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Finally...Us

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"Why can't you look the way I like, so I could just fall for you ?" NamJoon's deep voice echoed through the room, his words slurred, but intelligible enough. The girl holding onto his arms stood petrified, her eyes staring into his barely opened ones. He was drunk, and slurring, and annoyed with his ex-girlfriend. The girl helping him into his dorm room was not his ex-girlfriend, but his best friend.

The girl let him fall onto the bed, her stare unmoving from the wall next to his bed. She hated him when he got drunk. He always told her that, always saying her personality was perfect with his, just that her outer appearance did nothing for him. And it hurt.

The fact that she confessed three years ago, and got rejected by him for the same reason, still irked her. But she bypassed those feelings and stayed best friends with him. They were a great duo, in school projects, and life. She read his mind before he could realize what he wanted to decide, and he was always there to support her. But times like this, when he acted like that every time his relationships did not work, those times annoyed her the most.

Placing the blanket over his body, she took his shoes off, and quietly exited his room. Tears were streaming down her face from the words he slurred into her face. It hurt her too much, always stabbing her heart and bringing back those feelings she buried away for him.

"Why must he always do this?" she whispers into the empty hallway as she looks out the window. "Why do I have to change for him to look at me? Why can't he like me for me?" she says, feeling the headache starting to appear, her arms and sides aching from carrying the dead weight of his drunk body to his room.

Before she could let herself fall into bad thoughts and memories, she straightened herself, wiped her tears, and immediately left the boys dorm, not in the mood to actually meet anyone else. One drunken friend was enough for her tonight, she did not need a group of them after the party that was still ongoing on the campus.

Leaving the dorm was easy, dodging the drunkards was easier, as most were sprawled on the grass outside, trying to either crawl to their rooms or drunkenly reach for an invisible person. She hurried down the roads, not caring to stop and take the scenery in, as she would other times, to make sure none of her other friends were amongst the grunting people on the ground. This time, she just wanted to reach her room, throw herself on the bed and either cry or punch her pillow.

She knew she had a weak spot for NamJoon, he was her first love after all. It was not easy just letting it go like that, but she was good at acting. She had to be, to not show how much his words hurt. Slowly, over the years, the hurt was not as bad, just a stab here, bleeding there, crying after his drunken sessions. Otherwise, she was feeling ok, and she was not as infatuated with him as before. Just the hurt remained, sometimes her traitorous heart skipping a beat when his face was closer to hers. It was a painful skip, reminding her he sees her as a friend only. His best friend even.

Reaching her room, she immediately groaned and threw herself on her bed, hugging her pillow. No tears fell from her eyes, despite her earlier predictions. Maybe she has gotten used to him being like this. He has gotten drunk so many times this past year, she heard the broken record of his mind so many times, maybe her heart started ignoring it now. But she still felt sad. His words, even when drunk, still weighted her heart down and kept dragging her to the depths of her sadness. And they never wanted to let her escape from that pit. But she was stubborn, and she learned how to live like that. And she was not going to change to suit his tastes, or anyone else's.

"Three years" her voice bounced through her room, solitary and broken. "And he still utters those words every time he gets drunk" she continued, her eyes glued to the ceiling now. Maybe the answers she needs and seeks are written on the white paint, and she just needs to look closer. But even she doesn't know what questions she should ask or what she should look for. All she knew was that she was tired.

Closing her eyes, she let her mind drift to the time she first met NamJoon. Both were in the same class, just starting high school, and they got seated next to each other. One smile from him, and she was lost in his dimples. But that was not what made her fall for him. In the first year, they bonded pretty quickly, and he was smart, sweet, kind, polite, clumsy, and a jokester sometimes when he noticed she was down. They became really good friends, but she dared cross over that line. By the time the second year of high school started, she was head over heels with him. And because he was her friend, her confidence was higher than how she started high school with.

So, she confessed. And she knew her feelings were not reciprocated the moment his eyes stared into hers. She read immediately his emotions: pity, sadness, feeling sorry, rejection. He jerked his hand away from her as it started moving towards her head, a reflex of his to pat her head whenever she looked down. It hurt to see those emotions shift in his eyes, but she tried hard to not let him see how broken she was becoming.

"I am sorry. I...just don't like you like that" he said, his mouth set in a grimace, eyes shifting like he was looking for a solution on how to deal with this. "You are smart, and nice, and sweet, and funny" he tried to appease her, to somehow sweeten the blow, but all that it did was twist the knife inside her soul. She was all that, but still not enough. "But when I look at you, I feel nothing in a romantic sense" he finally says, sweat gathering on his forehead, and his fingers twisted awkwardly on his wrist. The grimace never went away, and he was trying hard not to flee from that spot. "Please, understand. I don't want to hurt you, or give you false hope, or.." he wants to continue, blabbering in a try to comfort her, or himself even.

"It is ok" she cuts him off, and she tries to smile, she really tries. "I understand. I just wanted to ....get it off my chest" she says, looking down at the floor, and she sees his feet shuffle, unsure. But they never get closer to her. Before she could actually scare him away though, away from her life, she smiles at him wide, trying to look anything but sad. "Friends right?" she asks, 'still?' her mind adds.

"Best friends!" he claims loudly, and then rubs the back of his head, slightly embarrassed, before smiling at her "Gotta go to practice though, I am late," he says hurriedly, and he flees. He runs away from the situation, from her feelings, from her broken self, who was still smiling, her eyes filled with tears.

Coming back from the bad memories lane, she rubs her teary eyes and turns on her side, this time to stare outside her window. She hated these types of nights when he got drunk and reminded her she was not good enough. Her personality could be golden and she could shine like a diamond, but her body was not good enough. He was not the first one to tell her that, but it hurt the most coming from him.

So, this time, like all those other times, she would swallow her anger and hurt from him, smile the next morning she sees him, and wipe all the sour words she wants to utter to him and anyone else who told her she should change or she would never be seen. Tomorrow was a new day, she was not going to waste it on feeling sad because people could not appreciate her. But until tomorrow came, she was going to lay in bed and cry.

Chapter Text

"You know, I think you should punch him next time he says those words to you. Maybe then, his brain starts acting the way it should" Lexy says, rolling her eyes as her friend tells her what happened the other night. It was nothing unpredictable. Every time he got drunk, he somehow was able to call only Marie, or M as their friend group got used to calling her, and then break her spirit and maybe even her heart every damn time with just one sentence.

Lexy was one of the shortest of the group, along with M. Her red hair sometimes made her seem like she was ready to burn everything in her way, especially when angry. But to actually make her angry, people would have to be borderline aggressive towards her or her loved ones. One person seemed to succeed in that task without even being violent or mean. That person was Kim NamJoon. If she was honest, Lexy did not like NamJoon that much. At first, he was a great guy, and they got along well. Until he broke off with his first college girlfriend and got drunk. M took him home, feeling sorry for him, but when she came back, she was as white as a sheet of paper and crying. For a split second, Lexy wondered if he tried hitting on M. She found out it was much worse. Emotional manipulation, or whatever it was called. She was not in the psychology department, but M was, and she picked a few things here and there. NamJoon was lucky Kiki was not around to see how M looked at that moment, or he would have been a dead man.

Ever since that day, Lexy stopped liking NamJoon, no matter how nice and polite he was. Especially after every breakup. Drunken NamJoon was an annoyance, and if she would be able to, she would put him down. But next day NamJoon was a sweet boy, apologetic and quiet, and she hated how fast he forgot everything. M got better at hiding her reactions and emotions after that first time, but Lexy could still see how the hurt shattered into her eyes, sometimes the beginning of a tear sparkling into her eyes whenever he mentioned his drunken state or ex-girlfriend.

"If he continues that way, he will probably date the entirety of the college girls here" she continues, maybe trying to irk M, maybe trying to make her see the light. NamJoon was a douche when drunk, and there was a saying that drunk people were the most honest. M already knew Lexy's opinions on NamJoon, but most of the time ignored her, mostly because she really cared about her friendship with NamJoon. Before she could continue though, the arrival of the rest of their friends, aforementioned douche amongst them, stopped her.

"Hello, ladies." one of the three guys in the arriving group said, chipper and happy from the start of the morning. Wide shoulders, wide smile, eyes sparkling with every word he uttered, and everyone swore there were flowers in the background growing around him. He was one of those cheery people, always ready to make you laugh with a bad joke. His name was Kim SeokJin, the popular actor from the drama major, a third-year and really good at acting and being dramatic when the situation calls for it.

"Morning, Jin" M uttered while Lexy got up to hug one of the other giants of the boy group, TaeHyung, who was her boyfriend. Honestly, the girls were shorties compared to the three guys in the group, especially M and Lexy.

Taehyung was not as wide in the shoulders as Jin, but he was tall, well mannered, and his eyes were hypnotic. Or maybe all that was due to him being a model and a photographer, and studying in the psychology classes, and he learned how to draw people in. His boxy smile was present as he hugged his girlfriend, kissing her forehead, and sitting down, he almost dragged her into his lap. But his boxy smile disappeared the moment he saw M's panda eyes stare into his. It did not take a genius to figure out what happened, especially after NamJoon got seated, groaning the moment his eyes stared into something shiny. Taehyung rested his chin in his hand, making sure to keep eye contact with M, silently and telepathically asking her if she is alright. He already knew what she was going to do by heart, smile and shake her head at him, before looking off into space, trying not to look hurt. His eyes dragged over to NamJoon, and he wished he could talk some sense into the older guy, but after the third try, he just gave up. Either NamJoon was a moron, or he just enjoyed making M suffer. Feeling fingers playing with his hair, Taehyung turned to look at the girl attached to his side, and smiled at her, booping her nose with his long fingers.

"So, did you break up with Kyla, NamJoon?" a feminine voice resounded through the air, and they all turned to look at Kiki, her hazel eyes serious and icy. She looked about done with his bullshit and wanted to call him out on his drunken talks. She was Jin's girlfriend, a third-year like him, same major, just different courses sometimes as she wanted more to do with musical theater, rather than act on the big screens. She was the taller of the girls, her chestnut brown hair falling down her shoulders until it reached her mid-back. Today, she wore it in a high ponytail, and it kept swishing back and forth as she looked from NamJoon to M again, wondering if she could just say it to his face why exactly she was annoyed with him. But M's pleading eyes stopped her every time.

"Yeah" was his mumbled answer, and before she could go into a rant, Jin placed his hand over hers. The two official couples stared at one another, debating on what they should do, but NamJoon was the first one to speak.

"Sorry, M, about last night. I keep calling you when I need help. I feel pathetic." he said, rubbing his temples, and gave a small smile to the shorter girl of the group, his dimples showing. The entire group knew M was going to forgive him, dimples, or not. She just smiled at him and pat his back. She forgave him before she even woke up from the restless sleep night she had. The fact that the party was on a Sunday night did not help much with the fact that she barely had any rest to continue her day. She was just happy they were close to finishing this year, and what they mostly had were exams to study for and those major projects which some still had to complete.

"Also, there is a symposium we could all go to this weekend" NamJoon continues, already settling back into his usual behavior, as nothing happened before. M sighed, wanting to escape that table, and just go hide in her room. She needed to avoid him for a week or so before she could act like before. It was her routine after his drunken escapades. Take him home, get hurt, barely sleep, run and hide from him.

"Ah, this weekend?" Taehyung's baritone voice washed over the table. "Sorry, dude, I can't. I got a game to play, and you know how my seniors get when I don't show" he fake cried like he did not enjoy going to his games. But he did enjoy them, he also enjoyed teasing his seniors. "And these three beautiful ladies promised to come to cheer me up" he added, smiling at NamJoon, who looked taken back at the new piece of information.

"Ah, ok. I see. Well then, Jin-hyung, seems like it is only you and me" he finally said, smiling at the older guy. Jin only shrugged, accepting his fate of being dragged to that party, but knowing well interacting and making connections would work well for him in the future. Plus, he needed to work on his acting and social skills, and do some people watching to help with his roles in the future. After all, the star of the drama club needed to shine in every situation.

Before either could say anything else, the clock on the library wall chimed once, dragging their attention to it, letting them know it was now nine in the morning. Time for some people to go to classes. All of them got up, except for M, and waved, wishing each other a good day. M watched her group of friends walk away from her, and she sighed, exhausted. Her first class started in the afternoon, the same as Taehyung, but she stayed put to catch up on some well-deserved sleep, while he decided to accompany Lexy to her classes before going to get something to eat.

In a way, she was happy she stepped down from her main character role. She stopped craving those happy endings for herself, and in turn, decided to help her friends find them. Kiki was one year older than her, the same class as Jin, both in high school, also in college. M met her during one of the combined sports classes, and both of them ended up in the nurses' office after a guy threw a ball way too hard their way. They bonded over the bruises on their faces, and before either could even introduce themselves, the door exploded, a mountain of shoulders practically destroying it as he ran to Kiki's side. He was Kiki's class president, tall, fair skin, full lips, and eyes full of worry. M immediately caught onto the emotions exploding throughout the room, and kept quiet, not wanting to draw attention to herself.

And that is how she learned Jin liked Kiki, and Kiki liked him back, if she had to go by the puppy eyes they gave each other. But neither did anything about it. So as any newly acquired friend would do, she decided to help Kiki get her Jin. It did not take long, a week tops, and soon they were highschool sweethearts. And now they are college lovers. Cutest couple on campus. Taehyung and Lexy won the sweetest couple title on campus though.

M was lucky she got in the same college as the others, even if different majors, as she did not have to lose her friends due to distance. And she even acquired two new friends. The first person she met was Taehyung, of course. The same major, after all. He sat next to her, puppy looks directed at her to catch her attention. She felt out of her element, but the guy won her over with his socializing skills and deep voice. The first thing out of her mouth was when it came to his person was ' Are you sure you are not a superstar with that voice and body combo?'

And he laughed, deep, rich tone laughter, his head was thrown back, hand slapping his thigh. When he stopped, he wiped his eyes. And called her his friend. She learned all their colleagues were his friends. And it suited him to be like that. Open and carefree. And really friendly. To the point she had to tell him she was not a snuggle buddy when he fell asleep in class for the first time and tried holding onto her arm to sleep on. When he met the others, it was like an instant chemical reaction. Kiki squealed over how adorable he was, Jin scrutinized him from head to toe, after all his girlfriend squealed at him. NamJoon shook his hand and was polite, trying not to let first impressions take him away. One day later, he was already part of their group, that social and likable Taehyung was.

And Lexy appeared one day, in the library, a damsel in distress, trying to reach for one of the higher shelves books. Red hair, long and wavy, dressed easy on the eyes, yet not forgettable. M watched her struggle, and by chance, or destiny, she shoved her elbow into Taehyung's side, pointing the girl to him. He gave her a thumbs up and immediately stood up, a towering giant over the table, walking to where the girl was. M watched them interact and her senses immediately started screaming at her. So she set once more on the road to matchmaking. Taehyung probably read her intentions the moment she introduced herself to the girl he helped, but he either was interested to see where this was going, or he thought M could never manipulate him into doing something he was not interested in. One month later, the two were going on their first date. And M was nicknamed 'The Cupid' amongst the two couples.

So M was happy being a supporting character, just there to help her friends. But when NamJoon got drunk, her heart forgot about her role. It pained her to be back in the main role.

"I wonder if I should let the girls try and be matchmakers for me, hmm" she said to herself, her eyes lost in staring at the cover of one of the books on the shelves, her mind already wandering through thoughts about all kinds of topics. Meanwhile, the shadow of someone stopped near her, eyes staring at the back of her head, having just heard what she mumbled to herself. Whatever was going to happen from now on, all she could blame it on was herself, and her habit of talking out loud.

Chapter Text

"You are still here?" a voice startled M from her usual daydreams. She was still in the library, waiting for time to pass so her classes could start. Not because she could not wait to go to them, but if classes started, she had an excuse to not meet with anyone and then just go to her room and sleep. Sleep was her solution to everything. Hungry and not in the mood for cooking or shopping? Sleep. Tired of socializing? Sleep. Sad and wanting to cry? Sleep.

"You should get ready for your class" the voice continued, and she still did not turn around. She knew who it was without looking at them. NamJoon was the last person she wanted to meet at the exact moment. She sighed and shrugged at him, slowly getting ready to take off from the library.

"We haven't spent any time together these past few months" he continued, taking a seat across from her, their eyes locking. "I apologize. Every time I start a new relationship, I seem to lose track of my friends." he says with a sigh, resting his chin in his hand.

"Well, that is because you try to give it your all to the relationship because she never gives anything back to you, and you feel like the only way to keep her by your side is by making her your entire world" M hated analyzing her friends' lives, but she was annoyed with NamJoon, and tired from a restless sleep, so her mouth blurted everything out before her brain got to process the words.

NamJoon seemed taken aback as she never did use that kind of wording before when they talked about his love life, but in a split second, the shock turned into a grin.

"The therapist in you finally came out to do some healing huh? We should do this more often, maybe we can uncover all the trauma, and the next relationship can be non-destructive from either side" he chuckled, dimples showing on his cheeks, eyes in the shape of a quarter moon. She knew he was not making fun of her in the way her brain wanted to state it, but she was overly sensitive from last night still.

"I don't do therapy for free" M gritted out and stood up, immediately walking away from the table, her fists clenched at her sides. She heard NamJoon call out to her, but she ignored him, her heart twisting in her chest. She wanted to be free of him and his suffocating self at the moment.

"What happened? Why did you run away?" a hand grabbed at her arm, stopping her from walking, his voice washing over her person. It was not fair, why could he run away without looking back every time, but she couldn't?

"Nothing, I just need to go to my classes" she whispered, swallowing the stream of words which wanted to come out of her mouth, all blaming him and telling him to stop being a douche when drunk.

"No, it is not that" his voice was low, calm, and serious. And she wanted to start laughing to sound like a crazy person and then run away. If he kept digging deeper, he would find the hidden metal case in which she put all her feelings and hurt. And then it would all explode and she would either self-destruct or go crazy. "You were not like this last week, so I assume it has to do with me getting drunk last night." he said, her flinch proving his assumption right. No psychology major experience or theory could cover for her real feelings, no matter how dire she wanted to hide her emotions.

"Geez, M, did I do or say something last night?" he turned her around, gasping as he saw the tears welling in her eyes. "My God, I am so sorry!" his arms wound around her body, dragging her into his warmth. She did not know if she should cry or laugh at how this was going, but she stayed rooted to the ground, in his embrace. It was silly of her to think he would somehow tell her it was going to be alright, that he would never leave her side, that she was the one.

"I did not mean any of whatever I did or say, M. Trust me, you are my best friend, I don't want to ever hurt you!" he said, his words sounding like deadly whispers to her heart, not knowing how much it hurt her. No amount of daydreams or prayers would ever help her in this situation, so she relaxed into his hold, two lines of salty tears falling from her eyes, letting him think it was just because she was happy he said sorry. She smiled, broken and small, a glitch on her face, trying to put herself back together before he let her go.

His hand was rubbing small circles on her back, making her want to crawl in a dark corner and rock back and forth there. She tried really hard not to let her mind concentrate on the places he was touching her, not to let go and fall into his trap. Relaxing into his hold was the last thing she wanted to do because she would crave it even more afterward. So she forced her muscles to relax instead, breathing in slowly, while her mind detonated the emotions inside. The calm outside was a contrast to how her mind and heart screamed at each other.

"Look, if I ever do anything like that again, I give you full permission to punch me. I will know why the next morning" he said, taking his hands off her body, and her heart wished for more of his comfort, while her mind screamed at him all the vulgar words she knew. His hands were on her shoulders, and he was leaning to her level to be eye to eye with her. "I don't want to make you sad or angry for any reason. I don't want to ruin our friendship" he said with a smile, dimples again showing, his eyes glinting with worry and care at the same time.

M could only nod, fearful of how her voice would crack the moment she said anything, and she wiped the stubborn tears which did not want to leave her eyes.

'Smile! Come on, smile! Smile, so he can let me go, so I can just run away! Smile, goddammit!' she screamed in her mind, forcing herself to crack a small smile.

"There we go, my pretty kitty. All good right?" he asked, teasing her with his own silly pet name for her. She was a cat, sometimes wanting all his attention, other times trying to pretend she was alright and aloof, and he was a dog, a dumb dog who never saw the cat looking at him with adoring eyes. "You look so much better when you smile" he continued, patting her head, his fingers wiping the tears slowly drying on her cheeks.

'Liar' she thought at his compliment, her heart aching and fluttering at the same time.

"Yikes, come on, you will be late for class" he called out of nowhere, and before she could say anything, he turned her around quickly, and started pushing her out of the library. The moment they stepped out of the doors, he passed her, taking her bag and grabbed her hand, sprinting down the campus streets to reach her building.

The sun was high in the sky, slowly making its descent towards its house, and the wind was slightly fluttering. And two people were running down the road. M could only look at NamJoon's broad back as he was dragging her in the sprint, her heart hurting.

'One of these days, you will be the death of me' she thought, her lungs burning from running, her heart practically doing marathons in her chest, and her legs stepping on needles from forcing herself to keep up with the taller man. At least, it was a good way to forget about her emotional pain.

Chapter Text

"Where is everyone? They should have been here already" M grumbled as she paced back and forth in front of the stadium. She could go inside, but she did not know who was in there, especially with another school playing against them, and her social anxiety was already showing itself why she was waiting around for her friends to show up. And she also had no idea if seats were reserved or where the others wanted to sit.

The week passed by fast, Monday and Tuesday being the harder days for her. The talk with NamJoon from Monday left her in more pieces than his drunken slurring. But she did not let it show. She picked herself up on Tuesday with a no show in the group whatsoever, and she buried herself in books and projects. Ignorance was the best medicine for now, or at least, that was what her brain and heart decided upon after the chocolate chip mint ice cream she had on Monday night.

Taehyung immediately picked on her mood during classes, and although he wanted to ask, one look from M kept him quiet. But her no show on Tuesday prompted everyone to hunt her down in the evening. One tickle attack later, and she confessed everything to the girls, right before the guys showed up. It was an awkward evening, but Taehyung saved the moment and brought his UNO cards with him. As no one could pummel NamJoon down for real, they decided to beat him at cards and get their revenge that way. Enough to say, if that was poker, he would have owed his soul to the devils in the end. And the rest of the week passed by slowly, the girls being there for her, and Taehyung always making sure to make her laugh when in classes.

Jin was extra, and he gifted her tickets for a spa day and told her she could go alone or with the girls, her choice. He also said he could help her teach NamJoon a lesson on the down-low, and some freshmen from his club could help, and even winked for the effect. Of course, she knew it was a joke, to keep her laughing, but she appreciated the sentiment. So they spent one whole day doing dad jokes, to the chagrin of the rest of the group. But she was happy she had such a great group of friends. Even NamJoon tried being extra attentive, always going out of his way to ask her opinion or choice, without knowing why it was his fault. She felt guilty, knowing he blamed himself, but at the same time, she felt like he deserved to feel more pain and hurt. In the end, her guilt won, and she always smiled for all of them, especially for NamJoon. Why scare him away with her carousel of feelings?

And then Saturday rolled by. She woke up, not in the mood to drag herself out of bed. The girls did not let her sleep in, and dragged her to the spa, to make sure she is extra fresh for tonight. It felt like she was going on a blind date, and she laughed at herself. No one would be willing to accept her as a blind date, not the way she was, mentally or physically. She knew she was not in a good place mentally, due to her anxiety and the whole NamJoon problem dragging her self-confidence even more down. And while she did like how she looked before high-school ended, college crushed that like, when NamJoon and other guys, even girls, kept repeating how her looks weren't good enough for anything. Now, she was a wreck in that department as well, in her eyes. And that thought spiraled into more depressive thoughts, and soon, she wanted to crawl back into bed with her ice cream. Of course, the girls dragged her away from the bed, and her mirror, and her bad thoughts, straight into a massage area. Needless to say, the entire experience was worth it, even though it hurt in the beginning.

'Bad thoughts, begone!' was her mantra the entire day, and M could happily say she was feeling extra preppy as she made her way to the game stadium. She was surprised the others were not there yet, and she texted them to see where they were. One message from NamJoon brought her entire mood halfway crashing down, and her heart sank into bad thoughts again.

'Wish you were here, M. Jin can not appreciate classical music like you'

'Why? Why?WHY?' her mind was stuck on repeat, eyes blurring as flashes of text kept illuminating on her phone. She read absentmindedly how NamJoon and Jin fought in the group chat, the girls sometimes replying to their banter. Just that little message was enough to send her spiraling into her head, fighting off the shadows she stuck in a corner since Monday.

But it all stopped the moment she felt something hit her foot. M stopped panicking that she would relapse into a bad mood and looked down. A water bottle rolled to her foot and she blinked at it. She did not remember carrying a water bottle with her. Without actually thinking about it, she crouched down, her fingers reaching for the bottle that was slowly rolling away from her foot after it hit it.

The moment her fingers touched the plastic bottle, a hand covered her own, and both hands froze. A pale hand was extended towards the bottle, long fingers covering the back of her hand. From her perspective, it looked like a pianist's fingers, and she tilted her neck, wondering if she knew any pianists from the Music department, before looking up to see who it was. A pair of brown eyes locked with hers, and they both stared. The boy looked small in build compared to her guy friends, but he was still taller than her. He was wearing a black headband and his black hair was falling over it, parted slightly off-center. She was not prepared for him to be this close to her, and she blinked rapidly, trying to fight off her embarrassment.

Grabbing the bottle, she turned her hand and raised the bottle to his hand, smiling at him.

"Sorry, did not see you reaching for the bottle as well." she said, her smile still in place, waiting for him to say or do something. He kept looking at her, and she wondered if there was something on her face. Her legs were cramping from crouching down like that, and she wanted to get up already.

"Thank you" his voice finally came out of his mouth, deep and low enough for her to hear him. He grabbed the bottle, his fingers holding onto her hand, and she wondered what he was up to, but the moment he got up, he made sure to grab her arm with his other hand and help her get up.

She felt awkward, but grateful at the same time, as her legs were slightly numb, even if she did not stay long like that.

"Haha, no, thank you" she laughed, trying hard not to do some stretching exercises to let the blood flow back in her legs. What she wasn't expecting was for him to smile at her, and she was taken back. His smile was barely noticeable, but it was there, and it somehow lit his entire face. She thought back to all those cat videos she watched, and almost awwed at the stranger in front of her. Somehow, his entire disposition made her associate him with a cat, and before she could say anything else, he nodded once at her as a salute before heading towards the entrance of the stadium.

And at that moment, she saw he was dressed in their college colors, the number three from his jersey glaring back at her. He was from their team, and she realized the game was about to start, and she was still outside.

"Fuck, where are my friends?" she swore and immediately took off to the entrance as well, anxiety being forgotten, worry taking its place as she thought she would be late to the game. The moment she entered, she saw Taehyung direct Kiki and Lexy to some seats in the front row, and she knew he got them those seats to make it easier for them to cheer. Yet somehow, her eyes swept the entire room, looking around for a number three jersey to see if he was from their playing team, or just a random fan wearing a numbered jersey. Before she could find the guy though, Lexy immediately located her and dragged her to their seats, putting in her arms a cheering sign and telling her to follow their lead.

M laughed and decided to let her mind not thinking about anything, and got herself in the mood to watch the basketball game that was about to unfold, her phone lighting up in her pocket, group text messages forgotten. She had to cheer for her team to win, not to let her heart be taken down by a few lines which meant nothing. And that is what she did, and with the sound of whistleblowing to announce the start of the game, her entire attention was on the field.

Chapter Text

"GO!GO!BSU GO!"
The cheers were echoing in the stands, some people shouting louder than others, sometimes their voices mixing with the cheers from the rival team fans. The loudest was Lexy, her red, long hair tied in a ponytail, swinging her sign wildly every time the guys from her team got the ball. The other two girls looked at her amused, sometimes dodging her swings. Kiki would sometimes join her shouting sessions, fired up whenever the guys scored, and M could only laugh at the two, especially when they chanted Taehyung's name.
Most of the people were engrossed in the game, each cheering for people they know or for the numbers on the jerseys. So far, it was a close game for each team. One scored, the other stole the ball and scored for themselves. Neither wanted to relent. M knew no one on-court besides Taehyung, so whenever he had the ball, she joined her friends in chanting his name. He scored twice, and the other times he passed the ball to his other friends, helping with a score. The other team was either just as good, or were teasing the guys, but they seemed fierce enough when certain numbers had the ball in their hands.
M felt like drama would bloom whenever number three got the ball, and number seven played defense for him. The other team immediately went into attack mode, disregarding the other players. Enough to say, they got a few attacks in, sometimes tumbling the guys down. The crowd on either side looked confused as to why they went with direct attacks, and sometimes, the referee had to intervene before it got worse. Number three was the guy M met outside the stadium, and he seemed unbothered by their hostility, never responding with violence. On the other hand, M did not know number 7, but from the way the girls in the back screamed his name, he probably was one of the freshmen she heard people talk and pine for. She wondered if Lexy knew him, but with the way she was engrossed in yelling at the violent players, she knew she could not ask her now.
Number 7 was one of the taller people on the team, the same height as Taehyung. He had black hair, long enough to fall over his ears, and he wore a black bandana underneath it to keep it from reaching his eyes. His smile was mischievous every time he caught the ball and practically leaped across the court with it. He was one of the aces of the team, it seemed like, along with number three. Compared to number three, he was the tallest, but while he had strength and speed on his side, number three was more nimble, somehow managing to go through the enemy line without a hitch.
M was impressed the team got this good this year, as she did remember last year's games, and how they were eliminated from the first game. She did not go to the game, but from what Kiki told her, they were not well coordinated or had any strategy prepared. But this year, it seemed like between Taehyung, number three, and number seven, the team had a good chance of winning.
The last minutes of the game had everyone on the edge of their seats. Neither team wanted to give up, so both attacks and defense got stronger. But everyone could see how tired they all were. The attackers were not as fierce as before in bullying the players, but they still did everything they possibly could to stop them from getting the ball in their half of the court. It was a relentless attack and defense out there, running around while barely breathing enough to not faint. Everyone watched with bated breaths as the last minute of the game started its countdown, and the teams were tied. It was either team's victory. All they needed was just a lucky break.
And then it happened. Number seven broke through the defense of the rival team and tried for the basket. Everyone was standing now, watching in unison as the ball flew through the air, hitting the rim of the basket and bouncing away from it. Half of the stadium groaned and flopped back in their seats, while the other half cheered, somehow happy with the fact the rival team could not score. But before either person could realize that it was a miss, the score buzzer could be heard right before the timer hit the last five seconds. Everyone looked at the scoreboard, and they could see what the result was.
BSU basketball team scored at the last second possible. The players in the court were frozen, neither moving from their positions, still looking at the person who scored. Number three was still standing with his arms stretched after he shot the ball, breathing heavily, looking as the ball fell through the loop, bouncing off the ground a couple of times. And then the team screamed, jumping on top of him, and the half of the stadium which cheered for them screamed with them as well.
"BSU WON! WE WON" could be heard throughout the stadium, people cheering, some crying, others hugging their friends. It was a hard-fought victory, and both teams were great. They both worked and fought hard, and even a tie would have been just as good for both of them to advance in the games. The people started emptying the stands slowly, cheering and singing in happiness for the victory, while the other half of the stadium was torn between being sad or half-heartedly congratulating the winning team.
Lexy pulled the girls down to sit, telling them to wait and be patient. Kiki kept asking about some of the newer guys on the team she did not know, like number seven and number three. And Lexy was more than happy to impart some of the knowledge with them. Number seven was a freshman, as M guessed, and he was in Sociology, the same major as Lexy. She was a second-year, but she seemed to know enough about him, and she looked happy enough with the game results that she decided to start telling them about his life, always saying how he was single, glancing at M every time she said it. When it came to number three though, she only knew he was in Architecture and was a third-year. Even Taehyung could not get more from him, no matter how bright and social he was. But he was good at basketball, did anything else matter?
M chuckled every time Lexy started recalling how good Taehyung played, and how he even scored twice, which was a surprise with how good the defense of the rival team was. She could see how much Lexy cared about Taehyung, her eyes lighting up every time she even thought about him. Kiki patted her back to bring her back to reality, a knowing look in her eyes as well, and before either could realize what was happening, a commotion started breaking out on the court.
Time seemed to slow down as Taehyung's voice rang through the almost empty stadium, shouting for them to watch out, and by the time the girls turned around to investigate what was happening, M could only see a ball flying towards her at high speed. Her brain seemed to have frozen, but her body still acted on instinct, raising her hands in front of her face in the nick of time. The rubber ball impacted her hands at high velocity and strength like someone threw it out of spite straight at her, and no matter how tensed she was, the ball pushed her hands into her face.
M could only groan as the impact pushed her into her chair, her fingers flexing to keep most of the impact away from her face. She tasted blood before she even saw it, her lips stinging and she realized she bit her bottom lip as the ball hit her when she gasped. And as the ball fell, she felt the rest of the face heating up, the pain slowly traveling up from her lip. The moment she let her hands fall, the two girls next to her gasped as blood pooled down her lips to trickle to her chin. Her hands hurt like hell, and she did not know if it was because of how hard the ball hit her, or if she twisted a finger or something.
"OMG, M, your face!" Lexy shouted, and before she could ask them anything, they heard Taehyung scream at someone, pushing a person and rushing towards the stands, the teammates that were with him rushing to his sides. Before she could see who was where or ask them why a ball came flying towards her face, M felt dizzy and saw Taehyung running in a glitch towards her, and then everything went black just as someone's hand broke through her field of vision.

Chapter Text

"You should have let me claw his eyes out, Tae" was the first thing M heard when the movie roll came back into her mind. "I have nails long enough to blind him" the conversation continued, and M recognized Lexy's voice.

'Ah, always ready to fight' she thought, chuckling and groaning at the same time as her entire face stung. Cracking one eye open, M saw the couple not far from her side, mumbling about something which her brain did not want to understand. The lights were a bit too strong for her liking, and she turned her head to the other side, making out some shapes near her. When M finally got used to the light, she got up from the bed she was situated in, not knowing exactly how she got there. So far, no one noticed her getting up, but soon that changed when through the door barged two tall people.

