
“Oh my—” you gasped, your hand clenching on the bed sheets as Jungkook continued to pound inside you, making a mixture of his cum and your wetness drip down your legs. His stamina was insane, as you expected it would be, but the hardness of his cock was making you lose your mind. “Fuck, Jungkook.” 
“Such a perfect cunt, can’t get enough of it.” He pulled your hair as he continued to drill inside your pussy, making your body tremble with the impact. Your eyes rolled back at the feeling, your walls clenching around him as he filled you to the brim. “You’re fucking dripping on my cock. Such a dirty slut.” 
The pleasure inside you was undeniable, building up so fast that you could barely follow it. You had just reached your high and you already felt like you were about to do it all over again. “J-Jungkook, I—” The words were struggling to leave your tongue, your brain fogged by the eroticism of his actions. “So good, fuck, don’t stop.” 
There was a sting on your scalp when he tightened his grip on your hair, making you lean your head back. “You're gonna cum again, baby?” He asked, breathless. Jungkook smirked when you nodded, your teary eyes looking over your shoulders. “You’re such a horny little mortal. You just came and you’re about to cream my cock all over again, uh?” 
You moaned loud as he yanked your hair, making your back arch and your pussy clench around him. “Yes, fuck,” you cried out. The room was so hot that you could barely breathe, you felt as if the entire place was spinning around you. You were so, so close to your orgasm that you could almost touch it. “Gonna c-cum again.” 
Jungkook licked his lips, lowering his focus to the movement of his cock in and out of you. He groaned at the view of your lips wrapping around his thickness, swallowing him eagerly as your wetness dripped down your thighs, making a mess on him. It was the most gorgeous thing he had ever witnessed, he wanted to have that forever. “I knew you’d be perfect after I broke you apart,” he said. “Knew you’d love being a slut for me.” 
You could not say that you were surprised by his confession — you weren’t stupid, you knew that there was something a demon would want with you and, after the sex dreams, it wasn’t hard to add everything up. And yet you accepted his advances every step of the way, allowed him to tear you into pieces and to teach you how to be so dirty for him. And he was right: you loved every second of it. 
“Gonna cum,” you warned, eyes closing as your bliss crawled inside your skin. “Fuck— Your cock is so big, I’m gonna cu—“ 
Your orgasm was ripped from you when Jungkook abruptly removed himself from your heat. You cried and sobbed, sounds which turned into a breathless, surprised yelp when he manhandled you. 
Jungkook turned you around and pulled your legs up, pressing them down against your chest when he leaned in. “Wanna see your face when I stuff you full of my cum.” 
And that was all that he said before he was barging back inside. Your entire body shivered at the sensation, the sudden stretch pushing you over the edge and making you cum around his cock for the second time that night. 
“Sweet little girl,” he grunted, lost in his own pleasure. Your walls had grown impossibly tight around him, clenching and throbbing at each pump of his length inside you. “Love to ruin you. You’re so perfect for me. Made for this.” His sentences were just a few broken thoughts connected by heavy moans, his brows lowering as his own orgasm approached. “Gonna fuck you full of my cum. Stuff you like a good slut. Until you can’t take it anymore— Fuck.” 
Jungkook spilled himself inside you with a loud, breathy moan and a few shattered words of praise falling from his lips — of how good, how wet, how tight you were for him. Just like the first time, the sensation of him filling you up was intoxicating, making you lose your mind. 
You whined. “Jungkook, it’s so much cum, I’m—”
Your words were silenced with a crash of his lips against yours, a throaty groan leaving him as he spilled the last drops inside you, his cock throbbing a few more times as he continued to pump inside you. You could tell that he was far from satisfied when he kissed you fervorously, humming at the taste of your tongue as his hands held tightly to your hips. Jungkook’s cock was still inside you, buried deep, even if he had paused his movements. You loved how full he made you feel, knew that you were beyond the point of salvation. 
Jungkook sighed heavily against your lips and leaned back, eyes meeting the junction of your bodies as he pulled away. His cum spilled out of you slowly, making a mess on the bed sheets and marking you as his. He really thought you were one of his best works, was almost certain of it. “Perfect,” it must’ve been the hundredth time he said that, but you couldn’t get enough of it. “Made for me.” 
There was a weight on your chest when you looked up at him, watching the way his skin glowed under the moonlight. Perhaps it was guilt, you thought, or the realization that you had just stained your soul in the name of lust. Yet, you could not care about it anymore. 
You breathed out heavily when he laid down next to you, turning on your side so you could face him. Jungkook was so handsome, so perfect; the look he gave you was nothing short of sinful. “Was I good?” You asked, a drag on your voice because of your hazed, tired state. 
The demon nodded, finding that question rather adorable. “Yes, darling,” he said. “You’re quick to learn.” 
With a satisfied smirk on your face, you moved closer to him, placing your head against his chest, where you could hear no heartbeat. That moment was strange enough as it was, but you weren’t thinking clearly — also, cuddling with a demon couldn’t be worse than everything that happened before it. 
If Jungkook thought that was strange, he made no mention of it. He simply brushed a few strands of hair away from your forehead, looking down at you. “Sleepy, my darling?” He asked.
You blinked heavily. “Yes.”
He hummed, placing his palm against your cheek. “You can rest for a bit,” Jungkook said, almost gently at first. “But I’m not done with you yet.” 
After all, you did allow him to use you until he was satisfied. And he was far from it. 
Not that you were going to complain about it. 
7K notes · View notes
jjkthclub · 18 days ago
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The Maid of Honor Misadventures
Pairing: Jungkook / You Genre: one shot, one night stand!au, wedding!au Rating: M Warnings: fingering, oral (f. receiving), nipple play, unprotected sex, breathplay, finger sucking, thigh riding, face sitting, multiple orgasms Word count: 16.5k Summary: After meeting a handsome guy at a bar, you two hit it off quickly and have a one-night stand. After that, you expected to never see him again—well, that was until two days later and your best friend introduces you to someone at dinner.
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Marriage is a huge commitment. It’s an important decision that requires a lot of thinking. Deciding to get married means that you will have to permanently stick with your answer. It means that you have thought of everything that would follow afterwards and that you’re ready to begin a new chapter of your book with the one who makes you feel like you can conquer anything because they are not above you or below you—they are beside you.
You’ve always thought of marriage as a scary thing, something that’s out of your reach. While you are not getting any younger, you feel like you’re still not ready for such a big leap. But then again, is anyone ever ready for it?
Anyways, let’s not get sidetracked. Let’s focus on the reason as to why you’re here at a bar. You’re here tonight because your best friend called. You’re here to listen as she opens up about what happened with her and her fiancé, Jimin.
“And then we had this argument. I said something about his parents not liking me because I’m not the one they wanted him to marry in the first place and he said that it’s not true. He said that he wouldn’t even care if he gets stripped off from the inheritance because all he wants is to get married to me. And then it just went on and on until he said that if I think we’re doing this more for our parents than for us, then we should just call the wedding off.”
Blinking, you observe how Yuna’s eyebrows crease as she recounts bits of it, obvious that this fight affected her, pinched bits of her heart that’s filled with excitement over her upcoming wedding—well, what was supposed to be her upcoming big day.
“I just wanted everyone to get along,” she sighs, shaking her head. “I don’t know, I think this has something to do with my guilt because Jimin defied his parents the moment he started dating me. And because I’ll never pass his parents’ standards.”
“Look,” you start. “Your parents aren’t the ones that’s going to get married here—it’s you and Jimin. And to be honest, if they both love you, then they’re going to have to accept the fact that you love each other and that you want to spend the rest of your lives together.”
She listens and ingests your words, eventually nodding. “You’re right,” she says, wiping the corner of her wet eyes. “And Jimin is right. I shouldn’t have stressed about our parents too much and let it get into my head.”
“Let me ask you a question. Do you love Jimin?”
“Of course.”
“Do you still want to marry him?”
She smiles. “I do.”
“There you go. That’s your answer,” you tell her, snapping your fingers before taking a swig of your wine.
Yuna smiles narrowly in relief and nods with more confidence. She brings out her phone and scrolls for a few moments before her gasp startles you. She huffs, a frown taking over her features. “Great. So he went to his parents’ party.”
You wrinkle your brows. “And that’s bad because?”
“Y/N, this is the party that he didn’t want to attend because he knows that his parents would try to match him up again.”
“What? Okay, you are overthinking this way too much. That doesn’t mean he’s—” you argue, wanting to implore her to just call Jimin, wanting to proclaim that just because he went there doesn’t mean he would actually entertain it because for God’s sake, he’s engaged to the love of his life.
Yuna cuts you off when she pushes herself off from her seat. Out of the blue, she removes her engagement ring and places it on the counter. She’s grabbing her small purse, telling you that she has to go. Handing her the keys to your apartment, you ensure her that she can spend the night, telling her that you’ll catch up with her later because you want to stay here for a bit.
Now alone in this open bar, with nothing but a glass of wine in your hand, you begin to muse about Yuna and her problem.
She’s one of the most important people in your life and you’ve seen how happy she became when she started dating Jimin. They had only been dating for over ten months when she said yes to him. You thought of it as fast but she told you that she was sure of him so you trusted her and respected that. That’s really their story to tell, not yours. And to be honest, if you think about it, the number of couples who’ve been married for over thirty years but dated for only a few months is now growing. So really, it just depends on the couple and what works for them.
There’s five days left before the wedding and unfortunately, this hurdle presented itself. It doesn’t have to end easily like this. What, so they’re just choosing not to jump past this obstacle and let it trample over them? No, they can’t just toss it all out of the window like that.
You drop your gaze on the ring resting on the counter, fingers immediately holding onto it. Eyes ghosting on the delicate item, you slip it on your own finger slowly. At the moment, you’re not sure if it suits you though. It feels—
“Mmmh.”
You’re suddenly startled when a couple starts making out lewdly. The girl is suddenly being slammed on the chair beside you while her boyfriend’s hand skims on the back of her thigh. He lifts her leg up, exposing her underwear. Hopping off your seat, you choose to go further down the end. For a few minutes, you sit by yourself, drinking more wine and just staring at Yuna’s ring.
Eventually, someone occupies the seat to your right. The guy lifts his finger up for a drink, dropping a couple of bills on the counter.
“I can’t believe we’re getting a live show here.”
You look at the owner of the voice who just made an accurate remark. When you take a quick scale at him, you see that his jaw is defined, his skin honey and his features chiselled and manly. Wearing a striped shirt underneath a dark blue blazer, he couples it with ripped denim jeans that hugs the definition of his thighs.
Emphatically, you are agreeing with a soft laugh. “Right?”
The stranger smiles lightly as he flits his eyes on his drink handed to him by the broad-shouldered bartender and then at you for the first time. Feeling your cheeks heat up at the painfully attractive sight, you decide to take a peek of the obscene couple to the left to see if they’re still there. Unfortunately, they still are. Torridly kissing and grinding passionately into one another.
You turn back to him and offer a suggestion. “Do you wanna go and sit somewhere else?”
The guy nods and you both make your way to a quieter, more private area in the bar, sitting in one of the empty booths. Once you’re both comfortable in your seats, he clears his throat and decides to finally start a conversation. “So. What are you drinking to?”
It’s a good question. In an attempt to mull over everything that happened tonight, you find that you’re overwhelmed with a lot of different things, mind muddled. In the end, you just say the first thing that comes to mind. “To love.”
He arches his right eyebrow up, intrigued. It’s then that you start to notice how he has piercings on his brow, along with both of his ears.
“I’m about to save the day and make two people see how much they love each other,” is what you add. This is it. This will be your mission. You’ll save the couple and make the wedding happen—simple as that.
The dark-haired man blinks before he offers his honest comment. “That’s quite… heavy. And a lot of responsibility.”
A smile crossing your features, you shrug. “Well, with great power comes with great responsibility.”
Amused, he quirks a brow up and he gnaws on his bottom lip as though to stop a smirk. “Are you trying to tell me that you’re secretly a superhero?”
“And if I am?”
“Ah, see, you shouldn’t say that. That’s dangerous because you don’t know who you’re talking to. You don’t know if they could be a fellow superhero or a villain,” he explains, playing along.
You take a sip of your wine as if to give you a push to say your next words because his stare on you alone is weakening your resolve. If you are a hero then it’s safe to say that his eyes are your kryptonite. “Sounds like something a villain would say.”
The guy laughs. “Touché.”
You join him, chanting your cheers as you raise your glasses up and bump them together. When the hilarity ebbs down, you waste no time to deflect the question back. “What about you? What are you drinking to?”
“To taking control.”
You cock your head sideways, surprised at his revelation. It’s interesting to hear this because from the get go he looked like someone whose middle name is control. From the way he is dressed and the way he carries himself with poise, he seemed like the type to lead, the type to give out orders.
“From now on, I’m taking control of my own life and I’m going to do what makes me happy,” he states resolutely, smiling in a way that emanates warmth.
“Good for you,” you tell him before doing another round of cheers and chugging the remainder of your drinks.
He scoots closer to your side, pinky finger bumping yours faintly. It’s the tiniest bit of flesh-to-flesh contact and yet the spark that shot through your nerves and the tingles that went down to your spine was palpable and unfathomably exhilarating because this might just be the most interesting and gripping conversation you’ve had with a stranger.
Just as you’re about to bask in the moment you two are having, he—much to your surprise—stops. The second his eyes discover the piece of round jewellery on your fourth finger, he hesitates. Slowly, his palm slides away silently to retract as he clamps his lips together as though he pieced something together in his head.
Wide-eyed as you caught the exact scene, you chuckle to paint some casual nonchalance and to lighten the sudden starkness of the situation. “Oh, this,” you acknowledge, closing your fist and raising it up to your chest, your other hand caressing the ring. “It’s not mine. Seriously. I’m not engaged or married or anything.”
“I wouldn’t care if you are anyways.”
Stunned, is the only word to describe you. With lips parted, the rhythm of your blinking is stuttered upon his revelation.
He cracks after a few seconds, exhaling with a soft smile. “Relax, I’m just kidding. I’m not that kind of guy.” He tilts his head as he glosses over you. “I find it somewhat hard to believe, though.”
“You find what hard to believe?”
“That you’re single.”
A scoff escapes your nose.
“Seriously, have you seen you?” he says, expressions dripping with confidence. “You’re hot. How are you still not taken?”
“You’re one smooth talker, aren’t you?”
“Did it do anything for you?” He rests his chin on his palm as he keeps his gaze fixated on you like a magnet, eager to hear your comebacks.
Sucking your breath in, you make sure to keep that eye contact intense and strong between you. Right now, his stare is boring holes through your skull. They are fierce, fast, impatient and sexy. Meant for a quiet, intimate space. Meant for the bedroom.
When you lean closer, you let him know that your eyes are equally harboring the same lusty feelings. You hum and lower your voice, almost whispering it to his face, letting your hot breath fan the tip of his nose. “Maybe you should try harder and not use flattery.”
His self-control is impeccably sturdy, his stare on your eyes and lips unbreakable and determined as though he’s up to do anything you want, up for any challenge and offer you give him. “Well. Then you’ll be glad to know that my mouth can do a lot more things other than come up with smooth talk. You up for it?”
Controlling your breathing, you flash a frisky smile. “Depends on what those things are.”
“I’m sorry, I just realized that I don’t even know your name.” He shakes his head once you’re face to face, feeling ridiculous at his first, obvious mistake. “What’s your name?”
“Do you have to know my name?” you challenge.
“It’s not imperative but for my own selfish reasons, then yes.”
There’s a teasing lilt to your hum.
Arching a brow up, he asks, “What are you thinking?”
“No names for tonight,” is your proposition, punching out the words breathily. Let’s be real—you’re horny and he’s hot. You’d be damned if you said that you didn’t want to get laid with him tonight.
His tongue swirls on his bottom lip before biting it down, a small dimple appearing on his cheek. “Okay. How about aliases?”
“Just like superheroes?”
He grins. “Just like superheroes.”
“Would Supergirl be too cliché?”
“She your favorite?”
“Wanda,” you reveal.
“Nice. I’m actually excited to watch the show when it comes out,” he says, his smile reaching his eyes first.
“Same.”
“You could be Scarlet then.”
“And you’re Vision?”
“Nah. Just call me JK,” he offers.
You repeat the two letters, nodding.
“Your place or mine?”
“Yours,” you say, bringing your phone out, keying a quick message to Yuna before slipping the ring off your finger and placing it inside your pocket.
JK holds his palm out. “Shall we?”
“Yeah. Let’s get the hell out of here.”
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Pressed up against his bedroom door, he crushes his lips on yours, tongues melting into each other and teeth tugging on lips. The make-out session has you intoxicated, heating up your skin and putting your senses into overdrive. Fingers threading through his locks, he nips on the skin just below your jawline, tumbling out a gasp from your lips, his tongue doing the work to smooth the area before he finds a sensitive spot on the side of your neck, leaving it with an open-mouthed kiss before releasing it with a juicy pop.
When he yanks up your shirt, he takes a sharp inhale. “You’re so fucking hot,” he rasps, taking off his blazer jacket, hurling it to the side.
You hold the hem of his shirt and pull it up, greeted by his fit and broad figure and the artwork that decorates his right sleeve in turn. Gawking at his body, you run the tips of your fingers through his abs and pecs before tracing the outline of his lips. “You’re really hot, too,” you tell him, the hotness of your breath bathing his skin.
The pad of your finger runs lazy circles on his swollen bottom lip and you make sure to look right into his eyes with a lusty smirk before you cup his face, pulling him in again for another needy kiss, your tongues swirling with each other, sending a direct shot of arousal down to your core.
Your fingers rake through his locks while your lips pepper his shoulder blade and neck with your ravenous kisses. It doesn’t take long before your hands are on his body, his hips, stomach and v-line, stroking every edge and area. When you end up cupping the dent in his pants, a satisfied groan emits his throat. On your palm, he feels huge and hard and you release a whiny moan while his chest heaves.
His fingers find the button of your jeans and you pull back to assist him, quickly shimmying down until you’re left in your underwear. Keeping his eyes on yours, his hand starts to slide down, groping your heat over the soaked fabric. Your head automatically rears back, sighing at his touch. His smirk widens as his fingers slip underneath your underwear. He motions up and down on your sticky folds, flicking your clit before he takes his hand out and slides the fabric of your panties to the side.
Finally, his index finger thrusts into you slowly and deeply like he has all the time in the world. Emitting dulcet sighs, you shift your hips forwards to meet his thrust, desperate to feel his fingers. He curls his digit inside, hitting your walls while you pant. Taking your lips again, he adds another finger, pushing into you until you’re bucking your hips and moaning against his mouth.
He keeps this up, fingers curving, repeatedly thrusting in a pace that has your thigh muscles tightening and your feet tiptoeing before he slows down and eventually withdraws so he can suck on them, watching you watch him taste every bit of your essence. The action is so erotic and sensual that you lunge forward to share your breaths with him again while tasting yourself on his tongue.
Chests flushed together, he hoists you up, hooking your legs around his waist as he carries you to the bed, never disconnecting his lips on yours. You’re dropped on the mattress softly and you scoot upwards immediately, head lying on the pillow as you begin to unclasp your bra while he works on pulling your panties down your legs.
“Fuck. Look at you,” he growls. “So fucking pretty.” Climbing up to open your mouth, his hands busy themselves in squeezing the flesh of your nipples. The kiss you share is sultrier and filthier, dominated by your tongues, teeth and saliva.
He makes his way down to your breasts, his hot mouth enveloping your nipple while his hand massages the other breast, fingers toying on the bud. He sucks and licks until it’s nice and perky, switching to the other and giving it the same treatment. Pleasured sighs leak out your lips, eyes rolling at the back of your head, your fingers lacing on his hair.
He sits up, standing on the edge of the bed to pull his pants and underwear down. His huge and thick cock stands erect and he wraps a hand around it to give it a few pumps. His thumb gives his head the occasional flick to spread his pre-cum before hovering on top of you again to take on your breasts. He makes sure to look up at you every time, watching how beautiful you look when you’re purring your moans, the sight getting him harder as he pictures how you’d look and sound like when you’re so fucked out.
His solid hands grab your thighs, spreading them wide as he finally snakes down to your core, all full of your slick. You breathe raggedly, watching him in anticipation as he inches forward, tongue slurping up a bold stripe of your folds before it lays flat on your pussy.
He laps on your clit and your gasps are broken, begging him to not stop as you lay a hand on your breast, giving it a squeeze while grinding your core on his mouth. His own groans vibrate on your skin as he eats you out and buries his tongue inside your cunt, consistently switching with taking it whole and licking on your swollen clit.
“You taste really good,” he says, tongue running over his wet lips. As much as he’d like to see you fall apart on his mouth, right now, all he wants is to be inside you. He needs to feel your warm and wet pussy around him, wants to see you come around his cock while he’s deep inside you.
Whining at the loss, he snatches your legs, folding them in half. Kneeling with his back straight up, he lines the head in your entrance, moving it against your slit, coating himself with your arousal. You release a drawled moan and his eyes darkens before pushing into you.
The stretch is delicious, with him easily gliding in from how wet you are. A gasp escapes your chest and he’s only halfway in. Relaxing your walls to adjust to him, he sinks further until he bottoms out a few moments later, your pussy wrapped around his cock.
Releasing a joint pleasurable groan, he starts with slow, consistent thrusts, holding your knees to keep your legs up in that position. He’s testing the waters with his pace. It feels good and you appreciate it and him for being a gentleman but right now you need him to move. You need him to fuck you hard, fast and senseless. You want to be left mind-blown so you tell him that he doesn’t need to be gentle with you.
With your words, the glint in his eyes shifts and he begins to move, rocking into you rapidly. He grunts lowly at your tightness while burying his cock deeper, assaulting your walls. The sound of skin slapping skin has you screaming and he buckles his hips, keeping a steady and fast rhythm in fucking you.
He moans unabashedly, voice gruff as he gets entranced from his own pleasure, relishing in the way your pussy keeps on swallowing him in with every push as though it’s made for his cock only. He cups and squeezes your bouncing tits as he smacks himself into you. His palm skims through your stomach, making its way up as his finger runs over your swollen lips before sliding in your mouth. You suck it just like how you’d take him on your mouth, keeping your eyes on him and his lips curve up, savoring the sight.
You watch as his hips slows down into gentle thrusts before he slips out of you and grips his glistening cock to run the head through your slit, nudging and circling on your clit before he’s inside you again. He presses his chest against yours and brushes his lips on yours, swallowing all your moans. Your pussy clamps down on him with every drag against your walls and you hold his arms that are flexed, your pants increasing in volume as you chant a plethora of ‘yes’, ‘fuck’, and ‘oh my God.’
His body hovering on top of you again, he maintains eye contact, lips parted as he breathes in jagged patterns. You’re then grabbing his wrist, placing his hand on your neck. He takes a hefty inhale, pupils dilating and gaze shifting. “You like that? Hm?”
Wordlessly, you nod, licking your lips as his slender fingers start to put pressure on your throat. “Tell me if it’s too much, okay?”
Again, you offer a nod and a hum that borders on a moan. The force on your throat isn’t too hard but it’s firm and secure enough to steal your breath away and have your pussy clenching on him. The sudden delve at breathplay spurs him on to speed it up more than ever, a satisfied smile gracing his lips.
The headboard slams the walls and the bed creaks as the obscene echoes of your bodies merging fills the room. Your pants are caught in your throat and your mouth is kept open as you feel the coiling sensation in your stomach tightening. He drops his fingers from the base of your neck and cups your breast, clutching and pinching your pebbled bud with his thumb and forefinger before he kneads on your clit.
Keen whimpers and expletives flare out of your chest as the pad of his thumb rubs on your nub harshly. “You gonna come, baby?” he asks, his jackhammer thrusts quickening in pace. He can feel your walls contract against his cock as he holds up your legs and places them over his shoulders.
You nod as he shoves into you relentlessly. “Fuck,” you whimper helplessly, swivelling your hips, your climax threatening to wash over you soon. “I’m so close—mmmh my God—fuck—” you croak out sinfully.
“That’s it—nngh—fuck. Come for me, baby,” he coaxes, the pitch of his moan heightening as he pants hard.
One hard thrust and you’re falling over the edge, pussy clenching tight on his cock. His biceps and his stomach tauten as he keeps on fucking you, the sparks of his climax travelling fast to his tip. It doesn’t take long before a guttural sound is pulled out from his throat and his hips stutter, blowing his load and coating your walls with his warm seed.
You come three more times after the first round. With you on all fours, him holding your hips with a bruising grip as he hits you from behind. With you riding him while he’s sat down on the edge of his bed, watching you get yourself off from his full-length mirror. Your nails would dig on his shoulders while he’d suck on your nipples intently and mark your skin possessively, feeling satisfied at his handiwork. And finally, with you sitting on his face. Your hands would hold the headboard to steady yourself while his tongue dips in your pussy, eating you fervently.
Flopped down on the bed together, you’re both a fucked out mess, panting like dogs in the summer, lightheaded and smelling like sex. Staring at the ceiling, you feel like you’re still in a trance, encircled by that post-coital elation. He’s the first to stand up, bringing you some tissues so you can clean the insides of your thighs.
Now, you’ve had your fair share of bad hook-ups where the guy would come too early or where the oral is subpar, leaving you dissatisfied by the end of the night. But this one in particular—you can definitely say that this was a good fuck.
“Well,” you speak for the first time. “That was fun.” Collecting your panties on the floor, you slip it on and gather your discarded clothes lying on the floor haphazardly.
“You’re leaving?”
“Yeah. Why?”
“It’s two in the morning,” JK returns matter-of-factly. His brows rumple together and if you didn’t know any better, you’d almost say that it’s out of worry and concern. “I can’t just let you out there on your own. It’s too dangerous.” Awkwardly, he clears his throat when he’s met with silence. “I’m just… you know, thinking about your safety,” he attempts to redeem himself.
God. How can someone be so irresistibly adorable? Is this the same guy who just fucked your brains out and who said the lewdest things while he was balls deep inside you?
“Are you asking me to stay?”
He gnaws on his bottom lip and offers a smile. “More like hoping.”
Just by the look on JK’s eyes, already, you could feel yourself spiralling and slipping the more you think about it, the more you consider his request. If you live in an alternate universe where you’re a superhero, it’s safe to say that you’d be royally screwed. Because you’re showing weakness, you’re being so vulnerable, crumbling apart with just one look.
A couple of hours with him should be fine. You suppose breaking one rule won’t hurt. “Okay,” you yield. “I’ll stay.”
He goes to his dresser to open one drawer, pulling a cotton shirt in white. Offering the article of clothing to you, you thank him meekly, swathing your body in it until it falls just above your knees. It’s baggy and soft, the scent of fabric conditioner reeling on your senses.
“There’s extra towels in the bathroom,” he gestures.
“Thanks.”
The first thing you notice are the boxes lying around just beside the bathtub. Half open boxes filled with essential toiletries. The citrus fragrance that surrounds the room catches your attention next and automatically, your eyes search for the source, finding his diffuser just below the window.
When you examine yourself in front of the mirror, you take a deep breath. It’s just for this night. You could just wake up early tomorrow, collect your things and leave without looking back. After giving your face a quick wash, you search for the towels to dry you up, finding them perfectly folded in one of his drawers, arranged by their colors.
When you come out, he’s already dressed in a grey shirt and dark pajamas, sitting up on his side of the bed, scrolling through his phone. He notices you and stares, ruffling the back of his head with a demure smile. “Sorry about the boxes.”
“That’s okay. Don’t worry about it,” you reply encouragingly, walking to the other side to slip under the covers, allowing yourself to feel cozy and warm. “Did you just move in?”
“Yep,” he says, popping the ‘P’. He wraps his arm around your hips gently and you can feel his soft breathing on the side of your neck. He’s definitely trying to cuddle you.
It’s odd though how you don’t do anything to break the closeness because you’re reciprocating it by settling on the wide expanse of his chest as the tip of his fingers trace circles on your arm in a soothing manner. Perhaps the reason is because you find that it feels comforting—calming, even.
Completely enveloped and secured in his warmth, he checks with you, “Nice?”
In your vocabulary, this is dangerous territory because it feels too intimate. “Yeah. Nice,” is what you say anyway. “Hey, are you sure it’s okay for me to sleep here?”
You hear him giggle, his fingers playing with your hair as he looks at your questioning eyes. “Of course.”
It’s just for this night, reminds your conscious. And since this is only for tonight, you might as well allow yourself to be encased in another person’s secure and comforting embrace. You might as well flout another rule since you already broke one when you decided to stay.
“You know, sometimes a simple hug could just be what a person needs the most,” you murmur while you’re in your half-asleep half-awake state. What prompted you to say this, you’re unsure. Perhaps it’s the way he’s got his arm encased around you, and the way you feel safe in someone else’s warmth.
“It’s a simple yet powerful gesture.”
“Exactly,” you return, feeling your lips twitch for a smile. “Even if the hugger doesn’t say anything and just hugs you, I think that’s already so powerful. Because, you know, you never really know what a person is going through.”
He lets himself listen to you as you impart your sentiments and once again, he can’t help but be enthralled and pulled in by how you articulate your perspective and how you make him see it. “Very true,” he agrees.
A few seconds of silence lingers as you’re unsure what to say next. You then catch a glimpse of his inked right arm, a sleeve full of intricate and beautiful art, with words, flowers and symbols reaching his shoulder blade. “Cool tattoos, by the way.”
“Thanks,” JK says, grinning foolishly. "Hey, you know, I gotta tell you that this—” he begins, turning to you, only to see you fast asleep, knocked out like a baby, snoring softly. He laughs mutedly. “—is the best one-night stand I’ve ever had.”
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The sunlight seeping through the gap of the curtain tickles your conscious, rousing you from the depths of your slumber. Eyes still closed, your hand fishes out for your phone buried somewhere underneath the pillow, gripping it hard as you squint to check for the time once it’s lit up—8:15 am.
“Shit,” you hiss quietly.
Beside you, JK is heavily asleep, left cheek squished on the pillow, long eyelashes sprawled out on his honey skin, his lips rolling out loud exhalations that cracks into snores. This would be the last glance of him that you’d take because before you know it, you’re panic gathering all your clothes on the floor, hurriedly and quietly dressing yourself up, tiptoeing out of his apartment after. You really shouldn’t have stayed the night—it’s not you to do that.
There’s a large part of you that wants to stay longer with him in that bed and a sense of sadness brewing in your belly you the closer you get to your destination and you’re uncertain as to why. Shaking your head, you shrug the feeling as just the effects of the wine you’ve been drinking last night and you let reality ground your thoughts from being in the clouds and pull you back.
Let’s check the facts again. You don’t date. You don’t do relationships—they’re messy and complicated, much like love itself. Soon enough, you will forget about him and you will go on with your life.
Once you arrive back at your place, Yuna is sat on your couch. She asks you what happened last night and just like that, you plop yourself down beside her, explaining the reason why you didn’t come home.
“Oh, by the way, where’s my engagement ring?” she asks when all of the chatting and gossiping about your tryst had culminated.
You fish for it in your pocket and hand it back.
“Thanks,” she says, though you notice that it’s not with a happy or relieved tone. It’s a weak one, the expression on her face crestfallen. Your gut tells you that something is wrong. And usually, your gut feelings are correct.
“What? Okay, listen to me. Last night, you told me that you love Jimin and that you still want to marry him. You can’t just let a small hiccup ruin everything,” you tell her after she revealed that when he gets here, she’s going to return the ring to him.
Before she can reply, the doorbell is ringing. You instantly saunter towards the door to open it. “Hey, Jimin,” you greet with a narrow smile.
“Hey, Y/N.” He nods weakly at you before you let him enter your apartment.
With a careful tone, you decide to breach the silent and awkward air as the couple just stares at each other, waiting for one another to speak. “Um… can I talk to you both for a sec?”
Leading him to your living room, you gesture for him to sit beside Yuna. Standing in front of them like you’re about to give an important presentation, you begin, clasping your palms together. “Look, you guys. This is your wedding. Are you really gonna let a single conflict stop you from getting married?”
Yuna’s eyes relaxes as she turns to Jimin and he smiles softly.
“You’re about to spend the rest of your lives with one another,” you resume with conviction, eyes flicking at the two of them. “Isn’t that the most important thing?”
After your speech, Jimin nods vehemently, turning to Yuna and winding his fingers with hers as he realizes that everything you said was correct. “Y/N’s right.”
She places her free hand on top of Jimin’s, nodding. “And you were right too, Jimin. The fight that we had was stupid because at the end of the day, I still really want to get married to you.”
“Me, too. There’s nothing more I want than to spend the rest of my life with you. Don’t forget that we’re doing this for us. We’re not doing this for them.” Jimin gently pushes a strand of hair to the back of Yuna’s ear. “So what if our parents can’t get along? They’re not the one who’s going to get married to you. It’s me.”
Yuna cups his cheek, her eyes laced with adoration and gratefulness. “I love you so much.”
He presses his forehead against hers with eyes fluttered shut. “I love you, too.” After a few seconds, he opens his eyes again and pulls back slightly. “I’m sorry I overreacted and said that we should call the wedding off.”
“I’m sorry too for reacting the way I did. I’m sorry for stressing about our parents,” Yuna returns with her apology.
He smiles. “So we’re okay, yeah?”
“Yeah. We’re okay,” Yuna nods before she dives in to kiss Jimin.
Clearing your throat and feigning a cough, you ask with an oncoming smile at the edges of your mouth, “Ahem. So… is the wedding back on, guys?”
Jimin turns to face you, cheeks blooming as he realizes he got carried away from kissing his fiancée. He nods animatedly. “The wedding’s officially back on.”
Your whole face lights up like a Christmas tree and the betrothed couple are all smiles and giggles when they stare at each other, hand in hand. Yuna begins to ask curiously, changing the subject. “Oh, wait. How was the party last night, babe?”
“I left early and went back home to sleep,” Jimin reveals. “It didn’t feel right without you there.”
She mirrors his pout, saying guiltily, “See, now, I feel bad. I wish I just went home to you last night.”
Jimin rubs the pad of his thumb on the back of her palm as a way to console her. “That’s okay, babe. We both needed to cool down.”
The next minutes are spent with the three of you laughing together, chit chatting about the wedding preparations over coffee that you brewed for them. And when they said their goodbyes and left, leaving you all alone in your apartment, did it finally sink in on you—there’s going to be a wedding in four days.
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Jeon Jungkook should be over that one-night stand already. He should be moving forwards with his life and starting to concentrate on other things like the big event that’s happening in three days. Yet here he is, moving backwards, desperately longing to return to the night he met you.
Now that he thinks about it, if he could have a superpower, he would choose teleportation. He’d bring himself back to that time where he first talked to you so he could bring up any topic that comes to mind and hear your interesting thoughts about it, so he could freely say something stupid or nonsensical and see the sight of your laughter. He’d bring himself to wherever you are now, ask for your real name and your number, text you and give you a call so he can take you out for dinner or to a movie, whatever you want.
That night with you was certainly something else—it was fun, wild, spontaneous and not to mention, hot. He just keeps on replaying that night over and over that when he jerks off, it’s you that’s on his fucking mind.
All he holds in his heart are the words you said and murmured, the details of your smile, your voice and laugh, your honeyed moans and gasps, your pretty face, a piece of your personality. And even if these are the only things that you left in your trail, he’ll make sure to keep it safe.
“Fuck this,” he huffs out in frustration, rising up from the hotel bed that he’s currently in. He feels like he’s going to lose it if he continues to think about you even more so he decides to head downstairs to the gym to blow off some steam.
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You had completely forgotten about the dinner until Yuna reminded you this afternoon—it’s the one with her, Jimin and their best man. You’ve never actually met him before, or any of the groom’s friends and family. You never really had the chance since these couple of months have been so busy that it felt like a whirlwind.
While walking with her to the elevator since you’re going to the hotel’s restaurant together, you decide to ask about lunch yesterday. Her eyes curve up with her lips as she drops the news that it turned out to be great—their parents have started to bond with each other.
She tells you that initially, there were still some awkwardness, some clash of opinions from Jimin’s father and her father but then in the middle of them having the hors d'oeuvres, Mr. Park had mentioned something about poker and it sparked an interesting conversation that led to them making plans. Meanwhile, over steak and wine, the mothers have agreed to go shopping with Yuna when she asked them for advice on what to take for the honeymoon.
When you arrive at the entrance of the restaurant, she scans the inside as she searches for them. “Oh, there they are,” Yuna announces when she spots Jimin and his best man. She points at the middle and you follow the trajectory of her finger.
Calling for their attention, she waves at them when they turn around. The moment your eyes land on the tall, dark-haired guy beside Jimin as you walk towards them, your breath hitches, pupils dilating as though they’ve seen a ghost.
Oh my fucking God. You’ve always thought that the world is small but is it really that small? Your one-night stand and Jimin’s best man—they’re one person. JK is literally Jungkook.
While Yuna and Jimin are busy greeting each other through hugs and kisses, you stare at him who’s dumbfounded and shell-shocked, his reaction written all over his face. Wearing a white shirt underneath a blue denim jacket with a silver watch on his wrist, he looks insanely handsome and neat. Your cheeks feel dangerously warm, reminiscent of the first time you saw him.
“Y/N, I’d like you to meet Jungkook,” Yuna introduces sprightly. “Jungkook, Y/N.”
He barely blinks as he stares at you, face suddenly turning pale. It seems as though he’s having a difficult time restraining his expressions and maintaining composure as he pictures the night you spent together, bodies buried into one another.
Releasing your tightened lips, you shoot Jungkook a smile, extending a hand out. “Hi.”
“Hi,” he greets with a soft register, almost trembling before he clears his throat and gains confidence, shaking your hand with a firm grip. “Nice to meet you, Y/N.”
He went along with your playing dumb act. Good, because you’re not about to reveal to Yuna and Jimin that you’ve already met. Not tonight. And certainly not two days before their wedding.
“We’ve actually wanted to do this for a long time,” Yuna starts just as you’re all snatching up the menu in front of you.
Jimin agrees. “We thought it’d be nice if the best man and the maid of honor could get to know each other before the wedding.”
Yuna says regretfully, “I just wish we could’ve done this sooner instead of two days before the wedding.”
“But we’ve just been so busy,” Jimin continues his fiancée’s sentence. She nods in agreement, pouting apologetically.
You decide to speak first and reassure them, smiling narrowly. “That’s okay, guys. It’s no big deal.”
“What matters is that we’re all here now,” Jungkook adds right away with a huge grin. He arches a brow and glances at you with a single bob of his head before looking at the couple. “Right?”
Yuna and Jimin nods agreeingly and you feign a smile before grabbing your glass of water, your throat suddenly drying up. The conversation between the four of you falls easily during dinner, with all of you occasionally clanking your glasses of champagne.
Over food, you and Jungkook learn more about each other, about the memories you both had with the couple during college. You and him talked as though this is the first time and on the topic of university, you learned that Jungkook’s major was finance. He studied abroad and decided to stay and live in London after graduation. You point out that finance had been your original choice before you settled for film studies. Back then, you chose passion over practicality, much to your mother’s dismay.
He tells you that film studies had actually been his first choice. It was the exact opposite for him—practicality over passion. All because it’s what his parents wanted of him, it’s good for taking over their businesses. When you suggested that he could still do it, he returned with a smile, said that he actually does have plans in the future to go back to studying his passion.
Yuna’s stare flits between Jungkook and you before she eyes Jimin whose lips have curved into a smirk, his brows dancing up mischievously when he meets her stare. It’s as though the gears in their heads have turned and seeds have been planted in their minds.
When you’re all patiently waiting for the third course, Yuna leans in to whisper by your side. “Can you come with me to the ladies’ room please?” Her eyes press their stare on you, widening as she tries to send a girl code to you indirectly and immediately mouthing an imperative ‘now’. When she stands up, you take it as a signal to follow her to the restroom, walking briskly to catch up.
“What are you doing?” Yuna asks once you’ve shut the door close behind you.
“What?”
“Uh, hello? Jungkook’s flirting with you,” she says instantly in a heartbeat.
“What? No, he’s not.”
“Yes, he is,” she counters, her mouth opening with a grin, eyes laced with bewilderment upon seeing your flustered demeanor. “And you’re totally smitten.”
“No, I’m not.”
“Yes, you are,” she quips, continuing the rally.
“Oh my God, I’m—I’m not smitten,” you insist, voice lower than usual.
“Why don’t you ask him out?” Yuna suggests frankly.
“You know I’m not into this whole dating thing.”
“That’s what you always say,” she sighs, exasperated.
“Because it’s true.”
Yes, you haven’t gotten him out of your mind ever since that night. And yes, you haven’t been able to stop thinking about the way he kissed you, wrapped you around his embrace, laughed with you and smiled at you through the small conversations in between. But that doesn’t mean anything—it’s probably just one of those caught-up-in-the-moment feelings. It doesn’t mean anything. Right?
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It’s been hours after that dinner and you’re now tossing and turning around your hotel bed, feeling restless. There’s too much on your mind that sleep is way too far from your reach. When you grab your phone from the nightstand, it lights up and reads 1:00 am on the dot.
Feeling like you need fresh air, you push the covers away and slip your shoes on, heading out of your room in your pajamas to visit the rooftop of the hotel, where you know a piece of tranquillity can be achieved.
Finding yourself sitting on the outdoor metal bench, you let your mind relax, letting the stillness of the night embrace you. You try to focus on the little things, on your surroundings. The night sky is clear, speckled with the constellation that shines brightly above. There are a few days left before winter is over, the breeze of the wind starting to turn warm as it kisses your skin. It prickles still, containing the remnants of the past, but it’s bearable.
“Can’t sleep?”
The familiar softness of a voice tickles your reverie. When you return your stare down to Earth, Jungkook stands on the side, the bomber jacket covering his upper body zipped, hands in the pockets of his black joggers. His hair is windswept, some sticking out to the sides, while his fringe is parted, revealing his forehead.
Returning with a nod, he wastes no time to take a seat beside you.
“Me, too,” he admits, prolonging his stare at you. When you meet his eyes, an inexplicable tingling warmth once again dawns inside you, settling into your skin.
Biting on the inside of your lip, you ask consciously, “Why are you looking at me like that?”
Jungkook, embarrassed with his cheeks now tinted with a rosy hue, smooths the back of his head and strays his eyes away from you, shaking his head. “I’m sorry, I just… I still can’t believe it’s you. I thought I’d never see you again.”
“Honestly? Me, too,” you admit, the edges of your lips twitching for a faint smile.
There’s a hefty air of silence that engulfs you two and he decides to glue his gaze up to the sky while you turn to observe the side of his face. It’s odd how earlier you were trying to entertain yourself, finding which star is the brightest from your observance of the night sky. Disregarding moons and celestial bodies, you were scanning and sweeping the entirety of the universe in your field of vision, seeking for which star has the brightest light, only to find it futile because you couldn’t. It seems that your answer is here.
There’s something about the roundness and expressiveness of Jungkook’s eyes that fascinates you. They twinkle whenever he blinks, as though fairies surround him every second and they sprinkle golden dust on his irises. It’s beautiful, the way he gazes at the universe and ruminates on his own thoughts, surrounded by quietness. The sight from your position is calming and peaceful.
Facing forward, you speak again, eyes pointed on the city skyline, on the buildings across the horizon. “Who would’ve thought that our lives would somehow be connected?”
“Just goes to show how small the world really is,” he answers with a relaxed register, looking at you.
He suddenly moves about when he notices you shivering, quickly unzipping his jacket. He transfers his body heat that resided on the inside of the outerwear to you when he gently placed it over your shoulders. “Here.”
Your eyes immediately land on him when you feel the weight on you, uncrossing your arms as you cling on to the collars of his jacket. A thin smile of gratitude is what you send his way before you’re doing what your instinct orders you to do. Scooting closer towards him, you hold up the jacket and nestle it over your backs, hoping it would be enough to cover the two of you.
By giving you his jacket, you knew that he had good intentions and wanted you to feel warm against the sudden harshness of the wind. But it occurred to you that Jungkook would be cold in the aftermath and cold is not a feeling that you want him to feel tonight.
Sharing his jacket was the only solution you could think of and he didn’t complain nor insisted that you have it. Instead, you both settle on being a lot closer to one another, the side of your thighs touching, shoulders nudging, arms side by side like pillars.
Jungkook’s hand wraps around your waist to bring you closer to him, warm on your skin as he protects you and guards you from the nipping breeze. If there’s one thing that you noticed, it’s that his palm never lowers down; it stays still on its spot, his grip secure but gentle.
The combination of your warmth has built a strong enough fire as though you both are camping, watching a bonfire. The blaze of the flame is more than enough to feel rested and comfortable, away from all the cold.
“Don’t you find it fascinating? It’s like fate or something. Some sort of sign from the universe. Do you believe in those kinds of things?” you ask intriguingly, to him and to the vast space.
He lets the seconds whirl by before he responds, a sense of bitterness edging in his voice. “Not really.”
“How come?”
Jungkook sighs deeply, stares back at your penetrative eyes. “Well, because I feel like what brought us together during that night wasn’t fate. It was ourselves.”
“Actually, I think it was that couple who brought us together,” is what you point out as an attempt to be light and funny. This earns you a light chuckle.
“Don’t get me wrong. I’m not disregarding fate or its existence. I just think that I sat next to you that night because I wanted to.” He shakes his head. “Sorry for being negative.”
“No, don’t be,” you reassure him. “You’re entitled to your own opinions.”
“It’s just,” he says, hesitating. At his next intake of breath, he gets the courage to be honest, to open his heart and uncover the burden that had weighed him down in the past. “All my life I felt like I never had a choice. My parents had already mapped out my whole life. They were the ones who decided which school I should go, what course I should take, what my career should be, who should I marry and what age I’d get married. And it was just so fucking tiring to feel so controlled all the time like a puppet.”
“Is that why you were drinking that night?”
From the outlook, one would think that Jungkook is someone who has control on his life and his decisions. But it isn’t the case. With his upbringing and the traditions instilled on him, control is something he had to master, something he had to channel outwardly for his parents’ satisfaction.
He does know how to take control but for the wrong reasons—it’s for the reasons he doesn’t want. He controls the things that his folks expect him to manage. Jungkook does know how to do it but it’s also for front. Because deep down, he is anything but in control. Deep down, he’s someone who has never been able to take the steering wheel and drive his own life. Deep down, it’s what he wants.
He doesn’t want anyone to drive his life for him. He wants to do it himself. And during the night he met you, that was the first step of taking control, of stepping on the gas and going on the route where there would be a lot of right and wrong turns. He doesn’t want to know where he’s going. For the first time in his life, he wants to be spontaneous. Wants to live. Wants to prioritize his own happiness for the sake of his well-being.
“Yeah. I was at Jimin’s parents’ party during that night and all I kept on thinking was how he defied his parents for his own happiness. His courage inspired me that time. Then I got into an argument with my parents because they kept on trying to set me up there so I just told them how I felt and left the party.”
He remembers the occurrence of events that night and it makes him grit his teeth, darting his eyes down to the floor. “At first, I thought that I made a stupid decision but I realized that I did the right thing because I don’t regret it. I chose myself for the first time in my life and it didn’t feel daunting. It felt liberating.”
He looks at you, realizing that he was looking for a cathartic release during that night and somehow, what he found was comfort. He found so much more when he met you. You started out as a stranger to him but you’re much more than that to him now.
“You know, out of us two, you’re the real superhero,” you offer candidly. Your eyes are filled with more admiration and respect for him and all that lives and breathes in you at this moment is hope. Hope that he’s in the direction he wants, hope that he’s happy and that there’s less agony in his mind, heart, body and soul.
Jungkook’s smile never leaves his lips even as he furrows his eyebrows and questions, “Wait, let me get this straight. Jimin and Yuna—they were your mission all along?”
“Yep,” you nod before explaining the context of that night, telling him that the couple encountered a small glitch that made them temporarily call off the wedding.
“Do you realize that there’s a wedding in two days because of you?”
“Well, it’s really because of them and their love for each other,” you counter.
“You should give yourself some credit.”
When you smile at him, he mirrors it. And for a while, you just sit together closely. For a while, you bask in each other’s presence, feeling comforted by the silence and by the thoughts you’d say out loud. And with every grin or laugh that you get to see on his face in between, you’d feel your heart hammer frantically within your chest, alarming you greatly.
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Tomorrow is the wedding. There’s officially less than twenty-four hours left before you have to wake up, get ready to be glammed up, smile for photographs, support the bride with everything, lift the long trail of her veil up whenever she goes, straighten it as she poses for her bridal portraits and be a point of contact to every guest. Less than twenty-four hours left before you go do your maid of honor duties and make sure everything falls smoothly into place. You’ll have to keep the spirits high tomorrow, especially the bride’s because you know that there would be an abundant of nerves and emotions.
The trepidation from imagining how the ceremony would go sizzles inside you. In your mind, there is the inevitable list of things that could go wrong. And although you don’t want to think about it, it still crosses your conscious from time to time. It’s better to think like this because then you could also ponder about your immediate and sensible solutions when faced with those problems.
Lying on your hotel bed, you try to distract your thoughts by watching a movie. When your phone vibrates, you pick it up and read the message from Yuna, asking if you want to go downstairs for a drink.
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“Oh, look. There’s Jimin and Jungkook,” Yuna turns to you with a foxy grin splayed on her lips as you walk further towards the open bar of the restaurant.
Surprise bleeds on your face when you see them sitting on one of the stools. Jimin’s face lights up as he sees the two of you approaching them.
“Hi, beautiful,” the blonde man greets his fiancée, placing a smooch on her cheek before turning to greet you affably.
Yuna flits her gaze between the two men. “What are you guys doing here?”
“We just decided to have some drinks before going to the mini golf room,” Jimin responds casually, peering over Jungkook who just nods. When he meets Yuna’s eyes, he gasps loudly and dramatically. “Oh, no.”
Jungkook’s brows crease. “What’s wrong?”
Jimin sets his glass down and touches Yuna’s forearm. “Sweetie, we forgot that thing that we have to do tonight.”
Her mouth goes agape. “Oh my goodness—yes!”
“What thing?” you ask, folding your arms and perking a brow up.
“We said we were gonna meet Hoseok tonight to talk about the wedding and make sure everything’s okay for tomorrow.”
“Oh, really?” you ask, drawling out the word as you catch on quickly.
“Yes,” they punctuate synchronously, acting as though you haven’t already figured out what they’re trying to pull.
Yuna clasps her hands together, smiling widely at you and Jungkook like there’s a lightbulb above her head. “Wait a minute, why don’t you guys do something together?”
“What a great idea,” Jimin adds, tone and expression obviously rehearsed.
Well, would you look at that. Turns out, you’re not spending this evening with Yuna at all. Those two really wanted to play matchmaker the moment they saw you two talking during that dinner. Especially Yuna. You just knew from the spark in her eyes and from the conversation she had with you that night. God, if only they knew the truth about you and Jungkook. Actually, if they did know, they’d probably be so chuffed about it and continue to match you up.
“I guess this was their plan all along, huh?” you turn to Jungkook after the wily couple bid their goodbyes and left.
Jungkook chuckles, bobbing his head. He offers to buy you a drink and you’re not entirely sure how much time passes because of all the laughter, stories, facts and opinions you’ve both shared with each other once the conversation sparked off.
You talked about the Wandavision episodes that you’ve seen so far, drifting off to the broad cinematic universe of Marvel after. Over cocktails, you and Jungkook discuss who is the most powerful Avenger, to which you fervidly and resolutely answered Scarlet Witch, while he says it’s Thor, contending that he’s a deity.
“Did you not see how she literally made Thanos call for back up during that scene in Endgame?” you maintain your stance passionately.
“Okay, fine,” Jungkook concedes. “But I still think that out of the original Avengers, Thor is the strongest.”
“Oh, there’s no doubt about that,” you nod and wave your hand away, agreeing like it’s a universal fact. “Okay, uh… what about Captain Marvel? Do you think she’s stronger than Thor?”
“Definitely. She could kick his ass easily.”
A bright smile graces your lips at the way he endearingly articulates his words and at the way his eyes excitedly shine. Time seems to cease around you, along with the movements of your surroundings the more you keep on talking to Jungkook like this, the more you get to know him and his personality.
He looks at you with a nervous expression after you both come down from the high of laughter and giggles. He settles his glass down on the counter as though he just drank his courage and clears his throat. “Listen, um… there’s actually something that I’ve been wanting to ask you.”
The beats of your heart sounding like the ticking of a clock, you anticipate with bated breath.
With his round eyes staring at you with sincerity, he bares his feelings and goes for it. “I really like you so… do you maybe wanna go out with me sometime? For like a proper date, I mean.”
It’s then that you decide to stop the ticking, to shut all of the alarms going off in your head. “Don’t,” you say, the word coming out as a mere whisper as your lips tremble. None of this should’ve even happened. It’s not for you. You can’t. You don’t have it in you to go through it.
Pushing yourself off your seat, you’re shaking your head, saying, “I can’t, I’m sorry, I can’t,” in one succession. You run away to rush back to your room, vision bleary from the dampness and hands shuddering from the onslaught of feelings in your chest.
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The bride sits in front of the dresser, lips parted as she bites her fingernails in apprehension. You’re kneeling next to her, trying to calm her nerves, explaining that wedding jitters are common and it’s all just because of the build-up and the anticipation, emphasizing to her that her love for Jimin should prevail against the nerves. You offer support by doing breathing techniques with her, letting her look in front of the mirror as you inhale and exhale together.
She plasters a smile and lets out a huge breath before she starts to babble frantically like a woodpecker. “What if I’m not ready? Am I ready? Do you think I’m ready?”
Over and over, you tell her to take deep breaths with you before you provide your replies, assuring her that she’s more than ready for this. “And also, don’t forget that after the wedding, there’s going to be a honeymoon in Paris,” you remind.
Yuna takes a couple of sharp exhalations as though to exorcise the nerves and jitters brewing inside her intensely. With a new, confident disposition, she is bobbing her head eagerly, holding both of your hands, saying “I think I’m ready” to you but more to herself.
“Yeah?”
“Fuck yeah. Let’s do this wedding!”
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As you watch your best friend walk down the aisle, an overwhelming bundle of feelings shoots through your veins, making you tear up. She is dazzling with the love that breathes and beats insides her. And when you turn to glance at Jimin, he is smiling even when his emotions streams down his cheeks.
“When I was a little girl, I’ve always wondered if I would ever find my Prince Charming just like in the fairytales,” Yuna commences her proclamation of vows. “And then one night at a work party, I lost a game of pool. As a result, I had to ask the first guy I saw to dance with me. I’ll forever be glad that I lost that game because if I didn’t, I wouldn’t have met you. Jimin, with you, I didn’t just find my prince. I also found my soulmate, my sun, my moon, my angel, my heaven, my earth and my person. I found everything that I’d ever been looking for my whole life.”
“It still feels surreal that I’m right here in front of you saying my vows. It still feels just like yesterday, we were on our first date. As a matter of fact, our first date is something that I will never forget. We were sat outside a café and I was so nervous that I accidentally slammed my ice cream on my nose instead of aiming it on my mouth. But then you took me by surprise when you deliberately smudged your chocolate ice cream on your nose just to make me feel less embarrassed, just to make me feel better. When we laughed for five minutes straight, that’s the moment I said to myself that I wouldn’t mind laughing with this guy for the rest of my life. I want to be silly and weird with him for the rest of my days.”
“Jimin, you are the guy who approaches every cat and dog roaming around in the streets, who laughs so hard to the point where you fall off your chair, who would pout adorably for the rest of the day whenever you lose at games but above it all, you are the guy that I would choose to spend my forever with in every lifetime and in every timeline.”
She attempts to keep her voice steady, but with her tears, it proved impossible not to falter at the preceding words. “I want you to know that if we fight, then we’ll work it out. If there are obstacles on the way, then we’ll jump over it together, we’ll go into battle together. We’ll conquer every trial and we’ll make it work.” She nods and repeats the last few words. “We’ll make it work.”
Her vision watery, she sniffs and breathes through her mouth. It took everything not to rub her eyes and screw her eye make-up. After looking up, she eventually blinked it away and then faced her groom with a grin as she concluded her heartfelt vows.
“Park Jimin, I love you and I promise you that from this day forward, you will never walk alone.”
When you glance to your left and right, everyone is either snuffling or wiping away the corner of their eyes with handkerchiefs and tissues, much like you are. Yuna had let you read the first draft of her vows before and hearing the final, full-length version now is just heart-melting and moving. You have a feeling that Jimin’s would also turn you into an emotional wreck.
He takes a deep breath and begins. “All my life, I was brought up to think that I’m meant to be all sorts of things. They would say, ‘Jimin, you’re going to be CEO,’ ‘Jimin, you’ll take over the family business,’ ‘Jimin, you’re going to marry someone from this family or that family’—it’s all I ever heard. And then one night, I met this incredible and beautiful woman who asked me to dance. We danced and talked for hours until we were the only ones left in the bar and they had to kick us out because it was like four in the morning.”
“Yuna, after going on dates with you and having the opportunity to get to know you and your beautiful soul, I knew you were the one that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. I knew you were the one because I didn’t care about what’s meant for me anymore. All I know is that I’m meant to be here. I’m meant to love you, to take care of you, to protect you and to grow old with you. And as I stand in front of you today, I promise that I will always let you have the last piece of mochi. I promise I won’t run away whenever you ask me to clean Yoongi’s litter box. I promise I’ll always be weird and goofy with you and most importantly, I promise that I will love you until my last breath—until the very end.”
Chewing on his bottom lip, Jimin bends his head down as the thick droplets of tears leaks out from his eyes. When he looks up again, Yuna’s hand is there, caressing his cheek and wiping them away for him. He takes another sharp intake of breath, exhaling with a smile.
“My love, I am yours today, tomorrow, forever and always.”
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Tapping the mic twice in front of you that’s perched into the stand, you display your best smile to the audience, hiding the nerves that dares to creep outwards from underneath.
“Hi, everyone,” you begin. “Let me start by talking about rainbows. A rainbow occurs naturally when the Earth is in perfect harmony. There’s a specific combination and balance between sunshine and rain that creates a prism of colors perfectly painted in a semicircle across the sky for everyone to enjoy. It’s not easy to find one but I’d like to think that Yuna and Jimin’s love is like a rainbow. I think that their love brightens and lights up their lives and has a lasting impression on those who witness it. They truly are great individuals. But together, they are unstoppable. Together, they are complete. Yuna and Jimin, you two are exactly where you should be—in each other’s arms.”
“Now a toast,” you propose, raising the glass in your hand. “To love!”
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From the way Jungkook stands in front of the mic, there are no hints of nervousness and edge crossing his face. If there are, then it’s safe to say that he masks it really well. He carries himself confidently, milking all the spotlight that illuminates down on him.
“Good evening, everyone. I hope you’re all enjoying yourselves tonight,” he greets. “For those of you who don’t know, I’m Jungkook. I’m the best man.” He shoots a glance to the couple’s table. “Yuna, you look stunning tonight and I think we can all agree that Jimin won the lottery.”
Giggles erupt at his upbeat tone and Jimin raises his hand and covers his mouth as he throws his head back and laughs, eyes disappearing in his delight. Jungkook pauses for a second, trying to rack his brain for words. Blinking, he slightly shakes his head to swipe some of his fringe away from covering his eyes.
“To be completely honest, when I was thinking about what to say for my speech, I considered sharing funny anecdotes but then I realized that not only would it be embarrassing for Jimin, it’d be for me, too. So instead, I’m going to focus on the smart moves he’s made. Firstly, he chose me as his best man,” he rests his tatted hand on his chest for emphasis. He then glances at Jimin, pointing his finger and winking playfully at his friend. “That’s very clever of him. He has great taste.”
“Next are his friendships, his relationships and rapport with people, his closeness with his family and his dedication to his career—all of which are very smart moves because it shows who he is as a person. But the smartest thing he’s done is grabbing that chance to tell the woman who makes his heart happy how he feels.” He drops his eyes on you briefly with a wistful smile before he stares into the sea of people once more. “The smartest thing that Jimin has ever done is marrying the love of his life.”
The crowd echoes an ‘aww’ as the bride and groom whip their heads to look at one another with radiant smiles before diving for a quick kiss.
“Jimin and Yuna, as you start your new life together, I want you to share your hopes, dreams and fears with one another. Be interested in each other’s personal ambitions and goals. Be weird and goofy together. Be respectful, forgiving and supportive of each other. But most of all, I want you both to be happy and healthy.”
Lifting up the glass on his right hand, he salutes with a gleeful smile, even though this time, it’s one that doesn’t reach his eyes. “With that said, let’s all raise our glasses to the newlyweds!”
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As soon as the hosts announced that it was time for people to gather round on the center to dance, the guests immediately stood up in no time. Families of both the bride and groom began to partner up, friends and other guests making their way to waltz exuberantly, rushing to join the newlyweds now after they just had done their astonishing first couple dance to Thinking Out Loud.
When most have converged on the dance floor, it has become apparent that you were one of the ones left sitting around your table. Wonderful Tonight begins to play in the background, slowing the atmosphere and romancing the air. People have begun to sway with each other, incandescent lights dazzling around them to make the moment magical and fairy-tale like.
Jungkook comes by your side, holding out his palm. “Dance with me?”
Your eyes stare at his hand, uncertainty melting in your features. When you meet his pleading eyes, you nod and let him lead you to the front, merging in with the people and finding a spot for the both of you.
Tentatively, he advances forward, eyeing you as his hands hover on your back, not touching your flesh. He takes a deep breath and releases it out to the air before his palms rest on your lower spine, your own arms encasing around his neck. You and Jungkook begin to swing gently, hips swaying side by side. His eyes are on you at all times and you haven’t had the chance to look at him, eluding them in fear of melting completely.
“Jungkook,” you manage when you’ve mustered the courage to speak, your voice still weak. The dampness in your eyes starts to irritate you as you watch him tape up a fake smile on his exterior, your heart crumbling apart.
This is not how you want to see him, especially when it’s such a jolly occasion. He should be enjoying himself, rejoicing in delight. But he’s not. His eyes are duller in its twinkle, his smiles are reserved and deflated, his movements quieter and less spirited.
He shakes his head lightly as he shushes you softly, attempting to uplift you. “We don’t have to talk about that,” he says, swallowing hardly before he speaks again. “Let’s just dance for now.”
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“You—what?” is Yuna’s reaction after you revealed to her everything that had happened with Jungkook.
You had been unusually silent when you came in to Yuna and Jimin’s house. Even when she was handing you the spare keys and guiding you to where Yoongi’s food bowls are—you’ve been asked to officially cat-sit for a few days while the newlyweds are carousing in the city of love—you were quiet. And Yuna, being your friend, voiced straight away that something was wrong.
“And then when he told you that he liked you, you walked away?” she repeats your words back when you’ve finished telling your story.
Again, you nod, sighing as you shake your head and shut your eyes, overwhelmed with emotions that are synonymous to regret.
“You should talk to him,” she advises calmly after a few moments of observance.
“What would I even say?”
“Y/N, I think you know exactly what you want to say to him.”
In perfect timing, Yoongi elegantly prances around and Yuna takes the opportunity to pick him up, carrying him sideways like a baby, patting and stroking him gently while he purrs contently.
“Do you have anything to add, you little cutie?” she asks, flicking her gaze on him and then at you.
Your eyes are pressed on the calico cat, who responds with a soft meow. In human language, that would be translated as, “Go after him, you fucking idiot!”
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“Hey,” you say, keeping your face straight and your teeth gritted to prevent you from letting your feelings seep out from your eyes.
“Hey,” Jungkook echoes. He’s stiff in his movements as he lets you slip inside his apartment. His eyes are tired, bloodshot as though he hasn’t been letting sleep get to him.
You’re not quite sure where to begin but all you know is that this is the right thing to do. You have to tell him everything that you have been feeling for him because if you don’t, it’s going to keep you up at night, it’s going to eat you away, it’s going to make you hate yourself because you didn’t take the chance. If you don’t, you’ll regret everything.
When he speaks first, you feel your heart drop. “Listen, um… I want to apologize. I shouldn’t have said what I said that night.” He takes a sharp gulp, eyes darting down to the floor before looking at you. “Can we just forget about it?”
Your heart aches as you listen to his words. Jungkook is apologizing when he shouldn’t have to. He shouldn’t apologize because there was nothing wrong about what he did. If you like someone, then you should tell that to them, right? Life is short. Sometimes, you’ve got to be forward or else you’ll just regret it. Better to do something than to not do it at all.
He was right to choose himself that night and listen to what his heart said. There’s nothing wrong in letting yourself want, in letting yourself fall, in opening yourself to another person. And yet during that night, you did the complete opposite. You didn’t face your feelings head on. Instead, you stepped backwards from it. You had convinced yourself that selfishness was wrong, that liking him was synonymous to danger.
The only vernacular you had gotten accustomed to when it came to falling was being vulnerable and open. So when Jungkook bared and offered you his heart and his feelings, when he showed his transparency, you let your fear colonize every part of you. It alarmed you how easily he had disarmed your walls so you decided to shut it all out.
There were a lot of things you said to yourself during the night you met Jungkook. All those rules you established to your one-night stand and how you don’t do this and that. But really, you couldn’t deny the truth that burned inside you.
It made you realize that certain people come into someone’s life to make them realize that it’s okay to acknowledge their feelings, that it’s okay to lower their walls down and set back those rules, shove those fears away so they can open themselves up again and see the beauty of dating, of getting to know a person and falling for them. It just so happened that the person who came into your life to make you believe again was Jungkook.
You’re throwing all those rules away because you’re now listening to your heart. You’re now taking a path that you know you won’t regret being on. You’re now admitting your truth to him because this is what people do when they like each other.
“Actually, that’s what I wanted to talk to you about,” you tell him, taking a deep breath afterwards. “I was a coward that night because I ran away when the truth is… I really like you, too.”
He blinks. “You… you like me?”
“I do. I think you’re great. You’re sweet and charming and funny and… you’re not afraid to wear your heart on your sleeve. Really, I should be the one saying sorry to you because I walked out that night instead of confronting my own feelings for you. I didn’t grab my chance when I should’ve. I got scared and thought that running away and shutting my feelings out was the answer.”
Looking at him, you continue, eyes starting to sting. “You know, after spending time with you, I realized that maybe there was a reason why fate or whatever it is in the universe that brought us back again. It’s because you’re meant to be in my life. You’re meant to stay. And… I do want you to stay.”
Jungkook steps forward and catches your hands, embracing his fingers with yours. His eyes ghosts on your every feature, drinking you in before he gently presses his forehead with yours. “You mean that?”
“Yes,” you say and nod confidently.
“Good.” He runs the tip of his nose against yours languidly. “Because I want you in my life, too. I want you to stay for a long time.”
Your palm holds his cheek, pad of your thumb smoothing the skin just beneath his eye and he captures it to kiss the inside of your hand. Your pulse quickens, heart thumping in your chest, reaching to the tips of your toes.
“So then… can I be your girlfriend?” you ask bashfully.
Jungkook captures your lips in a heartbeat, pressure soft and gentle, making you smile against the kiss. He mirrors your expression as he deepens it, your belly being tickled by all the flutters, the pitter patters of your heart spelling out his name clearly and enormously—in all caps and in bold letters.
“Yes,” is what falls out from his lips when you both pull away and you succumb to your mirth, eyes twinkling with excitement and hope—for this, for him, for the future.
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To say that Jungkook is happy would certainly be an understatement. He’s over the moon—even more than that. Why shouldn’t he be? He’s finally at that point in his life where he’s doing what he wants and what makes him feel good. He is the director and the main actor of his life and that’s how it should be. He’s never been happier and he has you to thank, along with his friends and parents. Yes, you read that right. His parents.
Before you confessed your feelings for him that day, Jungkook’s parents had visited him in his apartment. They apologized, acknowledged that it was wrong of them to be hard on him and choose his decisions for him. His mother realized that her son is his own person who is capable of making his own choices. They tried so hard to prepare him for when he takes over the businesses that they didn’t even consider his feelings, his father had admitted this to him.
When they said their apologies and asked for forgiveness, his tears started to trickle down. Jungkook himself apologized for how he acted during the night he walked out from the party. But his mother shook her head and convinced him that they should be the one saying sorry. Immediately, she closed the distance to embrace her son. Your words about the power of hugs resonated in Jungkook’s head and it’s then that he embraced her tighter.
After a moment, his dad stepped forward and placed his palm on his shoulder, his mouth lifting for a smile as he told him that they are going to support him with whatever he wants to do in his life. The most important thing for them is to see him living his best life, with a healthy mind and body. They won’t stand in his way and that they’ll make it up to him, his mother promised. Jungkook once again pulled his parents for an embrace and professed his gratitude and love.
So now, his heart is overjoyed. He feels like he has everything in the world. And, he does. He has you.
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SIX MONTHS LATER
Out of all the weddings that you’ve attended, this one would definitely be in your top five.
There are three reasons for this, the first being that the venue the couple chose is intimate and private. Jungkook had told you that Taehyung’s always been the kind of guy who’s not big on grandiosity, preferring quiet, lowkey events more so having to witness him and his bride tie the knot in their own backyard with their close friends and family around them had truly been special, moving and heart-warming.
While everyone is now partying and drinking for the reception, Jungkook went to excuse himself to go to the bathroom. On your table, you continue to laugh and talk with Jimin, Yuna, their other friends and of course, the newlyweds. Taehyung, as always, is loud and witty, his beautiful bride lovely to talk to. All of you end up cackling together as you feel comfortable around one another.
When they said their goodbyes to wander off to the next table and accommodate their guests, Jimin proposed that you all go and ‘light the dance floor up like a dynamite’—his words, not yours.
As the whole gang begins to shuffle to the center, Jungkook, in perfect timing, appears back at your side. “Dance with me?” he asks with his palm open out for you.
You don’t even have to think or hesitate because your hand is already clasping against his, fingers embracing his as a smile makes its way on your lips, excitement swirling round your belly. This, you think, is your favorite sight ever—Jungkook, with his golden grin, his bright eyes and his positive energy radiating off of him.
Fairy lights all lined up are glimmering above you, tulip petals are scattered on the grass, lanterns are lit up in every corner and different genres of music are playing in the background which takes you to the second reason as to why this wedding is in your top five. From the details down to the atmosphere, it’s all stunning, encapsulating the vibes of a classic romantic film. You can see how the personalities of the bride and groom comes through with this.
When you’ve settled on a spot in the middle, he places his hands on your hips while yours are perched on his shoulders. When you both start to sway slowly to Can’t Help Falling In Love, you flick your gaze between his eyes and lips. “So. Taehyung’s been telling me stories about you in high school.”
Jungkook groans, pressing his eyes shut. “Oh, God—which one?”
“Guess.”
“Is it… the musical incident?” he asks cautiously, chewing on his bottom lip.
When you confirm it, a tinge of vermillion saturates his cheeks and ears. “Fuck, I’m gonna beat Tae’s ass.”
You laugh brightly.
“God,” he drawls out, brows knitted together and nose scrunched up. “This is so embarrassing.”
“It’s okay, babe. I still love you,” you tell him before giving the tip of his nose a peck.
“Really?” he asks with an adorable, innocent pout.
You nod resolutely. “In fact, I love you so much that I’m planning to buy some diapers for your Christmas present this year.”
With an unamused expression, you burst out into laughter even more. Arching his pierced brow up, he taunts, “Oh, so you find that funny, huh? How about if I do…” His fingers instantly slither to your sides, using his weapon against you. “…this!”
Instinctively, you’re flailing about, hysterically laughing and squealing when he starts tickling you, the tingling sensation surging through your nerves. Though you want to escape, your boyfriend is far too strong for you so all you could do is concede and wave your flag of defeat.
“Okay, okay, okay, I’ll stop, I’ll stop,” you say in one succession, holding onto his arms.
He eventually ceases his teasing, smiling triumphantly before you’re back to dancing joyfully. He raises your hand up and twirls you before scooping in to catch you, his palm on the small of your back. Hypnotized and entranced by your dashing partner, you feel like you’re the only ones here in this room, all the spotlights on you two.
Perhaps this is really how people feel when they find the person that they’re certain of. Everything blurs and life goes on around you but you two are the only ones that is constant, the ones that are clear in your line of sight.
“Maybe I should ask Yuna too for some of your secrets,” Jungkook says puckishly.
“I already told you all of my secrets,” you rebut, sticking your tongue out.
“Hm. I doubt it. I’m sure she has some of your embarrassing secrets.”
Gasping, you glare at him threateningly. “You wouldn’t.”
He snickers craftily. “Oh, I would.”
“Jungkook!” you exclaim, smacking his arm and he laughs heartily, swaying with you for a bit before he draws another shriek from your throat when he dips you back and bends forward to kiss you. When he lifts you back up, you give his arms a squeeze, the people’s roaring, whistling and clapping making you feel shy.
Oh, and last but not the least, the reason as to why this wedding is considered a favorite is because you caught the bridal bouquet.
(Jungkook had the garter.)
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TWO YEARS LATER
Jungkook whips his head and sees you coming out of the bedroom, hair damp from having just showered. When he sees you wearing his shirt and shorts, a smile splits on his face. You barely wear your own clothes but who is he to complain when you look so fanciable in them?
“Hey, baby?” he calls.
Your head springs up, eyes straying away from your phone to look at your boyfriend who’s snuggled up on the couch. “Hm?”
“You wanna watch a movie?”
“Sure,” you chirp coolly with a smile, making a quick beeline to the kitchen to grab a tub of ice cream from the freezer before landing beside him, his arm all wrapped around you while you bring your feet up on the couch and fold your legs so you could feel more cozy.
He lifts the remote and clicks the play button, the black screen on the TV finally fading, replaced by the Marvel Studios opening scene. Knowing him, he probably chose one of the Iron Man or Captain America films.
Eating your ice cream contently—making sure to also feed him some—you fixate your full attention on the screen when it starts showing a footage of someone’s feet walking on grass. The camera is zoomed in on the shoes and you could see that the person is wearing chunky Fila trainers. Exactly like Jungkook’s. How interesting and cool is this that the actor is wearing the exact same pair as your boyfriend’s.
Indiscernible murmurs are overshadowed by the howling of the wind in the video. The camera then pans to the scenery—a beautiful, glistening lake on the horizon with the sky above clear and blue. Okay, this definitely isn’t Iron Man or Captain America.
“What are we watching?” you ask, setting the tub down on the coffee table.
Jungkook doesn’t give you an answer. He doesn’t really need to because the next thing you’re seeing tells you what you need to know. You’re watching you. It’s you, walking along the park while Jungkook’s hand is holding yours, his free hand holding the camera that’s recording.
This was over a year ago when you both went to the local park. You rented bikes to cycle for hours, hiked and explored the woods together before you ended the productive and fun nature day out by having coffee and sandwiches at the park’s café. The next second in the video is him calling your name. You turn around, eyes dropping on the camera before you’re giving him a smile.
The following scenes that pass by are in flashes, just like in those film viewers where you press a button and different images flickers. There are pictures and clips of you and Jungkook. Funny ones, cute ones (like that selfie of you two with Yuna and Jimin’s baby girl when you were babysitting) and even weird, random ones (like that photo of your boyfriend biting your toes).
There’s also a montage of all the food you’ve eaten and drank, all the places you’ve visited, all the holidays and special events you’ve celebrated with each other. All of these images and clips documenting the whole course of your relationship, showing the growth and the evolution, making you realize how much you’ve both blossomed. Several haircuts and colors, several seasons and holidays later and here you both are, stronger than ever, completely in love and committed with each other.
Around you, time stands still. And as you’re watching this with your mouth agog, the only thing you can feel is your heart racing in your chest, so profound that your trembling hands start to round your lips, covering it from dropping further.
Your eyes are starting to moisten at your romantic moments together, at the simple outtakes of Jungkook kissing the back of your hand during drives, of him turning around, looking at you with doe eyes and flashing a smile whenever you call him ‘lover’, at your candid moments together like when you two are just sitting on your couch, laughing maniacally or screaming feverishly while playing Jenga or Call of Duty and at your comical moments together where he catches your priceless reactions on camera.
And when the video of you and Jungkook slow dancing in the kitchen during the first night that you moved in with him appears on screen, your tears begin to heavily trickle down your cheeks. The background music he selected to overlay for that clip doesn’t help either because it just made you weep even more—Perfect. It’s not Ed Sheeran singing though. It’s Jungkook.
In that video, you’re still pulling some books out from boxes. He then came to embrace you from behind, started to trail languid kisses on your shoulder blades before you turned to face him. He held your hands and said that you two should take a break from unpacking for a bit.
You could see in the clip the way you grinned at him when he lifted your hand and twirled you round, with his shirt as your dress, before you started to sway with each other. You could see the way he wrinkled his nose adorably and giggled before he dove in for a kiss while you were dancing with no music on.
You could see the way you both stared at one another, admiring your features, both your irises whispering and saying with every blink that you’ll always have each other’s backs, you’ll always protect each other and you’ll always cherish moments like these with one another. Most of all, you could see how he’s wonderfully in love with you like the way you are with him.
The film ends and fades into nothing and you look at him with parted lips, your fingers shaking and your capability to form words all gone because Jungkook is holding an open tiny black box with a ring inside, radiantly glimmering.
“Surprise,” he says, voice breathy and soft.
Oh my God, is the only thing that’s going through your head.