"M, my god, what happened?" NamJoon's worried voice broke through the dizziness, hitting her ears before he could reach her side.

In an instant, her attention was on him, seeing him barely catching his breath, and he seemed worried and unsure of how to approach her. Before he could take a step towards her bed though, someone stepped in his path, blocking him from walking forward. M could only see the number three on the jersey, and in her confusion, she wondered who it was.

"Please, let her rest. The doctor will be here soon to bandage her hand and cheeks." the voice said calmly, loud enough for M to hear as well. She felt like complaining that she was alright and she can see her friends, but somehow, she kept quiet. It felt like he knew why he said what he said.

"Omg, M, you are awake. Thank god" Kiki immediately exclaimed as she came in with a set of bandages as the doctor came behind her. M felt uncomfortable with everyone suddenly turning to stare at her, feeling like she was the center of a joke.

"So" she started, dragging it out as she winced when she tried speaking, and her hand went out of instinct to her lips. Before her fingers could reach it though, a hand came out of the corner of her vision, stopping it. Pale and slightly colder than her own, she looked up at the guy. Number three was close to her, and he was shaking his head at her. Her eyebrows furrowed and she wondered why there were so many bandages set up next to her bed. Still, she listened to his silent advice and put her hands back down, wincing when her fingers touched the bed. Whatever it was, her hands and face were hurting, and she hated the sensation.

"Well, the good news is no broken fingers. You will just have to put on some ointment, and keep a bandage for today on both of them, and try not to move them much" the doctor said, as he sat next to her bed, taking out some ointment and reading the indications on it to make sure it was the correct one. "Now, for your face, when the ball hit you, the impact made you bite your lower lip and your nails dug a bit in your cheeks, leaving some bloody marks. They will not scar, but you will have to apply some tincture on it and try not to let water get there for two days. The busted lip will hurt when eating and drinking though, so I apologize for that. But air is the best to heal them nicely." he said, and she could only look at him as he took her hands, one by one, to massage the ointment in the skin slowly, gauging her reaction with every touch he did. He seemed satisfied after M stopped wincing at the feeling, and then put on the bandages around her hands and fingers.

It felt weird and constricting. And before he could get started on the other hand, the silence in the room suffocated her more than usual. She turned to look at her friends, who huddled together in the corner of the room, together with Number three and Number seven, all of them looking at her.

"So, anyone cares to explain what happened?" M asked, annoyed with them, no one daring to say anything. They kept looking at each other and she wondered if it was someone who hated her, and she tried remembering if she made any enemies.

"I apologize" she heard coming from Number three, and she looked suspicious in his direction, wondering if he threw the ball. "That ball was meant for me, if I hadn't stepped out of the way, it would have not flown in your direction" she could only stare at him blankly, not knowing exactly how to react. It was obviously not his fault, as he did nothing but try not to get hurt himself.

"It is ok, really." she said, wincing when she almost bit her hurt lip, and she tried talking not as much, breathing softly as the doctor moved to her lip and cheeks. She tried not to let the pain of the sting show on her face whenever the antiseptic touched her skin, but her brows still furrowed in pain whenever it came close.

"Of course it was not your fault, hyung" she heard Taehyung say, and she tried staying with her face in the doctor's direction, but still look at the people in the corner. Hard to do, and the doctor made her turn to fully face him like she was a kid who could not listen. In the end, she could only listen to the cacophony of voices talking over each other, some asking what happened, the others raging at the fact that it happened. Before it could turn worse, it all stopped, and she wondered why, but then she heard Number three start talking again.

"One of the more violent guys from the rival team could not accept his teams' loss" he started, and she knew it was for her to know how things happened. "He challenged me to a one on one game, but I rejected his challenge. I assume he got mad and when I saw him take a ball and prepare to throw it at me, I dodged. Sadly, we were too close to you, and it flew straight in your face" he trailed off, not knowing what else to add, and she could feel the awkwardness in his voice, like he was not used to talking this much.

M wanted to tell him it was ok, to reassure him, but the doctor was still dabbing at her face and looking sternly at her not to dare move. She complied and stayed still, closing her eyes and just listening to her friends and two strangers talk again.

"I still think you should have let me claw his eyes out, Tae" Lexy started saying again, and M could hear the pout and anger in her voice. She was probably staring at Taehyung, showing him her long nails to prove her point.

"I know you could have done a lot of damage, dear" he tried placating her "but a fight on a court after a game would be bad news for the team and its matches" he continued, the wrong answer in Lexy's and Kiki's ears.

"WHAT?!" they both exploded and M winced at the loudness, retreating from the antiseptic to look at the commotion. "So you mean M getting hurt was less important than the team going to the next round? Would you do the same if it was, I don't know, one of your colleagues or family?" Lexy rounded on Taehyung, glaring him down until he was seated on a bed at her mercy, looking everywhere with a puppy expression for help.

"We told the dean of the university and both team's coaches" Number three intervened again, in time to save Taehyung from being minced out. "I had to stop him from beating the guy, or else he would be in bigger trouble. So far, the only person in trouble is the guy who threw the ball, no one else" Number Three seemed exhausted, either from the game that night, from having to deal with the aftermath of the accident, or from having to deal with all the people in the room. Before he could continue though, M shifted away from the doctor again with an apologetic look and got up from the bed slowly. It felt weird with all those bandages on her face, and the stinging sensation was still there every time her facial expression shifted even a tiny bit.

"Lexy, let it go. They did the right thing" M said, trying to smile, a crooked smile as her lip hurt. "The guy was looking for trouble, well he found it with his team and school" she continued, slowly and enunciated, trying not to bite her lip again. Kiki immediately shifted closer to her, letting go of Jin's arm. Her eyes seemed red and puffy, an indication that she cried, and M felt guilty to have made everyone worry like that.

"Well if he ever comes anywhere near this place, I will make sure I will throw him just as far as he threw the ball, even farther away" Number seven came out of nowhere, looking pleased with what he announced, before smiling.

'Uuuu, like a bunny', was M's first thought at his expression, and she had to stop herself from patting his head in search of some bunny ears. Before anyone could say anything else, Taehyung grabbed Number seven and Number three close to him, and announced to everyone that they will be the superheroes in case the guy came back again. M could only chuckle at his antics, amused by Number three's expression of not caring.

"I bet you ladies now wish you were at the symposium this evening, right?" NamJoon's voice came out of nowhere, crashing into M, reminding her he was still there. Somehow, the way he worded that sentence clawed at the inner corner of her brains. She knew he wanted to joke about this evening, to lighten the mood, but she felt like he was just an extra, put there to annoy her.

"I wish the last part did not happen, but I would still choose the basketball game" both Kiki and Lexy exclaim, turning to glare at NamJoon. In turn, he turned his eyes on M, looking for her to approve of his declaration, but she was turning around to face her doctor again. She had enough one night of excitement and adventure. She did not want to add drama to the tags of the evening. So, she ignored everything altogether.

"Well, if you are ok, and it seems your friends can help you go home, I will go change then" Number three's voice washed over the silence of the room, and M wished she could turn to face him, but the doctor was adamant about staying put this time.

"No worries, hyung, I will carry her home, if need be. I did it once after all" Number seven seemed to be excited about what he just said, but he was stopped when Number three grabbed his jersey and started pulling.

"Come on, kiddo, you need to change too, I don't think she needs you to run with her again and almost hit her head." Number three said, and M almost wanted to look at the guys in shock 'What? They almost hit my head?' she thought, wondering exactly how safe she was while in her black-out state.

"It was just an accident, I swear" the younger guy laughed and followed Number three out the door "Well, take care, y'all, got to go" he said, dragging out dramatically the 'gooooooo', and M wondered if he was better suited to be in the drama club.

Soon, only some mumbling and laughter was heard as they got further and further away, and silence fell upon the room once more. It did not last long though, as Lexy and Kiki came closer to her bed, to look at the doctor's work, and started inquiring about stuff about the bandages and so on. M knew they were just trying to make some conversation, as the doctor already went over it, but the guys were too silent for their liking, so they had to create some noise.

'I should have thanked them before they left' M thought as she let the voices of her friends wash over her, comforting her soul and numbing the stinging sensation a tiny bit 'I should have also asked for their names. It is kinda hard to keep referencing them as Number three and Number seven' she continued, looking at the white ceiling above her as the doctor kept dabbing the antiseptic on her scratches.

"Next time, I will make sure to do exactly that" she mumbled to herself, not noticing the doctor and her friends stop to look at her as she talked to herself. Her friends shrugged at the doctor, before turning to the guys, still mildly upset with them somehow, even though it was not their fault. M was still lost in her thoughts when the doctor finished, and when she came to, everyone was ready to go home, their faces betraying how tired they actually were.

"Come on, guys. Time to go home and rest" she said, trying hard to smile at them, and was the first to walk out of the room, immediately her arms being trapped by her two girlfriends. They smiled at her and dragged her to the car, running away from the guys, screaming it was time for some 'girl healing'. She knew what they meant by that: ice cream and movies, and probably some gossip from tonight's game. Lexy probably had her radar up for single guys throughout the entire night, and honestly, M knew she was going to fall asleep the moment her head hit the pillow.

Chapter Text

"We need to talk" was the first thing Jin said after the long silence in the car, and now that he did not have to focus on driving, he turned to the person next to him. NamJoon was typing away on his phone, looking up for a second to let Jin know he was paying attention.

Jin only sighed at his younger friend and wondered how to put his feelings into words. He was worried that the behavior his friend was exhibiting these past weeks was becoming destructive. And while it may not destroy him yet, it was affecting other people from his life, his group of friends included.

"Don't you think you went a bit overboard tonight?" he finally asked NamJoon, watching his friend stop typing and looking at him, puzzled. "M was hurt and you could only say they probably wished they were at the symposium? You did not even offer to help her after she got out of the doctor's office" he continued, his eyes never moving from NamJoon.

NamJoon put the phone on his lap, looking into Jin's eyes, frowning as he mulled over what he said.

"Well, hyung, I was only trying to make a joke, guess it was a bit insensitive at the moment" he finally replied, the ping from his phone distracting him from continuing his thought. "Also, the girls were there, and it seemed there was no need for extra hands to help" he replied under his breath, his eyes glued to the screen of his phone.

Jin felt annoyed. Somehow, somewhere on the way from his first year in college to the second, something changed. No one could say what or why though. Not even M knew. She only thought it had to do with his first relationship in college, breaking his heart and such. Jin told her a thousand times he did not believe that, as that first relationship lasted a week mostly, and then he broke it off. But, there was half of the truth there, as NamJoon changed right after that, and it seemed he changed girlfriends pretty often. Though in the last three months, his relationships escalated to the point where he had five girlfriends until now. And he always got drunk afterward, resulting in M getting hurt by his words. Jin had a suspicion of why NamJoon was behaving the way he was, but until he could not get him to open up, he could never confirm it. He had to treat NamJoon like a fish and be patient enough until he went for the bait and clamped his jaw onto the hook, so he could drag him out of water. And now, he wanted to try a little bit of baiting to see how he reacted.

"What is M saying?" he asked, reaching for the keys in the ignition and taking them out. When he got no reply, he looked at NamJoon, and he knew from the puppy look on his face that it was not M. "Don't tell me Kyla texted you, saying she wants you back?" he asked, annoyed with his friend.

"What? Oh god, no!" NamJoon replied immediately, the look of disgust on his face letting Jin know how he would react if Kyla did try and approach him. "It's Gabby, her friend. She is apologizing for Kyla's behavior" he replied, telling Jin exactly who he was talking to.

"And why the happy grin on your face then? Don't tell me..." Jin stopped saying anything else, his eyes focusing on NamJoon, suspicion rising in the depths of his soul.

"What? She is a nice girl" NamJoon replied, trying to look as innocent as possible "She just said she is sorry Kyla did what she did and she should have warned me before it happened. Also, she is in my group project, I can't just ignore her" he continued, taking the seatbelt off and getting ready to get out of the car.

"NamJoon, what do you really think of M?" Jin finally asked him, losing his patience, his own advice of waiting to disappear at the moment. He was not known for keeping his patience much unless it was for fishing.

"What do I think of M?" NamJoon laughed, wondering if it was his friend who got hit by a ball tonight or not. "Come on, hyung, you already know she is my best friend. What else could I think of her?" he said, raising an eyebrow in wait for Jin's reply.

"I know you say she is your best friend, but your behavior towards her lacks that consistency," Jin said, not even once flinching from the staring competition NamJoon started.

"What...?" NamJoon seemed lost for words as he stared at his friend, not quite understanding what he was saying.

"The way you treat her is like she is your salvation line for desperate times. And the rest of the time, she is just someone you know. And when she seems to stray away from your side for too long, you seem to want to keep her attention glued on only you." Jin continued, and before NamJoon could say something, he raised his palm to stop him from talking. He still had a lot to say, and tonight seemed like a good night to dump everything on the younger man. "You might not realize it, but you sometimes just keep her away from situations you are involved, and when you get in trouble, you hook her back in, not explaining anything. Is that how a best friend acts? Or what about when you get drunk and only call for her, even when I offer to get you back? Or worse, after those situations, when you cling to her, but at the same time, alienate her? You might not notice it or think you are behaving the same as before, but everyone else notices it, and honestly, I don't think it is fair for her" he exhaled after that burst of verbatim spouting, feeling suddenly tired.

NamJoon looked at him, more confused than ever, staying silent as he was focusing on looking back on his behavior. His chin withdrew in a straight line, his eyes focused on the dashboard, but at the same time, lost in space, and Jin waited, this time patient enough, for NamJoon to reach a conclusion about this situation on his own.

"Hmm, is that really how it is, hyung?" NamJoon finally replied, looking away from the dashboard into the parking lot. "Honestly, I think I act as a friend would act. Sometimes, my big mouth talks before I filter words and situations, but she knows I only have the best of intentions towards her" he continued, nodding in satisfaction at his words. Jin could only look at him in surprise, and then wonder how deep far in denial he was.

"Are you telling me you see nothing wrong with your behavior? Or that it might indicate your feelings for..." but he never got to finish as NamJoon interjected.

"Hyung, I really don't see her like that! Believe me, I tried in high school. But, nothing. She just doesn't attract me physically, hyung. Why give her hopes?" NamJoon said, maybe a bit too rushed, maybe a bit too angry.

"I was not talking about ..." but again, before he could finish, NamJoon interrupted him by slamming the door to the car, and waved him off, his hand already fishing for the phone in his jacket to continue his conversation.

Jin could only sigh in exasperation at his moody, teenage acting, and followed suit by exiting his own car. Sometimes, he wondered what it would take for the moron that is his friend to actually see the truth in front of him. Physical attraction or not, NamJoon felt something for M, beyond being the best of friends, and in rejecting that part of him, he was hurting her to make sure it could not escalate. And it did not take a therapist to see the little stuff happening in his daily treatment of her. But that guy was so stubborn, he would deny it even at gunpoint probably. Jin could only hope he would get his head out of his ass to see the light in time before M would have enough of being broken by his words, and just go somewhere else to be appreciated. And at the same time, Jin wanted exactly that to happen, even if NamJoon got hurt by it. M deserved to be happy, and Jin did not know if NamJoon could ever make her happy, especially after all the hurt he made her go through.

"Kids these days" he finally mumbled, going slowly to his room, looking up at the full moon in the sky, sometimes wondering what kind of advice would the moon have after witnessing stuff like that. Maybe it would know how to handle this type of conversation better than him. Maybe it would punch that blind friend into seeing the truth. Maybe it would guide that hurting friend onto another path. Maybe it would do nothing and just let the ball roll. Maybe he should stop wondering what celestial bodies would do in certain situations, and actually go to sleep. One symposium evening was enough for his brain to be tired of over-thinking, and he was glad tomorrow was Sunday and he could sleep in, and not have to deal with stubborn people.

"Maybe I can get Kiki to go out for ice cream tomorrow" he smiled as he whispered that, already texting her about what he just thought, and finally, for the first time that evening, he felt just a tiny bit better. He tried his best. The rest would be dealt with by Fate, and he had a feeling she was bound to be not as sweet of a mistress as NamJoon wanted her to be. But only time could tell if his gut feeling was right or not. Until then, he had some sleep to catch up on.

Chapter Text

"Wakey, wakey" "Wakey, wakey" was the only thing M heard throughout her dream, and she wondered why the dolphins swimming around her would say that. But before she could ask them that, one of them shook her, and before she could push him off, she opened her eyes to see Kiki in front of her. Her still asleep brain took more than a few seconds to recognize it was not in dreamland anymore, and she groaned, wanting to bury her head in her pillow and continue dreaming about swimming in the ocean, far away from trouble and people.

"Come on! You need to apply the ointments, and then eat, and then get ready for going out" Kiki seemed unbothered with M's gloomy face, or her glare afterward directed towards her.

"It's Sunday" M grumbled, already turning to face the wall, ignoring the cheerful woman in her room, looking through her clothes.

"Yes, and you need some fresh air, after last night, and we also need to go out and celebrate the fact that Tae's team won!" she cheered happily as she remembered the game last night. "Lexy is out with Tae to get the others ready and find a suitable place, of course. I am in charge of actually making sure you will show up"

M sighed. Kiki was stubborn when she wanted to be, and she knew she would never escape from her grasp, once Kiki made a plan. She got up, her short hair looking like a bird's nest, her eyes half opened, grumbling as she made her way to the bathroom. Looking into the mirror, she sighed, remembering what happened after the game. Her face still hurt, and she winced when she tried flexing her fingers underneath the bandages. Then she remembered she had to take those off before she could continue with the rest of her morning routine.

Opening the door, Kiki was right there, smiling at her, the small medical kit in her hands already, like she could see through the walls what M was about to do. Letting Kiki help her with taking off the bandages, and applying the ointment, M let her mind wander. Not even the small dabs of disinfectant could not snap her out of her thoughts, just the small tap on her nose brought her back to the present. Kiki did not have to be a mind reader to know M was still digesting through what this week brought into her life, and in a way, she felt guilty and sorry. Guilty because she could not stop the ball from hitting her friend's face, and sorry that NamJoon was a douche and not realizing it himself. But today was all about making M laugh and feel better, not let herself or M go down the 'sadness drain'.

Letting M go back in the bathroom to continue with waking up, Kiki checked her phone to see if Lexy managed to get everyone to agree and come to the celebration. No message from the red-haired woman and Kiki wondered if it was beyond hers and Tae's abilities to get the sleepy heads to say yes, or the 'mystery guests' to agree to their plan. But even if they said no, and their group consisted of four people, Kiki would make sure it was a great day. Her plans will not be ruined by anyone or anything.

One hour later, as both M and Kiki waited underneath the awning of a store for their friends to pick them up, Kiki understood there was only one way her plans could get ruined. Fate sometimes laughed at her, and this time it sent rain their way. Since M still had some bandages on her face, they could not go walking around the shopping district, or actually go shopping, without the bandages getting soggy. So, after going into one store and realizing it was raining cats and dogs outside, Kiki could only look angrily at the ground as she called Lexy to ask her if Tae could pick them up. M smiled at her friend, not really minding the rain. The pitter-patter of the fast-falling rain on the awning calmed her down, and watching it drizzle in front of them made her more attentive to the present moment than anything else. Smiling, she wrapped her arm around Kiki's own and looked at the taller woman with a slight pout.

"Don't be upset, Kiki" she said "I know the rain kinda ruined your plans, but take in a deep breath. Doesn't it just calm you down?" she continued, lifting her free hand to catch some raindrops outside the awning. "I think this is the best therapy for when you want to forget stuff. Just let nature remind you are alive and well enough to witness its manifestations"

Kiki looked at her friend, and deep down, she wanted to hug her so tight and apologize a thousand times for everything, but she understood, in her own way, M was letting herself heal slowly. Both from the physical hits, and the mental and emotional ones. But at the same time, she wanted to keep M from everything hurtful, and just take her to an amusement park for a vacation, and let her ride all the rides there until she forgets everything. Of course, her wallet told her no from the first time she thought that, and Kiki knew M would better appreciate just going out with friends, and singing their souls out in a karaoke room rather than spend tons of money on rides.

Before her mind could make other plans to make up for the rainy days though, a car honking from the side of the street brought her back to her senses, and she saw Tae waving them over. So Kiki pulled on M's arm, running with her through the rain to the car, laughing as the cold drops slid underneath her shirt. Letting M go in the backseat, Kiki got in the front, immediately putting the seat belt on, looking in the rearview mirror if M's bandages were ok.

"Bandages are ok. Time to head out to Plan B location" she said excitedly, high-fiving Tae.

"Erm, guys...how many plans did you have for today?" M asked from the backseat, wondering exactly how far did her friends plan, hoping they stopped after Plan B.

"Well, in case you were not happy with what we prepared, we thought up until Plan G for stuff" Kiki answered honestly, and M looked at her in shock. She did not want to ask what she had planned, because she knew it could be from something as simple as a book signing to driving out of town for a carnival. And M did not want to be around hundreds of people, as much as the carnival sounded like a great place to have fun. So, she relaxed in the backseat, watching drops of rain racing each other on the window, letting Tae and Kiki take her wherever they had planned. Until they reached their destination, the rain calmed down, just a few drops falling here and there, sometimes creating ripples in the puddles on the road.

Of course, she changed her mind and wanted to go back when she saw Tae stop in front of a karaoke club. She was not in the mood to sing her heart out, especially not in front of everyone. To her surprise, neither of the two went towards the karaoke club, both going away from the club, not saying anything. Curious and cautious, M followed them, ready to sprint away just in case they brought the carnival somewhere around town. Instead, she was greeted by the soothingly colored sign of a 'Manga Cafe' when she went around the corner, and she could already see Lexy's red hair from the window.

Somehow, the fact that it was a peaceful place calmed her mind, and she relaxed, following her friends inside. Lexy immediately waved them over, grinning widely, and before M could see who was there, she was immediately seated, and a piece of cake was shoved in front of her. M could blink and watch Lexy smile at her, waiting for her to say something.

"Thanks?" M said questioningly, and Lexy rolled her eyes, standing aside to let her see who was around the table. To her surprise, M could see Jin digging into what seemed to be his second piece of cake, and next to him, was Number seven, eating happily his own piece. Next to number seven, she saw Number three, and now she was really confused. She watched him watch her, and she wanted to ask him how exactly did they get him because he did not seem like the type to come out for cake with strangers. But at the same time, Number seven and Tae were not strangers, so maybe they got him to say yes because of that. Of course, she still did not know how seeing them would make her happier, so she turned to Lexy, trying to ask her with only her eyes what was going on.

"Now that M is here" Lexy started " we should start the celebration of our college basketball team winning yay" she cheered, and M sighed, swallowing the questions she had for her friend. There was always later for that.

"Name is Micky, people mostly call me M" she said, looking at the two people she did not know. She waved at them when they both looked in her direction, and Number seven grinned at her, while Number three gave her a nod in acknowledgment.

"Hi! My name is Jungkook, my friends call me Kookie though." Number seven started after having finished his cake, already reaching for another piece. "Thanks for inviting me!" he exclaimed after Number three coughed once. M could only grin at their dynamic, looking like a younger guy with his older brother there to make sure he would not fail his interview. Turning her attention from the bunny-smile guy, M looked at Number three, and he seemed uncomfortable with the situation. In a way, she understood him. He was surrounded by people he never talked to before, except his teammates. She was not good at social situations either.

"Hello. Name is Yoongi, senior year. Thanks for the invite" he said, simple and loud enough for just their group to hear. The others took it as a cue to say their own introductions, making sure to joke around with the two.

Leaning towards Lexy and Kiki, M whisper asked them how and why did they invite those two guys as well.

"Well, the why is simple. Our team won, they are part of our team, and they helped you yesterday" Kiki said, smiling as she reached for her hot chocolate.

"And the how" Lexy started with a devilish grin, making M wonder what exactly she did "was not easy. Kookie was in from the start, as long as banana milk was on the table. Had to guilt trip grumpy pants into coming though" she finished, and M felt a bad feeling coming, but she still asked how they did the guilt-tripping.

"Weeeell" Lexy started, her eyes darting back and forth as she saw the expression on M's face "we kinda reminded him if he would have not moved away from the ball's trajectory, you would not have gotten hit, haha" and with that, Lexy smiled, clearly hoping M would not get mad she used such a way to get him to come.

M could only sigh and facepalm. But she said nothing. She would apologize for that to Yoongi, and thank him and Jungkook for the help later. For now, she just wanted to get something sweet in her system to make it easier for her to digest the situation. Of course, the fact that Lexy whispered afterward that she brought the two as potential 'would-be dates' made her choke on the piece of cake she was chewing, making everyone look at her. And if her face was not then red enough, she felt her cheeks turn cherry red when both the guys asked her if she was alright. Having them sit across from her made her more self-aware, and the fact that Lexy had to whisper that, made her even more nervous. Even she admitted they were handsome, and together with Jin, Tae, and NamJoon, they could all be models. But 'potential would-be dates'? Her brain could not accept that, and watching Lexy go to Tae with the biggest grin she ever had, M knew this round was Lexy's win. She managed to implant that idea in her brain, and it would either take them to be jerks or a while to not look at them and blush.

When the door opened once more, she remembered she did not take into account one more way. For NamJoon to be there. And her brain to focus on him mostly, and being too busy to bury any feelings for him. Seeing him smile their way, she forgot all about 'would-be dates', and only when her eyes locked with Yoongi's, did she remember why exactly she was there. And before her brain could go down any kind of path, she furiously took a bite of her cake, shutting down any kind of thoughts that wanted to escape from the dark corners of her mind.

Chapter Text

"....to think we were only seventeen back then, right M?" a voice broke through the haze of M's thoughts and she finally raised her gaze from the spot she was looking at, lost in her mind.

"Sorry, what was that?" she asked, finally focusing on the person talking to her, realizing NamJoon sat down next to her.

"Geez, lost in thoughts again?" he chuckled, ruffling her hair, and while she did not mind him being that close when in the group, she felt a tiny bit annoyed. "I was telling everyone here about the time you punched that one guy" he laughed, eyes sparkling while he remembered that one time. Meanwhile, M felt her irritation growing, wondering why he would start telling two strangers that. "You will have to excuse her, she gets lost in her thoughts easily. Been like that since I knew her in high school" he continued, ruffling her hair again.

This time, M snapped and got up, trying hard not to say something or to be mean. She got the empty glasses and cups from the table and walked away to the counter, asking who wants what from there. She intended to only escape that situation before she snapped at someone. She did not know what got into her today. Maybe it was the fact it got sunny outside, too sunny for her liking, and there was no more proof of having rained out. Arriving at the counter, she smiled at the woman there and told her the new orders, telling her she will bring them to the table herself. M wondered if she should order more cake as well, mostly for herself, to have something to eat before she stabs someone with a fork. Thinking about so much violence, M wondered if Shark Week approached her, as she only got that snappy only when that time approached. Before she could calculate if it was that time or not, she heard footsteps shuffle next to her, and she turned around, watching Yoongi come to the counter as well. He stopped next to her, not looking around for the woman at the counter, and it was silent for a few seconds.

"Are you feeling ok?" he finally asked, and she looked at him. Really looked at him. She felt like she should trust him, but at the same time, she held back from spewing everything that was on her mind.

"Yeah, just a headache, I guess." M finally said, smiling just a tiny bit. "I ...have to thank you" she continued, and he looked at her with curiosity. "For yesterday, I mean" she clarified her statement.

"It was mostly Jungkook doing the carrying, I was just making sure you would not get a concussion" he shrugged, looking outside the window in front of the counter.

"Still, that helped much more than you think" she giggled, thousand of images going through her mind on how he could have helped, each funnier than the other. Before either could say anything else, the woman came with a serving plate to the counter, their drinks balanced on top of it. She looked at M, asking her with a gaze if she actually thinks she can handle walking with that. M simply smiled and paid for the drinks, taking the plate and slowly turning around. Before she could take one step, Yoongi stopped her, taking the plate from her and walking to the table. He was walking with confidence, the drinks balanced on the plate, not even one drop spilling. M was impressed and envious of that skill. He stopped once to turn and look at her, seriousness written all on his face.

"You can just stay here for a while if you want or go outside for some fresh air, and I will tell the others you went outside for a bit. I can see you are not feeling that good. Don't make that headache worse" Yoongi said, smiling and then turned back to walk to their table. M looked after him, feeling grateful and guilty she had to ruin the fun for everyone. And then she followed his advice and went outside, taking a seat on a bench at the shade of a tree not far from the manga cafe.

She looked around, feeling a bit lost, a bit numb, and she wondered if it was from the antiseptic and the painkillers she took. In the manga cafe, she could see her friends sit at the table, talking, and laughing. And she also saw NamJoon look out the window from time to time, like he was looking for someone. It made her feel sad, the fact he still had that much power over her to hurt her like that. That somehow, whenever he talked to her, she reacted either like a puppy in love with its owner or like a cat wanting to claw his eyes out. Or maybe she reacted like that today because of a painkiller and shark week combo, as she was due soon to get a visit from that moody friend of hers. Before her mind could go through the stages of getting lost in thoughts, her eyes caught a green leaf floating in front of her, following its descent from side to side, sometimes making a swoop and going in a different direction, depending on how the wind blew. And right before the leaf touched the ground, a cup of something appeared in her face. M looked up, seeing Yoongi hold a cup of tea in front of her, watching her as she came slowly down to her senses.

"Oh, you shouldn't have" she finally said, taking the cup from him, smiling as the tea wasn't hot anymore, but good enough for someone with a lip injury to drink. "But thank you" she continued. He only nodded at her, taking a seat next to her.

"Headache is gone?" he asked simply, not a man of a thousand words.

"Kind of. Now that I have this tea, will be gone forever. How is it in there?" she asked, looking at him. Now that he had no headband on, his hair was falling freely on his cheeks, and she could see the undercut he had. It suited him somehow, and she turned to face the cafe before she could let her eyes continue their mapping of his face. He only sighed, slumping against the bench and she wondered exactly how bad it could be.

"They somehow split into two groups, and are talking to me at the same time. One is making plans for a summer vacation, and the others are talking about their memories. That guy is talking about high school" he said, covering his eyes with one hand, almost done with everything.

"I am sorry" M immediately exclaimed, feeling bad he had to go through that. Yoongi turned to look at her, an amused expression on his face.

"What are you sorry for? It is not like you made them do all that" he shrugged it off.

"I know, but for your first time meeting us, it probably was too much" she said, getting ready to keep apologizing again.

"Nah, I have noisier colleagues. Just that I was not expecting everyone to immediately warm up to me. Usually, most think and act like I am this loner person" he says, looking into his cup of coffee.

"Well, Taehyung is glued to your side, so that lets us know you are not a bad person. So, we want to get to know the person Taehyung looks up to." M said with a smile, taking little sips from her tea.

"Oh god, that kid vouched for me?" he laughed, his nose cutely wrinkling and she laughed, and then winced as her lip hurt from laughing. He turned to look at her, faking shock, before smiling at her.

"Come on, he is not that bad" she giggled, trying not to laugh as his fake shock turned to real shock, his eyes asking her how could she think that. "Ok ok, I know he is extra social, but he is like that with people he cares about, and we all know if such a person exists, it is worth befriending" she continues, still giggling as he continued to exaggerate his facial expressions.

"What about when he gets all sleepy and tries to cuddle the closest person to him? Do you know how many times he tried that?" he said, groaning as memories of those times appeared in his mind. M could only laugh into her cup of tea, trying hard not to let it show how amusing it was to her.

"Well, want to know how I dealt with that?" she asked him finally, shocking him with that piece of news.

"Wait, there is a way to make him stop?" he asked, eyes growing bigger, excitement shining through them.

"Weeeeeell, I don't know if I should tell you or not" she teased him, feeling slightly better from the thoughts that kept swimming into her mind. "Might need some payment of some kind to reveal such a grand secret" she said, grinning as much as she could without hurting her lip.

"Like money?" he asked, his hand going for his pocket, and she almost choked on her tea, rushing to stop him.

"Geez, I was joking. Don't do that" she hurried to say, exhaling in relief as he let his hand fall back to his side, a smirk appearing on his face, letting her know he was only joking. He kept looking at her, and she felt a tiny bit nervous under his gaze. She was not used to people looking at her and actually seeing her. And there was something about his gaze. No judgment in his eyes, no assumptions, nada. Just a normal person looking at her, curious about her and her motives. "He did the same while in class, so I just told him if he wanted to keep being my friend, no more sleep cuddles" M said in a rush, feeling like she needs to explain her situation from the start.

"That easy?" Yoongi did not seem to believe it could work just like that, his gaze falling on the window where the group was, looking like he was lost in deep thought as well.

"Yep" she said, falling silent to let him process that piece of information.

"Hyung, noona! Come back inside, or I will eat all the cake" Jungkook suddenly came out of nowhere, shouting at them from the front door, waving at them. Both Yoongi and M shook their heads in exasperation at the younger guy, M wondering when did she become 'noona' all of a sudden.

"Well, time to head back in and see what we can save in there, or whom" she chuckled. "Also, I apologize for the memory trip NamJoon was on. He usually is not like that, going off tangent on weird subjects like that" she continued walking slowly to the door, giving Yoongi some time before he enters.

"Seemed more like he was talking only about one subject, or better said, one person" Yoongi grumbled under his breath, watching M head inside, before following her, preparing himself for what was waiting inside.

Chapter Text

"Ooooo, look what the cat dragged in. Were you trying to ditch us, lovebirds?" Lexy asked the moment both Yoongi and M appeared back at the table, grinning as she dragged out the word 'lovebirds'. Yoongi ignored it and went back to his seat, while M groaned and glared at Lexy. Kiki immediately dragged M to sit next to her and looked at her pleadingly to tell her what happened.

"So, what happened while I was gone?" M asked, looking around, her eyes finally resting on Jungkook as he was reading a manga and drinking his banana milk. She wanted to ask him about the noona thing but decided to let him read his manga in peace. Actually, she wondered if she should do that too, to let her mind rest from social interactions. Before she could actually do that though, NamJoon came from wherever he was gone and sat back next to her.

"Feeling better, M?" he asked, genuine worry in his eyes, and she felt bad for snapping like that in her thoughts. He placed another cup of tea in front of her, smiling at her, dimples appearing, and she almost wanted to say sorry for being so snappy. Almost.

"Yep, I was just asking what happened while I was outside" she said instead, sipping from the cup of tea Yoongi brought her, as it was only half empty. NamJoon seemed to look weirdly at her like he was debating something in his head to tell her but instead shrugged as an answer.

"Oh, we were just talking about high school memories" he replied to her question, and she frowned, wondering exactly what memories did he let everyone know about those times.

"Well, more like he was talking about that" Kiki said, rolling her eyes "We, on the other hand, were trying to plan a summer vacation, as we are soon finishing this year, and we deserve to have some fun besides studying for our exams" she continued, her eyes sparkling as she already thought about the places they could go. M was torn between wanting to learn what kind of secrets did NamJoon spill about her, and asking what kind of plans should she expect, and maybe put some boundaries on where she was able to go and wanting to go.

"I still say a sea trip. Imagine the sand, the sun, the sea" Jin said, holding Kiki's hand as he turned to look at her. "The girls in swimsuits, us guys fishing, making a bonfire on the beach, making sandcastles and so much more" he grinned, his mind already wondering what kind of swimsuit would Kiki be wearing.

"I second that" suddenly Jungkook looks up, grinning mischievously, Taehyung mirroring his behavior, and everyone at the table groaned, already feeling like those two would misbehave the most out of the entire group.

"We still have two months until then, no need to rush with where we should go" M intervened before the two guys split their faces with how wide they were grinning. "I say we all think about it well before we meet up, and we can all just say our ideas and plans. No one is forced to go if they do not want to" she added, just in case someone decided to beg or blackmail others to come.

Everyone nodded in agreement, some already making plans in their mind, and M rolled her eyes at the guys whose excitement could already be read on their faces. She saw Taehyung and Lexy whisper amongst themselves, sometimes looking over to where Jungkook and Yoongi were sitting, one reading his manga, the other checking his phone, and drinking his coffee. Before she could try and get either of their attention, she felt eyes on her person, and she turned to see who it was. Her eyes locked with NamJoon and he smiled at her again, warmly and she felt his hand hold hers, and she looked at where his hand was on hers, then back at him, not understanding why the gesture. He squeezed her hand once before letting go, still keeping it close to hers, and she was confused and wanting to ask him what got into him.

"If the headache is still not gone, you can say so" he said, and she looked at him even more confused. "You looked lost in your thoughts again" he continued like he could read her mind. But this time, he read it wrong, just like all the other times he thought he could. It seemed like reading minds was only her domain. In turn, M smiled and shook her head.

"I am fine, the headache subsided some time ago. I was just wondering where our two new friends would want to go" she said a bit louder, making sure the two guys heard her, turning to look at them curiously. "I am sure you both already thought of places you would want to go during summer, besides the sea"

Both JungKook and Yoongi looked at her, one in deep thought, the other just looking in her direction. Whatever was on his mind, she could not read it, and she waited patiently for them to finish gathering their thoughts.

"Well, besides the sea, I would love to go to an amusement park" Jungkook declared, and M could feel the mischievous auras of exactly three people in the cafe spike all of a sudden. Lexy, Taehyung, and Kiki were lovers of such places, the last two always dragging the red-haired in all amusement parks they could find until she became a thrill-seeker like them. M loved amusement parks but had to play mom for the other most of the time, reminding them about school stuff or other important things.

"I see. Well, I guess we could maybe find a place to have both activities into one?" she asked, getting nods from the three thrill-seekers. "How about you, Yoongi?" she turned to face the guy who was sitting in front of her, who still seemed to not move his eyes from her.

"Hmm, I don't mind either place. As long as I can do everything to my pace" he shrugged with his reply, sipping from his coffee.

"Does that mean you will come, hyung?" Taehyung suddenly exclaimed, grinning from ear to ear, looking so excited at the idea his hyung said yes without having to be dragged.

"Would you let me say no, brat?" Yoongi asked, smirking, and everyone at the table either chuckled or laughed, Taehyung not even caring he was called a brat, reaching over the table to high-five Jungkook.

M watched the three basketball players interact with one another, and she smiled. They seemed really close, even if Yoongi pretended not to care about the others. Almost like a brotherly bond, and she was happy Taehyung found such great friends. She always wished for her friends to only meet awesome people, who could appreciate them for whom they are.

"What about you, M?" NamJoon asked, all the attention turning to him this time. "Where do you want to go?"

M was taken back by him being the person to ask this, but she thought about it. Honestly, as long as she was with her friends, she did not care much about the place she was at.

"Hmm, both places sound great for me too, one relaxes you, the other energizes you. I have no better idea than that unless we can go stargazing for the entire trip" she laughed, embarrassed now that everyone found out her thoughts.

"Not bad, during summer, if we find a higher place, we can see the stars so much better at night than in the city" NamJoon added, eyes closed as he drank from his own cup. M watched him and smiled. It felt good to be able to talk to him like this, without fear of breaking down in front of everyone, without feeling not good enough to be there. "We could do that, if not all nights, at least two or three nights, and who knows, we could find one with a spectacular view as well" he continued, his mind already thinking about such places.

Before the conversation could continue, his phone vibrated on the table, and he looked at what he got, his eyes somewhat growing wider at what he read.

"Oh shoot, I gotta go, guys. Seems like my group project changed the hours and I will run a bit late there now. Was good to meet you, Jungkook, Yoongi. See you later, guys" he says in a rush, reaching for M's head, ruffling her hair before heading to his meeting.

M felt warmth travel from the place he touched, down to her skin, her cheeks reddening just a tiny bit, and smiled. She felt happy enough with how the day was going, glad she let the girls drag her out to celebrate the school victory, not noticing Jin's smile disappear, being replaced with a glare the moment NamJoon uttered the words 'group project'.

"Just because NamJoon left, does not mean the fun is over. After we all finish our drinks and cake, what do you say about some laser tag?" Kiki adds, not wanting to let the silence overtake the group, now that they seemed to somehow find a natural flow in their conversation.

The entire table gave her a thumbs up or voiced their agreement, and Kiki smiled, already making the teams in her mind, knowing they are odd numbers. So before either could ask her details about it, she told them to not worry, she had everything handled.

"As we are odd numbers, we can either make two teams of four people versus three, or three teams of two versus two versus three" she said, looking satisfied with how she wants to split the teams. "And we will draw lots to see who ends with whom" she continued, almost rubbing her palms together.

'Ah, the mischief possessed her' M thought, already seeing the two horns slowly growing from Kiki's head, and she had a weird feeling about how this was going to play out.

Before either could know, the four versus three teams were created, M finding herself with Yoongi and Jungkook in the same team. She wanted to comment about the lots being rigged, but thinking better about it, she was teamed with the aces of the basketball team. Maybe her team would win. Not maybe. She knew and felt it in her gut that her team will win.

Chapter Text

"So any weak points we can go for?" was the first thing Jungkook asked M after they equipped their red vests and got separated from the others to go to their own entrance in the maze.

"Say what now?" M asked, confused why he would want to know that, especially since it was laser tag, not like a real battle between enemies.

"Well, if we want to win, we need to know how they usually operate. You have been here with them before, right?" he continued, his innocent expression turning mischievous, eyes glinting with the desire to win. At that moment, M thought she was face to face with a war machine and not the bunny smile boy she was used to from their past encounters.

"Yes" she answered, unsure "but we are here to play for fun, plus I was more on the average side." she said finally, shrugging as Jungkook looked at her annoyed. It seemed like he took every challenge with the desire to win. M knew it would be a slaughterhouse out there when both Jungkook and Tae meet in that maze, as both were too stubborn to want to lose.

She looked over at Yoongi, who seemed to ignore Jungkook and his declaration of winning, fixing his vest and rolling his shoulders. The moment the led above them shone green, he was the first one to roll out there, slowly and carefully. Soon, Jungkook ran past Yoongi, eager to find the other team and score points. M was the last one to enter the maze, somehow excited to play this hide and seek game, yet knowing how competitive some of them could get. She noticed the bandages on her faces could clearly be seen from afar due to the light, so she raised her shirt, covering half of her face, and she grinned. If her team wanted to win, it was time to see just how much better she was at hiding, rather than seeking the opponents.

Studying her surroundings, M saw a couple of places she could hide in and crouch, and the moment she heard footsteps running in her direction, she knew it could either be one of her own trying to escape someone, or the opposing team running from her team. She immediately ducked behind one of the darker walls, crouching in wait, and a few seconds later, she saw Jin cross by her, not even noticing her. Grinning, she waited a few seconds to see if anyone was behind him, and seeing no one, she got up from her position, stepping lightly towards his back. Right before he could turn around, she shot him from the back and immediately ran away, so he would not know who it was.

The moment he noticed his vest lighting up a big red X on it, and his gun not working anymore, he immediately shouted annoyed, asking the one who shot him to come and face him. M ran away, not daring to let him know it was her, mostly because his time out was thirty seconds, and if he managed to shoot her or anyone from her team, his points would double. He was IT after all. She could only run until she found another place to hide, to catch her breath. Jungkook and Lexy passed by her a couple of times, and she did not dare move an inch. Letting them pass her was the wise decision, as not soon after, she heard Lexy scream after Jungkook.

"Seems like he really wants to win this" M whispered to herself, and got up, trying to find another good place to ambush someone. It got harder for her to breathe through the material covering her face, so she took it off for just a second to get her breathing under control. Movement not far from her made her stop everything she was doing, and she looked up slowly to see who or what made the noise. Her eyes locked with Yoongi's and he nodded at her.

He was sitting on the ground, and she wondered if he was tired or just not in the mood to play laser tag. When she wanted to get closer to him and ask him if he was ok, he immediately shook his head, discreetly pointing away from him. Her eyes fell on the blue X on his vest, and she understood that he was in time out, and whoever shot him was not far from their point. M nodded in acknowledgment at him and immediately put her shirt back over her mouth, covering her bandages the best she could, earning a raised eyebrow from Yoongi. She only shrugged and crouched the best she could behind the wall she was leaning against. Not hearing anything, she was half tempted to just look, take a slight peak, but the moment she raised her head, she saw the tip of a gun pass the wall.

Immediately, she stopped breathing, raising her gun to be prepared for when the person would appear. As Yoongi did not move to stop her, she knew it was the enemy, so she would shoot the moment their vest was in sight. Taehyung stepped from the corner of the wall, and he seemed to notice movement from her position. Either way, they were both aiming at each other in the span of a second, the buzzer going off right when they faced each other. M's shirt slid from her face as she sat down, breathing heavily, adrenaline rushing through her. The red X on Taehyung's vest glared in place, and he groaned, letting the gun fall back to his side.

"Seems like you were faster than me" he laughed, giving her two thumbs up, and she chuckled, walking by him, happy she managed to press the trigger before him. So far, she had two points, and the adrenaline was spiking through her body, making her believe they could actually win this.

"Wait" Yoongi declared before she could walk away "I still have ten seconds until my time-out wears off. Here, have this for your face." he said, giving her a black mask, shooing her off quickly before anyone else would come. They all could hear Jin laughing as he was hunting them down, meaning his time-out was gone and he was now out for blood, so to say.

M smiled at Yoongi, careful about her busted lip, placing the mask on, and giving him a thumbs-up, she immediately set onto another path to either find someone else or let someone find her. It was fun, hiding in the shadows, hunting them down by letting them come to her. She kept close to the walls, careful not to make too much noise, freezing every time she heard someone shouting or a vest buzzing. With each shot, she was happy it was not her vest, but at the same time, it meant the ones in time-out got better points than her shots.

"Maybe I should let someone shoot me so I can double score as well" she mumbled, almost screaming when a hand was placed on her shoulder.

"Don't do that, noona. It is more fun to play this while trying not to die" Jungkook whispered close to her ear, and she thought she would have a heart attack.

"Geez, you almost killed me" she smacked his shoulder, hissing as it hurt her more than it hurt him, earning him a glare as he chuckled at her.

"Sorry. How many you got? I got Lexy and Tae once" he said, looking over her shoulder in case anyone was closing in on them.

"I got Jin and Tae" she said, earning from him a wide smile, bunny-like, and he finally looked more like the innocent Kookie she knew from the basketball game, rather than the guy with the desire to win against his friends.

Before either could say something, M felt herself being pushed back against the wall, tripping in the process and feeling like she fell, before she felt an arm go around her back.

"Watch out, noona" Kookie shouted even though he was close to her, pushing her against the wall, effectively trapping her between his body and the black wall behind her.

M was short in stature, her eyes reaching his collarbone, so she had to look up at him, her eyes wide and her heart beating wildly in her chest, not knowing why he did what he did. His arm was behind her, cushioning her back from hitting the wall too hard, his other arm raised above her, hiding her completely from view. She was shocked, wanting to ask him what happened, but before she could do that, a buzzer went off, and she saw the blue X on his vest. At that moment, M understood Jungkook sacrificed his own life to save hers, and she wanted to thank him, looking up at him with gratitude, and a tiny bit of confusion.

He gave her a smile in return and gestured with his head behind him, and she got the hint. She tip-toed and looked over his shoulder, seeing both Kiki and Jin standing there, high-fiving, thinking they got both of them. M knew what she had to do at the moment, and feeling rather annoyed they had to take Kookie out like that, she leaned against him, wrapping one arm around his back to stabilize herself. It seemed like he got her intention and did not move at all, and before either of the two behind them could realize, M raised her gun and shot them both. The look of surprise on their faces as they saw the red Xs blinking on their vests entertained M, making her giggle.

"Thanks, Kookie" she said, leaning back against the wall "and sorry, but I have to leave before they get out of Time-Out and chase me around" she looked up at him, feeling rather guilty to leave him alone there, with those two soon on his tail after he escapes his time-out. He only shook his head, leaning a bit backward to give her space to escape from his protective hold, and she grinned at him, sliding against the wall, below his raised arm, and immediately running away laughing as Jin and Kiki finally noticed her vest was not crossed off.

Not a moment later, her vest buzzed, a giant blue X glaring at her as she looked down, and she heard Lexy before she saw her. She stopped running and leaned against the wall, watching the red-haired woman blow her a kiss before running away. M looked at the changing colors on the walls, not caring for the ones running by her much, especially when both Kiki and Jin laughed at her for being shot right after them, and not far away from their position. When the ten seconds mark hit her, she got her gun ready, looking around to see which way she could go. Yoongi passed by her, eyebrow raised and she shrugged. He nodded once, before walking away, and soon she heard a buzzer going off, footsteps soon heading her way.

Her entire body tensed, knowing they could reach her before her time was done, and they could shoot her before she could do anything. To her luck, it was only Yoongi, running away, and she knew he managed to shoot someone, and now he was back to running or walking around. Sighing in relief, she wandered not far from him, looking in all directions, knowing the game would soon end to count their score. She wanted just one more person to get, to at least get a double-pointer, and soon her prayers were heard.

A lone Lexy seemed to go around the corner, hiding from someone or something, and both Yoongi and M stopped in their tracks. It was either fate or just dumb luck, but Lexy seemed to not move from her spot, and just as both of them raised their guns to shoot, Tae and Jin ambushed them from behind. M turned quickly around, covering Yoongi's back, and shot Taehyung at the same time Jin shot her. It did not take long to hear four buzzers going off, and she wondered if they got Yoongi as well. Looking at the two guys in front of her, she saw the two red Xs on their vest and wondered who got Jin, but turning around, she came face to face with Yoongi who had his gun pointed towards Jin. She looked shocked for a second, not expecting to see him facing her way, but smiled as she saw his vest still safe, and Lexy's glowing red, meaning he shot both Lexy and Jin.

Neither moved, and she could hear Jin complaining to Taehyung about how many times he was shot, and how they always seemed to be like ninjas when they started shooting at him. She grinned and wanted to ask Yoongi how many he got until now, but the lights on the walls started dimming slowly, letting them know the game was ending. Before either knew it, the real lights turned on and their vests went off, indicating they go to the control room to find their score. Lexy got up from her place on the ground, where she pretended to be the bait so Jin and Taehyung could attack from behind, pouting as her plan did not work accordingly. M smiled at her walked towards her, taking her mask off slowly to finally breathe again, and wrapped her arm against Lexy's.

"Man, this was so much fun" M said, placing the mask in her pocket. "So glad you convinced me to come here" she continued, stretching as she let Lexy go. The adrenaline was wearing off, her body feeling tired all of a sudden. M knew she was gonna fall asleep in an instant the moment they got home.

"Hehe, next time, listen to us when we say it will be fun, silly" Lexy booped M's nose, grinning at her friend, reaching the control room at the same time as the others.

"Which team do you think won?" Kiki was the first to enter, excited to know the results, grinning mischievously at M, like she knew something M didn't. Lexy was intrigued by that, as Kiki would be like that only when she noticed or witnessed something entertaining.

The person in the control room told everyone to hold onto their guns, and the results would be lighting on the guns. There were individuals results, and then the winning team would be announced. Everyone waited with baited breaths, looking at their guns, especially after the person said he was gonna announce who had the most kills. To their surprise, M's gun lit up in a bright red, and she looked up at the screen to see she was the only one with a headcount of five from their group. She was shocked, to say the least, as she heard the others running around and screaming more than she did, but she smiled, happy to have won something. Jungkook patted her back, and Yoongi nodded at her, before turning his attention to the next announcement.

When the category of who had the most points from kills came up, everyone looked at M who shot the most people but got surprised when they saw Yoongi's gun flare to life.

"How?" Taehyung groaned "He was the most shot and....oh" he finally realized how Yoongi got his points. He was the first one to be shot, and every time he shot someone after his time-out, his points doubled. So even with his four shots, he had a total of 8 points with M being right behind him with 6 points. Taehyung groaned once more, knowing with that point total, the red team won, sighing as he saw Kookie's points prove their team won, all three guns lighting up in a bright red.

The red team cheered, and Kookie high-fived the grinning M, and even Yoongi smiled, participating in the high-five. The blue team clapped for them, happy they won, but at the same time, preparing mentally to ask them to go for a rematch soon, not wanting to let them think they will always win. M laughed along with her teammates, before turning to her friends, going to hug the girls, and high-five the guys.

"I say that was a great game. Good plan with the baiting, Lexy. If I would have been alone, I would have been toast" M laughed, and they all immediately started talking about their other kills as they slowly exited the place, the night air greeting them, the moon glowing high in the sky as the group laughed and made for their cars.

It was time to head home, and the guys split into driving the girls home or taking Yoongi and Kookie to their dorms. They wished each other a good night and hoped this would not be the last time they would meet up like that. M sighed as she waved at the two new friends she made today, before entering Jin's car together with Lexy in the backseat, while Kiki took the passenger seat like always. She smiled at them all, her busted lip not hurting as much as before, and she made a mental note to ask when the next game was, to make sure they could all attend and cheer for the college team again, and for their friends.

Chapter Text

"Excuse me, could you help me, please?" a guy's voice came out of nowhere, deep in tone and real close to her ear. M jumped at the closeness and turned around ready to defend herself in case it was a prank, as Taehyung did try to do that once when she was distracted.

Instead, she came face to face with a boy, seemingly still a teenager, his face filled with freckles. She still wondered if she heard that deepness wrong coming from him, or she mistook it. But when he asked again, in the same tone, huskiness dripping from his mouth, she could only stare at him, not being able to believe a young kid could have such a deep voice.

"Ah, excuse me, you startled me" she finally shook herself back into reality, trying to not let him know how much his voice affected her. "How can I help?" she asked with a smile, trying not to scare him away. He probably was someone's sibling.

"I apologize, noona" he said, sending shivers down her spine with how he was addressing her, and even though she hated that term, it sounded illegal coming from him. Smiling at her, the stranger looked around, a piece of paper in his hand, and gave it to her, his eyes immediately turning into a puppy look, his lips forming a pout on his handsome face.

M felt attacked, wondering where this stranger came from, and she felt her face quickly turning red as his puppy look started working its charm on her. She took the paper, trying to stare holes into it rather than at the young boy, wondering what was wrong with her to react like that. Seeing the words 'Drama and Dance' written on the paper, she looked up at him, wanting to ask him if he meant the Theater building as that was the only part she knew they integrated both those things.

"Ah, I apologize, noona. My name is Felix" he started talking, his deep voice reached her ears again, and the term noona felt like sweet honey coming from him, rather than the teasing tone Jungkook used when addressing her like that. "I will start here next year, but they let me come in to check where each building is before going to find my dorm room, so I can get used to everything here, and we will have a dance class in summer here as well." he said, smiling happily, and she could swear, she was seeing literal rays of sunshine coming from behind him, his freckles glittering in the light.

"Oh, I see. Well, welcome to our college then. I am Micky..." she started, reaching with her hand for him to shake when suddenly she felt herself getting yanked backward, away from the golden sun named Felix.

"Noona, stay away from strangers" Jungkook's voice drifted over her head, and she felt no teasing tone attached to the words he said. M looked up at the taller boy, confused as to why he was trying to keep her away from greeting the future alumni of the college. "You never know what scam they might pull on you" he continued, stepping in front of M, glaring at Felix like he was bad news.

M sighed and stepped to his side, shaking her head at her overprotective friend.

"Sorry about that, Felix. He did not mean anything bad with that." she felt the need to apologize to this boy, almost glaring at Jungkook, hoping he would apologize as well.

"It is ok, noona. If I would study here at the moment, I would do the same. More time next year for me to do that" he teased, turning around "Thanks for trying to help me though, I will go find it myself before this guy here kills me. See you in a few months though" he waved at M, laughing and walking away from Jungkook and M.

"Stay away from that guy, noona. He seems like bad news" Jungkook immediately turned to look at M, his eyes wide and pleading. M could almost see the invisible bunny ears drooping down over his face, and his nose twitching with every second. It almost tugged at her heartstrings, until she remembered he was rude to the sweet boy who only wanted directions.

"Don't fall for him, noona. You are not allowed to do that" he continued, and that stopped her from saying or doing anything, besides laughing. She did not know if she should feel flattered he wanted to protect her from strangers, or be annoyed he was telling her what to do.

"Why?" she counter-attacked, just feeling like dragging this conversation longer, not wanting to let Jungkook know she was not planning to fall for anyone anytime soon, at least not until her heart was healed from whatever NamJoon was doing to it.

"Because..." this time, Jungkook looked nervous, looking around, trying to find a way to answer her without giving her an actual answer "Just because.Trust me!" he finally said, nodding at her like he said something sagely, and with that, he took off before she could ask him anything else. M was left there, standing in the middle of the path, wondering just what got into everyone around her these days.

Shaking her head, M went back to her spot, looking at the sky, her mind wandering to trivial stuff, like how she should finish her final paper for her project, or thinking about the summer trip, but mostly, her mind replaying the last events in her head.

'He did have a nice deep voice though' her mind provided 'deep enough to cause an earthquake' it continued, and soon she daydreamed about the golden-haired boy named Felix and all the ways he could call her noona. It was lunchtime before she finally woke up from her thoughts, sighing as she still had no idea on how to finish her papers, or how to plan anything for the trip. And now she was hungry.

'Guess it is time for lunch' she thought, looking up at the sky before actually getting up from her spot 'Hope Felix found his way around' was the last thought that crossed her mind, before going to find her friends to go eat with them before classes started for her that day.

Chapter Text

"I am fucking done with tests and morally questionable professors!" was the first thing Taehyung heard after the door slammed open, hitting the wall, and then got closed with just as much force, and he wondered if it was going to fly off its hinges. Looking up from his laptop as he was typing away on his project, he saw Lexy storming off by his opened door, before hearing the bathroom door getting slammed, and he prayed that the doors in his apartment would hold up.

He sighed and saved the project at the point he was in, getting up and slowly walking to the kitchen. He was happy he found an apartment not far from the campus, and the rent was good enough. Sometimes, they met at his apartment and ordered food or the cooks of the group cooked for them. It was bliss not hearing the non-ending parties from back at the dorm. His first year was spent partying and being social until he almost flunked the first semester. M said nothing to him, just walked to the library and picked up the books he most needed. Then, she proceeded into disciplining him on being more responsible and knowing when there was a time for partying and when not. Kiki laughed her ass off at him and Jin tried hard not to laugh as well. NamJoon told him he can do better and should not give up on his studies, and even offered to try and get him a transfer to their dorm, which was one of the quieter ones. In the end, Taehyung took M's advice and by the second semester, he got good marks, and then looked for an apartment close by. At first, he intended to get one big enough for the other guys as well, and they could split the rent monthly, but he found a one-room apartment with a kitchen and bathroom. It was decent for one person, maybe two, but the others declined his offer, each having a different reason. And when Lexy came into his life? He was more than happy he was living alone.

Preparing a cup of coffee for Lexy, he took a seat and wondered what exactly happened. He knew of just one morally questionable professor from her classes, and she always came out of that class looking disgusted, but they could never tell the dean or anyone else, as he was only talking, and not trying anything. Plus, some of the other girls ignored him as well because they wanted to get some easy marks. Taehyung thought he was going to go kill that guy if Lexy even so much mentioned he tried touching her shoulder with a stupid excuse or anything. He was still riled up from the basketball game incident every time he even thought about it or went to game practices. They had another game soon enough, the finals being in the last week of college.

Hearing noises from behind, he turned to look at his girlfriend walking towards her own seat, not saying anything, and just going straight for the coffee.

"Finally, I am done with tests" she mumbles in the coffee, not looking at him "And I just have to send in my project, and I can relax earlier than all of you" she continues talking, smiling, but her eyes looking lost in space.

"Babe, what happened?" Taehyung's deep voice brought her back to the present moment, and she blinked, trying to focus. Her expression soured and her eyes hardened as she tried thinking on how to put it without angering herself once more.

"That stupid professor hinted stuff again, and this time, he even looked me up from top to bottom while saying those things. I swear to god I am almost this close to going to jail for punching him" she grumbles, gritting her teeth, trying hard not to snap.

"Ugh, babe, I am sorry" he finally says, his large hand holding onto hers before it could snap the handle off of her coffee cup. "We could go tell the dean, or I could go 'talk' with the professor, or even the dean, we can figure it out on how to deal with him" he kept talking, standing up from his seat and walking closer to her figure, wrapping his arms around her, cocooning her from the outside world. His warmth enveloped her from all sides, her back against his chest, and slowly, her anger was dissipating from her system. Lexy could only exhale her anger out, leaning into Taehyung's embrace, closing her eyes, and just enjoying the moment, letting everything else vanish from her mind.

"I wish I could do something, but we both know we have no proof, and the dean would not listen to that much. And the other girls would never come to say it since they enjoy getting high marks for low cut shirts. Thank god, next year, I will have other subjects, and he will not be my professor anymore." Lexy finally said after a few minutes of silence.

Taehyung sighed and hugged Lexy even closer to him, wishing there could be a way for them to solve that problem. He was usually a good problem solver, but no one dared to go against that professor, some taking advantage of his leery ways. And the fact he never did something beyond saying a few out of place remarks, at least not in public, did not warrant an accusation. He wished he could make the old guy feel just as grossed out and disgusted as when he tried hitting on the girls in his classes, but there was no way of doing that. All they could do was just swallow their disgust, and continue with their lives, ignoring him until he would either retire or quit.

"How about we stay in tonight, draw a nice, relaxing bath, put on some music, order your favorite food, and relax while watching something?" Taehyung whispered in Lexy's ear, kissing her neck and nuzzling the skin there. She giggled and tried shrugging him off as it was tickling her, but she was not against the idea.

"Wait...what about your project? You have to turn it in tomorrow, are you done?" she leaned away from his kisses and tried looking at him. He froze in his actions and had a puppy dog look on his face. She knew she caught him red-handed. "Go on and finish your project, dummy. You need to turn it in or you will get a bad mark and it will screw up your final marks, and M will kick the hell out of your ass, and I will not stop her from doing so." Lexy sighed, already missing his warmth as he was standing up from their back hug. "I will call M and Kiki and we can go out somewhere, I know Kiki is free tomorrow, so we can actually go to a karaoke bar, and M probably finished her project years ago" she laughed as she got her phone, ready to call her friends.

"Ha, M has more than me to finish" Taehyung laughed as he walked away back to his project, his laptop still open and waiting for him to go back. "A few books were missing from the library for some of her points in her files, so she kept having to delay it. Maybe she has some luck today, or she is more screwed than me" he talked louder for Lexy to hear him.

Lexy could only stare angrily at the screen of her phone, where she sent a message to the group-chat they created for the girls. M's reply was stating she was free and ready to go later tonight if they had to, and she could stay out a bit. Kiki happily agreed to come to the karaoke bar, especially since they had that awesome ice-cream menu. Sighing, Lexy said nothing, waiting on how to confront M for her lies, and probably send her back to finish her project.

"Babe? I am going back to the dorm for a bit to get ready for a night out. If you are ready by ten o'clock, hit me up and you can join us. Good luck with the project. Don't forget to eat, alright?" she said in the end, not daring to go into his room and disturb him. She knew he would latch onto any excuse to postpone finishing his project and she did not want to be one of the reasons why at this moment.

"Okay, catch you later, love you" he replied not even a second later, and she smiled. He was such a cutie pie, and she felt lucky they met. He always knew how to calm her down, and while they could not do much about her situation, she was grateful he believed her and stayed by her side, always there to help her. Taehyung and the rest of their friends were always there for her. And for that, she would always thank all the deities and luck in the world.

"Now to go make sure M will not postpone her project any further" she mumbled to herself, ready to tie M down and start typing for her until she was finished. Lexy was happy M would always leave everything aside to cheer her up or help her, but at the moment, she would go momma bear on her friend and reverse-psychology her ass into studying and finishing what she started, as M would always do whenever someone from the group strayed away from their studies. It felt like that would be reason enough to forget about her anger, and it would feel like a win in her mental scores, getting M to actually listen to her about something, as she was usually stubborn, especially about NamJoon being a douche. And with that thought, Lexy went out feeling more relaxed and ready to either celebrate or kick some ass using words.

Chapter Text

"Heard you got a new admirer around campus" someone's voice entered Marie's field of concentration, breaking it, and it took her some seconds to realize the person was talking to her.

"Huh, what?" she finally looked up from the page she stuck on, blinking a few times to come back into focus from where she was currently at.

Looking up, she saw Yoongi sitting across from her, smiling just a tiny bit, and looking at her. There was no one else around, so it must have been him who talked to her, and she was confused now.

"Oh hi there, sorry, was lost in the book. What did you say?" she said, placing her pencil down, making sure her attention was on him.

"Hello. Did not mean to disturb" he finally said, and she shook her head, smiling. It was refreshing for her eyes and mind to stop reading for even one minute, and she immediately relaxed. "Jungkook told us yesterday a funny story about a new fan you acquired." he said again, mischief hanging onto his voice, and she looked at him, wondering if either of the other boys swapped bodies with him.

"Yesterday?" M had to think really hard about what he was talking about until something clicked in her mind. "Ah, you mean Felix?" she asked, and he seemed to be frowning just the tiniest bit. "Haha, not really, he was lost and asked for directions, but he seemed like a nice person" she continued, shrugging at it did not seem like such a big deal to her. Jungkook's reaction to that situation did seem a bit over the top, but in the end, she put it as him being protective of his injured friend.

"First name basis already?" he asked, one of his eyebrows lifted.

"Huh? Ah, yeah, I guess? He will start college in autumn here, in Jin and Kiki's department" M replied, not really paying attention to what he was asking or his expression. Her mind was going at top speed on what she just read, wondering how to put it in her project without copying it word by word from the book.

"Are you ok?" Yoongi asked in the end, seeing M getting lost in space again, mumbling most of her replies towards him.

"Huh? Oh, I am sorry" M said in the end, sighing. "I just crammed three months of an unfinished project into one day, as I could not find some books I needed until now. Guess you could say my brain is all fried" she laughed at herself, her body finally catching up to the mental tiredness, and she let her head fall onto the books in front of her.

"Do you need help?" he asked, and M snapped back to her senses. "I may not know much about psychology, but I could at least find some things you need from the books and maybe point them out to you?" he shrugged, and she felt tempted enough to accept his offer. In the end, she could not accept it.

"As much as that sounds nice, it feels like cheating." she said, crying mentally at how much work she still had to do.

"Ok, I understand. Anything else I can do? Tea maybe? Did you even eat today?" he asked, worried as he finally looked over her pale face, sunken eyes and he almost could see her spirit leaving her body as she opened her book once more, ready to tackle what she needed.

M looked up at him like a deer caught in the headlights, not knowing how she could actually answer him. She could lie and he might be annoyed with her if he actually somehow managed to guess she lied, or she could tell the truth, and he would be angry with her for skipping all the meals. It was almost evening, and she only munched on some crackers. Those counted as food, right?

Yoongi's eyes were almost blazing fire when she looked at him, and she knew, either way, she was screwed. She shook her head and just tried going back to writing her ideas on the scrap paper in front of her. Before she could finish writing a sentence, a hand stopped hers, taking the pencil out of her hand, and closing the opened books. Looking up, Yoongi was not even looking at her and took her hand, not even having to drag her as her body was grateful she finally got up from that position.

"Don't even think about saying no, we are going to get you a tea and some sandwiches at least. Afterward, I assume you have not typed anything from today on your laptop, right?" he asked and she could only whisper a tiny 'no' before they reached the small bar at the entrance of the library. Whatever it was, this mood of his did not scare her or angered her. She knew he was worried about her, especially since she still had some marks from the ball accident on her face, and he probably still felt guilty over that incident. But this side of him was endearing, at least in her eyes. He really was not a cold person, as those people said about him. He was showing he cared in his own way.

"...when we get back, I will type out what you have written so far, then you can check it at the end, and at least you will be done before tomorrow morning. And it does not count as cheating, as I only type what you already looked up and researched and put into your own words. Deal?" he asked her, snapping her out of her thoughts, having missed the beginning of what he said. She felt just too embarrassed to ask him about that missing portion, so she just nodded, and kept eating her sandwich. In the end, he was her salvation, and she could actually keep her word and maybe finish in time to go with the girls out. M could only smile at the thought of having such great friends and making new friends who are just as great.