“Y/N,” he begins after exhaling a sharp breath. “You might not have been in my past just like how I wasn’t in yours but that doesn’t matter because we’re in each other’s presents now and I can’t thank you enough for all the happiness and love that you have given, taught and showed me throughout the course of our relationship. You’re beautiful and kind and funny and smart. You’re just the best person I know and to me, you’re the one so… Y/N L/N, will you let me be your future?”
Excitedly, you tell him yes, nodding a million times. You cup his cheeks for a kiss, your hearts at the apex of heaven before they burst into fireworks, creating solar flares and birthing new stars in the sky. You proclaim that you love him so much after you both pull away from the kiss.
He slips the ring on your finger where it would find its permanent home. It’s a piece of his promise and a piece of yours too that creates one whole commitment from the both of you, a commitment that would be for life.
He wipes your tears with the pads of his thumb and you do the same to him. Pressing his forehead against yours, you both savor this moment—this exact moment of stillness where both of your hearts and souls have decided to spend the rest of their lives together.
“I love you three thousand,” Jungkook professes and you both chuckle gleefully.
Still stunned and unable to get over the fact that you were completely oblivious, you think damn, Jeon Jungkook sure as hell knows how to catch a woman off guard. He sure as hell knows how to prepare the most unexpected and romantic proposal and then make a woman’s heart jump out of her chest and skyrocket to outer space, shouting ‘hell yeah’ as it orbits the moon, the planets and all the galaxies.
What you thought would be just a simple movie night consisting of cuddles and kisses turned into something more. It turned out to be one of the most important days of your life where you’re expected to make a decision.
And after seeing him bring out that black box and asking you that important question, it dawns on you that it is also the simplest and easiest decision you’ve had to make in your whole life. It’s because he’s the one.
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Tonight, you are not the maid of honor. You’re not the one who lifted the bride’s long trail and assisted her, who waited for the bouquet to be thrown, who proposed a toast during the reception. Instead, you were the one that people watched, the one who married your true love, your last love and your constant love. You were the radiant bride who said ‘I do’ to the man who constantly brings your heart into a state of happiness and contentment.
As you stand beside Jungkook, preparing to enter the venue of the reception, you look at him and can’t help but beam excitedly at the fact that you’re officially married and the fact that today marks the first day of the rest of your lives. Yes, marriage is a huge commitment and you’ve always thought of it as something terrifying but you realized that as long as you’re with the right person, it doesn’t matter because you’re ready to face the crazy, the uncertain, the daunting, the emotional, the difficult and easy days with him.
Inside the venue, the host with blue hair and deep dimples commences his introduction. “Ladies and gentlemen, it gives me great pleasure to introduce to you—Mr. and Mrs. Jeon Jungkook!”
You hold out your hand in front of your partner for life. “Ready, babe?”
Jungkook nods with a big, toothy grin, linking his fingers with yours. “Let’s get this bread!”
1K notes · View notes
kpopfanfictrash · 7 months ago
Text
Ember Burning (M)
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Author: kpopfanfictrash
Creative Contributor: @baebae-goodnight​ for this MOODBOARD WOO!
Pairing: Jungkook / Reader
Rating: 18+
Genre: Fantasy / Dragon / Enemies to Lovers
Synopsis:  The dragon riders of Duret Ghal are known across the continent; fierce warriors who take to the skies on their leashed, winged beasts. You are the last Dragon Queen of Ashya, ruler of a dying species who can transform from human to Dragon at will. When a new foe emerges which threatens both Dragon and rider alike, you find yourself forced to broker peace with your former enemy. The King of Duret Ghal, and a dragon rider himself: Jeon Jungkook.
NSFW Warnings: oral (male and female), nipple play, fingering, multiple orgasms, big cock, dirty talk, hair pulling (her to him).... tattooed, man-bun jungkook who has a big sword
Trigger Warnings: somewhat graphic depiction of a shoulder injury  
Word Count: 36,079
Soaring through azure-colored sky, golden wheat fields spread out below, you could almost convince yourself duty did not exist. It was easy to pretend while disconnected from the ground – flight broke the strings which bound you to all mortal beings. You ceased to be of flesh and bone and instead became one with the air, the wind, and the wildness of flame in your throat.
The Thadal mountain range loomed ahead, its jagged peaks piercing the sky. Idly, you wondered if they truly did. Legends said Natal, who had created the world and everything in it, formed the Thadal range last of all. Exhausted by the sheer effort of creation, her hand had slipped, causing the tallest of peaks to rise higher than planned. This ripped a hole in the veil which guarded this world from the next and before Natal could fix it, magic slipped through.
It had been the dragons who slumbered in the mountains’ highest peaks who received this blessing.
Dipping a wing, you wheeled about in the air. With the sun at your back, you surveyed the splendor of your realm laid beneath you.
Ashya, land of the Dragons – of which you were Queen.
Stifling the sigh which rose at the thought, you turned from the furthest rim of the world and began the flight home. A return to duty, to obligation and to your human form, as well as the conflict which loomed on the horizon. Not to mention the sleeping King within your castle walls.
Each of these weighed upon your shoulders, replacing the freedom you’d felt in the air. As you shifted to human, donned a gown, and entered the castle, the sun had barely risen above the lip of the world.
And your true day was only beginning.
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From the thunderous expression on Park Jimin’s face, it was clear you needed to do something, and quickly.
Your choices were either to interject and stop a second war from breaking out at your table or sit back and watch while King Jungkook was pummeled into the ground by the esteemed commander of your armed forces.
Admittedly, the second option was tempting. You would so dearly love to watch the crown knocked from King Jungkook’s perfect tresses, but pettiness was unbecoming when far greater evil lurked on the horizon.
With a wave of your hand, you signaled Jimin to sit back.
The remark which had so enflamed your commander came from one of Jungkook’s advisors, a Lord Kim Seokjin you’d only met once prior. He had insinuated, in so many words, the power of your kind was nothing more than a parlor trick. Something to be taken out at parties, but incapable of truly defending your realm.
Jimin’s steely gaze remained fixed on the Lord, a thin line of steam rising from the seat where he sat. It was never wise to anger a Dragon, especially not a renowned fighter like Jimin. There was a reason he’d been named the youngest commander in over a century, and it was only partly because your people had dwindled in size since the last Dragon War.
The Dragon Wars were the reason it was truly remarkable for you to sit in the same room as King Jeon Jungkook at all. Only a hundred years had passed – barely a blink, in the grand scheme of things – since your nations had been labeled bitter enemies.
Duret Ghal, Jeon Jungkook’s nation, was home to the fierce dragon riders. Warriors who tamed the dull, vicious beasts of the mountains and rode them into battle. Their riders were human, although they fancied themselves important because they dared to treat dragons – albeit a less intelligent kind than your own – as glorified steeds.
You, on the other hand, were a Dragon.
Not one like what King Jungkook rode into battle. Duret Ghal bonded with dragons, mere animals ungifted by magic and unable to transform into humans. You were a Dragon, descended from the first magical beings blessed by the veil. Those who had shifted to the flesh of their enemy to defeat humans on their own terms.
At will, you could shift from human to Dragon with barely a thought. Beneath your smooth, human exterior lurked the scales of a dragon, and Lord Seokjin would do well to remember this while he sat at your table.
Tilting your head, you looked his way. “Would you care to repeat yourself, Lord Seokjin? The way you phrased your objection just now made it sound as though you were doubting my people.”
Although Lord Seokjin hesitated, he met your gaze. This surprised you. Few humans had the courage to look a grown Dragon in the eyes. You were well-aware of the rumors which plagued your people.
Some insisted Dragons held power beyond that of humans. This was untrue, of course. Aside from their shifting, Dragons could not use magic. It was only the offspring of a Dragon and human who could wield magic, often called gifts.
Then there was the rumor Dragons retained scales in places best left unmentioned when they transformed into humans – also untrue. Once you became human, you were nearly indistinguishable from your more stagnant counterparts. The main differences were your skin, which ran hotter, the occasional steam from your lips and hidden embers which flickered in the depths of your gaze.
Your unusual eyes were likely the source of the third rumor. Looking a grown Dragon in the eyes would result in paralysis, or worse. This was also untrue, although you liked to encourage it all the same.
It made meeting human dignitaries much more amusing.
“I am not saying Dragons are not fierce,” Seokjin said, backtracking a little. “Merely observing your numbers have diminished since the last Dragon War. Without Duret Ghal’s riders, you would be at a disadvantage against the Mor Empire.”
To this, you had no response because Lord Seokjin was right. He had easily identified your current problem – Mor continued to press upon your southern border, and there were not enough Dragons left in Ashya to defend it much longer.
To your right, Jimin scowled, knowing the truth to this as well.
It was the main reason you’d decided to meet with King Jungkook at all. The reason you considered entering an alliance with a country who’d once been considered your enemy. The Empire of Mor, a nation of humans, had recently decided to rid themselves of all dragons.
This declaration placed both your nation, Ashya, and Jungkook’s at risk.
Ashya, since you were Dragons and Duret Ghal because they rode them. The Mor Empire was led by Emperor Cyan, whose quest for dominance had consumed him since he was a child. His Empire had already gobbled up the quiet Kingdom of Mica to the west and Kindare, to the south. Now he’d set his eyes on the northern wilds.
His largest obstacle to this was the dragons. Few human soldiers could keep from shitting their pants when a great, winged beast breathing fire rose above their ranks. Ironically enough, the sole reason the Mor Empire stood a chance was because the number of Dragons had greatly diminished over the centuries.
There were two main reasons for this.
The first were the Dragon Wars – centuries of bloody conflict between Ashya and Duret Ghal. During this period, dragon riders had fought Dragons for control of the northern border. The wars had caused untold damage on both sides until a truce had been called to save you from destruction.
The second reason for your diminishing numbers were the humans themselves. In order for a true Dragon to be born, two Dragons needed to mate and continue to bloodline. When a Dragon mated with a human, the resulting child was human. Occasionally, this child was blessed with a magical gift, but not always – and they could not shift into Dragon form. Over the years, your kind had mingled with humans until there were few Dragons left.
Hence the need to align yourself with your greatest foe to protect both your people and his. You needed numbers, which Jungkook had. Emperor Cyan had declared war against all northern realms. Only the might of riders and Dragons together stood a chance against him.
It was a mission of fools though, made even more evident by the blatant ill-will around the table. Releasing a sigh, you glanced to where your most trusted advisor, Min Yoongi, was seated on your right.
Min Yoongi was not a Dragon, but a human born with a gift. He could read the emotions of those in the room and determine whether they told the truth. It was magic he’d inherited from his Dragon mother and had come in handy many times during the negotiations.
Subtle, Yoongi nodded.
You managed to stop a second sigh from escaping. It seemed Lord Seokjin was telling the truth. He truly did respect the Dragons, which made his second statement all the more troubling. It would have been easier had he hated you.
“We may be at a disadvantage without Duret Ghal,” you admitted. “But you are equally disadvantaged without Ashya. If our realm were to fall, Mor would come for you next.”
“We could have this same argument for hours, Your Majesty,” Jungkook drawled, speaking up for the first time. “And we have. I grow tired of this stalemate. What are the terms you require to sign the treaty?”
Jaw tight, your gaze shifted to the King seated opposite. Jungkook stared back at you, his gaze dark and lidded in the flickering light of the fire.
Jeon Jungkook was a young ruler, like yourself, but while your transition of power had been relatively peaceful, his had been anything but.
The former King and Queen of Duret Ghal had been slain by his Uncle, Lord Vonner, when Jungkook was only eighteen. Duret Ghal had been close to signing a treaty with Ashya at the time. In said treaty, your hand in marriage had been promised to Jungkook in exchange for unified lands.
Obviously, opposition had existed on both sides of the treaty, but things had not turned violent until Lord Vonner. He’d risen against his sister and brother-in-law, killing them both in their sleep and claiming the throne. At the same time, he had sent assassins to your land and attempted to kill your parents.
He’d only succeeded in killing your mother.
The blood of Lord Vonner’s actions had ended your betrothal, throwing your lands into chaos while your father roared his revenge. It was only once Jungkook had usurped and executed his Uncle that your land had tentatively agreed not to retaliate in force.
This had taken place nearly ten years ago, and still Jungkook was not yet thirty years of age. His youthfulness was apparent everywhere but his eyes. These had been hardened, darkened by all he had seen and done.
Looking at him now, it was difficult to place the boy you had once known.
“Use of your ports,” you answered. “Free travel for Ashyan merchants along the roads to said ports, and then usage without the current fees.”
Lord Seokjin chuckled. “You must be mad.”
A low growl left Jimin’s throat – a warning. “How ironic to hear you speak of sanity, Lord Seokjin,” he said. “When you dare to insult the Queen of Ashya within her castle walls.”
Holding up at hand, you bade Jimin to cease.
Jimin was even younger than you were, and twice as hot-headed. Admittedly, he had good reason to despise Duret Ghal. His father had been killed in a skirmish on the northern border when he was barely twelve. There was a subset of Ghalians who despised the humans who dared to love Dragons. When a Ghalian woman had fled, seeking the protection of Ashya at the northern border, a mob had fought your soldiers and Jimin’s father had died.
Still, Jimin needed to remember you had a job to do. As your commander, he was well-aware of the weakened state of your armed forces. The treaty between Ashya and Duret Ghal needed to happen in whatever way possible.
Ignoring the interaction, Jungkook merely raised a brow. “No fees?”
Although his voice remained calm, a hint of steel lay beneath the silken words. You could hear it plainly, as did Yoongi based on the way he stiffened.
“No fees,” you repeated.
Jungkook exchanged a glance with Seokjin.
“It is not possible,” he said at last. “Our nation’s ports remain the primary source of income for many Ghalians. Now that Mor has conquered Kindare, they have free access to their ports and fail to use ours. It is only the revenue from Ashya which keeps up afloat.”
“I do not ask you to forsake all payments. Merely those from Ashya.”
Jungkook’s teeth flashed in what might have been a smile but came off as a grimace.
“Ashya provides half the sales at my docks,” he informed you. “By granting your nation free trade, you cut my people’s livelihood in half.”
Somewhat chastised by this, you sat back in your seat. You had not realized Duret Ghal’s economic outlook was so dire.
When Ashya had been a land of only Dragons, the fact you were landlocked had not been a problem. You could simply fly where you wanted and take whatever with. Now though, Ashya had more humans than Dragons and you were forced to find more accommodating solutions.
Ashyan craftspeople were famed for their metalwork, in addition to textiles, but such trade would be useless without people to buy and places to sell. For years, Duret Ghal had steadily increased their tariffs, which in turn had steadily crippled your people.
Returning to Jungkook, you clenched your jaw. “And what would we need to give Duret Ghal in order for our demand to be met?”
The corner of his lip curled.
In this singular motion, you were reminded of Jungkook’s somewhat brutal reputation. After the coup of his Uncle, rumor had it Jungkook had been bloodthirsty in his quest for revenge. Lord Vonner had been put to death in the main square of their capital city, roasted alive by Jungkook’s dragon, Nemrys.
You had not faulted him for this at the time, having also lost people at the hands of Lord Vonner. It was hard to imagine the type of pain Jungkook had gone through, losing both his parents and his throne in a single blow. Despite your understanding, you knew some had disapproved. They’d whispered amongst themselves the King had lost a better part of himself on that day.
“Shares in your mines,” Jungkook said in answer to your question. “Given the current situation with Mor, we’ve had difficulty collecting on some of our foreign loans. A fifty percent share in Ashya’s mines would ease our cash flow problems.”
Your lips tightened in response.
Jungkook had managed to touch upon Ashya’s main source of riches, and a large reason for the previous century’s Dragon Wars. Much of the Thadal range fell within your borders, meaning you owned the majority of gemstones on the continent. It meant little without Duret Ghal’s port cities, however. Mor had ceased trading with Ashyan merchants long ago.
Still, it pained you to grant Jungkook access to your most coveted resource. Everything in your nature – Dragon and otherwise – went against it, but sacrifices must be made for the greater good. You’d entered these negotiations aware this might happen. Another advisor, Lord Kim Namjoon, had warned you of it beforehand and yet, you had hoped.
If you did not find a compromise soon though, Mor would overtake you and the point would be moot.
“Ten percent,” you said at last, lifting your chin.
Jungkook’s eyes gleamed. “Forty.”
“Fifteen.”
“Twenty-five.”
“Twenty.”
Jungkook paused, then glanced at Seokjin for counsel. Bending close to the table, Seokjin scribbled something on a piece of paper and sighed. Looking at Jungkook, he nodded.
“Twenty,” Jungkook said, facing you.
You nodded, but before Jungkook could get too cocky, you held up a hand.
“In return,” you said. “All fees will be waived on Ashyan merchants.”
Jungkook stilled, a lone muscle ticking in his jaw. “I can lower the tariff to a flat rate of two and a half percent, but no more.”
The current tariffs on Ashyan merchants ranged from three to eight percent. Two and a half would benefit all Ashyan merchants, but you were uncertain if Jungkook had more to give. Possibly he was low-balling you, unwilling to show all his cards at once.
Glancing at Yoongi, you watched him slowly shake his head. No, the King was not lying.
Blinking, you returned to Jungkook. You had not expected him to show his hand so quickly. Perhaps he also tired of these negotiations. Gaze narrowed, you attempted to read the young King at the other end of the table.
His face remained blank, as inscrutable as your own. A shiver of something traveled down your spine, although you quickly pushed this away.
“We can accept this,” you said.
Jungkook nodded. “Then we are in agreement.”
Pushing your chair back, you stood from the table. “I think we have made enough progress for today. Lord Namjoon will draw up revisions for the treaty.”
Lord Namjoon nodded, near the center of the table. He was also a Dragon, although he rarely saw battle. Namjoon’s talents lay elsewhere, mainly in crafting legislation which aimed to avoid war in the first place. You could not afford to lose a mind like his to some border skirmish.
As you turned around, the skirts of your gown swept the floor. You’d nearly made it to the door when a firm hand caught your arm.
“A moment, Your Majesty,” Jungkook said, his voice low.
Going utterly still, your gaze shifted to his hand on your sleeve. Glancing up, you wished you truly had the power to turn humans to stone. It would have made these proceedings much easier.
Jungkook had dressed casually for the meeting. He seemed to have come straight from his dragon, since he wore riding leathers. He had no crown, unlike you. Amara, your lady in waiting, had insisted you add the thin, silver diadem before leaving. It lent you an air of authority, she’d said.
It seemed Jungkook could command his authority without such trinkets. The realization made you straighten, meeting his gaze several inches above yours.
“Yes?” you said, your voice frosty.
Jungkook released his grip.
A move you thought wise, all things considered. Behind him, you saw your advisors gathering their reams of paper. They chatted amongst themselves, purposefully ignoring the Ghalian retinue. All except for Lord Namjoon, who spoke politely to Lord Seokjin about a provision of the treaty.
To Lord Seokjin’s right sat Kim Taehyung, a dragon rider whose reputation preceded him. The general of Duret Ghal’s army, he had remained silent throughout the entirety of the negotiations. Based on how often he looked out the window, you got the feeling he preferred to spend his time in the sky and not amongst stuffy people.
Honestly, you could not blame him. Even if his kind of flying were a poor imitation of yours – seated astride a dragon, rather than becoming one himself.
Clearing his throat, Jungkook returned your attention to him.
“Is there something you want, Your Majesty?” you said, growing impatient. “I have a nation to run outside of these meetings, you know.”
A smile curled his lips. “I am aware.”
“So long as you are aware, then.”
You moved to walk past, but Jungkook stopped you again. Teeth gritted, you exhaled steam past your lips.
“What?” you snapped, turning to face him.
Something unreadable stole through his gaze. “We need not have these conversations at all,” he said, dropping his voice. “If you would agree to my original proposal.”
Immediately, your expression shuttered.
“Good day, Your Majesty,” you said and walked past.
This time he did not follow, falling silent as you swept from the room. Yoongi and Jimin joined your exit, the latter tossing a haughty look towards the Ghalians. Namjoon remained in the room, likely to continue his conversation with Seokjin.
As you walked away, you tried and failed to push Jungkook from mind. The offer he alluded to was completely ridiculous.
Marriage.
Seven months prior, Jungkook had sent a message to you after nearly a decade. He’d proposed several items, amongst which was a request to resume your failed betrothal. A list of reasons had been provided. Your nations were on the verge of war, the merger would benefit you both financially and would go a long way towards healing the realms.
Equally politely, you had declined.
It had been a long time since you’d sworn not to marry – or mate, as it were. The mating bond was a possibility for both Dragons and humans. Dragons only mated once in their lifetime, which tended to be longer than ordinary humans. Your parents had been mated to each other, meaning you’d witnessed firsthand the tragedy of their ending.
You would choose an heir when necessary, of course. You weren’t so selfish as to plunge Ashya into civil war when you died because you did not wish to mate. You’d even considered a marriage of practical alliance, one with no chance of mating, but the appropriate circumstances had yet to present themselves.
For this reason, amongst others, you had declined Jungkook’s offer.
Coming to a stop in the hall, you bade Jimin and Yoongi goodnight before continuing on your way. The sun had long since sunk below the horizon. Negotiations with Duret Ghal had taken up most of your time since their arrival in Valor, Ashya’s capital city, nearly ten days ago.
Outside your chambers, you nodded to the guards before entering. Once the door fell shut behind you, you released a sigh.
Straightening, you strode to your dresser and seated yourself at the mirror. As you removed your crown to set on its pedestal, you stared at the silver.
It was not as though you wished to be alone forever. Truthfully, you found yourself exhausted at the end of each day. It would have been nice to fall asleep beside someone and wake with them by your side. Each time you imagined the prospect though, you recalled your father’s death and thought better.
Both Yoongi and Namjoon knew the King had proposed.
Not Jimin, which was for the best. If you had accepted Jungkook’s offer, it would have taken a lot to convince Jimin to remain at his post. He had barely accepted the necessity of a treaty between Ashya and Duret Ghal.
Namjoon had been practical when he heard of the proposal, which you had expected. Lord Namjoon could be practical to a fault, known to ‘factor in’ emotional responses when making decisions. Privately, you thought him a nice foil to Jimin.
When you’d told Namjoon about the King’s offer, he had simply nodded and said it made sense. He acknowledged, of course, the difficulties such a match would present, but did not seem to think it would be a bad idea.
Yoongi had been the one who surprised you. As someone with decisive opinions, you’d imagined Yoongi wouldn’t approve of the match. Instead, he had merely suggested you consider the offer. When you had declined, Yoongi had seemed almost disappointed. It could be hard to tell though, since the Lord usually kept his emotions close to the chest.
Undoing the laces of your gown, you let it drop as you entered your bathing chambers. Amara had left heated water and oils, flickering candles set around the edge of your sunken tub. Lowering yourself to the water, you tipped your head back to rest on the edge.
Today ended only the first week of negotiations between you and Jungkook. Another week remained – you could survive this much, you reasoned. One week from now, you’d have much needed relief for your merchants, along with an ally against the looming threat of Mor to the south.
Only one more week, and Jungkook would be gone.
Ignoring the strange tingle which spread down your spine at the thought, you held your breath and lowered yourself underwater.
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Lips pursed, you stared at yourself in the mirror.
Amara hovered, pins in her mouth while tightening your corset. Your dress for the evening was a mix of old and new – although you despised corsets, this one cinched your waist tight enough for the armor-like bodice. Skirts flowed like water to the ground, brushing the floor with emerald chiffon.
Tonight, you had decided to throw a feast honoring the upcoming treaty with Duret Ghal. The event had not been your idea, but Namjoon’s. He believed it would increase the goodwill between you.
You had protested this until Namjoon pointed out there’d been little to celebrate recently. Realizing the truth to this statement, you’d reluctantly acquiesced to two events. Tonight’s feast and a ball, to be hosted their final night before Duret Ghal left.
Inhaling, your eyes watered as Amara cinched the last hook.
“My apologies,” she said, casting a sympathetic glance in the mirror.
Mutely, you shook your head, not blaming her in the slightest. It was not her fault women's fashion tended to be barbaric, more often than not. It was why you preferred to wear looser gowns, ones you didn’t need your lady in waiting’s help to undo.
Amara had been your companion ever since you were little, although you could not exactly call her a friend. You were her Queen, first and foremost. There was no one else in Ashya for you to call an equal.
“Amara,” you said curiously, glancing up. “What do you think of the Ghalian King?”
Startled by your question, Amara nearly dropped the pins she held. Her wide brown eyes stared back at you in the mirror and briefly, you wondered if she thought this a trap. Possibly you needed to work on your resting facial expressions. Yoongi said you were too harsh, but then again, hearing this from Yoongi was the pot calling the kettle black.
“You can answer me honestly,” you said, a bit gentler. “It has been a long week of negotiations and I find myself wondering what people think of the treaty.”
“Well.” Amara looked thoughtful. “I rather think those are two different questions, Your Majesty. Do you wish to know what people think of the King, or the treaty?”
She was correct, you realized. The two were different, even if they were one and the same in your mind.
“Both,” you responded.
Turning towards the mirror, Amara began to fit the bodice over your bust. It was elaborate, with swirls of silver and emerald stitched into the hard lining.
“Well,” she said, hesitant. “Of course, people think the young King is handsome.”
“He is a rider,” you said sharply.
“It is not as important to humans,” Amara reminded gently. “It does not offend so much as it does the Dragons. And objectively speaking, the King is handsome. He could smile more,” she admitted. “But this does not seem to deter from his handsomeness.”
“I suppose not.”
Seeing your expression, she laughed. “You did ask me to speak honestly, Your Majesty. The people find the King handsome, but they do not trust outsiders. Especially Ghalians. Most have a family member who perished in the Dragon Wars.”
None of this was new information, although it did irk you to hear Jungkook’s looks were a topic of conversation in Valor. It was always like this with men versus women. The moment a male monarch had a somewhat pleasing expression, people were willing to forget all manner of atrocities committed in the past.
“And what of the treaty?” you pressed.
Amara bit down on her lip. “Well…”
“Yes?”
“It depends. Some oppose it, much as they did the treaty all those years ago. Others look forward to the potential trade gains. And still others,” Amara said, a knowing edge to her voice, “think you should accept the King’s proposal of marriage.”
Jerking upright, you prompted Amara to nearly stab you with a pin.
“Amara!” you gasped, looking down.
She blinked in surprise. “Yes, Your Majesty?”
“How… did you hear that?” you said, utterly flummoxed.
“It was only a guess.” Amara shrugged, a ghost of a smile at her lips. “Many villagers wondered if there were other reasons for His Majesty traveling all this way. They imagined you must have declined his offer, since nothing official has been announced.”
You stared at her in shock, a bit thrown by the assessment. Perhaps it had been naïve of you to assume no one would guess based on Jungkook’s elongated presence.
“I see,” you said at last. “The skirts, if you please, Amara?”
Sensing you were done with the conversation, Amara nodded and hastened to fasten the fabric. You stared at the dress in the mirror, willing your racing pulse to slow.
Your gown for the evening was emerald green; one of the colors of Ashya, along with the color of your scales as a Dragon. It had always been a source of pride for your parents, as though Natal herself had proclaimed your destiny.
As Amara arranged your train on the ground, you stared at your reflection. Most of what she said you had already known. Ashya had been divided for a long time now on how to proceed with Duret Ghal. You knew whatever choice you made, there would always be those who opposed you.
And yet, it was strange to hear some rooted for a union.
Glancing at Amara, you found yourself curious. “And what do you think?” you asked. “What is your opinion of the Ghalian King?”
Amara’s fingers hesitated on your hem.
“Me?” she said as she straightened. “I am sure I do not know, Your Majesty. I do not know the King personally, so it is hard to say.”
You nodded, having assumed as much.
“Although…” Amara hesitated, drawing your gaze back to her. “How a person treats their servants is usually indicative of their personality. Take Lord Larkin, for example,” she said, naming a wealthy noble at your court.
“What about him?”
Amara looked down. “His servants are skittish. They mostly keep to themselves at the request of their Lord. It is rumored he keeps a strict household, and his wife is inscrutable.”
Knowing what you did about Lord Larkin, these facts did not surprise you. He had an archaic mentality of most things – dutifully, you filed this information away for later use.
“What of His Majesty, then?” you said. “How do his servants treat him?”
“They seem to admire him.” Amara stood straighter. “From what I have seen, they seem to genuinely enjoy working for him and respect him. I know he has a fearsome reputation, but… perhaps it is only towards his enemies.”
“Whom we used to be,” you noted drily. “Until now.”
Her head bobbed in a nod. “This is also true.”
Despite this, Amara’s words lingered as you finished dressing. It was quite possible your feelings for Jungkook personally had clouded your judgement of him as a ruler.
There was not time to linger on this, since Yoongi arrived soon after to escort you to the great hall. You would be the last to arrive for tonight’s feast, which was customary.
Noise from the hall grew as you approached the doors. Tonight’s event would be more casual than the ball a week from now, but casual was relative since you’d been forced to wear a corset and the meal would feature no less than twelve courses.
As the doors swung open and you began to walk in, all noise within the hall ceased. Ashya’s great hall had seen centuries of celebration, along with conflict and conquest. At one point during the Dragon Wars, Valor had been briefly occupied by Duret Ghal. During this time, the banners hung on your walls had been blue and gold, instead of emerald and silver.
Entering the room with Yoongi at your side, you sensed the gaze of every inhabitant upon you. Focusing straight ahead, you did your best to ignore this. It had never felt natural to you, being the center of attention. You did so for the sake of appearances but had never enjoyed the sensation.
At least you had Yoongi, who looked handsome as usual in his formal attire. With his dark, sweeping hair and keen gaze, Yoongi would have made an excellent King consort. Unfortunately, your relationship had never progressed in this direction and frankly, Yoongi was not important enough to consider marriage without love.
Glancing your way, Yoongi caught your eye. “Is there something in my teeth?” he muttered.
Stifling a laugh, you faced forward.
“No,” you said. “I was only thinking about choices.”
Although Yoongi arched a brow, he said nothing in response. Now was not the time for an in-depth conversation. People bowed as you passed, a veritable rainbow of fabrics and colors. At the front of the hall, a table had been placed atop the raised dais. Behind it, the banners of Ashya and Duret Ghal had been strung.
High above, evergreen boughs entwined with the chandeliers, carefully spaced so they would not catch fire. Evergreens were considered sacred, symbols of Natal’s everlasting power. Although the winter solstice had not yet arrived, the air in Ashya was cold enough for them to thrive.
Your visiting guests had already arrived you saw as you approached the dais. To your surprise, you saw women traveled in Jungkook’s party. On the other side of Taehyung stood a lady with dark hair, right hand resting on the pommel of her sword.
Although both genders fought in the armed forces, it was still considered an unusual path for a woman. It was a pleasant surprise to see both men and women amongst the soldiers Jungkook had brought to greet you.
Seokjin wore robes of deep purple tonight, eschewing the colors of either nation. It was nearly as bold a statement as Taehyung, draped in the royal blue of Duret Ghal beside him. As you neared the table, both of them stood, and your gaze finally fell upon the man at the center.
Jungkook was already on his feet, a golden crown on his head in contrast to your silver.
Your gaze traveled lower, realizing he’d worn robes of midnight blue as well. His waist had been bound in a golden sash, robes flowing to accentuate his trim thighs. At his side, his sword remained hidden, a decorative golden tassel placed before the hilt. It was not the broadsword you’d seen him wear on his dragon, but a more formal rapier made for ceremonies and balls.
His gaze lingered on you as you approached, sweeping your body in similar fashion. Your skin burned each place he lingered, flames consuming you from the inside.
At the bottom of the steps you paused, and Jungkook inclined his head. His gaze remained fixed on yours the entire time.
After ascending the dais, you stood before your chair and surveyed the room. Long rows of tables and benches stared back, along with the faces of your many subjects. Taking a deep breath, you raised your chin.
“Citizens of Ashya and Duret Ghal,” you said, your voice ringing out. “We gather this evening in uncertain times. Much as Natal crafted the first light from darkness, so are better things forged in the fire of adversity. Although dark days lie ahead, I know they will only strengthen our bonds to each other.”
At your side, Jungkook listened with rapt attention. The rest of your speech was conciliatory, bland words about coming together for the betterment of both nations. Namjoon had written most of it and, in the corner of your eye, you saw him mouthing the words.
You only went off-book once, near the end.
“It is important now, more than ever, to remain united in the face of such a foe. Mor seeks to wipe us from the map – and why? It is because we are strong.” The entire great hall had gone silent, focused on your words. “We have what they will never obtain and so, they seek to destroy it. To destroy us, but I will not let them. We will not let them,” you corrected, glancing a Jungkook.
He looked at you and nodded.
“And when they do come to face us,” you said, turning forward. “We will show them exactly why they were right to fear our teeth and claws.”
A roar echoed through the hall, several shooting to their feet to vocalize approval. Turning around, you sat in your seat as gracefully as you could and arranged your gown.
Jungkook was next and once he began speaking, Yoongi leaned over.
“Nothing like a little bloodlust to get the party started,” he murmured.
You winced. “How bad was it?”
Yoongi chuckled. “They seemed to enjoy it. Lord Namjoon might not forgive you so easily.”
Glancing down the table, you saw Namjoon rubbing wearily at his temples. You nearly laughed at the sight, schooling your features to neutrality when you remembered Jungkook still spoke.
His speech was brief, which did not surprise you. During the time you’d spent in his presence, Jungkook struck you as a man with little bullshit, or patience.
Once he was finished and seated beside you, you waved a hand for the meal to start.
In the corner of the room, a string quartet began to play. Doors opened on both sides, allowing servers inside holding trays of food. As the first course was set before you – a medley of greens with spiced, mashed nuts – you reached instead for your cup of wine.
Even this strained your bodice, but you managed. One of the many perils of being a woman in power was navigating foreign dinners while wearing a corset.
“The ballroom is beautiful,” Jungkook said by your side.
Surprised, you turned. “Small talk, Your Majesty?”
He shrugged and took a bite of his greens. “You do not seem inclined to discuss important topics outside of our negotiations.”
“And what important topics would you care to discuss?”
Jungkook paused, setting down his fork to face you fully. Eyes gleaming, his lips parted, and you felt your heart start to race.
Yoongi cleared his throat at your side.
Both of you turned to stare at your advisor.
Eyebrows arched, Yoongi motioned towards the front. “The greeting line has begun,” he said.
Realizing he was correct, you sat back in your seat. Already, the line of subjects stretched down the main aisle. Lords and ladies, merchants and townsfolk, all attempting to curry favor with their monarchs. Reaching out, you gripped your wine glass to drink again. Yet another reason you disliked feasts, balls, and the like.
The politicking side of ruling had never come naturally to you, although you did practice. It meant endless hours of hobnobbing, spending time with people fawning for your favor. Still, it was important to meet with your citizens and hear their concerns. If only most of your court weren’t completely unbearable.
Inclining your head, you allowed the first two to come forward.
When they came into view, your expression softened. You had expected nobility, and instead found yourself faced with two tradespeople, by the looks of them. The man and woman had worn their best attire, immaculately neat under the scrutiny of court.
“Merchant Calum and his wife, Natalia,” said the announcer at the front.
You smiled in response to their curtsy and bow.
“Thank you for coming,” you said, and gestured for them to rise. “We are so glad you could join us tonight.”
“It is our honor, Your Majesty,” Natalia said, looking up.
“Is there something particular you came to discuss?”
Her gaze slid to Jungkook and you tried not to stiffen. Likely, they had come to see the King of Duret Ghal. It had been more than ten years since Jungkook had last entered Valor. 
“No, Your Majesty,” she said, her gaze sliding to you. “No favor to ask. We simply wished to see you in person. I apologize for my husband’s lack of speech in your presence,” she said, reaching for his hand. “He lost the ability during a fire in the mines years ago.”
“I see,” you said gently.
Looking at him, you signed your thanks for his attendance tonight. The man brightened, signing back gratitude for the invitation. His wife beamed, thanking you once more as the announcer stepped forward to hurry them on. It seemed their allotted time in your presence was up.
As they left, Jungkook glanced at you curiously. “Where did you learn how to sign?”
“Occasionally, one wishes to communicate without being overheard.”
Jungkook allowed the matter to drop but continued to look your way.
The true story was longer.
A year before your father had passed, you’d decided to join the Ashyan forces. You had called it a part of your training, but the reality had been the castle was empty and cold after your mother died.
No one had known who you were when you enlisted. You’d entered a regiment far enough away for few people to have ever walked the streets of Valor. It was where you’d met Jimin, whose parents had been Dragons of relative unknown. Under your parents’ regime, Jimin would never have been named commander.
This had been one of the first laws you overturned after your coronation – the blood laws, which had decreed only noble lines could serve in certain positions. Jimin was more Dragon than most of the realm. He fully deserved the title of commander.
While you served in the army, you’d also fallen in love for the first time. Leo had been human, from a western province so far away, it nearly fell off the edge of the map. An encounter with riders had left him without speech, so everyone in your regiment had learned to sign to communicate.
Unsurprisingly, your love had not lasted. As soon as Leo discovered who you were, things had come crashing down. When your father’s condition had worsened and you returned to the castle, your title and demands were placed on display.
Leo was ultimately forced to make a choice – a life of duty with you, or relative freedom in the western wastes. He chose the latter.
None of this was pertinent to your conversation with Jungkook though, and so you kept quiet and welcomed the next guest. A wealthier Ashyan merchant, to whom you made veiled references about lower tariffs which seemed to please him.
Once he had gone, you realized Jungkook continued to glance your way. Ignoring him, you motioned for the next group to be brought forward, but when they came into view, you stiffened. Following your gaze, Jungkook took in the two men who’d made you go still.
Lord Larkin and his son, Lord Declan – the very same nobility Amara had spoken of earlier. While you’d never liked the pair of them, your opinion had obstinately worsened based on what she’d said.
Lord Larkin bowed, silver hair shining in the candlelight above. His son, Declan, lowered his head as well. You waited a moment longer than necessary before asking them to rise.
“Lord Larkin,” you said flatly. “And Lord Declan. What a pleasure to have you both attend tonight.”
“The pleasure is ours, Your Majesty,” Larkin said with a nod. Casually, he glanced at Jungkook. “We wished to extend our welcome to the rider King, as well. It is certainly unusual to see a human seated beside an Ashyan Queen.”
Jungkook merely smiled.
Admittedly, the gesture didn’t do much to brighten his countenance. The warmth of his smile failed to reach his gaze. On the table, Jungkook tapped his long, agile fingers. You realized with some surprise they had been inked.
Tattoos were not uncommon amongst soldiers, but it was rare to see them amongst members of nobility. You found yourself curious what other marks the King bore.
“I imagine it would be unusual for any man to side beside your Queen,” Jungkook said calmly. “Dragon, rider, or any variation within.”
The implication to Lord Larkin was clear – you are not seated beside her, either. Seeming to understand, Larkin’s eyes flashed while he inclined his head.
You fought not to smile.
Lord Larkin owned two of the largest mines in the Thadal range and was integral to the Ashyan economy. It would be unwise to anger him or his family, a line you’d tiptoed around since your coronation. Especially once it became clear Lord Larkin wished to align his son, Lord Declan, to you in marriage.
For a while, you had considered the idea. Their family was powerful, in possession of both lands and titles which would enrich the crown. Lord Declan was also a Dragon, ensuring the royal Ashyan line would continue unhindered.
It had been Yoongi who advised caution. You were still young, new to the throne and with plenty of time to make an heir. Better to first gain control of your nation and consider the offers of a political marriage after. You had known even then Lord Declan was not your mate, no matter how much his father wished for him to be.
Mates were a mysterious thing in your world. They could be either Dragon or human and did not always present themselves in an obvious manner. A person could stand before their mate several times before realizing the bond.
People spoke of the signs, though. Some likened the beginnings of the bond to slow trickles of energy. Others described it as sparks caressing their skin. Still more mentioned an invisible thread which tied them to one another.
None of this you’d felt with Lord Declan, so you felt fairly comfortable saying he was not the one. And yet, you knew Lord Larkin would continue to bide his time.
“It is unusual for a male to sit by my side, you say?” you mused, sipping your wine. “Whatever do you imagine Lord Yoongi to be, Your Majesty?”
Lord Declan laughed, which prompted a glare from his father.
Jungkook tore his gaze away from the Lord. He glanced instead at Yoongi, who seemed determined to ignore your conversation while he finished his greens.
“A very pretty piece of décor,” Jungkook said at last.
At this, even Yoongi smiled. Stifling a laugh, you returned to the Lords who remained standing before you.
“He is most horrified to hear it, I am certain,” you said. “Although if His Majesty considers Yoongi’s looks to be his best asset, perhaps he is the foolish one at this table.”
Jungkook smiled at this, reaching out for a sip of his wine. He seemed more relaxed, less formal and you marveled at the change in his features.
“Is there anything else you wish to discuss?” you said, returning to the Lords.
Their time with you had been longer than the townspeople but then again, this was oftentimes the way of things. Lord Declan nodded, but Lord Larkin simply looked thoughtful, glancing between you and Jungkook. At last, he bowed his head.
“That is all,” he said. “Thank you both for your hospitality.”
Once they had left, you sagged in your seat.
“Pretty.” Yoongi snorted. “I shall have to write home and tell mother immediately.”
Jungkook laughed in response – a real, honest sound which made your heart flip in your chest. It was your first time hearing such a noise from his lips during this visit. It fractured your thoughts into a million pieces.
Rather than confront any of these pieces directly, you looked at Yoongi. “Now, there is food in your teeth,” you said.
Yoongi shrugged, lifting his spoon to fix his reflection. Returning to the waiting line, you gestured the next guests forward.
The rest of the evening passed smoothly. Most of your conversations were kept short, allowing only enough time to greet and move on. By the end of the line, your head was beginning to ache.
Collapsing into your chair, you released a sigh. The line, consumption of wine and lack of food had begun to create the perfect storm. At the next lull of music, your stomach growled in a most unbecoming fashion.
Closing your eyes, you prayed to Natal no one had heard.
“Have you eaten at all?” Jungkook asked from your side.
Opening your eyes, you wondered if perhaps the goddess was busy. Or maybe she simply didn’t care about mortal whims and petty Queens. Looking to your side, you found Jungkook frowning at your full plate.
“I have eaten some,” you said, and cut into the meat.
Before you could stop him, Jungkook had raised a palm to signal the server. “Was there a problem with your plate?” he asked, returning to you. “Or do you simply prefer to eat alone?”
Startled by how earnest Jungkook sounded, you were silent while waving the server away. The poor man fumbled a little, taking a few steps backwards before he turned around.
“Nothing of the sort,” you said, glancing at Jungkook. “The food is fine, and I do not care about eating before others.”
He seemed baffled. “Then, what is it?”
“It is my corset,” you hissed, lowering your voice. “Or have you never sat beside a woman at dinner before?”
Jungkook’s eyes widened, drifting below your neckline. Amara had done an exceedingly good job at making certain you filled out the bodice. A lone muscle ticked in Jungkook’s jaw before he looked up.
“I have sat beside women before,” he said.
“What a delight.” Reaching out, you plucked wine from the table. “I am glad to hear it is not my responsibility to teach you about the fairer sex.”
His gaze narrowed. “Corsets are not as fashionable in Duret Ghal as they are here, Your Majesty,” Jungkook said lowly. “I have never had the pleasure of removing one before.”
Gaze snapping to his, you met his darkened stare. A flicker of heat curled in your belly, making you feel even more light-headed.
Before you could respond, Seokjin asked a question and Jungkook was forced to turn away. Hastily, you sat back and faced forward again. Reaching again for your glass, you took a large sip of wine.
Amara was not wrong. Jungkook was handsome and you were no better than the many people who’d come here tonight to look at the attractive, young King. Inwardly, you cursed your weak morals.
“He is not wrong, you know.” Yoongi continued to chew on your other side. “You should eat before coming to these events, Your Majesty.”
You shot him a look. “And when I desire your opinion, I shall ask it, Lord Yoongi.”
“I thought you paid me to advise you?”
“Only under specific circumstances.”
“And what circumstances would those be?”
“When I ask.”
Yoongi laughed, setting down his fork to reach for his glass. “Will you at least send up food to eat afterwards?’
“Of course,” you said, pushing your meat aimlessly away. “This is not my first gathering, you know.”
Yoongi nodded and the two of you fell into comfortable silence. The conversation had lessened some of the tension between you and the King. And yet, you continued to be aware of his presence beside you.
On the table, his hand rested close enough for you to see. Tanned fingers entwined with black ink, his palms roughened by callouses, proof of the leather he gripped when he rode.
Jaw taut, you continued to drink from your glass of wine. Long before it was considered polite, you yearned to stand and retire for the evening. People danced after the final courses, but it was a paltry thing compared to a real ball.
Once most of your guests had begun to leave, Namjoon agreed it was acceptable for you to go. With great relief, you stood and said your goodbyes. Yoongi went with you, following you towards a separate hallway to avoid foot traffic in the castle. Halfway down the hall, you heard someone say your name from behind.
Turning around, you found King Jungkook striding towards you. His robes swished about his ankles, head held high despite the wine and the hour. As he came to a stop, you turned towards your advisor.
“You may go, Yoongi,” you said, dismissing him. “I will return to my rooms after speaking with His Majesty.”
Yoongi hesitated, then took his leave. You watched him disappear down the hall, waiting until he turned the corner before you spoke again.
“It will seem suspicious for us to leave at the same time, Your Majesty.”
Jungkook made a dismissive noise. “I am not concerned by the thoughts of people in there.”
“An odd way to think of your subjects.”
He considered you standing before him. “You have a very low opinion of who I am and how I run my Kingdom.”
“No,” you said. “Merely of the idea of you running mine.”
Jungkook blinked, taken aback by your statement, but his confusion did not last long. After a moment, he stepped forward to close the space between you.
“Is this what you think of me?” he asked, voice low. “You think I asked for your hand in marriage – why? To become King of Ashya without the difficulties of waging war?”
“It would be a practical way to go about it.”
Jungkook’s gaze scanned your features. “I do not desire to rule Ashya in your stead. Merely to provide the best solution for both our peoples.”
Standing this close, you could feel the heat from his body. His scent was a living thing, wrapping your limbs, coaxing you closer – teeth gritted, you fought the need to take a step backwards.
“That is what you say, Your Majesty.”
He stiffened. “Are you calling me a liar?”
“I believe there are things you do not tell me.”
“And what about you, Your Majesty?” Jungkook tilted his head. “You have declined my offer of marriage and have yet to give a reason.”
“Do I need to give you one?”
“I would like one.”
“I should think you used to disappointment by now,” you said. “Such is the lot of Kings and Queens.”
He stared at you for a moment, his features softened by candlelight. A feeling almost like regret stole through you, gone before you could fully embrace it.
“Do you remember the last time you visited Duret Ghal?” Jungkook asked, which surprised you.
You stared at him a moment. The suddenness of the question pushed all retorts from mind. Thus far, you had held firm to your vow not to marry by convincing yourself the man standing before you was your enemy.
Now though, he asked if you remembered.
In truth, you did.
It had been your seventeenth birthday when you last traveled to Duret Ghal. The occasion had been to finalize your parents’ treaty, as well as formally meet Jungkook as your betrothed. You had met a few times before then, as children, but it had been a long time since those days.
Duret Ghal was a land of icy wilderness, except during the summer, when harsh winter snows melted to expose greenery and cliffs. Rumors said the dragons kept their bays clear of ice, but you had gone at the wrong time of year to see this in person.
To the north of Duret Ghal lay the Irik Sea, a fathomless expanse of foamed troughs of water. Its only mountains to speak of were the famed Cliffs of Oria, which circled the capital city of Ebril. It was within these cliffs the famed dragons nested.
Ebril was situated along the coast, known equally for seamen as much as their riders. The people of Ebril were known to be craggy and sharp, much like the topography. Despite their reputation, Ebril was a city of learning. Built from the white limestone which lined its cliffs, it was occasionally referred to as the jewel by the sea.
Ebril had not been the only thing which fascinated you on that trip. You had found Jungkook equally intriguing.
He had been different then. Still quiet, but in a studious way. His hair had been shorter, as though he could not be bothered with the time it took to comb it.
Upon your arrival, you had thought Jungkook hated you. He could not seem to stand being in the same room as you for very long. Still, he had not seemed antagonistic and so, you had resigned yourself to a loveless marriage and spent time exploring the city.
One morning, you’d woke to find the day warm enough for a trip to the cliffs. Your parents had been busy from sunup to sundown, negotiating the treaty you now found yourself crafting. Back then though, you’d been blissfully free of obligation and duty.
Having never seen the Cliffs of Oria, you’d gone to the stables to secure a mount. Strictly speaking, you did not need one as a Dragon. Ideally, you preferred to fly by yourself, but your parents had warned you against shifting in Duret Ghal.
Although some things had changed since the Dragon Wars, many Ghalians still did not trust your kind. It was never a good idea to push boundaries, especially not when the treaty depended upon it.
You had even borrowed Amara’s clothes in an attempt to blend in. It had been a practical move on your part, since you’d been packed only dresses.
When you’d arrived and requested a horse from the palace stable hand, he had looked you up and down before sneering.
“You’re Ashyan,” he’d said upon hearing your accent. The word Ashyan sounded like a curse. “I heard some of your kind had come to the castle. Thought you could fly without horses, huh? What need do you have with a Ghalian mount?”
You’d been so taken aback, you blurted out the first thing which came to mind.
"If you know so much about Ashya,” you’d told him, gaze hard, “then surely you know more humans live within its borders than Dragons. Humans cannot sprout wings any more than a man like you can see reason.”
The man’s eyes had bugged, taking a threatening step forward – as a soft laugh echoed through the courtyard. Surprised, both of you had turned towards the sound.
In the archway of the stables, Jungkook had shut his book in one hand. “That was funny,” he said, looking at you.
Upon seeing the Prince, the stable hand had paled.
“Your Highness,” he said, hastening to bow.
Jungkook’s gaze slid towards him, any trace of humor disappearing. He stared at him coldly and for a moment, you’d seen a hint of the King he would become.
“I believe the lady asked for a horse.” Jungkook had spoken calmly. “Were you about to deny the request of a royal guest to the crown?”
He did not call you the princess and for a moment, you had wondered if he knew.
“Of course not, Prince Jungkook,” the stable hand had stammered and for a moment, you’d felt a modicum of pity for him.
Then the man had cast you a dark look entering the stables and you'd quickly forgotten your mercy. Instead, you’d found yourself wondering how loud he’d scream if you shifted.
Jungkook cleared his throat.
Looking at him, you’d found him lingering in the entrance to the courtyard. Curiosity washed through you, wondering if he intended for you to thank him. The idea was vaguely insulting. You could have handled one measly human.
“I did not need your help, you know,” you had said.
Jungkook had merely arched a brow. “Oh, I am aware.”
“Good.”
Turning around, you had considered the conversation to be over. While you stood and waited for your horse though, you realized Jungkook did not leave. After another moment, you’d turned towards him.
“Then, why did you interject?” you’d asked, suddenly curious.
Rather than answer immediately, Jungkook had crossed the courtyard. He came to a stop before you, forcing you to tilt your head back to see him. For a human, you remembered him being quite tall.
That close, you’d seen Jungkook’s eyes for the first time. They were not all brown, as you’d imagined. Instead, you saw many colors within – auburn, hazel, and a deep, burnished gold. 
Meeting his gaze frankly stole your breath away.
“You are my guest,” Jungkook had said. “And my betrothed. It is my duty to protect you.”
Looking away, you’d tried not to smile. Despite the fact you were trying not to laugh, it felt oddly wrong to be free of his gaze.
“Why are you smiling?” Jungkook had asked, confused.
“I am sorry,” you had said, biting back a smile. “It is only… well. Is that how women are raised in Duret Ghal?”
“I beg your pardon?”
Before you could answer, the stable hand had emerged with a horse in tow. Accepting the reins he gave, you’d placed a foot in the stirrup and swung into the saddle. Settling your weight, you’d leaned forward and pet the horse’s long mane.
Glancing up, you’d locked eyes with Jungkook. “You speak of women as though they need protection. I must say, it has never been something I needed or wanted,” you’d said quietly, then clicked your heels and steered the horse away.
You had not looked back as you rode from the castle, but felt the weight of his gaze between your shoulder blades the entire way. It had sent the strangest energy across your skin but once you reached the trail, you managed to push both this and Jungkook from mind.
The sea had always been a subject of endless fascination for you. Crossing the grassy plains which topped the Cliffs of Oria, you’d found satisfaction in the salty taste of the air.
After nearly an hour of riding, you’d slowed to a stop. Before you, the Irik Sea had stretched in an endless display of blue. It reminded you of the sky with its limitless potential. As soon as you thought this, you had the dearest wish to fly.
Glancing away, you realized you’d seen no other humans for miles. Quietly, you slipped from your horse and tied him to a tree.
Entering a nearby thicket, you’d changed from your clothes and placed them under a rock. When you transformed to a Dragon, it tended to shred whatever clothing you wore.
Naked as the day you’d been born, you stood under the sky and tipped your head back. Allowing the transformation to take hold, warmth had spread through your veins until – opening your eyes, you were a Dragon.
Humans referred to this as the change, but you’d never found it to be an accurate descriptor. It was not as though you changed from one thing to the other; merely shifted to a different part of yourself. You were always a dragon and always a human. To be a Dragon was to be both.
Wings unfurled, you’d bent and leapt into the sky. It always took you a moment to reorient after shifting. Your senses of sight, smell and hearing were sharper as a dragon, although some things were different.
Beating your wings against the sea breeze, you’d risen and fallen while surveying the cliffs. From this height, you’d been able to see the smaller cities which dotted the fields of the capital. Ebril shone like a star on the distant shore. Instead of flying towards this, you turned in the opposite direction. You had no desire to be seen and send their women into hysterics.
Remembering Jungkook’s words, a jet of flame left your nostrils in a wicked snort. The idea of protecting a Dragon was laughable. Wheeling sideways, you’d traveled further out over the ocean. It had been silver-green at the time, bright as the clearest Ashyan jewel.
Growing bolder, you’d flown lower and skimmed the waves with your toes. Swooping higher, you’d circled again before diving straight down. When you plunged beneath the surface, the coldness of the Irik snatched fire from your lungs. Sputtering, you’d breached the surface and shot into the air to hang there, gasping.
Then you grinned and dove again.
For the first time in months, you’d allowed yourself to have fun. Ever since you’d turned sixteen, you’d become infinitely aware of your title and duty. Your duty to marry, to someday become Queen and leave your childhood behind. You’d wondered why you needed to give up fun and freedom, all for someone else’s hand.
In truth, the idea of marriage had scared you. Riders enjoyed taming dragons, or so the legends had said. They’d taken your ancestral creatures and turned them into beasts who willingly did their bidding. You had no desire to do anyone’s bidding but your own.
After a long day of flying, you’d tucked in your wings and returned to the cliffside. Although you had told your parents where you were going, they would worry if you were not back in time for dinner. Approaching the spot where you’d left your things, you realized a second horse had been tethered beside yours.
Searching the plains, you’d immediately spotted Jungkook. He lazed in the sun at the edge of the cliff, book open on his stomach and one arm behind his head.
He did not so much as look up when you landed, although the noise from your wings must have been deafening. Dropping into the thicket, you’d quickly returned to human form. With trembling hands, you’d pulled back on Amara’s clothes.
As you exited, Jungkook remained in his same position. Upon seeing him there, you’d stopped and looked away. Perhaps he had not seen you after all.
“How was your swim?” Jungkook had asked, eyes still shut.
Your stomach had dropped.
“I can explain,” you’d said, stepping forward.
One eye opening, Jungkook had frowned. Pushing himself to his elbows, he’d surveyed you and it had struck you suddenly how beautiful he was. Brown curls and soft gaze, above a lean body.
“What do you have to explain?” he’d asked, sounding curious.
“I – well.” For the first time, you’d found yourself flummoxed. “I did not mean to take advantage of Duret Ghal’s hospitality.”
This seemed to amuse him. “Are you… apologizing for using the sky, Your Highness?”
“No. Well, yes.”
Something in your expression made Jungkook soften. Closing his book and setting it aside, he’d stood from the ground and began to walk closer. He came to a stop near enough to see the tiny mole beneath his lip.
“Some Ghalians fear Dragons, it is true,” he’d said quietly. “But you need not ever fear this from me, Your Highness. If someone asked you not to fly in my Kingdom, please consider this to be a formal revocation.”
You had stared at him a moment before arching a brow. “It could be dangerous to fly, though. I might be in need of protection.”
Jungkook had paused for a moment before laughing, his head thrown back and smile wide. It was the same laugh he’d made tonight at the banquet.
“Forgive me for earlier,” he’d said, lowering his head to meet your gaze. “It was foolish of me to imagine I might protect a mighty Dragon.”
Although he’d adopted a teasing tone, seriousness lit his gaze. You found you rather enjoyed it. Enjoyed him, against all better reason. The slightest of thrills went down your spine.
“Foolish, indeed,” you’d murmured.
In your mind though, you’d wondered if perhaps you were the foolish one.
Although the day had been nearly ten years ago, you had never forgotten it. Never forgotten the boy who’d wanted to protect a Dragon.
The answer to Jungkook’s question was a resounding yes.
Yes, you remembered. Perhaps too much.
“I remember some,” you said, fighting to keep your voice steady. “Not all.”
Jungkook paused. “I see.”
“If that is all, I shall –”
“We were to be married before,” he said, expression inscrutable. “Is the idea of marrying me now so repulsive?”
“I do not find you repulsive,” you said on instinct.
Too late, you realized you’d eliminated an answer. You did not find Jungkook repulsive, so your reason for declining was something else.
He considered this. “No?”
“I do not,” you admitted. “But I also don’t know you, Your Majesty. Our former betrothal ended nearly ten years ago. The intention was to mend a rift between two nations. The situation is different now. Now, we have a common enemy to unite us.”
“And once Mor is defeated?”
“The defeat of a mutual enemy will be enough.”
Jungkook gave you a look which plainly said, will it?
Growing increasingly frustrated, you stepped forward until you stood nose to nose. Tilting your chin higher, you fought the overwhelming tide of his cedar and sunshine.
“You asked if I remember our last meeting and I do,” you said hotly. “I also remember the carnage which followed. Do not ask from me more than I can give, Your Majesty.”
A shadow crossed Jungkook’s expression, quickly followed by anger.
“If you remember so well,” he said, eyes narrowed. “Then surely you remember it was my Kingdom, not yours which paid for the coup in blood. It took me many years to rebuild what my Uncle destroyed.”
“I did not mean –”
“I think you did,” he interrupted. Taking a step back, he allowed cool air to pass between you. Stiffly, he bowed. “Thank you for the evening, Your Majesty. Enjoy the remainder of your night.”
Turning around, Jungkook strode down the hall until he disappeared.
You remained still for a moment, staring after him and wondering what you had done. All you’d wanted to do was to steer the conversation away from your vow not to marry. Instead, you’d insulted a man who had done nothing to harm you – at one point, he’d even wanted to protect you.
Gathering your skirts, you turned and walked away. Yoongi had not waited for you, for which you were grateful. You had no doubt he’d side with King Jungkook regarding your display this evening. Anyone with half a brain would, you supposed.
Still, it was too much for Jungkook to expect you to marry him simply because you had once been engaged. You’d been right about one thing – the situation was different now. You were different now and could not afford to let Jungkook get any closer.
You’d witnessed firsthand the kind of disaster such unions wrought.
Climbing the steps to your chamber, the crown on your head felt heavier tonight than ever before.
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The sun had not yet risen when you left your bed the next morning. Donning a gown, you hastily braided your hair and slipped outside. Nodding hello to your guards, you hurried down the corridors and out a side door.
As the land of Dragons, Ashya had developed unique features attuned to their needs. One such accommodation were the sheds – tiny, low buildings with large yards beyond them. They rested on the opposite side of the stables, since horses tended to be spooked by dragons and the main purpose of the sheds was for Dragons to shift.
Entering the one closest, you shut the door and began to undress. Hanging your clothes on the wall, you strolled into the enclosed yard. Its walls were high enough to ensure no passersby saw, yet large enough to encompass an adult Dragon.
Inhaling a breath, you tipped your head back and let the shift come. Wings unfurling, you opened your eyes and set your forelegs upon the ground. Bending low to the dirt, you pushed yourself upwards and into the sky.
Soaring over the castle, you began to fly southeast of the city. Valor sprawled out beneath you, a haphazard city of cobblestone and flint. Smoke curled from the chimneys, the earliest households waking for the day.
To the east, the foothills of the Thadal mountains were covered in pasture. Sheep and goats grazed there; their wool favored by Ashyan merchants. Circling overhead to ensure all was well, you found yourself satisfied and began to climb higher.
This was one of your favorite pastimes. Flying high enough that even your Dragon’s breath froze in your lungs, crystallizing in bursts until you could no longer bear it. Then you dove, tucking your wings in to hurtle towards the ground.
At the last moment, you snapped your wings open and rode the wind.
Snorting a thin stream of smoke, you slowed as you approached the mountains. The first rays of dawn broke over the horizon, spilling their light between the rocky crags. Inhaling fresh morning air, you flew further south.
The Thadal range was truly one of the wonders of the continent. Flying between towering peaks, you did not question why the Dragon Wars had been fought for its riches. The mountains went on for miles in the east, a flight you’d only made once. It had taken you nearly a week to cross the entire range and at its end you’d found a desert similar in size to the Irik Sea.
When you had returned, your father had berated you. Your mother had died only a year prior and he had only recently managed to pull himself together. If you had died, he’d shouted, the entire future of Ashya was lost.
It was a heavy burden to bear, but one you’d shouldered after his passing. Everything you did was for your nation and people. You would be enough for Ashya and would guard against the kind of attachments which might put this at risk.
As the sun slowly rose, the tightness in your stomach increased. With the rising sun came the responsibilities of being Queen. You had a schedule to keep, meetings to attend with Duret Ghal, your advisors and a large group of nobles.
Tucking in your wing, you began to turn – only for bright, searing pain to hit you in the shoulder.
Crying out, you fought to keep stable while twisting around. Wings beating the air, you frantically searched for your attacker. Vision blurred, you scanned the tree lines below and found nothing.
A second bolt shot towards you. With great effort, you managed to dodge the strike, rolling in midair. Mid-twist, you realized a large iron bolt remained lodged in your shoulder.
Stomach curdling, you realized what danger you were in. Only Mor had crossbows strong enough to kill a Dragon. Somewhere beneath you lay a Mor patrol.
Searching the woods, you felt hot drops of blood dripping from your scales. Before you could retaliate, before you could so much as inhale, an arrow of darkness shot into your vision.
Jungkook, astride his dragon, Nemrys, laid waste to the mountain.
A great wave of fire engulfed where the Mor patrol had been. Faint screams rose from below, a final shot fired but its aim was way off, as though whomever had done so, did so out of panic.
Wings flapping, you tried to stay aloft, but to no avail. It was hard to bring down a Dragon with a single bolt, but Mor had perfected their technology over the past century and you’d been caught unawares.
Nemrys continued to torch the forest even as you dropped, struggling to stay alight. Vision turning black, you thought you heard Jungkook yell – or maybe it was your own subconscious – before you spiraled down, wings cutting through branches before you hit the ground.
Everything went dark after that.
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Groggily, you woke to the sound of your name being called.
Fabric had been draped over your torso, softer than the dirt beneath your back. As you opened an eye, you realized you’d shifted to human. This happened occasionally when you went through a great shock.
As soon as you thought this, you remembered the attack. When you attempted to sit upright, a gentle hand gripped your shoulder. Re-focusing through the haze, you realized it was Jungkook who knelt beside you.
His expression remained on your arm. A shudder of pain wracked your body, which had been covered by his cloak, you realized.
Except for your shoulder, that was.
Catching a glimpse of it on the ground, you winced and forced yourself to look away. The lower part of your arm remained unscathed, but the upper portion was in bad shape. All you could see was blood, shredded muscle, and bone peeking through.
“The arrow,” you breathed, head spinning. “Where is it?”
“Knocked loose when you landed,” Jungkook said, tight-lipped. “Which was lucky, given how large the bolt was. Had you shifted while it was still in your shoulder… I do not know what might have happened. Still…” He paused. “You have lost a lot of blood.”
Turning aside, Jungkook began rummaging through a pack on the ground. Dizzily, you glanced around the forest clearing.
“W-where is Nemrys?” you asked, your teeth chattering.
Jungkook looked back with alarm. “I left him in the clearing,” he said. “There was not enough room for him to land.”
“And this is… your cloak?”
Jungkook nodded but said nothing more. He was dressed in all leather, a broadsword strapped to his back in a pragmatic sheath. When he turned your wrist over, you let out a hiss and his gaze snapped to yours.
A war seemed to wage within him as Jungkook sat back on his heels. “You have lost a lot of blood,” he repeated.
“There are healers in Valor,” you said, struggling to sit up. “You must bring me to them.”
Jungkook gripped your good shoulder again. “You cannot shift in this state, and I fear moving you would aggravate the wound ever further.”
You glared at him from the ground. “What do you propose, then?”
Even as you spoke, it occurred to you the situation might be bad. Right now, shock and adrenaline kept the pain at bay, but it would soon wear off.
“I stopped the blood flow as best I could,” Jungkook said. “But it continues to bleed. I fear you may lose consciousness before we reach the capital.”
Panic rose, choking whatever retort you had to say. If you lost consciousness now, it would only be a matter of time before your organs began to fail. You could not die here. You would not; not on an unknown forest floor, miles away from your home.
You would not be brought down by a single Mor patrol before you even got the chance to face them on the battlefield.
“What are the options,” you said, returning to Jungkook. “Do you have a tourniquet with you? Can Nemrys cauterize my wound? I can survive the loss of a limb, Your Majesty, but I will not leave Ashya so poorly defended.”
Jungkook stared at you a moment before he slowly exhaled.
“There is another option,” he said at last.
“Whatever it is, you best do it quickly. Before I pass out and leave you to wrestle with your conscience alone.”
Suppressing a grimace, Jungkook finally nodded and rolled up his sleeves. It exposed sinuous forearms and ink which, in any other circumstance, you might have found appealing. As it was, you merely found them distracting.
Jungkook hesitated before laying his hands on your arm.
“You must…” He paused, then swallowed. “You must trust me, Y/N.”
The use of your first name was shocking enough for you to fall silent. Nodding, you stared at the sky and laid as still as you could. The pain had begun to set in; you could feel phantom tingles from your injured limb. Dull, shooting pain which throbbed in your shoulder.
At first, nothing happened.
Jungkook’s hands remained on your arm and for a moment, nothing changed. Then – a flurry of sparks skittered down his hands. They sank into your skin so quickly, you thought you’d imagined it.
In response to this, the pain flared, and you arched your back.
“Steady,” said Jungkook, calloused hands on your body. It could have been your imagination, but his dark eyes seemed to glow. “The pain will be gone soon.”
As he spoke, more and more sparks traveled down his forearms. They increased until a golden stream of light poured from his fingertips, fracturing into pieces and – healing you, you realized.
Each place the golden light touched, your muscles reknit. Blood flowed back to the wound as your skin stitched itself together. Shocked, you stared at the evidence of your wound being erased. A bead of sweat rolled down Jungkook’s brow, his color turning sallow while you stared in alarm.
“Jungkook,” you rasped, chest rising and falling. The steady stream of light continued to brighten. “Jungkook – enough.”
He inhaled and jerked back, severing the connection.
Still breathing heavily, you stared at him in shock. The forest around you seemed darker, as though it, too, missed the light. Missed the golden magic which had poured forth from his fingers.
Shakily, you pushed yourself to a seated position, one hand on his cloak to hold it in place. Glancing down, you saw your shoulder and went still. He had healed you. Somehow, Jungkook had healed you.
Experimentally, you flexed the muscles and watched the skin ripple, undeterred.
You’d heard of healing magic but never experienced it in person. Magic was rare enough for not all gifts to be born in the same lifetime. There was also the small matter of neither of Jungkook’s parents being Dragons. Only a human with a Dragon parent could inherit magical gifts.
“Explain,” you said, gaze lifting to him.
Jungkook blinked. “Excuse me?”
“Explain,” you repeated, not looking away. “How did you heal me?”
Finally understanding, Jungkook sat back on his heels. Twisting around, he rummaged in his pack for a canteen and unscrewed the cap. As he took a long sip, Jungkook stared at the forest.
His exhaustion was clear, and you felt a glimmer of regret at your words. Regret – and something else. Something warmer, which wrapped you in golden tendrils as easily as his magic.
Clutching the cloak, you stared and realized you were being unfair. First and foremost, he had saved your life. Everything else could wait.
“Thank you,” you said quietly.
Jungkook stilled.
“I do not know how, nor why you healed me,” you continued. “But… thank you for doing so.”
Setting down his canteen, Jungkook waited a moment before turning to face you. He seemed to wrestle with some inner emotion.
“You are welcome.” After another beat, he reached into his sack. “Here,” he said, pulling out a ball of clothes. “If you wish to change into my spare clothing, you may. I can wait over there.”
Once you accepted the bundle, Jungkook stood from the ground. Dusting his palms on his pants, he swayed a little before he steadied himself. Before you could comment on this he was gone, trekking across the clearing.
Silently, you unfolded the clothes in your lap.
They included a tunic and trousers, along with a leather belt to hold them in place. Scuffed boots made up the last item of the pile. Running a thumb up their side, you attempted to determine their make.
“Why do you have all this?” you asked, looking up.
Even from here, you could see Jungkook’s cheeks redden. “Nemrys and I were once trapped by a snowstorm. We were forced to camp for the night in the mountains. Ever since then, I’ve always carried supplies. Get dressed,” he said, turning around. “I promise not to look.”
Tough you bristled, you watched and true to his word, he did not turn around. Once you were certain of this, you stood from the ground and began to dress yourself. His tunic was much too large, as were the trousers, forcing you to tighten the belt to its final notch. The fabric was soft and warm though, smelling of him.
Again, you marveled at your ease of motion. You’d seen your shoulder before Jungkook had done his healing and knew the situation could have been worse. If you hadn’t bled out in the woods, you might have lost the limb. Even in older accounts of magical healing, you knew it could be dangerous work. Healing required knowledge of muscles, veins, ligaments, and nerve endings. It was simple to patch up skin – harder to make everything beneath it work again.
Whatever magic Jungkook had, it was powerful.
Once you were fully dressed, you approached him on the other side of the clearing. Jungkook continued to stare pointedly at the woods, only turning around when you tapped his shoulder. He swiftly took in your outfit, gaze darkening at the sight of his clothes on your frame.
Ignoring the possible meanings his look could contain, you cleared your throat.
Jungkook’s gaze jumped to yours. “Are you ready to go?” he said, a bit brusque. “Nemrys is willing to fly us both back.”
Your jaw fell a little. “You wish for me to ride a dragon?”
“I expect you not to undo the gift I gave. Although I fixed your shoulder the best I could, I’d prefer a healer examined you back in Valor. It would be bad,” Jungkook added, seeing your expression, “if the Queen of Ashya were to plummet from the sky after my attempted healing.”
Much as you hated to admit it, he had a point. Magic was tenuous – even you knew how complicated healing magic was.
“Fine,” you muttered. “I will ride back with you.”
When you moved to walk past him, Jungkook grabbed your arm. Bristling somewhat, you stared at his hand on your sleeve.
“What?” you huffed, looking upwards.
Jungkook met your gaze. “Before we go,” he said slowly. “There are things you should know. Things we need to discuss.”
“Such as?”
“Such as my magic,” he said, releasing your arm. “My magic, where it comes from, and what it means for Ashya.”
You stared at him, not understanding.
Jungkook exhaled and ran a hand through his hair. Dark strands fell around his face, partially concealing the worry in his gaze. Of what, or for whom, you did not know.
“Do you know the origin story of magic?”
His voice had deepened, softened a little. Something about this and his expression convinced you not to snap back. Every child on the continent knew the origin story.
“Of course,” you said curiously. “Natal ripped a hole in the veil and before she could close it, magic seeped through.”
“True.” Jungkook nodded. “In your version of the story though, only your kind were gifted with magic. This is not the case. All dragons have magic.”
The world around you seemed to tilt. What Jungkook said was impossible and yet, he seemed utterly serious. For a moment, you wondered if he’d also been hurt in the attack. Perhaps he’d hit his head in his haste to heal you.
“You are the only kind of dragon who can shapeshift,” he continued. “Other kinds of magic exist, though. There are other types of power the dragons can wield.”
“Impossible,” you whispered, finally finding your voice.
“It is true.” Jungkook’s gaze remained level. “Riders can use the magic of the dragon they’re bonded to. It is why I can heal. Nemrys comes from a long line of dragons with healing magic.”
“It cannot be,” you said, reeling from the implications. “Only the descendants of Dragons and humans are born with magic.”
“And riders, once they bond.”
You stared at him a moment, then shook your head. “We would have known. We would… we would have known if someone else could use magic. How could we not?” you demanded.
A shadow of something bitter crossed Jungkook’s expression. “I am sure you are aware there are parts of Duret Ghal which disapprove of magic.”
You did not know how this could relate to the dragons and their riders but allowed the detour to continue. It could not be worse than the sudden revelation magic was different from what you’d always imagined.
“I am aware,” you said flatly. “A ridiculous notion. Magic wins wars.”
“True.” Jungkook seemed to weigh his words. “But those born with gifts are viewed as a necessary evil by some within Duret Ghal. A tool for battle and nothing more. If these people had discovered their leaders had magic?” Jungkook shook his head. “A century ago, Ghalians would have revolted.”
Your eyes narrowed. “They would accept you ride dragons, but not that you have magic?”
A ghost of a smile crossed Jungkook’s lips.
“Humans are gifted magic when a Dragon and human mate,” he explained. “For many years, Duret Ghal considered Ashya and Dragons to be our enemy. You can understand why the idea of magic was an inherent threat.”
“…I suppose.”
“They only accepted the riders because Ghalians imagined the same thing you did – that the dragons we ride are a tame, subservient species compared to your own. It is not so.”
“No?”
“No.”
Unable to fathom this, you looked away at the forest. If everything Jungkook said was true, then the history of your nation – of your continent – was a lie. The Dragons of Ashya were only different in that they could shapeshift. The rhetoric you’d believed your whole life, that you were somehow more than the rest, was untrue.
The dragon riders had magic and, realizing this, you turned back.
“Why did you heal me, then?” you asked. “If the Ghalians feel so strongly about magic, surely you would wish to keep this a secret?”
Jungkook hesitated.
“We were… aware of the risk coming here. For many years, I have been trying to convince the other riders to reveal themselves,” he explained. “It was the coming war against Mor which convinced them, in the end.”
“What does Mor have to do with it?”
“Everything,” Jungkook said. “Mor has declared a war on all dragons, including those of Duret Ghal. Their technology is beyond ours. When they do come, it will be a bloody battle. If we do not fight with our full capabilities, we might fail. I will not allow this to happen.”
“And so,” you said slowly. “You healed me because… you had already decided to reveal your magic?”
An amused gleam entered his gaze. “Amongst other reasons,” Jungkook allowed. “Though you may not believe it, I rather enjoy having you around, Your Majesty. It would be a pity to waste a life such as yours.”
There seemed to be deeper meaning to his words, but you had no time to dissect it. Stepping closer, Jungkook looked down.
“We had planned to reveal our magic once the treaty was signed,” he explained. “Your injury simply moved up the timeline.”
“I see,” you said, somewhat dazed by his presence so close to your own.
Jungkook nodded, then turned to continue, but something within you kept you from moving. Staring at the back of his head, you realized the words you truly wanted to say.
“And the other dragons,” you said slowly, then stopped. “What about them?”
Paused at the edge of the clearing, Jungkook turned around. Wariness had entered his gaze.
“I do not know this is my story to tell,” he admitted. “But since you cannot speak directly to Nemrys, I can tell you what he told me.”
Jungkook glanced overhead and you wondered if he searched for the time. Or, you realized, he could be communicating with Nemrys.
You had known rider and dragon had a bond. This had been well-documented throughout history, but not much else was known beyond their ritualistic ceremony. Whether dragon and rider could converse was a controversial topic amongst historians, but based on what Jungkook said, it seemed they could.
Based on what he did now, it seemed they did.
“Thousands of years ago,” Jungkook finally said, looking down. “Natal broke the sky and magic flowed in. It entered all dragons who slept in the mountains below. The magic manifested in different forms. A line of dragons known for compassion became healers. Another line, known for passion and wildness, became stormmakers. And another, always curious, became the shapeshifters.
“Human beings were originally from the south, but as they moved north, they encountered the dragons. Wars were fought between them, bloodier than any of our recent conflicts. Many were killed on both sides, until the head of the shifter dragons decided to become human.
“There was dissent amongst the dragons as to whether this was wise. Many did not like the idea of stooping to the humans’ level, but the shifter line proceeded despite their caution. Your kind founded Ashya and lived in peace for a while.
“Over time, changes took place. Small, at first – and then larger. Some of the shifters chose not to shift, even though they could. Some decided they preferred human form over dragon. In an important conflict, the shifters sided with humans. Certain lines of dragons deemed this to be unacceptable.
“The most feared magic amongst dragons was – and still is – that of the memory dragons. These dragons, though rare, can manipulate thought, memory and perception. As punishment for siding with the humans, they took away your memory of all dragons. Stole your ability to communicate while in dragon form. Over time, your kind have forgotten what you once were.