Two hours later, M groaned as she finally closed the last book in front of her, placing down the pencil and stretching, her back cramping as she tried sitting straight. Yoongi was still typing away at the laptop, already on her last written page, his eyes skimming over what he was writing. Before he could finish, she stood up, going to get him some coffee as a small thank you for today, at least. Standing in front of the machine, she wondered what type he would like, sighing at herself for not asking, and then deciding randomly on something, hoping she made the right choice. Going back, she placed the cup next to the laptop, and he only looked at her for a split second before going back to typing. She could only watch his fingers fly over the keyboard like he was playing a complicated piano melody. M wondered if he ever played the piano, as he did seem to have that inner tranquility needed to play, not like she knew much about instrument players. But his composure and personality seemed suitable for him learning an instrument, and she thought his fingers belonged to a pianist.

Before she could let her mind stray down to imagination town, where pianist Min Yoongi appeared in front of her, smiling and getting ready to play a song at the classic black piano the theater owned, a cough brought her back to reality. Yoongi was stretching as well, before reaching for the cup of coffee, turning the laptop back her way so she could analyze what was written there and if it needed editing or not. She nodded and started reading it, skimming over the first five pages of what she wrote before today. Word by word, she repeated everything she read in her head, already engrossed in the subject, typing and adding more where she considered it was needed, or even deleting entire lines as it seemed like she just copied everything. Everything in her mind shifted from daydreaming to serious in under a second, and nothing deterred her from finishing this before ten. Not even the rain she was hearing as background music as she was going over the document. By the time she finished everything, another hour has passed, and the rain was just pitter-pattering on the cement now, just a lullaby in the library.

"Oh it rained!" she finally noticed, turning around to see Yoongi nowhere in sight. "Oh..." she exhaled, thinking he probably got bored, or he might have said something and she ignored him, and he left. And now, although she felt happy she finished everything in time, she felt sad he was actually gone and she could not even thank him properly. Saving her project, she went over to the printer at the desk in the corner, turning it on so she can get her files printed. In the meantime, her eyes did another sweep of the library, looking for Yoongi, feeling dejected as the silence settled over the empty room. Not even the librarian was around, and she could only watch the shadows on the wall as she waited for her papers to print. Remembering her books and the fact that she has to go turn them back in, she turned to the table, noticing only her papers, neatly stacked close to the laptop, and her stuff. No books in sight. And now, she felt even worse as she realized he turned the books in for her, and she could not even say goodbye as he left.

The printer spat out the last paper she needed, and she mentally thanked it, not wanting it to get mad at her next time she needed it, and she walked to her seat, getting her bag ready, tucking the project in the waterproof pocket. Now she just had to put them nicely together in a binder, and hope for the best with her research and conclusions.

"Ready to go?" Yoongi's voice came from behind her and she jumped, startled by his voice, as she did not hear him walking.

"My god, I think I don't need any caffeine after that to not fall asleep" she laughed at herself, and turned to Yoongi, getting her bag ready after she placed her laptop in as well. "Yoongi," she said, drawing his attention to her "Thank you for today. I owe you one."

He seemed taken aback, not knowing exactly how to answer. In the end, he just shrugged, one hand in his pocket, the other scratching behind his head.

"No problem really. Now let's get you home before you starve to death" he said, turning around, expecting her to follow, and M got the message loud and clear. Although she was expecting them to get a taxi or walk until the dorm she was at or somewhere close, not what she saw in front of her.

There, in front of the library, was parked a red moped, and Yoongi was walking towards it. She did not know how to react to this. On one hand, it was a moped, on the other hand, it was red. Somehow, neither seemed to scream 'Yoongi', so she could only stare at it. After he took the helmet from the seat, he handed it to her, frozen on the spot.

"Ah, easier to get around on campus with this. My older brother lent it to me while at college" he explained, looking slightly down, ears turning just slightly red.

"Oh, oh no. I was just a bit shocked such a cute color could go so well with you" M finally said, chuckling as she took the helmet, putting it on. "Gotta warn you though, I have no idea if that can handle both of us, and I can't ride it to save my life" she laughed, trying to shoo away the awkwardness. Yoongi only turned towards her, smirking.

"Scared?" his gummies flashed for barely a second, finding the situation funny, and M felt like she was back in high school, playing Dare and Dare. She could never say no to dares. Unless it was beyond her moral and ethical reasoning. And this was not.

"Nope" she whispered, trying hard to look brave.

"No worries, you will not have to ride it. And it can handle both of us. It was built for endurance, not for speed. Did tons of deliveries with it" he said, not understanding exactly what she was referring to.

"No delivery weighs as much as me" she mumbled under her breath, flashes of people telling her about how her body should not look like that, how boys laughed at her not being the ideal weight type. But she did not want to bum herself tonight or make Yoongi feel bad. She just hoped and prayed the moped would not break down after they start riding away.

"Come on, don't be afraid. Just hold onto me" he said, encouraging her to sit behind him, showing her where to place her arms.

She was a tomato by the time they took off, hiding her face in his back as he was laughing at her. M was not afraid of the moped ride, she was just scared it would break down, and then he would know why, and he would look at her just like many others before him. But the moped never broke down, and Yoongi never said anything as she sometimes tugged at his shirt every time they hit a speed bump on the road, and she would just have to cling closer to him. By the time her thoughts could catch up to the road, the moped stopped, and there was still silence between them.

"I am sorry" was the first thing Yoongi said, snapping M out of her thoughts. She could only look at the back of his head.

"I should have not made you ride with me. We could have just walked or..." but he stopped talking, her arms tightening around his torso.

"No!" she interrupted him. "It was actually really nice. I was not scared of this...I was just scared it might break down" she said, and he wanted to reassure it was just freshly tested and it was working ok. "...because of me" she mumbled, but he was close enough to actually hear.

Yoongi was shocked, and he wanted to say something, but what could he say that she would actually listen to? In the end, he put his hand over her clasped ones, squeezing them.

"I don't know who put those stupid thoughts in your head, but believe me, you could never make it break down, unless you started hitting it with a sledgehammer, which I hope will never come down to it" he laughed, looking up at the sky. He was not the best at comforting people, and between the two, she was supposed to know what to say better than him. He felt out of his element, but he did not want her to think so low of herself. It hurt him seeing such a bright person dimming her own worth because of some stupid people and their worthless opinion.

"...thank you... for everything today" she whispered into his back, before leaning away, taking her helmet off. She got off, placing the helmet into his hands, not daring to look at him. What else could she say without maybe wanting to cry? "Thank you again." she said, feeling like she could say it endlessly, her heart beating a tiny bit more excited, feeling lighter at the thought he would not think of her like that. Her friends really were the most amazing people she met, and she was happy for having them in her life.

"Yo, M, watcha up to?" Lexy's voice traveled from across the street, and M looked up to see her running towards their spot.

"Well, seems like it is time to go and make sure she will not drink the bar dry" M laughed, forgetting Yoongi does not know Lexy has a high alcohol tolerance, and before he could comment, she turns from him, getting ready to greet her friend. "Ah, thanks again, and drive safely. Good night" she says finally, before running to her friend, laughing as the red-haired woman swatted her arms away from trying to hug her, clearly upset with something.

Before he could see how the situation develops, Yoongi sighs, placing the helmet on his own head, thinking he should maybe get a spare, in case one of his friends could need rides like this again. Leaving the street of the dorms, he was smiling as he was heading home, feeling happier than usual, somehow grateful for Taehyung having introduced, even by force, such a diverse palette of people in his life. He felt like the next days, weeks, and months that would follow in their company will only make his life more colorful and happier. Somehow, he was not against it. And he made a mental note to buy Taehyung more hot chocolate as thanks from now on whenever they met.

Chapter Text

"So, you wanna explain what you were doing with Yoongi on that moped instead of finishing your project?" Lexy questioned M, frowning for a few seconds as she looked at her friend, before the expression melting into an excited one "But oh my god, tell me everything, how did this happen?"

M could only look confused at the rapid shift of expressions, amused at how animated she was at wanting to know all the details.

"I finished my project. We were just coming from the library just now" M explained, walking to their dorm, ready to grab a bite to eat and then change to go out with Lexy and Kiki.

"Wait, wait...you were both at the library...together?" Lexy's eyes sparkled with excitement, her phone vibrating with every message she got from Kiki after she told their friend about what she just saw. Her smile grew wider, grinning now as she thought about what could have conspired and how they could have gotten closer. Her initial plan was for Kookie to capture M's attention away from NamJoon, as he was well built and social, and cute, but she was not going to be against Yoongi either. He was a good person, and well-intended, and helped a lot since they first met. The only problem was both M and Yoongi took everything slow, especially when it came to emotions. She did not need to be in psychology classes to notice that. Also, the laser tag game proved it. Kookie rushed in, shooting and running, and those two had strategies and sneaked around, not going in head first to win the match. As a team, Lexy knew they would be good strategists, and they would come up with awesome plans, but as a couple? Yes, they would be a great couple, but it would take them years to get together.

At that thought, Lexy deadpanned and stopped walking, looking at M's back. If they wanted to go at a snail's pace, then she would just have to help them go faster. It was her turn to play Cupid now that M found a good match. Of course, she already knew of at least three people who would agree to her plans. She wanted to laugh, but seeing M already entering the dorm, she forfeits that and runs after her. Lexy still wanted to know all the details of what happened and how it resulted in a moped ride. The mental image would never leave her now, at least until she found them doing something even cuter than this.

"Hey, wait up, M!" Lexy screamed after her friend, running up the stairs to catch up. She saw the door to M's room open and she immediately entered, just a tiny bit out of breath after running. "Come on, I want to go out drinking, not running" Lexy exclaimed, sitting down and stretching as she watched M bring some rice out to eat with some chicken. "Don't tell me you did not eat anything today?" she asked, frowning once more at her friend.

"Sowwy" M tried talking, swallowing quickly to not choke while chewing and talking. "Sorry, I started really early just to finish my project, and time flew by, and haha...you know me" she continued, placing down her bowl of rice, reaching for some pickled ginger to add to the flavor. Lexy could only frown at the combination M was doing, before taking out her phone to check what Kiki wrote to her.

"It is ok. You eat, we can talk about that after you finish. Kiki is on her way as well" the red-haired said, getting up from her seat. "I will head to my room to change. I hope by the time I get back, you both are ready to go out and have fun, and that you will spill everything" and with that said, Lexy walked out the door, leaving M to finish eating and look after her confused, as to what 'everything' she had to spill.

Enjoying the silence, M went back to eating her food, eyes focused on one spot on the wall, her mind running around through different thoughts. There was one more month until this year was done, their year theoretically was done with projects and exams. This last project took about one week to be marked by the professor, and depending on the marks, he would either give them an exam to better their marks or just wait for some students to ask for a chance to better it themselves. Meaning, she had one month to get her next years' list of books ready, so she knew what she would need to buy or get from the library, and what she could read as summer vacation hits. She also wanted to go visit her hometown and maybe spend some time with her family, before coming back a few weeks earlier than the new college year starts, so she can get her room in order. Before her mind could go into deeper subjects, or make other plans, the door opened, and she came back to reality to see Kiki sit in front of her.

"Hey M" she said, sighing as she looked her up and down like she was searching for something different on her.

"Hey Kiki" M replied, chewing and watching Kiki until she decided on what to say.

"Sooooooo, a little birdie told me something interesting" Kiki finally said, mischief was written all over her face, and M knew it was going to be a long night. She was just happy she had afternoon classes, she just had to wake up before ten in the morning to send in the project.

"Well, you will have to wait for said birdie to appear as I will not be repeating myself twice" M said, standing up to go wash her now-empty food bowl. Kiki pouted, but complied, tapping her fingers on the table, humming a song she learned in class. Before either could say or do anything, the door opened once more, and in strutted Lexy, changed and ready to party.

"What the...?M, did I not tell you to be ready to party by the time I come back? Hey Kiki!" Lexy shifted quickly between being annoyed and quickly hugging Kiki.

"Wait, wait. Before that though! Spill the juice!" Kiki exclaimed, clearly ready to tackle M until she said everything.

M could only sigh and go back to her seat, feeling like this would be best told with a shot of alcohol in her hands. She already an inkling of what path her friends would go on after she finishes her story, and honestly, it did not bother her much, it just confused her as to why they would ship her with every guy she came in contact with.

After Kiki witnessed Kookie protecting her at laser tag, it took about a week to make her stop planning on how to keep crossing his path. He always seemed excited to see them, but he was talking so much about the upcoming basketball game and how Yoongi would plan their defense and attacks, and how Yoongi taught him a few new moves and so on, even Kiki felt dejected. Of course, she still admitted he was looking fine even while rambling on about sports, a thought M reciprocated. Kookie was a good guy, but when it came to his team, he was ready to ramble on about it like a proud momma duck, which all three girls found endearing.

When she met Felix and the girls found out, just based on her description of him, they already considered him cute and told her that next year, she better bring him so they can meet him. M half-heartedly agreed, afraid they would scare the poor boy away, but it only took one day for the girls to switch from talking about Felix to planning for the summer vacation.

And now, they had their eyes set on Yoongi. M knew this was going to be a long period of them trying different tactics. Honestly, she was intrigued by what their minds could come up with. At the same time, she was scared of what their minds could concoct. And all because they wanted to see her happy, in love, and have double and triple dates together.

"So, what basically happened was we met at the library, he helped me with my project, by typing what I had written already, not by cheating, before you comment on that, and at the end, he offered to bring me to the dorms. End of story" M did a quick recap, ready to get up and get changed.

The two girls in front of her blinked a few times, before squealing at the same time, and M wondered if they had it rehearsed, as they were in perfect pitch and tune.

"Omg, he helped you?! What did you talk about while doing that? How was the ride home?!" they continued asking M, overlapping each other with squeals of joy.

"We did not talk...much" M said, and suddenly there was silence in the room. Her two friends were frozen in their happy dance, and they both turned at the same time to look at M, their eyes screaming disappointment.

"You mean you spent hours with Yoongi, and you both just said nothing?" Kiki was the first to talk, and her eyes were wide with mock surprise, wondering where exactly did they go wrong into telling M she needs to talk more with cute guys.

"Well, I don't know how you two would have acted, I just wanted to, you know, finish my project" M said, feeling another sigh trying to escape her.

"Which, by the way, how come you left it to the last day?" Lexy suddenly remembered why she was annoyed with M from the beginning. "You always tell us we need to start early so we do not have much left for the last day" she continued, trying to turn the tables on M.

"Well, the books were loaned out and I could not find them anywhere else, so by some dumb luck, they became available only yesterday evening. I did a bit of skimming over them then but decided it was best to get some rest, then cram the books today, and write my project." M said, not really bothered by the fact she had to read through 6 books and write from them at the same time. It was not the first time she did, it would not be the last. She was lucky she did almost half of the project before today, from the sources and books she could find. "Guess I could have finished by tomorrow morning, but thankfully, Yoongi saved me from a sleepless night" she shrugged at her two friends.

"So, do tell me, why did you say you could make it to the bar tonight?" Lexy immediately asked.

"Ah that...I overestimated how much I had to do, also my brain is usually tuned to saying yes when it comes to you asking things" M laughed, just a tiny bit embarrassed.

"So does that mean if we ask you to go ask Yoongi out, you will say yes?" Kiki immediately asked, grinning.

"No" M replied, not even missing a beat, and both her friends pouted at the clear rejection.

"But you just said..." Kiki kept pouting, trying to win her argument using puppy dog eyes.

"When it comes to normal requests like drinking, going out, shopping, and others like that. Also, those puppy eyes do not work on me at the moment" M said, sticking her tongue out at her taller friend. Kiki could only continue pouting, crossing her arms. She was clearly defeated at this moment, but she was not ready to give up the battle.

"If this conversation is done, I am going to change. Guess we all deserve some good ice-cream, some good songs, and then a glass of something strong to knock us out" M laughed as she went to change, leaving the two girls in her room to continue planning in a hushed conversation.

M knew this was not the last time she heard from them on this subject, but said nothing. They could not force either her or Yoongi to do anything. And as far as Yoongi went, she wondered how she should thank him, feeling like that measly cup of coffee was not enough. While changing in the bathroom, she looked in the mirror, her fingers tracing the now barely visible marks she had on her cheeks from that ball incident, and somehow, she felt better about herself. It could have been the food she finally had, the two friends' energy getting to her, the idea of going out and just having fun, the relief she finished her project or even that little talk she had with Yoongi in front of her dorm. Whatever it was, she was grateful for it. And because of that, nothing could put her down tonight, not even the girls trying to play Cupid with her.

Chapter Text

"Hey sweetie, what's going on?" Jin asked as he sat next to Kiki in the booth. Taehyung already arrived and was talking to M, while Lexy was looking around for songs.

"Lexy chose the randomizer to make it more fun, and now she is adding songs to that random list. Be prepared to suffer" Kiki said, chuckling as Lexy kept looking back at everyone and grinning devilishly. "I have a feeling we will get tons of rock music" she sighed, wanting to ask Lexy to at least put some musical songs in there as well, so she could rehearse while having fun.

"Done!" Lexy said, grinning as she gave the mic to M, prompting her to get up from her seat next to Taehyung and get ready to sing. The moment M saw what song it was, she sighed and reached for her glass of whiskey.

'My heart will go on' by Celine Dion flashed in front of her eyes, and M wondered if she could just mumble through the song. It wasn't like she did not like it, but she never was good enough at singing.

"Go on, sing your heart out, M" Kiki cheered her on, trying not to cringe when the first notes came and M missed them all. She did warn everyone she was tone-deaf the first time they went to the karaoke bar, and Kiki wanted her to have fun. Just the musical geek in her wanted to give M all the vocal lessons she needed.

Jin smiled, holding onto Kiki's hand, both listening to how M went either too high or low on some beats, sometimes being in tune with the music. He could only clap enthusiastically for her when she finished, glad she seemed to get into the song the last half of the song. Seeing Taehyung get up next, he started laughing when the deep-voiced baritone got 'Karamelldansen' as the song he had to sing. Taehyung did not seem bothered by it, shrugging and immediately getting into the groove of the song, dancing and jumping around, singing along to the foreign lyrics, even if he could not say them correctly. He really was a mood maker, and everyone at the table joined him in singing soon enough and doing the bunny ears.

"Awww, you know who would have been great at this song?" Kiki asked, loud enough for everyone to hear, and Jin looked curious about what she had in mind.

"Kookie!!" Lexy shouted, laughing at the same time as Kiki, answering correctly. Jin had to agree with them and he started chuckling at the image of the buff boy jump around while dancing with his hands making bunny ears on top of his head. It was hilarious to everyone there, even Taehyung had to stop singing so he could laugh at the mental image he had, especially after he tried saying Yoongi should join him. That scored him a lower score than M, but he did not mind. He was already planning on getting his two teammates to come next time to karaoke as well, just to witness that.

Kiki got up from her seat, ready to take the mic when she noticed it was a song perfect for a duet, she grinned, and still holding onto Jin's hand, she dragged him to the front. It was their time to shine. It might not have been their couple song, but it still was a cute song to duet to.

'Perfect Two' by Auburn flashed on the screen, and M sighed. This was gonna be top sugary quality, and the moment the song started, they went into designated places, looking like they rehearsed it for a long time. Honestly, they probably did. But it was still nice to see them relax from their running around for perfect acting and singing, that M could not blame them for being over the top sugary and cutesy when they started singing.

Jin goofed around, sometimes trying to sing deeper than he could, entertaining the ones at the table, his eyes never leaving Kiki. He loved making her laugh, so if she missed a beat to laugh at him being goofy, it was a win in his book. She lit up as she sang along, sometimes joining him at his parts, and he could not stop himself from twirling her around whenever she approached him, somehow fitting the lyrics. He knew the lyrics could not be further from the truth, and one day, when all this was over, and they both had their life in order, he was going to let her know she was the other half of his, the side that completes him. And through this cutesy song, he tried putting his emotions into the lyrics, conveying it through his eyes, his fingers never letting go of her hand.

When the song was over, Kiki squealed as they got the highest score yet, even though they goofed around, jumping into his arms for a hug, kissing his cheek. The others booed them away from the stage so Lexy could get her turn, laughing as Kiki just blew them kisses and Jin carried her back to their seats.

Lexy could only groan as she saw the song that came on the screen, and M laughed her ass off as the title of the song flashed on the screen.

'Gangnam Style' started playing and Lexy could only close her eyes, wishing for the torture to be over with already. She mumbled through most of the song, doing the dance moves, rocking her head to the beat, giggling as finally, the song warmed up to her ears. It wasn't like she hated the song, but it was just the overplaying of it when it came out that made it annoying. And the fact she did not know all the lyrics. But that did not mean she could not dance to it, and have fun. She jumped all over the place, screaming 'hey, sexy lady' over the music of the song, knowing full well it was wrong. At the end of the song, the scoreboard told her she had a higher score than Tae, who could not finish his song due to his laughter.

In the end, they all cheered for her, Tae even whistling as she came back to sit next to him, and the next two hours were spent going through silly or romantic songs. M even made Tae sing a duet with her, to the chagrin of everyone around. The tone-deaf with the skilled baritone who could turn childish in a second. It was a fiasco and they pleaded with both of them to never do it again, especially not to a Queen song. The highest score was won by Kiki who did a great rendition of Beyonce's 'Halo', dedicating it to Jin, who blew her kisses throughout the performance.

When they got ready to leave, Lexy was still asking for more time, to stay and drink some more, as she still had to celebrate the end of her exams. Taehyung and M convinced her there was always another week or even weekend to celebrate tons of reasons, as they had to wake up early to send in their projects, and not miss the deadline. And then, he had to go do a mock basketball match with his team to prepare for this weekend's game.

Jin and Kiki waved at the three who got in Tae's car, being left alone now. He held onto her hand, pointing her in the direction of his parked car.

"Well, that was fun." he said, bringing their intertwined hands to kiss hers "thanks for the dedication, though between us two, I think you are the angel here" he smiles at her, enjoying the way she still blushed every time he complimented her.

They were childhood friends, they grew up together, went to the same schools together, and even got into the same classes. They had the same hobbies and likes, and somehow, it was understandable they would end up together in the end. But both of them were scared to take that one step, and it took M to open up both their eyes about their mutual feelings for each other. He was glad she did so, otherwise who knows if he could still have these moments with Kiki, where they could just be silent and walk around slowly, enjoying the night sky. It was not much, but both appreciated the moment, especially after all the fun they had inside, laughing until tears came out, dancing, and singing their hearts out.

"You know, I hope one day M will be just as happy with someone as we are" Jin broke the silence, his eyes still glued to the sky. He felt like he had to say that, especially with how recent events played out.

"Maybe it will happen sooner than we think." Kiki said, looking at the same sky as him, understanding just what he meant.

Jin stopped walking to look at her, and she came back from her thoughts when their linked hands brought her walk to an abrupt stop.

"What do you mean? I hope it is not NamJoon..." he started saying, and Kiki shook her head, cutting him off.

"Nah. We both know his chances of actually getting her now are as slim as M becoming a great singer overnight" she said, looking up at him. "Trust me, this person is much better suited for her, and she for him" Kiki continued, stepping closer to him to wrap her arms around him. His wide shoulders sagged in relief with hearing that, not wanting to tell Kiki just how much he hated the idea of NamJoon going for M, especially after his 'group project chat'.

He wrapped his arms around her tiny person, bringing her closer to him. Her ears were on his chest, listening to his heartbeat, still skipping a beat every time she was near him, even after so many years, until it calmed down as her fragrance surrounded him. He would not mind falling asleep to her holding onto him like this, and then waking up to her head resting on his chest, no matter if she had bed hair or not. One thing he was sure of, no matter how much time passed, she will always be beautiful, smart, perfect. She will always be his.

"It's Yoongi, isn't it?" he finally asked after a few moments of silence, surprising Kiki with how he knew. "Honestly, who else is single in our group of friends, that would actually match her? Kookie is a great person, but he loves sports so much, he would never look for someone, unless they were a fellow sports lover." he continued, laughing as he imagined the youngest of their friends trying to wake up M to go for an early jog at six in the morning.

'She would kill him' he thought as he could already see her glare before she would shut and lock the door in his face.

"I am sure they would have made it work somehow." Kiki said, shrugging, knowing that in another universe, that ship would have sailed already and M would be dating Kookie as soon as they met. But that was for other universes, not here.

"Maybe. Now, come on, time to take you off, so you can rest. Tomorrow I am kidnapping you to go to that musical you wanted to see so badly" he said, grinning as her face lit up with childish excitement. He loved seeing her so happy, that her eyes would outshine any star in the sky. Who needed to watch the stars, when he could just look into her eyes every time she was happy, no matter if it was day or night?

"YES!!! Let's go!" this time it was her turn to drag him to the car, him laughing as he let her drag him, enjoying every moment. "Tomorrow will be so much fun. We need to dress up nicely and get there earlier. I heard the theater had a new drink out to enjoy, and I want to try it!" she chattered excitedly and he nodded, turning the ignition on after they both buckled the seatbelts.

"Anything my princess wishes." he says, chuckling as she smacked his leg playfully.

"If I am a princess, does that make you my knight in shining armor or my butler?" she asked teasingly.

"I assume that makes me the ruler of your heart, the prince on a white horse who you were waiting for." he said, dramatically clasping his hand to his chest, putting what he learned from class to use.

She snorted at his silliness, and he blew her a kiss before going out of the parking lot to go to the dorm rooms. As he was driving along the road, he extended his right hand towards her, her cue to place her hand in his. He smiled as he felt the warmth of her hand in his, tightening his hold on her hand, driving slowly to extend the moment before she had to leave his car. Nothing topped having her around him. And he knew one day, there will be a time where they would use the same house, not only the same car, and they would always be together. Until that day, he was satisfied with driving her around, making sure that smile never left her face, and always holding her hand to make sure she could never get separated from him.

Chapter Text

"Did you hear THAT professor will retire when this school year is done? He could have done at least another five years before officially retiring" a random student near M's table kept talking. She was back in the library, looking for some books for next year and also for the summer vacation list.

The way they emphasized the word ' that' made her think it was probably one of those problematic professors that everyone kept praying they would quit or retire. But taking into account they did not have many at a close age for retiring, she stopped to wonder if it was the one professor Lexy despised. Opening one of the books she got, M tried reading it, but her brain tried concentrating on the conversation next to her table, in case she got more clues about who it was. But the students started whispering amongst themselves, and M wanted to turn around and tell them to continue their info dump once they said that loud enough for everyone to hear.

"Whatcha thinking about?" came someone's voice and she looked up from her book, frown still in place. "Whoa, how did that book offend you?" a chuckle accompanied the question.

M looked at NamJoon as he sat in front of her, waiting for her to say anything. She closed the book as not even one word glued itself to her brain and wondered if she should tell him what she heard or not.

"Yep, all the words inside screamed at me that summer is coming and I should not be reading anymore. Imagine that, me without a book?" she giggled, placing the book next to the others on the table.

"The world would end" he replied, grinning, his dimples deepening. "But really, why did you frown? Everything ok?" he asked once more, his grin disappearing and looking at her up and down to make sure nothing was out of place, especially since it was about two weeks since the entire group saw each other. Even when they got together for the karaoke night, he had to stay behind to study for his last exam the next day.

"Oh? Oh yeah, I was just thinking about something" M said, looking around before leaning closer to him, beckoning him closer as well. Her cheeks colored red just a tiny bit, but she ignored it, whispering about what she just heard, telling him about her thoughts on the subject.

"Ah, that? Yeah, I know. Guess the talk I had with the dean worked" he said nonchalantly after she finished saying what was on her mind, and leaned back like he did not just dump a great piece of information on her. M resembled a fish stuck on land, her mouth opening, trying to use words to say something, and then closing as the words jumbled and got stuck on their way out.

"You WHAT?!" she whispered shouted, her eyes growing as big as dinner plates, and her face paled.

"Oh, I know that face. Don't worry, I will not get into trouble" he continued, nodding to the exit, letting her know they should take this talk outside. She nodded, and immediately got up, going to the checkout desk to get those books on her table. It took her only two minutes to be finished, then hurried to the exit, looking around anxiously for NamJoon. He was waiting by a bench, smiling at her the moment he saw her hurrying to his spot.

"My god, NamJoon. Are you crazy? What did you do?" she immediately asked, not letting him explain anything, worry overtaking her mind. She knew he was in the journalism course, but one wrong move, and he could be expelled, or worse, sent to prison.

"Relax. I did not go around, digging for dirt or anything. This year, the professor went a little to knee-deep in his 'words of advice' to young girls. After Tae told me about Lexy's last encounter with the dude, I wanted to snoop around a bit to see if anyone else felt the same and if anything could be done" he said, shrugging like it was something normal that everyone would do.

"Before I could even get to enquire around, suddenly a door burst open and a girl ran out, the professor right behind her. I don't know what happened, as neither said anything. The girl simply left, and he became paler than how he was, probably thinking I saw something I should not see. He even dared to tell me to not say a thing to anyone. I took his advice, kept quiet around him, and went straight to the dean, telling him what happened. Of course, I told him about all the other rumors that go around the campus, presented him the evidence on how the professor might be getting slightly older for teaching, maybe going a bit too far with what he was saying to his students, and how that could affect the name of our college and any other investing or new students signing in at the college. And soon afterward, this news came out, so I guess he put everything into balance and the school was more important" he finished, M too shocked to say anything or interrupt him from what he was telling her.

"I know in the end it was not my detective skills that solved everything, but at least, starting next year, he will not be around to harass girls anymore" he continued, a tiny smile appearing on his face as he looked at the pavement. "I am just sorry I could not do it earlier so Lexy could not go through that two years in a row".

"You did great, Joonie" M said, placing her hand onto his knee, looking at him with a smile. "And even if you say it was only dumb luck, I think it was your bravery and intelligence. Even if you did go to the dean just to tell him about what you saw, without actually knowing what to say, it would have amounted to nothing. So, it was all of you and luck helped just a tiny bit. You will make a great detective journalist one day" she continued, already imagining him trying to solve all kinds of problems, exposing the truth one at a time.

NamJoon smiled back at her, placing his hand over hers, squeezing it a tiny bit, before standing up, her hand still in his.

"Now come on, miss therapist. Don't say it like you will not be around to witness all that. Who do you think will help me with cracking the cases? You have to be around and get a read on all the people around me, and then help me with deductions and psycho-analysis" he smiled, his hand reaching for her hair, ruffling it.

M could only pout at him, making him laugh before she remembered there was a basketball game this week, the last one before the final match, and the end of the college year. She looked up at him, excited to ask him if he wanted to come as well, as the others in the group already said yes, formulating a plan on how to let Lexy know as well on what he did.

"Right! This Saturday, our basketball team has another match. If they win, they will go to the finals one week before the summer vacation. Are you free to come? Everyone will be there!" she said, looking at him with a pleading gaze, hoping he would say yes.

NamJoon let go of her hand, looking pensive a tiny bit too long, and she tried her last tactic, her puppy dog eyes coupled with a slight whine, tilting her head to one side, her hands brought close to her face, closed into almost fists. He snorted at her trying to be cute tactic, denying it actually worked for him, pretending it did not affect him.

'She knows how to be cute when she wants really get something' he thinks, chuckling.

"Ok ok, I have the time. You just have to tell me when to be there. Now stop pouting, people will think you are a cute dog and they might try to steal you away" he laughs, poking her cheek as she just jumped around, cheering that her tactic worked.

He could only shake his head as she continued like that for a few seconds, remembering he actually got up to go have some lunch, and before she could notice him moving, he wrapped his arm around her shoulders, stopping her every movement, and started walking with her in the direction of the cafeteria. M could only look confused at him, asking where they are headed.

"Well, you need to eat something, or you will have a headache from all the energy you have at the moment. Also nothing sweet for you, you are too hyped up" he laughed at M, knowing fully well he would pretend not to notice his cookie or muffin disappearing from his tray if she actually wanted it.

Walking like that towards the cafeteria, they talked about how their exams and projects went and what they missed during the weeks they all went into solitary confinement to study. NamJoon felt great, knowing his exams went well, the group project was completed and he was proud of how it worked out, and now that his best friend was by his side, it felt like all that heavyweight from the weeks of studying and being away from everything just disappeared. He could only hope it would always be like that.

Chapter Text

"Don't tell me you thought we would not pick you up?" Tae shouted as M exited her dorm building. Lexy and Kookie were already in the car, and she wondered when did that happen as Lexy was in the dorm with her until an hour ago.

Waving at them, she walked to the car, getting in the backseat with Kookie, who demanded a high-five, Lexy grinning at her from the passenger seat.

"Are we going to pick anyone else?" M asked, buckling herself in, grinning as Kookie kept trying to poke her sides, swatting his hands away every time.

"Nah, Jin and Kiki are going to pick Yoongi and Joon, as they are in the same dorm, and then we are on the way to the stadium. You girls better get ready to scream your lungs out for us, ok?" Tae asked, looking in the rearview mirror at M with a grin. She gave him the ok, before turning to look at Kookie.

"Nervous?" she asked as she saw him keep tapping his knee, and he shrugged, not really answering. Before the car actually managed to get to its destination, M managed into making Kookie laughing for a total of five times, either by saying really bad jokes in a funny way or by trying to start a tickle fight. By the time the car stopped, Kookie came out confident he would score the most points, and M was crying, all red in the face, from laughing too much as he usually won the tickle fights.

"We'll see you inside, ok, girls? We need to get changed. You can choose the seats you want before anyone else gets here, ok?" Tae shouts as he runs after Kookie, trying to jump on his back for a piggyback, which he never got.

"Hehe, I got banners," Lexy said, proud of her work, and she showed M her three banners, one for each girl. M grinned, giving her a thumbs-up, taking her own banner, noticing a little 'Y3' in the corner of the banner. She did not need to ask what that was, as she could see from Lexy's own 'T5' and Kiki's 'K7' what it means. Each banner was created with one guy in mind, and M shook her head, wondering why she could not just put their names on there, or the jersey numbers.