“It was a terrible punishment. One which has not been given since. That is the whole truth,” he finished quietly. “That is the knowledge which has been kept from your kind.”
Falling silent, Jungkook allowed time for his story to sink in. The forest around you was silent as well, as though it, too, were holding its breath.
You could only stare while struggling to comprehend. If what Jungkook said was true, then you were not different from other dragons – or, you were, but not in the ways you’d once thought. They were as intelligent, as cohesive, and knowledgeable as you were. More, perhaps, if they had hidden this from you for so long.
“And so, rider magic,” you said, a bit hoarse. “How…?”
“Ah.” Jungkook gave a wry smile. “The riders did not come until later. Call it Natal’s judgement, if you will. As time went on, some of the dragon lines grew more curious about humans. One of them somehow bonded with a human. This continued to occur until finally, the King of Duret Ghal himself became a dragon rider.”
“And the riders,” you said, trying to piece it together. “They can use their dragon’s magic?”
Jungkook nodded.
“And you speak to them?” The barest hint of wonder entered your voice. “Can you speak to all dragons?”
“Only the one we are bonded to,” Jungkook said, a bit softer.
“I see.”
He gave you a look. “I know this is a lot to take in.”
“No. Well, yes,” you said as you shook your head. “You have given me much to think on, Your Majesty.”
Jungkook’s expression shuttered a bit at the formality, but he inclined his head. “Indeed, Your Majesty,” he responded.
You stared at him for a moment, taking in the dried sweat on his forehead from the energy spent healing you. Something had changed between you, and you did not know how you could turn back.
“Thank you,” you said softly.
Jungkook glanced up. “For what?”
“For many things, I suppose. For healing me. For trusting me with the truth. I owe you a life debt, Your Majesty.”
An unreadable look passed over his face. “I imagine there will be many life debts between us before this war comes to pass.”
He was not wrong and for a moment, you allowed yourself the luxury of imagining you might face this war together.
“A fair point,” you allowed.
Glancing past him, you surveyed the clearing. Nemrys must be nearby, or Jungkook would not have gotten to you so quickly. Suddenly, the prospect of meeting another dragon held an entirely different meaning. All this time, you had assumed them to be less intelligent than your own and had treated them as such. You could only imagine how little they thought of you.
Nemrys would likely be less thrilled to have you riding him, than you would be in the saddle.
“There is another reason I healed you,” Jungkook admitted.
You glanced his way in surprise. “And what reason was that?”
Jungkook walked closer, step by step until he was barely a foot away. Reaching out a hand, he adjusted his tunic where it fell on your frame. His thumb brushed your bare collarbone and in response to this, you barely suppressed a shiver.
“You said you did not know me.” Jungkook swallowed. “It seemed a shame for our time to be cut short before I could remedy this fact.”
With that, he dropped his hand and walked away.
You stared as he left, feeling utterly thrown until he spoke again.
“Follow me,” Jungkook called. “Nemrys is impatient. Not unusual for a dragon, but he does make a good point. People will be looking for us – I was expected back nearly an hour ago.”
Glancing overhead, you realized Jungkook was right based on the sun's position. It had risen nearly above the treetops, meaning Jimin would have people looking for you soon.
Jungkook kept going as you followed, striding from the clearing you’d made when you fell. It took only a few minutes before the trees had thinned enough for you to come face to face with Nemrys on the ground.
His scales were ebony in color, dark as the night sky above during the witching hour. Only one golden eye could focus on you at a time, but the one which did remained steady as you entered.
Nemrys did not seem happy to see you, and you did not blame him. Dragons were a territorial bunch, whether shifter or otherwise. If Nemrys considered you a threat to Jungkook, he would stop at nothing to protect his rider.
As you exited the forest, Jungkook looked up. “No,” he said sharply, walking around Nemrys’ side.
Curious, you turned and realized he wasn’t speaking to you.
“What did Nemrys say?” 
A growl left Nemrys’ throat, clawing at the ground with a single, curved talon.
Jungkook sighed in response, looking skyward. He seemed thoroughly exasperated, and it was one of the most natural expressions you’d seen on him thus far.
“Nemrys asked if you wished to ride in the saddle, or have him carry you,” Jungkook said at last, looking down.
Gaze narrowed, you turned your head to Nemrys. If you did not know any better, you could have sworn his upper lip curled. To be carried by a dragon meant to dangle upside down from their claw while they flew through the air.
“No, thank you,” you said, walking closer. “Although, I do have something I wish to say to Nemrys.”
Coming to a stop before him, you looked Nemrys in the eye. Nemrys slowly blinked, as though he were extremely uninterested in whatever you had to say.
“Thank you,” you said, your voice softening. “Thank you… for telling me, through him.”
Nemrys stilled.
“And for healing me,” you added, bowing your head. It was a sign of great trust to expose your neck to a dragon. “I cannot find the words to express my gratitude.”
After a moment, Nemrys exhaled and lowered his head as well. Glancing up, you met his gaze and felt something unspoken pass between you.
“He thinks you might find the saddle more comfortable,” Jungkook said, sounding a bit amused at the side.
Lips twitching, you took a step backwards and looked now at Jungkook. Nemrys snorted again, steam exhaled past his lips. In response to whatever he’d said, Jungkook’s cheeks turned a bit pink.
“What was that?” you asked, curious.
“Nothing.” Jungkook glared at the dragon. “Nemrys said we should go.”
Nemrys snorted once more, steam rising as he hauled himself to his feet. It did not seem Jungkook was telling you the entire truth, but the importance of this faded when you saw the saddle. It had not seemed as high when you were also a dragon.
“You sit up… there?” you asked, coming to a stop.
Jungkook hid his smile. “It isn’t as dangerous as it seems,” he insisted, placing a hand on the ladder. “You just climb all the rungs until you reach the top.”
Nodding, you placed one foot in the stirrup and firmly gripped the ladder. As you began to climb, hand over foot, you found yourself holding your breath. Eventually, you reached the top and swung a leg over.
“Careful,” Jungkook called from the ground. “I still want my healer to take a look at your shoulder.”
“I have healers, too,” you grumbled, settling onto the leather.
Jungkook climbed after you, swinging his leg over to land firmly behind you. His right hand found your waist, tugging you back until your spine met his chest. None other would dare touch the Queen in such a manner but then again, Jungkook was also a King.
“I know,” he said, his breath warm on your ear. “But mine are accustomed to dealing with magical healing.”
Unable to argue, you gripped the front of the saddle. Unconvincingly, you tried to make yourself believe it would be like riding a horse. Jungkook’s hand gripped your hip, distracting enough that you nearly forgot what you were doing.
As Nemrys bent and spread his wings, you forced your eyes shut. It was a silly thing, but you’d never flown through the skies when you were not the one in control.
You felt, rather than saw, when the ground fell away beneath you. Wind whistled past your ears, the force of gravity pressing you against Jungkook’s chest. He said nothing in response, merely curled his fingers into the hem of your tunic.
One you felt comfortable, you opened your eyes against the rushing wind.
For a moment, vertigo overtook you and you felt a bit nauseous. It felt wrong to fly in your human body, with nothing protecting you if you were to fall. The feeling only lasted a moment though, before you began to marvel at the landscape beneath you.
It looked different with your human vision – as a dragon, you could see UV as well as blue, red and green. Vision as a human was softer, the mountains before you a muted grey-green. Even the air felt colder without your dragon skin.
Unbidden, you shivered, and Jungkook’s hand tightened.
“It is different,” you breathed, staring hard at the ground.
Jungkook chuckled, low in your ear. “Different for me, too,” he admitted. “I have never flown with another person before.”
Startled, you turned and found his face close to yours. You had not thought about this when you moved, but now found yourself inches away from his lips.
“Never?” you murmured, your words caught by the wind.
“Never.”
Again, the same shiver swept your spine, so you forced yourself to face forward. The wind continued to blow, ferocious and cold, but Jungkook managed to stay warm behind you. Eyes drifting shut, you allowed yourself a moment to bask in his presence.
Only a moment before you pulled yourself together.
All too soon, you arrived at the castle courtyard. Landing in the open space by the gates, you realized a search party had already gathered. Sliding down from Nemrys, you barely paused to give thanks before hurrying on.
Midway to the castle, you saw Jimin break ranks as he jogged to see you. Scanning your frame, his silver-blonde hair blew haphazardly in the wind. Coming to a sudden stop, Jimin glanced past you, his eyes widening when he realized you’d come from Nemrys.
Before he could speak, Namjoon skidded to a stop beside him.
“Y/N,” he gasped, lowering both hands to his knees. “By the veil, you scared us.”
Guiltily, you turned. “I am sorry,” you told him. “I am fine, though. I promise. I apologize for making you worry.”
Jimin continued to stare at Nemrys. “Your Majesty. What –”
“It was my fault,” Jungkook interrupted, striding into the circle. He came to a stop alongside you, as though he belonged there. “I saw Her Majesty injure herself while out flying and insisted on escorting her back to the castle.”
Namjoon looked at you in alarm. “Is this true? Are you hurt?”
“Only a dislocation,” you assured him. “Nothing to worry about.”
Although Namjoon nodded, Jimin continued to frown.
“A dislocation,” he said slowly, his gaze flicking to yours. “While flying?”
“Momentarily blinded by the sun,” you explained. “Hit a cliff and was forced to shift back to human.”
“And… Jungkook saw?”
Both Jimin and Namjoon glanced at Jungkook, who jumped into the story without missing a beat.
“Nemrys has excellent vision,” he said with a shrug. “Better than I, that is for certain.”
Jimin still seemed suspicious, but he eventually nodded. “We are glad to see you safe, Your Majesty,” he said. “I will go and tell the search party to stand down.”
“Thank you,” you said quietly.
Jimin began crossing the courtyard, leaving you alone with Namjoon and Jungkook. You fully intended to tell Namjoon and Jimin the truth, but now was not the right moment. Too many ears were listening.
“Is Yoongi furious?” you asked lowly. “How many meetings have I missed?”
Namjoon gave a rueful smile. “He will get over it. Your meetings for the morning have been postponed. The afternoon remains.”
“Good,” you said, stepping forward. “I will just –”
“Your Majesty,” Jungkook said, and you paused. “I did hope you would see the healer on my staff before returning to duty.”
He stood to your side, looking at you earnestly. Namjoon glanced between you; his surprise further increasing when you eventually nodded.
“His Majesty is correct,” you admitted. “I do feel fine, Namjoon, but it is better to be safe than sorry. I will have things to discuss with you after.”
Namjoon slowly nodded, seeming to understand. “Anything I need to know now?”
Glancing around, you ensured no one could hear. “A Mor patrol,” you said quietly. “Barely fifteen miles south. They were the true cause of my injury, but they are no longer a worry.”
Namjoon’s brow creased even further. “Are you certain you are alright? If it was a Mor patrol, you may have–”
“I am fine,” you cut in, quiet.
Namjoon hesitated before he nodded again. “Alright. I will have Jimin send soldiers to search the surrounding mountains.”
“Thank you. Tell Yoongi I will be up as soon as I can. And have Amara send me new clothes,” you added as you walked past. “I believe it sends the wrong message to wander around in His Majesty’s leathers.”
Namjoon nearly choked on his response while turning to leave.
“Well?” You glanced sideways, at Jungkook. “What are we waiting for?”
Turning his laugh into a cough, Jungkook began to walk forward. “Nothing,” he said.
Following his footsteps, you realized he went towards the guest entrance of the castle. Jungkook had not landed near the sheds, which made sense. Dragons and riders did not take kindly to one another. You supposed you and Nemrys now made the exception.
As you entered the halls of the castle, a draft brushed your exposed skin and you shivered. Pulling Jungkook’s clothes tighter, you considered the excuse he’d fed to Jimin.
“You said Nemrys saw me from the sky,” you said, breaking the silence.
Jungkook looked your way in surprise. “Should I have said something different? You did not seem inclined to discuss your injury out there.”
“No, you are correct. However, I now find myself wondering how did you see me this morning? Did you follow me from the castle, Your Majesty?”
Coming to a halt at the next corner, Jungkook turned sideways to face you.
His gaze flickered in torchlight. “Are you accusing me of following you?”
"Merely asking.”
Jungkook’s eyes narrowed. “If you must know, I was also out for my morning ride. I saw a Mor scout and had tracked them back to that mountain when I saw you get shot.”
“How very convenient,” you said, lifting your chin.
A muscle in his jaw ticked, stepping closer. “Is it?” he murmured. “I find it tiresome to have my honor continually called into question, Your Majesty.”
“Can you blame me?” you said. “You have kept many secrets from me, it would seem. Some are more substantial than others.”
“I also saved your life.”
“A debt I am well-aware of.”
A door creaked open down the hall.
“Oh – I am sorry,” a chestnut-haired man said, peeking out. “I heard arguing and wanted to make sure no one needed my help. Carry on!”
The man was about to duck back inside, when Jungkook held up a hand.
“Wait, Hoseok,” he said, not looking away from your gaze. “I need you to do something for me.”
The man – Hoseok, it seemed – paused halfway across the threshold. His gaze slid to yours, clearly recognizing you for who you were.
“Are you sure?” he asked slowly.
Jungkook nodded, turning on his heel as he strode down the hall. You were left with no choice but to follow, glaring daggers at his retreating backside. Something about the King made your blood boil, making you see red as you traveled in his footsteps.
“This is my healer, Jung Hoseok,” Jungkook said, coming to a stop. “Hoseok, this is the Queen of Ashya. I would appreciate it if you looked at her shoulder.”
Hoseok hesitated, glancing past Jungkook to you. After a moment, he nodded and stepped inside. 
“Of course,” he said with a bow. “Please, come in.”
Inclining your head, you walked past Jungkook to enter. The space past him was tidy, though there was not much light to see by, aside from the fireplace. Possibly the room had belonged to an Ashyan healer, although you could not be certain. You rarely traveled into the guest wing.
Once Jungkook had joined you, Hoseok crossed the room to pull open a cabinet. Rummaging around, he set several jars on the counter.
Jungkook lingered by the door, leaning a shoulder to the wall to stare at the healer.
Deciding the best thing to do was ignore him, you glanced away. One minute the King was tender, binding your wounds with the utmost of care and the next, he seemed ready to bite your head off. It was maddening.
Glancing around, you took in herbs, linen, and jars of salve. On the hearth was a fire, crackling merrily beneath a large, copper pot. The scents of witch hazel and thyme filled the room, a natural antiseptic.
“Hoseok is the best healer in Duret Ghal,” Jungkook said, by way of introduction.
Hoseok snorted. “I do not know about that,” he said as he turned around.
“Careful.” Jungkook arched a brow. “Her Majesty may take you at your word and see an Ashyan healer instead.”
Hoseok made an unbecoming sound before he looked up, stricken. “I did not mean insult, Your Majesty,” he said, a bit panicked. “It is only –”
“It is alright,” you interrupted. “None of my healers are accustomed to wounds healed by magic. I would prefer you look at my wound, regardless of what you have to say about Ashya.”
Hoseok shot Jungkook a surprised glance, who nodded.
“The Queen’s wounds were severe,” Jungkook said quietly. “An iron bolt to the shoulder while in dragon form. She crashed through the forest and shifted on impact. Had lost a lot of blood when I arrived.”
“I see.” Hoseok glanced your way, sympathetic. “I am so sorry to hear it, Your Majesty.”
With anyone else, you might have thought the words sounded patronizing, but not with Hoseok. He had an earnest way about him; you imagined he couldn’t tell a lie to save his soul.
“I would not care to repeat the experience,” you admitted.
Briskly, Hoseok scanned your body. “Left shoulder?”
Surprised, you said, “Yes.”
He nodded, rolling up his sleeves to walk around the table. An empty jar stayed behind on the counter, the flames from the hearth casting flickering light on the floor.
Hoseok stopped. “In order to evaluate your arm, I will need you to remove the tunic, Your Majesty. Is this alright?”
You nodded, then glanced at Jungkook.
Cheeks a bit pink, he seemed to take the hint. “I will take my leave,” Jungkook said, his hand fumbling for the door. “Should you have further need of me, Your Majesty, you may send Hoseok to find me.”
“Which might be rather difficult,” Hoseok observed. “Given Hoseok is currently tending to Her Majesty’s injury.”
Jungkook rolled his eyes but hid a smile as he left. The door fell shut behind him, leaving you and Hoseok in total silence. With a rueful smile, he glanced your way.
“Apologies,” he said with a shrug. “Jungkook and I grew up together, so we tend to forget our formalities when others are present.”
“We?” you said, arching a brow. “It seemed you were the only one forgetting your manners, healer Jung.”
Hoseok’s eyes widened, unsure how to respond until you laughed.
“I am sorry,” you said with a smile. “It is cruel to tease when you do not know my nature.”
Hoseok paused before throwing his head back to laugh. Eyes shining, he wagged a finger in your direction as he walked away. “You are funny,” he said, pulling out a bowl. “It is no wonder the King seems to enjoy your company.”
“Is that so?”
Hoseok seemed not to hear your question, selecting some linen to lay on the counter. “There is a partition in the corner,” he said, nodding towards it. “Fabric is laid on the stool, so you can wrap it around your midsection for modesty.”
The partition was barely more than a folding screen, but it did the trick. Stripping free from Jungkook’s tunic, you folded it neatly and placed it on the stool. Winding the fabric around your breasts, you covered them tightly and stepped outside.
Glancing up as you exited, Hoseok set down his work. “You may sit on the stool,” he instructed. “That will do for the examination.”
Taking a seat, you waited for Hoseok to come around the counter. Gently, he took your wrist and turned it this way and that. Raising your arm, he examined its mobility until he seemed satisfied. Deft fingers moved up your arm, applying gentle pressure to several key points. When you failed to react, he prodded deeper.
Aside from the occasional twinge, you felt nothing unusual. After a while, Hoseok took a step back and nodded approval.
“Jungkook did a good job,” he said as he turned away.
“Is that all?”
“Not quite.” Hoseok stepped behind his table. “I will make you a salve, Your Majesty. This will ease any stiffness you may feel from the magical healing. Magic requires a great deal of energy, some of it yours. You may feel more tired than usual.”
“Oh,” you said, a bit thrown.
You had never questioned the toll of magic before. Yoongi had never complained about using his gift to help your council.
Pulling things from his cabinets, Hoseok began to mix and measure in a bowl. He was quiet for a while, content to do his work while you watched. After a while, he cleared his throat.
“I imagine it was a shock,” he said. “To be healed in such a manner.”
You stared at him a moment, unsure how to respond.
“It was… unexpected.”
Hoseok laughed as he looked up. “That is one way to put it,” he agreed. “The first time Jungkook healed me, I screamed like the veil was being torn apart. Thought he was trying to hex me.”
“Is such a thing even possible?” you said, smiling despite yourself.
Hoseok shrugged. “It seemed as likely as a rider having magic. I am sure Jungkook told you, but most in Duret Ghal are unaware of that particular secret.”
Silent, you nodded. Jungkook had, indeed, explained to you the image of magic in his homeland.
After a moment, Hoseok sighed. “The perceptions of Ghalians have changed greatly since the end of the Dragon Wars, but some of the fear remains. There are some who, no matter what we say, will believe magic and all Dragons are evil.”
“Not those His Majesty rides, though?”
Hoseok gave you a wry smile. “They do not view those dragons as the intelligent creatures you and I know them to be. Jungkook wishes to change that,” he said. “But it will be a difficult path. One he is determined to set upon.”
“I see.” You paused. “Forgive me for being blunt, but why are you telling me this?”
Hoseok resumed making the salve. “When Jungkook first revealed his magic to me, I was upset. He had lied. Kept something important from me for such a long time. It took me a while to understand that he, himself, did not always view his magic to be a gift.”
You stared at Hoseok a moment. 
Jungkook had seemed so confident when he healed you, and had always seemed different from the Ghalians who despised magic and Dragons. It had not occurred to you his reasons for keeping his magic a secret may have also been personal.
Hoseok was right. Changing perception within Duret Ghal would be difficult. Jungkook had taken a great risk by revealing his magic to you. A risk you did not wish to examine too closely for the moment.
“Is the examination finished?” you asked, rising from the stool.
Hoseok looked up in surprise. “Oh, yes. Feel free to get dressed, Your Majesty. I will finish this salve and send you on your way.”
You nodded and retreated behind the partition. Once you were no longer visible, you allowed yourself to fully breathe. Hoseok’s words painted a different picture of the Ghalian King. Magic had always been viewed as a gift in Ashya; you should have recognized the stigma elsewhere.
Unwinding the fabric from your torso, you returned to Jungkook’s clothing. His scent was everywhere, enveloping you fully.
It made you remember the ride with him on Nemrys, his body warm and solid behind you. Closing your eyes, you pushed this memory from mind. More and more, you found yourself considering Jungkook as a man instead of your enemy, and such thoughts were dangerous.
Fastening the belt, you stepped outside and found Hoseok waiting.
“Here,” he said, handing over a jar of salve. “If you need more, please send word and I shall bring it immediately.”
“You are too kind,” you said, accepting the bottle. “I appreciate your help, healer Jung.”
“Hoseok.”
“Hoseok,” you agreed with a nod.
Not wishing to overstay the welcome, you gave him a last smile and walked towards the door. One hand on the knob, you paused.
Hoseok looked up at your silence. “Yes?”
A thousand questions sprang to mind – silly, inane ones of no use to anyone. What Jungkook had been like as a child, why he’d once needed to heal Hoseok and reveal his magic. You found yourself wanting to know more, wanting to know him and again, this was dangerous.
“Nothing,” you said, pulling open the door. “Thank you again for your services.”
Hoseok nodded and smiled as you left the room. Amara was waiting for you in the hall, a fresh bundle of clothes in her arms.
“Thank Natal,” you sighed, taking the dress. “It would have caused a lot of talk had I worn the King’s clothing upstairs.”
Hiding her grin, Amara followed you inside the empty room across the corridor. Once the door was shut, she began to help you dress.
“Did you fall in a pond?” she asked innocently, tugging on your laces.
You winced while lifted your arms. “Nothing so exciting. I was caught unawares during my flight and needed to shift. My morning dress is still in the sheds, unfortunately.”
Amara nodded, finishing the final button as you turned around. “I will get it,” she said, gathering Jungkook’s clothes and the salve to exit the room.
Left alone with your thoughts, you hesitated a moment before following suit.
Jungkook had not waited for you.
You were not sure why this mattered. It didn’t – it should not and yet, you couldn’t stop the sinking feeling it somehow did. Shoving the feeling aside, you managed to seem unruffled by the time you reached your first meeting.
The day only grew longer from there.
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When people imagined the duties of the crown, they typically thought of the more extraordinary parts. Being coronated, going to war, grand marshalling parades and the like.
The reality of ruling was far less glamorous. It was one tedious decision after another, with the most minute turn of phrase sparking ire or admiration. It was sitting through meeting after meeting while you listened to weather reports, updates from mines and concerns about a two and a half percent tariff still being too high.
By the time your meetings ended, the sun had long since sunk below the horizon. Wearily, you returned to your rooms and tried to forget the day. It did not seem possible only this morning, you’d feared for your life while bleeding out in the forest.
The only thing which drove you on was the thought of shutting yourself in your chambers, sinking into a bath and closing your eyes. A wish which seemed destined to be thwarted, you saw when you entered.
Min Yoongi had seated himself in an armchair by the fire, his expression steeled like a weapon of war.
“We need to talk,” he said simply.
Coming to a stop at the table, you inspected the salve Hoseok had made. He had not given any instructions on how to apply it, and you wondered if you should have Amara find out.
“Do we?” you said, lifting your gaze to his. “Need I remind you who amongst us wears the crown, Lord Yoongi?”
“And need I remind you which of us pays the other for their counsel?”
Hiding a smile, you pulled out a chair. As much as Ashya’s stability depended on your authority, you were not above thinking yourself impervious to counsel. If Yoongi had something he wished to speak to you about, it was likely important.
“Shall I guess what this is about?” you asked. “Or, are you going to eventually tell me?”
Yoongi did not waste your time. “What happened this morning?”
“I was injured during a flight.”
He made a noise of dismissal. “Are you truly telling me the Queen of Ashya was injured on a routine flight? That you spotted a Mor patrol and became so distracted, you crashed into a mountainside and dislocated your shoulder? Again,” he said, gaze hardening. “What happened?”
Slowly, you exhaled. “The truth is far less believable.”
“Try me.”
And so, you explained. Everything. Your flight this morning, the Mor patrol which had shot you down from the sky. The way you shifted to human before Jungkook arrived to heal you. You told Yoongi about Jungkook having magic, as did all riders. You explained about the different dragon lines, how they all had magic and were not unintelligent, as you had previously assumed.
Once you had finished, Yoongi stared at you and blinked. “That…” He shook his head. “Is equally insane, but at least you are now telling me the truth.”
He had questions then – many of them, and you soon settled into a familiar rhythm. Planning for different eventualities, laying out who to tell and when. Yoongi, along with Namjoon, were your sounding boards for strategy. When you’d given all the answers you could possibly provide, Yoongi fell silent, staring into the fire.
At last, he stood and walked towards the window. Pouring whiskey from a crystal decanter, he swirled this in one hand before he returned.
“This will change things,” Yoongi said, taking a sip of his drink.
“It will.”
“If what you say is true,” he said slowly. “We have acquired an entire new arsenal against Mor. Who knows what kinds of magic lie within their rider ranks? There has not been a healer born for many decades in Ashya.”
“Some of them will be passive powers,” you warned.
Yoongi waved a hand. “It is still a gift. Still magic. In all Jimin’s plans, he has only accounted for the gifts of humans between us. That number will now double! Triple, even.”
“His Majesty only revealed his magic to me because he was forced,” you countered. “We cannot count on them in upcoming battles with Mor. He could still decide otherwise.”
Yoongi gave you a look. “He said he was planning to reveal it after the treaty was signed, yes?”
“Yes, but –”
“But what, Your Majesty?” Yoongi’s eyes narrowed. “What reason do you have now not to trust the King? What lie could you possibly have prepared for me this evening?”
Freezing in place, you could only stare. Yoongi seldom spoke to you like this. For one, you were his Queen and for another, he usually understood you better than to yell.
After a moment, Yoongi sighed and shoved a hand through his hair. He looked tired, you realized. Hoseok’s words from earlier came to mind, about how magic required new energy. You wondered how much Yoongi had used his gift these past few weeks.
“I am sorry,” Yoongi said, and looked as though he meant it. “I did not mean to sound so harsh.”
Choosing not to respond, you waited instead for him to elaborate. Yoongi rarely said things without meaning them.
Closing his eyes, the dark of his lashes dusted paler cheekbones. The veins in his eyelids were prominent, stark against the rest of his skin.
“It can be exhausting to have a gift like mine,” Yoongi said quietly. “All day, I can sense other people’s emotions, yet cannot shut them out. It can be useful, but it is also tiresome. Oftentimes, I am not sure which emotions are mine. It is especially trying,” he said, eyes opening, “when someone continuously lies in my presence.”
“Me?” you said, taken aback. “When have I lied to you, Yoongi?”
Yoongi stared into his glass for a moment, seemingly weighing the consequences of whatever it was he had to say.
“Each time you say you do not wish to marry the King.”
You went still, staring at him from across the table. Within the confines of your chest, your heart began to beat faster.
“I do not mean you are lying on purpose,” Yoongi said, then paused. “Or maybe you are. It can be hard for me to tell. All I know is your emotions are murky each time you speak, as though you are battling something inside.”
“You think… I desire to marry His Majesty?”
Yoongi considered for a minute. “I do not know,” he admitted.
“And yet, you presume to know a great deal,” you said, drumming your fingers on the table. “Why would I turn the King down if I wished to marry him?”
“I am sure I could not say.”
“Hazard a guess.”
Yoongi’s eyes narrowed. “Fine.” He took a long sip of his drink. “When you are around Jungkook, your emotions get lighter. Happier. And yet, there is sorrow as well. I do not know if this is because of His Majesty, or the idea of marriage itself.”
Staring at Yoongi, you refused to move. He was dangerously close to hitting upon something important. Something you’d worked tirelessly to hide, even from yourself.
“Is it Leo?” Yoongi asked, a bit gentler. “Do you still love him?”
Yoongi had not served with you in the army, but he knew about your former love. Early on in your reign, you’d asked Yoongi to go about certain steps to protect Leo from harm.
“No,” you exhaled. “It has been a long time since I chose my path, and he chose his.”
“Pride, then. Perhaps you do not like the idea of ruling beside someone else.”
“It is not that,” you muttered.
“Hm.” Yoongi tilted his head. “That is the truth.”
“Stop doing that,” you said with a roll of your eyes.
“Perhaps it is the idea of losing your independence, then. Or possibly…” Yoongi paused as something seemed to occur to him. “Ah.”
“What? What is it?”
“It is the mating bond, is it not?”
Going utterly still, you stared at him from across the table.
“Y/N,” Yoongi said softly. “Not all marriages occur with a mating bond. Not all loves do, either. And it is still possible Jungkook could be your mate. Humans have mated with Dragons before. It is not impossible for him to–”
Realizing what he meant then, a laugh left your lips. It sounded bitter, even to you. Yoongi thought you didn’t want to marry Jungkook because he wasn’t your mate. He thought you wanted to marry for love, when the truth was the exact opposite.
“I know it is possible,” you gasped, interrupting. “I know it is possible because Jungkook is my mate, Yoongi. I have known this fact since I was seventeen and visited him for the treaty.”
Yoongi’s eyes widened as you pressed on.
“I felt it even then,” you whispered, the words pouring out. “It was hardly anything at that age, barely more than a brush of energy against my skin, but… I knew. I knew the mating bond lay between us.”
Silence fell between you, the weight of what you’d said settling over the table. Eventually, Yoongi managed to shake himself free from his stupor.
“Then what is the problem?” he demanded. “If you two are mates, surely this is even more reason for you to accept his proposal. It must be a sign from Natal.”
Jaw clenched, you looked away. The mere thought of accepting the bond brought a dull roar to your ears, twisting your insides into knots. You could never forget what occurred after your trip to Duret Ghal, nor the solemn vow you had made at your coronation.
“I cannot marry him,” you said stiffly.
Incredulity entered Yoongi’s gaze. “But Y/N –”
“I cannot,” you said, turning your head. “Yoongi, you know as well as I do how bonds like this end. How it looks, how it feels for someone to lose their mate. I vowed when I accepted the crown it would be the only constant in my life.”
Pity filled Yoongi’s gaze as realization dawned.
“Y/N,” he said after a long moment. “You are not your father.”
The silence in the room drew as taut as a bowstring.
“It killed him,” you whispered. “The loss of my mother killed my father. You know this to be true. It may have taken him five years, but from the moment she died, he began to die as well. I cannot – I will not – do that to myself, or to Ashya.”
Yoongi stared at you a moment before he looked away.
It was a silent truth acknowledged throughout the Kingdom. Dragons had a long lifespan, but the mating bond was something other and strange. It only occurred once in a lifetime and was a love so deep, so true that to lose one’s mate was to lose oneself.
Your father had tried, at least. He’d stayed alive for you, for his Kingdom, but it had not been enough in the end. After five years of trying, he’d finally given in.
It was why you’d enlisted after your mother’s death. You had seen how her loss was killing your father and could not bear to be around for the process.
When you finally returned to accept the crown, you’d made your vow. The same fate would not befall you. You would not become your father and leave Ashya at risk. You would not accept the mating bond – which meant you would not accept Jungkook.
Even if every fiber of your being wished to do so.
Jungkook was not yet fully your mate. He needed to be aware of the bond, for one and you needed to accept it, for another. Tendrils already existed, but it was not the same thing as the full bond in place. Once you accepted, there would be no return.
“Not everyone views their mate as a bad thing,” Yoongi said quietly.
Startled, you looked up. “They are fools, then.”
He frowned at his glass. “Are we not all fools in love, though?”
“Precisely the reason I do not care to accept it.”
Smiling sadly, Yoongi lifted his drink and drained the rest. His expression shifted from resignation to thoughtfulness while he set down his glass.
“They say the loss of a mate is akin to ripping one’s heart from their chest,” he mused. “They say it is an unbearable pain, one which cannot be endured.”
“Are you trying to help me?”
He paused. “I only wonder… for such unimaginable pain, there must be unimaginable beauty before it. What could be so wonderful that to be without it would be close to death?” Yoongi shook his head. “Maybe the loss of a mate has no parallel because its happiness has no parallel, either.”
Struck by this statement, you looked into the fire.
“It is not a bad thing to want happiness, Your Majesty.”
Brow furrowed, you continued to stare at the leaping flames. It was not a bad thing to want happiness, but the mating bond had never meant such a thing to you.
Not until Jungkook. When he had arrived a week prior, you’d kept him at arm’s length for two reasons. One had been his title and Duret Ghal’s legacy, but the other had been self-preservation.
You could not miss what you did not know. Unfortunately, each passing day brought you closer together and you feared when he left, it would tear your heart from your chest.
Still, it was better than accepting him as your mate.
Yoongi stood from the table and stretched his arms overhead. Looking up, you appreciated the silence he gave you. The truth of the bond was something you hadn’t told anyone. To share it with him felt like a weight lifted.
“There are more negotiations tomorrow,” Yoongi said, returning to business. “With the secret of the riders’ magic revealed, we will need to factor this into our military discussions.”
“Agreed,” you said quietly.
Yoongi considered you a moment longer before he turned around. As he reached the door, Yoongi paused on the threshold.
“I understand your hesitance, Your Majesty,” he said quietly. “I would not blame you if you decided not to accept him. It is only for your happiness I urge you to reconsider. Not all of us are gifted with a mate,” he said simply, and walked out the door.
As the door shut behind him, you stared at the wood.
You remained seated for some time, listening to your heartbeat, and imagining it entwined with someone else’s. This was the second secret of yours only Yoongi knew.
The other was you hadn’t wanted to accept the throne at all.
When your father had died, you’d been content to stay in the armed forces, living a life of anonymity while you served Ashya. You had planned on relinquishing the crown, but Yoongi had known and convinced you to return. He’d been the one to talk some sense into you, saying if you truly wished to serve Ashya, you’d do so best in the role you’d been born into – as its Queen.
Duty had been thrust upon you sooner than it should have; yet another reason why you resented the bond. You should not have become Queen when you did. You should not have had to accept the burden so soon and yet, you had. It had been the right course and you deeply loved this nation.
It was why you refused to put Ashya through such a thing again.
And yet, you could not help but think upon Yoongi’s words. It was not a bad thing to want happiness for yourself.
After a long time, you roused yourself from the table and went to bed.
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The first time you’d felt the bond had been at the cliffs, although you had not realized what it was at the time.
It had only been later, in the middle of Duret Ghal’s gardens, you understood the gravity of what you felt for Jungkook. Or rather, what you one day might feel.
After the day you spent riding, you’d began to notice Jungkook’s presence more and more. He could usually be found in one of two places – in the palace library or out on his dragon, Nemrys. You had found yourself watching for him, somehow attuned to his presence.
Even with all this, the magnitude had not stricken you until the night of the ball. On the last night of your trip, Duret Ghal decided to celebrate both your betrothal and the anticipated treaty. No expense had been spared for the evening. Even now, you remembered the sounds of the orchestra playing, chandeliers bright above as the people laughed and danced.
At some point, you’d searched for the Prince and found him no longer inside. Curious, your search had led you out the northern doors, onto a patio which overlooked the gardens below.
Duret Ghal had been colder than Ashya, but during the summer the evening air had been pleasantly cool. Wandering away from the castle, you’d drifted amongst the flowers until you came upon him.
Jungkook had faced away from you, his hands clasped behind his back while he watched the tree above with its delicate, orange blossoms. His eyes had been closed; wayward, dark strands of hair blown over his face.
Realizing you’d intruded upon a personal moment, you turned to take your leave, and stepped on a twig. 
Jungkook’s eyes had flown open and when he saw you, he smiled.
The sight sent such simmering warmth through your chest, you’d nearly stopped breathing. White-hot energy blazed across your skin, brightening the world while you basked in his gaze.
That had been the moment you realized. Jungkook was your mate.
“I – I am sorry,” you’d stammered, turning to leave. “I am intruding–”
“Not at all.” Jungkook’s gaze sought yours in darkness. “Please. Stay.”
After a moment of consideration, you had acquiesced. The closer you moved, the more aware you’d become of his energy. Suddenly, all the wives’ tales and legends about mating made sense. The bond had been real, and you felt it for Jungkook.
Jungkook had smiled at you, then returned to the flowers. “Were you also tired of the people gathered inside?” 
“Yes,” you’d murmured.
None of the people inside had been him.
Forcing yourself to look up, you had focused on the tree. It was not a species native to Ashya; its delicate, floral scent was unfamiliar. Between its boughs, the night stars had peered down. Legends said stars were where Natal’s veil was thinnest and otherworldly magic seeped through the cracks. You liked to imagine stars held some kinship to dragons.
Jungkook had cleared his throat. “I must admit,” he’d said. “You are not at all what I imagined you to be.”
“No?”
You had turned sideways to face him in the moonlight.
“Not that it is a bad thing, mind you.”
Heart racing, you you’d smiled. Jungkook had looked your way, his expression gentle in the light from above.
“It is not?” you had whispered.
Turning fully to face you, Jungkook had stepped closer. His right hand flexed at his side, as though he had yearned to reach out and touch you.
“No,” he’d admitted.
His gaze had dropped to your lips.
Your throat had gone dry. “What were you expecting?”
“I do not know,” he’d said. “I thought I might resent you. For taking away my choice to marry. For forcing me to become King before I was ready. For reminding me duty will always be greater than our happiness.”
Each word he said had sunk your heart like a stone. It had been how you’d felt at the start of your journey, but perhaps not then.
“Now though,” he’d said, and you lifted your gaze.
“Now?”
Without quite meaning to, you’d drifted closer. The space between you had lessened to several inches, the heat from his body near-tangible.
“Now,” Jungkook had said, barely audible. “I find myself intrigued by what the future will hold.”
Before you could respond to this, before you could say you felt the same, a shout had echoed throughout the gardens.
“Prince Jungkook!” someone had called.
Springing apart, your heart had protested the movement. You had known then exactly who Jungkook was. He was your mate, your betrothed and for a fleeting moment, the world seemed a magical place.
One month following, his Uncle had staged his rebellion.
Soon after, you’d learned what the mating bond truly meant.
The world had not seemed quite so wondrous after that.
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“So.” Jimin arched a brow. “I assume you have brought us out at this unseemly hour to do more than stare at one another through the mist, Your Majesty.”
Giving Jimin a withering look, you chose not to respond.
Yesterday had been full of meetings with little importance to the Ghalian treaty. After telling Yoongi of your vow and bond, you’d found yourself more aware of Jungkook’s presence than ever before.
Everything which had taken place over the past forty-eight hours resulted in three facts. The first being, you could not afford to spend more time in the King’s presence. Already, your façade of indifference was crumbling and would only worsen as time went on.
Second, Mor had become bolder in their travels north. It would only be a matter of time before war arrived on your borders. You needed to be prepared.
Which led you to your third point. Jungkook’s reveal of magic could turn the tide of the war; it needed to be factored into your discussions as soon as possible. Which was why you’d asked Jungkook to bring whomever he deemed appropriate to the field this morning.
Glancing around, you found Jungkook looking back. He was dressed in his flying leathers again, simple armor reinforced at the joints with lighter metal. No breastplate, his hair unadorned and a broadsword strapped firmly across his back.
He’d brought Taehyung with him, along with the woman rider you’d seen at the feast and Lord Seokjin. The last one had surprised you, since you hadn’t thought Seokjin a rider. From Ashya, you’d brought Jimin, Namjoon and Yoongi.
“We are not here to stare,” you explained to Jimin. “But to fly.”
Jimin hesitated. “With each other,” he clarified.
It was not a question but a statement, and the woman rider across the circle seemed to share in his sentiment. She stared distrustfully at the group gathered on your side.
Yoongi squinted up at the sky. “Why am I here, then?” he wondered aloud.
“To observe,” you informed.
“Scintillating,” he said, looking down.
Namjoon laughed as several other people attempted to hide their smiles. Ignoring all this, you focused instead on Jungkook’s delegation.
“I believe I have met everyone except you,” you said, looking at the woman.
“Maia,” she said, boldly meeting your gaze. “I am a rider in His Majesty’s forces.”
“One of our best,” Jungkook added, as Taehyung nodded.
Maia had large, dark eyes and short hair bound in a plait down her neck. Her features were pretty, delicate in contrast to her hardened exterior. You respected her for being in the delegation but found yourself appreciating her even more for her no-nonsense response.
Nodding once, you looked away. The pride in Jungkook’s voice when he spoke had not escaped you; nor had the way Maia glanced in his direction, as though pleased by the mention.
Jungkook was not yours to want, you reminded yourself. You’d made sure of this with the vow you continued to uphold. Still, you felt your jaw clench as you refocused on your surroundings.
“Is this a serious request?” Jimin asked in disbelief. “You truly wish for us to fly alongside the riders.”
Pointedly, Seokjin cleared his throat. “I believe it is not considered polite to question the Queen’s sanity in her presence?”
Jimin glanced at him, stunned as Yoongi started to laugh. His smile widened, eyes nearly disappearing when Jimin turned to face him, incensed.
“What?” Yoongi snorted. “That was funny.”
“Regardless,” you said, a bit louder. “There is much to discuss. His Majesty has shared information about the riders, their dragons and what they can do which may change the battle against Mor.”
Maia’s glanced at Jungkook in disbelief, and she was not the only one. Taehyung also turned his head sharply, which surprised you. You had thought Jungkook would tell his general he’d revealed his magic in the woods.
It appeared not. Seokjin was the only one who did not look surprised, examining the nails on the back of his hand.
“What the riders can do,” Namjoon said, picking up on the key phrase. “I assume you refer to something other than flying, Your Majesty?”
“I do, yes.”
When you looked at Jungkook, he nodded.
“She is referring to our ability to use magic,” he explained. “The bond which links rider to dragon allows us to do more than just ride them. It grants us access to their magic, similar to humans who are born with a gift.”
Namjoon’s eyes widened, as did Jimin’s.
Both listened as Jungkook went on to explain the history of dragons and magic on the continent. When Jungkook healed a paper cut Namjoon had on his thumb, your advisor gasped and looked on in wonder.
“A healer.” He shook his head. “Truly amazing. How large of an injury can you heal?” Namjoon asked, and you knew he was already thinking ahead to battle.
Someone like Jungkook behind the front lines, healing soldiers as they were injured, could provide an untold advantage.
“He healed me in the woods the other day,” you informed them. “A Mor patrol shot me down with a crossbow, and His Majesty saved my life.”
Jimin’s eyes widened. “It would seem we are in your debt then, Your Majesty,” he told Jungkook, seeming displeased by the thought.
Jungkook merely shook his head.
“Let us not speak of debt, Jimin,” you said before Jungkook could speak. “If we are to work together, we must stop thinking of our relationship as a ledger. Instead, we must learn to work as a unit.”
Yoongi arched a brow, clearly amused by your shifted stance.
“Hence our flying this morning,” Jungkook agreed.
Looking his way, you nodded.
This was what you’d decided after your conversation with Yoongi. Although you had not changed your mind about accepting Jungkook’s proposal, the least you could do was set aside your own differences. If you chose not to accept him as your mate, that was your decision – but first and foremost, you were Ashya’s Queen.
You had made a vow to do whatever you could for your country, and this meant working closely with the Ghalians.
“Is it only healing magic?” Namjoon asked, sounding curious. “Or are there other kinds?”
Rather than answer, Jungkook looked at Taehyung, who rolled up his sleeves. Walking out of the circle, he came to a stop several paces away.
“There are other kinds of magic,” Taehyung said, and it was one of the first times you’d ever heard him speak.
Taehyung’s voice had a deep, earthen quality. It was soothing, rhythmic and you stared at him with interest as he spread his hands.
For a moment, nothing happened.
Then Taehyung closed his eyes and storm clouds began to gather. You stared at the sky as it darkened, russet-tipped thunderheads swirling overhead. As the wind whipped his hair, Taehyung opened his eyes and you saw they’d turned silver.
A bolt of lightning shot from his palms, lighting the sky above a deep purple. He let the tempest continue until his point had been made. Then, teeth gritted, Taehyung lowered his arms and allowed the clouds to disperse. As quickly as they’d come, the clouds disappeared, leaving only mist and the rising sun.
Everyone from Ashya stared.
“His dragon is a stormmaker,” Jungkook explained. “It is rare for one of their kind to bond with a human. It has not happened within living memory.”
Yoongi was the first to regain himself. “Do all riders have magic?”
“No,” answered Maia. “It is similar to when a Dragon and human have a child. The child does not always have a gift. It is the same with riders and dragons. I, for example, have no magic.”
“Yes, but you have a dragon,” Yoongi pointed out, which made her smile.
“I do have that,” she acknowledged.
Almost sheepish, Taehyung rejoined the circle with his hands in his pockets. His gaze had returned to dark brown, but you could not seem to shake the memory of silver. It was a tremendous power you could use on the battlefield.
Abruptly, you turned to Jungkook. “How were you planning to keep that a secret?” you demanded, waving a hand. “I should think it would have been obvious once your rider started throwing lightning around.”
“Hence why we planned on explaining after the treaty,” Jungkook said mildly.
“All this time.” Namjoon finally found his voice. “Magic in Duret Ghal has been passed down by the riders, not Dragons?”
“Both,” Seokjin corrected. “Riders cannot pass on their magic to their children. It is only the offspring of Dragon and human who can be born with gifts. Like your advisor,” he said, nodding to Yoongi.
Yoongi arched a brow. You had not spoken openly about his magical abilities, but you supposed word got around.
Namjoon continued to frown. “Most peculiar,” he said slowly. “When a shapeshifting Dragon mates with a human, their offspring can inherit one of many magical gifts. Not just shapeshifting.”
“Uzza, my dragon, has a theory about that,” Taehyung offered. “He believes dragons have a more fixed nature than humans. When magic is passed down through dragons, it remains the same, but with humans… we are more fluid.” He paused, then shrugged. “Magic becomes whatever form the human is closest to.”
“Fascinating,” Namjoon breathed.
“Which is why I asked the King and his riders to join us this morning,” you announced. “Once the treaty is finalized, we will fight together against Mor. It is time we learned how to use everything in our arsenal.”
Jimin, who had remained silent throughout the demonstration, finally nodded.
Despite his personal feelings towards Duret Ghal, he would always place Ashya above all else. If the magic of the riders was something you could use to your advantage, Jimin would be the one who figured out how to do it.
Still, you knew this must hurt. You were not the only one who noticed Jimin’s reticence. Taehyung had been watching your commander from across the circle, and he now cocked his head as he took a step forward.
“You are Park Jimin, are you not?” he asked.
Jimin met Taehyung’s gaze. “I am.”
Taehyung nodded. “I have heard stories of you, both on and off the battlefield. Neither of us led our respective armies when your father was killed,” he said, a bit quieter. “But all the same, I am sorry for your loss.”
Jimin’s eyes glinted. “Sorrow does not bring back the dead.”
“No, it does not.”
Jimin stared at him a moment, until some of the anger faded from his gaze. Finally, he looked at the castle and exhaled.
“Are we to fly this morning?” he asked, returning to you. “If we are, we should probably go before the sun gets too high.”
You nodded, uncertain what had just transpired.
“We should leave, then.” Jimin turned away. “I will need to know the full capabilities of your riders. General Kim,” he called out as he walked. “Can you control the lightning, or merely call it?”
Taehyung fell into step alongside him, discussing strategy as they left the field. You watched them go, amazed Jimin had released his past so easily.
Namjoon sighed. “Must I fly as well, Your Majesty?”
You hid a smile. “If you truly wish to stay on the ground…”
Grumbling beneath his breath, Namjoon turned to follow Jimin across the field. You knew you should go as well, but something within seemed to hold you back.
“And what about you?” you asked, glancing at Seokjin. “Are you a rider?”
Seokjin grimaced. “No, Your Majesty. My mother sent me to the bonding ceremony, but all I succeeded in was falling off several dragons.”
“It is where we met though,” Jungkook said, jumping in. “I admired his honesty and wit. Enough that, when I became King, I requested Lord Seokjin be appointed to my closest court.”
“His honesty has been well-noted,” Yoongi said drily.
Maia laughed, her features losing some of their earlier tension. Yoongi glanced her way in surprise, a pleased flush spreading across his cheeks.
In the background, the steady beat of wings filled the air. When you turned, you saw Jimin in Dragon form rising above the sheds. His scales were a dazzling gold, sparkling as he flew across the morning sun.
Taehyung had joined atop his dragon, Uzza. Uzza had scales of slate grey, faded to blue along his spine and his shoulders.
As you watched them both fly, a bout of longing swept through you. Seeing a rider and Dragon fly alongside one another had not been something deemed possible before.
Their wings were swiftly drowned out by Nemrys’ arrival, who circled once overhead before landing beside Jungkook. Bowing, you kept your gaze fixed on his. Nemrys inclined his head in turn, then released a snort.
Jungkook grinned. “He wishes to know if you plan on being shot again.”
Rolling your eyes, you turned to walk away. Jungkook laughed at the sight, the sound of it echoing as you crossed the field.
Once inside a shed, you stripped quickly from your gown and laid this on the bench. Only a few days ago, you’d assumed dragons mostly unintelligent and now, one of them was insulting you. The realization made you smile.
It made the world seem wider, somehow. As though more things were possible than you’d previously thought.
Shifting quickly to Dragon form, you lifted from the ground and hovered above the sheds. In the distance, you could see Taehyung alongside Jimin on his dragon. Glancing west, you spotted Namjoon and Maia rising to join them.
Namjoon’s scales were a deep purple, a jewel-tone Ashyan miners would envy. Maia’s dragon, whom you did not know the name of, was a grey pale enough to be confused with blue. As you flew towards their group, Taehyung pointed from his dragon, Uzza.
Craning your neck, you saw Jungkook on the ground. He watched from below, wind whipping his hair as Nemrys beat his wings. Leaning down, he murmured something to Nemrys, who bent his legs and took off. Far below, you heard Seokjin whoop.
With a roar, Jimin dove towards the ground. Taehyung followed suit, along with Namjoon and Maia. Once Jungkook had reached you atop Nemrys, you joined in the show.
It was strange to fly as a group. Dragons were solitary creatures, only banding together when necessary for survival. When you did fly with others, you communicated through a combination of flame and roars, signaling what direction you were about to take.
Soaring higher, you turned your head and saw Jungkook beside you. From the back of Nemrys, he grinned and something warm bloomed in your chest. You recalled what it felt like to fly with him, against him. Something within you ached to feel this again.
This was not the time to reminisce though, so you attempted to focus on the moment at hand. That first flight didn’t last long – you were still monarchs, after all, and the day remained before you. Still, your heart felt lighter when you landed on the ground.
For a first foray between nations, things had gone relatively smoothly. Even Yoongi seemed pleased by the progress, speaking with Taehyung and Jimin as they returned to the castle. The success of today made the impossible seem possible.
Including some things you’d never let yourself imagine.
Jungkook’s face while he flew, his eyes bright and smile wide, played like a loop again and again in your mind.
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After another full day of negotiations, the treaty between you and Duret Ghal began to come together. It was a good thing, since Jungkook and his delegation would leave in the next couple of days.
Preparing for sleep that night, you reached for the jar of salve Hoseok had given you and found it empty. You’d applied it every morning and night, whenever the muscle ached, or you found yourself tired. It had helped a great deal, so now you hesitated. Flying this morning had been strenuous on your muscles.
Amara had left, gone to visit her family in the city for the evening. In her absence, you strode across your room and opened the door to the hall. You instructed one of your guards to bring the empty jar to Hoseok and ask for a refill.
While you waited for them to return, you changed into a nightgown and robe. You had just finished washing your face when a knock came from the hall. Expecting the guard returned with your salve, you strode from your chambers and pulled open the door.
You found yourself face to face not with a guard, but with Jungkook.
“Your Majesty,” you said, freezing in place. “I – to what do I owe this pleasure?”
Jungkook stared at you for a moment, then pulled a jar from behind his back. “I brought the salve from Hoseok,” he said. “I heard you were in need of more.”
“I am.” You blinked. “But you did not need to do that.”
His gaze searched yours, lingering when he dropped to your parted robe. Although you wore a nightgown beneath, you were suddenly aware of the sheer material.
Hastily, you closed the robe tighter.
Cheeks reddening, Jungkook looked up. “It was no trouble,” he said, only to pause. “May I come in, Your Majesty? I do have something I wish to discuss.”
“Ah, so there is an ulterior motive.”
Despite the humor in your voice, you hesitated. Glancing past him, you saw your guards and decided whatever Jungkook had to say, it was best to hear it in private.
“Alright,” you said, stepping aside. “You may come in.”
Surprise crossed his face, though it quickly disappeared. Nodding his thanks, Jungkook entered the room as you shut the door. You stared at it for a moment, gathering your courage before you turned around.
You’d brought many men to your chambers over the years. Yoongi had been in here only the other night, but something about Jungkook’s presence felt different. He was too big, taking up a space no one else could.
Perhaps it was this bond you felt for him, this tingling down your spine at having him so near. Your very soul ached for him, even as you denied him.
Jungkook wandered inside, taking in the décor. A fireplace took up much of the north wall, light flickering over the rug at your feet.
Coming to a stop at the table, Jungkook set down the jar.
“Why did you come?” you asked quietly.
Turning around, Jungkook found your gaze.
You realized the very real danger you were in. Not because Jungkook was your mate. He was, yes, but it was so much more than that. You genuinely enjoyed his company. You found yourself listening for his remarks when you sat by his side, trying not to laugh whenever he made a joke.
It was hard to separate the supernatural from the natural when it came to Jungkook. In a world where mates did not exist and souls were cast adrift, you thought you might have loved him even then. 
Perhaps this was the true magic of the mating bond, after all. Rather than let you wonder, Natal brought you an equal, someone who’d uplift your spirit rather than drag you under.
“You asked for additional salve,” Jungkook said again.
“I did.” You cocked your head. “A servant could have brought that, though – or Hoseok, if he chose.”
“Indeed, he could have.”
A shadow crossed Jungkook’s expression at this, gone before it could be fully realized. He took a step closer, skirting the table to come to a stop. With his height what it was, you were forced to look upwards to see him.
“The soldiers Jimin sent to search the mountains returned this afternoon,” Jungkook informed you. “They found no other Mor patrols so close to Ashya.”
“That is good to know,” you said with a nod. “We will need all the time we can to formulate a plan of attack.”
Thus far, Mor had made no overt advances against you. There had been skirmishes on the southern border, a few miles gained or lost with occasional pushes, but nothing serious. Mor’s full army remained within their own land, biding their days until they chose to strike.
It was only a matter of time before things boiled over. It made sense for Jungkook to discuss Mor’s movements with you, but he’d never visited your chambers to do so before.
“Is there something else you came here to say?” 
Jungkook arched a brow. “Is it possible I might have come simply to enjoy your presence?”
“You could have.”
“Then, what is the problem?”
“The problem,” you said, narrowing your gaze, “is you seem to be the kind of person who says one thing and means another.”
His gaze darkened. “I suppose you would know, Your Majesty.”
“What is that supposed to mean?”
Rather than answer this, Jungkook turned away. Staring out the window, he seemed to consider his words before he turned back.
“You are a conundrum, Your Majesty,” he said at last.
You sniffed. “That sounds like something a man might say when he does not understand a woman.”
“You are right,” Jungkook said lowly. “For I do not understand you at all.”
This made you blink. It was your own words from the night of the feast, thrown back in your face.
“In what way?” you demanded.
“We knew each other before, and yet you pretend to be strangers. You fight so valiantly for your own kind and yet, keep them at arm’s length. You decline my proposal of marriage,” he said, taking a step closer, “and yet, you consider a political union with another.”
You stared at him for a moment, utterly thrown. “A union with whom?”
“Lord Declan.”
A laugh escaped before you could help it. “Lord Declan is not my betrothed.”
“He tells people he is.”
“Then he is a liar,” you ground out.
Jungkook paused. “Did you consider his offer?”
“I considered your offer, as well.”
“Which you declined.”
“I shall decline him as well, should he ever gather the courage to actually ask me.”
Jungkook hesitated at this, curiosity entering his gaze.
“Why, though?” he asked, a tad softer. “Why decline everyone who asks for your hand? Is there someone else? The man who taught you to sign in the army, perhaps.”
At this, your eyes widened. “How did you know?”
“Merely a guess,” Jungkook said quietly.
Looking abruptly away, he rubbed his thumb to his forefinger in an anxious gesture. You wished he would stop. The gesture made him seem far too human, far too genuine, and tempting and true.
Before you could consider the ramifications, you said, “I do not love someone else.”
You were not sure why you said it. Certainly, it would have been easier for Jungkook to think your heart belonged to another and yet, you could not bear to watch the light fade from his eyes.
Jungkook turned his head to see you. “So, it is me, then,” he said quietly.
“No. And also, yes.”
He frowned. “Clear as mud, Your Majesty.”
You laughed, although there was no humor to it. “What do you expect me to say? That you have convinced me after a week of interactions? That I am awed by your presence, Your Majesty? Is this what you seek in return for healing me in the forest? My hand in marriage?”
Jungkook looked stricken. “No,” he breathed. “Not that. Never that. I would never demand such a thing.”
Something in you softened at his sincerity.
“Then, what?” you asked quietly. “What is it?”
“I just… I wish you would tell me why.”
Unable to meet his gaze, you glanced away. It was a fair question. Jungkook had been nothing but good in the time he’d been here. It occurred to you suddenly that by choosing not to mate, you were taking away his one chance at the bond, as well.
Slowly, you turned back to face him. “I made a vow,” you said, so soft you could hardly hear. “When I became Queen, I vowed I would never marry. It is not something I can turn my back on.”
It was a half-truth, but enough for now.
Jungkook’s brow furrowed. “Why would you make such a vow?”
“Many reasons,” you said. “The main being I wish to belong only to myself and my country. Anything else, and I would do my people a disservice. When I accepted the crown, I said Ashya would always come first.”
The way Jungkook was staring at you made you feel on display, as though he saw through to your very soul and knew what you were made of.
“It is a tricky slope, is it not?” he said at last, stepping closer.
This step brought him within touching distance, the heat of his body seeming to reach out to yours. Something golden and strong brightened between you.
“What do you mean?” 
Jungkook did not look away. “Is the best version of yourself the one without help? Without support? You say you do not wish to do your people a disservice, but is it a disservice to lead while you are unhappy?”
“And you think... marrying you would make me happy?”
“Maybe not,” he admitted, his gaze soft. “All I know is the life you speak of does not sound like a life at all.”
Having no response to this, you could only stare when Jungkook took your hand in his. Lifting your hand, he kept his gaze on yours. As he lowered his gaze, his lips slowly brushed the back of your fingers.
When he released you, you found you could not move, could hardly breathe. It seemed impossible to hide your reaction when Jungkook looked up.
You wanted him. You wanted him so badly it hurt and yet, something continued to hold you back. All you could see when you looked at Jungkook was the pain in your father’s eyes when he learned your mother had died.
“I will take my leave,” Jungkook said when you did not respond. “It has been a long day, and you must be tired.”
You nodded, unable to do more than that when he turned to go.
Halfway to the door, you had the sudden urge to do something. To call out, to ask him to come back, to reveal the bond you felt strengthening between you.
In the end you did none of it. The fear of being broken was greater than your want to be whole.
Jungkook turned at the door. “My offer will stay until I go,” he said before he went.
The door shut behind him, leaving you in silence. Exhaling, you walked to the table and uncapped a decanter. Pouring yourself a glass of wine, you sat before the fire and drank every drop.
It was a long time before you managed to fall asleep that night.
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During your flight the next morning, you went north instead of south. Although Jimin had not found additional Mor patrols, your run-in with them had increased your caution. Soaring above the tree line, the sun brightening the horizon, your heart felt heavier than it had in a while.
When you finally landed and hurried inside, you were entirely alone.
For the first time, this did not strike you as such a good thing.
Independence had always been one of your most prized possessions. Your crown had stripped you of so much – your youth, freedom, and the first man you’d loved. Now though, you wondered what you’d given up by clinging to your ideals so tightly.
You did not have much time to consider it. The ball for Duret Ghal was tonight, and the day after tomorrow, their delegation would leave. You would sign the treaty in the morning and then they would be off.
Jungkook’s offer of marriage would disappear with it.
Amara had outdone herself with your dress for the evening. It was crimson in color, falling in gauzy pleats from a golden, metal bodice. Amara had dusted gold powder across your shoulders, resulting in a shimmering aura.
Red was neither the color of Ashya, nor of Duret Ghal. It was the color of fire, of passion – and of love, you realized with a twisting stomach.
Again, Yoongi was your escort and even his eyes widened as you stepped out the door.
“You are going to give someone a heart attack,” he chuckled, extending his arm.
You merely shook your head as you walked down the hall. The crown you wore tonight was gold, as well. A relic from an ancient Queen of Ashya before the colors had changed to silver and green.
“I am sure they will be fine,” you responded. “It is not as though I plan on shifting in the middle of a waltz.”
“It would certainly liven things up if you did.”
Although you gave Yoongi a look, you quickly fell silent as you approached the ball. Beyond the shut doors, you could hear muffled noises of music and laughter.
“Did Namjoon tell you about the dancing?”
Sharply, you turned your head. “No, he did not. What dancing?”
“Apparently, it is the custom in Duret Ghal for their monarch to lead the first dance.”
“I wish His Majesty the best of luck, then.”
Yoongi hid a smile. “You will need to dance also, Your Majesty.”
“Why is that?”
“Perhaps you are unfamiliar with the concept of balls,” Yoongi mused. “Typically, there is food, dancing, general merriment…”
“I know what a ball is, Yoongi.”
“You seemed confused by the prospect of dancing, though.”
“By the prospect of dancing with His Majesty, yes.”
“Now I am the one who is confused, because –”
“Fine,” you ground out as the doors began to open. “I will dance the first song with His Majesty. Nothing more.”
Yoongi grinned, patting your arm as you entered the room.
The ballroom had been lavishly decorated for tonight’s event. Taking it in, you passed over iced draperies, flowers and foliage spilling from every surface. People were gathered throughout, leaving room in the center of the ballroom for you to dance. An orchestra sat poised in the corner, awaiting your entrance to start the first song.
As you and Yoongi descended the spiral staircase, you only had eyes for the opposite side, where the delegation from Duret Ghal already stood. To where Jungkook was standing, watching your entrance.
His robes were similar to those he’d worn at the feast, although the colors tonight were black and gold. Long robes cut to mid-calf, tied in the middle by a black sash. Sigils of gold had been stitched into the fabric, with a thin chain of gold curved across his chest.
Lifting your gaze, your breath caught in your throat. Jungkook’s hair had been bound in a half-bun, the dark tresses broken only by his golden crown.
Walking closer to him under the lights, everything else seemed to fade. Despite your best efforts, something between you had shifted and now that it had, you couldn’t turn back.
You started imagining what the future would look like beside him. Not a future where you were lesser, but rather where you had support. Strength, like he had offered. Oddly enough, the image did not scare you as it once did.
Stepping onto the dais to turn around, you looked at the crowd. In your peripheral, you could see Jungkook looking at you. Ignoring him, you focused instead on your racing heart. You could almost feel it beat in tandem to his, yearning to run at the same pace.
It was not necessary to greet your guests, nor give a speech of pretty words. Instead you simply turned to face him as the music began. Jungkook held out his hand, waiting until you placed your palm over his.
Jungkook’s fingers curled about yours, leading you on the dance floor. People parted as you walked, leaving a space at the center. Jungkook pulled you to face him, placing a hand on your waist as you settled yours on his shoulder.
You looked up. Meeting your gaze, Jungkook took a step backwards to lead you in the first move.
His grip on you tightened as he led you in a spin. Jungkook was a good dancer, although this did not surprise you. By this point he could have announced he was the goddess Natal, herself, and you would have taken it in stride.
This image made you smile, unable to stop it as he swept you around.
“Why are you smiling?” Jungkook asked, his voice low.
Startled, you glanced up and wished you had not. This close, you could see everything, and it made your heart ache.
“I was imagining something funny,” you murmured.
Jungkook’s hand slid to the small of your back. Heat scalded your spine, making your head spin.
“Not about me, I hope,” Jungkook said, his lips dangerously close to your ear.
“And if it were?”
His grip on you tightened. “I would like to know the joke.”
Looking up, you met his gaze. “Does it ever tire you?”
Jungkook blinked.
Others had joined the dance at this point, entering the floor in a promenade. Multicolored skirts and robes swept circles around you, leaving you floating at the center of it all.
“Does what ever tire me?” Jungkook asked.
“This,” you said, glancing at your surroundings. “The pressure. The weight. The constant duties, expectations and never-ending loneliness of wearing our crowns.”
For a moment, Jungkook was silent, and you feared you’d overstepped. Then he exhaled, pulling you closer. His thumb brushed against the bare curve of your back.
“Every day,” he admitted.
Before you could respond, the song came to an end.
Couples stepped apart, talking, and laughing in the lull between songs. You and Jungkook stared at one another, the only two in the room as far as you were concerned. For so long, you had convinced yourself having a mate would be a bad thing.
Perhaps it was for some. For your parents, their bond had ended tragically, this was for certain. But for the first time, you wondered if keeping yourself from happiness because you didn’t want to be hurt might simply be a different kind of hurt itself.
When a hand tapped you on the shoulder, you nearly jumped.
Whirling around, you found Lord Declan before you. You stared at him for a few moments, wondering why he was here.
“Your Majesty.” Lord Declan bowed low at the waist. “Would you do me the honor of having the next dance?”
Of course – this was a ball. You would be expected to dance with others, not only Jungkook. Feet faltering, you glanced sideways but before you could decline, Jungkook took a step back.
“She is all yours,” he said, turning around.
Jungkook disappeared, his midnight-colored robes swishing about his ankles. Lord Declan closed in, forcing your attention away as the orchestra began the next song.
“Yes,” you said, trying to focus. “You may, Lord.”
Lord Declan entered where Jungkook had left off, his right hand slipping beneath yours as his other found your waist. His touch felt wrong, as though you’d put the opposite glove on your hand.
“How fortunate the first dance of the night was a short one,” Lord Declan said with a chuckle.
Startled, you glanced up. “I beg your pardon?”
“I envy your patience, Your Majesty,” he continued, oblivious to your tone. “Had I been forced to spend so long these past weeks in the presence of riders…” Breaking off, he shuddered. “Your control is exemplary.”
Had Lord Declan been a wise man, he might have noticed the heat simmering in your gaze. Or the way your spine stiffened, a lone muscle ticking in your jaw. As it were though, Lord Declan was not a smart man, and so he continued to throw caution to the wind.
You were not certain when you’d become so defensive of Jungkook, but the fact remained the Lord’s comments made you see red.
“I do not know that I would call my control exemplary,” you said, your tone deceptively light. “Indeed, my Lord, I find my courtiers often say things I find infuriating.”
Lord Declan paused, clued in by your choice of words.
“If I have said something to offend Your Majesty…”
His steps were not as graceful as Jungkook’s, nearly stepping on your toes as you turned around. Dodging the gesture, you glanced aside and realized Jungkook had not left the dance floor. Instead, he danced with Maia at the edge of the room. While you were watching, Jungkook threw his head back and laughed.
Unpleasantness curdled your stomach despite your insistence he was not yours to want.
“You have said something to offend me, Lord,” you said, returning to Declan. “Either you are ignorant or stupid, and I pray to Natal you are not both.”
Lord Declan stared, his jaw sagging a little.
“We face an enemy,” you said, voice lowering. “Our enemy is not Duret Ghal, nor is it their riders. I suggest you cease speaking such heresy before I wonder if the mines your family owns would do better in the hands of someone else.”
His eyes widened. “Your Majesty, I do not think –”
“Then we are in agreement,” you said, dropping your arms to take a step back.
Turning around, you stalked towards the edge of the dance floor, barely managing to keep your steam in check. When you glanced again at the offending corner, Jungkook and Maia had disappeared.
Driven by a mix of emotions you dared not name, you slipped beyond the courtiers and out a side door. Eyes closed, you allowed the night air to wash over you. Coming to a stop at the edge of the gardens, you opened your eyes to take in the Thadal mountains.
It was colder than it had been a few weeks ago. The winter solstice was coming, and your human skin could only protect you from so much. Still, you could not stomach returning to the party and so, you kept walking, entering the dark hedges.
You let yourself wander, following the twists and turns with nothing but your heart as its guide. When you turned a corner and found Jungkook before you, it almost was not a surprise.
The moment was overlaid with another memory, from ten years prior. The night you’d realized Jungkook was your mate and looked to the future with wonder.
He was alone again, facing away as he stared into an empty, cracked basin. The fountain had been turned off for the winter and before you could speak, Jungkook sighed.
“Were you not enjoying the party?” he asked.
Walking forward, you came to a stop beside him. “I might ask you the same thing,” you said, staring into the basin. “I saw you enjoying yourself during the last dance.”
Jungkook turned his head.
“Are you jealous, Your Majesty?” he murmured, his gaze flinty.
“Merely noting the obvious,” you said, refusing to face him. “You call me a conundrum and yet, you dance with another woman while proposing marriage to me.”
“One dance.”
“So, there has never been anything between you?”
Jungkook paused. “I will not pretend to have been celibate these past ten years. Neither should you, Your Majesty.”
Looking at him, you attempted to calm the roiling feelings within you. It was not right to feel like this. Not right to be jealous, to berate him when you continued to decline his offer.
“Am I correct,” he said, his voice low, “in thinking you do not want me for yourself, yet you do not want anyone else to have me either?”
“That… that is not fair.”
“Perhaps you know how I feel, then,” Jungkook said, his gaze hardening.
Startled, your eyes widened as he took a step closer. Coming to a stop right before you, Jungkook looked down.
“Watching you entertain other men,” he said hotly. “Watching you dance with other men, consider other men while you continue to deny what lies between us. What we are to one another. My former betrothed. And my mate,” he added, his gaze like dark fire.
Speechless, you could only stare in response.
Jungkook knew.
He knew and had said nothing this entire time. You wondered when he’d realized but lost your head entirely when he lifted a hand. Pressing his thumb beneath your chin, Jungkook tipped your head up.
Bending, he brushed your lips against his. The kiss was chaste, sweet – and wildfire erupted in response. Before you could stop yourself, your hand had fisted in his robes to drag him down. You kissed him back hungrily, fiercely as the heat consumed you.
Jungkook seemed to burn just as bright, crushing you close. His arms wrapped around you, tongue eagerly flicking against your lower lip. When you parted beneath him, he licked into your mouth. Inhaling his scent, you wanted him closer.
It was not at all how you’d imagined it to be.
You had thought once you gave in, it would feel like erasing yourself. Removing the old to make way for the new, but it was not like that at all. Letting him in only made you feel stronger.
Thumbs skimming your cheeks, Jungkook angled you upward and kissed you again. He drew a shuddering breath before he forced himself to stop.
Slowly, his eyes opened and he stared at you, his chest rising and falling.
“If you do not want this, though.” Hoarse, his thumbs caressed your skin. “I do not wish to force it upon you. You should not marry me because of a bond, Your Majesty. Nor should you because you think it’s what’s best for Ashya. I want you to marry me because you want to. Nothing more.”
When you did not respond, Jungkook’s expression began to shutter and he took a step backwards. His hands fell to his sides, the air between you turning cold.
All too late, you realized you’d waited too long. You should have said something immediately, should have done something other than kiss him like a maniac.
“Thank you,” Jungkook said. “For the hospitality you’ve shown Duret Ghal these past weeks. Whatever your feelings are for me, I look forward to signing the treaty tomorrow.”
Before you could say anything more, Jungkook walked past you and left the gardens. You were left alone beside an empty basin.
You stayed there for a while, staring at the looming Thadal mountains, and wondering how in the world you had gotten things so wrong.
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When you returned to the proceedings of the ball, Yoongi was smart enough not to ask where you had been. He seemed to know anyways, based on the look on your face.
Stiffly you stood and surveyed the dancing couples. Whenever you cared to look, you caught glimpses of Jungkook on the opposite side.
You tried not to, but this proved to be difficult now that you knew. Jungkook knew you were his mate. You knew what his lips tasted like. All of this you knew and could not forget.
It was his last words which ran again and again through your mind. Jungkook knew you were his mate and yet, he’d said nothing because he wanted you to choose him for him. It was such a foolhardy, romantic notion it made your heart ache.
Even with Leo, you had not felt this way. If you had been honest, you had known your relationship would be doomed from the start. Leo had never challenged you in ways which made you grow. You’d kept him at arm’s length, never giving him the opportunity to know your true self. 
After the death of your parents, you’d been in a dark place. You had made the vow not to marry out of an attempt to protect yourself. Perhaps you’d grown beyond needing such things.
The next time you looked, Jungkook was looking back.
He glanced away quickly, but he’d looked. The realization made you take a step forward but before you could go to him, Yoongi leaned in.
“What did you say to him when you danced?”
Surprised, you glanced in his direction. You thought Yoongi meant Jungkook but then realized he looked at Lord Declan. Declan seemed flustered, pointedly looking anywhere but at you while Lord Larkin glared from across the room.
You stifled a snort. “Only the truth.”
“Which was?”
“That like it or not, Duret Ghal are our allies, so they better start acting like it.”
Quietly, Yoongi laughed as he straightened. “No wonder his father looks as though he swallowed something sour.”
Guiltily, you looked away. “I am sorry if I caused you trouble,” you said, knowing Yoongi would be the one to clean it up. “It is only –”
“You were right.” Yoongi nodded. “The world is changing, and they can either change with the times or be left behind. I am glad you said something.”
Shooting him a grateful look, you glanced again across the room and realized Jungkook had disappeared. Scanning the rest of the ball, you spotted some of his delegation but not their King. Maia was dancing with Namjoon and to your surprise, you realized Taehyung had asked Amara to dance.
Jungkook was nowhere to be seen. Despite his absence, you forced yourself to stay until Yoongi deemed it socially acceptable for you to leave. The last thing you wanted was to put the treaty in jeopardy because you’d overlooked proper etiquette.
As the evening went on, candles guttered low in the chandeliers and guests began to thin out the dance floor. People started disappearing, traveling home in groups of two and three. Sometime around midnight, you finally bade Yoongi goodnight.
Forgoing his offer of escort, you took a side hall and exited the ball. It was a quiet walk to your chambers, a silence which did not lessen once you were inside.
Removing your crown, you set this on your dresser and stared out the window. You wondered if this was your future. A cold, lonely existence where you always ended up in your room alone.
Jungkook was right.
You kept everyone at a distance because you were afraid of being hurt. You were afraid if you let them in, you’d grant them the power to tear your heart in two. The problem was you weren’t sure how much longer you’d have a heart to give.
It already felt like a feeble, weakened thing within your chest. You didn’t know how to make it work like it should. So accustomed to your own company, you were unable to respond to true acts of friendship. This struck you as a poor kind of ruler for any nation. 
It made you wonder if the vow you’d once made held no further weight.
Now was time to decide what kind of ruler you wanted to be, what kind of person you wanted to be moving forward. Your life could still be wondrous if you so wished.
Abruptly, you turned and strode for the door.
Your guards seemed surprised to see you leave, but let you pass by with a nod. Once in the hallways, your feet seemed to know the way. Down one hall, then the next, you found yourself entering the guest wing before your mind could catch up.
Depending on stature, guests of the crown stayed with varying proximity to your personal quarters. It was not far to the rooms Jungkook occupied, the most lavish guest suite in the castle.
Outside his room, your steps slowed before coming to a stop. Jungkook did not have guards posted outside his doors. Some might have seen this as a sign of naiveté, but you saw it for what it was. A symbol of trust.
Lifting a hand, you knocked on his door.
It took him a few seconds to answer, rustling noises telling you he was within. When he swung open the door, your mouth immediately went dry.
Jungkook had changed from his formal attire to a more casual tunic and trousers. It took a great deal of effort to keep your eyes on his face, and not wander towards the ink you saw peering out from his sleeves.
Surprise flickered in the depths of his gaze, although he quickly concealed it. Leaning a shoulder to the frame, Jungkook arched a brow.
“To what do I owe the pleasure of your visit, Your Majesty?”
Any words you wished to say dried up like a stream in the desert. Finally, you managed to rouse yourself.
“May I come in?” you asked.
Jungkook paused. For a moment, you were afraid he might tell you to go. You had turned him down so many times; surely it was time for him to return the favor.
Then he dipped his head and stepped aside, allowing you entrance. Heart pounding, you slipped past him and stood at the center of the room.
His rooms were your guest chambers, so you had obviously seen them before. Occasionally you met with foreign dignitaries or visitors. Jungkook had stayed long enough though, that portions of the room had begun to seem like his own.
The black and gold robes he’d worn to the ball were draped over a partition. A trunk remained half-open beside a table, full of stacks of books. It reminded you of your visit to Duret Ghal so long ago, where he could often be found in the library.
“Would you like wine?” Jungkook interrupted your thoughts.
Mutely, you nodded and reached for the crystal decanter. Midway there, Jungkook’s hand caught your wrist.
“Allow me,” he said, moving past.
You stopped and watched him pour two glasses of wine. One after the other, Jungkook set them down on the table.
“You knew,” you said quietly. “You knew you were my mate.”
Jungkook hesitated, continuing to stare at the wine.
After a moment, he lifted a glass and took a long sip. “Yes,” he admitted. “I knew.”
“When?” you demanded.
His eyes narrowed, looking up. “When did you know, Your Majesty?”
“At the end of my last visit to Duret Ghal.”
“I knew the moment I saw you,” he said quietly.
“You – what?”
Jungkook set his wine down. “Your arrival was scheduled for shortly before sundown,” he said. “My parents had dressed me in my best clothes, and I remember being angry about it. I remember standing there fuming, waiting for you to arrive. And then you did.”
His eyes shone. “I had never seen someone so beautiful.”
Hearing him speak, your breath caught in your chest. Jungkook began to walk closer, his expression inscrutable.
“I avoided you for a few days,” he continued. “Mates are rarer in Duret Ghal and for a while, I didn’t know what I was feeling. Even once I realized, I resented the bond. It was difficult enough to accept my own magic back then.”
“What changed your mind?”
“You.” His lips curled in a smile. “You surprised me. I found myself liking you despite myself. I started to realize the bond might not be such a bad thing.”
“So… this entire time, you have known,” you said in disbelief.
“I have.” His expression darkened. “As have you, it would seem.”
Guilty, you looked away. You had and it had not occurred to you to tell him.
That was a lie. It had occurred to you and you’d decided against it, because you did not think you could stomach denying the bond to his face.
Reaching out, Jungkook took your hand. The gesture was so simple, it nearly broke you in two. Glancing down, you marveled when he brushed his thumb over your skin. Jungkook gave you space to think until you found the courage to speak.
“You know my mother was killed ten years ago,” you said quietly. “My father survived the attack, but they were mated and when she passed… he could not bear it.” After a pause, you looked up. “He died five years later, and those five years were as torturous for everyone else as they were for him.”
“I am sorry to hear that,” Jungkook murmured.
“He tried,” you said, forcing yourself to remember.
To remember the days when your father had tried to go on. He’d tried for you and for Ashya, but it had not been enough. There had been no light in his gaze, no meaning behind his odd smiles. Although only your mother had died in the attack, you’d lost both your parents.
“I know he did,” you continued. “But the pain of losing his mate was too much. Everything which had been important simply faded away. I swore after he passed the same fate would not befall me. It is why I said no to you,” you said, your grip tightening. “It is not because I feel nothing. I said no to you because you are my mate.”
His thumb continued to soothe over your skin. “And now?” he asked, wondering. “Did you come here simply to say this?”
“No. Now I find myself wondering if in an attempt to spare myself pain, I created agony of a different kind.”
Jungkook’s gaze softened. “I meant what I said earlier, Y/N. I don’t wish for you to agree out of some sense of duty, or an unearthly bond.”
A shiver went down your spine at hearing your name on his lips.
“That is not why I am saying yes,” you said, lifting your chin.
Surprise flared in his gaze. “No?”
“No.”
Deciding you needed the wine after all, you tugged your hand from his and turned towards the table. Lifting the glass to your lips, you let the sweet burn fill your throat.
In the corner of your eyes, you could see Jungkook watching. Waiting.
“I am saying yes because I want this,” you breathed, turning around. “I want you. I have wanted you since the day you followed me to the cliffs. I’m scared,” you admitted, barely more than a whisper. “I’m terrified of what you might do to me. Of what I might do to you. But I don’t want fear to hold me back anymore.”
Jungkook continued to stare at you, jaw working while he thought through what to say. His fingers began to tremble, fighting the rising tide of emotion.
“We face a difficult path,” he said at last.
You nodded. “I know.”
“The history between our people. Revealing the magic of the riders. War on the horizon,” he said, taking a step forward with each reason he listed.
“Do you not want me to say yes, Your Majesty?”
Jungkook came to a stop before you.
“I want you to say yes so badly it hurts,” he said hoarsely. “But I don’t want you to accept not knowing what it means.”
“The bond scared me for a long time,” you told him. “The idea of belonging to someone. Of no longer depending solely upon myself.”
“And why is that?”
“Loss of control.” Your smile was fleeting. “The idea has always terrified me more than any enemy. I feared the bond would mean losing myself… that it would mean…”
“Giving a part of yourself away.”
Quiet, you nodded.
“Did you not think, though,” he said, reaching out. “Giving a piece of yourself away might mean gaining something in return?”
Taking your hand in his, Jungkook laid them both on his heart.
You stared at your hand, splayed beneath his on his chest. The idea had not occurred to you, and yet – perhaps it should have.
“I have no doubt you will remain independent,” Jungkook insisted. “Accepting this bond would not change that. I would not want that to change.”
“But if I were to die –”
“Love is always a liability,” Jungkook quietly said. “It is. And yet, where would we be without it? My love for Nemrys, for Duret Ghal and the riders saved me when my parents died. A world without love is not one worth fighting for.”
Ever so gentle, you brushed the curve of his hand with your thumb.
Jungkook’s grip on yours tightened.
“Yes,” you breathed. Chest practically touching, you looked up to see him. “I know all this, and I’m saying yes.”
For the first time, you let yourself look at him fully.
You had known he was beautiful, but the truth was he was nearly unbearable. Strong jaw, soft lips and eyes which burned as fierce as any Dragon. You did not look at them though, wanting to take in the rest of him first. Lifting a hand, you cupped the side of his face.
Jungkook shivered at your touch. Startled, you glanced up and met his gaze. The need you found within nearly undid you.
For so long, this had been building inside. Suddenly the idea of you tolerating, let alone enjoying another man’s company seemed a strange concept. Jungkook was your mate, someone who had never once cowered from who and what you were.
Turning his head, Jungkook’s lips brushed your palm.
“What are you thinking?” he murmured.
“I am remembering earlier. Your kiss in the garden.”
His gaze darkened. “What do you want from me, my Queen?”
The addition of the word my sent a thrill down your spine.
“You,” you said, knowing how true it was.
You wanted every part of the man before you. Wanted to know him, breathe him in, drink from his cup and bask in his light. The man who’d known you were his mate and hadn’t claimed you, but rather waited. Waited you to come to him.
Rising on your tiptoes, your hands slid to his neck and you kissed him again.
You kept your pressure light, the opposite of the searing kiss you’d previously shared. Pulling away, you savored the press of his chest, the warmth of his body and the weight of his hands. When you opened your eyes, you found Jungkook smiling.
Pressing your lips to his again, you moved a bit closer. Jungkook seemed content just to kiss, trading gentle pressure – until you pulled back, teeth catching on his lower lip.
A growl loosened from his chest, low and primal.
Sliding a hand behind your neck, Jungkook tilted your head upward and waited for you to nod. When you did, he crushed your lips to his in a kiss equally fierce as it was possessive. Breath stolen, you gave him your desire and what was left of your heart.
Warmth flooded your veins, heating you from the inside out. With limbs of molten fire, you kissed him back until his tongue swiped at your lip, demanding entrance. You parted easily for him, a whimper leaving your throat as you melded together.
Jungkook groaned, pulling close to kiss you again. His fingers traced the skin at your nape, trailing your spine to firmly cup your ass. Nestled between his legs, Jungkook allowed you to feel every inch of his hardness.
Your skin was aflame, as though lightning had zipped across it. Reduced to only sensations, you shivered at each one you felt. His thumb, fondling the dip of your waist. Your nipples, turgid against the fabric of your gown. The sharp, aching pulse which steadily grew between your thighs.
“Oh,” you gasped, head tipping back.
Jungkook kissed each inch of exposed skin you gave him.
“Is this what you want?” he murmured.
“What I want, my King,” you panted, regaining some of yourself. “Is for you not to stop.”
Lips curved in a smile, he lifted his head. “I rather think your King is more appropriate, no?”
You arced a brow. “What is the difference?”
“One implies you are my subject and the other implies I belong to you.”
“And which do you prefer?”
His gaze glinted in firelight. “Allow me to show you, my Queen.”
Barely pausing, you breathed, “And which usage was that?”
With a soft sort of chuckle, Jungkook walked you both backwards until your spine hit the wall. Bending his head, he brushed his lips against yours until you were aching. Until your need for him became fire, racing through your veins in a silent demand.
Sliding his thigh between your legs, Jungkook paused when you gasped. Swiftly giving in, he covered your lips in a kiss which seared to your soul.
Slipping your hands higher, you marveled at the breadth of his torso. Years of riding had hardened his body, making you wonder what he looked like beneath the tunic.
One hand on the wall, Jungkook’s other fisted in your skirts as he tugged you closer. Sharply, you inhaled when he yanked up the fabric, exposing your knee to the gentle press of his thumb. A moan left your lips as your head hit the wall, eyes fluttering open.
Jungkook stopped. “Is it too much?” he asked, releasing your skirts.
“No.” You shook your head. “I want more. I want you”
His gaze darkened. “Then you shall have me,” he promised, covering your mouth with his.
His kiss was rough, lips bruising as your hands found his hair. Arching against him, you reveled in the hard panes of his body. It seemed wherever you had space, Jungkook had been made to fill it.
Hand in your skirts once again, Jungkook pulled them higher to press his thigh in between. You inhaled at the contact, his muscles rigid and hard in all the right places.
Before you could do anything else, Jungkook bent and grasped the back of your thighs. Wrapping you around his waist, he kept your body close as he walked towards the bed. Lowering you to the floor, his hands remained on your waist.
“Turn around,” Jungkook rasped, and you obeyed.
Facing the bed, you felt his fingers trace over the bodice of your gown.
“May I?” he asked, his voice shaky.
“Please,” you whispered.
Carefully, Jungkook began undoing the laces and hooks. As the fabric was loosened, exposing your skin to his gaze, you closed your eyes. His fingers skimmed your shoulders, sliding the fabric lower until it hit the floor.
Bared to his gaze, you felt your breath hitch. Cool air played over your skin, perking your breasts, and drifting between your thighs. The gown was sheer enough to necessitate you wore no undergarments beneath it, leaving you naked before him.
“Y/N.” Jungkook sounded hoarse. “Please… please face me.”
Slowly, you did so as you opened your eyes.
Jungkook stared, his eyes dark as night. Jaw tense, his gaze slowly dragged down your body. You felt the intimacy of it as he trailed your throat, lingered at your breasts, your ass, and between your thighs.
When he finally returned to your face, the heat between you was scorching. Throat parched, your body felt one with the fire.
“Now, you,” you murmured.
Without looking away, Jungkook lifted a hand to begin undoing his tunic. Once it was loose, he pulled this overhead in a single motion. As it hit the floor, his hands went to his trousers. With bated breath, you watched him remove the laces.
Swallowing once, you stared at his chest bathed in soft firelight. Swirling dark lines stretched across his shoulder, encircling his bicep, and traveling to his wrist. You saw words and symbols but had no time to peruse. Later, you promised yourself. Later, you’d worship the ink with your lips and tongue.
A dark smattering of hair trailed from his abs, disappearing into trousers he undid with deft fingers. Once these had been pushed to the floor, you found another reason to swallow.
You were not what anyone would call shy, but something about this felt more intimate than it ever had. Baring yourself to Jungkook meant more than just sex. You’d accepted the bond, accepted what lay between you and acknowledged him as your mate.
Seeming to understand, Jungkook took a step closer as he bent his head. His hands slid to your waist and he kissed you gently.
When he pulled away, you saw vulnerability in his gaze.
“Y/N,” he said.
You marveled at the sound of his name on your lips. “Jungkook,” you returned, and watched him smile.
Bending again, his lips found yours as his hands skimmed your body. You settled between his legs, feeling slightly light-headed from the press of so much skin. Jungkook’s hand slid lower, gripping one of your thighs to wrap around him. He gave the same treatment to the other, twisting you around to lay on the bed.
Pressing a knee to the mattress, Jungkook crawled forward and bent his head. Lips soft, he began to kiss down your body. Your hands gripped his back, trailing to find the twin dimples nestled at the base of his spine.
When Jungkook’s mouth brushed your breasts, he paused. Instead of giving in and devouring you whole, he slid a hand between your thighs and found how wet you were. Gaze lidded, he looked up as he cupped your sex. A single finger slid over your silken entrance.
Lifting the same finger to his lips, Jungkook leisurely tasted you. When he pulled his finger out, you saw it had been licked clean.
Growling in approval, Jungkook bent and closed his lips over your breast.
“Oh,” you gasped, arching beneath him.
Your nipple was already hard, peaked with desire. Jungkook sucked on it eagerly, pulling your breast taut before he raised his head. Moving on to the next, his thumb remained behind to skim over your nipple.
He continued with this sweet torture until you’d had enough.
“No more,” you gasped, curving a hand beneath his jaw.
Releasing your breast, he lifted his head. “I want to taste you,” Jungkook breathed. “I want to know what it’s like to have you fall apart on my tongue.”
Easing yourself onto your elbows, you slowly spread your legs.
“Do your worst, Your Majesty,” you said, gaze glinting.
Jungkook grinned, lowering himself to the sheets. His mouth was hot, open as he kissed your waist, your belly and lower. You did not know where to look – his entirely naked ass, or his dark head of hair before your dripping sex.
Dragging his nose up your thigh, Jungkook deeply inhaled as he centered himself. Lowering his head to your sex, he gave a tentative kiss. Even this sent a sweeping shudder through you. It took nearly everything you had not to moan like a maiden in heat.
Opening his mouth, his tongue swirled once and you nearly dissolved. Liquid heat pulsed through you, cumulating between your thighs in a sinful wave. Worshipping you with his tongue, Jungkook tore moans from your lips, one after the other.
Swiping his tongue in another slow circle, he coaxed your body to arc from the bed. With a throaty chuckle, Jungkook looked up. Hair mussed and lips wet, he looked like something divine.
“Do you want more, my Queen?” he asked lowly.
“Yes,” you exhaled, unable to look away.
A devious smile spread across his lips. Lowering his mouth, Jungkook resumed his ministrations until you were gasping his name.
“Oh,” you groaned, broken as he continued to eat you out.
Gripping your thighs, he pushed them further apart to better get at your sex. Legs splayed on the bed, you framed his broad shoulders as you reached for his hair. Another growl left him as you fisted your hand in the strands. Hips rising and falling with the motion of his mouth, your head fell limply back on the bed.
“Yes – yes,” you said, chasing the sweet pleasure with your hips.
You hardly knew what you were doing as you moved, never having felt this way before. Jungkook seemed equally entranced, his eyes snapping open to meet yours above. The bottom half of his face was wet with your juices and while you should have felt modest, instead you felt righteousness. Intoxication. Possession.
This was your body which made him look like this, half-feral with need as he ground into the mattress. “Yes,” you gasped, gripping harder as your legs started to shake. “Yes, Jungkook.”
Pleasure built from within, threatening to drown out everything but the man between your thighs. Slipping a finger to your entrance, Jungkook drew lazy circles over your sex. His tongue moved in quick, agile motions against your swollen clit.
“Come for me,” he panted, lifting his head.
Your lips parted when his finger slipped in. Gripping his hair, your hips bucked against him as he added another and curled. Crying out his name, you came hard and fast around his hand. You think you said Jungkook, amongst other things, as you went limp on the mattress, your hands falling to the sheets.
Jungkook slowly relented, gently kissing your hip, your chest and all the way up your throat. Smiling softly, he settled beside you to drape an arm over your waist. Chest rising and falling, you stared at him in wonder.
You’d often wondered what the mating bond felt like. If something would snap into place and all of a sudden, your mind would belong to someone else. Whatever you’d imagined, it had not been this. This felt as natural, as right as when you flew.
Tracing a circle on your inner thigh, Jungkook looked up. “Do you want more?”
His other hand parted your legs, cupping your heat to show you what he meant. Inhaling softly, you reached down and encircled his wrist with your hand. Jungkook went still.
“Yes,” you murmured. “But not like that.”
His eyes lightened. “How, then?”
“I want all of you. Inside me,” you said. “I take the potions monthly.”
The potions were a trio of liquids sold by most apothecaries throughout the continent. They did everything from preventing pregnancy to protecting against diseases and easing your monthly flow. Arching a brow, you glanced pointedly at the headboard.
Smiling softly, Jungkook retracted his hand. Pushing himself upwards, he shifted to seat himself against the same headboard.
You could not have imagined a more beautiful sight. With mussed hair, his skin dark with ink and flushed with arousal, Jungkook was artwork himself. Lifting yourself to your knees, you positioned yourself over his thighs and lowered your gaze.
His cock was impressive, although you had already known this. He would be the largest you’d ever taken, that was for certain.
Reaching down, you wrapped your hand gently around him. Gaze half-lidded, Jungkook stared as you dragged your hand upwards. A hiss left his lips, though he held himself back.
“Careful,” he warned, shifting his hips.
Brushing your thumb across his head, you spread already-leaking fluids down his hardened shaft. Lowering your body, your mouth slid over the reddening tip. With a flick of your tongue, you relished his soft moan of approval. Next, was a swirl, before you slid off with a pop and began to move your fist.
“This is not your first time,” Jungkook observed, breathing heavily.
“Neither is it yours, Your Majesty.”
Bending again, you took him all at once in your mouth. Gasping his chuckle, Jungkook’s hands skimmed your torso to land on your rear. For a while, the only sounds which filled the room were the sloppy sounds of you sucking.
“It is not,” he panted, fingers digging into your ass. “And yet, I cannot help but be envious of all who came before me. Of all who’ve known the sweet pleasure of your lips on their cock.”
Removing him from your mouth, you looked up.
“There is no need to be jealous,” you said, rising onto your knees. Not looking away, you swung a leg over his hips. “You are the one who has me now.”
Something proud, almost territorial entered his gaze.
Gripping you by the waist, Jungkook pulled you even closer. “Do I?” he murmured, lips brushing your throat. “My Queen. My betrothed. My mate,” he breathed, nipping the skin.
A not unpleasant shiver ran down your spine. Reaching beneath you, you gripped his cock to position at your dripping entrance. Still, you did not take him inside.
Realizing Jungkook awaited an answer, you nodded. He had you.
“Then tell me,” Jungkook demanded, looking into your eyes.
Lowering yourself, you felt his tip brush your entrance. “You have me,” you whispered. “My King. My betrothed. My mate.”
With each word, you took him in deeper. Jungkook sat upright, right hand cupping the back of your neck to bring you closer. Clasped to his warm, damp skin, you sank down on his cock.
“That’s it,” he murmured, hot in your ear. Other hand gripping your ass, he lowered you even further. “You can take more of me, can you not?”
You could and you did, not wanting to wait any longer. Hands digging into his back, you kept your chests pressed together as you sank even further. No matter how much you took, there always seemed to be more to give. Jungkook’s cock stretched you open, making you work to fit all of him inside.
“Oh,” you whimpered, gripping him tighter.
Jungkook grunted and stroked the side of your neck with his thumb. “There you go. Take all of it. All of me,” he exhaled.
A now-familiar shiver swept your spine as you moved. The last inch pushed you past your limits, but finally you felt him bottom out. For a moment, you could not breathe from the feeling of fullness. Of rightness. Of completeness.
Him sheathed inside you felt indescribable, only improved when Jungkook shifted his hips and finally moved.
“Oh,” you gasped, eyes flying wide.
“Y/N,” he groaned.
Lifting yourself higher, your nipples brushed his chest as you eased yourself down. Jungkook’s hand remained on your spine, rolling your hips as he thrust from below. Kissing him slowly, you bit down on his lip and took him in deeper.
Jungkook began to move, spearing you with his cock as you spread your legs. His kisses became harder, more desperate as a steady thrum of power built in between you. Soon it was your hips chasing his, not the other way around.
Lowering his head, Jungkook caught your breast with his mouth. Lips parting, you began to fuck him harder as you slammed your hips down. His tongue teased one rounded breast, switching to the other while his thumb flicked the first.
Dropping onto his length over and over, you marveled at the feel of him moving inside you.
“Jungkook,” you moaned, head thrown back in ecstasy.
His hands seemed to be everywhere. Clasping you to him, skimming your torso, flicking your pebbled nipples as the wave of pleasure built. Toes curling beneath you, you panted from the effort of trying not to come.
As though he could sense this, Jungkook began speeding up. Clasping you to him, he thrust into you harder, filling you with each languid roll of his hips. As your lips found each other, the strange tide of longing crested into a wave.
Winding your fingers into his hair, you tipped your head back and bared your neck to his teeth. Jungkook scraped them up your throat, whining his approval as you rode his cock. Hands gripping your ass hard enough to bruise, his hips moved even faster as he sought completion.
With his dampened skin pressed to yours, his scent began to envelop. Each moan he gave you was freely taken. Each sound you made, he swallowed whole. You were not sure how long you existed in this state, simply reveling in the pleasure from each other’s bodies.
On the edge of release, you felt the bond between you tighten. It was difficult to tell where one of you ended and the other began. Slamming your hips down to his, Jungkook was equally fierce, plunging inside you.
“I cannot hold on much longer,” he gasped.
You nodded, stroking his temple with a sweat-slicked thumb. “Together.”
Jungkook nodded, lips seeking yours in a question you answered. Hips quickening, limbs tightening, you let yourself fall into the release he offered. As you came undone, it was Jungkook you held onto. Somewhere within the bright haze of your pleasure, you felt Jungkook release as well. Thick, hot spurts of cum painted your insides white. 
You reveled in it, trembling at the idea of a future where he’d do this again. Where he’d whet you with his seed, stuffing you full in the hopes you might bear his child. The notion made you whimper, squeezing with your walls as you felt him begin to leak out. 
Although your breathing slowed, the haze of joy lingered. The mating bond became almost visible, shining crystal-clear in what had previously been darkness. It stayed with you; humming and golden, and fearfully strong.
Lifting your head, you met Jungkook’s gaze.
He had not become someone different. Neither had you and yet, something between you had changed. It was still Jungkook beneath you, inside you and with his arms wrapped around you. Now though, you knew what he was to you. Your mate. You had chosen him, and he had chosen you.
Based on his expression, you knew he felt something similar.
One of your hands slid down his chest and settled over his heart. Beneath your palm and warm skin, you felt his heart keeping pace with yours.
“Oh,” you murmured, eyes shining.
Leaning forward, Jungkook brushed your lips with his. Clasping your hand in between you, he rested his forehead to yours.
You knew obstacles lay ahead. You knew but somehow, they all seemed more possible with him by your side. With him as your partner, your mate, your betrothed.
Opening your eyes, you met his gaze and smiled.
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© kpopfanfictrash, 2021. Do not copy or repost without permission.
Author’s Note: Thank you so much to everyone read this long! I hope you enjoyed :)
Character Ask Game found here
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moonchild1 · a month ago
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jeon jungkook fic rec list (Ⅱ)
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hi guys here's a list of all my favourite jungkook fics I hope you enjoy them, please show your love and support to these amazing writers and their blogs, just so you know majority of the fics contain smut so no minors allowed please, happy reading everyone ♡
a- angst s- smut f- fluff ❣- ultimate favourite
the monogamy monologues by @kpopfanfictrash s (rom com) ❣
the virgin volume by @kpopfanfictrash s (prequel to the monogamy monologues virgin jk college au) ❣
Mad by @voidswan s (boyfriend jungkook)
all I want for cockmas by @junqkook f s ❣
[your] love's the only hoax i believe in by @sparklingchim s a (college au fuckboy) ❣
naughty pictures by @sparklingchim s (established relationship au idol au)
Stranger again by @minniefilms f a
life goes on by @jimidol f s a (established relationship au idiots to lovers au) ❣
crazy over you by @jimidol f s a (rockstar jungkook band au friends with benefits au friends to lovers au idiots to lovers au) ❣
good mood by @jimidol f s (friends with benefits au rockstar jk)
Games by @bigtiddies44 s (friends with benefits au university au friends to lovers au fuckgirl reader) ❣
Caring by @hyungieyoongi f (established relationship au pregnant reader)
ripped jeans by @kookiesjoonies s (boyfriend jk) ❣
Crown of gold by @fairykooks f (royalty au pinning au)
inked skin by @fairykooks f (tattoo artist au)
if you let me by @seokra f s a (friends to lovers au love triangle) ft. Hoseok ❣
505 by @arcticguk f a
be quiet by @jeonsweetpea f s (college au student jk professor oc) ❣
come to me by @jeonsweetpea f s a (college au best friend au) ft. Jimin ❣
Dear Jungkook by @fatrainbowmermaidunicorn a (best friends au)
Unreachably reachable by @wearenot7withu f s a
to find us again by @joonscore f s a (frenemies to lovers au first love au single dad jk) ft. Seokjin ❣
glitter and disquiet by @joheunsaram f s a (CEO jk chaebol au)
gossamer by @delightfulserendipity f (single dad au babysitter au)
the rulebook by @another-army-spot s (college au soft fuckboy jk fuckgirl oc bet au) ❣
the art of playing by @venusiangguk f s a (dilf jk friends with benefits au) ❣
Stay quiet by @hobidreams f s (boyfriend au)
Take me to church by @illneverrecover f s (gang au)
subliminal in scrubs by @joontier f s a (doctor au enemies to lovers au) ❣
Under the oak tree by @mingoyeob s a (historical au knight jk strangers to lovers au)
Mind of mine by @yslkook f s a (bad boy jk and shy/reserved oc) ❣
Forgetful confession by @suhdays f a (college au friends au)
Slip up by @arcticmarshmallow f s (roommate au)
Risky Rendezvous by @lookingforluna f (idol au established relationship au)
Empty love by @lookingforluna f s a (idol au friends to lovers au) ❣
four letters by @littlemisskookie f s a (friends with benefits au icy exterior reader enemies to lovers au college au) ft. Yoongi ❣
my lucky stars by @kookiestarlight f (parents au)
not a rom com by @buzzyybee a (best friends au) ❣
If I could lie by @alpacaparkaseok f a (exes au idol au)
adore you by @xiaokoo f s (parents au dilf jk established relationship au) ❣
bad guy by @taehoneys s (fratboy au college au) ft. Taehyung ❣
slow and steady by @yoonia s a (infidelity au pregnant wife reader) ❣
Mirrors by @yoonia s a (friends with benefits au)
Youngblood by @jinned s (rockstar jk enemies to lovers au journalist reader)
daddy issues - sunset by @euphorianyx f s a (check tags) ❣
daddy issues - dawn by @euphorianyx f s a (sequel to daddy issues, check tags) ❣
bunny boy by @parkmuse s (older reader sisters best friend au) ❣
sex education by @extravaguk f s (college au virgin reader brothers best friend au ❣
sex education 2.0 by @extravaguk f s (college au) ❣
Pavlov by @btsarmy9593 f s (established relationship au)
1K notes · View notes
nochueso · 3 months ago
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Rich People Shit
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➱ summary: I really just wanted to write rich!Jungkook. Jungkook approaches you with a proposition of friendship. He wants to spoil you shitless with designer everything, and you both end up really fucking liking each other.
➱ word count: 11k
➱ genres: smut, fluff, rich!jk x reader
➱ includes: cursing, unprotected sex (be safe out there yall), virgin!jk, virgin!reader, literally smut idk what to say rlly you're either gonna read it or not lol!
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Silently, you sat on the steps of the entrance to a very pristine, very flamboyant, and affluent University. You never thought you’d ever be here nor did you think you’d be sitting on its steps– like an actual student. Yet, here you sit, quietly, mysteriously, with a dash of pride, paging through the “Luxury” magazine in your lap. You sighed for a second, looking away from the glossy pages to take in your surroundings from the top of your sunglasses. You squinted, watching the students parade by. You could tell, you weren’t like them, you may even never be. You may dress like them, talk like them, walk like them, act like them, but on the inside you are not one of them.
On paper, you are not one of them either. You are not a student here.
You looked back at your magazine.
Surely, you applied last year, friends and family pestered you to at least give it a try, then you had actually thought you had a chance. But you see, when you’re not a trust fund baby, or have parents with cash basically flowing out of their assholes, then you really did not have a chance at this school built on classism and wealth. So why were you even here? The thing is, you might actually be a mastermind, or you may just be naively stupid.
You came here to fish.
You were still a student, just not here, your shabbier university– for the commoners– was just a few blocks away, so it was always easy for you to come here between classes, to get your work done, or just contemplate nothing.
There isn’t a pond or lake at this school, nor is there a river or fishing pier. You came here for a very specific kind of fish. Fish without gills. Fish that don’t spend their lives in water. Fish that can walk. Fish with a specific kind of gait that oozes an overflowing bank account. A handsome little fish. A handsome little fish that can make your dreams of owning pieces of fucking name brand clothing true.
Some Gucci to be specific. You like Gucci, maybe even some Dior, and Alexander Wang. You nodded silently at the reminder of your motives.
Today was your fourth Thursday sitting on these god awful steps that pierced your ass bones. Pelvis? Who cares, you’re not an anatomy major. If that’s even a thing– biology, pre-med, most likely is what it’s called.
That means this is your fourth week, and it’s once again coming to a near end. Four weeks. Still no fish. You remind yourself that fishing requires patience. Fishing requires a careful skill of observation and strict mental control. You need to be ready for the slightest tug. The slightest tug of your prey taking the bait you’ve so carefully laid out for them. Your bait was you of course. Who wouldn’t want a taste of you? Well...that wasn’t the best question to ask. Let’s rephrase that. Who wouldn’t want a taste of a classy mystery woman sitting on the steps of a school where only cream of the crop students go? That sounded better. You were oozing confidence out of your pores as you sat on those demonic stairs, your black sunglasses shielding your eyes from the cloudy sky. And your outfit, oh golly gee your outfit... Only the best of the best from your closet ever gets to see these steps. These fucking ste–
“What language is that?”
In the midst of your tumultuous thoughts, you failed to take note of the random stranger who came to sit to your left. Nonchalantly staring over to your magazine, seemingly interested in whatever the hell you were reading. You questioned whether you should even look over, whether you should feign ignorance to push your “mystery” woman agenda. You didn’t have very strong self-restraint. So you turned...slightly. Your face in the direction of his feet, your eyes are however on his.
Jesus, this man was fucking hot. Diabolically so. You had a hot flash just by looking at him. You started getting dizzy too, there were stars flying around him. Perhaps you just got hemorrhoids from how satanically sexy this man was in the face. And you didn’t even get to the rest of him yet. You hoped the rest of him wouldn’t disappoint you. You see, perfect people are rare, it’s either they have a pretty face or a pretty bod. He probably had a missing toe or something with that perfect face of his.
Your answer was simple. Disregard.
You flipped to the next page. Your hands are nearly shaking from the pressure of this ridiculously gorgeous man’s eyes on you. You could feel him drilling holes through you with those evil brown sex eyes. You tried to steady yourself, as unnoticeably as possible. ‘Remember your goal, remember your destiny!’ The voice inside your head yelled.
When he didn’t leave, even after you had ignored his existence, and effect on you, this was your chance to find out if the fish really took the bait and got fucking stuck on it.
“Is there something you need?” You trailed your eyes back to him, once again feigning distaste and annoyance.
He looked down for a bit. You bit your bottom lip, not sure whether you had hurt him with your words. Then he looked out towards the green park in front of you both: a number of students having picnics and walking around in friend groups.
“Trying to talk to people today is so hard. No one wants a stranger coming up to them, it’s not normal anymore. Everyone meets on instagram and snapchat and twitter, sliding into DMs and all that.” He speaks in a low voice, melancholic almost. His elbows on the steps behind him, resting. Fuck he was sexy. You could tell he was genuine. He got up. Shit shit shit shit.
He placed his hands in his pockets, “Just wanted to talk to a pretty girl.” He smiled, his eyes drowning you in guilt. With that he turned around, slowly stepping down the stairs.
“It’s French.” You called out after him. the classic romance language you had chosen to learn as your language requirement. It’s not like you understood much of it, but looking at pretty pictures and deciphering a word and a sentence every now and then was fun, and you used it to convince yourself that you were actually learning from it. You weren’t.
His head turned back towards you, rapidly, with one of the most magnificent smiles you’d ever laid eyes upon. The butterflies in your stomach were having a field day. He came back and sat next to you, this time a bit closer. Close enough to where you could smell him. A sweet smell, not the usual smell of cologne that most men wore. He was wearing ladies perfume. It was odd, but it made you feel more relaxed, like there was no way this man could ever do anything wrong.
“So, are you a linguist major here?” He badgered you with another question. Like a child that had just won a prize at a carnival game. Why he was making assumptions about you was beyond you. It was a bit bothersome though, you never liked when people would ask assumptive questions, why don’t they let you give the details.
“I’m not, if we’re going to talk please stop making assumptions.” You sighed.
“Sorry. My name is Jungkook. And now I’m gonna stop talking and let you tell me about yourself instead...if you want to. You don’t have to say anything if you don’t want to.” Nervous, that was cute.
“Well...” You looked at him. Unsure of what to tell him. You didn’t want to lie. You hated lying, and you didn’t understand the point of it. Why lie about yourself to others when you can just hide the truth. When you can be deceiving just by saying the right things and leaving the rest out. However though, you were feeling rather bold today, like, you didn’t really give a fuck. Though his face looked so fucking kissable, delectable, ravishing, his outift was rather plain, and one thing you knew about the kids at this school was that they didn’t love anything more than to show off with daddy’s money. The man before you was just wearing a black shirt, black baggy pants and black sneakers. Very simple. Was he just being modest perhaps? Humble. Or was he one of the affirmative action kids? A super smart athlete from a poor home on a full scholarship? Or maybe just a smart kid that got in from his own diligence, from a lower middle class family?
“I’m fishing.” Your words made him raise his eyebrows, perplexed.
“Fishing for what?” You were expecting him to assume something again, but he didn’t, he kept his word, letting you answer.
“Rich little assholes with too much money to spend, so I can offer some assistance in spending that money.” Your eyes squinted with a hint of evil genius.
He laughed. A roar almost. His head was thrown back and his teeth, eerily similar to those of a bunny’s, were now on display, he’s adorable. You flushed, elated, that you made this beautiful human being laugh. You could add this to your bucket list and check it off now if you even had one, ‘1. Make a super, incredibly, sexy, hot, cute, handsome, pretty guy laugh.’ In the box next to it a little check mark to display your success. But your mouth turned into a frown, confused on why he was laughing at your meticulously thought out plan that was sure to score you some sweet sweet cash.
“How’s that going for you?” He said through giggles.
“Not great, haven’t gotten a single fish yet, unfortunately.”
“Why are you doing this, if I may ask?”
“Well, it’s not like I want to get married to them or anything. I guess my reasoning is quite materialistic. I just want some Gucci pieces that I’ve been thinking of for the last two months. I’ve got five-k in my savings, and half the shit on here costs five thousand bucks.” You slap the magazine page in front of you with the back of your palm, like an old smoker upset that his lighter is out of fluid. “The other half more than that. So I had to devise a plan, obviously.” You shrug as if it were obvious and you were explaining to a five year old. You just spilled the entirety of your reasoning to this man you’ve known for five minutes. You should’ve stopped yourself, but there was just something about him that made you tell all the truth, not just tiny bits of it.
“Interesting.”
That was all he said to you, no laugh this time, not even a giggle or a smile. This time he just looked at you. Glazed over you. Studied you. You felt nervous. You removed your sunglasses, in hopes of looking less ridiculous on a cloudy day. You didn’t notice it, but his eyes sharpened. You worried that you may have scared him off, maybe he was a rich prick and your poverty disgusted him.
Jungkook thought that he had scored. He’d noticed you the first day you sat on those stairs, those stairs that were too tough to sit on, so you were usually the only one on them, he wondered if you were actually comfortable. You were impossible not to be noticed, but maybe that was just him. He always saw you paging through a new magazine, he wondered if you were a fashion student, the way you dressed and the specific magazines that you always seemed to bring.
One could say he had created narratives in his head about you, he gave you a personality, a name, a major, he undressed you with his ey–
He wanted to get to know you. He had spent his past time between classes in his usual spot by the tall, ancient tree at the edge of the park placed perfectly in front of you. And so, he spent each day there, and so did you, and he was delighted to know that he would see you each day, except on weekends. The class he would leave to come here, Economics 101, a pain in the ass, but it ended at 11:45 am every other day. So on the days he had this class, he would be prepared to speed walk, sometimes even sprint out of the classroom at precisely 11:45 each time. He was always the first to walk through the exit doors, just so he wouldn’t miss a single second to see you. Maybe it was creepy, or maybe it was just what they called “Le coup de foudre” he mouthed. Love at first sight.
He knew you weren’t a student here because every student here had tried sitting on those stairs every once in a while, but they’d always find a better place around campus to idle in. You, on the other hand, always returned to the exact same spot, but he couldn’t figure you out. He couldn’t understand why you constantly returned there. So one final day, he ventured out, to finally crack the case, and shatter every other possible story he had created in his mind palace, and perhaps build a real one, where it would be just you and him.
“French,” you had said. But he obviously already knew this. Who couldn’t recognize one of the most famous languages to exist on this earth. He hoped you didn’t think he was stupid, but it would be fare anyways, since you were holding the magazine upside down. He was relieved though, that you had called out for him to return. You gave him a chance, and he wouldn’t waste it.
You shared your diabolical evil genius plan with him, and he was appreciative of the fact that you were so honest with him. He was able to finally connect the last red string to the correct picture on the detective board in his head. But it took him a minute to figure out you weren’t joking.
“Interesting,” he had said. Quizzically studying you when you had spilled your entire scheme to him without a single laugh or even a giggle, snortle, chuckle, swift inhale. Nothing. So he knew you weren’t kidding. Your lip quivered like you had regretted telling him all this information. So, he decided to make an appropriate proposition, a proposition of friendship.
“I’ll buy you whatever you want.”
He watched as you stared at him, mouth slightly agape like you were torn between believing his offer or breaking out in a boisterous laugh. He needed to be a bit more convincing.
“You have five-k in your savings, I have fifty million.” He shifted his gaze from your bewildered face to your upside-down magazine. For someone that was so nonchalant a few minutes ago, you weren’t holding up too well now. He thought about how you wouldn’t actually be able to go through with your plan had it actually been one of these other rich trust fund assholes you had aforementioned. Because first of all, they wouldn’t have stuck around after your first act of obtuseness. He grabbed the magazine out of your nimble fingers, flipped it over, and went back a page. The designer pieces that were seducing you not that long ago, and he brought out his phone that sat in his front pocket. Dialed the little number that hid at the bottom of the page, and you both sat patiently as it rang next to his ear.
“Yes hello, I’d like to purchase the Gucci wool coat with leather details in your...” He flipped the magazine to see its cover. “Luxury twenty twenty-one Spring issue magazine....Yes....Yes the one that costs forty-five hundred...” He glanced over you for a moment to register your reaction, raising an eyebrow as you had your bottom lip between your teeth. Something in him ignited.
“Actually, can you add everything else too? Yes, I’d like to purchase all your uhhh... Gucci and Alexander Wang, Bottega Veneta, Zimmermann, Dior and Chanel pieces on display in your magazine as well...Am I sure? Yes...Oh um..” He glanced back to you, this time seriously eyeing you like a piece of meat. But he was just trying to figure out what kind of size you probably wore. “Can you send (Y/N's usual size) and (a size smaller)? We’ll try them on and return the ones that don’t fit...Yes...Just charge my account Jeon Jungkook, I’m already a member...Yes same shipping address...Thank you.” With his final thanks, he hung up, closed the magazine, and turned to face you.
He found you stuttering something but every time a word came to your tongue you closed your mouth, prohibiting it from escaping the gates of your mind. Jungkook grinned, not a sly grin, not a smirk, a grin of amusement, like he had never seen a sight so rewarding. He understood you now. You weren’t rude, or mean, or crude, you were a sweetheart, a gentle soul, a naive one too. You didn’t think things through, yet you had an immense amount of motivation, that wasn’t something that goes hand in hand but you were lucky, it worked for you. You had put up an act, a poor one at that. You were probably a goofball, the way you hadn’t even been paying attention to your magazine, probably too lost in thought to care for it anymore.
“It’ll all be at my house by tomorrow evening if you want to come pick it up.” He placed the magazine back into your nimble fingers.
Jungkook had no evil intentions or plans, he was truly a genuine guy, kind and endearing once you knew him, he would never try anything that would make you uncomfortable which is why he didn’t ask for your address to send it to.
“Do...” You paused. “Do you want something in return?” You asked. Now Jungkook was hit with a wave of anguish. He knew exactly what you were thinking, or at least he had an idea, you were terrified, and that was the very last thing he wanted. He could see the way you gripped your hands together to keep them from trembling, and he nearly dropped to his knees in apologies. He knew you probably thought that by doing this he had forced you into some sort of putrid debt that you’d be demanded to repay in various forms, and oh did he not want that.
“No!” He nearly yelled, his voice unexpectedly louder than he wanted. “No, I don’t want anything, it’s all yours, I just didn’t want to make you feel uncomfortable if I asked for your address to send it to.” He waved his hands, not taking a single breath between words. He surely did not want this to be the last time you saw each other, so he did his best.
Oh you were trembling alright. Trembling because you couldn’t hold yourself back much longer from swallowing this man whole right then and there. A small inch inside of you had actually hoped for Jungkook to ask for something in return, even if it was just a cup of coffee, you wouldn’t have even minded if he was an asshole because you would let him ruin you. There was just something about money that made you squirm, pleasantly. You know that money apparently doesn’t buy happiness, but it sure as hell bought something inside of you, and that face of his helped in swaying you even further.
“Alright.” You laughed.
“So, why Gucci? I personally prefer H&M.” He asked
“I can tell.” You gestured to his all-black ensemble with your eyes.
“I’m not going to take that as an insult because you look like you’re dressed for a runway show right now, but you’re sitting on some butt aching steps.”
“Well thank you, I take pride in my outfits. And I don’t know, do you have something softer to sit on?”
“Depends.” He said. You raised your eyebrow, challenging him.
“On?” You persisted him, eager to hear the very obvious answer to his obnoxious yet somewhat endearing flirtatious remark.
He doesn’t answer you, instead choosing to rub his palms across his thighs, as if they were slick with sweat, looking at you then away with a teasing grin. You wanted to wipe it off his face.
The both of you spent the rest of the day chattering on about each other while he showed you his favorite hiding places on campus. He told you stories about his many extravagant trips with his just as extravagant family and friends because you asked him to. And you in turn told him about the numerous shenanigans you pulled at your previous part-time jobs, always ending up in trouble one way or another because you didn’t like the way the customer spoke at you.
“No way!” You exclaimed, your hand slapping his bicep.
“My thoughts exactly!” He laughed, his hand coming up to hold his ear.
“I didn’t actually think rich people were that stupid, wow.” You gleamed at him. “No offense to you.”
He clutched his chest to signify the cliche look of hurt. “I’m actually at the top of all my classes.”
“And I’m a porn star with a side hustle of being the queen of Australia.” You teased.
“Wouldn’t that just be the queen of England?”
“Which one?” You both burst out laughing, loud boisterous laughs that quickly turned into snorts and chortles, mixing into indecipherable sounds that could be used as background noise for a ritual.
Jungkook had ended up walking you all the way to the cafe that was next to your campus dorms, a gentleman.
“I’ll see you tomorrow, I hope?” He said,.
“You will.” You replied with a smile. Jungkook thought that your smile could make the brightest star in the universe cower in defeat.
Jungkook took a single step back, preparing to take his leave but unable to take his eyes off you until you were the one to turn and depart. And it was quick. A peck on the cheek and you were running. Fleeing the scene of the crime where your dignity was killed in action. And Jungkook stood suspended, his hand on his cheek, a smile on his lips, and he knew then, that there was no way he’d be able to stop thinking about you.
You laid in bed reminiscing about today's events. When Jungkook had turned out to be a total sweetheart you were caught completely off guard. You were thinking he would ask you for sex or something, some sort of fuck buddy relationship perhaps, and that in return he’d shower you in extravagant gifts. Perhaps he was just doing a good deed. Helping the needy. But he had invited you to come to his home. So this wasn’t the last time he wanted to see you, and this made you excited. You weren’t sure what to do next though, you didn’t have much experience in this...area. Never haven taken interest in anyone because they just never seemed to satisfy your plethora of expectations, and you never lowered your standards. Then you thought about the kiss, or peck, whatever that crime of passion was. You were able to catch a glimpse of Jungkook’s face before you booked it, gone behind a building, and what you saw was the sweet shock of fondness. He didn’t hate it, and you were zealous.
On the other end, Jungkook could barely contain himself, he’d be seeing you again tomorrow. Don’t even get him started with the kiss, he had nearly grabbed you and given you a proper one, but you were gone too quickly. Even if you didn’t run, he would’ve still kept to himself, not wanting to push you into anything you didn’t want, allowing you to show him what you were comfortable with.
Friday evening came quickly. And as you approached Jungkook’s home, a literal mansion that cost you thirty bucks in an uber to get to, you thought about your plan. In all honestly, you didn’t have one even though you had ample time to think of one on your ride here, you came up blank. Because of your awfully picky nature in men, you had little to no experience, and right now you were coming up empty and decided to opt for plan B: let the lady make the decisions! By lady you meant your punani. If she wanted to go wild with this heavenly looking man then so be it. Even though you were most likely not going to be getting into bed with him tonight and entrancing him with your magical pussy, you still wore your favorite pieces of lingerie– the best that your broke college student money could buy. And so you put on your fake-it-till-you-make-it confidence and sashayed over to his three-meter tall doors. You rang the doorbell.
Within a minute you were met with his sweet smile. The smile you didn’t know you missed. And your eyes were naturally pulled towards it. And now your eyes were on his lips, and you watched as he licked them, and now you wanted to lick them. You were like a child, eyeing candy. You let your eyes drop lower, today he was wearing a tighter shirt, the type that was loose towards the abdomen but was tight at his arms because his arms were powerful– he was stacked. That was the men’s equivalence of a whore shirt. He was being a whore. You noticed the tattoo sleeve on his right arm, and you knew this man was actually perfect. He had no missing toe.
And Jungkook watched you. He knew you were checking him out because he was checking you out too. The way you bit your lip when you saw him lick his. His eyes naturally fell to your exposed legs, and were you carrying a pretty set.
“Hi, I’m glad you came.” He said.
“Me too.” The tension between you two strangling any other words that could be spoken, instead letting each other’s eyes battle to the death.
Jungkook stepped aside to let you in. You marveled at the interior of his home. Overwhelmed by how much it must have all cost. “Holy shit.” You felt a hand on the small of your back.
“Your items are in my room, I can have them packed up for you if you want?” Jungkook said, bringing you back to your senses.
But you didn’t, you wanted to spend as much time with him as you could because if you were being honest, you wanted to get to know him (too). You wanted to understand his motives, why he did it, and why he approached you.
“No, if it’s okay with you, I’d like to try them on first.” You gently touched his arm, the one that was on your back, the one laced in beautiful works of art. There was a certain awkwardness in the air now.
So with that, Jungkook led you up to his room, up the huge marble spiral stairs, down the hallway, and at the very end, the third door to your right, was his little cove. It definitely was not little. His tremendous cove. He had a king-sized bed at the very end of his room, and there was probably enough room for twenty more of those. And by his bed was the entrance to his closet, next to the closet entrance were three clothing racks filled with clothes, and beside those were a couple of purses and bags and smaller boxes. And he had beautiful huge windows on the west wall, opposite from the door you entered through. The windows basically took up the entirety of the wall, and your thoughts ran wild.
“I never got to ask but, why?” You looked at him. He was already looking at you. And you think you caught him. His head was slightly tilted and his eyes were on yours, and you saw a faint smirk, and a lip bite, and you think that for a second you were hallucinating because as quickly as you saw it, it just as quickly disappeared.
“Why did I buy you those things?” He pointed his chin to the clothes in the corner of the room. And you forgot how beautifully sculpted Jungkook was, his side profile a perfect silhouette.
“Yes.” You whispered, barely loud enough for him to hear, so he came closer.
“Sorry, I couldn’t hear you.” He was a head away from bumping into yours, and his eyes were pacing back and forth between yours and your lips, which were now pinker from the blood rushing towards them. But you whispered again because you wanted him even closer, “Yes.” But he didn’t move, sadly.
“You wanted to waste some jerk’s money, so I offered mine.” It was then that he stepped closer, and you could feel his breath on your skin. “I don’t think I’m much of a jerk though, sorry if you were looking for that too.” He added in a lower tone, one you had to pay attention to in order to catch every vibration. Your breathing became ragged, shaky and you weren’t sure if he was doing this on purpose.
“I wasn’t, I don’t really like jerks actually.” You moved your arm, gently placing it on his chest. Jungkook took it as a warning, do not wander further than my palm. He wasn’t sure why, but he surely didn’t want to mistake it for an invitation.
“Where can I try them on?” You smiled.
“There’s a walking closet right next to the racks, feel free to use it.” He took a step back.
“Thank you.”
“Or you could just use my room.” Jungkook froze, he wasn’t sure if he had actually said that out loud. It was just a passing thought in his head, and now he was mortified. He searched your eyes fervently for a reaction.
“Thank you for the offer, Jungkook, I’ll keep that in mind.” You took it as another one of Jungkook’s obnoxious jokes, like eighty percent of your conversations with Jungkook usually entailed. But silently, you wished he wasn’t joking.
Jungkook, however, felt his soul rise from his body and go far, far away. The way his name rolled off your tongue like a sweet melody, he would do anything to hear that again. He hadn’t even noticed any of the other words you said like they were all blurred except for his name, and it drove him crazy. You left him standing there, like a frozen popsicle. But your hand burned, it pulsated, from being on his chest, from feeling him flex under your palm, and it was exhilarating. You wanted to feel him again, but next time without a piece of clothing blocking the sensation.
Jungkook wasn’t used to bringing women home, the last time a girl was in his room was before his sixth grade dance, and it was only because she was amongst the rest of his little friend group. They were all going to the dance together, and Jungkook had told them he had snacks in his room, so they all rushed up to get some before leaving. Pathetic surely, for someone his age. But he never cared enough to go out of his way to find someone to share the majority of his time with, he never thought he needed to. He was always given everything he wanted or needed from birth, and until four weeks ago he didn’t realize that he did in fact want one more thing. Or perhaps he needed it? Love at first sight, what an idiotic concept.
For someone like Jungkook, it wasn’t uncommon to get married the moment he graduated, to another crazy rich person. In these circumstances, you marry someone you could tolerate, someone easy on the eyes too, and you just hope to see that person as little as possible. So you both have affairs, multiple, and it’s no secret, everyone knows, even friends, and family, they all know. It always made Jungkook’s stomach churn, at the mere thought of it all, the lack of integrity. He had met plenty of good-looking, rich, women, but they never seemed to stimulate him mentally. It was always a ‘Jungkook you’re so funny!’ and a firm grip of his thigh, when all he had said was that he didn’t care where they’d go eat, they could just watch Netflix instead. And he’d look at them, detached, then hail that he wasn’t feeling too well, and retire to his room. And the girls would always leave. They’d freshen up their lipstick as if they had another scheduled date before stepping out the door.
Jungkook was surely the black sheep of his family, his entire environment, and not in a bad way. He just didn’t behave like the others, he didn’t share their same mentality. Jungkook preferred to meditate than to go clubbing, he preferred to go to a local cafe than on a jet to Singapore for the weekend. Yes, he had seen and done his fair share of rich people things, but he was still always grateful for the plate of food that his personal chef would place in front of him, bowing to show his gratitude. Obviously, the staff in Jungkook’s home were all incredibly fond of him because of that, knowing this little prince from birth, watching him grow into a genuine and respectful young man.
Truthfully, Jungkook wasn’t really aware of the effect he had on people. He was a charmer, but he was kind too. So everything he ever said, whether it be a compliment, or a random remark on the nice weather, he meant it all one hundred percent. But Jungkook also didn’t say much, which is why he was never able to be properly understood by anyone but his family, staff, and very close friends, and maybe now even you. With you, Jungkook didn’t even feel the need to sat much, the glances you shared seem to fill in forty percent of your conversations. A single glance could mean you two would start barking like rabid dogs, or it could mean a ‘shut the fuck up you can’t be serious’, or even a ‘I will actually punch a hole in your smug little face right now.’
When you walked out of his closet with the first full outfit that fit, he was laying on his bed, hands behind his head and he jumped up at the sound of your entrance. You posed ridiculously for him and giggled. You were happy, and that was all he wanted. He winked, then whistled, eyeing you. You knew he was joking but you couldn’t help but blush, this was his effect, this was what he did to you. And now you really wanted to kiss him, and he really wanted to kiss you, but he didn’t want you to think that was what he did all this for because it wasn’t. He didn’t want you to think that was all he had wanted.
You both quickly fell into conversation, loudly speaking to each other through the thick doors of the closet. Every now and then you’d poke your half-dressed head through the doors to say something or make sure you heard Jungkook correctly, a ‘What?’ and ‘Harhar very funny’ spoken every now and then. Jungkook now stood by the doors with his back against the wall and face towards the ceiling. And you’d think you were going crazy with the way he would look at you, like he had never seen something so divine. He’d never say anything, no ‘You look beautiful’ or even a ‘Wow’, none, he would just stare in awe with his mouth slightly ajar. And you would chuckle, every time. The both of you didn’t seem to be too good with words, never able to quite find any to properly use in describing your feelings.
So when you finally asked him, “How do I look?” he grabbed you by the waist, pulling you closer, and said with the most serious look on his face, “Like the queen of Australia.” And you stared at each other, in disbelief, both of your eyes racing each other to look from one to the other, both your lips perked and quivering with the familiar wave of a roar that was surely soon to burst through the both of you. Like an explosion, the glee was released. You grabbed his shoulders to keep you balanced as you threw your head backward, your upper body following. And Jungkook was able to open his eyes slightly, through the tears he ogled at your neck, then at your face that shared an image of pure joy. He admired the way your lips parted way for your teeth, and the scrunches on your nose, the smile lines that led from the edge of your nose to the edge of your lips.
“You’re funny.” You said, dazed out of your mind and knocking on his chest, the dopamine coursing through your brain surely mixed with some oxytocin. And it was the same for Jungkook. You thought about the way his hands felt on your waist, leaving a ghostish touch, gentle and comforting.
“Wouldn’t it be even funnier if I kissed you right now?” His eyes were staring at yours with rapt attention. And you answered with an energetic nod, like you had been waiting for this question for years.
It was quick, his lips were on yours, soft, gentle. They glided against yours almost too perfectly like they belonged to you. Jungkook couldn’t get enough of the feeling of your mouth on his, so he was kissing you deeper, more fervently, like he didn’t even need to breathe. Your breaths fanned each other, exasperated sighs as you both inhaled every five seconds for air because you refused to separate. Jungkook felt a warmth blossom within him, the feeling of your arms wrapping around his head to pull him in closer. The two of you began clumsily stumbling towards his bed, the back of Jungkook’s knees hitting the edge first and he fell backward, you on top of him. Now you were peering at him from above, hair framing your face like a painting, and Jungkook adored the way you looked at him with your half lidded eyes through your long eyelashes. He was in paradise. No other paradise he had ever been in, no island vacation or shopping spree in Singapore could compare to the paradise he was in right now, with you. And he knew then that he wanted to share his world with you, and he could only hope and wish that you share yours with him too.
Jungkook caressed your cheek, gentle swipes across your cheekbones with his thumb. His eyes deeply focused on memorizing your every pore. If he told you he was counting your scars you would probably slap him out of embarrassment. He flipped you over, took off his shirt, and kissed you once more. This time it was quick, rushed, like he couldn’t get enough of you before the time was up.
“Can I?” He tugged at the hem of your top. And you nodded, hesitantly, your bottom lip between your teeth. “I won’t do anything you don’t want.” He reassured you, as if reading your mind, following his statement with a soft kiss on your forehead. “So tell me, what do you want?” He trailed his thumb across your bottom lip, slipping it into your mouth, entranced by the way you took him in.
“Can I just have you?” You looked up at him, from eyeing his topless body. That alone had you pressing your thighs together. Your hands all over him, as if your eyes were closed and you were trying to picture him in your mind through your touch. Then you took his left hand with yours, and your right hand trailed down to grab his crotch, and you moved his hand down to yours. “But I don’t want these two to meet yet.” You snickered. Jungkook found you so amusing, his lips perking into an endearing grin. “That won’t be a problem, princess.” Your tummy did a little flip at his pet name, the way he purred it to you making you go a little crazy.
The rest of the night was spent touching and kissing and touching and kissing. And when Jungkook asked if he could ‘massage you down there’ you took his hand once more and slipped it into your panties. And when you were both in your underwear, Jungkook couldn’t stop drooling over you, the black lacy lingerie that you had worn just for him, hugging every one of your curves as if they were specially handcrafted for you. He proceeded to bite the hem of your panties, tugging them off gently while stopping to lick your thigh every now and then. Jungkook truly did not care that he wouldn’t be having sex with you. He loved this just as much. He loved the way your breath hitched when he slipped his fingers inside you, and the way your nails dug into his arm and his back pulling him closer and closer until you were glued together. Your lips never parting even through muffled moans. You touched him too, you felt the way he twitched in your palm, and it made you giddy when he would shiver in pleasure, biting your lip and curling your toes from excitement. And Jungkook would mutter your name beside your ear anytime you teased him a bit too much, "Y/N, baby, you're driving me crazy." Accompanied by his vulnerable whines and gasps. You guided each other, until you both reached the finish line. And you did this until it was late into the night. Reaching the finish line a number of times, in a number of different ways.
You laid in each other’s embrace, whispering sweet nothings to each other through flirtatious kisses. The kind of fondness between you resembled that of hopeless romantics. And that was exactly what the two of you were. Jungkook’s hand caressing your arm, and you outlining his tattoos with your finger.
“Are you hungry?”
“Starving.” You replied with a hearty laugh.
Jungkook reached over to his bedside to grab his phone. Returning to you he asked, “What do you want to eat, pretty?”
“Whatever you have to offer, handsome.” Your flirting was disgusting, but you both didn’t care.
Jungkook then called his chef, even though it was like 1am in the morning. “I am so sorry for waking you up Mister Young, but I would really appreciate it if you could cook up a meal for two, please.” Your heart instantly melted at the sweetness that Jungkook displayed, truly a kind-hearted gentleman. Mister Young was not at all bothered by Jungkook’s request, in fact, he was overly excited for young sir, this being the first time he had ever requested a meal for two at 1 am in the morning. A sense of pride filled him, happy for the young prince who had possibly found someone to be happy with, finally.
Jungkook turned to you, a grin on his face, “You know, I barely know you.” He said.
“Why lie?” You replied.
You were right. Jungkook did actually know you. He had a private investigator do a background check on you this morning. In Jungkook’s world, it was just out of precaution. There’s always a new story that finds its way to him about someone in their circle being another victim of fraud. He just wanted to make sure that the woman he felt himself falling for, was real.
“How did you know?” Jungkook’s mouth slightly agape.
“You just told me.” You grinned. And Jungkook loved the way you made him feel like a fool. You were joking at first of course, but when Jungkook ironically confessed you put two and two together. Figuring that a person of his stature would surely have the means to know what the name of your pet hamster from when you were seven was. You didn’t really care since you had already told him much of it yourself, all he did was cross-check with the records available to him. But now he owed you, big time.
“You owe me now.” You said.
“Like I said, anything you want, whenever you want.”
Over his shoulder, your eyes noticed something that you were inspecting earlier.
“How about... for next time... or whenever I um, come around to it...” You paused to build up your courage while Jungkook turned to what your eyes were peering at. “We do it against those.” You were both now glancing at Jungkook’s window-filled wall.
“Baby...” He turned to you, eyes wide like he was on cocaine, shifting beneath the sheets before slithering nearer to you like an injured puppy placing his face in the crook of your neck. “You’re so sexy.” He whined into your neck, drawing out the ‘y’ at the end.
He looked up at you, his big doe eyes in action, "What are you doing next week?" A cunning smirk sneaking onto his face.
"Well, I'm scheduled at work for like twenty hours, then I have classes to attend..." You mindlessly listed off the things you were going to do next week as if you weren't speaking to Jeon Jungkook, as if he was just a random commoner–like yourself–looking to ask you out on a simple dinner date.
"Come to Fiji with me?"
Wow, you were not expecting that, and it clearly showed on your face. However, it was not at all like you to turn down this kind of offer just to slave around at a job you despised. Your classes you could easily catch up on. Your mind was made up, but Jungkook didn't know that, so you wanted to tease him a bit.
"I don't know." You exhaled as if torn between the 'very difficult' decision.
"Please." Jungkook whined, lengthening the vowels. "I have to take you on a date. Our first official date." He coaxed.
"And us spending the whole day together yesterday wasn't a date to you?" You asked, genuinely puzzled.
"I said o-ffi-cial." He carefully pronounced each sound in the word 'official' to make it clearer.
"And you can’t just take me out to dinner?" You provoked. Jungkook pouted at you, "That’s boring, I’m not a boring guy." And you knew this already, from some of his earlier ministrations.
"Did someone say skinny dipping?" You yelled, frantically searching the room for an imaginary person. Jungkook’s eyes lit up. "I'm fucking with you, of course I'll go." You finally gave in, unable to compete against his pout.
Jungkook didn't even give you time to pack anything, telling you he'd buy you whatever you needed later. You had both ended up sleeping well into Saturday afternoon in a tangled mess on his bed: your leg was thrown over him, his hand instinctively on your ass all night, or he'd be spooning you and have his hand down the boxers he let you borrow. One way or the other, he made sure those butterflies didn't leave your stomach from his touches. Later in the evening, you were both driven to the airport to board Jungkook's own private jet. He told you how every member in his family had their own designated plane all because of an incident where his older brother had taken the plane to see his girlfriend in Amsterdam when his dad had a meeting to attend in Malaysia.
"It was a huge thing." He said. "My dad was like fuming, you could practically see the smoke coming out of his ears, he was yelling into the phone at my brother like 'You better bring that plane back this instant or else I'm selling your Rolls-Royce!' it was hilarious." You laughed in both amusement and agony, this was really some rich people shit that you could not wrap your head around.
"It was my brother's favorite one too." Jungkook snorted. You connected the dots that the car was indeed sold.
"That's insane..." You looked down at your entangled hands. "Our lives are really different, Jungkook." Your throat started to burn from realization, you were in the car on your way to another fucking country with someone you had just met a day ago. The adrenaline and desire overwhelming the practical part of your brain that would've probably been screaming 'Don't! Don't' at every decision you ended up making to spend more and more time with Jungkook. You thought about the home you had grown up in, the two-bedroom home that was just enough for you and your parents. You had nothing to offer Jungkook, and here he was spending all this cash on a stranger. You wondered if he did this with every pretty girl, then dropped them a week later once he got bored. Probably shouldn’t have let miss lady take charge yesterday.
Jungkook squeezed your hand. You looked back at him. "That doesn't matter, I hope you know that." The remaining ten minutes of the ride was spent in relative silence, you battling in your thoughts, and Jungkook humming to himself while looking out the window, turning to check on you every minute or so. He didn't need a reply from you. He would've understood if you made the decision not to go right in front of the jet's stairs. And he'd take you home, without question.
But you didn't. You got on that plane, fell asleep an hour into the flight, and woke up to Jungkook gently telling you that you were about to land. You looked out the window, "Doesn't look like Fiji, did you kidnap me to sell me off?"
"Unfortunately not, you'd make me so much money though," he pouts through his teasing "we're in Sydney, you need things so I figured we'd make a stop..." He leaned over you, his hands on top of the baggage compartment while he looked out your window. You grabbed his waist and stuffed your head up his shirt, yup this was the best decision you've made so far.
"You smell nice, kinda wanna take a bite." You said, actually taking a bite of his sturdy abs.
"What do I taste like?" He asked.
"Like burnt chicken nuggets." You licked.
"Alright, that's enough, let's get going." He pulled you out from under his shirt and enveloped you in a rather dirty kiss. He took you by your hand and guided you off the plane and into the black range rover waiting for you both.
“I don’t need much, Jungkook.” You said, causing Jungkook to stare at you with wide eyes. This was very unlike you. “Well half of the time I’m gonna be in the water, and the other half I’ll probably be...” you leaned over to whisper the rest in his ear “naked.” His grip on your thigh tightened.
“Plus I have nowhere to keep all this stuff in my tiny dorm room closet.” You whined, placing your head on his shoulder. You didn’t even want to think about the amount of time that packing would take.
He hummed as if deep in thought, “Well you’re lucky, I just so happen to have an extra closet you can use.”
You groaned, you were a bit terrified at how things were moving. Yes, Jungkook was a rare gem, a one in a million type of guy but you feared that he didn’t see you the same way. And maybe he really wasn’t, there’s only so much you can learn about a person in 48 hours. Though, character may be hard to fake. Why worry though? This was a once in a lifetime experience that not many people were lucky enough to get, after all, this was what you were working towards anyway. You were absolutely going to enjoy yourself.
“Fine, but that means I have to come over anytime I want something from that closet.”
“Very true, I’m sure we can work something out.”
It wasn’t long before you both arrived at the very posh boutique lined shopping centre. You weren’t sure why you had expected to go to the general mall with stores such as Topshop or Zara. Instead, you were staring down price tags that could pay six months worth of rent. “Stop looking at those.” Jungkook snatched the price tag out of your hand. “Just choose what you like, I’ll wait for you in the changing room, pretty.” The changing room which was quite literally a room with a whole sofa that Jungkook laid on. So when you came in with a stack of clothes in your arms, a huge toothy grin on your face, and the store clerk behind you also with a stack of clothes in her arms, Jungkook smiled. You began trying on the clothes, all made for warm weather, you just wanted to make sure that they didn’t look stupid on you. Sometimes some pieces would look gorgeous on the hanger, but the moment it was on a body it became an awkward looking mess. Jungkook would still say that you made it look good but you wouldn’t care, your own confidence in the piece being more important than whether or not it actually looked good. Jungkook was enjoying this just as much as you were, having front row seats to see your panties slightly slip off whenever you removed some shorts or skirts that were tight fitting. His favorite part though was the swimsuit try on, yup, and you had a lot of those. Every now and then he’d get up just to grab you, spin you around, and hold you, like the big softie he was.
You both spent around two hours shopping. Jungkook bought two pairs of swimsuits for himself, the remaining six bags were yours. And you were back on the plane for a quick-not-so-quick four and a half hour ride to Fiji islands, final destination being Turtle Island.
It was mid-day by the time you arrived at the five star private resort that Jungkook had booked for you two, well his travel agent, but that wasn’t the point–he still paid. It was a beautiful little stilt building on water, there was even a pool and jacuzzi on the patio overlooking the crystal clear blue water. You oohed and aahed at the colorful fish and turtles! that swam below. Then there were footsteps coming up behind you, fast, and before you could even turn there was a huge splash in the water you were watching. A wet blonde head of hair looking up at you from the water. “You coming or not!?” Jungkook yelled over to you. Luckily, you already had your swimsuits on under your clothes, a little trick that your mom and you would do every time she’d take you to the beach or to the water park when you were younger. So you stripped your clothes off and jumped in after him. And when you were floating beside him he brought his hand up out from the water, two goggles hanging from it. You squealed a bit from excitement, snatching one, pouring the salty water out from inside, wiping the goggles and putting it on. Then you were both under, diving then coming up for air then back down to swim after a turtle.
The rest of the day went by quickly, exhausted by the time the sun set. You were in the jacuzzi eating a bunch of fruit that the resort staff had delivered earlier. Eyes closed and head relaxed on the cushioned headrest, with your arms outstretched on the jacuzzi edge. Jungkook was somewhere inside, you assumed he was taking a shower. That was not the case though, apparently he was straddling you now, his thick arms wrapped behind your head, his fat ass on your thighs. You opened your eyes “cute,” you giggled, moving your hands up his sides while inspecting his ravishing body.
“Did you know that sea turtles eat jellyfish? It’s like their favorite snack. I wonder if it’s like jello.” Jungkook said. You hummed, too busy with your hands.
“They can also hold their breath underwater for like five hours.” He added on. Now he was smirking, but you weren’t sure why.
“That’s very interesting, Jungkook, is there a reason you’re telling me this?”
“Not really.” He started sliding off you, into the water. Your eyes followed him down until everything was submerged except for his head.
“May I?” He asked.
“May you what?”
He stuck his tongue out, then flailed his head in the water and you were genuinely embarrassed by him even though it was just the two of you. But you knew what he meant: the turtle facts now made a bit more sense to you. He pinched your thigh and you swatted him. Jungkook’s devious little plan was ruined because you were now wrestling in the jacuzzi. HIs head tucked under your armpit, then you were tucked under his armpit, then multiple counts of attempted homicide.
Though, eventually, somehow your swimsuits had managed to fly off in various directions and somehow you were now all over each other, tongues in action and lips glued together. Jungkook’s hands ran up and down your spine then went to fondle your ass that he would occasionally squeeze. You were quick to let him into your mouth, his tongue having begged at your lips. You naturally began to grind against his muscular thighs, and he would flex them to create some sort of aid in this frictionless water. Your hand inched down his chest, his abs, then you traced his v-line till you reached what you were going for. You fondled his dick that was now getting pressed between your torso and his, running your thumb against his tip. “Shit, baby, do you like doing that? Teasing me?” Jungkook groaned into your ear. You hummed in agreement. Your lips smacking against each other, the sound of hot breath and waves mixing together. Jungkook’s dick being so close to your entrance but not inside you made you feel empty, and you could feel his outline against you, not small in the slightest. “Jungkook, I want you.” The words barely escaping with sound as you mouthed them into the kiss before he started nipping at your neck, taking a bite and leaving a fresh hickey. “Mhm, can you say that again for me, baby?” You loved Jungkook’s way of flirting, he would call you ‘pretty’ whenever you were in public and keep ‘baby’ for the bedroom. “I want you so deep inside me that I can’t see you right in front of me.” You pulled away to speak properly.
Jungkook must have seen the devil because he yanked you up, threw you over his shoulder and removed you both from the jacuzzi. You were now two naked bodies on display for all the turtles and fishes to see, though they seemed to be too preoccupied to watch Jungkook ruin you shortly. He slapped your ass and ran his fingers over your mound as he carried you to the canopy bed that sat outside on the patio. “You know, when you say things like that you make me go a little crazy.” He said in a deep, groany voice. And he threw you onto the bed, barely giving you any time to adjust before he was spreading your legs and looking at you hungrily.
“You’re too pretty for your own good,” he drew his fingers along your entrance, “I wonder how many times I can make you cum with my mouth alone.” You nearly cried as he replaced his fingers with his tongue, his thumb tracing little circles on your bud. It wasn’t long before he was shoving one finger in, then two, then three, going in and out and in and out, his tongue lapping you up. You grinded against him, your fingers in his wet hair. Then he was moving up your body, licking the droplets of water along the line he drew. He circled your nipple while he rubbed the tip of his shaft against your entrance. Your hands were above your head, giving him an all access pass to every inch of your body. Then he was showering you with kisses again, your lips connecting once more like magnets. “I can’t believe I’m about to fuck the queen of Australia.” He whispered into your ear. You let out a breathless laugh, your hands moving to wrap around his neck. “That would make you my king, or rather perhaps my concubine?” You moaned as Jungkook grinded against you, slow lustful grinds. “Sounds like fun either way, but you’ll always be my princess.” And you gave out a loud moan from Jungkook finally shoving his dick inside you.
“What if I said I’d never had a concubine before?” You laughed breathlessly, afraid that Jungkook might not catch your drift. Though when he paused from fucking you into the sheets to look at you through wide eyes, you can confidently assume he did.
“Are you?’ He asked, unable to say much else. And you nodded hesitantly in reply.
“Then I guess we’re both just going off instinct here, aren’t we?” He smiled, returning to kiss you, devotion laced with his kiss. The fact that Jungkook was a virgin, too, made you lightheaded, you were his first and likewise. To you, this meant something more than just a quick fiji trip with a pretty girl.
Jungkook wouldn’t have even guessed that he’d be your first, thinking that you didn’t want to fuck him on your kinda-not-really second date was because you just didn’t fuck so early. He didn’t really understand why, or how, but knowing that he was your first too made him feel connected to you even more, like you were truly both meant to stumble into each other. He was so fucking glad that he asked you that stupid question, or else you wouldn’t be here right now, with him. And God, the way your lips felt against his, he could go crazy just from a brush alone. He held you like you were fragile, made from glass, but with every thrust he wanted to go deeper, further into you, and no he wasn’t doing that just to hear your heavenly moans.
Unhurried, lazy but deep thrusts. Because he’s not rushing anywhere nor are you. And your fingers are entangled in his, beside your head, and they’re warm, moist even, soft, and his thumb drags along the back of your hand, calming you, sweet little ministrations– his specialty. And his lips are on your ear, your cheek, your jaw, your neck, your shoulder, and he’s tasting you, like a hungry gentleman. You’re on a cloud, with nothing else but yourself and him around you. And you can feel it all, everything, everywhere, the sweet tingles that run up from your mound through your stomach, up to your brain and it’s intoxicating, like narcotics, you can’t get enough. But it’s happening simultaneously with the pumps from your heart, and the feelings are mixing, like a sick little concoction waiting to burst out of every opening. Now Jungkook’s fingers are running down your shining body, like paint brushes, he’s painting you then erasing you with his lips, then painting you again, and he does this many, many times, and each time is like the first. You can feel him, so intimately, filling you slowly, his warm, slick body on top of yours, his tough chest and abdomen sliding on yours carefully, gently, almost like he doesn’t want to scrape you with his piercing muscles that he had so diligently built. His golden chain tickles your face, and you smile, biting it, and twisting your head to the side to pull him closer, and Jungkook answers with a chaste kiss, no hesitation.
He pulled out all the way till only his tip was past your entrance, “I’m happy to be your first concubine, my princess,” and as he spoke those words he thrusted into you, a slow, meticulous thrust, guiding you to your high. “I’ll always be your princess.” You repeated to him the same words he had spoken to you, a tear running down your cheek as you felt an unfamiliar sensation bubbling within you.
And you know, you know now that you love him. You love him a bit too much. But it’s impossible to describe, there aren’t enough letters, not enough words, to describe the way your stomach flips whenever he smiles at you– that smile, the smile... his smile. Maybe not enough words in this language alone, maybe there are more in French, there should be more that you can use? So you think, but you only know so much. Amour sans fin. Your love for him, endless, until the very last star burns out. But still, you’re trying to find the words, struggling to put together the letters while sharing the same breaths with him. You open your eyes, and you’re met with his, penetrating you, as if he’s reading your heart’s wishes, longings, needs. And he says it before you can.
“I love you.” And you know, you understand, that it’s all you need. There’s nothing more he can say, to explain to you how deep his feeling goes, there aren’t enough words, or songs, or poems. So you accept it because you too know nothing of what else he could say, to express his longing for you. The longing for something that is already there, but he still wants to be with you, constantly, he wants you there, always.
Jungkook knew that you were the one, his search coming to a full stop with you snug between his arms. He continued to fuck you while paying attention to every inch of your skin, and he soon learned all your sweet spots. The spot right below your ear, which he would lick, and kiss, and bite, and you in turn would cry his name. The spot on your side, on your waist, right below your ribs, he would run his fingers across it, his tongue, and you'd shiver. And your lips of course, when he'd bite your bottom lip, you always smiled into the kiss without fail, and if your hands weren't already holding his face then you would bring them up to hold him.
Even though you were all over each other, tossing and turning, fucking and crying. Fucking from the side, fucking with your leg swung over his shoulder, fucking with both legs over his shoulder, fucking with your face stuffed into a pillow, you still couldn't get enough of each other. This seemed to be the case anytime you two were together though, the physical touch between you two being never ending. Whenever this becomes official, the PDA will be disgusting. So when you've both reached your highs, multiple times, and the fogginess has left your mind, you're finally breathing out an "I love you," that gets lost among the waves, but does not go unheard.
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taesinferno · 12 days ago
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aren't we all sinners? | jjk
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✠ SUMMARY | ghosts in a church was as normal as sinners in a confessional. so normal, you didn't bat an eyelash when the local ghostbusters were called in yet again for another job. what did bat your eyelash, though, was one ghostbuster in particular. and he was about to find out just how a confession works.
✠ PAIRING | ghostbusters!jungkook × virgin nun!reader
✠ RATE | 18+
✠ GENRE | supernatural, religious, sacrilege, smut
✠ WARNINGS | sacrilege! , breaking religious vows, defiling of religious areas, misuse of a cross, corruption, loss of virginity, penetration with foreign object, unprotected penetrative sex, oral f!recieving, dirty talk, begging, slight tears, guilt, shame, internal dilemmas
✠ WC | 7.4k
✠ A/N | another religious jk fic ! literally both of them have been so random and impulsive its funny to see it happen twice 😭
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⇢ For the Namkook Moonrise Masquerade Collaboration hosted by @jamaisjoons
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"Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned. It has been only days since my last confession but I can no longer defend the egregious nature of my actions. I can't justify these thoughts that I've been plagued with. Ever since… our last ghost…"
You had rushed to the confessional in a hurry, heart thudding faster in your chest as you aimed to reach sanctuary with haste. You slammed the door of the small space shut behind you, panting with short breath as you tried to relieve your anxieties. He was back. Here. Again. You thought you'd be able to contain yourself this time, you urged yourself, pleaded with yourself and your beating chest to relax, and remember your vows when you caught sight of him. You implored yourself to think of your god, your lord and saviour, the one who you were truly married to in religious matrimony. You prayed and prayed. Since the last time he came. For your god to give you the strength to stop seeing his face, his charming smile, everytime you closed your eyes. You begged, on your knees, with your hands clasped and your eyes screwed shut, for your mind to stop conjuring up scenarios with him. To stop imagining how his hands would feel in yours, how his embrace would wrap around and protect you. How sweet a kiss would be—It was impiety! Desecration of everything you hold dear to your heart! You were on the verge of falling to sin, if your thoughts hadn't already granted you a seat in hell. Burning in those flames with all those lustful disbelievers. It's what you deserved. Your impure thoughts clouding the mind that should only be thinking of your vows. Your religious duty. The one you swore to.