"Hey girls! Ready to cheer our team?" Kiki's voice drifted from the other side of the parking lot and the two girls waved her over, Lexy presenting her the banner. Jin immediately noticed the K7 on the banner and looked at Lexy with a questioning look, but she just shrugged.

"Hey Yoongi, go win that game" Lexy said, winking at the guy slowly making his way to change. He sighed and waved at them, looking slightly tired as he barely walked like a human being, more like a zombie.

The girls immediately turned to look at M suspiciously, and she could only shrug, as she had no idea why he was tired, as they barely talked since the moped ride. He only sent her a message, asking about her project, and then said he would be busy with his own exams and practice, and then radio silence. She never got to thank him for that day, so she could only hope her cheering would help him somehow. There can always be another time for gratitude and chats. This moment called for hyperness and cheering.

"Yo NamJoon, the hero from the shadows" Lexy exclaimed "You finally show your face? Been trying to track you this week to thank you, man. You saved a lot of girls from that old geezer" the red-haired grinned, patting the taller guy on his shoulder, then pinching his ear "But never do stupid things like that unless you know for sure you can do it, got it, man?" her grin turned to glare, then back to a grin as she let him go.

NamJoon relented, nodding at her and promising to be more careful in the future. M smiled as the entire group was together, and she was the first to go inside and see the basketball guys from both teams already practicing. The others followed her in, and Lexy already walked ahead, knowing which seats were best. This time, they chose the seats right behind their basketball teams, so they could cheer them even during breaks or rest times. M shook her head at the hyper red-haired and followed her, sitting next to NamJoon and Lexy; Kiki and Jin sitting after the red-haired. She smiled at NamJoon, practicing how she should hold the banner without hitting anyone or preventing them from seeing.

Tae and Kookie waved at them from the court, Yoongi being busy stretching and throwing balls at the hoop. And then, people started coming in from both sides, and whatever they wanted to talk amongst themselves, they had to keep it for later as you could not talk without shouting to be heard.

"Hey M," NamJoon said into her ear, scaring her as she was not prepared to feel breath on her ear and neck "After the game is over, can we talk about the summer vacation? I think I...." she could not hear what he was saying, but she nodded at him, wondering if he found a good spot for their trip.

The cheers started, loud and roaring, echoing everywhere, and soon, her mind went from what NamJoon wanted to say to the game. She smiled at him before her entire attention went to what was happening on the court.

The rival team was slightly better than the last team they played, but the star players of the BSU team were still at their best game. Tae, Kookie, and Yoongi worked hard to score their points, and even their rivals had to admit they were doing an extra good job. Every time one of their guys scored, the girls whooped and cheered louder than before, waving their banners around. Lexy and Kiki had extra fun whenever Yoongi scored, letting M do all the cheering and waving her banner around, grinning at her whenever she noticed she was the only one shouting from their group.

She would only mumble something at them, happy for the noises in the room. In just one instance when Yoongi shot for the hoop, she was the only one standing, the crowd sharing one brain cell with the girls at her side, and her voice echoed throughout the silent room as she shouted for Yoongi.

"Come on, Yoongi, you can do it! Don't give up!" she said the moment the ball hit the hoop, bouncing back, and before either man could react and jump for it, Yoongi jumped from his spot, catching it, dribbling around the defendants of the rival team and throwing the ball once more, this time scoring. The crowd went wild, the girls at M's side screaming louder when Yoongi turned towards the group, smiling widely, his gums being revealed to the fullest, looking happier than ever.

M was beet red as she realized what happened, and she sat down, covering her face with the banner, cheering in a toned-down voice, her eyes still wide as she saw that smile on his face. It was the first time she saw him smile like that, like he enjoyed what he was doing, like he was happy and warm from what he just accomplished, like he felt comfortable and grateful at the same time. And somehow, she felt it was all directed towards her. Her heart was beating wildly in her chest, and she blamed it on the game and the energy of the crowd.

Letting the banner down, she saw no one even looked her way, Yoongi back to playing the game, everyone concentrating on the game only. It could have been only in her mind. There were so many people around, he could have looked into space, happy he made that shot.

"Look at you, cheering for your man" Lexy leaned close to M's ear, whispering that, earning a glare from M, and the red-haired woman chuckled at the expression which did not match with the blush on her cheeks.

In the end, it was an intense game, but their team lost by three points. Their team was good, the rival team was just a tiny bit better, or well-rested, as most guys from the team tried balancing both practice and exams and projects. Some even had dark circles under their eyes, but they still tried their best, giving it all they got. Everyone clapped for both teams, cheering for the winner and for the team that gave their best effort. This time, even though this would be their last game for this year, there was no enmity between players or crowds, and everyone prepared to leave with a smile on their faces.

M looked around, wondering where NamJoon left, wanting to ask him what he wanted to tell her, and telling the girls she was going out, she got her phone out, texting him. A reply never came, so she stepped outside, wanting to call him, being careful to choose a place where she could see everyone who stepped outside but at the same time not being in their way. Sighing, she stretched placing the banner against the wall, looking around just in case she missed seeing him.

The phone lighted up into her hands as she unlocked it, the light slowly dimming as she was frozen to the place. Not far from where she was, just beyond some of the bushes near the stadium, she saw NamJoon talking to a person. She did not want to interrupt them, so she put the phone back in her pocket, getting ready to leave and look for the rest of the group. But the person, who turned out to be a woman's voice, whoever she was, talked too loud, loud enough that M got her side of their conversation.

"Oh Joonie, you should have called me, I would have come to the game with you. I told you, just one call from you, and I will show you how thankful I am for that group project mark" the woman said, and M flinched from the honey dripping pitched voice. She knew it was not what she should do, to stay and listen in on the conversation, but something kept her rooted to the ground.

"...." whatever he was saying, she could not hear it as he was at least having the decency to keep his voice at a lower volume, but her whine afterward let M know it was something the woman did not like.

Before she could decide to turn around, M felt like something went through her chest, breaking something in there, as she witnessed the woman wrap her arms around NamJoon, leaning into him.

'Turn around, run, walk away. Don't look at it, please, just close your eyes, moron' her mind kept screaming at her, demanding to do anything but stand there frozen, watching what was about to happen.

NamJoon did not move to remove her from his arms, did not struggle to do anything, the face of the woman getting closer and closer to his, and right as her lips were about to touch his, it all went black.

Tears exploded from her eyes now that the show was gone, the moving images of the two still imprinted in her mind, and she wanted to let herself fall and cry. Whatever darkness decided to overtake her, she was grateful it saved her from having to see NamJoon kiss someone. She witnessed him being drunk, being in love, having a woman clinging to him, him being affectionate to his girlfriends, but she never wanted to see him kiss another woman. Her stomach could not handle it, sickness erupting through her body, and the cold and warm tears did not help as they kept sliding down her pale cheeks.

"Cry however much you want. I won't let you see anything" the darkness talked to her, turning her around from the scene in front of her. Her body hit something solid, and she was too busy breaking down to notice it. Her fingers could only wrap themselves into a material close to her chest, her head leaning on something, eyes closed, tears free-falling from her eyes. The darkness never let her go, wrapping her around in warmth and comfort. She neither noticed the noises around her or the people talking or the fact that time passed by, seconds ticking by. Her phone vibrated quite a few times before it finally stopped, but she was too tired to care anymore. The darkness at least got her in its arms, and it would make sure it would never let her go.

Yoongi sighed as he kept his hold onto M, never moving from the spot. NamJoon and the woman walked away some time ago, never looking in their direction, or not caring enough to notice them. He looked at the flickering light close by, patting her back as he let her cry her hurt out. It wasn't easy seeing her like this, one moment smiling and cheering him on, and the next, just this tiny woman needing a safe place before she breaks down.

It was not in his plan to go outside, and instead of breathing fresh air and escaping the crowd, to see M look like she is about to break into pieces on the spot. Neither was into plan him walking towards her to ask her what happened. Or cover her eyes and turn her around from what he thought caused her pain. But the moment he saw what M saw as he approached her, he understood. She could not and she should not see it. He would not let her see it. So, walking behind her, he covered her eyes, slightly thankful he was still taller than her. His arm went on her shoulder, slowly turning her around as he felt the tears pooling at the base of his hand on her face. It hurt him as he noticed her shoulders shaking, muffled sobs coming from her mouth, her teeth biting down on her lips to keep quiet. She probably did not even notice it, her body just leaning into him, seeking something to hold onto.

Letting go of her shoulder, his hand went around her back, his palm massaging soft circles into her back as he placed her head onto his shoulder. He felt the tears hit his skin and the material of his jersey, but he said nothing. She needed the silence. Her fingers wrapped into his jersey, scrunching it up together with every new cry, and she tried getting closer as she could just melt into him and disappear.

For the first time forever, Yoongi hated not being able to do something to help her, nothing coming to mind. So he just stayed like that, arms around her as she cried, waiting for her to calm down, letting her have her breaking moment. He could only hope she would just come out of this stronger, and the broken pieces would not be lost forever. Closing his eyes, he sighed, moving just a tiny bit, freezing when her fingers tightened their hold on his jersey afraid he would disappear, and then readjusted his hold on her, bringing her closer to him as his arms wrapped around her. The warmth outside had nothing to do with the chill of the moment, so he did not let go until she was ready to open her eyes and look at the world.

Chapter Text

"Wow, this place looks fantastic!" echoed throughout the parking lot as the group of friends got off the bus taking them there.

M smiled and immediately got her backpack, walking straight past the cabins lined in place, going to a path through the forest.

"Come on, this way" she chuckles as she waves them over, away from the comfort of the cabins, into the wilderness of nature.

The group of people reluctantly follow her, not wishing to get lost in the thick forest, even though there was a clear path in front of them. They kept following her, usually asking her how she found this place, or why was it not the sea, or was she going to kill them and bury them in the woods, as per Jin's jokes. M said nothing and kept walking, shrugging whenever they asked anything, just grinning whenever the girls tried getting her to spill something.

Half an hour and lots of complaints later, M took a right off the path and ventured deep between the trees, the group stopping and wondering what she was really up to. In the end, the guys jogged to keep up with her, the girls following immediately, not wanting to be left behind as it was soon getting dark. When they reached their shorter friend, everyone stopped, gaping at the view in front of them.

A lone beach was standing in front of them, the waves of the sea crashing into the sand. Not far from it, there was a small family-owned restaurant and a few tents set up by it. To the right, the group saw the sand turning into greenery, the small dunes turning into rocks, soon turning into trees. It was like both the sea and the forest met and created their own paradise away from the noises of the city. The sky was visible, turning purple, peach and flaming pink as the sun was setting, the sea burning as the last rays of the suns were drifting over its waves.

No one was able to say a thing. They could only watch the waves crash into the sand, M walking slowly towards the restaurant, waving at the person coming out on the veranda. Frozen in the boundary between sand and grass, they could only look at her as she talked something with that person, before waving them over. Slowly, making it seem like the sand could actually eat them, they walked towards the restaurant, looking around just in case it was all fake and soon they discovered they probably ended up eating poisonous mushrooms and hallucinating this paradise.

"Come on, guys, don't be afraid. You wanted a vacation, I made you work for it" M laughed as she waited for them to come inside the restaurant.

It was cozy inside, small but comfortable, and she immediately saw at one of the windows there, the breeze outside entering through the opening, cooling her off from her trek. Her friends immediately followed suit, looking around, curious about the place, and looking for the menu, as some were already hungry.

"Is this where you disappeared to in the last week of school, M?" Kiki asked her, eyes sparkling as she saw the different types of food being served there.

M flinched just a tiny bit at the mention of her disappearance, stretching as she turned to look at her friends. She could see how tired were some, excitement running through the veins of others, and the desire to explore in the rest. She was not going to tell them about how she went to different places, to check them out and see how they were, and if they fit what everyone wanted. But she had one more surprise for tomorrow, as not far from where the bus left them, there was an amusement park, and she knew if she told them that now, the thrill-seekers would not be able to sleep and rest properly.

"Weeeeeell, maybe," she said, shrugging as she got her bottle of water out "There are a few more things you will find out tomorrow, but otherwise I tried making it the perfect summer trip."

"Something else than this?" Lexy asked, eyes wide, wondering what else could be there in-store, but shut up when she saw the man at the store approach them with a plate filled with raw meat, confusion settled on everyone's faces, but M's.

"Thank you, sir." M said, taking the plate from his hands and walking outside, the rest following her like a group of lost puppies, stopping once more when they saw a grill set outside. M could only roll her eyes at her friends, acting like it was the first time they saw something like this.

"Geez, guys, snap out of it. You wanted barbecues and the rest, I provided all the fun. You need to get to work if you want to eat though" she laughed, turning to the grill until they came back to their senses.

"Wait, is this one of those 'do it yourself' resort?" Jin asked, immediately taking one of the aprons from near the grill, and taking the lead in grilling the meat. M smiled at him, immediately following his orders with whatever he needed, from condiments to plates and other stuff.

"Wait, wait" Kiki stopped M from being a busy bee and a good helper "why not explain to us what is going on? Jin can handle the grilling and the guys can help with everything he needs. You need to tell us why you disappeared, leaving just a message of ' be back soon'. We worried like hell, you know?" she said in the most serious tone everyone could hear from her.

M sighed, finally taking a seat on the bench near the restaurant, looking at the guys busying themselves over the grill and whatever Jin told them to do. He seemed to enjoy ordering the four guys around, making them run from one side to the other, until they figured he was just doing it for fun, and some of the things he said had nothing to do with helping him around. Finally, she turned towards her two friends, who were sitting on the bench opposite her, knowing she would have to come clean sooner or later.

"Well, seeing as no one had any inkling on what they wanted, I asked around, checking for everyone's free schedule during vacation. The first two weeks of the summer vacation was when everyone was free. So, seeing as I had to go get some stuff home as well from my dorm, I decided to check around for places we could go to. Almost lost hope, until my father told me about this place, I came here to make a reservation, then sent you all a text message to get you ready about what you needed and how much it costs, and I came to get you. End of story" she finished her story, looking at the starless sky as the sun already disappeared over the horizon.

"But why alone?" Kiki asked, brows furrowed, not understanding her reasoning.

M did not want to go into that one story or tell them what happened after the basketball match. One person from the group knew what happened, and might guess what her reason could be, but it seemed like he said nothing, and for that she was grateful. She was going to tell them, just not now, not while her heart was still bleeding and scarring over those wounds. Even looking at NamJoon hurt, her heart thumping just a bit too loud, too hard, too broken. But she did not want to ruin the summer vacation for anyone. So, she decided to bury one more thing in that metal casket deep in her chest.

"Would it be a surprise if I brought someone with me?" M countered, one eyebrow raised as she looked at her friend.

Kiki only pouted, looking at Lexy for help in this battle, but she was busy watching the boys tend to the grill or decorating the table where they would eat at. She was still tuning in to the conversation, but she had nothing to add. Lexy knew M was stubborn as hell, and if she wanted to travel to the end of the Earth alone, she would do it, and come back with souvenirs for everyone.

Silence drifted over the group, just the boys bantering here and there, each one thinking about food, or sleep spots, or what else this vacation could unfold.

"Wait, noona, where are we going to sleep? On the sand?" came Kookie's shocked voice, as he turned to look at M, part of him begging to have a proper shelter, the other kinda excited about sleeping in the sand, near the waves.

"If you want to" M snorted as his eyes turned wide and rounder than ever before, looking like he was told he was adopted. "Kidding, I am kidding. Those tents by the restaurants are ours. There are three tents and eight people. I assume we, the girls, will share one, and the other two you guys can share it however you want" she said, pointing at the tents not far from the benches.

The entire group 'ooh'-ed and 'ahh'-ed at her explanation, like they actually thought she did not think about where they would sleep. She shook her head at her friends, before turning to look at the still starless night sky. Soon, the grilled meat was done, and the owner brought out some mashed potatoes and vegetables to go with the meat, and everyone rushed to the table, thanking the kind, old man.

They immediately started eating, telling M some more stories from the week she was gone, about some newbies who got into trouble for trying to sneak in the college campus before they were allowed. Or how some classmates of theirs went on trips to other countries, deciding to make the most of their summer. She half-listened to what they said, laughing on cue when the others laughed, but her mind kept being stuck on repeat on that night a week ago.

After she finally calmed down from crying that night, she finally noticed she was holding on to someone, and that someone turned out to be Yoongi. But she had no strength to run away in shame, or try to explain why she was crying. In the end, he never asked, and she could only look at the ground, grateful she did not have to talk or explain herself. His arms left her body, his warmth dissipating from around her, being replaced with the warmth of a summer evening. He said nothing, just grabbed her hand and walked with her, away from the stadium, away from the shadows, away from the bushes he found her hiding behind. And they walked and walked, and she still said nothing, just followed him. She wanted to let him go to his own dorm, to get some rest after the game he had tonight, and after having to stay with her for who knows how long. But he never let go of her hand. In the end, they reached some studio rooms inside the college campus, owned by different majors, and before she knew it, she walked inside after him. It was dark, and colder inside than outside, but it was refreshing for her.

Yoongi pointed her to one of the couches, walking to a sink, bringing back a wet napkin and crouching in front of M, he dabbed at the tear stains on her cheeks. That only prompted more tears to spill from her eyes, feeling awful for giving him so much trouble. He only looked at her, just a small smile appearing on his face, warm and comforting, like he was trying to tell her everything was ok, he would not leave her alone. Before she could try and force herself to say anything, he got back up and brought a chair near the couch.

"Sleep" was the only thing he said, that one word bouncing inside the dark walls of the studio, and M could only watch him as he sat on the chair, his body turned half towards her, half towards the window outside. The moonlight spilled inside, bathing him in silver light, his black hair turning blue in her eyes, the shadows moving away from him, creeping closer to her. Or maybe that was all in her imagination, and she was already sleeping, dreaming about this back in her dorm. In the end, her mind stopped thinking, too tired, too numb and followed his advice. The moment her body curled into itself, her mind blacked out and she fell asleep, dead to the world and whatever was happening around her. In the morning, she woke up early, to see Yoongi leaned over a model of a building, tinkering here and there with it. She could only see his back, but from the way he was moving around the model, she knew he was lost in his own thoughts.

The moment he noticed she was awake, she was already standing up, the napkin in her hand, and already walking to the sink to wash her face. The mirror in front of the sink told her the cruel truth: she looked awful. She felt awful too, but in a way, she also felt weightless. Maybe being broken was what she needed to let it go. Maybe she was going crazy, and this one thread of thought was what was keeping her away from insanity. Or maybe she was finally seeing the truth. Whatever it was, she knew she could not face NamJoon anytime soon.

"Thank you" was the first and only thing she told Yoongi as they both exited the studio, him still locking the door, her looking at the rising sun over the buildings on the college campus. The colors were blending prettily before her eyes, yet she did not pay them any attention. Her mind was working out a plan on how to keep her distance away from NamJoon. At the end, when Yoongi turned around, M was already gone, like she was just an illusion of his mind. He could only sigh, knowing she would probably talk to him when she felt it was the right time. He just did not expect her to go MIA for one week, just to return smiling and planning surprises for a vacation trip he thought was canceled. But seeing everyone acting so friendly, he understood she never told anyone about what happened that night after the basketball match.

"Yo, M, what are you thinking about?" Lexy waved her hand in front of M's face, who seemed lost in her thoughts, bringing her out of her memories and back to the present moment.

"Ah, I was just thinking about how we could split tomorrow to have fun. We could spend the day on the beach, or go hiking, or do the other thing I have planned" M declared, grinning, letting everyone know their choices. If she would say it out loud, she knew the last choice would win, but she wanted it to be a surprise. She even had the schedules all planned, the map ready, and the wish to make everyone happy.

"Ooh, I am so curious about that other thing" Taehyung looked up, staring at M, trying to read her mind. Kookie could only nod in response, stuffing his mouth with food. The others seemed reluctant to choose that, but the curiosity got the better of them, and in the end, they decided they wanted to find out what it was.

M could only laugh, mischief sparkling in her eyes, her laugh low in tone and sounding more dangerously psychotic than fun inducing. Her friends could only wonder what she planned, hoping it was not some extreme sports.

"Then so be it, the other thing it is. We gotta rise early for that, so by eight in the morning everyone should be up and ready to go back to the bus stop" she said, making everyone groan as they wanted to sleep in until late morning.

"Yes, mom" most of the group groaned in unison, and she chuckled, taking the empty plates to deliver them inside and wash them. The old man helped them with the food, but she felt like she should not give him more of a headache at this late of an hour. So she set on washing the plates, looking out the window from time to time, watching the waves rise and break.

Lexy and Kiki came to help her, one delivering more plates, the other drying the washed ones, both placing them neatly on the free counter. In the end, they all finished and cleaned both the plates and utensils, but also the grill and tables, thanks to the guys outside. And in no time, the entire group started yawning one by one, stretching and going through their routine before bed. No one chatted as they prepared their tents, putting in their sleeping bags and what they needed to sleep comfortably, changing in their PJs, and immediately hitting the hay. Sleep overtook them immediately and the sound of the sea lulled them into dreamland, each dreaming about something significant to them. The only one who had a dreamless sleep was M, but she was glad she could rest when her alarm blared in the girls' tent, waking all of them. And as she got up to get ready, she groaned, remembering just how much she hated being woken up, but in the end, the wish to make her friends happy won, and she set up to get changed and wake everyone up. She felt like the rest of the day was going to prove both fun and tiring, so while trying to smile, she walked outside, looking at the clear sky as everyone was waking up one by one.

Chapter Text

"Are you feeling ok?" came M's voice from behind Yoongi's back. He turned around, watching her approach him and sit next to him in the sand, crossing her legs and leaning her body weight on her elbows placed on her knees.

"You could say I am just tired. Never knew one could get tired from hearing Jin scream that much, or loud" he answered with a sigh, closing his eyes until he heard M laugh. He turned to look at her, watching as she threw her head backward and laugh with her entire body, slowly turning red in the face as she forgot how to breathe.

"Ah, sorry, sorry" she coughed slightly as air entered her airways once more as she settled down from her laughing fit. "Just the thought of him on all those rides made me laugh once more. I even managed to buy one of the pictures from a ride where he was screaming like a little girl." she continued, chuckling as she provided proof of the picture hidden in her pockets.

Jin was holding with dear life onto the chair he was in, eyes shut tight and mouth open, frozen in a scream that still haunted everyone in the park. He was the unlucky one who got dragged by Kiki to try some of the 'cool rides', in the end making everyone laugh, while he was getting dizzy by the minute. M saved him from throwing up after his fifth ride, telling Kiki to leave him on the ground, as she needed some strong arms to help her get food for everyone. Even though she was still giggling every time she looked at Jin, she felt sorry for him, as he was in general not much of a thrill-seeker by going on rides at high altitude, at a fast speed.

The group was divided into those who ran about, trying each thrill ride, and those who walked at a snail pace, trying the shooting games, and sometimes going for a faster ride. M made sure to keep count of everyone, no matter where they went, so they could not get lost, so she decided to be on the ground team. Yoongi chose the shooting games at the arcade, winning tickets for a free meal at one of the park restaurants. M tried her best too, but with her luck, she only managed to win a keychain in form of a clown. She put it aside, thinking she could use it as a Halloween prop as it looked like it was created out of nightmare material. NamJoon was in the same group as them, making it awkward for M to be alone with both NamJoon and Yoongi until Jin came from wherever Kiki dragged him to, and he was average at games. NamJoon still managed to win a more useful prize than M, and she grumbled about her luck. Their group was the most silent, as either M tried keeping ahead of them, so as not to start any conversation, or they were each focused on the game they were playing. In the end, Jin coming amongst their ranks gave them more to talk about or tease him about, at least.

The other group could be heard screaming and laughing throughout the park, challenging each other to races and childish games, and M would always be ready to snap pictures of them running around, silly ears on their heads, and pretending to be superheroes or aliens. She was happy she organized these days for her friends, and by the time everyone was exhausted, she was carrying some of the things the others won. In the end, everyone but her won something cool, and since she had the least amount of games won or even prizes, she was deemed the one who has to carry stuff. Kookie volunteered to help though, so they were stuck at the back of the group, watching the others chatter and talk about what happened during the day.

"Noona, did you have fun?" he asked her, and that kept question kept bouncing in her head since then. She nodded at him back then, but now that she looks at her friends running on the beach, or sitting by the bonfire, laughing and singing, she could only ask herself if she was really having fun.

"Are you ok?" Yoongi asked her, looking at her as she seemed lost in thought, unblinking as her gaze was frozen on the beach.

"I...don't know" she replied, slowly, unsure of herself. "I feel ok, but at the same time...I don't. Does that make sense?" she asked him, eyebrows furrowed, not really understanding how she really felt.

"..." silence answered her back as she could see Yoongi turn to watch the others as well, looking like he was thinking how to answer her. "In a way, I do" he finally told her, his eyes unmoving from the beach.

"You know you are moving together with the others, but your feet feel stuck somewhere in the back, and every time you take a break, you feel like you moved backward, away from everyone, and no one notices, not even you...until you see yourself far away from them, and you see them moving forward, always one more step away from you." he said, and she breathed in, shaking as he somehow described her at the moment, stuck and so far away from how and where she wanted to be.

"I...I never got to thank you for that day" she says, hands still shaking as she digs her fingers in the sand so Yoongi would not notice. "I never even explained...I..." but she was interrupted by his hand somehow finding hers even while in the sand, holding onto her hand.

"You don't have to. But never hold your emotions back, they could hurt even more than expressing them" he said, his voice washing over her. Every time he said something to her, it had the effect of calming her, and pushing her to be true to herself. "Believe me, I tell you from experience" he finished, his eyes still looking at the bonfire dancing on the beach, the waves breaking as soon as they hit the shore. For a second, M thought she could see his eyes reflecting what he was seeing, but she could see from his expression he was stuck somewhere in past memories. She wanted to know what she could do to help him, to maybe send him a signal there in those memories, to let him know that she is there for him, as he was for her.

"Same goes for you" she whispers, not wanting to disturb him from his thoughts, yet wanting to know what he is thinking about.

"I don't know exactly what is going on, M, but keeping everything under lock and key is not the best solution." he said, coming back from his trip to the past, and she felt like she should be silent, letting him talk and get everything from his chest. "I did that, in my first year here. My first girlfriend was the same major like me, and we talked about our projects and school, the professors and classmates, even our dream jobs. But that was the only thing we had in common. We lasted six months until our differences started pulling us apart, and I decided to bury myself in school and projects. When we finally parted ways, we could only shake hands and go on different paths. In the end, I learned she started hating Architecture and she moved next year to another major to a college closer to home. In the end, we never talked about our feelings, our dislikes, anything, and we drifted more apart because we kept wanting the other one to change and adapt, without ourselves trying to do the same."

He took in a breath, maybe still affected by what he was bringing forth from his own emotions, and M felt bad for making him go through it.

"I started going to basketball again, practicing to forget about my failures and my own shortcomings. In the first year of basketball, the team sucked. I was good at it, but not patient enough to play as a team, always wanting to win, always looking just in front, and not every way just in case my teammates were around. It took the captain of my team to knock some sense into me until I understood. We went out drinking and I cried in my glass of beer until I felt better, and even though I was drunk, I thought clearer than ever before. That is why I tell you this. I may not know the story about the why, but never let it stop you from being honest with yourself and confront the emotions, be clear with them. Don't regret it later, ok?" he finally finished, turning to look at M, who had tears in her eyes, from what he said, from his story, from his encouragements, from her own buried feelings.

He said nothing, just reached for her face with his hand, his thumb wiping the lone tear that escaped from her eyes. His hand was warm on her face, and she felt the warmth seep through her skin, reaching the deepest parts of her heart, comforting her. Whatever he was doing at the moment, it was working to silence the agonizing screams inside her broken heart, to comfort the painful beats of her heart.

"I..." she tried talking, feeling like she needs to take it off her chest, now, before the bonfire exploded in a light, exposing her scared self; before the slightest noise could scare her off from ever showing her feelings. "He is my, was my first love" she finally said, words jumbled and forcefully evicted from her heart.

Yoongi only nodded, moving closer to her just a tiny bit, to lean in and listen to her now whispered words, words that once unlocked from her heart, came jumping out from her mouth through a waterfall of tears and hiccups. He could only watch for the others to not notice her, wrapping an arm around her shoulders, bringing her closer to him, thankful for the shadows of the trees covering them from behind.

"He told me he only saw me as a friend, but even now, it still hurts to see him with someone else. I....My heart, it just, I don't know what it is, I just...I ...it hurts" she said, confused and in pain, not understanding herself with how jumbled her words were. She had no idea where she began and where she ended. All she knew was that the hurt was hurting less the more she talked about it, the more she cried, the more she brought everything buried inside to the light. "I try my best, I smile, I cry, and I always am there for him, but sometimes, just sometimes, I want to see him looking at me, and not through me. He will always be my friend, you know. But, sometimes his words hurt me" she confesses, bringing up his drunken slurs, his heartbreaking drunken words. She tells Yoongi everything, not caring he could be on NamJoon's side, not caring he could break whatever self-esteem she had. She trusted him, and she bared her soul and heart that evening, not looking up at him the entire time she talked, scared of what she could see there. If she saw nothing, she could imagine only good things, right?

Yoongi said nothing, he could only listen. It was not his time to interfere, to break her line of thought, to interject into her stories. He could only look at NamJoon from his spot, eyes boring into the back of his head as the main character of the story ran around with a bucket of sand in hands away from Jin and Kiki. He felt something was off in the group from the first time they all met at the cafe, but he did not want to nose around in private matters. But the more M kept talking, the more everything made sense in his head as he was looking back at the times they met, at NamJoon's behavior and his words. It was not his place in this story to say anything or even to the group, but he could only hope one day, he would get the chance to talk with him, and ask him why he did everything he did. Yoongi had a hunch NamJoon hid more than he showed from his actual behavior, but was it his place to butt in and try to make him spill the beans? Did he want to do that?

And as he held M as she was calming down from her emotional spill and crying, he found it in himself hard to let her go, to give her advice on how to deal with what she just told him. He found himself not wanting to tell her to go talk it out with NamJoon, as that was the only way she could really free herself from the pain and the past. He found himself looking at her small body, even smaller as she curled into his side, seeking his warmth and comfort, and thinking maybe, just maybe, she could be happier by his side.

Chapter Text

"NamJoon, can we talk?" M appeared out of nowhere near the tall guy kneeled in the sand, looking at tiny crabs running around, her eyes puffed up from her crying session, and her gaze unfocused, the bonfire reflecting in their depths.

"Sure" he replied, getting up, ready to move somewhere else as he had a feeling it would be a more private thing. Her hand on his arm stopped him from walking away from her, and he stepped back to his spot, waiting for her to start talking. In the end, the silence bothered him, and he started talking about their day and the beach, trying to cover the awkwardness settled between them. "You know, you chose a perfect place. Pity you did not ask me about the spot I found, you know the one I told you about at the game? It had some stargazing spots, and I know how much you wanted to stay awake one night to stargaze" he said, feeling agitated as M kept staring at him, unmoving. It was more like he stared at a statue, and he wanted to shake her, to tell him already what was wrong.

"You know you are my first love, right?" she finally asked, and he froze, a deer caught in the headlights.

NamJoon stopped breathing, his heart hammering in his chest, as he thought about how he should reply to her question. In the end, he closed his eyes, trying to regain his breath.

"And don't dare lie to me!" she said, her eyes ablaze like she could read his mind and she would punish him if he dared lie. He could only sigh, trying to put his thoughts in order.

"M, look, we went through that in high school and..." before he could finish whatever he wanted to say, a slap echoed throughout the space they were in, his head snapping to the side from the surprise and force she applied to the slap. His eyes were wide, his mouth open as he was still trying to say something. His brain took a few seconds to process what just happened, before the sting settled into his skin, his hand slowly going to his cheek, holding onto the part she just hit. Turning to look at her, he saw her glaring at him, tears fresh in her already puffy eyes, and looking like she was holding back from saying something.

"That felt good" she finally said, settling into a neutral expression on her face. "I wanted to do that ever since you got drunk after your first relationship. Do you know what you told me back then? No, of course not, otherwise you would have been horrified with yourself" she talked, her voice raspy from either talking too much or crying. NamJoon felt compelled to ask her what was wrong, why was she acting like this, why was she crossing boundaries best friends should not cross.

"You told me" she stopped to take a deep breath, clenching her fists like it was something hard for her to get it out in the open. "You told me I would be perfect for you, if only I did not look the way I looked" M looked at him, the hostility leaving her body, and he could see the moment her fighting spirit broke inside her. "Do you want me to count on my fingers how many times you got drunk? And how many times you said that?" she continued, dragging every word forcefully out of herself. She had to do this, to get rid of this extra weight pulling her down, to let go of the past and his hurtful words. "Do you know what that does to the self-esteem, to the mind, to your fucking heart?" she asked, voice raised, shocking him as she just swore. "No, of course not. Why should you care to know that? You did not care enough to remember telling me that. It broke me every time. It reminded me I had feelings for you, and how I never was good enough. It...hurt, NamJoon. You hurt me" she finally said, her voice getting smaller and smaller as tears kept falling from her eyes, and she raised her arm, trying to cover her eyes.

He could say nothing, just watch her cry, not knowing what to do or say. When he did try to move closer to her, to hug her, she stepped back with every step he took, and he understood she was rejecting his comfort. In the end, he could only watch her turn her back on him and walk away, dejected, her shoulders slumped downwards, appearing even shorter than he remembered. He did not know what to do or say, and his mind and heart were split into two, one telling him this too will pass, the other screaming to run after her, to talk it out. Before he could decide, her figure was swallowed by the darkness of the night, and he could just slump into the sand, watching the tiny crab he was looking at before she came run by his feet, hiding in the sand. He felt like he was just like that crab, hiding away from anything outside of his comfort zone, and he wondered if he would ever come out from his hiding place and face the truth.