“Bless me, Father. I am crushed under the weight of my sins and I can no longer bear these impurities raging inside me. I need to beg for the Lord's forgiveness and hope he will have mercy on my soul.” You took a deep, shaky breath. You were about to confess one of the greatest sins you had ever committed after taking your religious vows. Right to the man who spoke to god. Confession was confidential. Of course it was. But it wouldn’t stop the searing shame washing over you as the pious man acknowledged your sins. You knew he’d never see you the same way again. You’d never be the same person, not in the eyes of god. Forever blemished with specks on your soiled soul.
“There has been an abundance of the unrested ghosts recently. Those who struggle to cross the barrier between this life and the next,” you started hesitantly. Information he already knew. He’d been the direct communication between the ghosts, after all. You cleared your throat. “The ghostbusters that have been arriving. I’m afraid…” Your heart felt like it was in your throat, pushing away at the barriers of your skin. Like an embodiment of your sin, raging to tell everyone of your deepest desires.
You rubbed your clammy hands together. Your soul needed to be absolved. You couldn’t go on living like this. This was in direct contradiction to everything you had learned, to everything you stood for. You had to beg for forgiveness. Now. Before it was too late. Before you crossed the threshold between salvageable and lost. Before you became damned, for good. “I-I’m afraid I’ve been having thoughts about one of the men, father.” A beat. Silence from his end. The sweat trickled down your brow, creating an anxious itch. “Unholy thoughts…Thoughts I can’t control. I’m afraid the devil’s in me.”
He didn’t say a word. Resolute silence greeted your words, confirming your worst fears. The judgement flooded through the small wall separating the confessional, the lack of words speaking volumes. You suddenly felt too hot in your clothes, struggling to sit still and not tear off the head covering sitting heavily on your head. You panicked, but you had to continue. Otherwise, what hope was there for you? The deed was done, the priest was told. Now, you needed to repent. You needed your penance to save yourself. To wipe your slate clean and start anew, with the lord’s guidance to keep you away from impurity.
“I think of him… in my bed. Jeon Jungkook. The one with the… piercing…” you gulped. As if you could pick a worse man to occupy your mind. Not that he was in any way evil, of course. Jungkook was the kindest man you’d ever met. Extremely charming with the humor to match. He was always greeting you with that big smile, raising a hand in a wave as he passed you by in the corridors. He was consistently sweet to everyone, your convent’s dog running straight to him everytime he entered. You didn’t think there was a more pure adult in the world than the innocently endearing man that pouted in concentration as he was loading up his machine. Not to mention, the man was strikingly handsome. A fact that rarely went unnoticed. The way all eyes would turn to him as he walked by, women lifting their gaze off their prayer books to follow his stride. He was obnoxiously unaware, of course. He was only here to do his job. Still, your heart didn’t hesitate to do a little cartwheel everytime he found you and struck up a conversation. And for all his heavenly traits, Jeon Jungkook was the embodiment of sin. And your priest knew, if a woman mentioned him, what kind of indulgences they were seeking. You must’ve reeked with shame at this point.
“He occupies my every thought, Father. I see his eyes when I close mine, I hear his laugh and the rhythm of his voice when I fall into dreams. Father, I-” You shut your eyes, “I think about his hands…” you whisper, “how they would feel… in places I’ve never felt before.” You heard a sharp gasp from the booth next to you, but you could barely hear it. For you couldn’t continue, your heart beat so loudly. You shook your head. This was a mistake. You should’ve never spoken your crimes out loud, you should’ve never placed such a heavy burden on the priest. The burden of forgiving your actions. You should’ve found strength within you. Not go running to the lord at every transgress and plead for him to forgive you-
“Tell me.”
The voice next to you. He finally spoke. As startled as you were, your internal trainwreck being put on a temporary halt, a certain weight lifted off your chest. Not all the weight, but a small piece. To know you still had a chance with god. To know your priest wanted to help absolve you of your sins, wanted to guide you on your path to forgiveness. It gave you the courage to continue.
“I-I had a dream the other night.” Your heart thudded as you recalled the fateful memory. It must have been that moment, the last time he was here. The way he’d brushed up against you as you walked the halls, showing him to the room where you saw the ghost last. The way he’d made you laugh at an impression of his boss, deepening his voice and furrowing his brows to the full effect. The way he’d pushed you up against the wall suddenly, hand around your waist as he hissed in your ear to stay quiet. You were holding your breath, scared to move. For you hadn’t seen the ghost ravaging a mere few feet from where you were headed, right before Jungkook snatched you from harm’s way and hid you in a corridor, with his body as your shield. You had wondered if he could hear your heartbeat. It was deafening to you.
You still remembered the way he’d shot the ghost with rock salt, deterring it from coming any closer and sending it screeching off to another end of the large building. The look he’d give you when he asked if you were alright. The lingering gaze, the way he’d traced your features as he held onto you a moment too long. A hint of a smirk on his face as if he knew what he was doing.
“In the dream, he-he touched me, Father. His mouth found mine in lustful passion, he traced maps on my skin with his fingers, exploring every inch. His lips set fire to every inch he grazed, trailing down my fiery bosom. I’d never known such pleasure, as I imagined he would give me. H-his hands, Father, they…” Your face heated, “he pushed them into my sacred chastity. He defiled me in my dream, Father. And it felt so good. I longed for it. Night after night, I rolled around my empty bed sheets. Praying for the same dream to come to me again. Just for a taste of sin. I-I wanted it. Would have done anything for it.”
You would have cried with shame. You would have fallen down to your knees and wept for your treachery, praying that the angels on your shoulder turned away at the lustful deeds you partook in. The way you’d lie back on your bed, nightgown covering your entire body. Your hand would sneak under the cotton material, eyes screwed shut as you found the source of your suffering. Explored your body for the first time with your hand, shaking as you nudged the little bundle of nerves that caused you so much heartache. Keeping his face in your mind, imagining his weight falling on your body. Feeling him pressed against your skin, with his fingers tucked in between your legs. You drew harsher circles against your clit, sweat beading on the surface of your skin as your body was set alight with desire. Tiny moans falling from your lips, whimpers as you felt the ghost of his lips over yours. Those beautiful pink lips. Curved into that cocky smirk. You felt your hand dip into a wetness, fingers soon becoming soaked with the arousal dripping from your core. You pushed your body further into the mattress, experimenting with the boundaries of your hole. Oh. Your finger slid right into your cunt, so easily in your ardor. You’d heard his voice drifting in your ear. Thinking of the way his hot breath would feel, a nip to your earlobe as he’d whisper. Go on, pretty angel. Cum for me. Your body writhed in your sheets, twisting and turning as you reached your climax. Your hand flew to your mouth, muffling your longing moans as you imagined his face at the height of your orgasm. His twinkling eyes as he winked at you deviously. And then it was gone, and you were left alone in your room once more. A cold breeze chilling your skin fraught with sweat, the puddle of arousal mocking you as evidence of what you had just done. Your breathing filled the room, heavy pants and tears in your eyes. The cross hanging on the wall that usually brought you such comfort glared harshly at you. Lord, what had you done? What would you repeat doing for the next couple nights?
“At first, it was only glimpses in my sleep. When I’d first met him. He appeared as a distant face, someone I barely recognized. Now, he claims my mind, my body, my soul. I fear he is the devil. For I have been corrupted with longing by his mere presence. I seek your guidance, Father. I beg the lord will find it in his heart to forgive me. Please, I-I,” your voice broke, “I have nothing else to hold dear but my devotion to my religion. I need your penance, Father. So I can leave the devil behind and move on with my chaste life.” But your words are only met with silence. You must have stunned the priest into quietude. Either that, or he had a heart attack upon hearing your recital.
“Father...I seek your guidance.” You felt your chest tighten with emotion. “Father?”
Jungkook was stunned. Shook beyond words as he stood there, frozen, while you bore your heart to who you thought was the priest on the other side of the thin wall. He felt guilty, sweat beading at his forehead, at the idea of listening to your innermost thoughts. When you’d first enter the confessional in a hurry, he heard the loud scrape of the door as you locked yourself in. Huffing breaths as hushed words fell rapidly from your lips. He was only checking the radioactive activity in the small room, by orders from his boss. Apparently, the ghost had been hanging around and eavesdropping on confessions. But by the time you’d started to pour your heart out, it was too late for him to make an escape. He’d already heard you admit to a sin of impure thoughts, there’s no way he could reveal himself then. You’d be disgraced, ashamed. He couldn’t do that to you. No, the only thing to do was to let you rant. To preserve your pride and keep your head held high. What’s the worst thing that could come out of your mouth?
Turns out, sexual fantasies about him. That’s what.
At first, he felt guilty. Then, you spoke his name. You started to detail all the things you wanted him to do to you. All the places you wanted him to touch, where you wanted his tongue, his hands… Jungkook liked to think he was a good man. Maybe not the most religious, but certainly not the worst. But would good men be sweating in a confessional, head tilted back and eyes closed in agony as his cock ached in his jeans? Would good men start palming themselves through their pants, imagining you under him in the way you so sweetly and shakily described? Would good men look at you the way he did every time he walked into the convent, sneakily stealing glances and looks, always coming up with reasons to talk to you. Just to hear your dainty voice, your pretty laugh. Would good men imagine ripping off that damn chaste outfit off your body, just to have you writhing in pleasure beneath him? Just for a taste of your sweet juices?
God, how he felt dirty. Dirty and stained with impiety. His thoughts were clouding his judgement, like stains on his hands. It was some kind of sin to be thinking about you, let alone to get off to you. He was sure about that. But in a church no less?? Yeah. Jungkook probably had just earned himself a one-way ticket to hell. But he couldn’t care less. Not when your voice spoke out loud the tension he knew there was between you. Not when you confirmed you wanted this just as much as he did. That eased his guilt a bit. Just enough to goad you to continue. “Tell me.”
Your small voice drifted through the wall, dripping in shame, with a hint of longing and lust coating the edges. Jungkook had to constantly remind himself to keep quiet, biting back groans as your story continued. He almost didn’t hear you finish, too busy in a haze of desire and daydream to realize you were asking for penance. From the priest you thought he was.
Fuck. What was it that priests say? “Say three hail Marys and repent, for our lord and saviour is… merciful (?).” Yeah. That sounded about right. Breathing out a sigh of relief at the end of this tortuous confession. Fuck, maybe now he could go home and shower. He desperately needed to cleanse himself of whatever just took place here.
But the other side of the wall was too quiet. He hadn’t heard the shut of the door, signaling your exit from your side of the confessional. When he listened, he was surprised to hear your breathing through the wall. “... Was there something else, my child?”
A small gasp escaped you. You must have slapped your palm over your mouth because your voice suddenly became muffled. But he heard you, alright. Loud and clear. “I-It’s you. Holy-” You stopped yourself before you could do more damage to your rotten soul. His heart dropped to his ass. Gathering your bearings, Jungkook heard a loud thud as your door was slammed open, rushed footsteps carrying you out and away from him. Fuck.
“Wait!” he swung the door open, looking around for you wildly. Swinging his head in the direction he thought he’d heard you go in. But you were nowhere to be found. Shit. Of course, you knew the covenant like the back of your hand. If you wanted a quick escape route, strangers to the building didn’t stand a chance.
Lucky for him, though, Jungkook was no stranger.
He spotted the doorway he thought you'd disappeared through, hustling and hot on your trail. Barging through the wooden door, loud clang announcing his arrival in the corridor, he was just in time to catch your long dress disappearing behind a wall.
He chased after you, "Yn! Please wait!" But as he rounded the corner, all he got was a slammed door in his face. "Yn, please." He lifted his hand to a tentative knock, barely aware of your heavy breathing on the other side of the door. “Please, darling, open the door.”
“Go away.” He heard that loud and clear. Your sweet voice, trying to sound determined and stern, but dripping in anguish and shame. God, how he wished to be able to take that pain away. He knew it was his fault. He should’ve never been listening to your innermost thoughts. He should’ve announced his presence and stopped you from spilling your guts the moment you’d stepped into that confessional. And he’d tell you as much. Except, there was a small part of him, once he’d heard your tattered voice, that urged him to stay and listen. There was always a devil on his shoulder, egging him on in his charade and convincing him you couldn’t possibly say anything so damning. You were married to the lord, after all. Even though all he wanted to hear from you was those words you’d spoken so worriedly.
“I’m sorry. I never should have pretended I was the priest.” He called out to you, unsure if you could even hear him. “I know how private confession is supposed to be. And I was gonna get out of there, I swear! But then… I heard you mention my name and… well…” He took a deep breath, missing yours hitching on the other side of the door. “I know I shouldn’t have even heard those words, let alone like them. But, yn, you don’t understand how long I’ve been dreaming about those same things.” His confession was met with silence. He sighed, bowing his head.
“W-why?” Your tiny voice broke through the wood. His head shot up, leaning closer to the door, one hand holding his weight against the wall.
“I-I… well… I don’t really know how to explain why.” He rubbed the back of his neck, “I mean, without offending you, of course.”
“I won’t be offended.”
Jungkook’s head shot up in surprise at your voice. “Right, well. I heard your innermost thoughts. Seems only fair you hear my confession, too.” His heart beat louder in his chest. For a moment, he thought a ghost might have possessed him. But his radioactive scanner wasn’t going haywire. Must’ve just been a poor bastard’s nerves causing his large palms to create enough sweat to rehydrate an entire desert. He wiped his hands on his jeans and cleared his throat. “Forgive me, yn, for I have sinned. I’ve thought about you in an inappropriate way more times than I can count. From the moment I saw you, actually. I remember the first time we laughed together, it was when Sister Lena tripped over the pew. Remember?”
He didn’t hear the tiny giggle you let out at the memory.
“I remember thinking it was the most beautiful sound I’d ever heard. I don’t understand it, really. It’s like you have some kind of hold on me and I can’t shake it, no matter how hard I’ve tried. It’s ironic when you think about it. I hunt and rid people of ghost possession for a living, yet I can’t rid myself of you. I remind myself of your duties and promises, of your devotion to your religion. I try to equate you with God, and the saviour. That only backfires. Now, in my mind, my devotion is only to you. I picture your face when I think of religion, and I fear hell now, for it will not have you in it.”
“I-I picture your body when I think of heaven.” He let out a shaky breath. This is it. “I can’t stop imagining you under me, all the things I could do to you. All the ways you would scream my name. The way you would writhe as I bring you to your peak with only my mouth, or my fingers. The way you’d look when you came all over my cock after I fuck your pretty pussy open. I can only see your face when I touch myself, a halo over your head, reminding me of the angel you are, and the sinner I am.” He bowed his head in defeat. You were never gonna look at him again after this. What was he thinking, suggesting telling you his filthy thoughts? You didn’t want to hear that shit. “I’m sorry, yn, but it’s true.”
He leaned back, letting the door creak at the loss of his weight against it. Staring at the blank, empty, silent wood. Is this what confession was like? He wouldn’t know, he’d never been. But people always spoke of such a freeing feeling when they’d leave. All he felt was a heavier weight on his shoulders, one he’d have to learn to carry every time he stepped foot back in the convent.
He turned away from your rejection, ready to leave you and any thoughts of you behind. Whatever it took. He didn’t expect the door to swing wide open, or your small voice breathing out, “But… aren’t we all sinners?”
He turned back to see you peeking out of your room. You'd removed your wimple. Were you allowed to do that? Didn't matter, since you looked ethereal. You stood up straight, clearly catching his stubborn gaze on you. "Jeon Jungkook, I absolve you of your sins." Your small voice spoke hushed, rapid. "Your penance is to enter my room… and repent. Until your sins are forgiven."
He finally met your eyes, ears red from your words as he snapped out of his sheepish state. There. Your eyes held truth, no trace of any false statements. Your true intentions were evident. Willing, almost begging, to be at his mercy. The way you were looking at him, with want in your eyes. He didn’t care how sacrilegious it was, defiling a servant of god. He didn’t care if he would burn in hell for his blasphemy. He followed that gaze, taking large strides over to you to gently cup your face in his hands. His breathing was heavy in anticipation as was yours. Would you really let him do this?
“Please,” you whispered, leaning into his touch. He felt your soft hands touch his biceps, slowly pulling him to follow in step as you backed into your room. “I want this, Jungkook. You must believe me.” Your eyes searched his shyly at your confession, waiting with bated breath.
“Oh, I believe you, yn.” He pulled you close, pressing his forehead against yours. His lips were so close you could almost taste them. His warm breath on your skin. “ Forgive me, Lord. For I am about to sin—” He caught your lips in a passionate kiss, breathing in deep to fill his lungs with your air. Pushing you until your back hit the stony wall, digging into your skin as he trapped you with his passion. You grabbed at him with desperate hands, wrapping around the back of his thin shirt. Whatever material was fisted easily in your hands, stretching easily with the way you were clawing it down his shoulders. He gave you a moment to breathe, drawing back to meet your lust-blown eyes. His were darker, heavy breaths fanning your face as he ran his eyes down your face. But there was something softer in them; something that showed the gentleness of this giant man, below the surface of his rough exterior.
He dragged you down into the depths of hell with him, his soft touch leading you down the path of thorns you were bound on. You couldn’t care less as your back hit the mattress; all your senses could feel at that moment was him. Your mind clouded with the taste of his lips, the touch of his hands roaming your body, the way he stole your breath away as he pulled away, assertively making you his with a smack of his lips against yours. “Mm,” his hands trailed down to push your dress up, the holy fabric once protecting you completely useless at his touch. He found his way in between your legs, exploring the wetness of your heat through your thick panties. “Soaked. Just like you confessed, angel. Good girl.” He nuzzled your neck with his words, placing wet, open-mouthed kisses wherever he went.
His angel. That’s what he’d called you. An angel. A creature made of pure light created to only do good in this world at the command of god. What you should strive to be. A creature capable of doing no wrong; strong soldiers of god doing holy work, their purity and goodness above any levels a puny human could ever reach. How could he compare you to them, when he had you lying here underneath him, legs open and begging for him to touch you in your sacred place? How could he compare you to a saint when all you wanted was to fall into the debts of debauchery with him; when all you wanted was him to show you how to sin, how to please him, how to go so far past the line that those holy saints would never find you?
Lost in your thoughts, your gaze wandered subconsciously to the wall mirroring the door. And there it was. Burning a hole into you, about to burst into flame. Your holy cross. Hanging tediously on the wall as if it was hanging by a thread, swinging in warning before you went too far, and truly lost yourself. It stared at you menacingly, judgingly. Reminding you of who you were, your promises, your vows. To serve your god, and only him. To stay true to your values. To serve as a pillar of a sacred society. It was a witness to your acts, waiting to serve testimony at the end of time on judgement day, so you may be punished for your sins.
Your blood suddenly ran cold with fear as the small symbol took over your body, the power it held over you cumbersome, but towering. What were you doing? How could you lose your senses so easily, a lapse in judgement at the wink of an eye from the man above you? Your body was frozen in shock, unable to process the guilt and horror you felt. But also unable to push him away, to deny what you truly wanted; what your body craved. You couldn’t, not when he was making you feel so good. When he was giving you everything you’ve been missing for all the years of your life, having dedicated yourself to god the moment you turned of age. You’d never felt sensations like this before. And god, did he know what he was doing. He turned you dizzy with just his mouth, you couldn’t imagine how anything else would feel…
But you couldn’t.
Jungkook must have noticed your dilemma when he paused to scan your pensive face. Pulling back from his quest in trying to mark up all the supple skin he could find, his big eyes flashed with worry. “What’s wrong? Do you wanna stop?”
“No,” you were quick to answer, but you felt a pang of guilt in your chest. Your eyes drifted over to the cross hanging on your wall. Watching you. Judging you.
Jungkook followed your gaze, finding the source of your worries. He looked back at you, then at the cross again. It took him a minute, bless his heart, but he realized your strife. “What are you worried about? That little thing?” You nodded hesitantly, avoiding his eyes and trying to look anywhere else for fear of judgement. You landed on his chest instead. He tracked your gaze, tilting your head up to meet a playful smirk on teasing his lips. “It’s not going to hurt you, you know.”
“I know, but…” your hands fiddled with the strings of your dress, anxiety causing a slight tremble in your body.
Jungkook understood your feelings without your explanations. He wordlessly got up from your bed, leaving you with a sense of emptiness without his weight over your body. You watched his every move with horrified guilt; he was going to leave. You’d led him on, only to disappoint him. It was your fault, playing Jezebel. But he didn’t want to have anything to do with your unsteady emotions. Why would he?
He moved across the room to face the cross that was causing you so much agony and internal affliction. He watched it for a minute before reaching and dislodging it from its protected position. It looked so small in his large hands, almost benign. He turned it over, inspecting it. Before walking back over to you. “See, darling?” He turned it around to you, displaying it in his hand. “It’s totally harmless.”
He was so cute. Smiling hopefully with a hand held out to you, desperate to prove your fears were nothing to be afraid of. Not for himself, but for you. He hated seeing the anxiety that wrought you, and the power that a tiny metaphor had over you. He never agreed with the whole god and church thing, but to see you so distraught… he couldn’t stand it.
You tried at a smile. For him. But he could tell you were still worried. Sure, he took the boogeyman off its pedestal. But how to show you its insignificance?
Jungkook’s eyes trailed down, and spotted where his hands had explored earlier. Your soaked panties clung to your cunt, the thick fabric drenched with arousal. Before he could think anymore about what he was about to do, he dove under your dress, pulling down your panties in one fell swoop.
You let out a loud gasp at the sudden breeze in between your legs, but it was quickly replaced with a moan with Jungkook’s tentative lick at your folds. Your legs turned to jelly. You’d never felt anything like this before. This, you thought, must be what heaven feels like. The way he kissed so softly, ran his tongue through your folds like he was enjoying a five-course meal. He was being so gentle and sweet, hooking your legs over his arms in between his face. He looked up at you from under your skirt, only to send a wink. You whimpered instinctively, choking back your loud moans with every lick.
When he latched onto your clit, you about lost it. The sensitive bundle of nerves shivering with the sensations he was presenting it with, tingles moving through your body like an electric shock in the best way possible. His tongue is swirling around your clit like a whirlpool, licking up your juices and covering your mound in his saliva. You cry out once he adds suction, clutching your sheets in a death grip as his cheeks hollow. He looks up at you with big eyes. He looks so innocent in the moment, and not at all like he’s currently bringing your entire world crashing down into pleasure with just a flick of his tongue.
He let go with a pop, allowing you a moment to breath. “You like that, baby? Did I make you feel good?” He asked with a smirk, wiping your juices with the back of his hand. You let out a tiny sigh at the sight, eyes half-lidded as you watched the grinning man who had you under his full control. You gave him a lazy nod, heat rushing to your cheeks at the admission. Only to make his grin grow wider.
Jungkook thought you looked a lot more relaxed now. Body slightly quivering, but more open and loosened up. But, eating you out wasn’t the end of his plan. It was only the beginning.
He took advantage of your momentary haze to inspect the discarded cross. Once it passed his judgement, he held it up to you. “Does this still scare you, baby?”
Your reaction was instant, though more less defined now. He could see how conditioned you were about this cross, how much it held you back. There was only one way to fix that.
“It’s nothing more than wood, love.” He cooed, rubbing your thighs soothingly. A distraction as he inched the ornament closer and closer to your heat. “It doesn’t have any power over you. If anything, you have power over it.”
You nodded at his words, willing to eat them up. He must be right, the way his eyes were shining so pretty right now. There was no way a man who looked like an angel could be wrong. If he said you shouldn’t be scared, maybe he had a point. Maybe god would forgive you. Maybe Jesus died for your sins, as your cross served a constant reminder of. But, he could forgive you for this. Maybe, this wasn’t as bad as it seemed. Maybe…
Your eyes widened as you let out a gasp at the small object being pushed into your wet heat. Jungkook shushed you calmingly, rubbing your clit to get you to open up. You looked down to see the sacred cross, being pushed deeper and deeper into your cunt. You felt a small amount of pain at the penetration, your fingers the only ones your tight pussy had ever known. But Jungkook was going slow, making sure you were adjusting well. “See darling? It’s under my control now.”
Oh lord, forgive me. You thought fleetingly as your eyes screwed shut. He started to move the small symbol in and out, slow at first. Establishing a tempo. You didn’t have time to think of the implications. What this would mean for your wretched soul. How he was simultaneously defiling your body and a symbol of god. Jeon Jungkook had guts, you had to give him that. Coincidentally, being a ghost-buster awarded him that trait. While you were twisting and turning, body writing on your bed as your soul fought with itself, fear ebbing away and pure pleasure taking over.
He held onto the cross, fingers twisting around the top, like he was holding a sword. Sheathing it within your pussy repeatedly. “Look at you now. Not so scary, is it?” He landed a small kiss on your inner thigh. “You have nothing to fear when you’re with me.” His other hand came up to drag up your folds, long, veiny hands tickling your most sensitive parts. He was being undeniably gentle, but you wanted more. You could take it, you thought. You’d burn in hell anyways, what’s the point of being coy?
“More, Jungkook.” You whined, bucking your hips up. “Please?”
A small chuckle escaped him. “Making demands now, angel?” He came up to hover over you, cross buried in your cunt. You saw a glint of mischief flash in his eyes before he swooped down for a sloppy kiss. “Talk to me. Tell me what you want me to do to you, just like you did in that confessional.”
“Mm, I—” You hesitated with his eyes on you, suddenly shy again. Jungkook took to kissing down your body, slowly lowering himself back down while murmuring gentle encouragements. “Faster, please.” You rushed out, before you could stop yourself. “I want you to fuck me with that godforsakken thing harder.”
A smile the devil would be jealous of flashed on his face. His eyes turned dark at your hasty request, a click of his tongue your only warning before he abided. Pulling the cross out slowly, and then shoving it back in with a rough hand. You let out a cry, but he could see your pussy clenching tightly around the object. He did it again, more ruthlessly this time. Faster, harder. Until he was sure he was bruising your walls. But you didn’t stop him. Your legs quivered, and he saw a shimmer of tears in your eyes, but you just kept beginning for more. “This is what you wanted? When you were confessing in there, I was imagining all the things I could do to you. How you seemed so pure and chaste, but you hid such dirty desires beneath that holy outfit. But this? I didn’t know just how obscene you were. Getting off to being fucked with a cross. Wanting me to go harder, be rougher with you. Fucl, how would you take my dick?” He moaned at his own words, imagining how much more filthy your cravings could get.
“Please,” you choked out, feeling a tightness in your stomach. You recognized it as your orgasm fast approaching. “Please, Jungkook. I want your cock so bad. You don’t know how often I’ve thought of it, stretching me. How big it would be. How hard it would feel, pressing against my walls. Please. Give it to me, and I’ll be good, I promise.”
Jungkook cursed at your words, speeding up his pace with the cross, his other hands rubbing harshly at your clit. He could feel you were on the edge of orgasm, and he wanted to see you cum all over the small ornament so badly. With just a few more rough strokes, you were writhing on the bed as arousal gushed forth from your hole, coating his hands and the cross in your cum. He pulled it out of your cunt with a groan at the sight, the way your legs flew shut automatically as you tried to recuperate. But he was in a rush. You were soft and prepped enough to take his cock. And besides, he was about a second away from busting his own load, and, if that wouldn’t have been embarrassing enough, he wouldn’t’ve even gotten the chance to be inside you and give you what you wanted.
He pushed your legs open again gently after he pulled his pants off in a haste. You were just coming out of your post-orgasmic bliss, catching a sight of his long cock stood stiffly in between his legs. Your eyes widened. He was huge. How were you ever going to take him when all your cunt knew was your small, skinny fingers? You were going to be wrecked, ruined. Evidence of your night with him would plague you in the way you would walk the next morning, you knew it. Your sins would be written all over your face, your body telling the tale.
But that made you want it even more.
“You ready?” In all the frantic haste, Jungkook stopped for a moment to examine your face, making absolutely certain that you wanted this. Your resolute nodded solidified your desire, and eased his worries. With a soft kiss pressed to your lips, he held you close as he tapped his cock against your entrance. Almost as though it was a door, and he was asking for permission to go in. He rubbed the tip against your folds, brushing over your clit, and earning a large whine from you. You pushed your hips up against him bravely, begging for more. He was met with your pout when he looked at you, in return, a smile spreading across his lips. With a wink, he gripped his thick cock in hand, and pushed inside you slowly.
The stretch was like something you’ve never experienced before, your body frozen at the penetrative sensation. The cross was nothing compared to this, you thought, as he eased his way inside. You could feel him going deeper, thinking it would never end. Inching in, little by little. Just when you thought he was all the way in, he’d move again. God, he was endless. You held your breath as navigated his way through, pressing gentle kisses onto your skin with small murmurs of “almost there,” “you’re doing great.”
Finally, he was buried inside. You let out the breath you were holding, tears pricking at the corners of your eyes. Jungkook looked down worriedly, “Are you okay? Can I move?”
Your virginity was lost, the metaphorical seal broken. The deed was truly done. And yet, you felt no guilt. No gut-wrenching heartache, no culpability. Not a damn thing for throwing away your religious vows. All you felt was relief. And happiness that it was the man above you who took you on this journey. His eyebrow piercing glinted playfully at you as his eyebrows furrowed in concentration. You pulled him down for a kiss as your answer.
He breathed against your lips, taking your green light to pull back out and go in again while you were distracted with the kiss. You wrapped your arms around him tighter, wanting to feel his chest pressed against yours. You could feel his muscles with every move of his hips, surrounding you like a protection. He chased your lips like candy, never letting you escape. Soft lips hungrily biting at yours. Now that he knew you liked it rough, he’d take full advantage of that.
“Oh lord,” you moaned as he swiveled his hips, moving faster into your virgin cunt. You felt his heavy balls slapping against you, his groans in your ear like a melody as a distraction from how he was shaping your insides to fit his girth. He pulled one of your shaky legs to wrap around his waist, using the new angle to piston his hips ruthlessly into you. It was your first time, he knew that. But he couldn’t help himself. All those things he’d heard you say during your confession came rushing back to him. He looked down at you, making sure you were actually there, and not in his imagination this time. Your eyes shut, mouth fallen open in pleasure, skin exposed for his marking. This is better than anything he’d thought of. And he felt privileged, being the only one you let under your skirt. You didn’t know it, always so trusting and sweet, but Jungkook heard the whispers about you. Watched the way eyes followed you in any room you entered. Heard the way men would talk about your ass, your pretty face, how you’d look with their cum splattered on your cheek. It was obscene and disgusting. If only Jungkook hadn’t partook in those thoughts himself.
“Please, please, I—” you were unable to finish your thoughts with your second orgasm of the night approaching. You both were never gonna last long, Jungkook knew that. You had wanted this for so long, and had rushed so frantically into each other that you were bound to feel release creeping up on you like restitution for your suffering desires. He could feel his own coming up, knew that once he got a taste of your body, he wouldn’t be too far behind. Neither of you could care less. Wrapped up in one another, all you wanted was satisfaction, that sweet moment you’ve both been craving for so long.
“Cum for me, sweetheart,” he commanded, seasoned hands abusing your pussy into submission. You had no choice but to listen as he stimulated your clit, his engorged cock hitting your bundle of nerves from the inside. You came with a loud cry, one he muffled with his mouth. Jungkook couldn’t take it, the way you looked, the way you held onto him so tightly. The way you clenched impossibly tightly around his cock. It only took a few wreckless strokes, hitting hard and deep into your cunt, for him to spill his seed inside you.
“God forgive us,” you panted as you lay there post-orgasm, entangled in one another with only sin for company.
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Copyright © 2021, taesinferno | tumblr | no reposts, translations, copies, etc.
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opaljm · 18 days ago
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new fic announcement!
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➺ pairing: genie!jungkook x female reader
➺ genres/tropes: fluff ; angst ; smut ; fantasy au ; magic au ; strangers to lovers
➺ warning/content tags: explicit sexual content
➺ word count: tbd
➺ summary: Jungkook has been stuck in a lamp for the last 2000 years before he is woken from his slumber by a beautiful woman who somehow activates his lamp while making a wish that ends up letting him out. After eons of having to bend over backwards to make the desires of evil individuals from power hungry dictators to spoiled princesses come into fruition, he’s updated his contract to be more choosy over who the lamp allows to be his master. It comes to his great surprise that this woman was able to make the lamp work and that she only yearns to be loved and no longer be lonely. But all of the wishes he grants now have time constraints, another caveat he added to the contract, and he wonders what life would be like if he had never made that stupid rule. Because, as the week progresses, he finds himself falling deeper and deeper into her spell, pondering what it would be like if he never had to stop playing the role of her man.
➺ release date: September 2021
PLEASE REPLY UNDER THE POST OR SEND IN AN ASK TO BE INCLUDED IN THE TAG LIST!
(banner by @kimtaehyunq​)
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latetaektalk · 19 days ago
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(road)tripping for you | jjk
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“it was just supposed to be a roadtrip; your best friend, her boyfriend, his best friend, and you. but it gets a little more complicated (and a whole lot more awkward) when your best friend and her boyfriend have to drop out and you’re left to go on the trip with none other than jeon jungkook, a complete stranger. well, a complete stranger except for the fact that you hooked up two years ago.”
— genre: roadtrip! AU, strangers to lovers! AU, only-one-bed! AU, summer! AU, fluff, a bit of angst
— pairing: jungkook x female reader
— word count: 31.071
— warnings: cursing, light alcohol consumption, awkward situations, clichés
— playlist: soundtrack
— a/n: alright im happy and incredibly nervous to present this baby !! its completely self-indulgent, cheesy as shit, and not really edited, so i hope you guys enjoy! id also like to thank lira @koocycle​ for listening to me cry about this fic!! couldnt have done this without you! also, this is my entry for @ficscafe​’s exchange event, written for @jeonsweetheart​​ !! i really do hope you enjoy this one and sorry that this is so long! i uh also stalked your blog a bit and was inspired by how you assign a song to every fic, so i did the same! hope you dont mind!! my pick for this au is “safety net” by ariana grande !!
— lyric: tripping, falling, with no safety net 
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The summer is always too short.
The realisation comes to you while you’re waiting in the car and fanning yourself with a make-shift paper fan because the AC broke two weeks ago and you haven’t had the money to get it fixed yet, waiting for Sooyoung who just walked into the convenience store to buy some snacks. 
You look out to your left. The sun’s still high up in the sky for how late it is, bleeding its last bit of light into the clouds. Couples and families are walking past you, chatting and laughing, holding melting ice cream in their hands. You hear the laughter of children playing tag down the street, another handful are chasing each other with a water gun. Through the cracked window, you feel the warm and humid air come in, hitting your cheek. It’s at that moment you realise it.
It’s sad.
But at the same time, you realise it’s fitting. Summer arrives with magic every year—the nights somehow seeming endless, the days stuffed with almost suffocating and paralysing potential, indeterminate relationships and friendships, and the air filled with infinite possibilities and promises, all within reach, so close and still not close enough, a hopeful humming accompanying it. It’s reeling. 
So of course, time passes quicker. Of course, summer is fading and fleeting. Of course, it’s all over in the blink of an eye. It’s magical after all.
It’s that magic that prompted you to ask out your crush your sophomore year (you (fortunately) lasted less than a handful of months), that gave you the foolish courage to cut your hair with a pair of blunt kitchen scissors at two in the morning your junior year (it was a disaster), and made you climb out of your window Tangled style after you got grounded so you could spend the last days of summer with your friends under the night sky your senior year (some of the greatest nights of your life). 
It’s the same magic that provokes you to turn to Sooyoung and ask her this when she comes back with an armful of snacks (without the Cheerios you asked for though).
“You wanna go on a roadtrip?”
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It’s a stupid idea you conclude halfway through planning.
Because three issues come up. First, neither of you have much saved up (read: barely anything), which makes paying for the hotel stays and the car you’re going to rent (since yours is shit and Sooyoung doesn’t have one) a lot more difficult. And second, Sooyoung can’t drive, which would make you the only driver, which obviously, you can’t be on a cross country roadtrip. Last but not least, Sooyoung’s and Namjoon’s two year anniversary is coming up, and while she hasn’t made it the official third issue, you know she doesn’t want to spend their anniversary apart.
But Sooyoung somehow comes up with a solution to all of the problems.
For the first (and third) issue, she suggests taking Namjoon with you. This way you can split the costs for the hotels and the car. And obviously, if he’s on the trip too, they won’t be apart during their anniversary. You’re more than happy with the solution. The same can’t be said about the solution she suggests for the second issue.
“Look, if he came along, we’d have a second driver and—” You walk over to the snacks section but Sooyoung follows you, her grocery list long forgotten. “—we could split the costs of the hotels and car by four!”
You closely examine two poorly designed bags of cookies, neither looking all that appealing, pretending like you couldn’t hear her. You go with the cheaper option.
“Y/N,” Sooyoung says and pokes you in the ribs. You flinch and almost drop the cookies. You give her a scowl. “Consider it?”
“I already said no.” You turn on your heel and walk away.
“Please, Y/N,” she whines, catching up with you and blocking your way. 
You purse your lips and narrow your eyes. “Can’t someone else come with? Does it have to be him?”
“Kook’s Joon’s best friend,” Sooyoung says, and you cringe at the nickname. You don’t think you’ll ever get used to her calling him that. “They’ve actually also talked about going on a roadtrip before, you know? So when I mentioned it…”
She trails off, but you don’t need her to keep talking. You know where she’s getting at.
“No, Soo, I just-” You cut yourself short, and shake your head. “It’s just so embarrassing. I bailed, dude. I didn’t even bother to wait for him to wake up and shit.”
The image materialises in front of your eyes; the morning you woke up next to the doe-eyed boy you never thought you would get this close to, or even talk to. It feels like a fever dream. Not only is it unlike you to hook up with a stranger, but of all people, you could have fallen into bed with it was Jeon Jungkook? Sometimes you’re convinced it was all just a fever dream, it never happened, until you remember you forgot your keys at his place in your haze. Your lost keys remain the only piece of evidence that stops you from convincing yourself you only hallucinated it all.
“Yeah, but it was two years ago!”
You scrunch your face. You’ve heard this all before, and you don’t want to hear it again, so you walk past Sooyoung and head for the checkout, placing the cookies on the conveyor belt. 
“Y/N, can’t you at least think about it?”
“I have.”
“No, you haven’t,” she hisses. “You immediately said no! You didn’t even take a second to consider it.”
You look at her. “Soo, you know exactly how I feel about this- him. Don’t force me to be stuck in a car with him, please.”
Sooyoung opens her mouth but is interrupted by the cashier. The arguing ceases then, and you’re grateful. The peace doesn’t last long though, Sooyoung picking up right where you left off as soon as you finish paying.
“You make it seem like you guys have some major history when you just hooked up. And that was two years ago! It’s been ages! There’s literally no reason for you to still avoid Kook.”
You dig out your keys and unlock your car, slipping into it just to regret it. You groan because even though you made sure to park in the shade, the sun had moved when you were in the store and turned your car into a goddamn sauna. You feel your skin glueing to your seat. Ew. 
You keep the door open to let in some air, and you’re about to tell Sooyoung to do the same, but she interrupts you.
“I actually think he has forgotten about you,” she says, and you toss the cookies in the backseat and tuck your hair out of your face, grabbing your make-shift paper fan. It doesn’t bring much relief, but it’s better than nothing. 
The comment, although you should be happy about it because it’s all you want, irks you the tiniest bit. Because you haven’t. You haven’t even begun to forget him, and the thought it might not be the same for him, that you didn’t leave a single mark in his mind, it hurts a bit
“You think?”
“I know.”
“And how do you know?” 
“Because in the past two years he’s never brought you up, or even alluded to you or the night,” she argues.
“That’s because he doesn’t know my name,” you say. “Probably only knows me by my face. I’m probably that dumb girl that left her keys at his place in his mind.”
Sooyoung sighs, rolling her eyes at your stubbornness. “He’s really nice! You’d know if you would have just gone out with us once.” 
When Sooyoung and Namjoon started dating, it didn’t take long for your two friend groups to grow into a big one, the two organising parties and meetups. You never participated in anything when there was even the smallest chance of Jungkook being there too. No one ever noticed.
“And he’s also really funny-”
“Date him then,” you mumble, which earns you a deserved hit against your arm.
“Y/N, you know I’m in a happy relationship with Joon!” 
“So you’d date him if you weren’t with-”
Another hit.
You laugh, but Sooyoung doesn’t join you, glowering at you instead, and you wonder how this conversation took this turn so quickly. Minutes ago she was giving you puppy eyes and begging you to think about it and now she’s scowling at you and scolding you like a mother.
“I’m serious, Y/N. And before you say we’ll do it next year, you know exactly we won’t. It’s like when you said you’d stop buying so many books this year, or when I said, I’d learn Spanish. The moment we postpone the trip, we’re not doing it anymore, and you know that.” Sooyoung stares into your eyes, waiting for you to say something. When you don’t—because unfortunately, she’s right, and you don’t want to admit that—, she sighs. She takes your hands into hers and tosses your paper fan to the side. 
“Hey-”
“Y/N, look,” you quiet down when you see the stare she gives you, “I don’t want to force you into anything. I’m gonna respect your boundaries if you really don’t want him on the trip—” You hear the ‘but’ before she even says it. “—but I promise you first, Kook doesn’t remember. Second, even if he does, he’s not gonna be weird about it. And third, I know he won’t be weird about it because Kook’s probably one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met.”
You think Sooyoung’s done, but she opens her mouth again. “Also,” she sits up, “Joon and I are gonna be there too! So even if it’s weird, which I highly doubt, we’ll serve as buffers! And if you don’t wanna talk to him, you don’t have to either. No one’s saying you have to become friends with Kook, but it’s just-”
She deflates after. She can’t find the right words, but it’s fine. You know what she’s trying to say. You’re not stupid. Without Jungkook this trip won’t be happening. It’s as simple as that.
You sigh and close your eyes. You do realise how ridiculous how you’re acting right now. Like Sooyoung has pointed out, your history only consists of one drunken night. It’s barely anything. Bits and pieces. Scraps really. But it’s enough to have your cheeks burning up.
But if Sooyoung’s right, if Jungkook has actually forgotten about you (which wouldn’t be so unlikely since it’s been two years and you’re sure he’s hooked up with other girls in the meantime), you really don’t have anything to worry about. But if Sooyoung’s not right and he brings it up, you’re fucked. You don’t think you can handle the embarrassment, the questions of why you so rudely fled in the morning. 
On the other hand, you really do want to go on the roadtrip. You think it’d be the perfect way to spend the summer, stretch it out a bit more, fill it with memories you’re going to look back on fondly in a few years. You think it would be the perfect way to savour the summer. It’s all you want, to spend time with your best friend and make memories.
You look at Sooyoung. She’s still staring at you. She’s going to wait for your answer, however long it takes. Because (and you know that) she’s convinced it might just be a ‘yes’. You heave out a sigh.
She’s right, unfortunately. You hope the same will be the case with Jungkook.
“Fine.”
It’s almost comical how quickly her face lights up, the corners of her lips turning up into a gigantic grin.
“Wait, really?” she gasps quietly, clasping her hands together, almost like in a prayer. “You’re sure about this?”
No, you’re not, not even a bit. But the things you would do to ensure a great summer with your best friend. You sigh and nod. Just as Sooyoung’s about to burst, you shove your finger into her face.
“But promise me,” you stare her down, “that you’ll stick with me. You can’t leave me hanging!”
She quickly nods, so vigorously you think her head’s going to fall off. “I won’t. I won’t. Don’t worry, Joon doesn’t exist on the trip. You’re my sole focus, I swear.”
“So you promise me?”
Sooyoung stares you down. “Y/N, I promise you I won’t leave you hanging.”
You smile at each other. It’s decided then. Jungkook’s coming on the trip too. You can already feel regret building up in you.
“Also, we gotta get back inside. I didn’t buy shit.” Sooyoung produces her grocery list from her pocket.
You roll your eyes. “You better be quick.”
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In your years of friendship with Sooyoung, she has only ever let you down two times. 
The first time was in your sophomore year when you had just begun dating your first boyfriend and told your parents you were going to stay over at her place and she screwed up covering for you, which led to you getting a three hour long lecture on honesty and being in a relationship so young.
The second time was two years ago when she forgot to tell you she was going to leave the party early with a certain dimpled boy from her Chem class because you’re convinced if she had, you wouldn’t have wandered around looking for her and landed in the arms of a certain doe-eyed boy. Yes, you blame Sooyoung for you hooking up with Jungkook, at least partially.
But those two occasions were the only times she’s ever let you down. Today, however, marks the third time, and this time it’s bad.
Because when Jungkook pulls up to your apartment, Sooyoung and Namjoon aren’t standing next to you like they should be. And they’re also not running late. No, they’re in a completely different city.
Your emotional state is confusing; somehow you’re nervous and pissed off at the same time. It’s hard to find a balance, to think straight with both emotions brewing inside you.
You think time stretches thin when you watch Jungkook park and get out, eyes meeting yours before searching for the two familiar faces. You can’t figure out if he recognises you or not as he walks up to you. Your heart tumbles more and more with every step he takes.
“Hey,” he greets you, and you can see traces of a smile on his lips.
You search for something in his eyes, anything that will tell you if he remembers you, if you look familiar to him at all, but you find nothing. Either there’s really nothing and Sooyoung’s right, or you’re simply too nervous to process this entire thing to analyse the situation at hand.
“Uh, hi,” you breathe out, sounding vaguely out of breath and reedy. You scrunch your nose.
“Where’s Joon and Soo?”
And with that question, you decide he doesn’t recognise you. Maybe you’re wrong, but it’s the conclusion you decide to come to. It’s the only one that allows your voice to gain some firmness, that allows your mind to clear up a bit, that has the nervosity simmering down to a light bubble, allowing space for your anger at the situation at hand.
“They’re not here.”
“Wait,” he frowns, and looks behind you, like maybe he overlooked them somehow, “where are- oh, are they late? Did they text-”
He’s about to pull out his phone, but you stop him, dropping the news on him.
“They’re not coming.”
Jungkook snaps his gaze to you then, a knit forming between his brows.
“What do you mean they aren’t coming?” 
He stares at you with huge eyes, doe eyes so big you think they’re about to fall out. One good slap on the back of his head and they’re out. You’re sure. 
You sigh and close your eyes, your jaw on the verge of breaking. Sooyoung’s dead.
“They just called me,” you hold up your phone as if you needed proof, “and well, turns out they’re out of town and stuck there because the railway companies went on strike.” 
You press your lips together. “They aren’t coming.”
Jungkook stares at you like you’ve just grown a second head, and you can’t blame him. It took you a number of “Wait, wait, wait, what?”s and “You’re kidding, right?”s to process this information too.
He presses his hand to his forehead. “So, what?” The knit between his brows deepen as he comes to the same realisation you came to just a few minutes prior, leading to you cursing out Sooyoung over the phone. “It’s just you and me? No Joon? No Soo?”
You reluctantly nod.
Jungkook blinks at you in total five times before he reacts again, his face morphing into something you can’t pinpoint. It’s something between worry and fear, you think.
“Can’t we go pick them up?” he suggests, a proposal you’ve already made.
“No,” you begin and look into the distance, repeating what Sooyoung told you over the phone. “The issue is that we already booked all of our hotels, so if we were to pick them up, our reservations would fall through. And no, they also don’t let you reschedule either. I guess that’s the service you get when you book the cheapest hotels possible.”
You can see Jungkook think, desperate to find a solution to this. You want to tell him that you’ve thought about it all already, that you don’t want to go on a roadtrip with just him either, but you refrain, pressing the tip of your tongue to the roof of your mouth.
He lets out a hollow chuckle when he comes up with no solution. The sound arises from the back of his throat. It’s meant to lighten the mood, you think. “Well, what fucking genius suggested booking our hotels beforehand?”
You let the question hang in the air for a moment, scrunching your nose and looking down to your shoes before answering, fingers fumbling in front of your stomach.
“I did.”
Jungkook quiets then. Maybe you should have bitten your tongue and not said it.
“Well, I mean,” he scrambles, “you couldn’t have known-”
“I mean it’s not just the hotels,” you interrupt, probably saving Jungkook from embarrassing himself further and possibly even insulting you again. “We also already rented the car.” You gesture behind him. “And Soo and Joon also don’t want to inconvenience us. They said they’d take the next train back and try to, uh, catch up with us.”
He nods then. A prolonged silence stretches between you like gum, sticky and gross. You don’t look at him, and he doesn’t look at you. 
In the end, he speaks first again, clearing his throat. “So, uh, we’re going on this trip together then?”
You press your lips together and tuck a strand behind your ear, still refusing to meet his gaze. It’s almost ironic how good the weather is today, perfect for a roadtrip, a roadtrip you no longer want to go on.
“Unless you want your money to go to waste, yeah, seems like it.”
Jungkook stares at you, and then nods. You look down at your suitcase and put your hand on it. 
This is happening.
You heave out a long sigh.
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“I’m so sorry, Y/N,” Sooyoung tells you, and you know there’s an apologetic look plastered on her face. But it does nothing to calm your anger, your grip on your phone only tightening. “I genuinely feel so bad, Y/N. I swear. I’m truly so sorry.”
“If you’re so sorry—” You look out the window to make sure he’s nowhere. All you see is a stressed-out father hushing his kids back into the car, the gas pump still in his right hand. “—how about you get your ass here right now?”
Sooyoung’s quiet for a moment, and you know she’s looking over to Namjoon. She sighs under her breath, running a hand through her hair. 
“Y/N, I explained it to you, I-I can’t,” she whispers, sounding as guilt-ridden as she did when she called you to tell you she screwed up covering for you. “I wish I could, but we’re stuck here. We-we can’t get away.”
You shut your eyes, feeling the rigidness of your jaw. Deep down, you know this is out of Sooyoung’s control. Still, you can’t help but spit, “I just don’t get why you guys had to go out of town a day before our trip! Just- what were you thinking?”
It’s then that you hear Namjoon in the background ask Sooyoung to hand him the phone, and although she tries to protest, the next thing you hear is his voice.
“Hey, Y/N.”
“Joon, hey.” You try your best to not sound annoyed, emphasis on try.
“Please don’t be mad at Soo. This is my fault. I’m the one that organised this and brought her out here. So blame me.”
You curse under your breath. When Namjoon does this—taking full responsibility for everything, putting the blame solely on himself—, you find it incredibly hard to stay mad. And it’s all you want to be because you’re stuck in a shitty situation. You need to be mad! You have every right to! 
You heave out a sigh and curse. “I guess neither of you could have foreseen this, huh?” 
You can practically hear Namjoon nod, and knowing him, he’s probably making his ‘yeah, exactly!’ face, the one Sooyoung adores so much. 
“Yeah, this was just meant to be a one-day thing for our anniversary, you know?” 
You cringe in disgust and annoyance, not wanting to be reminded that the only reason why Sooyoung and Namjoon are out of town right now is because he wanted to be a romantic and spend some time on their own for their anniversary. You feel awfully single and lonely all of a sudden. 
“I’m sorry.”
You close your eyes. “It’s fine.” 
There’s a moment of silence, and you know exactly what Sooyoung’s about to ask. Your face sours when you turn out to be right. 
“Uh, where’s Kook by the way?” 
“He’s getting gas,” you say. He’s certainly taking his time, you think. You don’t mind now because you get to talk to Sooyoung for a bit, but you hope it won’t be like this for the rest of the trip.
“How’s it going?” she asks, and you hate that you can hear the smile on her face. “You guys bonding?”
“You know if I hadn’t paid for the car and hotels already, there would be no way I’d be here right now, right? If I could have somehow cancelled it all and gotten my money back, I would have?” you tell her, wanting- no, needing to make it very clear to her that you aren’t on this trip by choice, that if you could have not gone and still gotten all of your money back, you would have.
“But for your information, no, we’re not bonding. We just drove in silence for the last ten minutes until he pulled over for gas. It was awful,” you spit.
“Well, I’m sure it won’t be like this for the rest of the trip. Right, Joon?”
And like the supportive boyfriend that he is, Namjoon’s quick to agree. “Yeah, Kook’s really shy and awkward with strangers.”
“You guys just need some time to warm up,” Sooyoung adds, and you hope it’s just that.
“Or I was right,” you mutter, shuddering at the thought. 
So far he hasn’t mentioned anything, but so far your interactions were limited, consisting of you explaining the dilemma you were in, you struggling to load your suitcase into the trunk, a process in which he got into the car and watched you in the rearview mirror, and you two sitting in silence before he (rather abruptly) announced he needed gas and turned into the next gas station.
You don’t remember this awkwardness hanging between you two years ago. But truth be told, you only remember the night in fragments, like a montage in a film, a few handful of images stuck in your brain, nothing concise, pieces of an unfinished film roll—the smile he gave you when you accidentally ran into him, the laugh he coaxed out of you with a joke you wouldn’t remember even if you had been sober at the time, the game of beer pong you won together; and at some point, his place, sitting on the couch, whispers of are you sure? spoken into one another’s ears, whispers that turned from questions into something more delicate, and slowly, also more daring; the taste of alcohol on his lips when he first kissed you, brief and shy, before diving back in, braver this time, almost eager; tender hands that quickly wandered, going beyond where they should be, pieces of garments discarded left and right, a trail to his bedroom; the layer of sweat coating your skin, the air you gasped for however stifling, before finally, in the end, slumber, quiet and peaceful, with smiles on your faces.
You shudder. For once, you want nothing more than to be wrong. You don’t want him to remember you. And before you can hear Sooyoung assuring you of just that (because obviously, that’s what she’s going to say), the sight of Jungkook walking out of the gas station, hands full with snacks, catches your eye.
“Oh.”
That’s why he was taking so long.
“‘Oh’? What did you see?”Sooyoung asks, and you’re too confused to answer her. “Y/N?”
“Uh, yeah, sorry.” You snap out of it. “He’s, uh, coming back. Gotta hang up.”
“Well, yeah, go hang up. Please have a fun time with-”
You end the call before Sooyoung can finish, partially because Jungkook’s getting awfully close, but mostly because you don’t want to hear the rest of her sentence.
“Hey,” he mumbles quietly when he slips inside and you return his greeting, adding a quick and awkward wave too, gripping your phone. “Sorry for the- for keeping you waiting.”
You wave him off. He stares at the snacks. You think he’s going to hand you a bag, offer you some chips or nuts, tell you it’s meant for your trip, to keep your stomachs full, but he just reaches behind and puts them in the back. (After all, you’ve got more than enough space.) 
So those are for him, you conclude with a scrunch of a nose, just for him. But that’s alright. He’s not obligated to buy you snacks too, or share them. You’re mere strangers after all. Still, your jaw grows rigid, and you look off to the side to hide it.
Out of the corner of your eye, you see Jungkook do a double take when you take out your earphones. You don’t care. If he wasn’t going to buy you snacks, you’re not going to sit here in silence and twiddle your thumbs.
You don’t pay any attention to the song you’re blasting through your earbuds, much more focused on being the worst passenger possible. 
You unlock your phone.
[You - 10:33] : he bought snacks
[sooyoung !! - 10:34] : OH
[sooyoung !! - 10:34] : thats so cute :((
[You - 10:34] : for himself only
[sooyoung !! - 10:34] : wait what
[sooyoung !! - 10:34] : just for himself???
[You - 10:34] : he put them into the back
[You - 10:34] : didnt offer me anything
[sooyoung !! - 10:34] : oh
[sooyoung !! - 10:35] : well joon did say he’s shy
[sooyoung !! - 10:35] : he probably doesnt know how to interat with you
[You - 10:35] : youd never make these types of excuses for any other guy
[sooyoung !! - 10:35] : wait are you on your phone rn?
[You - 10:35] : nah im texting you on a brick
[sooyoung !! - 10:35] : y/n
[You - 10:35] : wdym am i on my phone?? obviously??
[sooyoung !! - 10:35] : you cant be on your phone!! thats so rude
[sooyoung !! - 10:35] : you’re being such a bad passenger
[You - 10:35] : hes being a bad driver by only buying himself snacks
[sooyoung !! - 10:36] : put down your phone
[sooyoung !! - 10:36] : dont make me block you
[You - 10:36] : lmao like youd dare
[You - 10:36] : you dont have the balls for it
And when your last message doesn’t go through, you freeze. You type up a handful more, none of them deliver. This is a joke, you think. Sooyoung must be messing with you. She’s unblocking you any second now. She has to. She’s your only escape from this! She can’t leave you hanging, again.
But she does.
You close your eyes and swallow the sigh, not even able to begin to fathom the situation you’re in right now: you’re going on a cross country roadtrip with Jeon Jungkook, who happens to be a mere stranger to you aside from the fact, of course, that you hooked up two years ago and you fled his apartment like your life depended on it. But not only that, Sooyoung, your supposed best friend, who has let you down once already today, just fucking blocked you. You think the universe has fun seeing you in misery and-
“... please?”
You take out an earbud. “What? Sorry?”
“Oh, I just-” Jungkook clears his throat, and you realise he’s not really looking at you, eyes dancing around. “I asked if you could hand me a water bottle.”
You blink at him before taking out your second earbud. “Sure, yeah.”
“I should have one in my bag,” he tells you, pointing behind. “You see it?”
You do. It’s in the far corner. There’s no way you’re reaching that. Your bag, however, is a lot closer. So you take out your water bottle.
“Here. Couldn’t get to your bag, so if you don’t mind, you can, uh, drink from mine,” you tell him and try to hand Jungkook your water, but he’s too focused on looking at the road, his hand grasping air several times. 
“Thanks,” he says when he finally gets a hold of it. Five attempts, you count. You bite away your smile. You fail though when you see how much Jungkook struggles to unscrew the bottle. And when he brings it to his lips with shaky hands, you think you’re about to laugh. You don’t though, and reach out to help him instead, steadying the bottle.
“Oh,” he says, surprised, and takes two big gulps. “Thank you.”
You hum and take the bottle from his lips, grabbing the lid too and screwing it back on. You doubt he’ll be able to do it. You don’t bother putting the water bottle back, keeping it in your lap instead. 
For the next ten minutes, it’s silent again. You don’t go on your phone again, not because you feel bad and don’t want to be a shitty passenger. No, definitely not that. You don’t go on your phone again because you don’t want to. 
You watch the traffic, and after a while, you let out a yawn. You think it’s a combination of the mundane view and the fact you barely slept yesterday. You rub your eyes, a gesture that prompts Jungkook to look over to you.
You turn to him too, thinking he’s going to say something. He opens his mouth, but clamps it shut the next second. You blink a handful of times and raise a brow because what was that? But you don’t bother asking him, deciding to look away too. 
And even though you didn’t make a fool of yourself, he did, you feel deeply embarrassed too. Heat crawls up your neck and settles on your cheeks. You think the Germans have a word for that. They call it fremdschämen. Well, you’re fremdschämen-ing.
“If, uh, you-”
You snap your head around. Jungkook isn’t looking at you, eyes dead set on the road, almost like he can’t bring himself to direct his gaze your way.
“Yeah?”
Jungkook takes a deep breath and collects himself. Before he begins to speak, he clears his throat, “If you’re tired, you can nap for a bit. I wouldn’t mind.”
“Oh,” you blurt out, shaking your head to snap out of it. “Thanks, uh, for the offer. I appreciate it. But I’m not tired.”
And even though you can see that he wants to argue with you, bring up how you just yawned, Jungkook closes his mouth.
It’s silent. It feels like a decade passes by. 
“If you’re tired,” you say, remembering to return the offer, “just tell me and we can switch.”
“Yeah, but I’m not tired.” He waits a moment. It feels like another decade passes by. “So you can, uh, nap for a bit if you want to.”
You can’t help but smile a bit at his words. It’s a nice thing of him to say. “Thanks. I’ll just see what happens.”
“Alright.” He nods. “You mind if I put on some music?”
You gesture for him to go ahead. “Not at all.”
You don’t recognise the song Jungkook plays, but you like it. You like it so much you ask him for the title.
“It’s, uh, ‘Never Not’ by Lauv,” he tells you, and you perk up at the name of the artist. You know him.
“I think I’ve got one of his songs saved.” You pull out your phone to see which one it is, unable to recall the title. 
“‘Paris in the Rain’?” Jungkook says, and you snap your finger at his words.
“Yeah, that’s it!” you say, screwing your eyes shut and pressing your hand to your temple. “How could I forget?”
He smiles at you then, and you mirror him.
And when you fall into silence again after this, it feels a lot less awkward. It’s then that you realise you’ve completely forgotten about your history, the dread that plagued you before at the thought of being in the same car as Jungkook. It disappeared for a moment, but now that you’ve thought about it again, it appears again. You curse yourself.
But before you can spiral, go back to awkwardly sitting in your seat and looking out the window and feeling completely mortified, Jungkook looks over to you. This time he speaks the first time.
“Hey, can I ask?” He doesn’t wait for you to tell him yes. “How did you meet Soo?”
You have to smile at the question. “It’s a long story,” you warn.
“Well,” Jungkook laughs, “I think we might have time.”
You would have rolled your eyes at him for his smartass comment if you knew him better. But since you don’t, you refrain and begin the story instead.
“We went to the same middle school.”
And then you tell Jungkook how Sooyoung and you started by hating each other, for reasons neither of you know. (It was hate at first sight, Sooyoung always likes to say.) You recall how your hatred spawned a series of snarky side comments, snide looks, and scoffs over a period of one year. In the end, it was a boy that brought you together, well, your mutual hatred for him. 
Wongshik was his name. He transferred to your school. More importantly, he was obnoxious, loud, arrogant, and overall, incredibly annoying. Class with him was horrible, so horrible Sooyoung and you couldn’t stop cussing him out during break. And ever since, you two have been joined at the hip. You no longer talk about Wongshik, barely think about him anymore. But you are, in a really weird way, incredibly thankful for how annoying he was. You aren’t sure you would have found one another if it hadn’t been for his obnoxiousness.
“How did you meet Joon?”
Jungkook waves you off. “Our story isn’t that great.”
“You don’t want to tell?”
“Well,” he hums, “I don’t mind. I just don’t think it’s all that exciting. We didn’t go from enemies to friends, you know?”
“I’m sure it’s still great,” you try, and Jungkook scratches his neck, sighing in the end.
“We got assigned as partners for an art project in high school.”
“And then?” 
It’s after you’ve asked the question that it dawns on you that there’s nothing to it, seeing the pink that dusts his cheeks a second too late.
“Nothing. That’s it,” he coughs and shrugs. “We became friends after that.”
“Oh.” It’s all you can say for a moment. “Well, that’s a cute story too!”
Jungkook levels you with an unconvinced look. You hold his gaze for a second before cracking.
“I tried.”
He hums. “I appreciate it.”
And then, you share a laugh. It’s short but genuine. It’s enough, more than you ever expected. This isn’t so bad, you think.
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You don’t fall asleep for almost another two hours. The exhaustion sneaks up on you though, slowly coming on around the one hour mark. You don’t know if Jungkook notices, but once he switches to his lofi songs, it starts to lull you to sleep. 
It’s the sound of the seat belt snapping back that wakes you up.
“Oh, shit, sorry,” Jungkook apologises when he sees you peel your eyes open. “The seatbelt was jammed and I-”
He stops when you wave him off, a soft smile on your lips. 
“It’s fine. It’s fine. Don’t worry about it,” you tell him, voice still thick with sleep. You yawn and rub your eyes, taking in your surroundings. You’re at a rest stop. “Why did we stop?”
“Uh, toilet break,” he admits, not daring to look at you when he speaks. Adorable, you think. Does he think you don’t pee too?
“Yeah, what time is it?” you ask and stretch as much as you can, your joints cracking in relief. 
Jungkook shows you his phone, and you think you must be hallucinating when you see you’ve been asleep for the past three hours. You’ve been on this trip for four hours now, and you slept for half of it. Not only that, Jungkook had to drive all this time. Great, so where’s your award for being the world’s shittiest passenger?
“God, fuck, I’m sorry. I slept so much.”
“What? No, don’t apologise! It’s fine,” Jungkook quickly assures you and gives you a smile. “Don’t worry about it.” He pauses, and looks off to the side when he says it. “I’m glad you got some rest.”
You don’t know what to say to that, your mouth drying up at his words. Your brain is especially slow, still half asleep. So you end up not saying anything. Which is probably the worst thing you can do because an awkward silence hovers around you.
“Oh, uh, yeah,” you tuck your hair away, “you said you needed to pee?”
“Right, yeah, yes, I did. I said that. I gotta pee, yeah.” Jungkook clears his throat, and even though you’re not facing him, he knows you’re cringing. Even he is cringing at himself. 
“Let’s just… go.” You click off your seatbelt and get out before Jungkook can even answer. You throw the door shut and begin walking, not waiting up for him. And as you make your way to the little convenience store, you shove your earbuds back in. Maybe you’re being a little rude, but you can’t bring yourself to deal with this right now. You just woke up for God’s sake!
Inside, you beeline for the snacks, needing to look busy. You pick up a bag of chips and pretend to read the back. Out of the corner of your eye, you see Jungkook head towards the restrooms, and you think you catch him glancing in your direction. You refuse to think about it.
You read the ingredients lists like you know what any of these things are. It’s stupid, you know, but it’s the only thing keeping you sane since panic texting Sooyoung isn’t an option anymore. Your music blasting through your earbuds helps too. 
However, it’s also your downfall. You don’t even hear him approach you.
“Hey.” 
You instinctively take out your earbuds. The wrong move because you can no longer pretend you can’t hear him.
His greeting sounds harmless enough, friendly some might even say, but when you look at him, you know you’re in for it. God, fuck. It’s obvious. His smile gives it away, the corners of his lips turned up a little too much. You already know, getting him to leave you alone won’t be easy at all. 
“Uh, hi,” you mumble before pretending to go back to reading when really, his presence is the only thing you can focus on. You’re more than aware of how close he is to you, too close.
“I’m Minki,” he tells you, and you give him a hum, regretting not buying those big noise-cancelling headphones. “And you-?”
He inches closer to you. Your grip around the bag of chips tightens. You swallow and take a step back. Maybe you’re wrong. Maybe he’ll get the hint. He doesn’t. He steps closer.
“Uh, I’m Y/N,” you mumble, voice weak, your heart beginning to thump a bit louder. You look around yourself. No one is here. The store is hauntingly empty. You feel your throat tighten. You are on your own.
“Y/N?” he repeats, and you don’t think you’ve ever had anybody say your name like that. On his tongue it sounds wrong, sticky somehow. He emphasises the wrong syllables, rushes and slurs the wrong letters. 
“I like it.” His smile widens. “Fitting for someone as pretty as you, sweetcheeks.”
And you think you’re going to retch. No, seriously. You think you’re going to start dry heaving in the corner right fucking now. Disgust doesn’t even begin to describe how you feel. You don’t think there’s anything grosser than a guy unironically calling you sweetcheeks. You want to throw yourself in front of a car.
“It’s Y/N,” you assert, your face hardening.
“Oh, do you not like sweetcheeks?” he asks and smiles innocently at you. Your jaw locks at his question. “Babydoll then?”
Your grip on the bag of chips tightens, the sound of it crinkling pierces the air. But he never looks away from you, eyes relentlessly staring into yours. He’s trying to get you to break and crack, to cave. He wants to see you squirm, enjoys it, you know that. It takes you everything to not give him the satisfaction he’s craving. Especially when he dares to take a step closer to you.
“Buttercup?” He raises a brow. “How about we talk about it in my car? It’s parked just outside.” 
He points to the doors, like you care where his stupid car is parked. 
You grit your teeth, heart pounding in your chest at this point. He takes another step towards you, and you take one back. You’re about to hit the wall. He’ll have you trapped then. You swallow.
It requires all of your courage to keep your voice level. “Please leave me alone.”
“But why? I feel like there’s a connection here, baby-”
“Connection?”
Your knight in shining armour comes just in time. You’ve never believed in perfect timing, but you might now, convinced Jungkook has it. 
Relief flushes through you at his sight, something you never thought his appearance would elicit. So far it has only ever been apprehension and anxiety. It’s a welcome change.
“I don’t think so, buddy.” 
And even though Jungkook’s smiling, he looks scary. There’s a threat tucked between his teeth, pulling on the upturn of his lips. It’s not directed at you, and still, you swallow. The guy’s actually a bit taller than Jungkook, but he looks shorter, probably because he’s cowering under Jungkook’s gaze.
He puts on a brave face though, a frown settling on his features. “Don’t call me buddy. My name’s Minki-”
“Well, you just called my girlfriend baby, didn’t you? Why can’t I call you buddy then?” Jungkook laughs, but it’s hollow and mocking. “What? You don’t like it when people don’t call you by your name?”
You make sure to make no movement or sound. Not that it would make a difference. They are far too invested in staring each other down to pay you any attention. You could have probably knocked over the display, and they still wouldn’t have turned to you.
“I-”
“What do you even want?” Jungkook interrupts, words sharp like daggers, snapping off from his teeth. “What are you talking to my girlfriend for, huh? Interested in sharing maybe?”
Jungkook doesn’t put an arm around your waist or pull you close to him. You think he would, expect him to, but all he does is stand close enough to you to not raise any suspicion. You wouldn’t mind if he did, but you appreciate him making an effort to respect your boundaries even in this situation. 
“I was just trying to be nice,” the guy mumbles, disgruntled and annoyed. “No fucking need to get all defensive and shit.”
Jungkook quirks a brow at his attitude. He tongues his cheek. His features darken. 
“I’m sorry, what did you just say?” he spits and you think you hear a growl too. The smile stays on his lips, and you think that makes him even more intimidating than if he had just dropped it.
You find absolutely zero traces of awkwardness in Jungkook’s words. It’s like he’s unlocked another version of himself, a confident and confrontational one. You’re in awe, to say the least.
“Who are you calling defensive? You’re the one that just dared to bother my girl,” Jungkook hisses like a snake, on the edge of attack, his eyes fixed on him. You don’t think anyone has ever called you their girl before. It has your heart rumbling in your chest.
“Look, I was just-”
“Trying to be nice?” Jungkook scoffs and clicks his tongue. “Go be nice somewhere fucking else.”
The guy looks ready to protest, nostrils flared and chest heaving with deep breaths, but when Jungkook takes one step closer to him and levels him with a glare that would have hell freeze over, he backs away. Of course, not without hissing something about Jungkook being unreasonably hostile and him just wanting to be nice. Jungkook doesn’t jump on it. He just drills his eyes into the guy’s back until he’s out of sight. And the moment he’s out of sight and earshot, Jungkook relaxes and backs off from you, stepping out of your personal space.
“You alright?” 
You almost get whiplash by how quickly his demeanour changes. It’s like a whole new person is standing in front of you.
“Uh, y-yeah,” you stammer dumbly, unable to quite wrap your head around what just happened. “I’m alright. Yeah, uh, thanks.”
“You don’t gotta thank me,” he tells you and rubs the back of his neck, looking shy, and you don’t know how to make do with the different versions of Jungkook presented to you right now. You’re fascinated by how he seamlessly shifts between being both awkward and confident. It should be impossible, but he does it, somehow.
“You wanna get those, uh, chips?” he coughs and takes them from you before you can answer. You don’t, but you don’t find it in you to tell him that. You follow him to the checkout counter.
The clerk comes out from the back and silently rings you up. You’re about to pull out your wallet when Jungkook beats you to it and puts a five-dollar on the counter and slides it over.
“Wait, no, let me-”
“It’s fine,” he tells you, waving you off. The clerk takes the money before you can tell him not to, and you’re left to put away your wallet.
“I’ll pay you back,” you say, and Jungkook shakes his head and gives you the bag of chips. He’s about to repeat himself, but he stops when he sees the guy from before. 
You thought he would leave the store, but you guess you shouldn’t have had any expectations for someone like him. Your face sours when you realise he’s standing right between you and the exit. 
Before you can think of ways to avoid him, Jungkook takes your hands into his, fingers perfectly slotting with yours. You look down, the sight making your stomach twist in your stomach—his tattooed hand cupping yours.
“Let’s go.” He gives you a smile over the shoulder. And somehow, that gives you the confidence to walk past the guy from before with your head held high.
By the time you’re back in the car, you’re smiling.
“Thank you,” you tell him again, and Jungkook waves you off.
“Anytime.”
You put the chips to the other snacks in the back and pull the seatbelt across your chest. “He looked so scared of you.”
“As he should be,” Jungkook laughs and you hum. He slots the keys into the ignition, seatbelt strapped in place. 
“Can’t believe you just did that,” you mumble when you pull out of the gas station, spotting the guy walking out of the store from the corner of your eye.
Jungkook laughs again. “Sorry if I made you, uh, uncomfortable by the way,” he mumbles, and you sit up.
“What? No, you didn’t!” you quickly assure him. “Don’t worry.”
“Yeah?” He chuckles. “Just, uh, so you know I didn’t step in because I thought you couldn’t handle yourself or anything, but I just,” he avoids your gaze, “couldn’t help myself. He was being so aggressive and pushy- I just had to step in, you know? He triggered something in me- I don’t know.”
You smile. “It’s fine.”
Jungkook glances your way as if to make sure you weren’t lying to him. He smiles when he sees no trace of deception in your eyes.
You let a beat pass. “I do have to say,” Jungkook stares at you with big eyes, clearly expecting the worst, “I was surprised by your… confidence.”
“Oh.” And then he laughs, hiding half of his face in his hand. “Yeah, uh- I-I can’t explain it either.” 
He clears his throat, and you let him take his time to find the words. Jungkook sighs at his inability to form a sentence. 
Finally, “I’m sorry for being so awkward,” he looks your way for a split second before focusing on the road again, grip tightening around the steering wheel. He clears his throat one more time. “I just-I just don’t wanna mess this up, you know? You’re Soo’s best friend and she’s dating Joon- and I know she means everything to him, so I don’t want to make a bad impression as his best friend, you know?”
You learn once he starts, Jungkook doesn’t stop, words spilling from his lips in an endless stream.
“I’ve been told I give off a rather unfriendly and rude vibe too. Like I know how shitty I must have looked when I, uh, didn’t help you with your suitcase, and when I kinda insulted you before- also, actually, the snacks I bought earlier?” He gestures behind him. “They were meant to be for you too. For some reason, I just... couldn’t offer them to you?” He shakes his head. “You must think I’m a douche.”
Jungkook looks at you then, and you would have made fun of him then if you were closer and if he hadn’t just heroically saved you from a creep. A smile finds a place on your face, one that bothers on a grin.
“I mean, yeah,” you tell him but are quick to cut back in when you see the mortification set in with him. “I mean, no. I’ve figured you’re kinda awkward. I mean everybody is, right? Some more than others, I guess.”
You realise what you’ve done a second too late. You should feel sorry, incredibly remorseful, but instead, you have to laugh. The face Jungkook pulls amuses you in ways it probably shouldn’t. You’re definitely going to hell.
“No, wait, I didn’t mean it like that,” you say but the laugh that accompanies your words makes it certainly hard to believe you. “Sorry, I just can’t help myself. I swear I don’t mean it like that.”
Jungkook gives you an unimpressed look. 
You gather yourself, but the smile doesn’t disappear completely off your lips. “Okay, look, it’s fine. Now that you’ve explained it, I get it. You’ve got nothing to worry about!”
Jungkook presses his mouth into a line. “So you’re not gonna tell Soo I suck?”
You don’t try to bite away the smile. “No.” He lets out a relieved sigh. “I’m just gonna tell her you’re a douche.”
And for a second, Jungkook believes you, his doe eyes meeting yours. You laugh. He doesn’t join you. He does roll his eyes. It does nothing to lessen your laugh, to his dismay.
“I’m kidding,” you say, just to make sure he won’t get any wrong ideas. “You’re fine. Just… relax. No need to be awkward.”
Jungkook huffs, but there’s a smile on his lips. “I’ll try.”
“Great.”
And when you go back to silence, the air feels much lighter than before.
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You switch after a quick stop at McDonald’s for a cheap and greasy lunch. It sits heavy in your stomach, but you don’t have the courage to suggest walking it off. So you get back in the car.
“Can I skip this song?” you ask because you’re the driver and the song makes it hard for you to concentrate. It’s awful. You hate it. You don’t tell him that though.
“Yeah, of course,” Jungkook tells you and skips to the next song. You don’t like this one either, but you don’t say anything. “You can put on your music too if you want, you know?”
“It’s fine. Your music is good.” And you can’t help but quietly add. “Most of the time.”
Jungkook gawks at you then. You have to laugh. “Sorry, I’m just joking.”
“No, no, actually-” He doesn’t finish his sentence and pauses the song. “How about we make a playlist together? Since we’re gonna be stuck in the car for a while, let’s try to make it as enjoyable as possible.”
“Oh, that sounds fun,” you say, really liking the suggestion, and Jungkook’s quick to open Spotify and create a new playlist, sending you the link to it too.
“‘Y/N’s and Jungkook’s Ultimate Summer Roadtrip Soundtrack’,” he says. “What do you think?”
You smile. “Great name.”
“Great.” He grins. “And obviously, the first song has to be ‘Midsummer Madness’ by 88rising, right?” 
You actually agree. The song belongs on every summer playlist.
“Add Jeremy Zucker to it too. ‘supercuts’ and ‘all the kids are depressed’,” you tell him.
Jungkook hums and does as you say. “‘Indigo’ by Niki and ‘100 Degrees’ by Rich Brian, yeah?”
You laugh. “You really like 88rising, don’t you?”
“You don’t?” he shots back, and you roll your eyes. Of course, you do.
“‘Everybody Talks!’ and ‘Animal’ by Neon Trees.”
“Bringing back the 2010s, huh?” Jungkook hums. “‘Sunday Best’ by Surfaces?”
“I don’t think I know this one,” you tell him, and he gasps at you, shaking his head and typing into his phone. A second later, the song plays over the stereo, and instantly, you see his point. “Okay, yeah, add this one.”
“How about ‘Electric Love’?”
You’re more than quick to agree. “Oh, that one for sure.”
“Okay, great,” he hums, and counts the number of songs under his breath. “Nine songs. That’s enough for now, right? We can add to it later.”
You nod. “Now, put it on.”
“Yes, Ma’am.” He adds a salute too, and you roll your eyes.
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By the time you get to the hotel, it’s late, the sun is long gone. You shut off the engine with a sigh, ready to collapse on a bed.
“Oh, we made it,” Jungkook groans, rubbing his eyes and stretching in his seat. You hum, too tired to speak. “Thank god. I’m done.”
You stretch too, your back cracking like a glowstick, and click off your seatbelt. But your seatbelt clearly doesn’t want you to leave, staying put even when you repeatedly press the button to unlock it.
“Wait, let me,” Jungkook says when he notices you struggling. 
He moves to help you. And right then, your hands brush. It’s stupid, really stupid, but you feel heat crawl up your neck, reaching the tips of your ears, rivalling the warmth of the summer. You even freeze for a second. When you thaw back to life, you flinch and turn your head to the side, screwing your eyes shut as if doing so would change anything.
Jungkook clears his throat awkwardly, and you’re grateful he keeps his gaze trained downwards. You’re certain you would have died of embarrassment if he had looked at you. 
“This seatbelt- it’s a bit, uh, tricky” He fumbles with it as he explains. “You gotta—” He speaks through pauses, voice strained. “—really push it down and-”
It clicks off.
And even though it wasn’t too tight before, you can breathe much better now. Maybe it was the seatbelt and you, somehow, didn’t notice all this time, or maybe it was because breathing got a little difficult when Jungkook was so close to you. But you’re convinced it’s not that. Sure, could you count all of his long eyelashes (which, might you add, are also unfailingly naturally curled too)? Yeah, but that’s not the reason why you feel so relieved. It’s because the seatbelt was digging into your ribs the entire time. It had to be. 
“Thanks,” you cough out and avert your eyes, looking out the window to the hotel. “Let’s, uh, check in, yeah?”
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The thing about being four broke college students that are hellbent on going on a cross country roadtrip is you’re willing to cut corners at any point. And one of them is your accommodation. Four people means four hotel rooms. That’s not in your budget, not even when you take three rooms instead of four (with Sooyoung and Namjoon being a couple and whatnot). Two would be in your budget if you weren’t such ambitious shits and insisting on going cross country, meaning you’d need to stay in hotels at least a couple of times throughout the trip. So in the end, you settled for one room. 
One room for four people. 
Well, now it’s just two people.
“Oh,” you say when you walk in, stopping dead in your tracks, the key card still sitting in the lock, hand hovering over the light switch. Jungkook almost bumps into you when you abruptly stop.
“What?” he asks, and you will yourself to respond, but your throat is dry all of a sudden, so you step to the side.
You glance in Jungkook’s direction, curious to see his reaction. He doesn’t react much at all, his lips parting only the tiniest bit as he sees what you did when you walked in. 
“Uh, didn’t we ask for two beds?” he asks, a knit between his brows.
“We did,” you say, frantically scanning the room. Maybe you overlooked the second bed. Maybe there’s one and it will magically appear if you look around once more-
You stop. There’s only one bed.
“They must have forgotten, I guess,” you mumble and take a few steps inside, still holding out hope that maybe just maybe there’s a second bed somewhere. It’s foolish and naive, you know.
“I could go ask if they’ve got another room,” Jungkook proposes, putting down his huge travel bag by the door.
“You wouldn’t mind?”
“I’ll be back in two.”
“Don’t forget the key card,” you remind him on his way out, and he gives you a smile before grabbing it and shutting the door. You sigh and wander over to the bed, carefully sitting down on it like it was made of glass. It is big enough for the both of you, but there’s no way you’re sleeping in it together.
You feel the duvet. It’s softer than you expected it to be, with how cheap this room was. You scan the room one more time before finally letting yourself fall back. For a moment, you lay there in silence before pulling out your phone and checking it for the first time in hours.
Two missed calls from your mother, alongside a handful of texts. You call her back, already knowing what’s about to follow. You hold your phone to your ear. She picks up after just a ring. She’s been waiting.
“Hey, mom.”
“Honey! Are you alright? You didn’t answer my calls and texts!” There’s obvious worry laced with her words. You swallow. Maybe you should reconsider and not keep your phone on silent, at least for the duration of the trip.
“Yeah, I’m sorry. I’m alright,” you tell her. “I was driving, so I wasn’t on my phone. We just checked in.”
“Oh, well, how’s the trip? Are you having fun?”
You close your eyes and hum. “It’s fun, but I’m also tired.”
“I can imagine. Driving so long isn’t good for your health. You sound very tired,” your mother says, and you think she’s going to launch into the speech she gave you when you first mentioned to her you’ll be going on a roadtrip. She doesn’t though, thankfully. You’re too tired for this. 
“But you know that already. At least, you’re having fun, right?” She only continues when you hum. “Well, how’s Soo?”
You peel your eyes open and grip your phone a little tighter. “Great,” you lie, knowing better than to tell the woman who sat in the kitchen in the darkness, waiting for you to come home after Sooyoung fucked up covering for you, that you were on a roadtrip with a complete stranger, a guy on top of that too.
“Is she doing well? Are you two eating well? What did you have for lunch? Dinner?” your mother asks.
“Uh, we stopped by McDonald’s,” you tell her, and you cringe at how reedy your voice sounds.
Your mother immediately makes a disapproving noise, of course. “For lunch and dinner? You should get something proper. Don’t eat too much McDonald’s. That’s not good for you.”
“Noted.” You decide to keep your answers short, and you hope your mother chalks it up to you being exhausted rather than you trying to hide something from her. 
“And how is it with the two guys? What were their names again? Namjoon and-?”
“Jungkook,” you supply with a cough.
“Ah yes, right, Jungkook. Are they trustworthy?”
“Yes, of course, mom,” you quickly assure, chuckling but it sounds wrong. “You’ve got nothing to worry about. They’re really nice.”
Your mother hums. “Well-”
It’s then that you hear the sound of the key card being inserted into the lock. You shoot up. 
“Uh, mom, I gotta go,” you tell her, the words stumbling from your lips clumsily. 
“What’s the hurry? I thought you were in the hotel-”
“Well—” You lock eyes with Jungkook and you’re quick to gesture for him to not say a word, panic in your eyes. “—uh, Soo just called for me. She needs my, uh, help.”
“Oh, in that case... go help her,” your mother says, and you think you can hear suspicion in her voice. You cringe. She knows something’s up. Why can’t you be a better liar?
“Yeah, I’m gonna do that,” you mumble, and Jungkook slowly closes the door. “I’ll talk to you later.”
And then, you end the call. You breathe out.
“Who-”
“My mom,” you say and throw your phone on the bed. “So? What did they say?”
Jungkook looks confused, taking a moment to connect the dots. “Right, uh, yeah, well they told me we didn’t actually book a room with two beds. Only one with one bed.”
You stare at him. “Oh.”
So you fucked up the reservations, huh? 
“Anyway, I asked if we could maybe switch, but they said,” he rubs his neck and averts his gaze then, “that they didn’t have any other rooms left.”
“Oh,” you repeat and sink back down on the bed. Jungkook leans against the closed door, staring at his shoes. “No rooms?”
“No rooms,” he confirms.
You press your lips into a thin line and search your brain for a solution. But you come up empty. Sooyoung has always been better than you at this. You’ve relied on her for problem-solving since middle school, so that part of your brain is rusty, to say the least. It doesn’t help you’re tired too.
“I could just sleep on the couch.” 
You jerk your head up, and follow Jungkook’s gaze, to the shabby little grey thing you don’t think classified as a couch.
“What? No!” you exclaim and shake your head. “That’s too small.”
“It’s fine,” he says, and you frown at him.
“It looks like it’s about to fall apart.”
“It doesn’t.”
You level Jungkook with a hard gaze. He doesn’t cave, to your dismay. You sigh.
“Fine,” he perks up, “I’ll sleep on it.”
“No- what? I’m gonna sleep on it!”
“No, sorry, I am,” you tell him. “Look, my phone’s already on it.”
He frowns. “It’s not.”
“Now, it is.” You’re just about to toss your phone on the couch when Jungkook beats you to it, throwing his gigantic travel bag across the room. You watch as it slowly tumbles from the couch to the floor.
“Sorry, my bag is on it.” Jungkook points at it like it didn’t just fall to the floor.
“It’s not.” And at your words he quickly rushes over and places his bag on top of the couch before sitting down himself. You stare at him. 
“Yes, yes, it is.” He smiles.
You grit your teeth. “You’re not gonna sleep well on that thing. I slept in the car a bit, so it doesn’t matter if I don’t sleep well now. Plus, I’m the one that fucked up the reservations, so I should be the one sleeping on the couch for it.”
Jungkook hums as if he’s considering your words, but then he clicks his tongue and pats the couch. “I think I’m gonna sleep just fine on this thing.”
“Stop lying-”
“Someone’s calling you.” He points to your phone in your hand, the screen lit up with a call.
You look at it.
Sooyoung.
You contemplate not taking it to continue this argument, but before you can make a decision, Jungkook does it for you. “Go take it. We’ll continue after.”
So even though you’re more than unhappy about this interruption, you do as he says, accepting the call and pressing your phone to your ear. Jungkook gestures over to what you assume must be the bathroom. You don’t bother locking the door when you walk inside. 
“Hey-”
“Oh, so you’ve finally unblocked me, huh?” you hiss and blink a couple of times, the fluorescent lights of the bathroom far too bright. It strains your eyes.
“Look, I had to,” Sooyoung says. “You were being a bad passenger and texting me when you should have been talking to Kook!”
You roll your eyes. “You left me hanging, again. I needed you, you know?”
“Oh, please.” You know exactly what look she has on her face right now. It’s the one where she thinks you’re being dramatic. “You survived, didn’t you?”
“Barely,” you spit. “A creepy guy approached me and wouldn’t leave me alone.”
“What? Are you alright, Y/N?” Sooyoung quickly asks, voice dripping with a mix of worry and exasperation. 
“Yeah, yeah,” you assure her, looking at yourself in the mirror and brushing through your hair with your fingers. “Jungkook came and did the entire ‘why are you talking to my girlfriend?’ shtick.”
“So, you’re alright?” 
You hum.
Sooyoung waits a moment. “So, Kook saved you?”
You practically hear the smirk in her words. You groan. “You’re so annoying, you know?”
She cackles.
“Seriously, Soo, shut up,” you hiss, deciding to change the topic. “Are you guys still stuck?”
“Yeah, the railway companies are on strike until tomorrow morning. We’ll be back in town in the early afternoon. But that’s not important. What’s important is how it’s going with Kook and you. Is he still being awkward?”
You press your lips together. “I mean, no? It’s not as bad as I thought it’d be, but still... I’d much rather have you here too. I really wanted to go with you. It would have been so much fun.”
“I know. I’m sorry, Y/N,” Sooyoung mumbles, and you’re both quiet. She’s about to cry. You can hear it in her voice. You know she must be wracked with guilt, so in an effort to spare the tears, you change the topic, “Oh, by the way, officially, you’re still on the trip with me. I didn’t tell my mom.”
She chuckles then, but it doesn’t sound all that real. “Alright, I’ll cover for you.”
“Do it properly though this time. I swear to God, if you fuck this up again, we’re done,” you joke and elicit another chuckle. It sounds more genuine, but it’s still not quite there. You sigh and tell her something you know will definitely take her mind off things.
“Did I tell you? I fucked up the reservations.”
There’s a pause. 
“What? How? Are you roomless?”
“Worse,” you tell her. “There’s only one bed and the hotel is booked out.” 
For a moment, Sooyoung doesn’t say anything until she bursts out into laughter, prompting a ‘What’s so funny?’ from Namjoon. 
“Holy shit, Y/N! You’re joking, right?” You screw your eyes shut. At least she doesn’t sound like crying anymore. “What in the Wattpad fanfiction is this?”
“Stop fucking laughing, Soo. I’m miserable, alright?”
Your embarrassment triples when you listen to Sooyoung explain the situation to Namjoon. 
“Soo!” you hiss. 
“Sorry, sorry.” She’s still laughing though. Sometimes you wish your rivalry in middle school never stopped. “I’m just- this is just so funny. So what? You guys gonna sleep in the same bed?”
You hate the teasing tone swinging with her words, hate it so much you’re ready to just end the call then and there.
“You’re being a bad friend, you know?” you press through gritted teeth. “But no, we’re obviously not sleeping in the same fucking bed.” You make an effort to keep your voice low, aware that Jungkook’s just outside, sitting on the couch. You doubt the door is soundproof. “That’d be so weird.”
“Why not? I think that’d be a great bonding activity.”
You pause and if she was in front of you, you’d stare daggers into her. Your lips press into a line.
“Soo,” you begin, low and threatening, almost like how Jungkook spoke to the guy at the rest stop, “are you telling me to sleep with Jungkook?”
Sooyoung waits a moment, the silence that stretches between you feeling like forever. And then, “Hey, babe, Kook’s single, right?”
You faintly hear Namjoon's affirmative answer, followed by a confused ‘Why?’, and you think you’re ready to break off your friendship with Sooyoung.
“I fucking hate you,” you whisper, eliciting another round of obnoxious laughter. 
“Look, I actually didn’t mean that,” Sooyoung tells you when she’s finally calmed down. “I was strictly speaking about actual bonding, as in friendship, you know? You’re the one that went there!”
“You said ‘bonding activity’!” you exclaim, clamming your hand in front of your mouth when you raise your voice a bit too much. You look at the door, listening to any sounds from the other side, but luckily, it stays quiet. 
You lower your voice into a hiss. “Don’t blame me for going there! You worded it weirdly.”
“Ah, so it’s never your fault, is it? Just accept it, you’ve got a dirty mind-”
“I’m hanging up. Goodbye.”
And without hesitating, you end the call, watching as your screen darkens. You sigh and run a hand through your hair, shaking your head and her words out of your mind. Sooyoung’s stupid and absolutely wrong. 
With that conclusion, you take one deep breath, making sure to compose yourself before heading out. One look into the mirror, you realise the frown plaguing your features has deepened. You smooth it over as much as possible.
When you walk out, you’re ready to pick up right where you left off, but instead of seeing Jungkook sitting on the couch, you find him curled up on it, knees uncomfortably tucked to his chest, a pillow under his head and a blanket thrown over him. You don’t know where he got both of those things from as the bed is still untouched. His travel bag sits on the floor next to him. 
Jungkook’s sleeping.
Or well, he’s pretending to be asleep. It’s obvious he’s faking it with how stiff he’s lying on the couch. 
“Seriously?” you mutter under your breath and throw your hands into the air. “What happened to talking about it after?”
No response. 
You walk over to him, expecting Jungkook to open his eyes at one point. You know he can feel your gaze on him. There’s no way he isn’t. You’re practically digging daggers into him.
“I know you’re faking,” you say, but again, no response. You contemplate pulling off the pillow and blanket, but you can’t bring yourself to even lift your hand. 
With Sooyoung, you wouldn’t hesitate at all, but with Jungkook, you’re still careful. Because even though you just spent the day getting comfortable with each other, you’re scared you might cross a line and catapult you back to your starting point. You definitely do not want to be the reason for that. 
So you don’t try anything. 
You heave out one heavy sigh. 
“Jungkook, you said we were gonna talk,” you mumble, tired and disappointed. “You’re not being fair.”
You think you see the slightest twitch in his face, the tiniest knit between his brows like he’s contemplating maybe opening his eyes. But then, it’s gone, the lines smoothed over and you know you’re not getting him to drop his act. 
Admitting defeat, you wander over to your suitcase and open it, grabbing your toiletry bag and a change of clothes. 
“Just gonna say you’re gross for not brushing your teeth. They are gonna fall out, you know?” 
You wait for a reaction, but of course, you don’t get one. You roll your eyes and walk into the bathroom, shutting the door with more force than necessary.
Getting into bed feels weird. You’ve never liked sleeping in a bed beside your own, but you especially don’t like it when you see Jungkook curled up in that same uncomfortable and stiff position as before. You want to say something, but you know it’s in vain. So you turn off the lights and crawl under the covers.
You close your eyes, trying to sleep for a few minutes before giving up, eyes peeling open. And it’s not because it feels strange sleeping in a foreign bed. It’s because there’s a coil in your stomach, brewing and stewing in there. 
A coil of guilt.
Taking a deep breath, you throw the covers off you and swing your legs over the mattress. You’re determined as you walk over to Jungkook. 
“Get up,” you say with confidence you don’t know where you got from. “Jungkook, stop pretending. I know you’re not sleeping”
You think it’s the annoyance in your voice, the strictness swinging with it because finally, Jungkook does as you say and peels his stupid doe eyes open. Your gazes meet. He looks sheepish, embarrassed almost, and you click your tongue.
“Come on,” you say and grab his blanket. “You’re not sleeping on the couch.”
“It’s fine,” Jungkook repeats, pulling back the blanket. “Seriously, the couch is comfortable-”
“Oh, shut up,” you groan and throw your head into your neck. “You’re not sleeping on the couch, okay? You’re almost falling off this thing! Look at yourself, curled up like a goddamn shrimp. How are you gonna sleep like that?”
Jungkook opens his mouth but falls short. 
“See!” you laugh because this is so stupid, and he looks away, defeated.
You take a deep breath before continuing, knowing once you say this, you can’t take it back. 
“Just come sleep in the goddamn bed with me.”
Before Jungkook can even begin to comprehend your words, you grab his blanket and walk over to the bed. You throw the blanket on it.
“Uh,” confusion and uncertainty swing with his voice, “both of us? In the same bed?”
You can feel heat crawl up your neck at his question. You blame him for it, for the way he words it. It’s weird, sounds wrong. 
“Don’t make this weird. I’m just saying- there’s enough space, right?” You gesture at the bed. “And I-” You pause for a moment. “We’ll use your pillow as a barrier.” 
Even though you try your hardest to sound confident and not let any of the embarrassment leak through, you can hear the quiver in your voice. You hope Jungkook doesn’t. 
When you look at him again, he’s still staring at you, sitting up now though.
“I mean if you don’t wanna,” you’re starting to lose all of the courage you had before, “that’s fine too. I just thought that since, you know, the couch-”
“No, no, no,” he interrupts and grabs his pillow, standing up, “I’m just-” 
Jungkook pauses. A smile finds his lips. You lock eyes.
“If you’re comfortable with it, I’m too.”
You don’t think you’ve seen Jungkook look at you like this before, quite frankly you don’t think anyone has ever looked at you like this. There’s so much sincerity and honesty in his eyes. You can’t handle it. You avert your eyes.
“Yeah, uh, I’m fine with it,” you cough, and wave him off. “Just, you know, a barrier.”
He places the pillow right in the middle. “Good?” 
You nod before crawling under the covers. For some reason, breathing gets a bit harder as you do.
“Uh.” You snap your gaze to Jungkook at his interruption, eyes big when you look at him. “I think I’m gonna go wash up and change,” he tells you, gesturing at himself, still in his clothes from today. 
“Oh, yeah, of course,” you say. “Go do that.”
“Wouldn’t want my teeth to fall out, would I?” he smiles, and you roll your eyes at him. You don’t think he can see it in the darkness, but then you spot a grin on his lips.
“Just go.” You wave him off.
The fluorescent lights of the bathroom spill into the room through the crack under the door, and in the darkness, they seem especially bright and straining. You close your eyes.
“Ah, shit,” you hear Jungkook curse, followed by the faint sound of his toiletry bag dropping to the floor, and then, the calm sound of running water. Usually, you would slowly fall asleep, the sounds serving as white noise, but you can’t. Not when the realisation dawns on you Jungkook must have heard everything before. 
You figured the door wasn’t soundproof, but you didn’t expect it to be this thin. Jungkook heard everything. You’re sure of it. Before you were embarrassed. Now, you’re mortified.
You dig the heels of your hands into your eyes and bite your lip, stopping yourself from groaning.
By the time Jungkook comes back, you’ve decided to go with his tactic of pretending to be asleep. Unlike him, you’re actually able to put on a pretty good act. Your acting abilities are confirmed when you hear him stop dead in the tracks.
“Oh.”
It’s quiet, barely audible, not louder than a slight puff of air, but you hear it loud and clear. Your senses are heightened and focused solely on every sound Jungkook makes. His steps are feather-light, making it difficult for you to follow where he is in the room, but when you feel the mattress dip, you know.
Jungkook moves slowly, not wanting to wake you. You almost smile at his carefulness. Sooyoung would never act like this. (In fact, she would probably bang on doors and turn on the lights just to wake you up and complain to you about how you fell asleep too quickly.) 
Like it weighs a ton, Jungkook slowly lifts the blanket. You want to tell him to hurry and get into bed, but you bite your tongue, letting him do his thing. This must be a world record for the longest time to get into bed, you think.
When he’s finally lying next to you, Jungkook lets out a sigh. You can feel his presence beside you, his body pressing into the pillow. It’s hard not to notice. 
Nothing happens for a few minutes, and you wonder if you could peel your eyes open and take a peek, see his back turned to you. Just as you’re about to though,
“Goodnight, Y/N.”
And then, you feel Jungkook tug the blanket closer to your chin, covering you up even more. Heat crawls up your cheeks. You decide to keep your eyes closed.
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Your mouth drops open when you see Jungkook’s plate, a marvellous stack of golden brown pancakes with the perfect slap of butter on top and a tiny bowl filled with brown sugary sweet maple syrup. Your bun with jam looks incredibly sad and plain in comparison, unappetising even. When you walked along the buffet, you didn’t see pancakes. How did you miss them?
“You wanna try?” Jungkook asks you, scooting closer with his chair and pointing at his pancakes. You tear your gaze to him.
“No, it’s fine.” 
“You sure?”
He levels you with a serious gaze, and you know he’s not just offering you out of politeness. “Yeah, just eat.”
You try not to look at Jungkook’s plate, eyes focusing on your cup of coffee, but you can’t help but take a peek when he pours the maple syrup on top. It’s illegal how good it looks. He catches you staring. Your eyes grow big before you bring yourself to look away, pretending like you’ve got a piece of lint stuck to your pants.
You bring your cup of coffee to your lips and take a sip. It’s in that moment when Jungkook transfers half of his stack of pancakes onto your plate. You start choking.
“Jungkook!” you exclaim, causing other guests to look your way, but you can’t be bothered to give them an apologetic smile. “What are you doing?”
“Just eat,” he tells you and picks up his fork and knife, slicing into his remaining pancakes. You shake your head and quickly put down your cup to give him his food back, but,
“Y/N, don’t you dare. I gave it to you. It’s a gift. You can’t refuse a gift.”
You gawk at him. 
“Jungkook,” you start, but he waves you off again, shoving the bite into his mouth. “It’s your food.”
“Not anymore,” he tells you, mouth still half full, and you think you would have cringed if he hadn’t just given you half of his stacks of pancakes. “It’s really good.” He points at his plate. “You should try.”
Admitting defeat, you heave out a sigh and tear your bun in half, placing it on his plate.
“Y/N-”
“It’s a gift,” you repeat. “You can’t refuse a gift.”
Jungkook stares at you then before smiling and shaking his head. 
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He’s inside, handling the checking out, when you realise you’re inherently weak. What other conclusion are you supposed to come to when you can't lift your suitcase into the trunk?
You groan as you try once more, propping up your leg to use as leverage, but it’s not enough. Your stance is weak, and you start toppling. Just before this can end badly, with your butt on the concrete and your suitcase on the floor, your knight in shining armour makes a second appearance. 
Jungkook places one hand behind your back, steadying you, and takes your suitcase from you with the other. Like it weighs nothing, he puts it in the trunk. A part of you is offended by how easy he makes it look.
“You alright?” He turns to you, giving you a worried look. You wave him off, feeling vaguely out of breath. Whether it’s due to you straining to get your suitcase in, or the fact Jungkook still has his hand on your back, you don’t know and also don’t want to know.
“I’m fine,” you huff in the end, and his touch leaves you. “Thanks.”
“Of course.”
“Honestly thought you were gonna watch me in the rearview mirror again,” you mumble, and his hands still around the hatchback, gaze finding yours. You crack a smile. “I’m joking. I know you’re not a douche.”
He rolls his eyes at you, but there’s a smile on his lips as he does. You fish the keys out of your pocket.
“Ready for another day of driving?”
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You’ve been on the road for almost three hours when you decide to make a stop, Jungkook needing to use the restroom.
“I’ll be quick,” he says and is already halfway out of the car but stops when he sees you fumble with your seatbelt.
“I’m getting out too,” you tell him when you notice his look. “My legs are sore. But you can go first. I know you gotta pee.”
“Oh, no, I can wait.”
You don’t respond, far too busy with the seatbelt. Maybe you should not get out. Maybe that’s your sign that staying in the car would be better. But, like all of the times before, Jungkook’s here for your rescue.
“Can I-?”
This time you make sure to pull your hands away fast enough, but you still don’t dare to look as he works on the seatbelt, cheeks ablaze for some reason. Deep down, you know. It’s the proximity. It’s the fact that you can see every mole speckling his skin, the fact that you can cup his cheeks, lift his face to you and push your lips against his-
Oh, God.
It’s the lack of sleep. It’s definitely the lack of sleep.
You close your eyes and bite your tongue, focusing on thinking about anything but how close Jungkook is to you.
You only open your eyes when you hear the click of your seatbelt. Jungkook leans back, and you start to breathe again.
“What would you do without me?” he asks, grinning, and you don’t meet his gaze.
“Probably be stuck in the car forever,” you say, swallowing thickly, the words coming out breathlessly.
He grins, picking up on none of that. “Probably.”
The moment your feet hit the concrete, you sigh, in need of some movement. Your mother’s right. Driving so long really is not good for your health.
Jungkook trails behind you as you walk into the little convenience store, your steps much more hurried than his. He almost bumps into you when you stop dead in your tracks. He’s about to ask you what’s wrong when he sees the other customers, all men, older men. It’s an intimidating sight. You swallow, reminded of yesterday.
“You alright?” Jungkook asks quietly, giving you a smile and stepping in front of you.
“Uh, y-yeah,” you say and clear your throat. “I mean yeah, I’m alright. It’s just-”
“You want to hold my hand?” 
The question catches you off guard. You look up to Jungkook. “W-what?”
“You know because-”
He doesn’t finish his sentence and just looks behind him. You don’t follow his gaze because you know what he’s saying. You take this short moment to admire his face, the softness of it.
“I mean you also don’t gotta,” he clears his throat. “Just so we can prevent yesterday from happening-”
Jungkook stops when you take his hands into yours, fingers slotting with his. He looks down before meeting your gaze, a smile spreading on his lips.
“Thanks,” you whisper into his arm, and he squeezes your hand.
“Anytime.”
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‘Everybody Talks’ by Neon Trees just finished playing when Jungkook turns his head to you, his phone in his hand.
“Joon texted they got back,” he tells you, and you hum. “Reminds me, you never told me why Joon and Soo were out of town.”
“Did I not say?” You pucker your forehead. “Well, you know how it’s Joon’s and Soo’s anniversary?” He nods. “Well, he decided to take out Soo for a romantic getaway.”
“Oh, that’s cute,” Jungkook says, and you wrinkle your nose.
“You mean gross.”
“You think so?”
“You don’t?” you shoot back and look at him, raising a brow. You focus on the road again. “Also, look how their romantic getaway turned out. They ended up missing the roadtrip, and now we’re stuck here.”
Jungkook eyes you, words clearly sitting on his tongue, but he swallows them. 
“I guess.”
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So far you haven’t hit traffic yet. So when you do after hours of travelling, you can’t even be pissed. You are, however, bored. 
Because there’s a sleeping Jungkook to your right, his arms crossed in front of his chest and his head stiffly pulled back. 
You keep yourself entertained by playing the playlist he and you created through your earbuds, quietly jamming to it until you run out of songs and start adding to it. 
You just added ‘warm’ by Junggigo and ‘Butterflies’ by Fiji Blue to the playlist when Jungkook shifts next to you. Your gaze lands on him, and you hold your breath as you watch him stir and stir until slowly, he peels his eyes open.
The first thing he does is groan.
“Ah, fuck.”
His voice is deeper than usual, thick with sleep, and his face contorts with pain. You know it’s his neck. Your assumption is confirmed when he holds it, rubbing it.
“Morning,” you greet him, quietly, earphones and phone landing in your lap. “You okay?”
Jungkook looks at you, putting on a smile.
“Hey, yeah, morning. I’m fine.” He’s definitely not. “I just slept weird.”
Jungkook rubs his eyes and stretches, groaning as he does. He blinks a couple of times, taking everything in.
“One and a half days, right?” he says, sighing. “I mean no traffic. That’s not too bad?”
You hum. “Yeah, guess we’re lucky we only hit traffic now.”
Jungkook exhales again, long and heavy, still somewhat drowsy, and looks out the window, taking in the beautiful blue sky.
“You wanna play a game?”
You turn to him at his sudden question. “A game?”
He smiles, wide awake now. “Yeah, to pass the time.”
You hum. “What game?”
“21 questions.”
“When you said play a game, you meant... ask me questions?” you say and smile when you see the look on his face.
“Well, it’s still a game-”
You give him a look, nose scrunching. “Sure,” you say. “Now hit me. What’s your question?”
“Okay, so,” a knit forms between Jungkook’s brows, “do you want to improve the world we live in?”
You still, and turn to Jungkook, your face twisting in confusion. “That’s your question? I thought 21 questions was meant to be casual, not deep.”
“Just answer the question, Y/N,” he says. “Or what? You’re too scared?”
You raise a brow. “Too scared? You think I’m too scared?” You laugh and shake your head. 
“Fine, yes, I do,” you sigh. “I do wanna improve the world. I mean obviously, right? The world is shit, so of course I wanna change it.” You pause. “Do I think I will? No. But would I like to? Sure.”
Jungkook smiles. “See! I feel like I know you much better already. Okay, what would-”
“What are you doing? What game is this when I’m the only one answering questions? This isn’t an interview, right?”
He sighs. “Fine, my answer’s the same-”
“You’re not answering the same question. That’s boring,” you say and click your tongue. “No, you’re gonna tell me—” You pause to think, a knit forming between your brows. You light up when you come up with something. “—what your biggest weakness is.”
“I thought this was not meant to be an interview?” 
“Just answer the question, Jungkook,” you parrot. “Or what? You’re too scared?”
And then he shakes his head before puckering his forehead in thought. “I suck at social interactions. Like, I’m awkward as shit.”
You click your tongue. “Doesn’t count.”
“What do you mean-”
“It means I already know that and these questions are supposed to get me to know you better. Think of another weakness.”
Jungkook grumbles but doesn’t protest it, pausing to think. “I can’t think of anything else right now-”
“Are you saying you’ve got no other weakness?” You drive up when the line moves. “Wow, that’s arrogant.”
“Fine, let me think.” He pauses, and you’re about to tell him it’s fine when he continues. “I guess I’m immature- well, immature isn’t the right word. I think I’m sometimes a bit... reckless.” He levels you with a look. “Good enough?”
You hum. “A great weakness. You’re hired.”
Jungkook grumbles. “Okay, now my turn. What would you change about yourself?”
“Change about myself?” you repeat under your breath, scrunching your nose as you think about it. 
“I mean I think I’d like to be more disciplined. Have more self-control, you know?” You press your mouth into a line. “I’m not a very confrontational person either. If I can, I will avoid uncomfortable situations at all cost, even if that means it inconveniences me.” You shrug. “I feel like there’s always something to change though, right? We could always work on ourselves and be a better and kinder version of ourselves, don’t you think?”
“Wow, you must be great at interviews,” he says, and you grin. “Your turn.”
You hum as you try to think of a question. “Tell me your greatest strength.”
“You know you’re asking awfully lot of interview questions for the fact that you teased me-”
“Just answer the question, Jungkook,” you repeat. “Or what? You’re too-”
“My greatest strength,” he interrupts loudly, and you grin, “is probably… my patience. Also, I feel like I’m pretty nice once you get to know me and get past all of the, you know, awkwardness.”
You let out a high pitched sound. “Don’t know if I’d agree.”
He snaps his head to you, eyes blown out, and the way he’s looking at you now reminds you of the way he stared at you when you told him Sooyoung and Namjoon weren’t coming. Once again, you’re convinced if you slap him on the back of his head, his eyes would fall out.
“Y/N!”
“I’m joking!”
Jungkook stares at you, face hard and serious. You know you should take him seriously, but all you can do is laugh when you look at him. 
“Stop teasing me!”
“It’s fun though,” you tell him, smiling. “Also you’re gullible. Another weakness.”
The groan that escapes him only makes your smile widen even more. 
“Whatever,” he mumbles and crosses his arms in front of his chest. You want to poke him in the cheek and tease him for being such a moody teenager, but you think that will earn you a glare.
“You still wanna play your little game?”
“I thought it wasn’t a game-”
“So you don’t.”
Your words have Jungkook snapping his head to you, and you can see the conflict in his eyes. On one hand, he wants to tease you. On the other hand, he does want to continue playing. At this point, you’re beaming.
“Just ask,” you say as a sort of peace offering, a silent promise you’ll stop teasing him so much (for now at least). And he takes it, somewhat reluctantly but definitely gladly.
“What’s your biggest regret?”
You pause, and almost forget to drive up when the line moves. Unlike with the previous questions, you think a lot longer about this one, a sight that makes Jungkook smile.
“Good question, isn’t it? Got no answer, do you?”
“Well, you tell me your biggest regret then.”
He tsks you. “This is your question. You gotta answer it, not me.”
You purse your lips and think. “Probably when I decided cutting my hair with a pair of blunt kitchen scissors was a good idea. You’ll find no pictures of me during junior year.”
“That’s your only regret?” He arches a brow. 
“I once touched the hot stovetop and burned myself pretty badly.”
“How old were you?”
“Six maybe?”
“That doesn’t count then,” he tells you, and as much as you want to protest, you know he’s right. Being a kid and doing stupid stuff is a given. It shouldn’t be a regret.
You sigh. 
The only other thing you can come up with is the time you decided to hook up with Jungkook. It’s not the act in itself was something you regretted, but it just feels weird for you to share such a history with him. It’s unlike you. You know in a separate universe he and you hooking up probably lead to something more, a relationship maybe, one that you grew happy being in. But this isn’t the universe in which you get together with Jungkook. It’s the one in which you have to anxiously sit next to him as you hope he’ll never remember you.
“Well, I have had too much and done some stupid stuff,” you tentatively begin, trying to be as vague as possible, not wanting to possibly jumpstart Jungkook’s memories.
“Like?”
You look out your window and press your hands into your thighs. “Like think I can dance or sing all of a sudden, or that texting my ex is a brilliant idea.”
“Feel like we’ve all done that.”
His eyes are on you. You can feel it, and you know he’s not letting this go until you give him something.
“Well, once I…. went home with this guy.” 
You instantly regret speaking. You don’t dare to look at Jungkook, far too scared that recognition might reflect in his eyes. You don’t know what you would do then.
“He was that bad, huh?” A laugh accompanies his question, and you try to mimic it, keeping the atmosphere light.
“I mean no, but it’s just… not like me at all, you know?” You gesture around yourself. “To hook up with people. Not something I’d do sober. It’s just… embarrassing. It has nothing to do with him, just- you know, me-”
Jungkook looks at you then, his mouth opening to say something, but you stop him, desperate to change the topic.
“Oh,” you pick up your phone, “right! I’ve, uh, added a couple of new songs to the playlist.”
He knows what you’re doing. Jungkook’s not stupid. But thankfully, he lets you off the hook.
“Put them on.”
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“I’m banning McDonald’s,” you say when you walk out of the third clown restaurant in less than two days. “I can’t do this again.”
Jungkook laughs next to you, still sipping on his coke. “Well, it does look like we’re gonna be at the hotel early. We can go look for a proper place to have dinner then.”
“Please,” you sigh and tuck a strand behind your ear when you feel a gust of wind. Your steps are exceptionally slow, stomach filled with a mediocre cheeseburger and greasy fries.
“Alright, we’ll do that then,” Jungkook hums. “Keys?”
You fish them out of your pocket and hand them to him. You’ve fallen into a routine. Around lunchtime, you switch. 
You perk up when you see Jungkook rub his neck, face twisted in pain. You’ve already noticed him rubbing his neck earlier when you were eating. 
“Hey,” he stops and looks at you, “I just remembered. I need something from the store.” You point at the little convenience store next to McDonald’s. “Go ahead. I’ll be right back.”
And before Jungkook can offer to go with you, you walk inside, hoping you’ll find what you’re looking for. They must have them here too, you think. It takes you a minute to find them, but when you do, you beam. But your smile is quickly replaced by a frown when you see the price. When you remember how he’s been rubbing and massaging his neck for the last hour, it disappears and you walk over to the checkout.
Jungkook replaced his coke for his phone when you come back, a frown etching into his face when he sees the plastic bag you’re holding.
“What did you-”
He stills when you pull it out. You hold it out to him.
“It’s for you.” 
You shove it into his hands.
“Y/N,” he begins, voice soft and quiet, face softening. “Why?”
“Because obviously, your neck is hurting. Now, try it out.”
Jungkook gives you a look before sighing and putting the neck pillow around his neck, leaning into it.
“And? You feel supported?”
He smiles. “Very.”
You ball up the plastic bag and throw it into the back. “Great.”
“How much was it? It must have been so expensive,” Jungkook says, and you roll your eyes. “I’ll pay you-”
“No, you’re not,” you say. 
“Just tell me how-”
“No.”
He removes the neck pillow and levels you with a look. 
“Y/N.”
“Jungkook,” you repeat, not nearly as serious though. 
The corners of your lips quirk up when he heaves out a sigh. He closes his eyes. “You’re not gonna tell me, are you?”
“Of course not,” you grin and put on your seatbelt. “Now drive. I wanna have a proper dinner.”
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Even though you’ve never been to this city before, the park reminds you oddly enough of your local park. You think it’s the Magnolia trees.
Looking around, you’re glad Jungkook suggested you get takeout instead of sitting in the little dingy Chinese diner when your initial plans of going to the city’s best sushi place fell through. (They didn’t accept walk-ins.) As sad as it was (and it really was because Jungkook spent an hour comparing dozens of restaurants on Yelp and sacrificed a good chunk of his data), you’re happy you ended up in the park. Something about having dinner under the summer sky is just especially calming and beautiful, the warm sticky evening air blowing in your face. 
“I like it here,” you tell Jungkook, and he hums, mouth stuffed with fried rice.
“It’s nice,” he agrees with you, and you pick up your chopsticks again, shovelling your noodles into your mouth. “But the food…”
He trails off, and you almost start laughing. 
“Yeah, it’s not great,” you say and swallow. “The noodles are weirdly greasy.”
“Yeah, I can see.” Jungkook points at your oil-soaked paper container. “The rice is not good either. Too wet, and it has a weird aftertaste too.”
You hum. You did switch to noddles for a reason. 
“But,” you look at him, pulling up a chopstick full of noodles, “still better than McDonald’s.”
“That’s for sure, and,” he picks up a spring roll from your shared box sitting between you on the bank, “the spring rolls are actually really fucking good.”
You grab one for yourself. “Yeah, they got those right.” 
The sun isn’t setting just yet, but it is slowly losing its vibrancy, fading into the background. The light it does have left filters beautifully through the leaves and flowers of the Magnolia trees, creating soft and delicate shadows on the concrete that dance in rhythm with the wind. You sit right underneath a majestic Magnolia tree, and from your bench, you can see a small family of three having a nice little picnic on your left and a group of kids playing football on your right. You tuck your hair out of your face when a breeze blows past you. It’s not too hot or humid today.
It’s the perfect summer day.
And once again, you notice how fading and fleeting the warm months are, notice how it’s all slowly coming to a bittersweet ending, how this trip will be the thing defining your summer until next year. You smile at that thought. Oddly enough, you’re fine with that.
“It’s a really beautiful day though,” you mumble, and Jungkook looks over to you, mouth stuffed with fried rice. He pauses. “Makes up for the mediocre food.”
He sticks his chopsticks into the rice (something his mother would scold him for) and wipes his mouth. His eyes are on you, solely on you. You don’t notice. He smiles.
“Beautiful indeed.”
When you finish eating (and by finish you mean when neither of you can stomach any longer of the mediocre Chinese food without risking possibly getting food poisoning), the sun has slowly begun to set, golden hour coming to an end. The little family is long gone at this point, and the group of kids you watched a minute ago are nowhere to be seen either. 
You’re gathering up your leftovers, packing them all up and making sure to leave nothing behind, when Jungkook suddenly straightens up. You’re far too busy to notice it, and by the time you do, he’s already up and walking away, leaving you without an explanation.
“Uh-”
The rest of your sentence gets lodged in your throat when he begins to run. You see it then. An ice cream truck. You hear it then too, the faint little tune coming from it. You spot the group of kids huddled around it, holding their wallets up in the air. That’s where they went, you think.
When Jungkook comes back, you’ve long finished packing everything up.
“Here,” he says, holding out a Spiderman shaped ice cream to you. “I mean unless you want Iron Man.”
You laugh and gladly accept Spiderman. “Thanks.”
“You’re welcome.”
“Are you gonna let me repay you?”
And when Jungkook just moves the plastic bags to the side and sits down next to you, you know the answer. 
Is it a good idea to eat ice cream so shortly after all of that Chinese food? Definitely not. Do either of you care? Not at all.
“You think they’re on a date?” you ask when you spot two teenagers by the ice cream truck. Even from afar, you can see their fidgeting. You smile, remembering how you used to be like that too. Sometimes still are even.
“Look at him,” Jungkook laughs, gesturing towards the boy. “They’re definitely on a date. You can see he wants to hold her hand.”
You hum and go back to eating.
“You think people think we’re dating when they look at us?”
You stop. For a moment, you don’t react at all until it hits you and you snap your gaze to Jungkook, eyes wide.
“W-what?” you sputter and almost choke.
Jungkook instantly begins to laugh, a gigantic smile growing on his lips. “What? Is it so bad if people might think that?” he asks, taking a bite from his ice cream, and you would have cringed and told him not to do that if your brain wasn’t reeling from his question.
“I- what? I-I don’t-”
You stop when he laughs even more, and soon enough your face twists in annoyance, nose scrunching. A pout grows on your lips and you avert your gaze, cheeks ablaze.
“It’s not funny,” you inform him, but Jungkook doesn’t agree, grinning at you. “But no, I don’t think so.” 
You still don’t look at him when you speak.
“Really?” There’s disbelief in his voice. “I mean I’m not trying to imply anything, but, you know, you and I are sitting on the bench together, eating ice cream and-”
“Sure, yeah, but this is also not a romcom in which we dance under the stars, go on coffee shop dates, and sneak out to meet in the middle of the night, Jungkook,” you interrupt, the words spilling from your lips quickly. “This is the 21st century. People no longer assume we’re dating because you’re a guy and I’m a girl and we’re having ice-”
“Didn’t you assume that they’re dating because they are a guy and girl getting ice cream?” Jungkook asks and points at the two teenagers. You still and press your mouth into a line.
His gaze lingers on you as he waits and waits for your defence. You can’t come up with anything though. So in a desperate attempt to save face, you get up and grab one of the plastic bags. 
“I’m tired,” you announce, voice thin and weak.
You know Jungkook’s smirking. You expect a comment, but nothing follows. He just gets up, grabs the other bag and happily takes another bite from his Iron Man ice cream as he catches up with you.
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This time you didn’t fuck up the reservations. This time there are two beds, so when you get back, there’s no discussion and fight about who takes the couch. This time you both just claim your beds.
Jungkook lets you have the bathroom first, and when you’re done, showered and washed up, you find him eating the rice from before.
“Thought it tasted off,” you say as you dry your hair with a towel, and he hums.
“It does,” he looks at you, “but it’s still food.”
You smile and sit down on the bed, pulling out your phone and checking your messages; assuring your mother you’re fine, making plans with Yeji and Sana to go shopping after the trip, and telling Sooyoung you’re back in the hotel.
“Gonna wash up,” Jungkook tells you, and you look up to find him no longer eating, everything packed up.
“Alright.”
The call comes right when you hear the shower turn on.
“Y/N!” Sooyoung greets you, the smile audible in her voice.
“Hey,” you mumble and lie down, rubbing your eyes and suppressing a yawn. “What’s up?”
“Oh, I just wanted to check in with you.” You look over to the bathroom. The shower is still running. You have time. “How’s it with Kook?”
You press your lips together. “Fine.”
“See!” You have to hold your phone away from your ear, cringing at her volume. “I told you it wasn’t gonna be bad!”
“Yeah, whatever,” you mumble and sigh, closing your eyes as you feel the exhaustion taking over you more and more. 
“How did you solve the bed dilemma yesterday?”
“Soo,” you press through your teeth, hoping it’s enough for her to get the message.
“Oh, Y/N, just tell me! Did you guys sleep in one bed?”
You pinch your nose bridge and sigh. “Please, stop.”
“You gotta tell me! Don’t leave me hanging like that,” she tells you, and you want to groan, but refrain when you hear the shower stop.
“He took the couch, okay? Happy?” you hiss. It’s not a complete lie. Jungkook did take the couch, for around ten minutes.
“Oh, did he? How gentleman of Kook,” Sooyoung says, but you hear a smirk on her lips. You frown. “But,” your heart sinks in your chest, “Joon told me Kook told him you ended up sharing the bed.”
“I’m hanging up again,” you say and end the call early once more.
When Jungkook comes back, you’re already tucked in, phone charging on the nightstand and eyes squeezed shut. You hear him still at your sight before his footsteps resume again. 
There’s silence. 
Until there isn’t.
A thud.
You turn on the lamp, just to see Jungkook sitting on a sunken bed.
“Did you break-”
He presses his mouth into a thin line.
“Yup.”
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Jungkook didn’t break the bed. The hotel staff informs you there’s a loose screw. It’s been fixed but needs fixing again. They apologise profusely.
You sigh when he finishes relaying all of the information. “So moving rooms, huh?”
“Yeah, uh, about that...” 
Jungkook gives you a look you can’t place, but when he picks up the bedding and throws it all on the couch, it dawns on you.
“Don’t tell me…” You don’t finish your sentence. “How?”
“I don’t know,” he shrugs. “Seems like a lot of people are going on roadtrips now.”
You bury your face in your hands. This feels like a fucking joke. Sooyoung’s right. What in the Wattpad fanfiction is this?
“Okay, but clearly I’m sleeping on the couch,” you say, and Jungkook’s quick to lie down before you can act.
“Look, Y/N, let’s not do this again. It’s my bed that broke, so I should sleep-”
“But your neck!”
“Goodnight.”
And with that, Jungkook pulls the cover over his body and turns his back to you, letting out the most obnoxiously loud and fake snore. 
This time it’s not a full-size bed. This time it’s just a twin size bed. This time you still can’t let Jungkook sleep on that stupidly small couch, not with his neck pain for sure. (Why can’t hotels have decently sized couches?)
“You’re not gonna let me sleep on the couch, are you?” 
You get a loud snore in response. You heave out a sigh.
“Can I trust you?”
There’s no snoring this time. You think he knows where you’re going with this. You fumble with the covers, heart thumping in your chest.
“We can’t… put a barrier this time.”
And like he’s been stung, Jungkook sits up, his eyes wide as he looks at you. You look away, and you hope the lamp is dim enough to hide the embarrassment etched into your face.
“Just-” Your voice is weak, cracking. You’re running out of air. “I can trust you, right?”
Out of the corner of your eye, you see Jungkook’s eyes soften. “Y/N, I’m really fine with sleeping on the-”
“Well—” You tuck a strand behind your ear, feeling hot all of a sudden. The AC is running though? “—I’m not. You’ve got the neck pain and the couch is also fucking tiny. Just, you know, don’t be…. weird.”
You’re certain. The AC must be broken. How else is it possible that your entire body is on fire, burning up as you speak? That must be it. The AC must have just broken.
Jungkook doesn’t say anything for a while, thinks about your proposal, and you can hear your heart grow louder in your chest, pounding harder against your rib cage.
“Are you sure?”
He asks this quietly and tentatively. It gives you the courage to look back at him. He levels you with the same look he gave you when you offered to sleep in the same bed before. You hold his gaze, somehow.
“Yeah.”
And then, Jungkook gets up, taking his bedding with him, but you stop him.
“I don’t think-”
He pauses and you gesture at the bed to finish your sentence. There’s no space. That’s what you want to say, but it never leaves your lips. He understands though, and leaves the bedding on the couch.
There’s an awkwardness hanging between you as Jungkook walks over. It’s comical really, especially when you think about the fact that he and you have done a lot more than sleep in a bed together. Sure, you had alcohol buzzing through your systems then, but still, it’s ridiculous how tense it is right now.
When he lifts the cover, you can instantly feel the tininess of the bed. He and you will be sleeping centimetres apart from each other.
“Sorry,” Jungkook apologises when he bums your hand with his, clumsily slipping into bed. The apology is pointless though because his entire arm ends up being pressed against yours.
“I’m just gonna-” 
You don’t finish speaking and just turn on your side, back facing towards him. He nods before doing the same. You turn off the lamp. Jungkook shifts, and when you peek over your shoulder, you see him lying on the edge of the mattress, on the brink of falling out of the bed.
You sigh. “Do you-”
He perks up when you speak, and you have to pause to gather your voice. It’s hoarse for some reason.
“Do you want to come closer?”
You whisper the question. It’s barely audible, but with Jungkookso close to you, he hears it, clearly, like you whispered it into his ear.
“I’m fine-”
“You’re falling off the bed,” you tell him, and close your eyes before forcing the words out, clearing your throat. “If you want to, you can, uh, put your arm around me.”
For a moment, Jungkook doesn’t say anything. You think he’s going to decline, tell you it’s the last thing he would want-
“Are you, uh, sure?”
You want to throw the covers to the side. It’s too damn hot, your face on fire at this point.
“Yeah.”
Nothing happens and for a while, all you hear is his breathing before he starts to shift, his arm lifting underneath the cover and hesitantly sneaking around your middle.
“Is this, uh, okay?” he asks, careful to not put too much pressure on you, and you nod.
“Y-yeah.”
He clears his throat. “Alright.”
Jungkook is breathing into your neck. He must be close, you think, so close that if you turned, your lips would almost be touching. You squeeze your eyes shut at the thought, glad you’re facing away from him.
“Goodnight.”
You can’t tell him the same, your voice long gone at this point. 
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“This is why you wanted to check out so early?” Jungkook thanks the waitress when she takes back the menu. “So we could have breakfast?”
Your face is scrunched up in a frown, confusion etched into your features. “Why couldn’t we just have breakfast at the hotel?”
Jungkook beams at you. “Hotel breakfast doesn’t compare to café breakfast, does it?”
“Yeah, but I could have slept another hour,” you say and run a hand through your hair, rubbing your eyes.
“Slept that badly, huh?”
You look at Jungkook. His face is twisted in something you can’t pinpoint.
“Stop,” you tell him, shaking your head. “I’m just always tired.”
He doesn’t respond then, and just curls his fingers around the orange cup, sipping on his coffee.
You’re not lying. You actually didn’t sleep badly, and you think you should assure him of that, tell Jungkook that you’re naturally always tired because you’re a college student, that sharing a bed with him isn’t the reason for your exhaustion, but somehow, you can’t will yourself to form the words.
“It’s nice here,” you say, looking around the café, the scnet of buttery pastries and freshly brewed coffee wafting through the air, powdered sugar floating around, the quiet hissing of the coffee machine in the back accompanying the piano music playing through the speakers.
“Best café in the city,” Jungkook told you, and you raise a brow.
“Did you scour Yelp-”
“Yes.”
“For how long?”
Jungkook makes a face then, and you know longer than anyone else would, hours at least. You shake your head in disbelief and mutter under your breath, “You’ve got too much time on your hands.”
“Well, you like it here right? Totally worth it then,” he says, and as much as you don’t want to, heat crawls up your neck.
Your food arrives shortly after; a handful of golden brown waffles topped with powdered sugar, slices of strawberries and blueberries, and a steaming buttery croissant with jam on the side. The sight is Instagram worthy, your jaw dropping wide open.
“See, scouring Yelp for hours on end was worth it,” Jungkook grins, taking a picture of your food, and you frown.
“How much did you sleep?” you ask, reaching for your coffee and blowing across the surface, narrowing your eyes. There’s a click when you put it back on its saucer, a drop of coffee spilling on it. Brown clashing with washed-out purple.
“Enough,” he tells you, and you know he’s lying, the espresso shot he had added to his coffee selling him out. “Anyway, I’m starving. Let’s just eat.”
You comply, ripping your freshly baked croissant in half, steam wafting from it in hazy waves. You place one half onto Jungkook’s plate. He does the same, transferring half of his waffles to you.
“Is this what we do now?” he asks you when you pick up some of the jam with the tip of the butter knife.
“Seems like it.”
You smile at each other.
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“Thank you,” you mumble when Jungkook helps you, once again, to click off the seatbelt. “One day I’ll be able to do it myself.”
He smiles and throws the door shut. You jump out too. “Sure, Y/N. One day.”
You give him a look, and he offers you a smile. Side by side, you walk across the mostly empty parking lot before entering the convenience store. They all look more or less the same, you realise. You see no difference between this one and the first one you walked into.
Jungkook takes your hand into his almost automatically, and you don’t even stop for a second to think about it, gripping it back.
“Is this what we do now?” you ask as you browse through the aisle, looking for something that’s not chips and nuts.
He smiles. “Seems like it.”
You give him a look before shaking your head and leading him towards the refrigerator aisle, eyes finding a prepackaged box of sushi.
“Hey, you in the mood for sushi?” You pick up a box, inspecting it carefully. It doesn’t look too bad actually.
“When am I not?” he shoots back, and it’s decided then. Rest stop sushi for lunch it is.
You pick up another box and hand it to Jungkook before walking over to the checkout, grabbing two water bottles on your way there. The clerk hasn’t even begun ringing you up when you pull out your wallet and place an obscene amount of bills on the counter.
“Y/N!” Jungkook protests, but you ignore him, shoving his wallet to the side.
“You should have let me pay,” he tells you when you walk out of the store, still holding hands for some reason, and you snort.
“Well, then you should let me pay for gas.”
“I have let you-”
“Once.”
“Twice!”
You click your tongue. “You should let me pay every time.”
Without looking, you know he’s rolling his eyes. You don’t care, a smile on your lips. Paying for lunch is a win in your books. You’re sure you’ll be paying for gas too by the end of the trip.
The sushi is mediocre at best, and worse than the Chinese takeout you had yesterday at worst, but for some reason, neither Jungkook nor you stop eating. The wasabi helps. It overpowers the refrigerator taste that’s stuck to the rice.
And as you eat, occasionally taking sips from your water, watching the cars speed past you on the highway with the AC blasting in your faces because it’s still summer and your roadtrip playlist playing in the background, you have to smile. You don’t know why, but a smile just finds your lips. And when you look over to Jungkook, it widens. Even more when he notices your gaze and gives you a smile too.
Once more, you realise how beautiful summer is, how everything feels possible and impossible at the same time, how every hour reminds you of a childhood you’ve never had, how the months are filled with either melancholy or exhilaration.
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You spent too much time at the rest stop, you conclude, when you arrive at the hotel, much later than planned. Because after you both finished your sushi, you suggested walking off the food. So, you both jumped out again, and walked a couple of laps, talking about everything and nothing. And hitting traffic soon after certainly delayed things by quite a bit as well.
The problem with arriving later than planned at the hotel means responding to your mother later than planned, so when you finally do, you’re not surprised your phone lights up with a call from her a minute later.
You look over your shoulder. Jungkook just went into the bathroom, meaning you had around ten minutes to get this done if sharing a hotel room with him for the past three days taught you anything. That should be more than enough.
You’re met with the usual questions—are you alright? Did you eat? Are you enjoying yourself?—and you answer them all with relative ease, staying quiet when your mother scolds you for having chips as dinner. It’s a like any, until-
“Yes, I will-”
You’re cut off by the sound of Jungkook’s soothingly soft singing that’s very much deserving of praise and attention any other day but elicits panic in you now. 
“Uh,” you start coughing and making extra noise, hoping to drown out Jungkook as you quickly walk out into the hallway, grabbing the key card before the door clicks shut.
“Are you sick, honey?” your mother asks.
“Oh, no, no, I just… choked on water,” you explain to her quickly. “I’m fine though.”
“Yeah? Be careful.” 
You hum, glad she didn’t bring up the-
“Also, who was singing just now?”
You screw your eyes shut and curse.
“Singing?” You try your best to sound confused. “What singing?”
Your mother shifts on the other side, and you would have definitely caved under her gaze if she was in front of you now. 
“Didn’t you hear? For a moment before you started choking, I heard a voice, singing. A boy, I think.”
You chuckle. “Yeah, uh, I don’t know-”
It’s the faint call of your name that halts you. You look at the door. It’s coming from there, you think. You pause to listen but nothing. You’re about to go back to dismissing your mother when the door opens, and a freshly showered Jungkook stands in front of you, hair dripping with water, droplets landing on his shirt, his eyes big.
“Y/N,” he says at your sight. “God, I already wondered where-”
“Mom, sorry, I gotta, uh, go-”
“Don’t you dare hang up on me, Y/N,” your mother interrupts you, and you freeze, feeling like a child. Your eyes lock with Jungkook’s, face contorted in horror. He presses his mouth shut, offering you an apologetic look.
“Who’s that?”
You close your eyes for a moment. “Jungkook.”
You don’t look at him when you speak his name.
There’s a long pause. “Can I talk to him?
And although she worded it like a question, you know it’s not. You hold your phone towards Jungkook, and his eyes grow gigantic. He shakes his head, backing away, but you shove it into his hands, mouthing to him just how sorry you were.
“Uh, h-hello?”
You push him back into the room, almost stumbling over his own feet as he does. You take your phone from him and put it on speaker.
“... to meet you.”
“Ah, yes, very, uh, nice to meet you too, Ms Y/L/N,” Jungkook coughs out and you sit down on the edge of Jungkook’s bed. (Yes, there are two beds, neither broken.”
“I just heard you singing,” your mother informs him, and you throw your hands into the air. How in the hell did she hear him?
“Oh.” 
Jungkook looks terrified, and you grab onto his hand resting on the bed, awaiting your mother’s words with him, sharing nervous looks. He interlocks his fingers with yours, your thumb brushing over his tattooed knuckles.
“No need to be embarrassed,” she says with a smile. “You’ve got a good voice.”
“T-thank you very much.”
There’s a pause then, and you lock eyes with Jungkook once more. You think maybe you can take the phone from him, but right just as you’re about to, your mother begins again,
“In what kind of relationship are you with my daughter?”
You think it's the straightforwardness of the question, the bluntness and casualness she asks it with. It has your jaw dropping open and your eyes screwing shut in horror. Embarrassment flushes through you, and you want to say something, but the words are all muddled on your tongue.
“Are you her boyfriend?”
You can’t even bring yourself to look at Jungkook, too mortified to peek into his direction.
“Uh, I-” He’s stammering, struggling to find his voice, and you can’t blame him, words failing you and refusing to come out too. What you can’t understand though is when he decides to say this, 
“Yes.”
You think you would have had a bigger reaction if you weren’t so tired. But you are, so all you do is stare ahead of you for a few seconds before crashing down on the bed, face burying into your hands.
“Oh,” your mother says, and you don’t know if she’s happy or not, if she’s going to ask Jungkook to give back your phone and scold you like she did sophomore year. “For how long now?”
“N-not long.”
“But you are serious, right?”
“Y-”
You shoot up and take your phone from Jungkook, putting an end to this before he can spew more bullshit.
“Mom, we gotta go,” you quickly say. “We’ll talk later. Bye.”
And before your mother can tell you not to hang up on her, you do and throw your phone to the side. Silence hits you, and you close your eyes again, not wanting to look at Jungkook. He shifts next to you and clears his throat. It takes you a while, but when you think you’re not going to end up strangling him, you peel your eyes open. 
Your mouth parts to speak, but no words leave you. It takes you a few tries to find your voice. All you manage is a simple but desperate and confused, “Why?”
“I got nervous-”
“So you told my mom we are dating?” you exclaim, snapping back, and stare at Jungkook. He doesn’t meet your gaze, wringing out his hands.
“Well, I- you know how awkward I am!” he argues, but it does nothing to calm you, exasperation carved into your face. “When she asked if we were dating, I-I just panicked, okay? I didn’t know what to say and-”
He deflates, and you’re stuck between deciding to yell at him and silently passing away. In the end, you choose the latter, burying your face in your hands and leaning back. You can already feel the headache building up. Your mother won’t let this go. You’ll hear an earful. As much as you love her, it’s frustrating how she still sees you as a child in need of protection every step of the way.
“I’m tired,” you say after a while. You don’t know how much time has passed. 
Neither of you have moved. There’s heaviness in the air. You get up without a word, slipping into the bathroom and shutting the door behind you. You don’t hear the sigh Jungkook lets out.
And with that, you’re knocked right back to the starting point. All of the progress you’ve made in the last three days, the friendship you’ve built, crumbles right to the floor, lying there in shards.
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You can’t sleep.
Again, it’s not unusual for you to struggle to fall asleep on your first night at a hotel. The mattress is either too comfortable or not comfortable enough. The cover is either too thick or not thick enough. The pillow either sinks in too much or- You get the point. But you know that’s not why you can’t sleep. It’s the heaviness that weighs down your chest, the tension that fills every corner and crack of the room, the rigidness you inhale with every breath.
You turn on your back. Out of the corner of your eye, you see Jungkook on his back too. The two of you lying in your respective beds, and even though you’re only a handful of steps away from each other, it feels like a rift, a gaping hole, splitting you up, stranding both of you on your own lonely islands.
“Y/N?”
It’s quiet, tentatively.
“Yeah?”
Your voice sounds short and odd. You’re no longer mad- you don’t even think you were that to begin with. You were just… frustrated.
“I’m sorry.”
You turn your head to him and grip the covers. Words sit at the back of your throat, assurances that he doesn’t need to apologise, but before they can form on your tongue and spill out, he continues.
“I-I know that I put you in a weird spot, but I just-” There’s a pause, followed up with a sigh. “If you want, I’ll explain it to your mother- I just got flustered and nervous. And you’ve got every right to be mad at me, but just know I am sorry-”
He halts when you sit up and turn on the lamp. You both blink at the sudden brightness, but you move on quickly, needing to set the record straight.
“Jungkook, no,” you begin, shaking your head, eyes staring firmly into his, “don’t apologise. You don’t have to talk to my mother, I’ll figure it out myself. And actually, I wasn’t mad at you. I was just,” your gaze lowers, “frustrated because- my mother, she’s a bit protective of me, you know? She’s always been super critical of the guys I date, you know? And I’m just gonna get an earful-”
You pause and take a moment to breathe. “But that doesn’t matter. What matters is that I should apologise. So I’m sorry, Jungkook. I put you in a weird spot. I’m truly sorry for that.”
He sits up too, crossing his legs. A soft smile finds his face. “Looks like we’re both sorry, huh?”
“I’m more though.”
His smile turns into a grin. “No, I am.”
You raise a brow. “Pretty sure I am.”
He tuts you. “I’m going to have to politely and respectfully disagree with you. I definitely feel more sorry.”
You hold his gaze. “This is gonna go on and on, isn’t it?” When he smiles, you sigh. “I’m going back to sleep. Goodnight.”
You turn off the lamp. He laughs.
And even though the issue is resolved, you don’t slip into sleep. It’s like the exhaustion that plagued you previously has dissipated, and for some reason, you’re cold. It keeps you up. You want to turn off the AC, but you don’t want to get up either and risk waking up Jungkook. So you do nothing.
An eternity passes, and you still find no sleep. Your eyes trace over to Jungkook’s side. He has his back turned to you. You press your lips into a line. In the dark, you can’t figure out if he’s sleeping or not.
“Jungkook?”
And like you yelled his name, he snaps his head around. “Yeah?”
He’s wide awake. Still, you keep your voice small when you continue, “Are you sleeping?”
“Yes, I’m sleeping right as we speak,” he tells you, and you send him a glare in the darkness. You think you can make out a smile on his face.
“I can’t sleep.”
You’re not sure why you tell Jungkook this, how he’s supposed to solve that problem for you, but the words are already out there and you can’t take them back. You expect a snarky comment, something annoying that will make you roll your eyes, but you’re met with the opposite.
“Do you want to watch something?”
You look at him with big eyes. “What would we be watching?”
“Anything you want,” he tells you, and even though you’re very much overwhelmed with the unlimited choice, you smile.
“Let’s.”
And just like that, the lights get turned on again, the night feeling foolishly young once more. 
Jungkook digs out his laptop from his suitcase and you fish out the only bag of chips you have left from the first day.
“Where do we…”
You trail off, but Jungkook knows what you’re asking. 
“My bed?” 
You nod and grab your pillow while he sets everything up. 
When you’re both finally in bed, covers thrown over you, hands taking turns to reach into the chips bag, he presents you with the hardest question anyone has ever asked you,
“What do you want to watch?”
You frown as you look at everything Netflix offers. You can’t choose, of course, so you choose to shoot back the question.
“What do you want to watch?”
Jungkook starts scrolling, mouth pressed in a line. “A film or-”
“Film.”
“Alright,” he clicks on the film section, “let’s see what- oh, how about Spirited Away?”
You’re quick to shake your head. “No, no, no, that’s too scary-”
“Scary?” Jungkook raises a brow.
You look away. “Look, I get scared easily, okay? No face is kinda scary, don’t you think? It’s also the middle of the night-”
“But I’d be watching with you.”
You scrunch your nose, shaking your head no again. “Let’s just watch Totoro.” 
You feel bad for shooting down his suggestion. 
“We can watch Spirited Away after.” You shove a handful of chips into your mouth, mumbling while chewing, “You can protect me then.”
Jungkook looks at you, his hand stilling in the chips bag. You don’t return his gaze.
“You know, since you’re my boyfriend or whatever,” you add quickly and clear your throat, hoping it’s obvious that it’s a joke as you search up Totoro. You don’t have to look to know there’s a smile on his lips.
“Gladly-”
You start the film, and Jungkook quiets down. You don’t feel cold anymore, not with him pressed to your side.
And as you lean back to watch, quietly munching on the chips, you know you were wrong. You weren’t knocked back to the starting point of your friendship. He and you have come a long way, figuratively and literally.
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You’re first to wake up.
The first thing you notice is the weird taste in your mouth, and you curse your past self for thinking having chips after brushing your teeth was a good idea. The second thing you notice is the arm around your middle, an arm that unmistakably belongs to none other than Jungkook; the tattoos confirming your assumption. The third thing you notice is just how close he is to you; his breath in your neck, his chest against your back, warmth radiating off him. 
Your heart beats heavy in your chest, heavier than usual. It should scare you, but for some reason, it doesn’t. For some reason, when it’s Jungkook, you feel at ease.
And even though waking up in the same bed as him prompted you to run out last time, you don’t even feel a smidge of that same panic. In fact, you don’t feel anything at all. Actually, no, you do feel something. You feel like closing your eyes again, slipping back into slumber with him.
So you do.
Before you drift back though, you wonder what would have happened if you hadn’t run out two years ago.
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When you finally wake up, it’s the middle of the day. A glance at the clock and you come to the mortifying realisation that you have exactly five minutes to check out. Clearly, not enough time.
You’re hurrying around the room, picking up everything that belongs to you and throwing it into your suitcase (because even though you didn’t unpack, you still have quite a bit lying around) when Jungkook suddenly stills, neck pillow in his hand.
“Do you want to stay another day?”
“What?”
“I mean, we’re not gonna check out in time anyway, right? And so far we haven’t had the time to explore any of the cities we’ve been in either, so how about we do it now then? Let’s stay another night.”
Your brows knit together. “But I mean…. don’t we have to, you know, drive-”
“It’s just another eight hours until we’re-” He cuts himself off, flicking his wrist. “You know what? Forget it. It’s a stupid idea.”
Jungkook dismisses his suggestion before you can even think about it, going back to packing up, hooking the neck pillow to his bag before grabbing the clothes he has lying around. You watch him for a few seconds before taking out the shirt he just folded and throwing it onto the bed. 
“Let’s stay another day,” you smile, expecting a smile from him too, but Jungkook doesn’t, face twisting in something you can’t figure out. “What? What’s wrong?”
“I ironed the shirt before the trip. It wrinkles really easily,” he tells you quietly, a strange noise coming from the back of his throat. He’s in pain. “But it’s fine. I-I can iron it again. At home. Later. Actually, I didn’t want to wear it on the trip anyway.”
It doesn’t sound fine at all.
You cup your hands in front of your mouth. “I’m so sorry-”
Jungkook stops you from walking over to the bed and desperately try to smooth out the wrinkles, shaking his head. 
“It’s fine, Y/N,” he assures you again, and now it actually sounds fine. “Really, it’s fine.”
“I’m sorry,” you tell him nevertheless and rub your hands together, eyes drifting to the side.
He gives you a smile. “Well, I’m gonna go down and talk to the reception about us staying another night.”
“Go do that.”
And when the door shuts, you smile.
Being alone for once, you take the chance to pull out your phone to text your mother a long-winded explanation of last night and how Jungkook and you are merely friends. You think that will do for now, assure her you didn’t keep another boyfriend secret from her. Still, you’re certain you’ll get an earful once you’re back.
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“And now, if I may draw your attention to your right here—” You turn your head, a smile growing on your lips as you watch Jungkook struggle to find the rest of his sentence. “—you’ll see this… gorgeous little famous brick building.”
You raise your hand. He picks you. “What is it famous for?”
“Ah, yes, great question, young lady,” he coughs, and you can quite literally see the wheels turn in his head. “It’s famous… for its ghosts.”
And even though he doesn’t word it like a question, it very much sounds like one.
“Ghosts?” you repeat, raising a brow.
“Yes, ghosts,” Jungkook repeats, doubling down. “Happy ghosts though. Not spooky ghosts. I know how easily you scare.”
You roll your eyes, regretting revealing this information to him. “Please continue your tour.”
“Right, yes, follow me.”
Once your reservations were settled, you realised neither of you know what to do with all of that extra time. A city tour was thrown around, but it turns out booking a city tour on such notice is more than difficult. But Jungkook was quick to tell you anyone could give a city tour. Hell, he could do it!
So here you are, walking through the streets with Jungkook as he scrambles to make things up as you go, pointing at buildings you walk past and telling you about their supposed history.
“And this,” he stops and you look up, “is probably the most famous sight-”
“A McDonald’s?” you deadpan, scrunching your nose.
“A McDonald’s,” he says with a nod, and you raise your hand again. “Yes, please?”
“So where can I get my money back because clearly, this tour is a scam-”
“Y/N!”
“You’re telling me that McDonald's is the best thing this town has to offer? This is supposed to be the best city tour ever? A sham, I tell you!” 
“I’m trying here.” A dramatic pout grows on Jungkook’s lips, and you can’t help but laugh. You pinch his cheek. 
He scrunches his face and pushes your hand aside. “Y/N!”
“Well, if you’re gonna pout like a child, you’re gonna be treated like one,” you tell him, smiling.
“If you’re so dissatisfied with the tour, do it better-”
“I never proclaimed myself to be the best tour guide around though,” you shoot back, and he scrunches his nose.
“Being a tour guide is hard, alright-”
“You just suck.”
Jungkook presses his lips into a line and stares at you. You give him a smile, enjoying this far too much.
“You’re mean, Y/N, you know that?” he hisses, and you laugh. “I’m not doing the tour anymore.”
“Thank god,” you exhale, placing your hand on your chest, feigning relief. Jungkook gapes at you. You laugh again. “Come on, let’s just go.”
“Where to?” he asks you, and you hook your arm with his, smiling.
“Anywhere,” you say.
Jungkook blinks at you before finally, cracking a smile too.
“Anywhere it is.”
You walk side by side, exploring the streets and corners and shops this city has to offer, dipping in and out of cafés and bookstores on your way. And at some point, you’re holding his hand. You don’t notice it until you have to let go at some point and reach for Jungkook’s hand again. You can’t say whose hands wandered first, but you can say it feels oddly natural. It feels oddly right.
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“Now, that wasn’t so bad, was it?” Jungkook asks you with a smile when the credits start rolling, the outro music of Spirited Away filling the air around you. He turns his head to you.
“Shut up,” you mumble, downing the last bit of wine you have left in your paper cup (this hotel is the opposite of fancy). “But no, it wasn’t.”
He grins at you over his shoulder as he puts away his laptop. “See, I told you.”
“The film still traumatised my young self, alright? The ghost-”
“No Face,” he supplies.
“Right, yeah, anyway, that guy’s fucking scary when you first watch the film. The way he follows Chihiro and won’t leave her alone?” You shudder and shake your head.
Jungkook’s still grinning when he fills up his paper cup with wine, gesturing for you to hand him yours. 
“Cheers.” 
Jungkook clinks his paper cup with yours, and your shoulder shakes with laughter as you drink, eyes locked with his. You’re first to break, your hand quickly coming up to your mouth to stop any of the wine from spilling.
“You’re so stupid,” you tell him when you’ve managed not to make a mess of the sheets, coughing a bit. Jungkook laughs. 
You place your half-empty paper cup on the nightstand and lie down, tired from the day and alcohol. You’re tipsy, for sure. Jungkook follows you, throwing the blanket over you. You’re quick to snuggle into it. Your faces are close, inches apart. One of you should back away, allow for more space, but neither of you even think of it. You just lie in the quiet together.
The warm yellow glow from the lamp on the nightstand spills beautifully down Jungkook’s face, softening his features to butter. It accentuates the gentle slope of his nose, contrasts the moles imprinted on his skin, and brings out his starry doe eyes, eyes filled with so much gentleness and goodness you think your heart is going to burst if you looked into them too long.
Gazing at him, you can’t help but smile at the thought that all of this wouldn’t have happened if Sooyoung hadn’t convinced you. You would have never gotten to know Jungkook the way you do now, seen all of his sides—the awkward and shy one, the brave and protective one, the caring and kind one—, and realised he’s one of the best people you’ve ever met.
You thank Sooyoung.
“Hey, Y/N?”
He speaks quietly, in a whisper. You match his volume.
“Yeah?”
Jungkook doesn’t avert his eyes when he speaks, “Are we friends?”
You blink a handful of times, taking a moment to think about his question. A smile curls on your lips when you come up with the answer, “Almost.”
He raises a brow. “Almost?”
“Yes, almost.”
Jungkook stares at you before chuckling, shaking his head. “I’ve never gone on a roadtrip with any of my friends, or even shared the same bed with them. Not even Joon, and he’s my best friend. And now you tell me we’re just almost friends?”
Your smile widens into a grin. His eyes are digging into your face. You don’t meet his gaze. “Looks like you’re not that close with your friends then.”
He lets your words settle into the air, only expressing his disapproval with a click of his tongue and a scrunch of his nose.
“But it’s weird, isn’t it?” you begin quietly, still not looking at Jungkook. “It’s weird to think about how quickly we’ve grown close. This trip almost didn’t happen, you know?”
He looks at you.
“When Soo suggested you’d come, I wasn’t… thrilled.”
“Oh.”
“Sorry,” you chuckle. “But can you blame me for being hesitant to be stuck in a car with a stranger? I didn’t want it to be awkward.” You turn your head to the side, eyes finding his. “And I wasn’t wrong. Remember when-”
“Yes, I remember,” Jungkook quickly interrupts. “I remember how awkward it was-”
“You mean how awkward you were,” you correct and earn yourself an eye roll from him. “What? Are you denying it?”
“I’m not,” he mutters, scrunching his nose. “But it’s not like you tried to make it less awkward.”
“Well, sorry, I didn’t say anything when you put the snacks in the back, or when you silently watched-” 
“I get it, Y/N,” Jungkook interjects, a dramatic pout forming on his lips. It takes you everything not to pinch his cheek. 
“You know, I was so sure I was going to regret it, you know?”
“Agreeing to let me come?”
“Yeah, I mean you and I were strangers before this. Even with Soo and Joon around, I wasn’t sure it wasn’t gonna be… weird.”
“But you don’t regret it, do you?”
You think about the last couple of days, think about all of the experiences you’ve made, how you’ve won a new friend, and you can’t contain the smile that slips onto your lips, stretching from one cheek to the other. The answer is obvious.
“No, I don’t.”
And even though you aren’t looking at each other, gazes tracing the ceiling together, you know there is a smile on the other’s lips. Silence hits you, comfortable silence. 