Chapter Text

"The fuck? Who made you cry?" came Lexy's voice as she saw M hiding in the shadows of some trees, crying alone. One look at her face and Lexy knew who it was, and before M could stop her, the red-haired screamed for the tall crab enthusiast to show himself. She breathed in once to calm herself, knowing she should not run headfirst without an explanation, but he had it coming from day one of getting drunk. It did not matter if he helped her out or not, he made her friend cry one too many times.

Kiki came running as she heard Lexy's voice, and before the red-haired woman could go kick some ass, she stopped her, asking her what happened. M ran after them, telling them to do nothing rash, saying it was not his fault, explaining what she just did. Both girls were looking at M, not understanding what part she just said was not NamJoon's fault, but they almost clapped as she told them about the slap. In the end, neither did anything, sighing as they wondered how did their trip just go downhill like that. M was glad she did nothing to tell them about what she just saw after the game. She decided not to tell them, not now, maybe never, or they would actually go use him as a punching bag.

"In the end, we need to do something to get your mind off this, M. Maybe a game or something?" Lexy asked, suddenly too tired to try and think about anything. She was busy trying to keep her instincts of punching him at bay.

"How about we just go to bed? And don't tell the others I was crying, ok?" M said, already standing up and walking to the tents. She was emotionally tired by everything going on these past two weeks. And now that she just got everything off her chest, she felt numb. And dizzy, and scared about how this was going to affect her future, not only with NamJoon as friends, even with herself.

The girls said nothing, just watched her walk away, planning to find NamJoon and beat him up until he begged for forgiveness. But looking at her back as she was walking, they both sent their guys a text, saying they were tired and heading to bed earlier, and walked after M, laying on her sides, hugging her. In the end, they all fell asleep like that, each thinking about how tomorrow was going to be.

"Psst, M" a voice whispered outside the girl's tent, and the girl in question stood up, looking at the shadow on the tent.

She fell asleep quickly but woke up even quicker, just decided not to move from her spot, enjoying the hugs. Of course, NamJoon's voice during the middle of the night had to spoil her good mood, bringing her back to reality, making her remember exactly what happened before she went to bed. She sighed, crawling carefully outside the tent, looking at NamJoon as he got up and signaled for her to follow him. Neither said nothing, and M followed, a few steps behind him, looking at the footsteps he left in the sand. In the end, he took her to the shore, not far from where the bonfire was.

Stopping at his side, both looked at the moon in the sky, stars sparkling close by here and there. The sea was calm, just a bit of wind here and there.

"Marie, I will be honest with you" NamJoon finally said, inhaling the salty air by the sea. "I like you."

That one sentence sent M tumbling down the hill she just fought to climb, and she felt her heart stop. Whether it was a good sign or not, she did not know just yet. Was she supposed to react somehow to it? Say something? She could only look dumbfounded at his profile, still looking out to the sea.

"I really like you. My first girlfriend ended things with me because I called her by your name once. It was the first sign, but I ignored it" he continued, hands clasped at his back, standing straight, the imposing profile of someone demanding your entire attention. "But, all my life, I have been told what kind of woman I should have by my side. I have been told I deserve only the best, in all departments. So, I crushed the thought of us together, of everything that had to do with romanticizing you, and I continued being your best friend. Because, in my mind, I could only hear those voices, whispering those words." he exhaled, wondering how to continue.

M was stuck between wanting to punch him herself or let him continue talking.

"In the end, that became what I projected. You could never be more than my best friend" he said, and her heart cracked just a tiny bit more, the imaginary knife stabbing her once more.

"You are too cruel," she said, voice cracking, the hurt palpable in her tone.

"I..wanted to see you only like that," he said, turning to look at her, eyes darkened as his gaze settled on her. It was mesmerizing, forcing her to stare into his eyes, like a snake hypnotizing its prey to come willingly into his mouth. "But, whenever Yoongi comes near you, I just want to keep you hidden from him, just to myself, and no one else" he confesses, and she wants to laugh, out of spite.

"That's why you stuck your tongue down the 'group project', huh?" she finally let out a humorless laugh. He froze in whatever he wanted to say, realizing she saw them that night.

"I...she jumped on me," he said, flinching as even to his ears it sounded like excuses. "There is nothing between us" he settled on saying just that, not knowing exactly if he meant between himself and M, or the other girl. "Marie, listen here. I like you, I know I want to somehow keep you away from all guys, if possible, but no matter how much I want it all, this" he stopped to point between themselves " Us, we could never work, and we both know it" he said in the end.

She said nothing, not wanting to cry again, to ask him why won't he just give them a chance to see if it was true or not. He was right, her logic screamed at her, and she kept quiet.

"I would always want to change you to fit what everyone tells me to be and have, even if I did accept you now as you are. You know I strive for nothing more than perfection. And you would accept me as I am, you would change for me, you would lose yourself, and always find faults in yourself for me. In the end, you would not be you, and we would lose each other in faults and arguments, and fights. We would lose even the tiniest bit of friendship between us, and we would hate each other. And, Marie, believe me, I don't want you to hate me. So, punch me, hit me, kick me for hurting you, for breaking your heart. Call me names, avoid me until your heart heals, but don't stop being my friend. Because I can afford to lose a few months from your life, I can survive, as long as you come back as my friend, as my best friend even. Because I do not want to change you, I don't want to lose you." he finally stops talking, his own eyes filling with unshed tears, looking away before they could spill.

He spoke his mind, told her the truth he was holding into his heart, and he was ready for her to rebuke him in either manner. What he was not ready for was her looking at him, eyes clear as she looked at him, not through him, and smiling.

"Thank you for being honest, NamJoon" M said, turning around, walking like she just got drunk and could not see the path in front of her. Maybe it was the tears in her eyes, maybe it was the pain in her chest, maybe it was the weight of his words settling into her mind and heart. She was honest when she thanked him for being honest with her, which did not mean it hurt any less. But she wanted to be alone, to think and to assess everything he told her, and figure out how to continue with her life.

NamJoon could only look after his best friend as she walked once more away from him, and he wondered if he did well in telling her how he actually felt. But as he rubbed the wrist where Yoongi caught him, twisting until his taller form dropped halfway in height due to pain, he remembered the basketball player's words of wisdom, and he sighed.

"You better make her happy, Yoongi, or I will make you pay double for this" he whispered to no one, just the moon his only witness. Now he could only hope the same moon would light all their path forward, so they could all walk towards happiness.

Chapter Text

"This is all kinds of fucked up" Yoongi whispered to himself as he was tossing above his sleeping bag, looking at the sleeping Jungkook and Taehyung, holding each other and mumbling about deliciously cooked meat, sometimes Jungkook adding banana milk to the tray.

He wasn't referring to the two adults cuddling next to him, but to his situation, and how it evolved from 'not gonna butt in other people's business' to practically threatening someone with aggression. In his defense, NamJoon deserved it. Yoongi may be silent and try to give advice, but he won't be a statue and never intervene.

After M stood up from next to him, he felt rather apprehensive somehow. He wanted to maybe stop her, to take back what he just said, but in the end, he could only watch her walk away from him. And head straight for where NamJoon was kneeling in the sand. He felt he was intruding in their conversation, but he could not move his eyes from their spot. Was he expecting something to arise from that conversation? A chance, perhaps? A solution to her problems? But even if he was not in hearing distance, he still saw the slap M delivered to NamJoon's face, and he frowned, wondering what else did her tall friend say to get her that angry.

In the end, that conversation finished with M walking away from NamJoon as well, crying if her shaking shoulders were any indications, and Yoongi wondered just how many more times will he see M cry in the spawn of two weeks, all because of the same person. He felt conflicted between going to see if M was alright, to maybe hug her and let her spill her worries once more, telling her NamJoon is a jerk and she should just erase him from her heart, and going to NamJoon and have a word with him. But she went to a hidden place, so that meant she just wanted to be alone and did he want to actually intrude on her wishes? So, he chose to go talk with the guy sitting in the sand, looking lost in his own thoughts.

"Ah, M, we should...." NamJoon got up pretty fast, immediately looking at the person approaching him, hoping it would be M, and Yoongi thought he saw black in front of his eyes. The girl NamJoon was calling for was crying somewhere alone, and in pain, and this guy had the audacity to think she would be coming back to talk to him once more.

Before either could realize, Yoongi was right in front of NamJoon, silent but quick, and grabbed his wrist, twisting it with speed, bringing it upwards behind his back, making the towering giant bend to put less pressure on his shoulder. It did feel good to hear that hiss of pain come from NamJoon, and for a moment, Yoongi wondered if he should apply more pressure, to hurt him more. But the thought of M watching this and disapproving of his actions stopped him. He knew she would never want to respond to anything with violence, even if it caused her pain.

"I thought you were a smart man, NamJoon, but you proved me wrong these weeks" he finally said, releasing just a tiny bit of the pressure, but still not letting him get up from his position just yet. "I was not expecting for you to fuck up even on the trip" he added, finally letting NamJoon go, watching him fall into the sand, trying to keep his weight from toppling over with just one hand.

It took a few seconds for NamJoon to bring his arm back to a normal position, feeling the joints protesting at every movement, but he slowly got up, massaging his wrist. He could tell it would leave a bruise there, but he said nothing. They both stood like that in silence, Yoongi finally feeling fed up with the guy being mute, grabbing his tanktop to make him look at him.

"Look here, we don't know each other well, but you know her better than I do. If I, someone who has been in this group for a bit over two months can notice her feelings and emotional state, what the fuck took you so long to notice it and talk it out with her? Are you a coward? Are you scared of your own feelings? Or do you enjoy seeing her in pain?" Yoongi growled in NamJoon's face, for once wishing he was taller just to loom menacingly over the taller guy.

"Yeah" NamJoon responded, and Yoongi frowned, not understanding what he was admitting to. "I am a coward, hyung. Just a coward." he continued talking, looking like he lost the will to live. "A coward who fears change. A coward who saw her beat a guy for calling me a nerd when we were in high school. Just a coward who did not like feeling inferior to her. So yeah, hyung, I am scared. Scared she will see I am just someone who hides away, pretending he is someone he is not, pretending he is better than anyone, even her." NamJoon finally grunted, forcefully ripping Yoongi's hands away from his tank top.

"Are you a moron as well? Do you think she can't see that already? Do you think she would stop being friends with you because you have an inferiority complex? Those things can be solved" Yoongi said, clenching his fists, trying to calm down.

"I know, but I also know she and I would not match, not anymore. I know her for more than four years now, and I mostly hurt her in the emotional department. I know she would not care about any complex of mine or anything, heck, she would beat it into my head herself if she knew. But, I know until I would solve my issues; until I would get past the many walls of 'being just best friends', I would hurt her even more than this. So yeah, hyung, I am a moron and a coward. But I do not want to cause more hurt, to change her, or to make her hate me. I really can't do that, hyung" NamJoon finally fessed up to Yoongi, telling him just what exactly he thought about himself, and his relationship with M. He doomed their relationship before they even started because of fear, and because he was too afraid to break it off for good or give it a try, he kept her tethering on a really thin rope in hopes she would know how to balance it.

"So why not tell her before it all exploded? Do you not have a brain and mouth to communicate?" Yoongi felt resentful towards the giant in front of him. He had so many chances, so much time, and he ended up just putting a divide between himself and M.

"What is it to you, hyung? Why do you care so much? Do you have feelings for her or what?" NamJoon finally snapped at Yoongi, annoyance written on his face. Yoongi felt put on the spot but did not answer, not wanting to give away anything, and NamJoon laughed humorlessly. "Silence is an answer too, hyung" he said, before sitting back in the sand, showing Yoongi he did not care to talk anymore.

"At least, don't let her in this state of not knowing anymore, NamJoon. She does not deserve it, and if you still want her friendship, sooner is better than later. That is my last piece of advice" Yoongi said, his back turned to NamJoon before leaving that part of the beach, not caring to look back at what the guy was doing, hoping he would think it over before the entire group found it out and sorted to more violence than what he just did.

In the end, he went to sleep earlier than the others, the beach being half empty anyway, just the guys out to play by the bonfire, none the wiser of what transpired during the latter half of the day. Sleep never came for him, but he was used to just staying up during exam time to try and cram more in his brain. When morning came, he was the first to get up and prepare breakfast for all of them, trying to keep his mind occupied from what happened yesterday.

Of course, watching the others pour in from their own tents, some looking refreshed, others looking like they did not sleep at all, did not help with keeping his thoughts at bay, especially after M sat at the table, looking worse for wear than yesterday. Her eyes were red, sunken like she did not sleep in days, and she was just staring at the plate in front of her, not even flinching when he put a glass of orange juice in front of her. Her girlfriends sat by her, neither in the mood to smile, and the moment NamJoon appeared, glares were directed in his direction, so Yoongi just hoped the tall moron did not do something after their talk in the night. Not even the good mood of the late risers did nothing to quell the killer mood the two girls were in, so he sighed, keeping the sharp tableware far from their hands.

'It's going to be a long day' Yoongi thought, knowing today was D-Day. He really wished he had a beer at the moment, or soju, to be prepared for what was going to happen.

Chapter Text

"Hey Tae, you think all girls got their periods at the same time? They look about ready to kill someone!" Kookie whispered in his friend's ear, just a tiny bit scared to approach the table where Lexy and Kiki were glaring at NamJoon. "Should we get them chocolate or something?" he asked, not wanting them to hear and direct their fury towards him.

The only one who seemed calm was M, but at a closer inspection, Kookie could see what he mistook for calm was actually sadness, and that put him on high alert. Even though Lexy and Kiki were super awesome, M was on his wavelength, sometimes doing things he wanted before he could talk about it. It was like she had a superpower, and he cared about her like she was his older sister, if he had one. The others were like sisters too, just that Lexy was as mischievous as him, and Kiki was a mix of motherly and scary. M was just nice and could switch between 'you are in trouble' to 'let us cause trouble' and no one could know when the switch would occur. And she bribed him with banana milk and food a lot. So, whoever made M sad, was about to face Maknae JungKook, and the muscles on him were not just for show.

"Looks like the shit hit the fan" was Tae's only answer and he walked ahead of Kookie, to sit at the other table, next to Yoongi. Kookie was confused, not understanding exactly what he meant, but he knew it was something to do with M and NamJoon. He might be the youngest, but he was not blind. Just because he did not ask the group what was going on, did not mean he had no theories. And it seemed like today he was going to get some answers.

The last to arrive was Jin, groaning and sighing as he was stretching, looking like he did not sleep the entire night either. From his expression, Kookie could tell he already knew what was happening, he was after all sharing a tent with NamJoon. But he chose to sit at their table as well, leaving the girls and NamJoon at the other one. It felt like hell was about to break loose, and he wondered if he had to hold someone down for a beating or save innocent people from getting hit.

No one said anything, and M was the first to start eating, going for the apple slices on her plate, eating silently, not caring everyone was watching her. Kookie felt a bead of cold sweat slide down his neck, his muscles tensed like she would attack at any moment.

"You should all eat." she said finally, her voice monotone, her eyes glassy like she was a doll trained to say that one sentence again and again. Kookie felt shivers go down his spine. He did not like that version of M, and he was one who enjoyed horror movies.

But it was like she put a spell on all of them, each reaching for what they wanted and they started eating, some biting in their food with spite, others eating slowly, and some just not caring. Kookie felt like he was in a nightmare. But he went to his own plate, chewing as he was lost in thought. Just yesterday, the beach was filled with laughter and jokes, and now, it was like he was having breakfast with ghosts.

As they all finished, each got up to do different things, and he felt like he was not belonging at that moment, in that group. He felt lost, but with no power to actually change anything, as no one was explaining.

"Kookie" M's voice came from beside him, and he turned, expecting to see a robot just like the one at the table. Instead, he got a tiny smile from her, her eyes just a tiny bit lighting up like before. "I am sorry," she said, and he felt confused. Before he could ask why, she continued. "I am sure this all feels strange, but let me explain the short version as to why we all are behaving like this."

He could only nod, his eyes lighting up with curiosity, trying not to feel excited to be included, to not tell her how happy he is they finally trust him enough to tell him.

"Long story short, NamJoon is my first love, unrequited of course. I still have lingering feelings, which sucks when he has tons of girlfriends, so I always get hurt. Yesterday, I confronted him, he rejected me, now I am sad, but healing. The rest of the group knows, but since we all are friends, it feels a bit suffocating to react violently. The girls still want to hit him though" she laughed, hollow and short, before letting out a long breath. "You don't need to worry about picking sides though, Kookie. No one is going to hold it against you" she finished, looking up at the tall freshman next to her.

"One word from you, noona, and I will hold him down so you can hit him," Kookie said, really meaning it, and M reached up to ruffle his hair, whispering her thanks as she got up. "Really, noona!" he called after her, glaring at the back of NamJoon.

"Hyung?" he finally called out and said man turned to face him. "Why...?" he did not know how to continue what he wanted to ask. Why do you make her so sad? Why do you not see her worth? Why does it have to be you, and not someone who can make her happy? So many questions starting with 'why' went through his head, but neither wanted to be the one to escape his mouth.

"Not in the mood to talk about that" NamJoon finally said, and before either could realize who was approaching or what was going to happen, NamJoon was holding his nose, groaning in pain, and Kiki was hissing in pain and shaking her now unclenched fist, trying hard not to curse out loud.

"You had that coming for so long, jerk" she muttered underneath her breath, before glaring at his bent form over the table "Not in the mood to talk about it? You have to face us as well, not just dump it all on M and then continue with your life!" she shouted, and soon Jin was by her side, checking her knuckles with care, to make sure nothing was damaged or hurt.

"Kiki! Stop it!" M came from wherever she disappeared to, frowning and yet unmoving. To Kookie, it looked like she just lost the will to do anything anymore, even to stop her friends from fighting.

"Actually, I think Kiki is right, noona" Kookie said, getting up, taking a towel, and wetting to check on NamJoon. He might have pressed a bit too hard on where he was hit, but he really could not bring himself to care. "You can't just bury this and pretend you are ok. We are your friends, we will be here for you" he said, for once, dead serious, and not in the mood to joke.

He saw M's shoulders slump, and he knew she just did not want to go through this again, through the emotional torment, but before he could retract his words, she just nodded and went to sit next to Kiki, Lexy not far behind, trying to come from her shock at seeing the usual well-composed Kiki just punch NamJoon. He could tell everyone was just as shocked as himself, but neither said anything, just looked in admiration at the brunette as she was now nursing her hand.

"Guess long story short does not cut it, then huh?" M asked, and when they all shook their heads, she sighed.

"Let me" NamJoon finally said, talking in a nasal tone, and touching his nose. He was lucky it was not broken, but it still hurt. Just another bruise to add to the pile for this vacation. One more hit and he would get a bingo for getting hurt in the span of a day.

Kookie frowned as the taller man told them exactly why he rejected M, why this entire vacation was going downhill, and he felt a headache coming. He looked at Yoongi, who just looked at the table, like he was trying to see through it, and then at the others. Neither was pleased with what was being said, but it felt more like they had a suspicion, and he was just confirming it to them. Still, neither looked with pity at NamJoon, more like he deserved the punch and so much more. When he was finished, NamJoon apologized for ruining the vacation and the group dynamics, saying he would pack and just go, so they could enjoy their vacation.

"Stop that" M's tired voice echoed amongst them and Kookie turned to look at her. "Yes, you hurt me, but you told me the truth, and while it does hurt, you think I would feel better knowing you left just like that? If anything, your punishment should be to stay here, to see me being sad, and for that to eat you up for the rest of the trip, because you caused it" she said, anger seeping through. "If anyone has an objection to him staying, let me be clear now, he is still our friend, he still paid for this trip as well, and just because I fought with him, you think I would tell him to leave, we need to talk."

Kookie felt fear and pride mix in his brain, her gaze confident enough she would keep her word to fight for what she said, and he wanted to hug his noona, to let her know she was doing a great thing by letting him stay. No one said anything, some looking relieved at her words since they were friends with both of them. They were upset with NamJoon, but at the same time, it was a private matter to be solved between the two. It would have felt wrong to just kick him out like that.

"Well today, we can just stay and play in the sea?" Kookie offered a distraction from everyone's thoughts "There are tons of games and competitions we could play, from swimming to building sandcastles, to finding shells, to much more" he continued, listing off the things he thought from the top of his head.

"Sure, Kookie, sounds great. You be in charge of games then" M approved, smiling, giving off a feel of 'my word is final, now go do it'.

"Ok, noona!" he grinned, running to the beach to see what else he could find to play, wanting really bad to make M laugh, to get her mind off of everything. His noona deserved to smile and laugh, not look like she became a zombie overnight. And if he had to play the court jester for a day to make it happen, he was going to drag the others with him and do it.

'Noona doesn't know what awaits her today. And if we can't hit NamJoon physically, we can at least make him lose during the games, and lose even more points in front of her....maybe I could help Yoongi-hyung gain some points in front of her' Kookie thought, his grin turning mischievous, his mind focusing on healing the pain with some well-deserved love from both her friends and maybe a new love target. He did not work hard to keep his Noona from falling for strange boys like Felix, just for his plan to fall through. One way or another, he was going to get the two together, even if he had to enlist the help of the other two girls in making it come true.

Chapter Text

"The plan is failing, Kookie!" Kiki whispered as she kept seeing Yoongi go through each game without even a desire to win. "He did not win even one of the games, even if you tried your best to let him win. Even the guys let him win and he still lost!" she groaned, feeling like chucking something at Yoongi's head for not taking a hint. "Go tell him to win, goddammit, or I will punch him as well" she glared at the freshman who took a step back, not wanting to be on the receiving end of violence.

M was laughing, no doubt about it, while she was trying her hardest to build a sandcastle, but seeing what the others were doing for their creations, kept messing her up. At least half of the plan was working, and she was laughing. Still, Yoongi probably got no points since he barely tried to win. Kookie wanted to really be Cupid and just shoot them both with an arrow, then lock them both in a tent and let nature take its course. Sadly, reality did not work like that, and a broken heart could not heal in the span of a few hours.

"Well the last competition today is swimming" he said, taking off his shirt and getting ready to swim, looking out at the sea to see where he could find a checkpoint for them to return from. The girls stopped talking behind him, checking him up and down, eyes wide and smiling widely, clearly appreciating the view. After all, he had a well-built body, and even guys admitted to that. So, as he was lost in thought, appreciative glances and annoyed glares were directed his way. Just two people seemed to not care at all about his body, that being Yoongi and NamJoon.

M was not lost on how he looked. She stopped with her construction, blinked in confusion as to why he tossed his shirt away, his muscles rippling with every move he made. When she saw him run to the sea, she figured out why he did that, and then snorted with laughter as she saw her two girlfriends look after him with a dazed look. And then that snort turned into full-blown laughter when she noticed Jin glare after Kookie and then stare at Kiki, waiting for her to notice him. Tae, meanwhile looked deep in thought, touching his own stomach through the fabric of his shirt, before taking it off, revealing his own muscles. Jin followed suit, feeling left out, and soon both boys ran after Kookie, deeming it a worthy competition to show their girls they could win against the freshman. M could only shake her head, still giggling, at the antics of her friends, her eyes going back to her castle, looking about to crumble down. In a way, it was still standing, somehow strong enough against the wind and the waves which decided to keep washing over it.

"It has a strong foundation" Yoongi's voice washed over her and she looked up at the black-haired basketball player, who for a few days, kept being her pillar of comfort. "It will not crumble so easily, no worries. It would take a hurricane to destroy it" he said, and she felt he was talking about both her castle and her emotional stability.

"I can't make it into a castle though. The top keeps falling" she says as a response, looking at the mound of sand in front of her. It looked more like a sad attempt of a house, rather than a majestic castle as the others have built.

"Hmm, what makes a castle a castle though?" he asked in the end, and she looked at him, curious what he could be referring to. In the end, all the answers she gave him were deemed wrong, and she shrugged, giving up.

"The Queen and King living in it, and honestly, I see its Queen sitting in front of me, so I say that is a castle then" he said, placing a tiny, red flag made out of a piece of napkin and toothpick at the center of the structure.

The girls overheard what he just said, and they both looked at each other, shocked because of what just came out of his mouth, both thinking at the same time that it was a smooth move. M's reply shocked them further though, and they smiled, relaxing just a tiny bit in trying to play Cupid. Not all was lost after all, and Yoongi did not have to win games and competitions to get a point with M. After all, she valued more the person than their ability to do something.

"Does that make you its king?" M asked, teasing Yoongi, at the same time, feeling flattered he called her a Queen, freezing after she replayed the question in her mind, realizing what she just implied. She could take it back, or stutter through changing the subject, but she felt too embarrassed, so awkward silence it was.

"Only if you accept me" Yoongi whispered under his breath, and M felt her cheeks on fire, wondering if she heard it correctly. She could pretend she did not hear it, but she felt the blush on her cheeks, and it was not like she could blame it on the sun that was hiding behind the clouds. Her heart was feeling confused between wanting to drum just a little louder, and still feeling the pain of what happened overnight. In the end, neither said anything, Yoongi helping her create adjoining chambers to her castle, and even one lone tower, and she smiled, before adding just one more tower 'so the other one would not feel so alone'.

The guys kept competing in the water, the two girls cheering on for all of them to win, neither relenting, especially since Kookie was not going easy on them. Yoongi and M kept adding more and more to the castle, turning it slowly into a real masterpiece, stopping only when a giant wave came crashing over it, toppling down. After they mourned its sudden demise, they all went back to the restaurant, sitting at the tables to enjoy the sunset, all of them feeling more relaxed and at peace.

And the castle on the beach, no matter how many chambers it lost, how its height kept decreasing with every hit it got, its simple base kept strong, fighting against the destructive elements of the waves. The simple house looking castle kept living for days, even after the group left as their trip ended, until a rainstorm came, washing it hour by hour, just the tiny, red flag surviving, still trying to stand straight to let everyone know that in that place there was one amazing castle with a will to survive, just like its owner.

Chapter Text

"Can't believe we are back here again! Where did our summer vacation go????!" Lexy whined as she stepped off the train, looking around to see where their friends are. It was only her and Kookie, as they lived in the same city, and neither had a car or a driver's license.

"Well, at least we got to relax and have fun until this moment came" Kookie replied from beside her, stretching as the train ride took quite a few hours, and it was still hot outside. Being the taller of the duo, he immediately spotted their group of friends waiting at the entrance, and pointed them to Lexy, both rushing to see them.

It wasn't like they did not have video chats or visited each other during the summer vacation, but it was quite rare, and not everyone was there at the same time. Lexy missed them all, especially the girls and their late out nights, or the staying in dates with Taehyung.

"Guys! I missed you soooo much" she said, running towards the group, arms open wide, ready to jump on the first person she sees and hug them. Taehyung stepped in front of her, wanting to be the first person she hugs, happy he can spend more time with her from now on.

"We missed you all too," Kiki said, pushing Taehyung away from Lexy to get her own hug, making sure to squeeze her tightly, before fist-bumping Kookie, as Jin was still keeping his eyes on her behavior after the beach scene. Of course, Kiki just loved tormenting Jin, but she still admitted in her mind that Kookie just looked the best out of all of them, and she even started asking him about exercise routines, to help with her own exercising.

"Wait, where is noona?" Kookie asks, looking around for the third girl of their group, before turning to look at the three persons living with her in the same city. M was the only one he called noona because he liked teasing her, and it became a habit of his to just call her noona and everyone in the group knew who he was referring to.

"She came here two weeks earlier to prepare her room and other stuff" Yoongi's voice came not far from where Taehyung was standing, startling the youngest of the group. All looked at him, wondering how he knew about that since he was living in the same town as Taehyung, not M. "What? We all text each other, remember? And she did mention it in the group chat" he said, rolling his eyes, before either could tease him about why he had that piece of information.

"Ah, right" Kookie laughed embarrassed, before turning to look at the others for help in how to continue the conversation.

"How about we just get going and find somewhere else to talk? We are kind of in the way of people here" NamJoon said, getting a nod of agreement from everyone.

Kookie looked at Yoongi, who shrugged back at him when he noticed the youngster's expression. They were still awkward around NamJoon after the beach episode, but seeing as the rest of the group was trying to include him in everything, they were trying to get over it as well. M seemed to not care as much from their interactions, but as they saw her in person only once during the vacation, they could not tell if it was true or not. Soon, the group split into two smaller groups, heading back to the college they dreaded seeing again, and going straight for the dorms, promising to meet each other later at the manga cafe.

"Tae?" Lexy turned to look at her boyfriend, watching Jin drive ahead of them to leave Kiki at her dorm.

"Yes? Something the matter?" he asked immediately, looking ahead at the road, his head turned to her to let her know he is listening.

"I missed you!" she said, placing her hand on top of his, smiling at him, even though he could not turn yet towards her to see it. The moment they hit a red light, the car stopped, Taehyung turning towards her, bringing her hand to his lips, placing tiny kisses on her knuckles.

"I missed you too, dear," he said, looking into her eyes, smiling back at her, leaning towards her just a tiny bit, snapping out of whatever he wanted to do when a car honked from behind them, as the light turned green already. "Want to stop by my place tonight?" he asked instead, still holding onto her hand as he was driving. "We can try one of the new restaurants for a takeout dinner?" he grinned at her, and she could only roll her eyes at his attempt at creating a romantic dinner.

"Only if I get to choose what we are watching" she grinned back at him, already thinking what movie they could watch.

Before long, Tae managed to park right behind Jin, watching the two lovebirds talking in front of the girls' dormitory, laughing about something before the wide-shouldered actor hugged Kiki.

"Awww, they are so cute" Lexy cooed at the two hugging.

"Wanna do it too and see who is cuter?" Tae turned towards Lexy, chuckling as the red-haired woman just smacked his shoulder before getting out of the car.

Before either of the couples could say anything, a small bus stopped not far from the dorm, and people started getting off it, all looking like freshmen, and in between them, M stepped down from the bus. Neither of the four people watching her knew how to react, especially when a tall blonde put his arm around her shoulders, pinching her cheeks with his free hand. Four sets of dropped jaws were on the pavement as they watched the short woman just glare at the blonde, smacking his hands away from her body, before stepping towards her dorm, ignoring the excited waving of the young blonde. As soon as everyone, including the small bus, disappeared, the group looked at each other, wondering what just happened and if they all hallucinated at the same time.

"No one tells Yoongi anything until we have this figured out!" Kiki said when the shock dispersed, her eyes immediately going for M's window, wondering what exactly happened in the two weeks their friend spent at the dorm.

The others nodded in agreement, still reeling from shock, Lexy grabbing her bags, determined to go shake her friend and ask her what the hell was that and where did that leave Yoongi now? It was not a secret she was a big Yoongi supporter, after the beach fiasco, especially after Kookie was knocked out of the dating pool after he expressed his desire to help Yoongi and M get together. She was not going to let this ship sink that low before it could even depart from the shore, not after all that back-and-forth flirting done in the last days of the beach trip. Kiki seemed just a tiny bit more relaxed at the shocking development, taking her bags from Jin's hands, kissing his cheek, before speed-walking up the stairs, before slamming the door open to M's room.

"What the hell was that?" she questioned the short woman in the middle of the room, who seemed to look at something in her hands before she tried hiding it away.

"And where does that leave Yoon...gi....?" Lexy trailed after her, as she entered next, looking from Kiki to M holding a dress in her hands, blushing like she was caught in just her underwear by a guy she liked.

M immediately hid the dress behind her back, stepping back until she hit the closet, opening it and throwing the fabric in there. But the girls already have seen it, and if they had doubts until now, the dress confirmed everything. M was in a relationship with the blonde guy, or soon to be in one, and worst of all, she did not tell them. And now their hearts broke as they thought about Yoongi learning about this new development. And then they got angry at their friend for hiding such important news from them, and for the ship they rooted for sinking before it could even get an official name.

Chapter Text

"You thought what?" M started laughing when she heard what her two friends thought, and seeing their sad expressions made her laugh harder. "My god, no, no, that kid could never make me wear a dress for a date with him" she chuckled as her laughing fit subsided, the need for air stopping her from laughing.

Lexy and Kiki looked confused at her, both their eyebrows furrowed, shock, and anger still seeping from their auras. They almost demanded an explanation from M, but she beat them to it.

"The dress is for ...umm, let's say, a project of mine. It will be a surprise ok, so I can't say more than that. Also, everyone from the bus will be part of the surprise, kind of?" she started vaguely explaining, trying not to give too much of her secret project.

The girls wanted to keep pestering her about details, but she seemed set on not telling them at all, finally relaxing enough to giggle when M started laughing again as she remembered everyone thought she was dating that guy.

"Geez, can't believe you thought I was dating...pffft, hahaha" she could not finish her sentence, laughing with her entire body until she collapsed into the chair next to her. "Anyways, haaah, welcome back to the dorms, nothing changed, we just have some new faces on the first two floors, maybe on the third as well, I don't know yet" she continued talking, before standing up, going to their side and putting an arm over their shoulders, bringing them closer to her. "Missed you girls so much, even though we chatted daily on the phone" she finished her talk.

"Aww, you clingy panda" Kiki hugged her side, Lexy turning to them and going in for a group hug. "But you still owe us some kind of explanation" she continued, pinching M's cheeks the same way the blonde guy did.

"I will...when the surprise is out, or sooner, we shall see how everyone in the group agrees on that matter" M said, again trying to escape the questioning, running away from the hug when they tried asking for more info.

"At least tell us who the blonde kid was, M. Should we worry about Yoongi?" Lexy asked, watching M's posture or gestures for any giveaway. She wanted Taehyung to be there and do those micro gesture readings, and see if M was lying or hiding anything.

"Worry...about Yoongi?" M asked, not fully understanding why her talking to the guy had anything to do with Yoongi until the light turned on in her brain and she had to roll her eyes at what Lexy implied. "You two are still going on with that? One guy acts nice, like a human being should act, and suddenly, I am getting married to him?" M asked, just a tiny bit annoyed.

She had tons of time during the summer vacation to think everything over. The situation with NamJoon left her scarred and scared to put her heart out there again. All those feelings, even though faded, were still lingering around, reminding her about the pain. Even now, whenever she met NamJoon, she did not know how to be back to her old self around him. She could be polite and do a casual conversation about their families, or weather, or school. But deep down, she felt herself trying to run away from facing the elephant in the room. Seeing him around their group still twisted the knife in her heart, her brain replaying the words he said to her, but she did not want to alienate him. He told her the truth, cut the roots clean, even if she bled her soul and heart out. And she understood him. The pain he brought upon her now was slightly lesser than what would have happened if he never was honest with her. It still hurt all the same.

And then the girl's group chat was filled with fun pictures from their vacation days and they kept casually adding Yoongi in their talks. She knew what they were up to. In a way, she wanted to believe them, but most of herself was not ready to believe anything or do anything about it. Fear wrecked chaos into her heart, and she could only ignore all the flags her friends were raising to point in Yoongi's direction. After careful consideration, more like an afterthought than anything else, she would maybe give it a try, remembering the sandcastle day, remembering just how Yoongi always treated her, always being there for her. But, was she ready? Was Yoongi ready after his last relationship? Would HE want HER? So the last days of her summer vacation were spent burying herself in books and project ideas to get her mind away from everything. And when she got the opportunity to leave her city faster, to return to the dorms earlier, she took it without thinking or asking anyone. She wanted to run away, and maybe figure everything else out on her own.

Tough luck on her side, she never did. She was still as hurt, just as lost and confused as before. But she still had some luck on her side, and she met the group from the bus, as they were freshmen, and some people from the older years. And she threw herself in this surprise project, wanting to help herself out of her thinking ice-cave and to also help herself with her own major, as the project was indirectly tied to it. So she followed what the others did or advised her to do during rehearsals, and kept her mouth shut, wondering if her friends would like it or not. And then, after the surprise project would be over, maybe she would have her answer to what she was looking for. If not, at least, she tried something new, and it was actually kind of relaxing and comforting to do.

"You still don't see it, M?" Lexy stood up, anger coursing through her veins just a tiny bit as her friend either was blind or just in denial. "You think he would be nice and use lines like the Queen one on everyone? Or let them cry on his shoulder just because he is nice? Wake up, M, and see what you have in front of your eyes before you lose it, just because you are too afraid or stubborn to see it and believe it!" the red-haired said, turning away and walking out of the room, not waiting for a reply.

"She is right, M. This is Yoongi's last year here. You don't have much time to figure it out, and you never know what is going to happen. Just don't regret it later, M" Kiki continued, standing up as well, looking at her friend with a tiny bit of sadness and regret for spoiling her day like that, before walking out the door, after Lexy.

M could only watch the door close after them, still sitting on the chair, hands clasped in front of her, a lone tear escaping her eyes, dropping on her arm. She quickly wiped it away, blinking rapidly to stop the other tears from escaping.

"What do I really want or feel?" she asked her lone room, the walls looking back at her with indifference, never offering her their opinion. She herself did not know how to continue with anything, besides school. "Emotions suck" she finally exclaimed, looking out the window, watching the storm clouds gather around the campus, somehow matching her own inner turmoil. Yet, not even that brought her comfort, a headache forming as her mind kept replaying what her friends told her, and she could only groan in despair, as neither her mind nor heart could settle on a specific emotion or thought. In the end, she gave up on feeling anything, just looking out the window the moment the drops of rain starting hitting the glass. Her brain shut down any process of thought, and her heart kept quiet, both letting the rain lull her to sleep. In the end, she fell asleep on the table, falling in a dreamless state which would tire her more than a nightmare would.

Chapter Text

"Noona, want to go get some coffee?" a deep male voice drifted by M's ears as she was reading on a bench, by the shade of a tree. She did not have to raise her head to see who it was, there were only two guys in the entire college who called her 'noona', and only one had a deep voice.

"Nope, I don't drink coffee" she replied, turning the page to continue her reading, ignoring the blonde who was standing by her bench.

"Tea then" the voice continued, and M sighed, shaking her head, not even bothering to reply further. "Soda, milkshake, a date, a trip to Paris?" the guy continued, and M had to close her book and look at him in shock at what he continued to offer. She was close to telling him to 'fuck off' as she was not in the mood for teasing and jokes.

"What is it you really want, Felix?" she asked instead, already feeling a headache forming. She did not sleep well last night, so she was easily irritable. Felix was the first person she interacted with, by chance, and she really did not want to be a meanie to him.

When she came back to college, the first person she met was Felix, who immediately recognized her from their first meeting when he came to check out the campus and came to say hello. He was a nice guy, a bit too energetic for her to keep up with, but somehow, she got swept up in his energy and agreed to participate in the secret project.

"Awww, noona, why so moody today? Need chocolate? I heard that is the best way to make you feel better!" the blonde exclaimed, rummaging through his bag in search of the chocolate he knew he had in there. M could only roll her eyes at him, but a tiny smile appeared on her face at his worry, disappearing the instant he looked back at her, holding the chocolate bar in his hand. "There you go, noona. I like you so much better when you are smiling, not sad. Makes me want to kidnap you and hide you from the world until you are happier once more" he said, pouting.

"Careful now, Felix. If someone hears you say that, they might think you have a crush on me. What would Chan then say?" M smirked, seeing the blonde get flustered at the name drop of his current crush.

Chan was a freshman, just like Felix, just from different cities and majors, and it was a crush at first sight for Felix when Chan helped him with his bag on the train to the college. M found it rather amusing, especially after she found out Felix decided to participate in the secret project because of Chan. Everyone with eyes could see how the blonde practically melted whenever Chan was anywhere near him. Teasing opportunities were placed in M's hands, and she sometimes teased him about it when he was blushing because Chan did something awesome, in Felix's opinion. Otherwise, she was cheering Felix on in his pursuit, albeit slow and silent, knowing exactly how that felt.

"Stop it, noona, not so loud" Felix whispered, looking around just in case anyone were to listen in.

"You do know, practically the entire college knows you like him, right? You are not as subtle as you think you are, Felix" she replies, keeping her voice down to a whisper, just to calm his panicked expression. He was a social person, but when it came to dealing with his crush, he became a panicked puppy.

"Shhhh, no, they don't" he pouted once more, trying hard to make himself look annoyed, but his puppy face just made him look more adorable. M only nodded at him, not saying out loud her thoughts about the whole situation. "Anyways, what made you sad? Or who?" he continued, sitting next to her.

"More like myself rather than an external factor, Felix. And I have no idea how to deal with it" M replied, looking at the branches above them, swaying softly in the breeze of the wind. Felix relaxed next to her, looking at the sky and the clouds passing them by, the silence surrounding them as he thought over what she told him, in search of a reply.

From afar, they looked like they were having an important conversation, both their postures relaxed, and Felix sometimes making funny faces to make M laugh. Most students saw them as a couple and immediately walked away, gossiping about what they just saw at the beginning of the year. A gossip which reached M's group of friends, who as a whole, turned to look at Yoongi's reaction. Before either could say anything, he shrugged and continued drinking from his coffee cup, eyes growing larger when M and Felix passed their table.

Neither of the two noticed the group of friends, M showing Felix something from her book, laughing as he kept asking about an expression in there, before smacking his shoulder. Yoongi looked slightly taken back as M looked more relaxed in those few seconds than she was ever since he met her. But he said nothing, preferring to look at his coffee. The rest of the group reacted differently, from frowns to sighs, Kookie glaring after the tall blonde guy next to his noona.

"Haha, I can't wait to know what that secret project they are doing is about." Lexy said, slightly frowning, feeling hurt that M did not notice them. Kiki said nothing, her face neutral as she looked after the two, before turning to look at Jin. From his expression, she understood he was in the same thought lane as her, and she wondered if she should tell the others or not about her suspicions. But it was not her place to say it. So she shook her head at Jin as a sign not to say anything, and they looked at the others.

Kookie and V were glaring down the path the two people went on, and NamJoon seemed like he had a headache, as he was rubbing his temples. Whatever the group thought about the recent development and gossip around college, no one seemed to want to confront it until M was ready to tell them what she was up to. Yoongi seemed the most unbothered by it, another neutral amongst the group, and he kept drinking his coffee, while his two teammates promised to bring the new kid in for questioning, and then some warnings not to interfere in their ship, but neither said that out loud.

Meanwhile, M kept walking with Felix, fully aware of what the other people were saying about them, annoyed that she can't even talk and laugh with a guy without being 'in a romance'. Felix either seemed oblivious or did not care, and M appreciated him not changing even when everyone pointed at them. She could not wait for the project to be done, and then she could cut one more thing off her list of things to try. Meanwhile, she had to ignore everything happening around her, and search for a solution for her own problems, real or made by her own mind. She felt this college year would bring her lots of changes, and anxiety exploded throughout her body at the thought, but in a way, she felt she was more than ready for all that.

Chapter Text

"Hey, Yoongi? Listen here, man. All those freshmen girls that came in to watch the practice are soooooo cute. Want me to introduce you to one of them?" one of the basketball players ran up to Yoongi, blabbering on about the new girls that just came to college.

It always happened like that. A new batch of freshmen, and suddenly, everyone could only talk about them. When he was a first-year, the same thing happened. Older girls giggling and asking for his number. Seniors trying to act all alpha to let him know it was their territory. And then he was a second year, and everyone talked about the new batch of people. No one interesting in his major and most of the newbies were either too involved in learning or partying. In his third year, the same thing happened, so he was not surprised that now that he was in his fourth year, the same thing was going to repeat itself. Now, more than ever, he wondered if anyone talked about M or her group of friends when they enrolled, or anyone approached him to talk about her. He could only wonder how she was in her first year, and if they even passed by each other during those days.

"Come on, man. Ever since you joined the team, we never saw you talk to a girl on your own, and no, Tae's girlfriend and friends do not count. They all have boyfriends" the guy continued, and Yoongi sighed.

"Nu-uh" Kookie interjected "M is single" he continued, looking offended that they just swept over her like that.

"Single my ass" the guy kept talking, not seeing how Kookie frowned as the conversation continued "She and that tall journalism dude are an item, and honestly, she could do so much better. I heard he keeps switching girls every few months or so. She is probably kept around to be played with. She should know better, really" the guy shrugged, not caring much besides throwing shade and gossiping.

Kookie felt like he was seeing red in front of his eyes, and he was about to grab the guy by the collar and shake him down until his brain settled back in its place. Yoongi placed a hand on his chest and shook his head, clearly telling him not to do anything drastic.

"Even if it were so, is it something you should trouble yourself with?" Yoongi asked, his eyes cold and unmoving from the guy, who felt a cold shiver go down his back.

"I was just saying, geez, calm down, dude. Not my fault that is what everyone keeps talking about, now they are saying she went for a freshman. That is why I keep saying you should do it too, Yoongi, it is...." but he never got to continue his sentence as Yoongi turned his back and started walking away.

"Not interested. Just a piece of advice." Yoongi said, looking over his shoulder at his teammate, same cold gaze in his eyes "Be careful what you say about whom. One day, it will come to bite you in the ass" and with that, he left the court, going for the changing room. He was tired, both physically and mentally. And he was worried.

During the summer vacation, he talked almost daily with M, and while their conversation was not long, it was a back and forth banter about their lives. He got to learn a lot about her, and they exchanged pictures of their favorite places in their cities, and information strangers outside their group, or even some people from the group, could never know. He felt he was getting closer to her, but somehow, he still felt pretty far away from her. It could have been his imagination, but it felt like she was keeping him at arm's length from reaching closer to her heart. He did understand why she was doing it. She was still hurt after the beach trip, still healing. He could only wish she would one day let him help her with the healing, even if it meant just bringing her a cup of tea daily until they could talk openly.

And now that they were back at college, he only saw her once, from afar, with another guy. Her expression confused him, and he felt rather uncomfortable seeing her laugh with that freshman and walk away with him. Ever since that day, he never saw even a glimpse of her or even the other guy. It frustrated him, and the rest of the group seemed just as restless as him. Not even Taehyung had any answers, and he was in the same class as her. The girls kept assuring everyone the gossips were not real, and M herself declared she was not dating the guy. But life was unpredictable, and Yoongi felt that her declaration could change at any time, and a pang of hurt surged through his body, starting from his heart. He knew he did not want that to happen.

"Hey, Yoongi" a woman's voice came from the entrance of the stadium, and he turned around slowly, fearing he was hallucinating. M was standing there, with a cup of coffee in her hand, offering it to him. "Long time no see." she said, and she smiled, waiting for him to take the coffee.

It felt rather like in a dream, as he reached for the cup in her hands, his fingers brushing over hers, and he felt rather anxious and excited at the same time.

"I drink my coffee black" was the first thing he said after he took a sip from the coffee she offered, frowning as the sugar hit his tongue.

"Oh...then why did you drink that latte I brought you at the library?" she asked, her head tilted to one side, eyebrows furrowed in confusion.

"I did not want to make you feel like you should go get me another one." he said, shrugging, looking anywhere but at her.

"Ah, ok, noted for next time," she said with a chuckle, surprising him as she took the coffee from his hand "Well then, so as not to torture you, I shall drink this coffee" she continued, grinning, ready to do what she just said. Before her lips could touch the cup, on the same place he drank from, he felt rather pressed to stop her, and took the cup back from her, drinking it in one gulp, leaving M to look shocked at him. "Why did you do that now? It was too sugary for you" she exclaimed, looking at the empty cup in his hand before he discarded it in the trash.

"I never said I don't like sweet stuff" Yoongi replied, shrugging. "Also, I do remember you saying you do not like coffee that much"

"Ha, thank you, Yoongi, but I would not have died from drinking it" she laughed, walking faster to be in step with him. He could only watch as she tried to match his steps, smirking as he stepped bigger on purpose to see if she would follow. In the end, that earned him a pout as she stopped, clearly not able to follow his steps. "You're enjoying this, aren't you?" she asked, glaring at him.

"A tiny bit, yes" he admitted, and she sighed, shaking her head at him. She stepped next to him and it looked like she wanted to say something, stopping when another voice called for Yoongi.

He seemed rather annoyed, and confused as he did not recognize the voice, turning around to see his teammate point at the girl next to him, mouthing towards Yoongi to 'go for her'. He felt like facepalming on the spot, turning to M with an apologetic look, who only offered him a tiny smile.

"Yoongi-sunbae-nim. I saw you at the practice match. You were amazing." the girl said, admiration written all over her face, and M immediately tuned her out. Her voice was too high, she was holding her arms too close to her body, trying to emphasize her bust size, and she was leaning too close to Yoongi. M immediately figured out the girl was trying to make a move on Yoongi, and it seemed like his teammate was encouraging her behavior, as he signaled her to step away from Yoongi.

M was caught between doing what the guy was signaling her, and spoiling the girls' plans. Yet, her rational side took over and she turned to follow the teammate. It seemed like the best thing to do at the moment. But the moment she was about to step away from Yoongi's side, his fingers wrapped around her wrist, tugging on it gently, a silent signal not to move. Her heart felt heavy and in need of more oxygen, and she wondered if the autumn evening was warmer than how she felt just minutes before.

"Thank you, miss. Glad our team could impress you like that" Yoongi said, calm and serious, no emotion attached to his voice "Now, if you will excuse me, I am already engaged in a conversation and I would rather finish it before I could start a new one" he continued, waving at the girl who could only look at him with her mouth agape, before turning away from her, walking ahead, M's wrist still in his hand, leaving her no choice but to follow.

His teammate looked just as shocked as Yoongi practically rejected the girl who was trying to flirt with him, until a lightbulb exploded in his head, finally realizing what just happened. He could only apologize to the girl, before telling her his team was filled with hot, single guys, and he would introduce her to all of them as an apology. Letting the girl walk ahead of him, he turned to look one last time at Yoongi and M walking away from the stadium, seeing how Yoongi's hand slid down, holding onto M's hand, looking like they were a couple out for a walk, and he wondered if either of them realized that happened. In the end, he grinned, excited to have something to tease Yoongi about at the next practice, ready to let the other guys know about what just happened.

Chapter Text

"Yoongi?" M's voice snapped him out of his thoughts, and he finally realized they were far away from the stadium, and he was holding onto her hand. It felt like that was where her hand belonged, and he did not want to let go. But in the end, he let it go, looking down at their shadows, their hands still close enough that the shadows looked like they were holding hands.

"Yoongi, are you ok?" M asked, looking at the man by her side, worried something might have happened during practice or even while talking to the girl who was clearly an admirer of his, even if her heart hurt to admit that.

"Yes, I am. Sorry about that" he said in the end, looking at her, confusing her about what he was sorry for. She was tempted to ask him why he apologized, but her brain asked her if she really wanted to know the answer. In the end, she asked nothing, and he said nothing either. It felt awkward and stifling, and she wondered why they can't talk just as normally as they did before. A side of her already had an answer for that, but until she accepted it as a whole, she would never admit to it.

"Ah, it is ok. The girl clearly was an admirer, and you are one of the best players on the team. Of course she would try to talk to you" M laughed, forced and awkward. If Yoongi noticed, he said nothing about it.

"Would you have done the same if you were in her place?" he asked instead, looking at her, his eyes boring through her, feeling like he was searching for something inside her heart, an answer to a question he had.

"I..." M felt panic install itself inside her brain, and her eyes looked at the trees around them, jumping from one to another, anything to avoid his gaze. "I don't know" she settled on that answer, feeling too agitated to try and think through what he asked.

Whatever he was expecting to get from that question, he seemed rather hesitant to continue, sighing as he looked away from her. His profile was hit from behind by the last rays of the setting sun, drops of sweat from the practice glimmering as the light hit them, and he looked like he was catching fire from inside. M could only look at him, feeling the panic subside, her brain really starting to think about what he asked her. She did not know if it was because his expression seemed to bring her entire mood down, or if she wanted to not feel as distant from him as she was feeling at the exact moment, even if they were standing apart just a few steps.

"Well, I guess I will see you around" Yoongi started, one hand going behind his neck, rubbing the soreness away, eyes closed as he tried to not just come out and ask her what he really wanted to know. He felt like it just was not the moment, and at the same time, he wondered if there was ever going to be the right moment. "Take care on..." but her voice stopped him from continuing.

"I don't know if I could ever be just as bold as that girl, honestly, but I would try my best to cheer that person on and help him however I could, even if that meant bringing him a cup of coffee or a towel after practice," M said suddenly louder than expected, her eyes closed and a blush exploding on her cheeks. Her heart was beating frantically in her chest, and she felt like oxygen was not reaching her brain, or her heart, feeling slightly dizzy as she was waiting for him to say anything.

"..."

Yoongi was taken back by her outburst, blinking rapidly as his brain took a few seconds to process what she just said, suddenly feeling energized as he realized she put as an example what she just did this evening. His hand moved on its own, realizing a little too late it went for her head, ruffling her hair, his gummy smile appearing as he looked at M's face, still blushing. In a way, he got the answer he was looking for and realized he did not want to rush her to do anything, just being by her side until she was ready to take that one step towards him was enough for him, for now.

"Thanks for answering," he said in the end, stepping back from her to give her some room to breathe, to let the red dissipate from her cheeks, even if he did like that color on her, especially if he was the cause for it.

"I..erm, well" she tried replying, wracking her brain to find something to say, her brain still focused on the fact that Yoongi just ruffled her hair, and she felt like she was back in high school, going in crush mode.

"It is getting late, want me to walk you home?" Yoongi asked, staring at the college dorms on the other side of where the stadium was at, and M felt like she needed a moment to catch her breath and gather her thoughts before she could continue being in his company.

"It is ok. You just came out of practice and it would be too far to walk to the girl's dorms and back to yours. Plus I need to stop by the theater building" M said, smiling, trying hard to behave normally, even though her heart was still beating too fast.

"Are you sure?" Yoongi asked once more, stepping closer, not wanting to let her walk alone, even though it was not that late. He felt like he wanted to just be next to her, even if it meant walking in silence.

"Yeah, all good. You need to rest, and the theater building is like three minutes away from here. I can make it there safely" she said, laughing, already going down the steps, waving at Yoongi "Take care, alright? Good night, Yoongi" she continued before finally walking away from him.

Yoongi could only watch her walk away from him, and he sighed. One tiny step closer and two further away. It seemed like this was the dance he was caught in at the moment, and he wondered if he would ever be allowed to step closer to her than that one step. But at the same time, he did not mind. She needed to figure herself out, he knew that. And he did not want to force her into doing or saying something she was not ready for. He could only hope it did not take the entirety of his last year for her to realize what she wants. In the end, he turned to walk towards his own dorm, looking up at the sky as it darkened, dark clouds forcing the stars to go into hiding. Yoongi could only hope the rain will not catch them on the way home, turning to look at the theater building one more time in worry, before hurrying on his way.

M on the other hand did not hurry at all towards her destination, even taking a seat on the bench close to the path, watching as the clouds gather together and then disperse slowly. She was caught in her thoughts about what just happened, she did not even notice the first drops of rain hit her skin until one hit her eye, and she snapped out of it. Looking around, she realized it was about to start raining harder, and she was almost late to the practice for the project, and she got up, running towards the theater building. To her luck, she reached it right before it started raining cats and dogs, and her clothes were just slightly damp.

"Micky, you got here just in time" Chan's voice greeted her the moment she stepped inside the room they were practicing in, and she smiled at the brunette who was just as tall as Felix. He was a sweet guy, always there to help her with everything, and she understood why Felix had a crush on him, just like the rest of the college campus.

"Ah, Chan, sorry for almost being late" she apologized, smiling as she took the dress from his hands and going to the changing room. Today, they all had to get fitted before they could practice, to make sure the outfits would fit perfectly.

"It is ok. Now go in there" Chan waved her apology away, before going to help the others with their own outfits.

M could only sigh as she looked in the mirror as she took her clothes off and put on the green dress. She was lucky it was her favorite color, or she would have had a hard time wearing it. Plus it was the first time she was wearing a dress of her own will, and a part of her brain wondered what Yoongi would think if he saw her dressed like this. That line of thought made her blush, and she shook her head to bring herself back to the present.

Walking out of the changing room, she went to where they were doing the measurements to see if she needed to get a fit or not, even though she felt like she did not need it. In the end, she only needed her shoulders to be better fitted on her, which took like fifteen minutes tops due to the awesome people in charge of the costumes. She watched the others run around, practicing on their own before the real practice with everyone could start, and she sighed, wondering if she really belonged there.

"Yah, M, stop getting lost in your thoughts, and come practice" Felix's voice woke her up from her daydreams, sounding higher than usual, and she giggled as he was goofing around until they reached the stage.

The moment she stepped on the stage, her worries disappeared, and she tried her best to do everything perfectly, letting her own feelings mix with what she needed to do. In the end, even though she had just a few things to do, she felt accomplished, perfecting herself with every practice session they did of all acts. In two weeks top, they could show everyone what the surprise project was, and she was brimming with confidence and excitement, wondering what her friends would think. In the end, she got back to the dorms later than usual, falling asleep in a few minutes, her brain not even having the time to catch up to the events of the day. Her sleep was filled with sweet dreams, her brain trying to guide both her heart and itself on a path it knew would be good for all of them, and she smiled as her dream starred a green dress and a certain someone ruffling her hair.

Chapter Text

"What do you mean you can't make it this weekend, Tae?" Lexy looked at her boyfriend from the sink where she was washing dishes. Her expression was one of surprise and a tiny bit of anger seeping through. "We have told you about Saturday evening for weeks now" she continued, huffing as she scrubbed the plate extra hard. "You know how important it is to M for everyone to be there. We finally get to see the surprise she has been working on"

"I know, and I really want to go, but we have a match that day, and we will finish maybe a few minutes before her surprise ends. Neither of us can make it" he replied, his smile gone, replaced with sadness. "We all want to know what that surprise is about. Film it for us?" he asked, putting on his puppy eyes on display.

"Humph" was the only response he got from the red-haired woman, who did not even look at him, knowing fully well she would fall for the puppy eyes. "You will break the news to M though!" she said, putting the plates on the dish rack to dry, before turning to make herself a cup of coffee. She did not want to think about M's disappointed face when she hears the big news. M was excited to show them the surprise ever since they found out about it.

Honestly, they barely saw M around ever since she started that project, and between classes and her going to rehearsals, they caught a glimpse of her while she was running to classes. Not even the weekends were a good time to catch her in the mood to go out. And when they actually had the time to sit and talk, she was half dozing away, mumbling about stuff. Even Tae could not talk to her much, as they had the same classes, always reporting back to the group that she barely paid any attention to him, even when the professors were a no show. The entire group was worried that this might be too much for M to do, but when they were told that the show was going to be soon, they all shut up and waited patiently. In the end, Tae, Kookie, and Yoongi would be a no-show, and Lexy wondered if that was about to sadden M. She could only hope the others would be there, to cheer for her, if not, she was ready to build the biggest banner ever made and wave it around for M to see she was not alone. Lexy knew Kiki would provide her with all the materials needed, and would even make sure she was allowed to bring it inside and set it up, and then be right there with her and cheer M along, even if it meant skipping a class or something like that, to set everything up.

"I will tell her tomorrow in class, dear" Tae's voice broke her out of her thoughts, and she remembered she was still upset they had to schedule the game right on that day and at that hour.

"They could have made the game earlier or later than the time we need to be there" Lexy pouted, not wanting to relent to the gods above who made such a schedule happen.

"I know, I know. We tried asking the coach if we can change at least the beginning hour to catch the last part of the show, but nope. Already decided and unless we have a good reason, nothing will change" Tae said, reaching for a cup to make himself some hot chocolate, wondering if he could bribe M with an entire box of hot chocolate to not make her sad.

He did notice how tired she was lately, between rehearsals of god knows what and the classes she was taking. Even after he offered to give her some of his notes, she refused to take a day off, continuing to come to class. In a way, he understood her, as she had a different way of taking notes than his, and that one time she accepted his offer, she understood almost nothing from his note-taking system.

He also remembered Yoongi's expression when they got the news, for a split second he was crestfallen, then he schooled his expression back on neutral, and no one was the wiser about what just happened. Kookie showed his emotions on his face, immediately glaring at the piece of paper that said the time of the game, crushing it in his hands like it would change anything.

In the end, he could only hope M would not take it badly or get upset about it, and if that did happen, he was ready to buy her a ton of chocolates to bring them back into her good graces. And if worse came to worse, he would lock M in the changing room with Yoongi after a game and hope that whatever happens in there would make her more forgiving.

"I don't know what you are thinking about, but I advise you to stop it. You are making that face again" Lexy poked Tae's forehead and rolled her eyes as his thoughts were written all over his face. "Either you are plotting something for M, or you got an idea on how to become rich overnight, and we both know it ain't that one" she continued, watching Tae pout once more and take a sip of his still hot hot-chocolate. "Also, M and Yoongi are slowly progressing by themselves, so don't meddle, unless they will not become a couple by Christmas, then we get out the big guns, ok?"

Tae could only nod at her question, wondering if he should at least tell her about the idea he had, to implement it in a plan, maybe before even Christmas came. He did notice some of the freshmen girls circling the stadium when they had practice matches, especially targeting Yoongi. Of course, the senior ignored their advances, trying to be polite and cold at the same time, but that only seemed to backfire as the girls seemed to like that kind of attitude. Not even Kookie could drive their attention away from Yoongi for that long, and he was a well-sculpted athlete. In the end, Tae was tempted to trip over Kookie and rip his jersey off to make the girls go goo-goo ga-ga over the younger player, so Yoongi could run away. Now that he thought about it, Tae wondered why those girls went for Yoongi, he was a good basketball player indeed, but otherwise, his muscles were almost on the non-existent side, or he hid them really well; he was shorter than most of the guys on the team, and his skin tone was on the pale side. And then he always glared or looked like he was glaring at people, especially when they went against what he was just telling them not to do. Yet, all those girls were enamored with the idea of getting his attention, always shouting his name and bringing him water bottles or towels. So far, Yoongi ignored them all, going to his own stuff and then walking away from all the new fans he gathered, while the rest of the team teased him about it.

When Tae told the girls about what happened at the practice matches, both Lexy and Kiki wanted to go to a match and tell the girls to back off, and bring M with them to show everyone Yoongi was taken, sort of. When they told M about their idea, she snorted into her tea, laughing afterward as she told everyone they need to loosen up and let the girls admire who they want. Tae wondered if something did happen the one time M appeared after their practice match, as one of their teammates came back with a freshman, introducing her to everyone on the team. And then that guy told them Yoongi rejected the girl right in front of him, preferring to go talk to M, looking pointedly at Tae and Kookie, waiting for an explanation. Neither said anything, not knowing how to explain what was going on themselves, in the end just shrugging. If Yoongi chose M over the freshman girl, it was not that teammates' problem. Deep down, they were happy the ship was finally moving along, even if in slow motion. Of course, when they asked Yoongi about it, he just gave them a look of 'mind your own business' and went back to do his own thing and practice his shots.

Tae had a feeling unless something happened, both M and Yoongi could drag this back and forth until the end of the year, and he did not think he could handle watching that for so long.

"For god's sake, now even NamJoon can't come with us" Lexy groaned, throwing herself on the couch as she was glaring at the text message the group got. In the span of half an hour, half of the group could not make it to the show, and Lexy felt like throwing stuff around until she felt better. Tae leaned over her, massaging her shoulders to try and calm her down, reading the messages that popped up in the group chat. He saw Kookie and Yoongi tell everyone about their match and then everything went silent as they were waiting for M to reply, as she was online and read everything.

-No problem, guys. I understand. Sorry I can not go cheer you on. Go win that game for me then-

That was her reply, and Tae felt bad as he imagined M's face when she read that they could not come. He really had to buy those hot chocolate boxes now, and give them as an apology, and maybe somehow make Yoongi do something nice for her too. Until then, he could only go tomorrow for hot chocolate shopping, to see which brand was the best, and try them all for himself at the same time. And then decide which ones M would like. But only after he taste-tested them all, of course.

Chapter Text

"Do you think I let my emotions guide me, or did my insanity cancel them all?" was the first thing Yoongi heard as he came to a stop at the back of the seats, breathing heavily from running all the way from the stadium until the theater building.

It was the last minutes of the show, and he ran all the way there the moment the match ended with their win, not caring to stay around for the applause or congratulations. He did not even change from his team jersey, running as fast as he could, almost tripping over the steps to go inside the theater room. The moment he stepped inside, arms on his knees as he was bent over, trying to catch his breath, feeling the pulse go crazy from the run session, the first thing he heard was her voice.

He raised his head, sweat blurring his vision as it dropped from his brows, and he wiped it away, his eyes glued on the stage so far away from him. But even from a distance, he could see perfectly on stage. There was a play going on, the people looking on stage with curiosity, and he wondered what happened before he came in. The moment the actress on the stage talked again, turning around so the audience could see her, he froze on the spot.

M was standing on a platform that looked like rocks, a long wig on her head, hair reaching her ankles almost, and a green, medieval dress hugged her body, the green complimenting the brunette wig, attracting all eyes on her. The first thing Yoongi heard when he came inside was her voice, and now the same voice washed over him, monotone and loud, descending slowly into sorrowful and soft. He could only wonder how could she actually make all those tone changes to her voice, and yet sound so intriguing like she was inviting him to come and discover more facets of her personality before the play was over.

Like a moth attracted to the flame, he walked closer to the stage, reaching the halfway point when M turned to talk to one of the other actors, and Yoongi recognized the blonde guy she walked with a couple of times. His ears seemed to not pick what they were saying anymore, watching M's character step closer to the ledge of the platform, and before anyone in the audience could react, she let herself over the ledge. Gasps could be heard throughout the room, the audience not believing what they just saw, but Yoongi was silent, his hand raised like he was trying to catch her before she could reach the ground.

Her green dress fluttered, her hair enveloping her in a hug, and before her body could touch the ground, a wave of blue enveloped her, swallowing her whole, a splash being heard from behind the curtains, signaling she fell in the water at the bottom of the rocks. The guy on the ledge could only watch in shock and horror as the woman fell, swallowed by the sea, dropping to his knees and crying, hugging himself as he rocked back and forth in an attempt to comfort himself from the horror he just saw.

"Insanity is born from emotions and emotions are born from insanity. When can you really tell which is which?" M's monotone voice could be heard floating somewhere above the stage, washing over the sea of people in the audience, and when she finished her line, the curtain fell closed over the actor on the ledge, still crying over the woman who let herself fall in the sea, before falling in himself just as the curtains closed tightly.

Silence washed over the room, before applause erupted from the audience, people standing up and cheering for the actors as they stepped on the stage, bowing to the audience. M still had the wig on, a blush decorating her cheeks, and she was holding hands with the other actors, bowing at the same time as them. Slowly, one by one, everyone left the stage, until three people were left standing there: M, the blonde guy, and NamJoon. Yoongi could only look in confusion as he remembered clearly that NamJoon said he could not make it tonight at the project, and now there he was, on the stage, holding hands with M and bowing.

Soon enough, the applause subsided, and the three people on stage rushed backstage, smiles on their faces, and M disappeared just like that, like she never was there, on stage in front of Yoongi. Whatever spirit possessed him to start walking, he did not fight against it, letting it guide him to the back room. It was like everyone knew why and where he was going, or maybe they were too busy to pay attention to him to actually stop him. In the end, he stopped in front of a room and knocked, like he was there a thousand times and he knew who was in there. Though the paper with the written in black letters name of Marie did tell him everything he needed to know. A soft ' come in' told him it was alright to open the door, and he did as he was told, closing his eyes at the difference of light from the hall to the room.

When he opened his eyes again, M's eyes looked at him from the mirror, before she turned around, her long-haired wig gone from her head, just her short hair sitting up in all kinds of directions as she took her wig off. The dress was still on, tightly tied in front with a corset, her chest heaving as she tried breathing through it, the material and the lights directed on her face making it hard to move and breathe on stage. Now that she was down, the corset was slightly opened, the ties dangling over the material, the white underdress peeking from beneath. Her eyes could only grow wider as she saw Yoongi standing there, still in his jersey, his hair wet from sweat and running, not only on the court but also towards the theater building. Neither said anything, and M could feel her cheeks blushing, she did not know what to say or ask, her thoughts jumbling around not only from how the show went, the audience cheering for them, but also because Yoongi was standing there, looking at her.