“Hey, Y/N?” 
You hum in response, growing too tired to speak, eyes starting to fall shut. You think Jungkook notices, think that’s why he’s pausing, to contemplate whether or not to continue. But you’re wrong. He doesn’t pause because he picked up on your exhaustion, his mind racing far too fast for him to. He pauses because he doesn’t know if he should bring it up in the first place, let the words slip that have been on his tongue forever now. 
Jungkook takes a deep breath. “But we aren’t strangers, are we?”
He speaks quietly, and you don’t think you would have heard him if you weren’t lying in bed together, side by side. You want to turn your head, but for some reason, your neck feels oddly stiff. Your brows knit together.
“What… do you mean?”
And then there’s another round of silence. 
It allows your mind to ponder over his words, dissect them into their own pieces, pull them apart, syllable for syllable, figure out the meaning of them separately and then together, and before you can come to any kind of conclusion, Jungkook speaks again,
“Remember when you asked me about my biggest regret and I wouldn’t tell you?” He doesn’t wait for an answer. “Do you still wanna know?”
You should probably ask him where this was going, tell him he’s jumping from one thing to another, but-
“Yeah.”
Jungkook shifts. There’s a feeling growing in your gut. It’s not bad, at least you don’t think. It’s just there, alerting you.
“There was this girl,” he starts, and you listen closely. “I met her during a party two summers ago. She bumped into me. Almost spilled her drink all over me. We talked the entire night, even played a round of beer pong even though neither of us like beer.”
Your heart begins thumping in your chest, heavy and hard. The realisation hits you so fast you can’t even look away. It whips you right across the cheek. 
Jungkook remembers.
“Somehow, we ended up at my place, and,” something like a smile finds his lips, “well, one thing led to another. The next morning though,” you know what he’ll say, “I woke up alone.”
You close your eyes and swallow.
“So my biggest regret is probably never asking for her number,” he whispers, his words breathed into the air, floating around in the room, lifted by the warm light, presented right in front of your eyes. You don’t want to look at them, heat crawling up your neck at their sight. He doesn’t know what he’s saying, you tell yourself. It’s the exhaustion and alcohol. That must be it.
“Or you know, not telling her I’d love to get to know her more and she can stay for breakfast if she wants,” he says. “I would have loved it to wake up next to her.”
You are his biggest regret?
It makes no sense. It seems absurd to you. He must be joking, you tell yourself. There’s no way any of this is real, that he didn’t get upset at your disappearance but simply disappointed and sad, that the night you shared together left as much of an impression on him as it did on you. 
“I can’t believe you remember,” you say, voice thin and weak. 
“Of course, I did.”
He turns to you then, and instantly, your heart stops in your chest. You wait, count the seconds, anticipating his words. You don’t know what you’re expecting him to say, but it’s not this,
“I thought you were really cute.”
His confession knocks the air right out of your lungs, all of it escaping you in one go. If you had it in you, you’d turn to him and meet his eyes. But your gaze remains stuck on the ceiling.
He’s drunk, you repeat to yourself. The words are laced with alcohol, for sure. His mind is clouded with drunken foolishness. It must be.
“Jungkook-”
The rest of your sentence never leaves your lips, a terrible knot in your throat. Words are clumsy on your tongue, your mind jumbled with thoughts you can’t even begin to dissect. It’s terrible, the minute of silence feeling so full and empty at the same time. You learn just how loud being silent can be, how deafening, how heavy.
“I’m serious.” 
But still, you can’t respond, your mouth opening and closing in a desperate manner to get something to spill out. Nothing comes out though. You can’t quite find the words, but you think he knows. You think he knows you want to apologise for leaving the morning so abruptly, think he knows you haven’t forgotten either, think he knows you would have stayed if he had just asked you to.
The click of the lamp snaps you out of your thoughts, suddenly plunged into darkness. Jungkook lies back down, pulling the covers over you. It marks the end of your conversation. 
Your mouth presses into a line and your eyes flutter shut because you know very well you aren’t going to find your voice until tomorrow morning. You curse yourself and your inability to speak. It’s stupid. You know very well how much courage it must have taken him to tell you all of this, and here you are, lying in silence and-
Your train of thought is stopped when Jungkook grabs your hands underneath the covers and interlaces his fingers with yours. It’s then that you look at him, head twisting to the side, eyes meeting his. And you know, this isn’t the alcohol speaking. It’s him speaking, every word is his.
Jungkook glows, you discover, because, in the darkness, you can see him crystal clear, bright as the stars and the moon combined, outshining everything and anything.
“I still do.” His eyes stare into yours. “I still think you’re really cute.”
And when Jungkook carefully puts his arm around your waist, you know it’s fine you can’t respond right now. You inch closer to him, your bodies practically melting into one. His touch is warm and comforting. It feels right.
You fall asleep.
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“That’s it, isn’t it?” you say, scrunching your nose and looking at the McDonalds bag in your lap. “Our last dinner on the roadtrip.”
“For now,” Jungkook adds, putting on your shared roadtrip playlist. He takes the brown bag from you and unpacks it. “Don’t forget, we still have to drive back in a week.”
You take the cheeseburger he hands you. “What happened to my McDonald’s ban?”
Jungkook unwraps his burger and bites into it. “Well, we’re in the middle of nowhere and unless you prefer stale chips, go ahead.”
You’re pouting as you unwrap your cheeseburger. “Whatever.”
He smiles.
You haven’t talked about last night. When you woke up, you thought you would, but you didn’t. You honestly can’t say how, but it’s not awkward. Still, there’s an elephant in the room, or, well, in the car, sitting in the back with you and patiently waiting for one of you to address it. 
“Can’t believe we never thought of eating in the back,” Jungkook mumbles, dipping a fry into the sweet and sour sauce. You’ve arranged a spread on the middle seat, the bag serving as a plate.
“I know, right? It’s so crammed in the front.”
“Well, now we know better,” Jungkook says, and you hum, grabbing a chicken nugget and throwing it into your mouth, wiping your greasy fingers and mouth on the napkin you have in your lap.
“Can’t believe we’re almost there,” you mumble, taking a deep breath, the weight of the journey dawning on you. “We really drove for five days straight, huh?”
“Four,” he corrects. “But yeah, crazy to think about. Didn’t feel all that long though.”
“I thought it would be worse and more exhausting.”
Jungkook locks eyes with you, a smile forming on his lips. “Yeah, it was really fun.”
You smile too. “Yeah, really fun.”
And then you go back to eating, munching on your respective burgers, grabbing a fry or chicken nugget in between bites. By the end your bellies are so full, neither of you want to move, in need of a break. All you manage to do is gather your garbage in the McDonald’s bag before collapsing again.
“What was your favourite part about the trip so far?”
Jungkook turns to you at the question, eyes meeting yours. He frowns. “Probably when we had Chinese food in the park.”
You nod, approving of his choice. “Yeah, that was really great and fun.”
“What about you?”
A smile grows on your lips because you already know your answer. “Your shitty city tour.”
Jungkook levels you with a look, shaking his head. “It wasn’t that shitty.”
You laugh. “It was.”
“Y/N-!”
“Just accept it. It was really bad.” He pouts. You grin. “But it was really fun too.”
“You mean fun for you,” he hisses. “You laughed at me.”
And at his words, you have to laugh again. As much as he tries to act upset, Jungkook has to mirror you, the corners of his lips involuntarily pulling up.
“Sorry.”
“Please, you’re not sorry at all.”
“I’m not,” you admit and grin at him.
Jungkook rolls his eyes and shakes his head. You look at him when he suddenly sits up.
“What?”
“Let’s take a picture!”
You blink at his enthusiasm. “What?”
“We never took any pictures.” He pulls out his phone. “Let’s take some now.”
He pats the seat next to him and you’re quick to move in, knees knocking against his. You adjust your hair to your liking, Jungkook patiently waiting for you to finish, his phone already up in the air and ready to go.
“Alright?”
You nod, giving a small smile and holding up a peace sign as Jungkook clicks on the shutter. He mimics you, his smile toothier than yours though. 
“Wait, wait, wait,” you say and he stops, turning his gaze to you. “The way we’re sitting-” You click to view the pictures. “Look, it’s kinda awkward.”
Jungkook hums, agreeing with you. “How about this?”
You stiffen when he puts an arm around you and pulls you even closer to him. But you relax soon after, a smile forming on your lips.
“This good?” he asks you, loosening his hold on you, clearly ready to back off again, but you’re quick to nod. In fact, you inch a bit closer to him, your face right next to his as you prepare for the new set of pictures.
Your faces quickly morph from toothy smiles to tongues sticking out and your features contorting in odd ways. The pictures go from casual to silly in a matter of seconds. In the last couple ones, you’re squishing each other’s cheeks, and by the end, you’re laughing.
“Oh, this one’s cute,” Jungkook says and shows you his phone. You lean over to look. It’s one of the first ones when you were still trying. You’re smiling into the camera, your hand thrown up in a peace sign. Jungkook has his arm around you, a smile on his own lips, but instead of staring into the camera like you, his eyes are on you.
You pause, the look on his face surprising you. It’s so soft and gentle. It’s like he’s looking at something very dear to him, something precious, something he loves. But he’s simply staring at you.
“Yeah… it’s cute,” you mumble, voice much quieter now. And when you lift your eyes and meet his gaze, your voice disappears into thin air. Because Jungkook’s right there, in front of you, his face inches away from yours.
This is it. You know. If you were in a romcom, you’d kiss. You’d share your epic first kiss, sitting in the back of your shared car after four days of driving across the country, four days of getting to know each other, four days of sharing the same bed. This is the moment. The moment that will define this summer, the moment in which you’ll tell Jungkook all of the things you wanted to say yesterday but didn’t have the courage to. The moment that will bring you and him together.
It’s there, right in front of you, dangling and waiting to be grasped and held tight, seized.
Your eyes darken as they lower to his lips, heart thumping loud and heavy in your ribcage, everything inside you screaming at you to do it, to finally find the bravery you couldn’t muster up yesterday and two years ago when you first ran from him. Your hand grips onto his knee for support, and Jungkook’s here to provide it, his hand gripping yours, encouraging you; the other one finding anchor around your waist, his phone somewhere on the floor, forgotten about.
You feel his breath on your lips. It’s about to happen. You’re mere split seconds away from it when the sound of your phone ringing cuts through the air.
It’s gone.
The moment dissipates into thin air right in front of your eyes, leaving behind a cloud of awkwardness.
You break apart, the distance between you feels endless. Your heart sinks in your chest, the feeling of Jungkook’s touch imprinted on your skin, still hot and burning, questions hanging in the air.
You’re scrambling to the front when you pick up the call, pressing your phone to your ear to the point your knuckles turn white. And even though there’s a part of you that’s glad that you were interrupted because you don’t know what would have happened after the kiss, there’s another part of you that’s cursing yourself for switching your phone from silent to loud.
“Yes, hi,” you sputter, clearing your throat and stumbling into the passenger seat.
“Hey, Y/N!” Sooyoung greets you, and you don’t look in Jungkook’s direction when he gets into the driver’s seat, his phone back in his pocket. He lowers the music. “Where are you guys?”
You frown. “Uh, we-we are having dinner.”
There’s a pause, and you hate the silence because it makes you so acutely aware of the silence between Jungkook and you.
“Are you alright? You sound weird.”
“Weird?” you say with an exaggerated chuckle. “What? No, of course, I’m alright.”
Sooyoung hums on the other side, sounding more than less convinced. “Well, if you say so.”
“I’m alright. It’s alright,” you repeat, and you don’t know if that’s for her, you, or Jungkook. “Anyway, why, uh, are you calling me?”
“Oh, right-” Sooyoung cuts herself short and you think you can hear someone talk to her. You frown, the voice sounding a lot like Taehyung, but just before you can ask, she returns. “Uh, can you tell me when you’ll be at the hotel?”
“Why do you wanna know when we’re at the hotel?” you ask, your frown deepening. You glance over to Jungkook. He has the same look on his face.
“Just because.”
Now it’s Sooyoung who sounds weird.
It takes you a moment to get it, your frown slowly disappearing at the realisation. 
“Soo, are you at the hotel?”
Jungkook snaps his head to you, and you turn on speaker phone. There are hisses and curses from the other side until-
“Surprise!”
You wince, the onslaught of voices blowing out your speakers. Jungkook and you look at each other.
“Yeah, hi, we’re at the hotel,” Taehyung says, confirming your previous assumption. The smile’s evident on his lips. “So hurry the fuck up, you two lovebirds, and get your asses here.”
“Lovebirds?” Jungkook sputters, exasperated and embarrassed at the same time. “We are no- what are you talking about, Tae?”
You can practically see Taehyung roll his eyes. “Yeah, yeah, just-”
He’s cut off by Seokjin. “Hey guys, how are you?”
“Uh, good,” you answer for the two of you, confused and struggling to wrap your brain around this. You’re not catching up really. “H-how are you guys all at the hotel? How did you get there? And who’s at-”
“Everybody. Everyone’s here, grandmas. How are we at the hotel before you when you had like a two-day head start?”
The insults continue, your friends berating you for taking so long. Namjoon puts an end to it, taking the phone and telling you to just get here as fast as possible, promising to explain everything once you’re at the hotel. 
When you hang up, you feel tired. Your eyes lock with Jungkook’s.
“Ready?”
Somehow, there’s no awkwardness anymore. You’re not sure how that’s possible, if it’s the fact that your friends are all waiting for you at the hotel that distracts your minds enough, or the fact that it can’t ever be awkward between you anymore because there’s trust and comfort. Either way, you’re glad.
“Sure, yeah.”
You sound less than ready, and Jungkook smiles before slotting the keys into the ignition.
“We’ll be fine.”
You hope he’s right.
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It turns out that once Sooyoung and Namjoon got back in town, Hoseok was quick to propose to drive after you guys. After all, he’s just finished all of his exams and is down for a little adventure. Jimin joined in next as the second driver. And with Jimin in on it, Sana and Yeji jumped on board too. Soon enough your gigantic friend group was packing up their things for a last-minute summer roadtrip, Nine people crammed in three cars. With so many people, the costs were down to nothing, hotels and food costing a penny, and the great number of drivers allowed them to go for hours on end without breaks.
And by the end, you feel dumb for not suspecting anything earlier. You should have because Sooyoung’s daily calls stopped all of a sudden. But you were too preoccupied to notice.
“I’m really so sorry,” Sooyoung tells you once you’re in your room, and you sit down on one of the two beds.
“It’s fine, Soo,” you say, patting her hand. “It was actually fun with Jungkook.”
“Yeah?” She’s studying your face for any hints of deception. “You’re not just saying that? You can be honest now. We’re not on the phone anymore.”
“Well,” you sigh, “as much as I hate to admit it, but you were right. He really is nice. So no, I’m not just saying that.”
And at that, Sooyoung lights up. “Told you so!”
You give her hand one more squeeze before lying down, sinking into the mattress. She follows you.
“Oh, did he recognise you, by the way? I’ve been meaning to ask.”
You keep your gaze trained on the ceiling as you contemplate what to tell her. You don’t think you want to get into it all, not now at least when so much is still not resolved, when you don’t know yourself what’s going on between Jungkook and you.
“No.”
“Oh.” Sooyoung sounds disappointed, you think. “Well, glad I was right again.”
You hum.
Your conversation quickly moves on to her romantic getaway with Namjoon because she hasn’t gotten much of a chance to tell you about it, the fact she was stuck in another town taking precedence.
“Anyway, I think I’m gonna wash up,” Sooyoung tells you and slaps your knee before getting up. It’s only then that you see her suitcase in the corner of the room. You straighten up.
“Wait, are we sharing a room?”
She looks at you from her crouched position, pyjamas in her hands. Her brows knit together. “Who else do you think you’d be sharing a room with?” Her lips quirk up into a smirk when you don’t respond. “Kook?”
You laugh, but it sounds off. “What? No! I-I thought you were sharing a room with Joon.”
She shakes her head and gets up, her toiletry bag and pyjamas in her hands. “No, you’re stuck with me, Y/N. Kook’s with Joon.”
You nod and barely register Sooyoung walking into the ensuite bathroom, one thought occupying your mind.
You won’t be alone with Jungkook anymore.
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[jeon jungkook - 00:32] : hey are you still up?
[you - 00:32] : yeah whats up?
You watch as the three grey dots appear and disappear for a few seconds, and you’re about to ask him to spit it out when-
[jeon jungkook - 00:32] : you wanna meet up in the car?
You’ve typed out the answer and hit send faster than you can blink.
[you - 00:32] : be right there
You don’t even check if Sooyoung’s actually sleeping or not when you climb out of bed and leave, your phone and the keycard to the room are the only things with you. And even though it’s summer, it is a lot chillier at night. You shiver once you’re outside, but you push through, marching across the empty parking lot.
When you get in, Jungkook’s already sitting in the passenger seat.
“Nice pyjamas,” he tells you with a smile, and you roll your eyes. He’s still in his clothes from before.
“Thanks,” you say, shutting the door, shivering when the AC hits you.
“Are you cold, Y/N?” Jungkook asks you, disbelief on his face, and you grumble.
“Yeah, yeah, yeah, I’m a wuss that gets scared by everything and is also cold sensitive.”
“You’re not cold-sensitive, Y/N. You’re slight temperature changes-”
“Is that why you texted me?” you interrupt.
Jungkook sits back and shakes his head. “Obviously not.” 
He pauses and shuts off the AC before taking off the flannel he’s wearing. “Here.” He holds it out to you, and you can’t meet his eyes when you accept it. It’s a bit big on you. It brings instant warmth. You smell him on it.
“How is it with Soo?”
“Fine,” you say. “How’s it with-”
“Fine too.”
Neither of you say anything for a moment. “Is it just me-”
“-but it’s weird to share a room with other people, right?” you finish his sentence, and he’s quick to agree with you. 
“Yeah, it does feel… weird.”
There’s another pause.
Jungkook claps his hands together. “Alright, let’s do this.”
You frown. “Do what?”
But instead of elaborating, he just gets out, gesturing for you to follow him. Left with no other choice, you do, wrapping his flannel tighter around your body when a breeze hits you.
“What do you-”
You’re cut off by the sound of ‘Isn’t She Lovely’ by Stevie Wonder playing through Jungkook’s phone. He gives you a smile when you look at him, walking over to you and grabbing your phone and the keycard out of your hand to put it on the ground, next to his own phone.
“What are we-”
Once again, you don’t finish your question, Jungkook taking your hands into his.
“We’re dancing,” he tells you with a grin, and before you can even protest, he spins you around.
“Jungkook,” you say when you’re facing him again, cheeks ablaze. “I can’t dance.”
“Just go with it,” he says, but when he sees the knit between your brows, he adds, “Trust me.”
And with that, you can’t help but let him lead you, his hands guiding your every move as you dance in the empty parking lot, spinning like you’ve got a clue of what you’re doing.
“See, you can dance,” Jungkook whispers when you’re back in his arms. “You’re great at this.”
You shake your head at his compliment, disagreeing, but it’s a nice thing to hear. 
And so you continue, clumsily and slowly dancing around, feet shaky and hesitant as you move. Stars are dotting the night sky, shining down on you, the moon high up there, smiling, the lonely street lamp you’re under illuminating you like a spotlight, the flannel billowing out around you with every spin you do. At this moment, as you hold Jungkook’s hands, you’re convinced it’s just you and him in this world. 
And right at this moment, you can feel it—the summer magic in the air, the endlessness of tonight, the potential and possibilities all around you, the looming question of where is this going?. It’s all right here, surrounding you, and for some reason, it’s not scary.
It’s not scary when the air is warm and fuzzy and the moon and stars are above you, lighting up the sky, and summer is puncturing every minute that passes by. It’s not scary when you’re holding Jungkook’s hands and gazing into his eyes. 
By the end of the song, you’re out of breath, panting. But you’re smiling too. And when it plays again, neither of you let go of one another. Instead, you start to sway. You rest your head on Jungkook’s chest, eyes closing as you listen, his heart beating under your ear. His arms sneak around your middle. He holds you close.
You never thought you could feel at peace and terrified at the same time, never thought you could feel like this when the realisation sinks in with you.
You’re falling- no, tripping for Jungkook, stumbling over your own two feet and plunging head first into darkness, the unknown.
The fall is inevitable, you realise. It’s been happening for the past two years; starting on the first night you spend together and continuing with every quick glance you caught of him when you walked across campus, fuelled by the stories Sooyoung would relay to you every week, the jokes she’d tell you he made that day, and now propelled faster by this trip, by the hours locked in the car together, the nights slept in the same bed, sharing the same blanket, hearts beating side by side, closer than ever.
There’s no stopping this, and you don’t know if you would want to even if you could.
You’re not sure what it is, if it’s the summer magic floating in the air, but falling in love, giving your heart to someone, pulling it out of your chest, loosening it from its roots in between your ribs, gift-wrapping it and tying a bow around it, to hand it over to Jungkook for safekeeping, for it to be his and his only, seems less daunting than ever. In fact, it seems right, the only possible thing you could be doing now, a natural progression.
And even though you haven’t landed yet, haven’t gotten to the end of your fall, you know it will be fine. You know it will be soft and gentle. You know there will be someone to catch you. Putting your heart into Jungkook’s hands, as terrifying as it is, is the natural thing to do. You shouldn’t be so willing to give a piece away from you, to hand it over so easily, should want to run away in panic, but for some reason, you’ve never wanted to do anything more.
“We’ve done it all,” Jungkook whispers into your ear during the harmonica solo, and you stop swaying.
“What do you mean?” you ask, and you can hear him smile.
“You said this isn’t a romcom in which we dance under the stars, go on coffee shop dates, and sneak out to meet up.” You peel your eyes open and look at him. He’s grinning at you. “We did it all.”
“Jungkook-”
“Can I tell you a secret?” he whispers and gazes deeply into your eyes, his features soft and glowing under the streetlight. He’s never been more beautiful. You can feel your heart in your ears, every beat. You think you know the secret.
You nod.
“I love you.”
And even though you already knew it, your lips pull up into the biggest grin, fireworks exploding in your stomach, heart swelling in your chest to the point of eruption.
“Can I tell you a secret?” you ask him, voice shaky with excitement, and lean impossibly closer, hands gripping his shirt because you need something to hold onto.
“Please,” Jungkook practically pleads, and you don’t hesitate a second to say it, letting the three words escape you that have been sitting inside you for ages now.
“I love you too.”
And then, you press your lips to Jungkook’s, going up on your toes to reach him, eyes fluttering shut, finally doing what you should have done a long time ago. He holds your middle, his nose bumping yours as he kisses you back, firmly. Even though this isn’t your first kiss, it does feel like it—sparks ricocheting through your entire body, time freezing to a stop, nothing mattering more than him right now. Jungkook is every star and every moon in this world. He is the summer and the autumn and the winter and the spring. He is everything. 
The kiss ends far too soon. You’re already yearning for his lips again, for him.
“You think your mother is gonna kill me if she finds out I kissed her daughter?” 
You smack his shoulder, or, well, you try because you’re breathless and can’t muster up much. It’s a hit, and barely qualifies as that. It’s an attempt. It’s enough to make him smile though.
“Jungkook,” you say, “I swear to God, if you mention my mother again after kissing me, you’re never going to kiss me-”
He cuts you off, pressing his lips to yours one more time, cradling your cheeks. You allow it, leaning into it and kissing him back, grip tightening around his shirt. It feels too right to stop. You already know, you won’t ever get enough of the kisses, won’t ever stop kissing Jungkook, for even a second.
And when you part this time, you rest your forehead to his, needing the support, and there’s no doubt in your mind, Jungkook will always be there to provide it. He’ll always be there to be your rock, your person to lean onto, you can count on.
“Oh,” he says, digging through his pocket, and you watch as he pulls out a set of keys. They shine under the streetlamp, bright and dazzling. He takes your hand and wraps your fingers around them, the jagged edges lightly digging into your skin.
“You forgot these at my place.”
Your eyes grow big, mouth dropping wide open.
“Jungkook-” you begin but don’t finish, sputtering. You shake your head, a smile on your lips. “You know these would have been useful two years ago, right? I had to walk to Sooyoung to get the spare key from her.”
He grins at you and wraps his arm around your shoulder, pulling you close to him and pressing a kiss to your forehead. “Well, better late than never, right?”
You meet his gaze and smile. He doesn’t say it, but you know. “Right, better late than never.”
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Jungkook and you are the last ones to arrive for breakfast, strolling up to the table together, enough space between you not to raise any suspicion, not wanting to reveal the news to your friends just yet. It’s best not to drop this first thing in the morning, you decided together. Luckily for you, there are exactly two empty seats next to each other. 
You’ve just come back from the buffet (waffles for you and pancakes for Jungkook) when Sooyoung looks at you.
“Did you go out last night?”
You freeze. “What?”
“I think I heard you sneaking out in the middle of the night,” she says, taking a sip from her coffee.
“Oh.”
You don’t know what else to say. It’s all you can muster up.
“Well,” you refrain from looking at Jungkook, “no, I, uh, didn’t.”
“Huh.” She blinks. “I could swear I heard the door opening at night-”
“Wait, Yoongs, didn’t you say you saw Y/N and Kook last night in the parking lot?” Hoseok brings up, and you stiffen in your seat, fingers curling around the armrests. Jungkook sucks in a sharp breath, his knee jerking uncontrollably. Everyone around the table quiets and looks at you two. Probably not the best idea to sit next to each other.
“Y/N?” Sooyoung says, her eyes as big as saucers. Namjoon chokes on his drink next to her.
Sana gasps, clamming her hand in front of her mouth. “Shut up, are you guys-”
“No, what? Don’t be ridiculous!” Jimin denies, shaking his head. “There’s no way-” He pauses when he sees the look on Jungkook’s and your face. “Wait…”
“Did you really see-?” Taehyung turns to Yoongi, sitting on the edge of his seat, and the older takes a sip from his orange juice, keeping everyone waiting, the suspense rising with every moment of silence.
“Yeah, I did.”
“Oh my god,” Yeji mumbles under her breath before turning to Jungkook and you, her mouth slowly splitting into a gigantic grin. “Are you guys-?”
You share a look. “Uh, I, well-”
“Didn’t you kiss too?” Hoseok blurts out, speaking without thinking. “That’s what you said, right, Yoongs?”
“You kissed?” Taehyung sputters before beginning to slow clap, and Namjoon’s quick to tell him to stop it.
“Kissed and slow danced,” Yoongi confirms, clearly believing Jungkook and you have been a thing for a while now, failing to realise that he’s revealing your relationship to everyone on your very first day as a couple. “Or was that not you?”
Jungkook and you share another look. Even though this isn’t the way you imagined telling your friends, you don’t mind. Because what difference does it make?
“No, that was us,” you say.
“You didn’t see wrong,” Jungkook confirms with a nod.
And at your confession, your friends gasp before erupting into hollers and cheers. None of them care that guests are shooting them dirty looks. They’re far too happy for Jungkook and you to care. You love them so much, as embarrassing as this is. The support is heartwarming.
“Congrats to you guys!” Namjoon grins, Sooyoung next to him is far too shocked to say anything.
“Yeah, fuck, I’m so happy for you two!” Yeji coos.
“A toast from the newly wed couple please!” Seokjin gestures at you to stand up, but neither of you make a single move.
“We’re not married!” you say, and Jungkook thanks Sana when she slaps Seokjin’s shoulder.
And since the two of you aren’t really toast-making people, Jungkook saves you by lifting his glass of water into the air like it’s an expensive flute of champagne. 
“Cheers!”
You’re first to raise your glass too, clinking it with his. Your friends are quick to follow suit. 
Jungkook looks over to you.
To us.
You grin.
Sooyoung gives you a tight hug, whispering into your ear just how happy she is for you and that she’ll pack and switch rooma. You thank her; for everything, you say, truly everything. She shakes her head.
And when Jungkook and you look at each other again, you know you’ll always get half of his breakfast and he’ll always get half of your breakfast, and he’ll always hold your hand at every rest stop and gas station and every time you need it, and you’ll always buy him a neck pillow when his neck acts up again and hold a water bottle to his lips when he’s thirsty and driving. You know you’ll never have to fight over who sleeps on the couch anymore, but you’ll always have to fight over who gets to pay.
You smile, and it widens when Jungkook transfers half of his pancakes onto your plate. You do the same.
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“Good morning,” Jungkook smiles when he sees you stir and peel your eyes open, putting his phone aside to lie back down with you, pulling the covers over the two of you. Your eyelids are still heavy with sleep. Keeping them open is hard.
“Morning.”
Your mood doesn’t drop until you think of today’s agenda and remember, you’re driving back. You groan. 
“I don’t wanna go,” you say, a pout growing on your lips, and Jungkook smiles, pulling you closer to him.
“Neither do I,” he tells you. “But we have to.”
You sigh. “I can’t believe it. How has it been a week?”
“Well, time flies when you’re having fun.”
You bury your face into his neck and pull the covers tighter around you, your body pressed up against his.
“And when it’s summer.”
Jungkook grins. “Yeah, and when it’s summer.”
“And when I’m with you,” you mumble and look at him with a smile. Jungkook cups your cheek and presses his lips to yours. And even though the kiss lasts mere seconds, you feel the same sparks ricochet through your body like when you first kissed him. He’s still every star and moon in this world, still summer, autumn, winter, and spring. He’s still everything. And you know, that will never change.
“And when I’m with you too.”
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→ links don’t work, but i’d love to hear your thoughts/feedback! thanks for reading !!
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985 notes · View notes
gukyi · 7 months ago
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the art of the rom-com | jjk
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summary: FILM395, the art of the rom-com, was supposed to be an easy a with one of your favorite professors, but it’s not. it’s actually a sisyphean torture that comes in the form of fellow film student jeon jungkook, who has no problem responding to every one of your discussion posts about the consumerist ideals underlying every romance movie with his own paragraphs on the beauty of love like the hopeless romantic he is. and when the two of you find yourselves partnered up for your final project, which is to create a short film on rom-coms, jungkook decides to take it upon himself to show you what love is really like.
{enemies to lovers!au, college!au}
pairing: film major!jungkook x film major!reader (female) genre: fluff, comedy, slight angst, this is literally a rom-com in fic form word count: 33k warnings: college alcohol consumption, discussion board posts, emotionally constipated characters, film major shenanigans, blonde jungkook who’s also in a hip hop dance troupe, miscommunication, if you hate rom-coms do not read this fic
a/n: i am so so so excited to share this monster of a jungkook fic (tho let’s be real, 30k is pretty standard for me now ;-;) with you all! this is basically rom-com trash, but it’s my rom-com trash, and i hope you all enjoy!
on a sadder, less exciting note: after this fic i will be taking an extended writing hiatus until at least the beginning of may. my semester is picking up and i unfortunately just don’t currently have any upcoming fics planned for you guys. i hope you understand!! maybe i’ll do a couple of ask games here and there to see if anything piques my interest, but other than that please do not expect major works of writing for a while. love you all!
500 Days of Summer is a movie you all have probably seen before. That being said, I encourage you to respond to this discussion board from a film perspective as opposed to a viewer’s perspective. How did 500 Days of Summer alter the classic narrative of boy-meets-girl? Do you think it was a smart move, on the parts of Webb, Neustadter, and Weber, to do so? Why or why not?
Jeon Jungkook on February 12th at 9:53PM
I thought that the change in the boy-meets-girl narrative that had been popularized by rom-coms of the 1990s definitely contributed to his popularity and its attractiveness towards viewers in general. The film makes it clear that the story does not have a so-called happy ending, but despite that, it still brings into discussion the idea of love and soulmates and true connection. And that’s important, because despite the film’s not-so-happy ending, it makes it a point to emphasize that those things are real. That love is real. I thought it was an excellent move on the parts of the writers and director, because they both broke standards in terms of happy endings in rom-coms and they stayed true to the message at hand. 
Y/N Y/L/N on February 12th at 10:29PM
I have to disagree with Jungkook. It’s obvious the movie is not going to have a happy ending because Tom is so obsessed with the version of Summer he has created in his head that he doesn’t even see who the real girl is anymore. It doesn’t have a happy ending not because they weren’t soulmates, or because their love wasn’t right. They break up because what Tom wants and what Summer wants are fundamentally different, and Tom just can’t accept the fact that Summer doesn’t love him the way he wants her to. In a desperate quest to keep her, though, he manifests this version of her and replaces the actual Summer with it, ultimately destroying their relationship. How could viewers ever have faith that Tom would eventually get his happy ending if the only proof of his commitment to relationships they have is him manufacturing a different girl to fall in love with?
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When you walk into class, Jeon Jungkook is already there. 
He sits in the front row, the seat closest to the door in your puny little classroom, much too small for twenty-students to fit comfortably, let alone watch movies on the pull-down projector screen above the chalkboard. You’re convinced he’s chosen that seat just so he can grin at you whenever you walk in the room, always later than him because apparently, he has nothing better to do with his time than show up to class early and smirk at you when you arrive. 
As you shuffle past his seat towards your own—second row, middle of the room, centered with the lecturer’s podium—with your usual scowl drawn neatly across your face, Jungkook says, overly bright and cheery, “Good morning, Y/N.”
The sound of his voice alone is enough to make your nose scrunch up in further disgust. “Shut up,” you grumble back, stuffing yourself into your chair and pulling out your laptop. One row in front of you and five seats to the right, you see Jungkook chuckle. 
Glowering, you open up your Notes document for the class and try to avoid staring at Jungkook’s side profile, the way he’s slouching lazily in his seat, and what looks to be a lengthy paragraph on his computer screen, a task that proves to be particularly difficult because he happens to sit in the exact spot you have to look in order to see your professor enter the room. What the hell is he even writing, anyway?
He straightens up the moment she does, cheerful as always as she smiles at everyone. “Good morning, everyone.”
The lot of you respond with halfhearted smiles and waves. 
“I can just feel the enthusiasm radiating throughout the room,” she jokes, clenching her fists together in success. At least that gets a couple of you to laugh. “Which is great, because before we get to anything today, we’re gonna talk about the final project.”
You smile to yourself, immediately pulling up the copy of the syllabus you had downloaded to your desktop, scrolling right down to where she had outlined information about the final project in big, bolded letters. There are a lot of reasons you’ve taken this class, not the least of which is the fact that you have had Professor Pollack three times prior to this and she’s loved you in every class, but the final project was definitely one of the major selling points. 
Pollack pulls up a more detailed final project document on the projector as she steps out from behind the podium. “As you guys know, your final project is a thirty-to-forty minute short film involving rom-coms. You guys have a lot of freedom, it can be a rom-com, it could be a documentary about rom-coms, anything. It just needs to involve the topic of rom-coms somehow. I know a lot of you have actor friends who would be more than happy to have a star-crossed lovers fling or whatever. Go wild. Just keep it PG-13, because I can’t in good faith have nude bodies of your fellow college students on my screen.”
You snort to yourself. Makes you wonder how many times Pollack has seen sex scenes of college students on her screen before. Too many, probably. 
Unintentionally, your eyes drift over to Jungkook. He seems to be working on that hefty paragraph of his, typing something you assume is completely unrelated to the topic at hand and is further proof that Jungkook just doesn’t give a shit about anything involving this class. Whatever. You turn back to Pollack. 
“Good projects not only capture the essence of what a rom-com is, but also put their own twist on the story and bring into question the topics we discuss in class, like truthfulness, realistic portrayals of love, and viewer interpretation,” she continues, and with every word you feel heart beat faster in excitement. “I know you’re all excellent filmmakers. That’s why you’ve taken this class. But what I want you to do is get into the nitty-gritty of the makeup of a rom-com and distill it as much as possible. We’ll be watching them all in class during the last week. Yes, Celia?”
You all turn to look at Celia, who sits in the third row, second seat from the left. “This is a partner project, right?” 
Well. That’s the one downside. As much as you know that cooperation is an important life skill, you would much rather prefer to produce the entire movie yourself. But you love Pollack and you already know you’re on track to get a good grade in this class, so whatever. You’ll deal. 
As long as you can pick your teammate. 
“Yes,” Pollack affirms, “and with that excellent segue, I will now announce your partners.”
Shit. 
Pollack pulls out a folded piece of paper from her back pocket, like she had just come up with the arrangements on the morning train ride to campus, and begins reading. Slowly, as she ticks off names one by one, everyone begins to turn around, locking eyes with their partners and exchanging guess-it’s-us-two-huh? smiles. Everyone except—
“And lastly, Jungkook and Y/N.”
You freeze in place. You look up at your professor, eyes wide and shocked, because nobody knows better than her how much the two of you have been butting heads this entire semester. But when you meet her eyes and she smiles knowingly, shrugging her shoulders, you know you’re doomed. Hesitantly, almost like you’re scared to find out what happens when you do, you shift your gaze towards where Jungkook sits in the front right corner of the room. Only he’s not just sitting. He’s turned a full one hundred-and-eighty degrees just so he can smirk at you from across the room, a glint in his eye. 
Jungkook laughs at your cold-stone, shellshocked reaction. Like he knows how much you’ll hate this, and you know how much he’ll enjoy it. 
From here, you actually have a pretty good view of his laptop screen, brightness turned all the way up because he apparently doesn’t care who reads his screen. Or maybe he just likes showing off how much he writes so he can establish dominance over everyone else. Except you, of course. But when you look a little closer, you notice he’s got the class discussion board for the week up on his Chrome window, two paragraphs typed into the text box. 
Right above is your response to his comment. 
Is that what he was working on? His reply to your reply? Right now? He has the audacity to draft it right here, in front of you, where he knows you can see? He doesn’t even care that you’re blatantly staring at it. In fact, he actually seems to be relishing in it.
You’re so caught off guard by the contents of his computer screen that when you look back up at him on instinct, you catch a wink in your direction. 
Your fists tighten by your side. 
Class is rather uneventful after the whole partner fiasco, as Pollack transitions into your usual dose of a short lecture on the film and then a class discussion that goes absolutely nowhere because everyone is too concerned with the final project to care. Whatever you talk about, you will be hard pressed to know, because you spend the entire rest of the period scowling at the blank page of your Notes document as you try to formulate a way to convince Pollack to change your partner. Would she accept a dozen doughnuts as a bribe? A box is only ten dollars from Dunkin’.
When Pollack finally shuts her laptop screen and begins her weekly goodbye spiel, you are the first one out of the room. Hastily, you stuff your laptop into your bag, zip it up as best as you can (which means that the tops of your water bottle and umbrella are sticking out, but who cares), and shuffle out the room right as Pollack is bidding you all farewell, just so you don’t have to look at Jungkook’s stupid, smug little grin on the way out. 
Faintly, you remember Pollack saying something about getting your partner’s contact information so you can start working, but fuck that. Jungkook knows your name. He can find you. If you must spend the entire semester communicating through Instagram DMs, then so be it. You’ve communicated with men in worse ways. Like through LinkedIn.
There’s a small seating area half a flight down from where your puny little classroom is, a few tables and a bench that wraps around the wall, posters splayed out on the corkboard to the right, staples littering both the board and the floor it rests above. Nobody ever seems to use this, despite the innumerable posters advertising everything from dance troupe shows to financial literacy talks, which makes it the perfect place for you to brood and gather your thoughts. It’s also in the direct opposite direction of the exit. So that’s good.
Taking your anger out on your personal belongings (as opposed to that bitchass smirk on Jungkook’s face), you begin to shove your umbrella and water bottle into the pocket of your backpack, fighting to nestle them amongst your other worldly possessions, like your pencil case and what looks to be a small nest of receipts at the bottom of the back. No wonder it’s so clogged up down there. 
If anything gives you a sense of control, it’s cleaning. One by one, you pluck out the receipts from your bag, nose scrunching up as you try to remember every purchase you’ve made in the past three months. Plus, one of these receipts is from when you bought some dryer sheets from CVS, so that means the five inches of actual information are also accompanied by three feet of coupons that expired two weeks ago. Ugh, what a waste. 
“Don’t look so angry, you’ll have to get used to seeing this face a lot.”
You look up from where you’ve been inspecting an old receipt from a midnight McDonald’s trip to find Jungkook standing in front of you, backpack hanging loosely on his bomber jacket-clad shoulder and that same stupid grin written all over his same stupid face. 
“Can I help you?” You drawl. Great. Now Jungkook can add “saw all her receipts” to the list of embarrassing things he’s caught you doing. 
“Can I help you?” Jungkook fires back with a scoff, blonde hair bouncing as he jerks his head flippantly. “Looks like someone needs to take an Accounting class or something.”
“I’m just doing some spring cleaning,” you sneer. It’s February. “What do you want?”
“What, no ‘Hello, partner’? ‘So excited to be working with you this semester’? I’m hurt,” Jungkook says, placing a hand to his heart as he shakes his head disapprovingly. “I thought we had something good, Y/N. Isn’t that why Pollack paired us up?”
You’re pretty sure she just likes watching the world burn. 
“Don’t flatter yourself,” you chide, knowing that Jungkook already must get enough of a kick out of just seeing the annoyed look on your face. 
“Please, like I even need to. You think I don’t notice the way you stare at me during class? I know you must like what you see,” Jungkook flirts, just to be extra irritating. 
While he’s stroking his own ego, you tear off a piece of that CVS receipt, one of the expired coupons for Three Dollars Off Any Shampoo or Conditioner, and scribble your number on the back. The rest of the receipts you scoop up and dump in the trash can to your right before you zip up your backpack and hike it over your shoulder. 
“Here,” you say gruffly, shoving the paper against his chest as you head towards the stairwell. 
“How forward of you, Y/N, you know you could have just asked—”
Pausing right before you turn the corner and head out the door, you turn back to look at Jungkook, already exhausted from having to interact with him for five minutes. “And when you’re done jerking yourself off,” you say pointedly, “text me.”
You storm out the door.
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[February 13th, 1:24PM]
Unknown Number: guess who ;)
You: Wow I have NO idea You: Keanu Reeves?
Unknown Number: haha very funny Unknown Number: it’s jungkook
You: Damn shame You: You done jerking off yet
Maybe: Jungkook: what makes you think i’m not doing that right now ;)))
You: You don’t have the coordination to text me and masturbate at the same time You: What do you want
Jungkook: ouch, harsh Jungkook: can’t i just want to talk to my final project partner? :D
[February 13th, 2:17PM]
Jungkook: alright fine Jungkook: just wanna see when you wanna meet up
You: Guess I don’t have a choice do I
Jungkook: unless you wanna facetime
You: Is that an option?
Jungkook: how about friday at 3 Jungkook: in one of the greene gsrs
You: You think you can manage to reserve one of those?
Jungkook: watch me
[February 13th, 2:21PM]
Jungkook: [screenshot sent] Jungkook: done
You: Do you want a gold star for all that hard work you just did? All that manual labor? You: Fine. See you then.
Jungkook: miss you already <3
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Y/N Y/L/N on February 12th at 10:29PM
I have to disagree with Jungkook. It’s obvious the movie is not going to have a happy ending because Tom is so obsessed with the version of Summer he has created in his head that he doesn’t even see who the real girl is anymore. It doesn’t have a happy ending not because they weren’t soulmates, or because their love wasn’t right. They break up because what Tom wants and what Summer wants are fundamentally different, and Tom just can’t accept the fact that Summer doesn’t love him the way he wants her to. In a desperate quest to keep her, though, he manifests this version of her and replaces the actual Summer with it, ultimately destroying their relationship. How could viewers ever have faith that Tom would eventually get his happy ending if the only proof of his commitment to relationships they have is him manufacturing a different girl to fall in love with?
Jeon Jungkook on February 13th at 7:35PM.
You make a good point, Y/N, but I think you missed the whole point of the movie. It’s not about their breakup or the not-so-happy ending or even Tom’s problems. It’s about the journey they go on and what Tom learns in the process. If you watch the trailer then you’d go into the movie knowing they weren’t gonna last. The results of whatever Tom and Summer do to contribute to their eventual breakup should not come as a surprise to the viewer. The whole point of the movie is that they spent five hundred days together and Tom is now recounting those days to anyone who will watch. And you know who’s watching? People who want to hear a story. About love. And loss. And everything in between. Isn’t that the whole reason we watch romance movies anyway?
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Sometimes, you wonder if the garishness of Professor Pollack’s shoebox-sized office is the reason not very many students attend her office hours. The walls are lined with movie posters taken from a theater going out of business, the shelves stuffed to the brim with Disney World trinkets and old film memorabilia. She’s installed these thick red velvet curtains along her single window, making the whole room look like some sort of 1950s movie lair. 
In a way, you suppose it kind of is. 
You hear the taps of her Converse shoes as they come down the hallway and round the corner into the office.
“You know, Y/N, I was surprised to see you signed up for my office hours when I logged in this morning,” Pollack says as she enters the room, handing you the coffee in her right hand as she takes a sip out of the one from her left. Last year, the film department bought a Breville coffee maker with the leftover funds from a movie showing fundraiser and it is, in your humble opinion, the best investment the department has ever made.
“Why? I see you all the time,” you ask, eyebrows raised. You and Professor Pollack are not lacking in social connection. She’s written you a letter of recommendation and she knows your coffee order. 
“The very first time we ever spoke outside of class, you sat down at my Starbucks table while I was eating lunch just so you could introduce yourself and ask me about my opinion on the Mamma Mia remake,” she deadpans. “We don’t exactly speak through official forums.”
Well, she’s got you there. 
“I know…” you begin, trailing off awkwardly as you take a sip of your coffee. It’s burning hot and scalds your tongue a little, but it’s nice. It’s been cold recently. “But I just thought we could talk… privately.”
Pollack rolls her eyes as she reclines in her chair, back hitting the padding of the chair with a thud. “Goodness, I wonder what you’re here to talk to me about.”
“Okay, please pardon my French, but what the freak, Professor?” You say, because the words have been sitting hot on your tongue ever since you walked into your office and you didn’t think sending an email that looked like:
To: tpollack@university.edu From: y/n@university.edu Subject: what the freak
Dear Professor Pollack,
What the freak?????????
Cheers, Y/N
would be very professional on your part. 
Pollack lets out this honk of a laugh, loud and sudden, shaking her head fondly. “Come on, Y/N. You must have known I would have partnered the two of you up.”
“I was hoping you’d let us choose?” You emphasize. 
“And miss out on what very well may be one of the best final projects of the class, produced by my two best students of the semester? Absolutely not,” she says, smiling knowingly at you. 
Even her sudden reveal that you happen to be one her best students this semester isn’t enough to soothe your worries and calm your anger. You’re honored, but you have bigger problems. Problems that start with ‘Jeon’ and end with ‘Jungkook’. 
Pollack looks at your beaten-down expression and leans forward, placing her coffee cup on the wooden desk in front of her. “Listen, Y/N. You’re an excellent student and one of the most talented filmmakers I’ve seen in a long time. Your discussion posts are detailed, well-written, and thought-provoking. I know that the two of you will make a great project.”
You scoff. “We can’t agree on a single thing.”
“Sometimes that happens in life, and you just have to deal with it,” Pollack says sagely. 
“So I can’t change partners?”
“Not unless you’d like to fail the final,” Pollack comments, shrugging. How rude of her to say such a thing, not taking the option to change partners off the table entirely but making it so that if you do, you’ll pretty much be shooting yourself in the foot. Or worse. 
You narrow your eyes at her. “That’s low.”
“That’s life,” she corrects. 
“Ugh.” You get up out of your seat, taking angry sips of your coffee as you desperately try to think of another way to get out of it. Are doughnuts still an option?
“I have full faith that the both of you will come up with an excellent project,” Pollack says like it’s some sort of consolation as she walks you to the door to her office. Yeah, right. You and Jungkook spend your free time making snide responses to each other’s discussion posts like it’s nobody’s business. You’re probably the only two people at your entire university that care enough to make replies to each other’s replies. Like Tinder from hell. “You shouldn’t be worried, Y/N.”
“I’m not worried,” you say, completely worried. “I just—I don’t know how Jungkook and I will get along.”
Pollack grins to herself. Does she know something you don’t? Is she up to something? She looks at you as you linger in the doorway, feeling utterly helpless after a meeting that accomplished absolutely nothing, and she smiles. 
“You’ll find a way.” 
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Reserving a group study room in the Greene Library and Collection should not be some gymnastics act that involves a warm-up, practice, a routine, and song and dance. In theory, all you have to do is log onto the library’s homepage, navigate to the reservations tab, enter your name and ID number, pick a date and time, and profit. 
Of course, the demand for the study rooms does tend to outweigh the supply. There are over ten thousand students at your university. And only twenty rooms. 
And still, you have the unfortunate luck of being stuck in one of them for an hour and a half with none other than Jeon Jungkook. 
You see him coming into the library at 3PM sharp through the opposite entrance, a little surprised he didn’t show up ten minutes early like he does in class, just so he would have an excuse to complain about having to wait for you. Feeling a little threatened, you pick up the pace so that you can meet his lengthy stride, keeping an eye on his direction so you know which room he’s aiming for.
You arrive at Greene GSR #18 at the exact same time.
“So nice to see you,” Jungkook says, too cheerful, as you reach out to open the door. 
“Mmm,” you mumble in response as you enter the room, flinging your backpack onto the floor by your chair with a thud as you take a seat. The faster you start, the faster you can get this over with.
Jungkook, not at all outwardly discouraged by your clear disdain for him, rallies on happily. “So, what were you thinking for the project?” But he doesn’t even let you open your mouth to answer before he says, “Oh, wait, let me guess: a social commentary on the consumerist ideals that underline every modern movie and encourage the pursuit of an empty dream by abandoning concrete career and personal goals in favor of romantic fulfillment.”
You scowl at him, even though that’s exactly what you were thinking of doing. You’re almost positive Pollack’s had enough of seeing college students try to engineer the craziest fake dating scenarios they can imagine just for a class project. Why not do something outside of the box? 
“Well, then what do you want to do?” You challenge, already bristling. Like Jungkook has a better idea. 
“Maybe something that doesn’t scream ‘killjoy’ as much as you do,” Jungkook retorts easily. He opens his mouth to spit out something else but then rolls his eyes and shrugs, shaking his head. “Forget it. I shouldn’t have even asked.”
“Don’t pin this on me,” you immediately rebuke, pointing at him. “You’re the one who wants to make some sort of generic rom-com for our final project. Besides, I’m pretty sure every idea you even think of will have been done already.”
“Just because something is cliche doesn’t make it bad,” Jungkook says. “I swear, I don’t think you understand what the word cliche even means. A cliche thing, by default, is something that lots of people like. Therefore, it is largely well-received by the general public.”
“Oh, then that must mean that all rom-coms are deserving of a People’s Choice Award then, right?”
Jungkook frowns, getting exasperated. You aren’t much farther off. “I don’t know why you’re being so—so resistant! You know that romantic comedies are supposed to be fun, right?” 
“They’re not that fun to me,” you comment snidely. 
“That’s because you’re a stick in the mud who takes everything way too seriously,” Jungkook replies like it’s some sort of known fact. “Have you ever even been in a relationship?”
“That’s none of your business,” you tell him firmly. Who does he think he is, going around asking that sort of thing? Especially to you! Like you could care any less about what Jungkook thinks of your love life. Intrusive, much? “Besides, you asking that is exactly my point. Not everything has to be about finding love and searching for your soulmate or whatever bullshit like that. Some people don’t really care that much.”
“You act like wanting to find love and wanting to be successful are mutually exclusive,” Jungkook points out. “You don’t have to abandon all of your life goals just to find love, you know. It doesn’t have to be the most important thing in your life for you to even care about it a little. It’s natural for people to want love.”
“Then I guess I’m just a robot.”
“You sure are acting like one,” Jungkook comments easily. “What, are you about to ask me to pick out all of the pictures with traffic lights?”
“I’m allowed to have my own views on love, just like you,” you say. Isn’t that the whole point of your discussion boards? A forum where you can discuss these sorts of things through an academic lens? A barrier that keeps the two of you from going at each other’s throats when you’re engaging in the class material? It doesn’t take a genius, or even half of one, to know that you and Jungkook can’t seem to agree on anything in your FILM395 class. 
Jungkook scoffs. “What do you mean, ‘your own views on love’? As far as I’m aware, your view on love is that you don’t have one! What do you even think love really is?”
You frown at him. “Does it matter?”
“Yes,” Jungkook says like it’s obvious. “This project is about filming a short romantic comedy, about people falling in love with each other. How do you expect me to do that if we don’t reach a mutual agreement on what love is?”
You scoff. “There is no way in hell I am going to agree with you on anything concerning love.” Jeon Jungkook still thinks love is all rainbows and sunshine. Cries at the end of Love, Actually even though he’s seen it five times already. Believes in soulmates. Believes there are people out there that were built for each other. He flutters from one person to the next like a butterfly, even though he’s more like a moth drawn to any open flame within a five-mile radius. He’s convinced he’ll find his true love here, in college, just like his parents found each other. 
Yeah, right.
“Then what are we supposed to do, huh?” He says with an eyebrow raised. “We have a month to make a movie that’s fifty percent of our grade.”
“The social commentary is still on the table,” you point out. Sure, it’s not at all a romantic comedy, but it’s about them, which Pollack said was totally fine. Besides, she has been teaching you the entire semester, hasn’t she? She should know by now not to expect some cushy lovey-dovey story about two people who were destined to be with each other and can overcome all obstacles with their love. 
Deep down, a part of you wonders if that’s why she paired you up with Jungkook. If she’s had enough of the sappy love stories that Jungkook probably wanted to do, didn’t want to see another cynical commentary on capitalism in Hollywood.
“Wow, what a thrilling idea,” Jungkook deadpans. “Please, tell me more.” His voice is lifeless. 
“Oh, shut up. It’s not like your idea would be any better. Who would we even get to star in a rom-com we filmed? It’s not like the two of us could do it.”
You regret the words the instant they come out of your mouth. In horror, you watch as they sink into Jungkook’s brain, etching themselves into his mind as a lightbulb turns on, a bright idea popping into his thoughts. 
He opens his mouth, but you get there first. “No. Whatever you’re thinking, absolutely not. I am not starring in a rom-com with you.”
That is something you can say with one-hundred percent confidence. Something that you know will never change. 
“Just hear me out,” Jungkook pleads, looking a little desperate as he wrings his hands together, aching to spill the bubbling plan that’s been stewing in his head. 
You narrow your eyes in suspicion but lean back into your chair, a silent signal for him to continue. It’s not as if you have any better idea.s 
“Okay. It’s not a rom-com. It’s a mockumentary,” he says, something that (and you can’t believe you’re saying this) actually piques your interest. Moreso than anything else he’s ever said to you. “You think love is totally manufactured, right? That Hollywood creates the illusion of it to sell to people paying twenty dollars for a movie ticket?”
“Yes.”
“Then let’s do that. Let’s prove it’s manufactured.”
“And how do you plan on doing that?” It’s not like you can walk into a factory and ask them to make the “love” emotion for you. 
“We’ll be the stars.”
He says it like it’s the most obvious thing in the world. Like it’s your best idea by a long shot, the home run of all home runs, your golden ticket to an A.
You scrunch up your nose, hesitant. “Wait, I don’t know—”
“It’s perfect!” Jungkook exclaims, eyes wide with excitement. “Think about it. It’ll be a mockumentary of a stereotypical rom-com. Except it won’t be this big Hollywood production, it’ll be real life. And it won’t be between two paid actors with years of experience under their belt, it’ll be us.” His eyes are practically bulging out of his head, big brown eyes glinting with excitement.
“So what are we gonna do? Act out our own rom-com in an attempt to see if either one of us will fall in love with the other?” You say, an eyebrow raised. 
Jungkook shakes his head. “Not necessarily. It’s a mockumentary, right? So it’s grounded in real life even if it is based upon the stereotypical boy-meets-girl rom-com. It won’t be super scripted or anything. Think of it more like… a chronicle.”
You scoff. “Of what?”
“Of us,” Jungkook says easily. “Of the time we have to spend together to film this damn project anyway. I say that rom-coms are emblematic of the natural human desire for love, and that deep down love is the thing that makes us happy. You say that rom-coms are consumerist propaganda, or whatever it is you think they are—”
“They are, and you can’t change my mind about that,” you interrupt, just for clarity. Can’t have Jungkook thinking he’s going to somehow convince you otherwise.
“—so, with this project, let’s see which one of us is right. If the time we have to spend together, making this mockumentary rom-com, will really change how we feel about each other, or if it won’t.”
How you feel about each other? You almost laugh when Jungkook says it out loud. There’s no room for questioning in your mind when it comes to how you two feel about each other. Two desperate-to-please students with opposite views on the entire structure of a class and three years of experience arguing your points in essays under your belts. 
Jungkook believes in destiny, right? Then he must know that the two of you are destined to never get along.
“You should be a car salesman,” you joke. Jungkook’s certainly excellent at pitches.
“So, you in?”
You narrow your eyes, still a little wary of whatever it is Jungkook’s putting down. But it’s not like you have any better ideas. And the sooner you agree on something, the sooner you can get this goddamn project over with and never have to sit in class with Jeon Jungkook ever again. 
“Only because this’ll finally prove to you that not everything can be solved by finding love,” you say. It’s about as good of a ‘yes’ as he’s going to get out of you. 
Jungkook grins, mischievous as always. There’s certainly something else he’s plotting, you just aren’t sure what. Maybe he’s in cahoots with Pollack. “Or,” he begins, lips curling upwards, “you’ll just fall in love with me.”
You scoff. “Yeah, right.”
“Well, then I guess we’ll just have to see, won’t we?” He holds out his hand, palm facing up as he waits for your response, that devilish glint that you hate twinkling in his eyes. 
As if you’re going to fall in love with Jungkook. For this stupid project? No way. Just because it’s a filmmaking project doesn’t make it any more bearable than your other assignments. It’s a partner project. They are, by their very nature, excruciating. You’ll be surprised if you end this project and you aren’t even more irritated with Jungkook. Does he really think you’ll actually develop some sort of affection for him?
You take his hand on your own, palm pressed against his, and you eye him carefully. Just because Jungkook’s got something up his sleeve doesn’t mean you don’t. Finally, finally, Jungkook will see why love is stupid and manufactured and fake. Why it doesn’t bring people together but instead tears them apart. 
Maybe then he’ll leave you and your discussion posts in peace.
You smile up at him. 
“I guess we will.”
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When Ruby Rhodes is not six feet deep in The Princeton Review’s MCAT test prep book, she can usually be found at the small bakery five blocks west and two blocks north of your little campus, a family-owned place passed down through three generations. It’s her favorite place, and yours, too, because the coffee is delicious and the pastries are even better. 
Plus, hardly anyone from your school ever comes here, which means the wifi speed is eons better than the Starbucks inside the main food court. 
She’s halfway through a tiramisu and a rerun of The Bachelor from two seasons ago when you sit down across from her. 
“Any good?” You ask, pulling out your laptop and squeezing it onto the tiny marble table in between the two of you. 
“The food or the show?” Ruby asks over a mouthful of cake. 
“Either.” 
Ruby swallows down the piece sitting on her tongue before responding. “The tiramisu is delicious, and The Bachelor is eh. I’ve seen this episode three times already.”
“Then why are you watching it again?” You ask, laughing. Does Ruby think something different is going to happen?
“Because we’re in between weeks right now and honestly, The Bachelor is kind of dry this season,” Ruby says with a frown. 
“You’ve got some tiramisu on your cheek,” you tell her, pointing to the left side of her face where the bright mascarpone cream sticks out like a sore thumb against her dark skin. 
“It’s just so yummy, I can’t help but stick my whole face in it,” Ruby jokes as she wipes her face with the napkin on her lap. The Bachelor rerun plays on in the background, and you can hear the gasps of the women through Ruby’s discarded headphones. 
You roll your eyes. “Why do you even watch that show still? You know it’s all crap.”
“Just because you think it’s crap doesn’t mean I do,” Ruby insists, playing out an argument the two of you have had plenty of times over the course of your friendship. “Watching it makes me happy. So I do it.”
“But it’s all fake,” you say, frowning in disapproval. “The couples don’t even stay together in the end anyway.”
“It’s a totally pre-constructed show, but it’s not fake in the moment. And I don’t expect the final couple to stay together.” She shrugs nonchalantly. “Believe me, I’ve seen enough Bachelor seasons to know those odds. I just like watching the ride. It’s cute.”
“You say that about everything.”
“That’s because everything is cute,” Ruby says pointedly. “I like seeing the good in people.”
Ruby’s always been the exact opposite of you in terms of worldviews. The embodiment of a real-life fairy. She puts butterfly clips in her hair and buys herself bouquets of daisies and lilies. She sits in cafes with her headphones in and sketches the people she sees outside the window. She’s studying to be a doctor so she can spend the rest of her life helping others. 
And you? 
Well, the Oscars have always been a bit of a long shot. 
The curiosity eating at you, you pose a question to her. “Hypothetically, if there were to exist a mockumentary on rom-coms and love, would you watch it?”
Ruby pauses for a second as she furrows her brows. Then she shrugs and says, “Only if the two leads fell in love at the end. Why?”
“No reason,” you say, looking away. 
There’s no fooling Ruby and her eagle eyes. 
“What is it?” She asks, a grin playing at her lips as she looks at you. “Come on, you don’t just ask me shit like that without a reason.”
“It’s for a final project,” you explain succinctly. No need to go into details. 
“You’re making a rom-com for a final project?” Ruby sounds about as skeptical as you did when you spoke to Jungkook. 
“It’s a mockumentary about rom-coms.”
“But… it’s a rom-com, right? Like, you’re going to be making a rom-com? Where people fall in love?”
Hopefully not. 
“Sort of?”
Ruby squints her eyes, trying to process all the information. You’re not surprised that she has to take a moment to think—you are certainly the last person on earth to ever admit to filming a rom-com. But, as you’ve stated, it’s not a rom-com. It’s a mockumentary about them. That distinction is vital.
“Wait, is this for that class with Pollack?” Ruby asks. “I remember you telling me you were taking it. You said this was a partner project, though, right? So who are you working with?”
Curse Ruby and her knack for remembering things. She’ll make a great doctor, that’s for sure, but right now you wish she would just forget things like everybody else. 
You sigh. “Jungkook.”
Ruby doesn’t need to think twice about who that is. “Wait, seriously? You’re working with him? Isn’t he the guy that responds to all your discussion posts?”
“Yes,” you say, rubbing your temples with your fingertips. You don’t even like thinking about him, let alone saying his name. The fact that he has to occupy any part of your brain at all gives you a headache.
“Damn, that sucks,” Ruby says, not feeling very sorry for you at all. “So you’re filming a rom-com with him?”
“It’s a mockumentary,” you specify, feeling yourself getting irritated. “It is fake.”
“Just like my shows, huh?” Ruby muses to herself, too analytical for her own good. 
“Listen, you don’t need to fall in love to make a mockumentary about it,” you say, refusing to consider any sort of alternative. 
“Don’t you?”
You sneer. “Just shut up and eat your tiramisu.”
Ruby lets out a laugh at that, this wonderful mix between a wheeze and a honk that makes you smile every time you hear it, even if it’s at your own expense. Ruby decides she’s had enough of mentally torturing you with the thought of feeling anything but extreme distaste towards Jungkook and goes back to her show, letting you brood in peace. 
You don’t need to fall in love to make a film about it. Just like you don’t need to be a masterchef to film Gordon Ramsey screaming at someone who undercooked chicken. You’re a filmmaker. You can make a film out of anything. Including love. Even if it is with someone like Jungkook. 
Can’t you?
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Jeon Jungkook may be a disillusioned college student in love with the idea of love itself, but at least he’s not too shabby of a filmmaker. 
Funnily enough, it actually sort of surprises you that you’ve never encountered each other before. Especially considering you’re in the same major program at your school, a program that only accepts about fifty students per year at most. You suppose that in whatever general program classes you had to take in freshman and sophomore year you just never crossed paths. Plus, he’s a filmmaking concentration and you’re doing screenwriting, so it’s very possible that you would have just never spoken had the two of you not registered for the same semester of FILM395.
Huh. Imagine that. A life without him. 
Sort of makes you wish you had put this class off for one more semester. 
As the two of you kickstart your project, you both immediately agree that you need a third person’s help. You and Jungkook can do plenty, but you are only two people. And there’s nothing in the final project guidelines that says you can’t enlist other people to partake in the production. But you don’t need help with the filming and editing. You need help with the interviews. 
“Is this bedsheet good enough?” Kim Taehyung, a senior in the film program, asks as he’s Command-stripping a queen-sized black bedsheet to an empty wall in the living room of his tiny one-bedroom apartment. 
“As long as it fits into the frame,” Jungkook responds from where he’s standing behind the camera, set up on a tripod to capture a specific angle. “You’re not going to be in the shot anyway. You’ll just be asking the questions.”
“Good, because I look really ugly right now,” Taehyung says with a grin. You roll your eyes. Taehyung must know he always looks good. Even you can’t deny him of that. 
“This is ridiculous,” you say, seated on the singular couch in his apartment. You’re leaning on your elbow as you watch Taehyung fiddle with the bedsheet and Jungkook futz with the camera, the two of them repositioning themselves over and over again until everything’s perfect. “What are you even gonna ask us?”
“I came up with some… preliminary questions,” Taehyung says suggestively. “But I haven’t told either of you what they are so that your reactions can be more genuine.”
“Great,” you deadpan. 
“Wow, someone’s excited,” Jungkook comments snidely. 
“I know we agreed on periodic interviews for the sake of the mockumentary but I don’t know why we have to be so… so serious about them,” you say with a frown. 
“We have to promise to be honest with what we say, alright? Like, actually honest. This sets a guideline for the rest of our relationship,” Jungkook says like it’s no big deal. Like the foundation of your relationship isn’t the fact that the two of you have been engaged in discussion-board war ever since the semester began. 
“Our ‘relationship’?” You say with a scoff. 
“Do you promise?” Jungkook says. 
You roll your eyes. “Yes, I promise.” Whatever. “What do you even think is going to happen between us in the next few weeks?”
Jungkook smirks. “Guess we’ll just have to wait and see, won’t we?”
You don’t like the sound of that. 
Over the next ten minutes, Taehyung gets the sheet attached to his wall and pulls over two stools from his kitchen counters, old-timey wooden ones he got from a thrift store for five dollars a pop, one for him and one for the poor soul who has to be interviewed. You’ve agreed to do them separately but Taehyung’s apartment is only so big and you are only three people, which means that whoever isn’t being interviewed still has to be behind the camera, listening to the other person. 
Makes you sort of nervous about whatever’s stewing up inside Jungkook’s mind. Wonder what the hell it is he’s plotting up there. 
Once everything is settled, Taehyung looks at the two of you as he asks who’s going first. 
You turn to Jungkook, who’s already grinning. “Ladies first.”
For someone who has spent their whole life watching and making movies, being in front of the camera feels weirdly uncomfortable to you. You’re so used to being behind it instead, directing others as they move around the frame, telling them how to feel and how to act and what to say, that having the spotlight shone on you is like picking through your thoughts with a fine-toothed comb. 
You adjust awkwardly in the bar stool seat as Jungkook stands behind the camera, twisting the lens until he gives you the thumbs-up. Quite frankly, it doesn’t make you feel any better. 
“You ready?” Taehyung asks as he takes a seat opposite you, just out of frame. 
“Well, we’ve gotta start somewhere, right?”
“That’s the spirit. Alright, Jungkook, start whenever you’re good.”
“Okay,” Jungkook chirps up. “Three, two, one—” He points to the both of you. 
“So, Y/N,” Taehyung begins, his voice suddenly much clearer. He sounds sort of like a news anchor. It’s oddly fitting. “Are you excited to begin the filming for this?”
“I don’t really have a choice, do I?” You muse. 
“That didn’t answer my question,” Taehyung points out. Good thing the camera can’t see the way his eyebrows raise. 
“I suppose that there are worse things I could be doing,” you reason, which is about as good of an answer as Taehyung’s going to get. What was he expecting you to say? That you were thrilled to be filming this not-a-rom-com with your class nemesis? That you couldn’t wait to see what would happen?
“Loving the enthusiasm,” Taehyung jokes. You wonder what your classmates will think when they watch this back, hearing this unidentified deep male voice ask you and Jungkook questions about your relationship. “Let me ask you this: what’s your current relationship with Jungkook?”
“Uh…” you begin, nervous. Behind the camera, Jungkook has that same stupid, shit-eating grin plastered all over his face. You sneer. “It’s… it’s professional.”
“Can you explain what you mean by that?” 
“I mean we’re classmates. That’s the relationship.”
“That’s it?” You can hear the skepticism in Taehyung’s voice, almost like he’s egging you on to say something more. 
“We’ve had some personal disagreements on topics discussed in class. But yes, we’re just classmates,” you elaborate slightly. It’s not as if anyone needs reminding of that, anyway. They all see your discussion board posts. 
“And how do you expect that relationship to change over the course of this project?”
“I don’t think it’ll change at all.” It’s the easiest answer so far. Requires no energy nor brain power for you to think about it. 
Taehyung nods his head in intrigue. “And why’s that?”
“Because this is a project for a class, not a life lesson.”
“Who says it can’t be both?”
You frown. “Whose side are you on?”
Five feet away, Jungkook laughs. 
Taehyung chuckles. “Alright, moving on. What do you expect from Jungkook over the next few weeks as you start working on building your relationship?”
“I hope he becomes less unbearable,” you say, though you suppose that’s more of a general life goal than one that’s project-specific. But it would be nice if he became a little more… palatable. Just so you don’t have to feel the urge to sock him in the face every time you speak to each other. 
“‘Less unbearable’, excellent,” Taehyung repeats. “Anything else?”
“Well,” you say with a shrug, not sure what else to say. What do you want from Jungkook? Obviously the two of you are about to embark on your own rom-com adventure, no doubt most of it his doing, but it’s hard to imagine that he himself (or you, for that matter) will change. If anything, the rom-com setting will just exacerbate the worst parts of both your personalities. Like some sort of curse. “I guess I just hope that the project goes smoothly.”
“I hope that it does, too,” Taehyung says with a smile. “Okay, last question.” Thank God. This interview couldn’t have been more than five minutes, but it feels like an eternity to you. “Do you think you and Jungkook will fall in love at the end of this?”
“No.” You don’t leave any room for hesitation. “I don’t.”
“Why not?”
“We’re very different people with very different interests,” you explain succinctly. You’re sure Taehyung will grasp that once Jungkook has his turn and answers all the same questions. “He can try his hardest, but some things are just meant to stay the way they are.”
“Okay, thank you, Y/N, that’s all. I hope you found our conversation illuminating,” Taehyung says, his cue for the camera to stop rolling. You and Taehyung both turn to Jungkook, waiting for his signal, letting out a sigh when Jungkook gives you a thumbs-up. 
“Thank fuck,” you say, hopping off of the barstool happily. You head towards the camera, ready to kick Jungkook off of it, because it’s your turn to stand behind it with an annoying look on your face as you react to every stupid thing Jungkook says. You find that you’re actually sort of looking forward to it. Being behind the camera is where you feel most at home. Making faces at Jungkook is just a bonus. 
Jungkook’s still grinning that same goddamn grin when you approach him, making you narrow your eyes. 
“‘He can try his hardest’?” Jungkook teases, voice all high-pitched to mimic yours. “Sounds like a challenge.”
“Ah yes, my mission in life,” you retort easily. Maybe goading him on isn’t the best course of action, but you’re so confident that you won’t change your mind you find yourself actually anticipating his efforts. “Think you have what it takes?”
“Believe me, I do,” Jungkook says with a devilish glint in his eyes. 
You roll your eyes and kick him off the camera with a shove, pushing him towards Taehyung as he waits diligently on that chair of his. 
“So, Jungkook, same questions,” Taehyung says as Jungkook gets ready in his seat, fixing the blonde strands of hair that curl around the side of his face, framing his cheeks. 
“What? That’s no fair, he got to think about all his answers,” you exclaim, positively indignant. 
“Don’t worry, Y/N,” Jungkook says, voice sickly smooth, honey falling off his lips. “I’ve actually been thinking about the two of us for a long time.”
You pretend to throw up on Taehyung’s hardwood floor. 
As Taehyung promised, he asks Jungkook the same questions. And, as predicted, his answers about as far away from yours as the sun is from Pluto:
“Are you excited to begin the filming for this?”
Jungkook grins. “Yes, definitely. I actually took this class after hearing from a friend that the final project was a lot of fun.”
Taehyung beams. That friend was him. No wonder he was so happy to sign onto helping the two of you. 
“And how would you describe your current relationship with Y/N?”
“We’re soon-to-be-lovers.” 
“How forward of you.”
“Isn’t that my job?”
You have to stop yourself from bursting out into laughter behind the camera and ruining the interview. At least he’s not hiding anything. You’ll give him that. 
“So I suppose you expect the two of you to fall in love over the course of the project?”
“Yes, that’s going to happen.”
“And you seem pretty confident when you say that.”
Jungkook smirks as he turns to the camera. Or, more accurately, you. “Confidence is attractive.” 
You shake your head back at him. 
The rest of the interview falls pretty much into the same vein as the first few questions. Jungkook is so brazenly determined and hopeful and optimistic it actually pains you in a way, watching him make all of these promises both to you and himself that this project is going to turn out the way he hopes it does. His answers remind you of his discussion board posts, always looking on the bright side of every movie you watch, always finding the silver lining, the light at the end of the tunnel. A movie could be total Hollywood crap, filled with cheating scandals and misunderstandings and betrayals, and Jungkook could still find beauty in it. 
It’s strange. 
For the sake of you not actually throwing up in Taehyung’s lovely apartment, you tune out the majority of the middle of the conversation, having zero desire to listen to Jungkook wax poetic about your non-existent relationship like he’s saying his wedding vows. Only when Taehyung finally remarks that they’re on the last question do you finally come to again, ready to turn the camera off as soon as Jungkook finishes his answer. 
“Jungkook, do you think you and Y/N will fall in love at the end of this?”
“I do.” Wow, what a shocker. “I do, because I hope that by the end of this Y/N will have opened her eyes to the beauty of love, and will find joy in the feeling as something that makes her feel happy and warm. I’m going to do everything I can to make sure the things we do together are meaningful. And even if we don’t last, I hope that her memories of us together will be ones she can look back upon fondly and be grateful for.”
You purse your lips together. If only it were that easy. 
“Alright, cut,” you say, voice distant as Jungkook thanks Taehyung for his time and hops off the bar stool. “Thanks, Tae.”
“Anytime, you guys,” Taehyung says with a grin. 
Jungkook comes over to where you’re standing, possibly to grab his camera and tripod but most definitely to rub his obnoxious personality all up in your face. 
“You really think you’re gonna get me to fall in love with you, huh?” You muse, an eyebrow raised as you look up at him. “Just so you can prove a point?”
“Believe it or not, Y/N, but I actually think that all people deserve the chance to experience love and that happens to include you, as well,” Jungkook responds easily. 
The words put a sour taste in your mouth. “You think I deserve it, huh?”
Jungkook nods, face solemn as he looks at you, gazing into your eyes with those big brown ones of his own. It makes you feel something unfamiliar. Like he’s reading right through your chest, into your heart. You don’t like it. “Everyone deserves love.”
“You guys are coming back, right? So I can leave the sheet up?” Taehyung interrupts after he’s moved both of his bar stools back to his kitchen counter. 
“Yeah, we’ll be back,” Jungkook answers quickly. “Thanks for setting everything up, by the way.”
“Of course. Plus, this is a good background for my nudes,” Taehyung says casually, like he’s mentioning what he’s having for dinner. “Looking forward to seeing you guys again.”
“Us, too,” Jungkook says. “Ready to go?”
“Only because it means I don’t have to see you anymore,” you retort pointedly, grabbing your backpack from where it sits on his couch as you head towards the door. 
“Just you wait, Y/N,” Jungkook says as you leave Taehyung’s building, one of those old-timey Victorian houses that was converted into a whole bunch of apartments. “You’re gonna see that I’m right.”
“Really? About what?”
“About us,” Jungkook says. You come to the stoplight, where Jungkook keeps going straight and you turn right. 
“Us?”
Jungkook grins as you turn in the direction of your own apartment. And, just as the light turns green, he says, “Just you wait. We’re gonna fall in love, you and me.”
If he says so. 
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“Hey! Y/N!”
You whip your head around at the sound of your name just as you’re opening the door to your local Starbucks, wondering who the hell is calling out to you at nine-thirty in the morning on a Wednesday. 
As it turns out, you don’t have to wonder too much, because the moment your eyes adjust to the blinding sunlight coming from the east side of campus you see Jungkook hurtling towards you, heavy black boots stomping down on the pavement as he rushes to catch up with you. 
“Can I help you?” You ask, thoroughly unimpressed, as you pull open the door, looking at Jungkook heaving beside you as he holds the door open for himself. 
“Just glad I caught you,” Jungkook gasps out between breaths. “Figured this might make a good scene for the movie.”
“It’s a mockumentary,” you remind him easily, getting in the line. 
“Whatever,” Jungkook says. “What do you normally get here? I don’t really go to Starbucks often.”
“Whatever will give me the most caffeine for the least amount of money,” you retort. 
“How efficient,” Jungkook comments. 
“You know that’s how I like to be,” you tell him with a pointed look. 
Jungkook mumbles his acknowledgement as he fumbles around in his backpack, fishing through the large pocket until he whips out his Canon, holding it out in front of him like he’s a dad about to film an embarrassing shot of his child. You look down at the camera just as he pans up to you, a confused frown written across your features. Jungkook laughs. 
“Do you really need to do that here?”
“I’m not even filming,” Jungkook says with a smile, like he just pulled his camera out so he could look at your unimpressed face through a different lens. “Look, you’re up.”
You turn around to find that the woman ahead of you in line has just moved towards the pick-up side of the counter, so you shimmy over towards the barista, ready to get this over with so you can dart out of the Starbucks as soon as possible. 
“Just a grande Americano, please,” you request simply, fingers grasping for the wallet inside your coat pocket. 
“Me too,” Jungkook chirps up from behind you. The closeness of his voice makes you jump, and suddenly you become keenly cognizant of how he’s practically pressed up next to you as he leans over towards the counter. You catch a glimpse of the debit card in his hand. “Here.”
“You don’t have to pay for me, it’s fine,” you quickly say, holding out your own card to the barista. 
“No, it’s okay, I want to. Here.” Jungkook pushes your hand away as he tries to stuff his card into the reader. 
“No, I won’t let you. I’m a big girl, I can pay for my own coffee,” you rebuke, feeling yourself growing oddly defensive. 
Jungkook sighs from behind you. “Oh, come on, you can’t let me do one nice thing for you?”
“Will one of you please pay, you’re holding up the line,” the barista asks in a desperate tone, clearly too overworked and too underpaid to be dealing with two bratty college students like yourselves. 
Jungkook manages to shove his card into the reader before you get the chance to do it yourself, pushing you to the side as he verifies all of his information and takes his receipt. Next to him, you seethe to yourself, feeling a personal loss even though you just got your coffee paid for. It’s not about the money. It’s about your pride. Never in your life have you wanted to so badly pay for an overpriced Starbucks coffee. 
You and Jungkook mosey over to the other side of the counter, waiting for your identical drinks to be made as you try and calculate how much longer you have to stand in the same room and breathe the same air as Jungkook. Seeing him in class, on your discussion board posts, and for your arranged final project meetings apparently isn’t enough, so now he has to invade your personal life, too. 
“What are you doing?” You huff out angrily, turning to Jungkook even as he holds his camera out in front of him, filming the Starbucks. 
“Recording our first meeting, obviously,” Jungkook says like it’s some kind of no-brainer. Like you were in on that from the moment he called your name out on the street. 
“What do you mean, ‘our first meeting’?” You scrunch up your nose in confusion. “We’ve known each other since the semester started.”
“I know, but…” Jungkook trails off unhelpfully, but you pick up what he’s putting down regardless. Right. This is supposed to be a mockumentary rom-com. And rom-coms always start with an introduction. 
The barista behind the counter calls out Jungkook’s name as he places two same-sized cups down at the pick-up station. The cup is burning hot, even with the little cardboard holder wrapped around it like a leg warmer, so you immediately move over to the station up against the wall with all of the sugar packets and napkins and little green splash sticks. Jungkook joins you without question, whether it be due to the fact that he doesn’t come here very often or because he just wants to keep invading your space, you couldn’t say. Grabbing one of the wooden sticks, you tug the plastic lid off of the cup and give the coffee a swirl. Watching you, Jungkook takes the lid off of his as well. 
“Are you just going to copy everything I do?” You deadpan. 
“Not everything…” Jungkook trails off suspiciously, looking down into his coffee like the two of them are conspiring something. 
“What are you talki—”
Without warning, Jungkook slams half of his body into you, and without a lid or one of those little green sticks, the coffee sploshes over the side of his cup and drenches the front of your exposed hoodie, hot liquid burning through the fabric of the hoodie and the t-shirt you have on underneath. You watch in horror as Jungkook plays it off like an accident, feet fumbling around on the hardwood floor like he had just tripped. But he didn’t just trip. He dumped half of his Americano onto the both of your fronts. 
“Jungkook!” You say instantly, resisting the urge to scream because you’re in a public place but feeling your skin go as hot as the coffee against your torso as you look up at him, fuming. 
“Oh my God, I’m so sorry, I’m such a klutz,” Jungkook says, somehow able to regain his balance, hold his coffee cup, and film the whole adventure all at the same time. “That was totally my fault, let me help you with that.” 
The camera is from his perspective, which you suppose is about as real as it gets for something grounded in reality like a mockumentary, but in this position he’s able to make conversation with his eyes, big brown ones wide as he tries to signify what exactly he means when he purposely spills coffee all over the two of you. 
You get it. You’ve seen enough rom-coms to know why he just did what he did, but you still find your mouth agape as you stare up at him, smoldering and angry and a little shocked he would dare be so bold, especially in the middle of a Starbucks coffee shop. 
“For God’s sake,” you say with an exhausted sigh despite it not even being ten in the morning yet. Unable to form any other comprehensible words, you settle for just pulling out napkins from the dispenser and dabbing the front of your hoodie as Jungkook looks at you apologetically. You can’t even tell if he’s truly sorry or just putting on another one of his shows. 
“I feel so bad,” Jungkook says, and you calm yourself down enough to nod. At least he isn’t blatantly laughing. “Can I pay for dry cleaning?”
“You’re really gonna offer to pay for my dry cleaning?” You ask, an eyebrow raised. 
“It was my fault,” Jungkook admits. Now that you can agree on. 
You shake your head. “It’s okay. It’s just an old hoodie, it’s no big deal.”
“I’m still sorry,” Jungkook insists, and the more he says it the more you actually find yourself starting to believe him. Even if he did just spill coffee all over you. “Here, let me give you my jacket—”
“That’s not necessary,” you say as he shrugs off his backpack and begins to remove the bulky denim jacket he’s wearing, fabric worn and soft from years of use. “Seriously, it’s okay, it’s just a hoodie.”
“Yeah, but now you have coffee all over your clothes and you probably have class soon, right?” He says, an apologetic smile lacing his lips. He tugs off his jacket and holds it out towards you. 
“Jungkook, I’m fine, alright? I appreciate your concern, though,” you assure him. You throw away the last of the coffee-stained napkins in your hands and reach down for your backpack, which you had taken off your shoulders somewhere in the chaos. 
Jungkook rolls his eyes, almost as if he was expecting resistance, and leans over you anyway. His arms extend outwards as he wraps his enormous denim jacket over your shoulders, the fabric draping loosely over your body. The damn thing was big on him, so on you it practically eats you up. You stand there, silent, as Jungkook adjusts the jacket on your torso, pulling underneath the hood of your sweatshirt as he makes sure it’s snug across your figure. 
“There,” Jungkook says. 
“Thanks,” you say, a half grin playing on your lips. The gesture makes you wonder if Jungkook really was planning on giving up his jacket this early in the morning for the sake of your movie. “That’s nice of you.”
“I hope it makes up for the fact that you smell like coffee now,” Jungkook says, a hand coming up to rub at the nape of his neck. 
“I appreciate it,” you say. 
“I have class, too, so I have to go,” Jungkook says, hoisting his backpack on his shoulders as he tucks his camera away. “I’m sorry again! See you around?”
Like you even have a choice. 
“Yeah, see you around,” you say as Jungkook darts off just as quickly as he arrived, rushing out the door before you have the chance to change your mind and give him his jacket back. 
When he leaves you, you find yourself at a loss for words. You stand there, lips pursed, coffee cold, as the weight of his jacket rests heavy on your shoulders. 
It smells like him. 
You should have known he would do something like this. Spill coffee all over the two of you, offer you his jacket, dash off like Cinderella at midnight. Like the opening of the world’s worst rom-com. The start of what is no doubt going to be the most unbearable final project you have ever done.
Plus, the other thing it’s ensured is a second meeting. How else is he going to get his jacket back?
And you know what the worst part is?
This is only the beginning.
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This time after FILM395 ends lecture for the day, it’s your turn to catch Jungkook lounging around after class. 
He’s lingering around the outside of the building, scrolling through his phone, a heavy leather jacket resting over a flannel that goes down to his knees and a baseball cap sitting firmly on his tuft of blonde hair. He’s obviously not paying attention to any of his surroundings whatsoever, because he doesn’t even notice you exiting out of the door he’s standing by until you say his name. 
“Jungkook,” you say, arriving in front of him. 
“Wha—oh, hi,” Jungkook says, jumping at the suddenness of it all. 
“Here,” you say, holding out his oversized denim jacket in between the two of you. “Thanks for letting me borrow it.”
“Oh, I didn’t know you were going to give it back so soon,” Jungkook says, looking a little surprised and… is he touched? 
“I was going to give it to you a couple days ago but I thought I should give it a wash first,” you admit to him. 
Instinctively, Jungkook brings the jacket up to his nose to sniff it. “Smells like lavender.”
“Yeah, it’s my detergent. Hope you don’t mind. It’s a little wrinkled—I let it air dry since I was worried it might shrink in the dryer.”
“Thanks,” Jungkook says, a genuine smile lacing itself across his features. It’s not one you see too often, and definitely not the kind of smile he usually flashes in your direction. Those are all so obnoxious, so full of himself. This one’s different. It’s appreciative. Kinder. Softer. In a lot of ways. “I was thinking, if you don’t have class now, do you wanna grab some coffee?”
You narrow your eyes. “Only if you promise not to spill it on me this time.”
Jungkook laughs, throwing his head back. “Okay, I got it. I won’t spill it on you.”
“Promise?” You prompt. 
“Promise.”
The walk to Starbucks this time is in relative silence, but neither of you seems to mind it very much. You aren’t dashing to catch up with each other and heaving snarky comments as you catch your breath. Jungkook even notices you shiver in the cool March breeze and wraps his jacket around you again anyway, although this time you make a mental note to make sure he doesn’t leave without it. Even though a lavender scent wafts off of the denim, it still smells a little bit like him. That boyish sort of aroma. You don’t think any detergent would ever be able to get rid of that. 
You and Jungkook both get americanos again because you’re predictable and creatures of habit, and Jungkook actually seems to quite like them. He pays and you don’t spend two minutes standing in front of the barista fighting over it. Jungkook seems so determined to pay the extra four dollars for your drink that you aren’t sure if it’s really worth arguing over it for the sake of pride anymore. What you and Jungkook put into making this project a success is what you’re going to get out of it. 
He picks one of the longer tables in the back of the study space, empty because it’s just after the lunchtime rush and most people have classes now, sets up the camera at one end, and you sit down at the other. 
“So,” you begin, not sure where to start because your coffee is too hot to take a sip from it. 
“So,” Jungkook echoes. 
Silence. 
You purse your lips in that awkward, I-don’t-know-what-to-say kind of way. “What do you want to do?”
Jungkook grins. “This is the part where we get to know each other.” 
“We already know each other.” You frown.
“Do we?” Jungkook poses, an eyebrow raised. “I mean, yeah, I guess we aren’t strangers, but I don’t know anything about you. Other than you’re a film major in a rom-com class who hates rom-coms.”
“I don’t hate rom-coms,” you object. “I just think it’s important to look at them from a critical lens.”
“Okay, whatever,” Jungkook says, shrugging you off. “The point is that we don’t know anything else about each other. Like, what’s your favorite color, for example?”
“Purple.” It’s an easy answer. You wore purple princess dresses when you were five, painted your bedroom lilac when you were ten, and still make sure to keep a purple highlighter in your pencil case now. “What’s yours?”
“Red,” Jungkook responds. 
“Cool,” you say, effectively ending the rest of the conversation.
Jungkook, sensing that same awkward silence, suggests something. “How about you ask me something now? We can go back and forth.”
You shrug. It’s not like you have anything better to do. “Alright.” You think for a moment, but then you have the perfect question. “Why film?”
Jungkook was clearly not expecting something so loaded, because his brows furrow, knitting themselves together as he begins to figure out a good enough answer. “Hmm,” he says, lost deep in thought. “I suppose the standard answer would be that I’ve always been interested in it, but I think I chose film because I want to be able to have the gift to tell other people’s stories. Being a filmmaker doesn’t just mean you stand behind a camera. It means you immerse yourself in the lives of other people to create something new. And… I don’t know. I guess I really like doing that.” 
You nod. 
For once, you understand him. Understand why he chose to major in film, why he chose to be in this tiny little program. Because there is so much out there, so much that you will never know, people you will never meet and things you will never see. And it’s a filmmaker’s job to make them turn into things you will see, people you will meet. Who knows the world better than the people who study it? The people who have devoted their lives to learning all its secrets?
“What about you?”
“Same as you,” you tell him. “Film is an art but it’s more than that to me. It’s a new way to look at the world. It’s several new ways to look at the world, depending on what kind of film you want to create and what kind of story you want to tell. I think it’s important to show people that all of the things they see in the media every day are not always reality. And that real people deserve to have their stories told, too. I don’t know. That’s what I think.”
Jungkook grins, a twinkle in his eyes. “Real people like us?”
“This project is different,” you insist. 
“I don’t think it is,” Jungkook says. “You said it yourself, we’re making this because it’s important to show people that the Hollywood entertainment they consume is not reality. This is. This is reality.”
You frown, kicking yourself in the shin because what was supposed to be a harmless conversation has now turned into an opportunity for Jungkook to try and convince you that you will, in fact, fall in love with him. You’ve dug your own grave and Jungkook was the one who handed you the shovel. 
“You’re not giving up, are you?” You say, shaking your head, flabbergasted. “Reality is the fact that this project is not going to make me fall in love with you. Nothing is.”
“Don’t be so sure about that,” Jungkook warns. “I’ve got a few tricks up my sleeve.”
“You mean like spilling burning hot coffee all over me?” You ask, an eyebrow raised, a grudge still held. 
“We had to start somewhere,” Jungkook defends. “And you seemed to understand what I was doing pretty quickly.”
“It’s not the worst thing someone’s done to me,” you concede, only slightly. “Besides, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but throwing hot coffee all over me is not really a good way to start off your plan to get me to fall in love with you.”
Jungkook smiles. “All in due time, Y/N. All in due time.”
“I can’t believe Pollack actually paired us up together,” you say with a sigh. “You know she did it on purpose.”
“Of course she did.” It’s not really a surprise to either of you. 
“I met with her right after she announced our partners,” you tell him, “she said it was because she wanted to see what kind of project we would come up with. How we would address our… differing views on love.” That’s one way of putting it. A rather nice way, if you do say so yourself.
“Speaking of which,” Jungkook says, something suddenly flashing through his mind, “what do you really think about love? You know, other than it’s unrealistic and ruins people’s lives.”
“You make me sound like Ebeneezer Scrooge.” You frown at him. 
“I’m serious,” insists Jungkook. “Why are you so pessimistic about it? Have you ever been in love? Have you had bad experiences? You couldn’t have just developed this worldview over time.”
You scowl, feeling yourself getting defensive. “Well, maybe I did. Maybe that’s just what I think. Why do you care?”
“Because people don’t just hate love for no reason,” Jungkook exclaims. “Come on, there must be something.”
Your body stiffens. Who is he to be asking you this sort of shit? Why does he care so much? It’s not like it will have any effect on the outcome of your project. Not like you explaining yourself will change the way either of you look at the world. 
“What’s it to you?” You challenge. “Why do you love love so much? Have you ever fallen in love? Do you think it’s suddenly going to solve all of your problems?”
“I love it because I think it brings people real joy,” Jungkook answers simply. “It makes people happy and it’s beautiful. I love love and I’m not ashamed to say that out loud. I believe in it. I believe in love, and in destiny, and in soulmates. I want that. I think everyone deserves it.”
 You scoff to yourself. “You believe in soulmates?”
“I think we all have our people out there.” Jungkook nods. “Don’t you?”
You roll your eyes, arms crossed over your chest. This conversation has gone nowhere, and Jungkook looks as equally dissatisfied as you do. 
“I think love can make us do stupid things,” you tell him succinctly, if a little jaded. No need to say anything else. Your explanation is right there. “We’re just different, I guess. You and I.”
Jungkook blinks at you, eyes wide and a little desperate. Your conversation has remained stagnant and there’s almost nothing left to say. 
Almost. 
“Don’t you ever want to fall in love?” He asks, like it’s a last-ditch effort to get you to believe. 
You freeze. Let the words sink in for a moment. Before you push them out the door and toss them into the garbage. Just thinking about it gives you a headache. Puts a sour taste in your mouth. 
Quickly, you push yourself out of your chair and stand up, grabbing your coffee with one hand and your backpack with the other. “I have to go, sorry. I just remembered I’m meeting up with a friend to help her with a photography shoot,” you fumble out quickly, the legs of the chair screeching as you scoot them across the hardwood floor. “Oh, here’s your jacket, too. Thanks for giving it to me again. I’ll see you in class.”
You whip around and head towards the exit, and only when you’re outside of the Starbucks and passing by the window do you dare look back. Do you dare let your gaze drift back to Jungkook, who is sitting there like he still doesn’t understand you. Still can’t. 
You and Jungkook are final project partners and maybe, if you’re pushing it, acquaintances-slash-friends. But there are just some things better kept to yourself. 
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We’re reaching the halfway point in this semester and, as you all know, I don’t do midterms. That said, I still want you to reflect on what you’ve learned, discovered, and thought about thus far in this class. What portrayal of love did you find the most realistic? The least? How have they changed the way you think about love, both from a personal and a film perspective?
Y/N Y/N on March 3rd at 6:08PM
Purely from a film perspective, I really did enjoy watching Juno. It was funny and raunchy and just the right amount of vulnerable. It certainly felt the most real. So far, no film in this class has topped it for me. 500 Days of Summer, on the other hand, was in my opinion extremely unsatisfying and left no positive impression. The ending was a bore and Tom had absolutely no spine. It was a shame, because the direction and production was actually quite good. 
I guess I’m starting to realize how real love is not pretty. It can make people just as sad as it can make them happy. Why don’t we show the sad sides of love, too? The sides where your room is covered with a pile of clothes because you can’t bring yourself to do the laundry? Where you cannot cook a meal because it reminds you of a breakup? Rom-coms are, obviously, not the most realistic. But why are there not more films that do cover what’s real? How can we love love if all we know is a lie?
Jeon Jungkook on March 3rd at 11:13PM
Of course, I thought The Big Sick did an excellent job of their portrayal of love, adult life, and the problems that plague us all in the twenty-first century. It was also just as emotional and touched on concepts of race, illness, and being in your twenties and having no idea what direction your life is going in. The Princess Bride, on the other hand, as much as I love it, I do think created a more circumstantial kind of love. Westley and Buttercup mostly fall in love because of their situations. But it remains a classic nonetheless. 
I’m satisfied with the way the film industry has produced rom-coms and handles love. The beauty of it is that love is different for every person who goes through it. It can bring the greatest joy and the most painful sorrow. We do not just figure out what love is by what we see on film. We see it in our real lives, in our parents, in our friends, in couples in coffee shops and cars and on sidewalks. We can love love because we want that joy for ourselves. Because we know that true love will be worth any heartbreak we endure. Is it not impossible for the portrayals of love in these rom-coms to not be real? The way everyone experiences it is different. The only way you can know what real love is, and what it is not, is if you fall in love yourself. 
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Early on in your project development, you and Jungkook exchanged class schedules to optimize your productivity and skip over that stupid, terrible part of partner projects where you’re just going back and forth trying to pick a time that works for the both of you until you eventually settle on something ridiculous like eleven o’clock at night outside of the McDonald’s two blocks off of campus. 
It’s been working very well. Neither of you have adventurous-enough friends to invite you out on spontaneous picnics and restaurant dates that fuck with your pre-scheduled meeting times, and Jungkook already seems to have mastered the art of screaming your name when he catches you on the sidewalk so that you can film something. 
In fact, you’re actually beginning to wonder why you haven’t done this with all of your long-term partner projects. Send each other your schedules so that you can settle on a time in advance. No muss, no fuss. 
You and Jungkook are supposed to meet up again tonight, after the two of you are finished with all of your classes, to discuss what scenes you should be filming next. Edited down, you’ve already got about ten minutes worth of footage, but it’s mid-March and the project is due at the end of April. So you need to get this show on the road. 
The door slams shut behind you as you exit the business building, your film industry class having just ended a minute ago. You’ve got an hour to kill before your next class, just enough time to dash to the food court in the center of campus and grab something from the Japanese place in the back corner. You might even have time to browse the shelves in the bookstore if you’re fast enough. 
You round the corner to the main pathway through campus when a voice stops you in your tracks. 
“You’re just too good to be true…”
“Can’t take my eyes off of you…”
It’s not Jungkook. Instead, in the middle of the walkway are the Eighth Notes, one of the fifteen-thousand (you don’t know for sure, but if you had to estimate) acapella groups on campus. They’ve got mic stands and a table set up and everything. Maybe they’re promoting an upcoming show…? 
You almost breeze right by when one of them, the one in the middle of the group, points right at you, a lopsided grin lacing his features. You aren’t one to normally stop in the middle of a crowded footpath, but when, one after another, all six of the boys start pointing at you, you have no choice. 
“You’d be like Heaven to touch…”
“I wanna hold you so much…” 
“At long last, love has arrived…”
“And I thank God I’m alive…”
“You’re just too good to be true…”
“Can’t take my eyes off of you…”
Their voices are smooth like honey, warm and deep, romancing you through their mics as each one of them suddenly manifests a rose from behind them. Around you, people are starting to stare, gawking at you as they walk by. There’s even a small crowd starting to gather, and you swear you can see some people filming on their phones. The fact that this is happening in the busiest ten minutes of the day, as half the student body is walking from one class to another, isn’t helping. At all. 
The rest of them singing in the background, each one steps out from behind the set of microphones to hand you the rose, smiling their classic, old-timey smiles like those old jazz singers from the 1960s, until you’ve got half a dozen in your hands as they continue to sing. 
“But if you feel like I feel…”
“Please let me know that it’s real…”
“You’re just too good to be true…”
“Can’t take my eyes off of you…”
And then, suddenly, all of them are shutting their traps and turning to the left, looking down the pathway as the song begins again, but from one-hundred feet away. 
“I love you, baby, and if it’s quite alright, I need you, baby, to warm the lonely night…”
Your mouth drops. At the other end of the walkway is Jungkook, one of those wireless microphones in his hand, grinning as he saunters down the path like a prince at a ball, voice sweet and thick as the words dance off of his lips. 
“I love you, baby, trust in me when I say…”
Your eyes lock from opposite ends of the path, Jungkook stepping closer with every beat the Eighth Notes gives him. It sort of feels like your impending doom and a wedding proposal, all at once. By now a rather substantial audience has gathered, lining the walkway with their phones out, filming Jungkook as he waltzes past them, occasionally turning to capture your gobsmacked expression. 
Every step that Jungkook takes makes your heart race something fierce, cheeks warming in embarrassment, trapped in your least favorite thing in the entire world: a public serenade. You can’t really do anything except look at him in shock, feeling his steady gaze resting firmly on your figure, looking right at you. Into you. 
“Oh, pretty baby, don’t bring me down, I pray…”
Oh, pretty baby, now that I’ve found you, stay…”
Jungkook, on the other hand, is clearly relishing in this. In the spotlight. In the music. Or maybe just in the fact that you’re on the receiving end of his over-the-top advances. His grin is wide as he takes those last few steps, microphone gripped neatly in his hand, the lyrics warm and weighty as they tumble from his lips. 
“And let me love you, baby…”
One final step and he’s right in front of you, staring into your eyes, letting himself bask in the look on your face. He produces a rose himself—cherry red, like his favorite color—and holds it out in between the two of you. In the background, the Eighth Notes go quiet, leaving Jungkook on his own for the final line. 
“Let me love you…”
The words drift above your heads, disappearing into the sky as he lingers on them, on that last note, beaming down at you. He looks at you, so hopeful, so happy, so endeared, and what else can you do? What else, besides taking the rose from his hand and smiling back up at him? Who are you to deny him of that?
The crowd around you cheers when you do, applauding both Jungkook and the Eighth Notes, with whom he is apparently in cahoots, before they all decide that they ought to get on with their day and head to class. No doubt you’ll be on several dozen Instagram stories by nightfall. 
Only after everyone has dispersed do you notice Taehyung, who must have been here since the beginning, because he’s just turning off the camera dangling from his neck. Of course Jungkook got him to film. Other than your project, what else would this be for?
“Is that the best you can do, Jungkook?” You smirk up at him, only saying this because you can’t have him knowing that you actually kind of enjoyed it. 
“You’re still here, aren’t you?” Jungkook responds easily. “Thought I would do something spontaneous.”
“And now you’ve taken up ten minutes of my lunch,” you say, shaking your head to yourself. “How spontaneous, indeed.”
“How was that, Jungkook?”
Behind the two of you, the Eighth Notes are packing up, clearly more than happy to have aided Jungkook on his quest for so-called love and getting to promote their group in the process. 
“Great, thank you so much, Jimin,” Jungkook says to the one in the middle, the very first one to sing when you walked out of the door. 
“Anytime, dude. Glad we could help,” Jimin responds. He waves hi to Taehyung, too, as they store their microphones and go on their way. 
Jungkook bids them goodbye as they head down the path, smiling at all of them before he turns back to you, notices the distant, faraway look in your eyes as you twirl the rose between your fingers, press it to your nose to pick up its scent. 
“You gotta admit, I’m a pretty good singer, eh?” Jungkook says with a nudge to your shoulder. 
“You’re alright.”
Jungkook laughs to himself. “I think that’s the nicest thing you’ve ever said to me.”
“Don’t get a big head,” you warn. 
“Think I’ll have to sing for you more, now, hmm? Since you liked it so much?” He suggests, eyebrows wiggling. 
You roll your eyes. “Only if you can get Jimin and the Eighth Notes to back you up, again. Then maybe I’ll allow it.”
Jungkook grins. He’s far past the point of being deterred by your deadpan comments. If anything, they only encourage him more. But you, for obvious reasons, cannot give in. At least, not yet, anyway. 
“Okay, go eat your lunch,” he says, nodding as you begin to part ways. “I’ll text you later, okay?”
You smile. “Okay. See you.”
“See you, too.”
The moment you get back to your apartment you put all seven roses in an old vase filled with water. They brighten up your bedroom instantly, soft scent freshening up the air. And when you go to bed that night, it is to Jungkook’s sweet, delicate voice, like walking on clouds, like satin and silk, that you fall asleep.
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“Good morning, Y/N,” Jungkook greets like always, smiling at you as you walk in the door for FILM395. 
“Good morning, Jungkook,” you say in response. 
Then, you take a seat right next to him. 
It’s an act that clearly catches everyone off guard, if the bewildered looks of your fellow classmates and Jungkook’s confused expression are anything to go by. Even Pollack, when she walks through the door, gets a bit of a shock, eyes widening when she sees the two of you seated next to each other. 
You suppose all the fuss is understandable. After all, you both sort of hate each other. 
Other than the sudden change in seating arrangement, however, the rest of the class goes off without much issue. Pollack lectures for an hour before you move into discussion, at which point it becomes a class participation free-for-all, with you and Jungkook almost definitely in the lead. Just because you’re now sitting next to each other doesn’t mean either of you are suddenly going to stop raising your hands to rebuke each other’s points. Some things never change. 
Sitting next to Jungkook is not as bad as you thought it would be. For one, he is, for the most part, a rather diligent student. Other than his occasional flicks to his email, an essay he’s working on, or your discussion board, he mostly sits and takes notes and doesn’t do anything else. That, you can at least give him credit for. And even though your elbows almost always nearly crash into each other’s when you’re raising your hands to respond to a point Pollack’s made, discussion isn’t so bad either. 
One of the perks of sitting directly beside each other is that whenever he says something stupid, or saccharine, or just overly unrealistic, you don’t have to just roll your eyes from the back of the classroom while you wait to be called on. You also get to kick his foot with your own, nudge your elbow into his side. And he does the same to you. You and Jungkook are like those neighbors in sitcoms that spend all their free time shouting at each other from opposite windows. Just because your seats have gotten closer doesn’t mean your viewpoints have. 
A notification pops up on your laptop.
[March 17th, 11:05AM]
Jungkook: wanna meet at the tables outside after class?
You look over at Jungkook with a frown.
You: Why are you texting me? We’re sitting right next to each other
Jungkook: because we’re in class obvs Jungkook: dont wanna be disruptive
You: Since when has that ever stopped you before?
Jungkook: haha very funny Jungkook: tables sound good?
You: Only since you asked so nicely :)
Jungkook: thoughtful as always i see
After class, you and Jungkook both hang around, waiting for each other to pack up your belongings so you can walk to the tables together. Everyone else seems to sense this weird, uncomfortable tension in the room, because they all book it out of the door much faster than either of you do. You’re almost convinced Jungkook purposely takes extra time to zip his backpack, just because. 
The tables are, as per usual, empty. But you don’t have a pile of receipts to spread out, this time. You and Jungkook take a seat at one of them as you pull out your laptops, ready to outline the rest of the project. 
“We should probably meet with Taehyung a couple more times, too,” you suggest as you begin to brainstorm. 
“Sounds good,” Jungkook agrees. “But we can’t meet at night on weekdays anymore. My dance group’s show is coming up and we have practice then.”
You stop typing and turn to him. “I didn’t know you were in a dance group.”
Jungkook shrugs, like it’s no big deal. “I don’t really talk about it that much.”
“You should.”
He looks up at you at that, eyes wide as he faces you. 
“I don’t know, it seems like something you should be passionate about,” you say. In the same way that you promote the Film Club to every freshman you know, force all your friends to mark that they’re Interested in your event pages on Facebook. Jungkook should want to tell everyone about his dance group. Doesn’t he love it? Isn’t he proud to be in it?
Jungkook doesn’t look like he knows what to say to that. So he doesn’t say anything at all. 
“We can meet on weekends too,” you say, adjusting to his new change of schedule easily. “This project isn’t as all-consuming as I thought it would be.”
“You mean I’m not as all-consuming as you thought I would be,” Jungkook corrects. 
You shake your head. “No, you are.” He laughs. “But yeah, on weekends is fine. You know my schedule. What else should we do, besides talk to Taehyung?”
It’s like a lightbulb goes off above Jungkook’s head. “Let’s go on a date.”
You narrow your eyes at him. “No.”
“What do you mean, “no”? It’s the natural progression of our relationship! It’s the next step in the rom-com! We have to,” Jungkook insists. 
“First of all, it’s a mockumentary, not a rom-com,” you say with a sigh, finding yourself having to correct him rather frequently. “Secondly, we are not in a relationship. I am not dating you and you are not dating me.”
“Okay, but at this point in rom-coms the two leads would definitely go on a date,” Jungkook says, punctuating every word for emphasis. “What’s the harm? It’s not like you’re committing yourself to a future with me.”
“Thank God,” you mutter. 
“Oh, shut up. You probably haven’t been on a date in years, anyway. Why not spend a night out?”
You frown at that. “Who cares if I have or have not been on a date?” Why does Jungkook care so much about the history of your love life? He’s always saying stuff like this, always telling you things as if you’ve never been in a relationship at all, don’t know left from right, black from white. Who is he to be making those assumptions?
“Please, Y/N,” Jungkook begs, looking desperate. “Just one evening. And then if it really goes terribly and you end up hating me again, then we don’t have to do another one.”
You sigh, shoulders slumping. Well, what else are you going to do? You don’t have any other ideas. And you’ve already spent so much time with Jungkook this semester, what’s another evening? Just something else to cross off of your list of things to film. Maybe you can get him to take a cute photo of you to post on social media. 
“Fine,” you concede. “One date. And I still hate you, by the way.”
Jungkook clearly does not believe you. “Really? You still hate me? I’m sure you do.”
“Okay, I don’t hate you. But still,” you relent again. Perhaps you’re just being oddly soft today. Too lenient for your own good. 
Jungkook grins, cheeks little round circles as his lips curve up. “I know you like me. You just can’t admit it to yourself, can you? Can’t take that blow to your dignity.”
“Don’t think so highly of yourself,” you chide. 
“Who knows?” Jungkook tacks on, just to be extra annoying. “Maybe you’re actually starting to fall in love with me.”
You scoff. “You wish.”
“Well, are you?”
Jungkook doesn’t ask the question the same way he’s asked all of the other ones. Doesn’t say it with a shit-eating grin on his face or that glint in his eyes. He’s asking because he’s curious. Curious if what he’s been doing has been working. Curious if this project is really accomplishing anything at all. 
Funnily enough, you find yourself wondering the exact same thing.
Silent, you pausing for a moment to think, chewing on the inside of your lip. Jungkook’s looking back at you, lips curled upwards as he waits for a response. Ugh, you’ll just have to give it up. What else can you say? “I guess…” you begin, hesitating. 
You aren’t sure why you’re so scared to respond. Maybe you’re just worried that things will change if you say something. If you tell him the truth. 
But it’s just Jungkook. He’s sitting in front of you patiently, waiting for your answer. What could happen?
You confess. “I guess you’re not so bad after all.”
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Even though this is not the first time you’ve ever been out on a “date” (you’re using that word tentatively), picking out what to wear isn’t any easier than the last time. 
“Is black too, you know, sexy?”
Ruby shrugs on the other end of the video call. Her phone is propped up on her desk as she works on something on her laptop, glancing over every now and then whenever you prompt her to respond. “Well, that depends. Do you wanna fuck?”
“No.”
“Then it might be too sexy,” Ruby says easily. “What are you even doing? I thought you didn’t go out on dates.”
“It’s not a date,” you insist, although you’re not exactly sure which of the two of you you’re trying to convince. 
“You’re asking me what kind of sexy dress to wear for a night out with a guy. It’s a date,” Ruby reminds you, economical as always. “Who are you even going out with, anyway? You just called and asked me to pick between two dresses I have literally never seen you wear before.”
“That’s because I don’t go out on dates, which this is not,” you tell her, even expending the energy to stare into the camera to hammer your point home. “And it’s with Jungkook.”
Ruby shuts her laptop at that. You can hear the sound of her keyboard clacking as the lid hits them. “I’m sorry, what?”
“Do I need to remind you that this is not a date and therefore, you don’t need to be acting like I just told you I’m getting married.” You frown at her. “It’s just for our movie. Jungkook wants me to dress nicely, though.”
“Wear that nice summer dress you have,” Ruby instructs instead, shooing away the two much sexier options you’re currently holding in your hands. “Just put tights on underneath if you’re cold.”
“This one?” You ask, shuffling through your closet until you produce the gingham dress, plaid a pale yellow that matches gold jewelry rather well. 
“Yes, that one. I like that one,” Ruby says with a nod. “You look good in it.”
“I don’t know, I feel like it’s not appropriate.” You hesitate. It’s a cute dress, sure, but it seems too… casual. Too everyday. Jungkook’s taking you out to dinner, and no doubt he’s got something else planned for the rest of the evening. 
“I mean, you did say you had no plans on fucking him tonight,” Ruby reminds you coarsely. 
“I have no plans on fucking him at all,” you reiterate. “This is not a date. It is for our movie.”
“Yeah, yeah.” Ruby brushes you off with a wave of her hand. “Wear whatever you want, but I like your yellow dress the most. It looks really nice on you. And if it’s not a date, then neither you nor Jungkook should care.”
“Ruby—”
“I gotta go. Enjoy your not-date!”
She hangs up. 
You end up wearing the yellow dress. Jungkook knocks on your apartment door just as you’re closing the clasp to your necklace, a gold choker your mother had gifted you for a birthday a couple of years ago. It’s nothing much. You grab a jacket on your way to answer the door, wrapping it around your figure as you twist the knob. 
On the other side is Jungkook, all decked out in black jeans and a clean-cut leather jacket, the black ensemble striking against his warm-toned skin and bleached, blonde hair. You hate to admit it, but he actually does look rather good. For Jeon Jungkook. 
“Hi—whoa,” Jungkook says, doing a little whistle when he sees you, eyes bulging out of their sockets. 
You chuckle. “‘Whoa’ yourself.”
“You, uh…” Jungkook stammers slightly, a hand coming up to rub at the nape of his neck. The movement lifts his arm up just enough for you to see the line of his waist, the seamlessness of his body. He’s always been rather fit. “You look nice.”
“Don’t sound so surprised,” you chide, stepping outside and pulling the door shut behind you. “You don’t look half bad yourself.”
“Cleaned up just for you.” He grins. 
You press a hand to your heart dramatically. “I’m touched.” You begin walking down the hallway of your small apartment building, feeling your hands brushing by your sides due to how skinny the corridor is. At least, that’s what you assume. 
“Where are we going?” You ask as Jungkook opens the door to the passenger side of his car for you. 
He winks, that same gleam in his eye. He grins something wicked. “Don’t you remember?” He asks. “It’s a secret.”
The secret turns out to be a small Italian restaurant on an off-road in the center of town, a family joint with those plaid red tablecloths and dark wooden chairs. You’d never heard of the place before tonight, but Jungkook insists that it’s delicious and says it has a four-and-a-half star rating on Yelp, which is obviously gospel when it comes to restaurants. It’s so empty that he even has room to prop up the camera a couple of tables away to get that wide-angle shot of the both of you, two souls in a tiny little restaurant, enjoying a night out on the town. You’re sure that by the time production and post-production rolls around you’ll edit out most of your dialogue, but you like the idea of keeping in snippets of the audio, overlaying the scene with a soft instrumental. 
From a director’s point of view, of course. No other reason to romanticize your night with him. 
It’s nice. Objectively, it’s definitely one of the more exciting things you’ve done in a while, even if it’s just a dinner out in town, away from campus. It’s new. Adventurous. Jungkook convinces you to try his vodka shrimp linguine and you offer up some of your truffle-flavored gnocchi, which he devours happily. One thing you do learn is that no matter how much time passes, no matter how much food is on his plate, Jungkook eats and eats and eats. He never seems to fill up. This is one of those restaurants that pile your bowls high with pasta, give you at least three servings, send you home with to-go packages that will last you for days, and he still somehow manages to eat every last bite. He even has some of your leftovers. 
Jungkook pays because he insists and says that you shouldn’t fight on camera, which you have no choice but to agree to. However, you do look him up on Venmo and send him twenty dollars to cover your half of the bill, because the idea of him paying for you doesn’t sit right with you. It was fine with the coffee, a small token of repayment after spilling it all over you, but dinner just feels like too much. Like he’s carrying most of the weight and you aren’t shouldering enough. Like he’s putting in all of the effort and you are just bandwagoning off of him. 
And partnerships aren’t supposed to be like that. Jungkook isn’t supposed to do all of the work. You aren’t supposed to do nothing. You and Jungkook may not agree on much but you both know that you are equals. That what you put in is what you get out. 
It’s a lesson you think you learned too late, but you won’t make those mistakes again. You’ll get it right this time. 
“That was nice,” Jungkook says after the dinner. You’re walking through the park just across the street now, the sun having set and the streetlamps illuminating your path. The city has strung up lights along the trees, draped them over the branches like stars, like snowflakes. It’s picturesque. 
“Yeah.” You nod. “Thanks for taking me.”
“Thanks for coming.”
“How did you discover that place?” You ask, just out of curiosity. It’s not exactly the kind of restaurant that would be front and center on Google. 
“I went out on a date in freshman year there,” Jungkook admits, lips pursed awkwardly. “Yeah.”
“Did it at least go well?” You ask, trying to be hopeful. 
“If it did, do you think I’d still be here doing this with you?” Jungkook poses, an eyebrow raised. 
You chuckle to yourself. “You don’t mean that. I’m sure you’ll find your person.”
“You actually believe in that stuff now?” Jungkook asks you, skeptical. 
“I don’t know,” you say, shrugging your shoulders. “You do. I don’t wanna ruin it for you. Your person’s out there somewhere.”
“How do you know I haven’t already found my person?”
You stop in the middle of the path, feet coming to a halt on the pavement. Jungkook looks at you and you look back at him, letting his question sink into your skin, etch itself into your thoughts. He’s asking you because he wants to know. He looks so genuine, so patient, like he’s trying to find an answer somewhere in your eyes but you can’t give him one. 
“Wouldn’t you be able to tell when you did?”
Jungkook sighs. “I don’t know if it always works like that.”
You smile, soft and small. Musing, you say, “well, when you figure it out, let me know.”
“Do you think you’ve found your person?” Jungkook asks you. 
“You know I don’t think about love like that,” you remind him. 
“Well, how do you think about it?”
You gaze up at him once more, that same soft smile playing on your lips. Who is he to be asking you these questions, you wonder to yourself. What would the point be in answering him? It’s better if you just both moved on. Especially since stuff like this has no relevance to your project. 
“I don’t really think about love at all,” you say curtly. 
“I wish you did,” admits Jungkook. 
The look in your eyes is distant. “Yeah.” You wish you did, too.
“How about we do a couple of quick shots, right here?” Jungkook suggests, pulling out the camera. “Just here, the lighting’s nice.” He jogs back a couple of feet, lining himself up with where you stand, kneeling on the pavement with the camera held up to his eye. 
“What do you want me to do?” You call to him, feeling like a fish out of water in front of the lens, thumbs twiddling. 
“Just smile,” Jungkook requests simply. “Say hi to me.”
Sounds easy enough. Under the twinkling lights of the trees, in the haze of their warm yellow glow, you wave to Jungkook, smiling happily. You aren’t exactly sure what the purpose of these shots are, but you suppose you could always use some artistic frames in your movie. Grinning, you keep your eyes trained on him, on the way you can see him smiling back at you even from behind the camera. His eyes are covered, you can’t see those, but you hope they’re smiling too. 
“Okay, my turn,” you say when a little too much time has passed, when it’s just past the point of filming for the sake of a movie and more for the sake of something else. “Get over here.”
“Me?”
“Yes, you idiot.” You scurry over to Jungkook, taking the camera from his hands and pushing in in the general direction of where you were just standing. Situating yourself, you kneel right where Jungkook was, bringing the camera to your eyes. 
Through the lens, you can see the entire width of the pathway, the grass that borders it, the lights decorating the branches of the trees, and Jungkook, front and center. He looks like he has no idea what he’s doing there, waiting awkwardly as he gazes around, eyes drifting everywhere but exactly where you need them: you. He looks good like this, looks much taller, much more romantic. Like a real movie star. Like a model. His clothes make him blend in with the darkness of the night but his eyes are still shimmering, golden flecks twinkling, even from all the way over here. 
You have to admit it. He’s beautiful.
“Smile,” you say, pressing film. 
Jungkook grins your way. 
Afterwards, you give him his camera back and continue walking, turning the corner as you reach the edge of the park, ready to circle around the perimeter.
“How about we hold hands, too?”
“Excuse you?” You say, an eyebrow raised. 
“Come on, just for a second,” Jungkook pleads. “For the artistry. I’ll film us holding hands like all those Los Angeles boys do in YouTube vlogs.”
You look at him suspiciously. Is he sure it’s just for the artistry? “What a great example.”
“Please? Promise I always put hand cream on,” Jungkook asks, bottom lip turned outwards. 
It’s getting harder and harder to say no to him. 
“Fine,” you cave rather easily this time around. “Just for a minute.”
“Excellent.”
Jungkook lifts the camera up to his eye with his right hand as he holds out his left, palm facing the sky as he waits for you to rest your own in his. You narrow your eyes to the camera before your gaze drifts downwards to his open hand, almost like you’re afraid it’s going to jump out and bite at you if you get any closer. But it won’t, because it’s a hand. And it won’t, because it’s just Jungkook. 
The first thing you realize when your fingers intertwine with his is how big his hands are. They are massive. His left one dwarfs your own, wrapping around it securely, enveloping it like a king-sized comforter. The second thing you realize is how soft they are (he must not have been lying about the hand cream). The third thing you realize is the way they send sparks up and down your body, send tingles through your skin, shocks through your veins. You seize up a little bit at the feeling before your body finds it in itself to relax, letting the sensation wash over you like a wave from the ocean. 
It’s new. 
It’s strange. 
You haven’t felt that way in a long time. Felt those sparks, those jolts of energy. Like lightning has struck. 
Jungkook moves so that your hands are held out in front of you, making sure to adjust the lens just so he can get the exact right angle, but all you can focus on is the way your fingers interlock, the way your hand settles into his. 
You wonder what that means. 
The moment Jungkook lowers the camera you pull your hand away, overwhelmed and scared and shocked all at once. Like you’re afraid that if you reach out to him again, your whole body will freeze in place, shake like the wind. 
Jungkook looks at you, concern lacing his features. “You alright?” He asks, genuine and worried. 
You shake your head, willing those thoughts away. “I’m fine, I’m fine. You get the shot?”
“Yeah, I did,” Jungkook says. 
“And how do they look?” You ask because you can’t help yourself. Because you just have to know. 
Jungkook pauses, not sure how to respond. He chews on his lips like he’s running through all the possible answers, trying to figure out which one is right. You almost think he’s not going to reply at all, but then he smiles, and he says this: 
“Magical.”
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It feels weird for you to be arriving at Kim Taehyung’s door without Jungkook by your side. Doesn’t sit right in your stomach. 
Of course, Taehyung is as hospitable as always, welcoming you inside with his signature warm grin as he sets up the bar stools by the bedsheet, which you assume he will just not take down until your project’s over. Hopefully he’s getting use out of it otherwise, shooting nudes or whatever it is he said he would do. 
“Thanks for having me,” you say, resting your backpack against the foot of his couch as you set up the tripod, arranging it in just the right spot. It’s not Jungkook’s fancy camera that you’ve got with you, just your own from a couple years ago, but it’ll get the job done. You couldn’t ask Jungkook to borrow his, anyway. You’d pass away before he found out you did this. 
“We might not use this footage,” you warn in advance. “I just figured it’s safer to film everything just in case.”
“Why wouldn’t you use it?” Taehyung asks, genuinely curious. 
“Because I don’t know if this conversation will really have a point,” you say nervously, fingers fidgeting with the settings until everything’s just right. 
“I’m sure it’ll be important,” Taehyung assures you. You’re not so confident. “Ready to get started?”
“Yes, everything’s all set up,” you say, concentrating on your breathing as you make your way to the stool. Inhale, exhale. Inhale, exhale. Why are you so worried?
“So, Y/N, how are you feeling right now?” Taehyung begins. 
You sigh. “Confused.”
“And why is that?”
“I… I don’t really know what direction I’m going in anymore for this project,” you say, letting yourself be candid and honest because it’s just Taehyung, and because you may not even use this footage, and because Jungkook’s not here. He doesn’t know you’ve asked Taehyung to do this for you. He doesn’t need to. 
“And is this because of Jungkook?”
“Yes.” Another easy answer. 
“How are you feeling about him?”
“I’m…” you don’t know where to begin. “I’m not sure. I just know that something’s changed.”
“Your feelings have changed?” Taehyung isn’t reacting, just asking questions in response to your answers and pretending that everything is normal, that this is just another interview. 
“I guess they have,” you admit. Even just saying that feels like a weight off your chest. A small one, five pounds out of a thousand. But it’s a difference. “I… don’t really know how I feel about him anymore.”
“In a good or bad way?”
Taehyung told you he would ask tough questions, but you don’t know if you can answer these anymore. 
“I don’t know,” you say, feeling yourself growing desperate with impatience. “I don’t feel the same things about him that I used to. He’s different to me now.”
“Do you think he’s changed?”
“Something has.”
“Have you considered the possibility that maybe you’ve changed, too?”
You frown, caught off-guard by his question. No, you haven’t. You haven’t thought about that at all. Why would you? Your stance is the same. Your opinions on love haven’t changed. And neither have your convictions about this project, about the way it will end. 
“No,” you say, nose scrunched up. 
“Well, I’m no expert, but I think there might be something between the two of you that wasn’t there before,” Taehyung says, nodding. “I think that the ways the two of you have changed have brought you together.”
“I don’t know about that…” You trail off. You can feel yourself growing hesitant again, pulling back from saying too much because you’ve never been a very good speaker. Because you’ve always preferred being behind the camera to being in front of it. 
“Don’t you think you should tell him how you feel?”
You scoff. At least that’s got an easy answer. A no-brainer. “No,” you say matter-of-factly, obvious because it is, stern because telling him was never an option anyway. Why else does Taehyung think you’re here without him? “Jungkook said he would get me to fall in love with him and I told him I would never. How could I ever let him think he was actually winning?”
Taehyung sighs.
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You haven’t seen Jungkook since your class on Wednesday. Granted, it’s only Saturday, but it feels like it’s been a weirdly long time. Like you’re so used to him barging into your life on the daily that there’s something off about even going three days without seeing him. Maybe it’s just because you’re nearing the beginning of April and your project is finally picking up steam. Between the two of you, you almost definitely have more than two hour’s worth of footage, but the hard part will be paring it down and turning it into a forty-five minute documentary. No doubt you and Jungkook will be spending a lot of time together the week before it’s due. 
Just out of curiosity, you text him. Because you have no idea what he’s been getting up to. 
[March 28th, 1:05PM]
You: Hey, do you think we need to get together sometime this weekend?
Jungkook: i don’t think i can Jungkook: it’s my dance group’s show this weekend
You: Really? You: You didn’t tell me
Jungkook: been too busy
You: What time is your show tonight?
Jungkook: 7pm
You: Sounds good, I’ll be there
Jungkook: oh Jungkook: you don’t have to
You: I want to You: I’ll see you there!
That night, you drop by the grocery store beforehand to pick up a bouquet of flowers. You haven’t been a performing arts show for years now, especially not one where you actually know the people performing, but flowers are customary. Or so you’ve heard. 
You don’t know a single soul who has plans on seeing Jungkook’s dance group either, but the theater is a ten-minute walk away from campus and you’re happy to make the trek alone, especially because you know you’ll find someone you know soon enough. Sometimes it’s nice to walk by yourself, letting the streetlamps above your head illuminate your path, a faceless figure passing by others. It brings peace. And it gives you time to sift through your thoughts, organize them into neat little piles and brush away all of the dust. 
Admittedly, you are not much of a connoisseur of the performing arts. You aren’t even much of a consumer. In another universe, under different circumstances, you wouldn’t blink twice if you heard that one of the dance groups on campus was having their show. But this is not another universe, and these are not different circumstances. 
Jungkook will be there. He is taking something he’s worked tirelessly on and presenting it to the world. Now that you think about it, it’s actually a lot like film. And if Jungkook has devoted so much time, put so much energy into this performance, what kind of person would you be if you didn’t go and watch his creation?
You pick a seat in the far back corner, the venue so cozy that even despite being the furthest away you’ve still got an excellent view, sit down, and wait for it to begin. 
[March 28th, 6:58PM]
Jungkook: hey are you here?
You: I guess you’ll just have to wait and see, won’t you?
Jungkook: always such a tease
You roll your eyes at that, turning your phone off and stowing it away in your pocket. Two minutes later, the lights dim. 
The moment Jungkook steps out onto the stage, you recognize him instantly. He’s wearing all black again, but it’s not the same skinny jeans and leather jacket he had on when he took you out to dinner. It’s a loose long-sleeved shirt and sweatpants that hang low on his hips, highlighting the blondeness of his hair, the red in his lips. He’s one of at least a dozen people on stage but he’s the only one you focus on, the only one who your eyes follow. Booming throughout the theater is a Drake song, the beat thick and low, but it’s background noise when compared to the way he moves, the way he twists and turns his body on stage, angles sharp and crisp. 
The whole song goes by so quickly that by the time you find it in yourself to blink the stage is already darkening as they move onto the next song, switching out the performers and changing the spotlight colors to a sultry red. Jungkook disappears for this one, vanishing behind the curtains and forcing you to pay attention to the performance as a whole instead of just him. But you have to hand it to his group: they’re excellent. You’ve been missing out. 
Jungkook returns with the next song, having had just enough time to change into an all-white ensemble. He’s easy to spot even with that ridiculous bucket hat on, blonde hair bouncing with every step he takes, every jerk of his body. You can see it all the way from where you sit, see the way he loses himself in the music, lets the rhythm radiate through his blood, lets his heart match the beat that booms through the speakers. This, all of it, the music, the dancing, the energy—it’s all his. It belongs to him. Jungkook may love film but he is passionate about this. It is something that must bring him all the joy in the world. 
The next hour and a half goes by quickly, the songs jumping from one to another to another, Jungkook dashing on and off stage, each time returning in a different getup than the one prior. Makes you wonder just how many clothes he has. But before you know it the final song is playing and every one, every single member is on stage, jumping and cheering and celebrating a job well done. And they should, because they deserve to. 
When the lights in the theater come on, nobody leaves. Instead, everyone rushes towards the stage to say hello to everybody, congratulate them on their performance and take pictures with their friends. That’s why everyone else is here, isn’t it? Because the people they care about performed tonight. 
Isn’t that why you’re here, too?
Jungkook has plenty of other friends already wrapping their arms around him, giving him high-fives and pats on the back, but you’ve got a bouquet of assorted flowers in your hands and you have no plans on bringing them home. So you squeeze your way through the crowd, push yourself in between bodies, and you shout, 
“Jungkook!”
Jungkook looks up instantly at the call of his name, the round shape of his lips curving upwards into a smile when he sees you. 
“Hey, you made it!” He exclaims happily. He’s so pumped on the adrenaline that he pulls you into a hug without either of you even realizing it, wrapping his arms around your torso and squeezing you tight for a few moments before the two of you remember just exactly who you both are. Quickly, you pull away, chuckling awkwardly. Jungkook scratches at the back of his head. “Thanks for, uh—thanks for coming.”
“Of course,” you say happily. “You were amazing.”
“What can I say, I’m a man of many talents,” Jungkook schmoozes, annoying as always. 
You scoff slightly. “Don’t get ahead of yourself. Here, I brought this for you. It’s traditional, right?” You hold out the bouquet in front of you, pink plastic wrapping crunched up from where your fingers gripped the stems. 
“Wow, thank you,” Jungkook says, in awe as he takes the flowers from you, pressing his face into the petals instinctively. “No one’s ever gotten me flowers before.”
“Really?” You say, genuinely surprised at his admission. He’s never been given flowers before? Not even for a performance? You didn’t know that, either. “Then I’m glad to be the first.”
“You know you didn’t have to do that,” Jungkook says, though he looks grateful nonetheless. 
You shrug, acting casual. “Aren’t we supposed to be falling in love, or something?”
He grins. 
“Did you guys film this? Maybe we could incorporate it into the movie,” you suggest, thinking it might be interesting to add in glimpses into your normal lives, into the things you do when you aren’t trying to one-up each other. 
Jungkook shakes his head. “We did, but I don’t think we need to add it in.”
“Why not?” It seems like a perfect addition. 
Jungkook pulls out a single flower from the bouquet, a pale yellow daisy, and hands it to you. You smile your thanks, twirling the stem in between your fingers. 
“I don’t know,” he says, looking oddly soft, cheeks turning cherry red. He looks at you and it makes your heart flutter, quickens the drum of your chest. “I just think I’d like to keep this moment to ourselves.”
You suppose he’s got a point. You don’t think you’ll forget this night, either. 
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The bouquet you gave him sits on Jeon Jungkook’s bedroom windowsill, bathing in the afternoon sun. Taehyung gave him some plant food the morning after you came to his performance, a little bottle that he can spritz into the water whenever the flowers look a little droopy. Jungkook adds some every day, determined to keep them alive for as long as possible. He also makes sure he’s got a rather heavy book or two, something he can use to press one of them when they’ve all shriveled up. 
It was really nice of you to come to his show, he thinks to himself. Jungkook can’t remember the last time someone outside of his group of close friends went to see him perform, not any of his past dates or even that one girl he was seeing semi-seriously for a couple months last year until she told him she wasn’t interested in him anymore. You’re the first one who’s made the effort, who’s told him that you would come and kept that promise. The flowers are just a happy reminder. 
As a celebration for completing their last show, Jungkook and some of the other juniors in his dance crew decide to go out the following weekend, determined to waste away their Saturday nights at a bar just off of campus where they can take as many shots of as many different types of alcohols as they want. The place even has soju, which makes Jungkook’s heart happy. 
Despite the temptation to drink until his brain is empty, however, Jungkook holds off. He’s got a lot of work tomorrow, most of it consisting of editing the footage you have for the project, and doesn’t really feel like staring at a computer for eight hours straight with a headache. So he limits himself. For the most part. 
“Who was that girl that came to the show?” One of his friends, Andrew, asks as he downs another shot of what is undoubtedly vodka, if the smell is anything to go by. “With the flowers?”
“Is she your girlfriend?” Jesse pipes up, red in the face from the alcohol in his system. He’s always been one to turn into a tomato after drinking. 
Jungkook chuckles awkwardly, shaking his head when the bartender offers him another shot glass full of soju. “No,” he says, forcing a laugh. “Just a friend.”
“I don’t know, you guys looked pretty close to me,” Andrew points out, like it wasn’t already obvious enough that Jungkook is head over heels for you. 
“She and I are working on a film project together,” Jungkook explains, though that does absolutely nothing to convince his friends of your completely platonic relationship. 
“Sounds fun,” Jesse says, swallowing another shot and wincing. “It was nice of her to bring you flowers. My girlfriend didn’t do that.”
“Shut up, your girlfriend is studying abroad in Paris right now,” Andrew says, giving Jesse a good-natured shove. “I’m gonna tell her you said that.”
“What, please don’t—”
“She’s not my girlfriend, guys,” Jungkook repeats himself, feeling his cheeks heat up the longer the conversation drags on. He chalks it up to the soju in his system and the fact that it feels like a sauna in here. “Seriously, we’re just friends. People can be friends and bring each other flowers.”
Jesse pumps his fist in the air. “Yeah!” He rounds on Andrew. “Where are my flowers, hey Andrew?”
The two of them start bickering as Jungkook laughs, shaking his head fondly. At least he’s not drunk, so he can remember nights like these, ones where he’s drinking with his stupid idiot friends, celebrating a show well done. 
Jungkook stays at the bar until eleven that night before he makes the executive decision to go home and sleep, because as much as he would like to party until three in the morning, he’s got a pile of work that’s telling him to be a real adult. So he bids his friends goodbye and begins to make the trek back to his apartment, passing by the row of frat houses on his way. 
Even though he’s out on the sidewalk, Jungkook can feel the ground rumble from the music, every frat on the block joining together to make some booming, bass monster. From here he can see the flashing blue and purple lights in the windows, see the brothers standing on the steps of each house and turning away whoever they deem unfit to enter. 
In a weird way, it makes Jungkook nostalgic. Reminiscent of when he was a freshman, when he would group up with all of the people in his hall and parade around the frat row on Saturday nights like they owned the place, getting drunk on shitty tequila and jumping until they sweat out their body fluids. He remembers those nights in flashes, bits and pieces that make up his memory of freshman year as a whole. Remembers kissing other girls, other girls kissing him. Remembers the way he would lock lips with them for a second and then forget about it by the next day. 
Jungkook wonders why he ever thought he would meet his soulmate at a frat party. 
He’s just passing the last frat house now, nodding to the guy on the step when they accidentally meet eyes, when he hears you call his name. 
“Jungkook!”
He whips around to see you on the other side of the road, waving at him excitedly while your friends all laugh, sending smiles Jungkook’s way. 
Jungkook isn’t exactly sure what the protocol is for a scenario like this, so he does what he thinks is right and waves back. 
“Come over here!” You shout at him, loosely gesturing for him to join your group. Jungkook is hesitant, not sure if that’s necessarily the best course of action because even from here he can tell that you’re drunk, leaning over to one side and giggling at nothing. But even if he isn’t sure what will happen he can’t help but fall into the way you’re beaming at him, waving excitedly because you saw him on the street and you wanted to say hello.
He’s never been able to resist you. 
“Hey, what are you doing out here?” He says as he jogs over, greeting the rest of your friends with a patient smile. 
“Went out with my friends,” you say. Jungkook can smell the alcohol on your lips. “And then I saw you, which made me happy!”
You stumble over nothing, shoes skipping as they drag along the pavement, and before any of your friends can react Jungkook is reaching his arms out, catching you before you fall flat on your face. Your hands press against his torso as he lifts you back to your feet, and all Jungkook can do is pray that you can’t hear the way his heart races, beat drumming in his ears. You giggle in his hold, disoriented but not at all uneasy, looking up at him as your eyes sparkle in the glow of the streetlamps. 
“Thanks,” you manage to cough out. 
“Sure,” Jungkook says, breathless. He stands you up and tries to let you go, but you keep your hands tight around his wrists. “I think we need to get you home.”
“Can you come with me?” You ask innocently, eyes wide. 
“Y/N…” One of your friends says, voice hesitant. She places a hand on your shoulder, looking concerned. Jungkook doesn’t take any offense to it, he doesn’t know your friends well and imagines that they would much prefer being the ones to drop you back at your place. 
You shrug her off. “No, it’s okay, Ruby,” you assure your friend, hand inching down Jungkook’s wrist until it rests firmly within his palm. “I’ll go with him.”
Ruby eyes Jungkook suspiciously and her gaze is so intense that it actually makes him doubt his ability to walk you home for a moment. But you seem intent on walking with him, and the sooner you go home the better, so Ruby relents and lifts her hand from your shoulder. “Alright, if you want to.” She keeps her eyes trained on Jungkook. “Text me when you’re back.”
“I will, I will,” you say, brushing her off and waving her away. “Let’s go, Jungkook. I’m sleepy.”
“Okay, come on,” he says. You smile happily at your friends as you say goodbye, cheerful and drunk and tired, all at once, and you begin to walk towards your apartment. 
“I’m glad you’re here,” you tell him, positively filter-less. 
“I’m glad I’m here, too,” Jungkook assures you. “What did you have to drink tonight?”
“Not sure,” you admit happily. “Just a lot.”
“I can tell.” Jungkook nods. “Were you at a frat party?”
“Several,” you correct him. “They weren’t that fun but at least the drinks were free.”
“Why were you at a frat party if you don’t like them?” Jungkook asks you, nose scrunched up. You certainly aren’t the kind of person to hide your distaste for things. That is something that Jungkook is intimately familiar with. 
You shrug. “It’s the cheapest place to get drunk.”
“Why did you want to get drunk?” This is seeming more and more out-of-character for you. Going to a place you despise, taking shots until you can’t walk straight, meandering around campus with Jungkook. All of these are things Jungkook could never in a million years picture you doing out of free will. 
Well, all of them except maybe the last one. You did come to his dance show, after all. 
You sigh. It’s thick and heavy and Jungkook has a feeling you won’t want to divulge any more. “I just wanted to forget.”
But the curiosity is eating at him. 
“Forget what?”
Your grip on his hand tightens. Jungkook fully expects you to dodge the question like you’ve dodged all of the ones prior, say something else to change the topic so you can sweep this discussion under the rug like all of the other ones you’ve had. But you don’t. 
Instead, you say, “You wanna know why I don’t love love the way you do?”
“You don’t have to tell me,” Jungkook quickly assures you. 
“I had better options than this place,” you say, voice hollow and empty. “There were better universities that accepted me. Ones with higher-ranked film programs and bigger scholarships. I could have gone to any one of them and been just as happy. Maybe more.”
“But you didn’t,” Jungkook clarifies. 
“My ex-boyfriend goes to school ten minutes away from here,” you say, words that are most certainly news to Jungkook. You had a boyfriend? “He and I dated all throughout high school. I thought I was gonna marry him.”
The words sound so sad. It sounds like they don’t even belong to you. Like you’re recalling the memories of a different person, someone you’ve killed and buried, someone you were certain you would never have to face again. Yourself. Your past self. 
“And then he broke up with me at the beginning of last year and it was too late to transfer out.” Your words are slurred and garbled, like all you want is to get over with saying them in the first place. It’s not a dramatic revelation. It’s not something you’re crying about, sobbing into Jungkook’s chest as you remember, miserable, a time where you were once happy. You just sound lifeless. 
Jungkook blinks at you expectantly, waiting for you to continue. It doesn’t feel right for him to speak up. Not when you’ve just revealed to him something so personal, so drunk that you probably won’t even remember saying anything when you wake up tomorrow morning. 
What is he supposed to do with this knowledge? What is he supposed to say? To do? It’s not like Jungkook can change your past. It’s not even as if he can change the near future. Your project is almost finished—the semester is almost over. And then you will return to the time where you never even knew each other. 
“You can say something,” you tell him.
“What do you want me to say?” Jungkook says. 
“Something to make me feel better, because now I’m sad,” you request simply. “Seeing you made me happy.”
“Maybe I should just keep my mouth shut and smile, then,” he muses to himself. 
“No, please keep talking,” you plead, leaning into his body with your bottom lip puffed out, eyes big and round and desperate. “Listening to you gets me to stop thinking about this stuff.”
Hearing that, Jungkook says the first thing that comes to mind. And that is, “You don’t have to think about that stuff anymore at all.”
“Hmm?” You murmur into his chest. Jungkook sees your apartment building up ahead. Just another block or so. 
“Well, that was your old love story,” he begins tentatively. Jungkook’s almost fully sober by now but he feels like he won’t ever get another opportunity to say this, and maybe whatever soju is left in his system is enough to get him through this conversation. Enough for him to muster up the confidence to tell you what he’s been wanting to tell you for a while now. 
Even if you forget it by tomorrow. He knows this is his only chance. 
“And it didn’t have a happy ending, but that’s okay. Because ours will.” 
You’re just coming up to your apartment complex, the rusted gold doors of the entrance sticking out against the beige of the building and the sidewalk, shimmering in the light of the streetlamps. You pause right outside, taking cover underneath the red awning above your heads. Looking up at him, you blink expectantly. 
“How do I know you mean that?” You ask. 
He almost does it. 
Jungkook doesn’t really know what washes over him in that moment, what takes his heart and mind prisoner for a split second, grip tight and unforgiving. But he’s staring straight into your watery eyes, glossy and glimmery and glowing, lost in the way you press your lips together, the way you gaze up at him and wait for him to tell you what he’s always wanted to say, and he almost does it. His hands press at your sides, holding you close, like he’s afraid that if he lets you go you’ll vanish without another trace and this night will all have been for naught. 
But he doesn’t. 
He doesn’t for a lot of reasons. You’re drunk. When you wake up tomorrow, you will not remember this conversation. But Jungkook will. And if he does it, if he kisses you, if he presses his lips to yours it will be burned into his thoughts, carved into his heart, and you will be none the wiser. Jungkook can’t do that to himself. And he can’t do that to you, either. He will never take advantage of your company. He never has.
“Because,” Jungkook says instead, having hesitated for far too long. “I promise you.”
It’s good enough for him. 
He tucks you into bed at 12:17AM that night, feet padding along your hardwood floor so he doesn’t wake up your neighbors, guiding you to your bedroom and reminding you to text Ruby that you made it home safely. Jungkook’s never gotten a very good look at your place, and even now it’s hard to make out most things without the main ceiling lights on, but he doesn’t really want to snoop. Even though you invited him in, he still feels like he’s intruding. You’ve always been so private. There were a lot of things said tonight that Jungkook is going to have to reckon with. 
Once you’re curled up beneath your sheets, eyes drooping, Jungkooks turns off the light on your nightstand and nearly, just about nearly, presses his lips to your forehead. He manages to avoid doing that, too. 
Instead, he pulls up your duvet and heads towards the main room, making a beeline for your front door. But before he can leave the room, he hears you mumble out his name. 
“Jungkook?” You call, voice groggy. 
“Yeah?” He looks back at you from where he stands in your door frame, one hand on the knob, ready to pull it closed. 
You smile, eyes fluttering. “Thank you,” you say. 
Jungkook grins. 
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The next morning you wake up with a pounding headache and three missed calls from Ruby, which undoubtedly means that something positively terrible happened last night. Unfortunately, you have no idea what happened at all last night, good or terrible, so whatever Ruby has to say will be news to you. 
Rubbing your eyes as you wrack your brain in the hopes of figuring out how you even ended up back at your apartment (when you swear you told Ruby you would stay at hers), you press on Ruby’s contact and call her. 
“Y/N? Hello? Are you there?” Ruby answers on the first ring. 
“I’m here,” you mumble out, words jumped and barely intelligible. You wince as your eyes adjust to the harsh blue light of your phone screen, squinting as you look at the time. 
Shit, it’s 11:43AM and you’re meeting Jungkook for coffee at noon. 
“Good, I called you three times last night after you texted,” Ruby wastes no time diving into her interrogation. 
“Why?” You ask, scrambling out of bed with your phone pressed between your shoulder and your ear. Your head throbs so you quickly take some Ibuprofen, splash your face with water, and start looking for something clean you can put on. 
“Because texting me ‘home’ is not enough!” Ruby exclaims. “Jungkook walked you home last night, I wanted to make sure you were tucked in bed and feeling alright.”
You frown. You don’t remember that. Granted, you don’t remember a lot of things, but you can’t recall Jungkook walking you back. You saw him last night? You didn’t even know. Scratching your head, a part of you vaguely pictures him standing in your apartment in the dark, resting against the door frame to your bedroom in the warm yellow light of the lamp on your nightstand. Can just barely see him tucking you into bed, placing the sheets over your figure and making you text Ruby that you’re home. You thought you were just imagining it at the time, but it must have happened anyway. 
“Jungkook walked me home?”
“Yeah, you insisted,” Ruby says. “You probably don’t remember, though.”
“No,” you say dumbly. 
“Well, I appreciate you texting me that you were home but I would have preferred something more explanatory,” scolds Ruby. “I thought maybe Jungkook was gonna do something.”
“Oh my goodness, no,” you immediately interject, pulling on your shoes and stuffing your laptop into your backpack. Just the thought of Jungkook doing something like that sends your stomach for a whirl. “He would never do that. I trust him.”
“I mean, I see that now,” Ruby points out. “I just wanted to make sure you were okay.”
“I’m fine,” you promise. “Everything’s good.”
“Alright, if you say so,” Ruby says, still sounding a bit like an overprotective mother. You love her, though. You know she just wants the best for you. “Take it easy today, okay? You had a lot to drink last night.”
“I will,” you assure her. “I’m just on my way to meet up with Jungkook now. Getting coffee.”
“Make sure to eat, too,” Ruby reminds you. “And tell Jungkook that I said thanks for walking you home.”
“Anything else, Mom?”
You can practically see Ruby frowning on the other end. “Oh, shut up. I’ll see you, okay?”
She bids you goodbye just as you’re dashing out the door, your usual stride quickening so you make it to the cafe in time, not wanting to keep Jungkook waiting. You make it there in a record five minutes, pulling open the door frantically just as the clock strikes noon. 
Jungkook’s already there, of course, sitting by a little round table in the corner of the room with two americanos on the table. He waves when he sees you standing by the entrance, and the mere sight of him makes you smile, shoulders relaxing. 
“Hey,” you greet, a little out of breath as you settle into the chair across from him. 
“Hey,” Jungkook says back. “How are you feeling?”
“My head is killing me, but other than that I’m alright,” you admit, taking a sip of the drink. It’s piping hot but just the right amount of scalding, warming your insides after a night of filling them with pure poison. 
“Good.” He grins. “It’s nice to see your face.”
“Oh, yeah, speaking of which,” you say while still on the topic, “did you walk me home last night? I can’t remember.”
Jungkook nods. “Yeah, I bumped into you and your friends while I was on my way back from a bar.”
You wince. The fact that you don’t even remember that happening tells you enough. “I was super drunk, wasn’t I?”
Jungkook, nice as always, says, “I’ve seen worse.” It only makes you feel the slightest bit better. 
“Hope I didn’t say anything embarrassing,” you say, knowing you have a tendency to lose your filter almost entirely when you get wasted, letting any sort of mental reasoning fly out the door the moment you down another shot. And the thought of having told Jungkook something deeply humiliating or personal, or even him witnessing something stupid, makes you feel weirdly exposed. 
Jungkook freezes for a split second, almost like he’s buffering, like he’s about to say something but it’s just taking him an extra step to get the words out of his mouth. Then he takes a quick sip of his americano and shakes his head. “No, you didn’t. You were just very drunk. And clingy.”
“I’m so sorry you had to deal with that,” you apologize. You can’t imagine the hell you must have put Jungkook through last night. 
Jungkook laughs. “It’s okay. I’m glad we got you home safe.”
“Me, too.” You nod. You send a grateful smile his way. “Thanks for walking me, by the way. I really appreciate it. Ruby says thanks, too.”
“Anytime,” Jungkook says. It doesn’t sound like something that people say just to say it. The way that people say ‘anytime’ just so they can be friendly and amicable. He says it and he means it, says it genuinely and honestly, like it’s a real promise that he’s making. That he would be happy to walk you home again. No matter the hour. No matter how drunk you are. No matter what he’s doing. 
And that means a lot to you. 
“We should probably wrap up filming soon, huh?” You say, getting onto the topic at hand. Of course, the project is the whole reason you’re even talking to each other in the first place. “It’s due in three weeks.”
“Yeah, I was thinking of another outing? And maybe one more thing with Taehyung?” Jungkook suggests. 
You narrow your eyes suspiciously. “‘Another outing’, Jungkook? What exactly do you have in mind?”
He grins. 
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This time, Jungkook is the one with the flowers. 
When you open your front door they’re the first thing you see, an enormous bouquet of an assortment of spring flowers in a variety of colors—pinks and purples and oranges and yellows—gripped neatly in Jungkook’s hand. They stick out against his otherwise rather formal attire, a simple black dress shirt and jeans, nice shoes that compliment his figure. Black truly is the world’s most slimming color, and Jungkook is no exception. He looks good. 
“For you, m’lady,” Jungkook says dramatically as he holds out the bouquet in front of him.
“How thoughtful of you,” you muse to yourself, grinning. You take the flowers and press your whole face into them, breathing in the fresh scent. “The one I gave you wasn’t nearly this big.”
“Go big or go home,” Jungkook teases. “You look nice, by the way.”
“You always sound so surprised when you say that,” you comment snidely, shaking your head as you grab your bag from the shelf next to your door. “What are we doing tonight, Jeon? Gonna keep it a secret from me like last time?”
“That depends,” Jungkook says knowingly. “Do you like secrets?”
“You should know what I like by now,” you remark. 
“Then prepare to be wowed.” He grins, taking your hand in his as he pulls you out the door. 
The restaurant you go to this time does not require a ten minute drive to the center of town. Instead, it’s a five minute walk from campus and actually happens to be a place you’ve been to before. It’s a busy little thing on a Friday night, waiters bustling about with trays in their hands, people laughing and smiling under the dim light of the chandeliers. You’ve only been here once, long ago, for a club dinner paid for by the finance chair, and for good reason. It’s not the kind of place cheap college students looking to get the most food for the least amount of money go to. 
“Isn’t this a bit out of budget for our rom-com?” You ask as the host seats you at your table, a little booth in the middle of the restaurant, lanterns resting on the corners of the seats. 
“I thought this was a mockumentary,” Jungkook jokes. 
“Yeah, yeah,” you say, resisting the smile that fights its way across your face. Trust you to make that sort of blunder in front of him. “I mean it, though. This place is expensive.”
“It’s manageable,” Jungkook promises. “I’ve been saving up. Plus, I thought you deserved a nice night out.”
“How generous of you.”
“Oh, come on, I know you’re excited,” he narrows his eyes at you. “You don’t have to act like a stone-cold robot anymore.”
“Well…” you suppose enough is enough. Jungkook can see right through you anyway, so there’s no point in keeping up this indifferent facade of yours. “Only because you’re treating me so nicely.”
“Just please don’t order the steak,” he requests simply. 
You laugh. “No problem. Maybe we could just share a couple of appetizers?”
Jungkook likes the sound of that. 
Luckily, this is not one of those restaurants where the appetizers cost an arm and a leg and are the size of your pinky finger. You and Jungkook split three different ones, happy to scoop out portions for each of you and indulge in them together. 
Dinner dates—of which this is only sort of one—are always awkward because you spend half of the time shoving food into your mouth, but you and Jungkook don’t seem to mind the silence at all. Only, Jungkook does look sort of like he’s holding back.
“Is this enough food for you?” You ask him halfway through, distantly remembering how he absolutely devoured a whole plate of pasta last time and still having enough room in his stomach to finish yours. 
“What do you mean?” Jungkook asks over a mouthful of vegetables. 
“You ate so much at the Italian place, I just want to make sure you aren’t still hungry,” you point out. 
“Oh.” Jungkook pauses, swallowing down the bite in his mouth. “No, I’m okay. Thanks for thinking of me, though.”
“Yeah, of course,” you say. You hesitate for a moment, not sure if you should say anything else. But what the hell, right? It’s Jungkook. It’s Jungkook and he walked you home when you were drunk, he gave you flowers, he let you borrow his jacket. And you feel as though you must return the favor. “Anytime.”
He smiles. 
Despite the pure ecstasy you both experience when eating delicious food, Jungkook makes sure not to waste this time and grabs a few frames of you eating with his camera. He always seems to have that with him whenever he’s with you, hanging around his neck or stuffed into his backpack or crammed into his pants pocket. Sort of makes you wonder just how much footage the two of you have of each other. 
He insists on paying but you send him some money anyway, just because letting him shoulder the burden of a place as expensive (for college students, at least) as this just doesn’t sit right with you. Whenever he receives the Venmo notification on his phone, Jungkook frowns and says that he’ll send that money back to you, but he never does and you can tell that he really does appreciate it. 
You don’t think you have any plans on stopping that for a while. 
The only downside of going to this restaurant is that there is no gorgeous, light-strung park in the vicinity the two of you can wander around. Just your campus, which you have no doubt walked a thousand times over, and the streets surrounding it, which you have memorized like the back of your hand. 
It almost makes you think that Jungkook is just going to drop you back off at your place and the night will end there, but you know better than to expect something like that from Jungkook. Instead, as you’re walking, you point out the cafe that you and Ruby always go to, see that it’s closing in half-an-hour, and Jungkook decides then and there that it’s your next destination. 
“You’ve never been here before?” You ask when you