"You are beautiful" his voice cut through the silence, stepping closer to her, the door closing behind him, like it had a mind of its own, wanting to give them intimacy.

M's heart started beating even faster than on stage, and she wondered if it could try and escape, and she was at a loss for words. Should she say 'thank you', should she ask him about the game, should she do something? Nothing seemed like the right response or thing to do, but before she could choose something, she felt his fingers on her cheeks. Just the tips of his fingertips caressing her blooming cheeks, before his palm touched her skin. Unknowingly, she leaned into his touch, eyes closing as she tried to capture this moment in her memory.

He ran all the way there to see her show, even if it meant the last minutes, and she was so happy he could make it, that he tried so hard for her. Her hand went to his, placing it over his own, feeling its warmth underneath, or maybe that was just her own skin catching on fire from the touch. Whatever it was, she did not mind getting scorched, both her mind and heart forgetting about their internal fight for those few seconds.

"So beautiful!" Yoongi said, his voice closer than before, and she opened her eyes, seeing him lean closer to her, and with each breath of hers she took, he seemed to be that much closer. Closer, until the tips of their noses touched, and his breath was fanning her skin, making the blush explode brighter on her cheeks. Closer, until his lips were just a breath away from her own, and she leaned just the tiniest bit into it, mesmerized, waiting for the contact of their lips to happen.

"Yo, M, come out, we have fans waiting for us" a laughing male voice erupted from behind the closed door before steps walked further away from the room.

Both M and Yoongi froze in their positions, eyes locked onto each other, trying to read into the other's heart. But the moment was gone, the spell broken, the air cleared, and the shuffle of steps outside the tiny room brought them away from one another. Her cheeks were ablaze with embarrassment and his own cheeks mirrored hers. Silence overtook them once more, and both looked in different parts of the room, trying to stabilize their heartbeats.

"I am sorry I could not make it..." both their voices intermingled, trying to apologize for not making it to the other's event, and soon, they both were chuckling, settling into small smiles as their eyes met once more.

"We won," Yoongi said, his fingers reaching for her cheek once more, wiping the tiny bit of powder from her skin, and she blushed, grinning at him.

"I knew you would" M responded, before turning to face the mirror again, taking some napkins to rub her face clean of the powder they set upon her skin. "No one could beat you" she added beneath her breath, smiling at Yoongi through her reflection.

"I will wait for you outside" he replied, finally realizing she was in the middle of changing, the ties from her dress dangling as she loosened them, the material sliding from her shoulders as she kept turning around to look at him. When she realized what was happening as well, her hands went to the material, trying to slide it back on her shoulders, blushing a thousand reds, before trying to excuse herself, her words tripping over each other.

The door closing itself stopped her stuttering, and looking up, she finally noticed she was alone in the room once more. She could only breathe a sigh of relief before her cheeks blossomed red again as her mind replayed what was about to happen before Felix came to her door.

'Or maybe it was all a hallucination caused by the excitement of being on stage' M thought, reaching for the straps of her dress, her cheek still tingling where he caressed her, and she knew she could never imagine the feel of his hand on her skin. Closing her eyes, she hoped time would go back right before their lips would touch, and maybe no one would interrupt them this time. M could only sigh as she opened her eyes, knowing time could not go back, but no one said anything about the future not holding more opportunities. In the end, she still had to thank him for the compliment, and for trying to get to the show. She figured she could start with a cup of black coffee, and the video of the show so he could see what happened before he came in.

Chapter Text

"Can't believe how awesome and frightening you looked the moment you stabbed NamJoon! That look on your face still gives me chills when I think about it!" Kiki raved about the play throughout the walk to the closest bar to celebrate the end of the surprise play Felix and Chan's group did for the college festival.

NamJoon could only shake his head as he heard Kiki and Lexy hype M about the role she played on stage and how amazing of a job she did. He agreed with them. In reality, he would have never guessed she was ever going to step foot on a stage, in front of hundreds of people, and put on an act that good. But after he read the script, he understood why she accepted it. Her character went through emotional turmoil from the beginning, and slowly went insane, and he could see the psychology major in her want to experiment with such a character, to dig deep into her psyche and manifest the side she needed for the play. And manifest she did, especially in some parts he knew collided with her real life.

"NamJoon, I have to ask though" Jin turned to him, a puzzled expression on his face as he was eyeing his friend "how did you get to play in this too? You never said anything about it, and I do remember you saying you could not come with us." he asked, and NamJoon could only grin at his older friend.

"Well, Jin, I was not expecting to be stabbed either or asked to play on stage" NamJoon replied, taking a sip of his beer while watching the theater group interact with his friends and their colleagues.

It was a large group in the bar, and Felix and Chan started hyping the entire play in front of everyone, telling them how they came up with and how they recruited people. Still, his eyes strayed to M's profile, who seemed to shift between amusement and embarrassment whenever they brought her and her contributions to the discussion. She was a different person on stage, he could see it even from the rehearsals, and she tried her best to make the character come to life, to let everyone in the audience feel her conflicted emotions.

When M approached him the first time about him joining the group, he thought she was joking, as he did not see her as someone who could ever perform. She was too honest in her motives, her actions giving her away most of the time. When it came to emotions, he knew she could hide them away, but to portray emotions that were not even hers, he did not think she would be able to pull it off. Then she asked him to do it so they could mend their somewhat awkward friendship. And the look in her eyes told him everything he needed to know. She was serious about it. And it was going to be therapeutic in a way. So he said yes, and then he got the script. His role was to play her husband, a cheater even. And the more he read about it, the more he understood why this would help them somehow.

The rehearsals were not bad, and M always took them seriously, especially the part where her character had to confront him for the last time before his death. He could see how much she struggled and shifted through expressions and stances until she finally settled on the one she felt was perfect for their story. And that is when he saw the M from the beach coming back, sad and broken, mixing with the insanity in the character she was performing. Her running towards him while pretending to scream always made him want to not move, to let her stab him until she was satisfied and all her rage dissipated. But his character did not deserve or earn redemption, so he always paused between actions, which got him a scolding from Chan every time. His mental self conflicted with his character and neither knew how to act, as M and the character became inseparable in his eyes.

Then, the big evening came and she whispered to him to go with the flow, no matter if he needed to adlib or perform differently than the rehearsals. He felt M had a trick up her sleeve, and he wanted to ask, but at the same time did not want to spoil her surprise. Until his death scene, where she confronted him, everything went without a hitch, no out of character performance. Then she stepped on stage, fake knife in hand, her eyes glassy, like a doll. And she laughed, and laughed, broken, insane and crying. That was the part where she found out what he did behind her back, how he tried to poison her to get rid of her, and then take her money and her child and move in with his mistress. And she reacted differently than the rehearsals, and he was frozen on the spot. The shock was written on his face as she ran for him, knife in front, ready to stab him again and again as the script said. But where this should have been a brawl for his life, and try to stop her crazy self from killing him, he was rooted to the spot. The tears streaming down her face rendered him motionless and before he knew it, her weight pushed him to the ground, the knife clipped into his coat, one swift strike in the center of his heart.

He died in seconds, shock still on his face, trying to adlib everything that was happening as a reaction to her acting. She was still kneeled over his body, still holding the knife into his body, still crying at what she just did. And without anyone noticing, she whispered to his ear, her hair covering his reaction 'And with this, it's all over'. He could only look at her, her eyes serious as she gazed into his own, and before she started getting up from his dead body, she sent him a small smile, then she immediately started laughing like she went mad. The rest of the scenes went accordingly to the script, just his death scene was changed, but Chan could not be mad about it. The heartbroken wife killed her husband, not in a fit of madness, but a fit of sadness, anger, broken heart, and fear of losing the only person whom she loved more than anyone else in the world, her child. And the audience reacted spectacularly to his death scene, so no one could berate them for changing it up.

The fact that they were just characters who appeared on stage as means for a flashback on the hero's story, the child who grew up watching his mother throw herself off a cliff in front of his eyes, made it even more surprising as the audience felt more in tune with the heartbroken woman. And they felt the husband got the ending he deserved, a stab of surprise, no time to fight for his life, the same way the news of his plan shocked the woman to her core.

NamJoon could only smile as he watched the theater group interact with everyone, M turning from them to send him a smile, acting the way she usually did before everything blew up, before he started acting like a douche. And he understood what that whispered line finally meant. With his death on stage, she killed the last resentment and pain she had from what happened, and she could finally begin anew as his friend. She wiped that slate clean, and she was going to take it slowly into trusting him again as a friend. They were ok once more.

Watching Yoongi approach her from the large crowd in the bar, NamJoon could only sigh, reaching for his beer once more, knowing that from now on, if he did get drunk again, he should call Jin or Taehyung to help him get back to his room. And with that thought in mind, he was intent on going back to celebrating his performance and debut as an actor. And maybe tease Jin about him getting some competition in the drama world.

Chapter Text

"You know, you are acting a bit suspiciously, M, ever since you came out from the dressing room" Felix's voice washed over the loud playing music, making M stare at him. "Did something good happen?" he continued asking, grinning as he saw the blush slowly appear on her cheeks, knowing for sure it was not from her drink.

"Shut your trap, Felix or Chan might discover tonight you have a crush on him" she whispered angrily, hiding her face behind the glass she was holding in her hands. Her brain was still trying to process the fact that she and Yoongi almost kissed, or she thought he wanted to kiss her. From what she could know, he might have wanted to help her wipe the powder off, or hug her as congratulations for the magnificent job she did out there, even though he only saw the last few seconds of the play. He still caught her at the jump on the cliffs, right before Felix, who played her child as a grown-up, did the same thing as her character, trying to convey her insanity was passed down to him.

"Noona, nooooo" he immediately scrambled to cover her mouth, looking around in fear someone overheard her and might say it to Chan. But no one was interested in their antics or whispered teasing, too busy drinking and laughing about stuff they wanted to plan for the holidays, as they were rapidly approaching.

M could only roll her eyes at the young guy, still fearful to approach Chan and tell him how much he adored and admired him. She could not understand why, as Chan felt the same way about Felix, and she knew for sure she was not the only one who noticed. She wanted to comment something more about it, but she felt the entire teasing spirit run away from her body, her eyes locking with Yoongi's as he was slowly approaching her table. Her entire body slumped, not knowing how to react to the fact that he was coming closer, her mind jumping to the time he was in the dressing room, and he was getting closer to her, their lips about to touch, and her face exploded in a bright red, her brain malfunctioning.

"Noona, are you ok? You are a bit red...noona?" Felix asked worried, immediately taking his hand off her mouth in fear she was not getting any oxygen due to him. But when he looked around, to see if he could find one of her friends to help him, he saw what might have caused her catatonic cause, and grinned. He might be a bit of an air-head, but he did notice the basketball player come out of her dressing room after he told her to come out, and afterward, the blush rarely left her cheeks. So he understood what was going on now. And he retreated from the table slowly, noticing M did not even notice his moving away. He could only look Yoongi up and down, standing straight to look more menacing, and while he wanted to appear more manly and tell the guy to take good care of his noona, just one look from the shorter guy, his eyebrows raising slightly as to ask if Felix had something to say or ask, made him back away. Felix could only look at Yoongi's back, knowing he could never look as menacing and serious like in that moment when Yoongi looked into his eyes.

In reality, Yoongi looked at Felix wanting to ask him if M was alright or if they needed anything from the bar, but the taller guy just walked away from him. He was slightly confused but decided to go talk to M and ask her details about the group project while they were still left alone. Her glossy gaze and wide smile made him aware of the fact she was slightly tipsy, her cheeks flushing more when he came closer. Yoongi wanted to ask Felix or the others why they let her drink but stopped himself as he did remember it was a celebration, not only for the theater group, but also for their basketball team. Not long ago, the players joined everyone in the bar, and it became noisier and crowded. He hated places like this, where you could not think straight or hear anything, but M was still inside, and so were their other friends. So he tried keeping a low profile, talking here and there with his teammates, or congratulating someone he knew from the theater group. And then he saw M sitting at a table, all alone, looking around for someone. For a moment, he hoped it was him, but then he saw Felix approach her, and while he knew the younger guy had no feelings for her, it still annoyed him to see her smile like that towards him. And when he started getting handsy, he decided it was time to intervene.

To his surprise, she smiled even at the table, so he understood she was slightly tipsy and probably still euphoric about her performance. Approaching her to take her out for some fresh air seemed like the best idea.

"Yoongi" she excitedly waved him over, even though he was less than ten steps away and coming closer. "You are finally here" she continued, immediately reaching for his hand, and he was taken back. She never seemed the type to be touchy-feely, or show affection like that besides her girlfriends. "Congratulations on winning the match!" she said, grinning, still holding onto his hand, and the music stopped, or maybe it was still going, but his heartbeat was drumming in his ear, and he could not hear anything else over it.

"I wish I could have been there, to cheer you on, but I knew you could do it" M continued blabbering, reaching for her empty glass, frowning at it, before shifting quickly to her happy face again.

Yoongi sighed and held onto her hand, tugging gently on it and nodding towards the exit. He did not know if she understood what he was signaling to or not, but she stood up and followed him through the crowd. The place seemed to heat up more and more as she seemed to stick close to him, her breaths hitting the back of his neck, and he wondered if he was not the one getting tipsy. Opening the door, he took a deep breath of the chilly night air, and stepped closer to one of the benches on the side. Turning to look at M, she was still following him closely, still smiling, her eyes closed as she was trusting him to guide her wherever he wanted to go.

"I am not drunk, or tipsy, yet, Yoongi. At least, not on alcohol" her voice rang through the empty street, and he turned to look at her. "I am just happy, and I fear if I really open my eyes, nothing from tonight happened, and I am still in my dressing room, anxious and scared about the play starting. So, I might act drunk, or out of character, but I feel if I let myself land back on earth, everything will be over way too quickly" she chuckled as she leaned her head on his shoulder, her arms settling in the crook of his elbow, and he felt frozen on the spot. She was acting out of character, or maybe, she was still pretending to be someone she was not.

"Sometimes, I wonder how it would be if I really was someone different, you know? More outspoken, more outgoing, more I don't know, something that I am not? How would my life be different?" M said, looking up at the sky and leaning away from Yoongi. Whatever euphoric cloud she was on, she was crashing down at light speed and going straight to the opposite end of euphoria, the realization about her life and how it turned out to be so far. "Don't get me wrong, I don't hate my life, or what happened until now. I just wonder sometimes" she says, more to convince herself, rather than anyone else.

"I think you would still be yourself, at the core. Still smart, still friendly, kind, and more than anything else, always ready to help and put aside something you have to do to help that someone who requires help" Yoongi's voice broke through the haze of her thoughts. "Nothing would change that, not even a personality shift, or a more social attitude. Those could happen even now, but you would still be you. I have no doubt in the world, no matter what character you would end up being, those would still be your core traits." he finished, looking up at the same sky as M.

M turned to look at this profile, her eyes outlining his face, and how the light hit his skin, shading some parts, and letting others shine. She was grateful he was there with her, ready to catch her from her euphoric crash, and then the dressing room moment flashed through her mind once more, and she froze. Half of her was tempted to ask him, to get an answer from him, the other half was scared, not wanting to hear whatever excuse it was replaying in her mind. But her heart won, and she reached for his hand once more, her heartbeat playing in her ears, drowning out the noises around, magnifying her own breathing, echoing it through her body. It felt like ages before her fingers could touch his hand, and while inside the club it felt like nothing, at this moment, it felt like slight electric shocks were coursing through her skin, a slight tingling starting at the tips of her fingers. She did not stop though, and let her palm fall over the back of his hand, keeping it there, unmoving, starting to count down from five. Her plan was to remove her hand if nothing happened before she reached one, and say it was an accident. That was her foolish way of being brave, but she felt she did not and could not rush her feelings, or her confession, or force him into whatever she was delusional about.

Before her countdown could reach three though, his hand slipped from under hers, and she felt slightly cold, even though it was not that chilly yet outside. And then it was warm yet again, as his hand turned hers over, his fingers wrapping around her smaller hand, enveloping it. Neither moved, and her eyes were still glued on their hands, her heart still thumping loudly in her chest, and her mind for once silent. It was not as bad as the dressing room moment, it was not as hypnotic, but it was still a sign, it was still real. She could only smile before looking at him, his eyes already on hers, neither moving nor blinking.

It was eerily silent around them, or maybe they were just too focused on each other to pay attention to the world around them. The night was shifting around them, the wind turning both chilly and warm, and they did not move from the bench. M was satisfied with just sitting like that. There was no rush. There was no need to kill her heart with an explosion of jumbled words. And Yoongi seemed just as content with holding her hands, moving just a bit closer to her, their arms touching, relaxing into the bench as they both looked up at the night sky, the celebration continuing inside. One day, they would have that awaited conversation, but for tonight, it was enough to just hold hands and look at the twinkling stars above their heads.

Chapter Text

"Hyung, what are you getting for Noona's birthday?" Jungkook asked Yoongi while looking at the costume display in the store they were in. He seemed stuck between the vampire outfit and the creepy monk holding a scythe costume, not noticing Yoongi freeze on the spot and look at him confusedly.

"What did you say?" Yoongi asked him, blinking as his hand was frozen on one of the masks he picked from the wall. He knew there was a Halloween-themed party that the entire group wanted to go to, and that is why he accepted to go shopping for a costume and go to the party, even though he did not want to be stuck in a large group for a long time. But this piece of information was new to him, so he had to wonder if Jungkook mispronounced something, or he had a new Noona.

"Didn't Taehyung tell you? M's birthday is this week and asked me to get her a gift as they will try to celebrate it on the day of the Halloween party. Noona knows nothing about it, she only thinks we are going to goof around in our costumes at the party, hehe" the youngest said, looking at other costumes and trying to imagine which would look scarier on him. "I have no idea what to get her, that is why I asked you. Maybe you have better ideas" he continued, not seeing the frown deepen on Yoongi's face.

"I...had no idea" he finally replied to the youngest of the group, and Jungkook turned to look at him, eyes wide in disbelief, looking shooked to the core. He kept staring at Yoongi, who kept staring at the mask he was holding like it would give him all the answers he needed.

"Oh" was the only sound Jungkook made, before turning back to the costumes, not knowing exactly what to tell Yoongi. He wanted to make him laugh, but his expression told him Yoongi was not in the mood for jokes. "Well, I am sure she would love no matter what you get her!" he finally said, smiling at the shorter man not far from him, trying to encourage him.

Yoongi said nothing and kept walking amongst the mask displays, not really in the mood to pick anything anymore. Jungkook could only look after him, wondering if that piece of information was meant to be hidden from Yoongi, or if Taehyung actually forgot to tell him. While keeping an eye on his shorter friend, he kept looking at costumes, masks, and accessories, before stopping at a stand, gasping. He grinned, picking the thing he found, immediately reaching for his wallet, knowing he found the perfect gift for his Noona, and that with this, she would never forget about him. With that thought in his head and Halloween costume forgotten, he went to pay for the gift, not wanting even Yoongi to see what he picked for his favorite person in their group.

He knew he was biased towards M, but he really liked her, as they did share quite a lot of hobbies in common. She was his favorite person in this world, his family ranking first of course. He was not a social person before entering college, and would always shy away from interactions or group activities, but after parting away from his hometown and started living in a new place, shared with other people, he came out of his shell quite a lot. And joining the basketball team was the best decision he ever made. Meeting Taehyung and Yoongi, and the rest of their friends was the greatest thing that could ever happen since finishing highschool. Neither of the girls tried flirting with him or objectifying his body for their pleasure, and M was always there to remind him that he does not need to force himself to always be social just for their sake. It was like she was his voice of reason, and when she did not play that role, she could be just as goofy or intense in the games they were playing. So, of course, he gravitated towards her and did not want to see her sad or hurt, making sure that his Noona would never lose the smile on her face. The small secret of his puppy crush he had on her before actually meeting her would never be revealed to anyone, especially after seeing how she and Yoongi got along so well. He could never want to get between them and cause more pain and misunderstandings. So, before letting the puppy crush grow into anything, he stepped aside and played the role of the younger brother perfectly. But now he knows, he could never want anyone who could not make him feel as safe and content as his noona. His standards have risen way too high for any of the types of girls NamJoon ever dated to have a chance with him.

Grinning at the gift he was holding in his hands, he thanked the gods for the opportunity of having met M. Now he knew whatever step of the way he took, she would be there to guide him and tell him not to worry too much, that in the end, everything turns for the better. He could only hope Yoongi felt the same way, and that before this year ends, they could finally get together, so he could buy them couple stuff as gifts. With that thought in head, Jungkook forgot everything about the Halloween outfit and somehow stumbled into other sections of the store, already checking for gift ideas for other holidays.

Yoongi, on the other hand, was now also lost in his thoughts, but also in the store, as he was walking aimlessly. He had no idea M's birthday was this week, or what day it even was on. Neither of his friends said nothing. He could understand M, she never liked the attention to be on her. Even after the theater play was over, and she finally came back to her senses, she was blushing and got even more nervous than when she was on the actual stage. Every time someone complimented her on her acting, she would freeze, smile, and turn the conversation towards the other actors and the ones behind the scenes. He smiled as he remembered the feel of her hand in his on that night, and his hand flexed, almost wanting to feel it again at the moment. But neither of that gave him an idea on what to get her. Her hobbies were not many, but she always gave everything a try, just to see if she would like it or not, but that did not mean she would like something she never tried or had before to be gifted to her on her actual birthday.

Sighing, he could only look around the shelves, wondering if there will be a sign from the gods on what he could get her, or if he could offer her something she needed for school. But even then, he could see Taehyung and Jungkook's faces looking at him in shock, telling him he should go for something romantic, to impress her and secure her heart even more. A shiver went down his spine at the image of the two trying to force him to buy something like that, and he looked around after Jungkook, but it seemed like the tall boy disappeared somehow. Yoongi shook his head and kept walking around, his eyes darting from display to display, wondering exactly what kind of emotion he wanted to see on her face when she did open the gift from him. He stopped as his brain brought to the front the memory of the changing room, her cheeks red as he was leaning towards her, her eyelids slowly closing as he was inches away from her lips, her breath hitting his own skin when he was close enough to kiss her. His heart started beating faster at just the memory, and he had to take a deep breath in, trying to calm himself down.

He wanted a repeat of that evening, with no interruptions. Just them, alone, where he could finally say what he felt about her. And no way for her to run away or hide, or try to play it off. He knew he was asking much, he did not want to rush her in figuring out what she wants, but at the same time, he did not want this situation to last until the last minute when he had to graduate and then leave college. They were not in a k-drama after all. With the thought of confessing in the head, his brain kept wondering when did she become such an important person in his life, that he fell for her. It wasn't love at first sight, that he knew for sure. Neither at second sight or third. Maybe it was an amalgamation of all the times they spent together, either alone or as a group.

One moment stood out the most in his mind, and it wasn't even one moment they spent together. It was a sunny afternoon, just a bit windy, and it was maybe a week after they played laser tag together. He was walking around, thinking about the project he had to complete, his eyes scanning building structures and their fronts, wondering how to implement that in his project. Before long, he stopped in front of the cafe, liking the design and how it caught everyone's eyes from afar, as it had lots of customers waiting in line to get some coffee and desserts. His eyes were looking at the shop, while his mind was busy designing for his projects, drawing imaginary lines along with the images he had in his eyes. A blurry move from the corner of his eyes caught his attention, and he turned to look and see if it was someone he knew. Just as he thought, it was M walking along the road, not paying attention to the crowd not far from her, eyes buried in a book, turning page after page as she read and walked. Her internal sensors seemed to work fairly well, as she bumped into no one, but Yoongi kept looking after her, just in case something did happen. After she sat on the bench, he seemed to turn his eyes back on the line in front of him, wondering how long would it take to get a coffee, and maybe a tea for M. But somehow, his eyes still kept turning to her, watching her.

She did not mind the wind ruffling her hair, or turning pages from the book she was reading, smiling either at that happening, or at something she read from there. It seemed to have a calming effect on her, and on him at the same time. The more he watched her, the less she did, but somehow it was not boring. He did not want to be found out staring, so he let his eyes leave her side from time to time, soon returning to her, swearing it was just to make sure nothing was happening. He knew next to nothing about her at that time, besides the fact she was friends with Taehyung, and his classmate, and she was good at laser tag. Looking back now, Yoongi realized he was not that interested in wanting to get to know her either, but he did not know what changed his mind either. Their talks were short most of the time, but they were not stressful or awkward, or even forced. She was not flirting with him or trying to get to someone through him like most girls tried to do with his teammates. It was calming to just watch her, and when she talked, it was in a soft voice, not loud like Taehyung, always somehow trying to listen to everyone before speaking. Small things like that just brought her closer to him, and before he could put a stop to it, she was residing in his heart, asking for him to just accept it.

Remembering those days, especially the day when she read on the bench like there was no one around her, he realized that was most likely the moment his heart skipped a beat. The moment she looked up, smiled widely at some unseen person or thing in front of her and looked like she found happiness right then and there. It was a complete 180 from how her eyes looked before, even with the bandages from the accident on. Like some deep sadness was buried deep in her eyes, but she always tried hiding it away with a smile. But that smile was so different, so calming, transforming her entire face. Maybe it was that smile, maybe it was the sunlight lighting her face just from the perfect angle, maybe it was the music playing in the cafe at that exact moment, but Yoongi felt drawn to her. And from there, every interaction they had, he seemed to fall more and more for her. For her every smile, movement, word, the sparkle in her eyes, and the way she said his name. Everything seemed to just pull him closer and in the end, he could not, did not want to escape her side.

With that thought in head, and with renewed forces, Yoongi smiled and decided this gift could not be just a random thing she needed for school or dorm life, or an overly romantic gesture that might seem too forceful for her. He wanted to pick something for her that would make her smile that smile he saw on that afternoon, the smile that drew him in and never let him go. Before he could walk far away, he found something in the aisle he was in, and an idea was born in his head. Halloween costume was forgotten, and he picked up the things he needed, paying for them at the cashier, walking out of the store with a smile, just texting Jungkook that he was leaving first. He had a gift to prepare, and a plan to formulate on how to approach M when they will meet to hand it to her. His heart skipped a beat at the thought of her looking at him with a wide smile, her cheeks dusted in red, holding his gift in her hands, and he could only hope this would tell her exactly what his feelings for her were.

Chapter Text

"To be fair, if you are going to sacrifice me, please do it quick. I think I had enough dealing with pain this year" M laughed as she was trying to follow Yoongi's lead, the blindfold on her eyes plunging her into darkness.

Yoongi said nothing, just shook his head at her joke and kept walking, holding onto her arm and directing her body on where she should go. They were not that far away from the Halloween party they were at, and if anyone saw them walking around like that, they would probably think what M said was true. After all, he was dressed like a human-sized, black-haired Chucky, make-up done by Lexy, of course. And he was holding a fake knife in his hand. M was blindfolded and was wearing a green dress, blood smeared all over the material, white powder on her cheeks, making her pale skin look pasty white, like a ghost who just came back for vengeance. Scratches and wounds were painted all over her arms and legs, and her short hair was ruffled in all ways, sticking up in funny ways, but she did not mind, as long as she made her friends laugh.

"We are almost there." Yoongi said, his voice echoing in M's ears, and she was happy the powder was on her face, covering her skin from revealing the blush that was on her cheeks most likely.

Tonight so far was fun for her. She did not tell anyone about her birthday, though the group, besides Yoongi and Jungkook, knew about it, and she hoped no one bought her gifts. But all that went down the drain when they appeared one by one at the dorm, leaving the gifts there with her. Not like she could carry the huge box of hot chocolate she got from Taehyung anyway. And Jungkook's black bunny plushie holding a tiny carrot in its paws would not survive a night out partying, or being in a crowd without being touched by strangers because of its cuteness, just like the one who gifted it. The others got her smaller things, like NamJoon's book that was on her 'to buy' list, or Jin gifting her coupons for ten free spa days, which she knew she would share with her friends. The girls both got her gift cards for shops which she did not usually frequent, like the make-up store, but the grins on their faces told her they wanted her to use them for a renewal of her wardrobe in case of any potential dates. M could only shake her head at them both, but each of them got a hug and a 'thank you' from her, before going to the party.

Yoongi never showed at the dorms, catching up to them at the party. Everyone was staring at him, waiting for him to step forward and give M a gift, but he only held onto the knife, looking at everyone in confusion. M chuckled and shooed everyone inside the yard of the Halloween party, not caring much about the fact that he did not get her a gift. It wasn't like he actually knew about it, or was obligated to get her anything. Before she could step inside after the group, his hand on hers stopped her, his warm skin touching her slightly cold one. A shiver went down her back, remembering the evening on the bench, and she turned to look at him, waiting for him to talk.

"I..have prepared something for you...for your birthday," he said, taking a break now and then between words like he did not know what to say, or was embarrassed to reveal what it was.

"Yoongi, you really should not have. Just your presence here is good enough for me" M said, smiling, placing her other hand on top of his, holding onto his hand with both her hands. But he only shook his head, dismissing her words, and nodded with his head for her to follow him. She looked only once after her friends, but soon turned and followed him down the road, stopping when he did as well.

He could see the look of suspicion on her face when he got out the black cloth and handed it to her, but he only smirked, waiting for her reaction. She said nothing still, her eyes going from the cloth in her hands to the black-haired Chucky in front of her, her mouth opening and closing a few times, looking like a fish stuck on land, gasping for air. Her brain wanted to say something, but it did not know how to formulate the words without sounding like she was suggesting things.

"Trust me!" he said in the end and helped her place the cloth over her eyes, his arm going around her waist, the other holding onto her hand, and slowly walking with her in the direction they needed to go.

Everywhere he touched was warming up pretty quickly due to his body heat, and she followed him, no questions asked, her brain trying to come up with logical scenarios about what was going to happen. The moment she heard the jingle of keys and a door opening, she laughed.

"You know, what I said about the sacrifice starts sounding more and more realistic" she laughed as he held onto her hand, still guiding her inside the building. Before she could say anything, he directed her to sit on a couch, and she waited for the darkness to be lifted.

Soon after, he took hold of her hand, placing something heavy in it. The more she held it, the more the cool texture in her hand resembled glass, just that it had a good weight to it. In the end, the cloth fell down her face, in her lap, and she smiled gratefully at Yoongi, letting her eyes adjust to the new lighting in the room. Before she looked at what she was holding, her eyes glanced around the moonlit room, recognizing it was the same room she woke up in the morning after seeing NamJoon kiss his group project partner. It did not have quite a friendly feeling to her, as it did remind her of how heart-broken and in pain she was, but she set that feeling aside, telling herself it was all in the past, and the room had no fault in what happened.

In the end, her eyes fell on the object Yoongi placed in her hand, and she turned it around, inspecting it. It was quite a large glass, and it seemed to have colorful stuff inside it, so she turned it around, her fingers probing the material inside, revealing it was sand, or better said kinetic sand. She did not know what to say. The gift was really unique, to say the least, but the way the colors were placed on top of the other seemed random, and she wondered if she had to arrange them somehow to discover what it was about. Or maybe she was just overthinking it, and he gifted her that so she could create whatever she wanted with it, in a way of relaxing and keeping her mind off stressful stuff. She really had no idea what to say.

Yoongi could only try to hold his laughter as he saw the puzzled look on M's face as she turned the glass over and over, not knowing exactly what she was looking for. He bit his lip in an attempt to keep from laughing, but a chuckle still escaped him as she looked at him with furrowed eyebrows, trying hard to find the courage to ask him what exactly the gift was without sounding bad.

"Heh" he chuckled "You haven't figured the secret out yet?" he asked, stepping closer to the couch. His hand extended towards the glass of kinetic sand she was holding, and before she could offer it to him to show her, he shook his head, stepping closer, his hand holding onto hers, helping her twist the glass in the direction she needed to see what it was all about. He could only look at her reaction as she finally realized what the gift actually was, his fingers still holding onto hers, before slowly releasing it, stepping back to his place at the window, turning around to let her process the gift by herself.

M's eyes grew wide, her mouth hanging open as a pattern revealed itself in the colors of the sand the more she twisted the glass. She had to keep the glass turned at a certain degree to see that all the colors and fillings had a purpose and created a special image, one she knew well from the summer trip they all took. In the end, after turning the glass almost a full 180, she saw the endless beach and sea finally end up at a lone castle built on the beach, small in comparison to the water in front of it. The sun was slowly setting quite close to it, colors reflecting on the water, and the red flag on the castle seemed to stand proud, catching her eyes in just a second after the castle revealed itself. It was like Yoongi recreated a picture-perfect of the memory of that day, and the shock settled into a smile before tears welled up in her eyes. She could just imagine the time it took to put everything in that glass, to make it look like that final result, to look so real and so close to how it actually was. All the effort just to make her smile, and gift her the memory she held so dear to her heart. A memory of where she was reminded all she needed was a strong foundation to keep on living. Where she was a queen, even if her castle shook and broke just a tiny bit due to something happening outside her control. And where, no matter how much she lost in the process, she would never lose her crown or the ones who cared about her.

Smiling softly through the tears, M placed the glass on the small table next to the couch, making sure not to disturb anything, and got up, looking at the back of the man who just gifted her such a wonderful memory. Yoongi's profile was illuminated by the light of the full moon, the second one of the month, a tint of blue lining up with its edges, earning itself the name of 'blue moon' for a reason. It felt like she was transported back in time, to that evening when he was bathed in the same light as well, making him look so ethereal in her eyes. This time, the light just made him look warm, an extra glow to his aura, and M stepped closer, mesmerized by him, not knowing exactly how to show him her gratitude.

Without either realizing it, her arms wrapped around his waist, hugging his back, her forehead resting on the back of his neck, her eyes closing. Yoongi seemed to freeze in her embrace, not quite expecting her to hug him, his eyes wide from the surprise hug. M seemed to breathe in and out, looking for words, basking in his warmth at the same time, her breath hitting the nape of his neck, and he had to swallow hard to keep himself grounded, and not force his feelings on her, or expect more than a 'thank you for the gift' hug from her.

"Thank you, Yoongi" she finally said, her words mumbled into his shirt, and he relaxed at the fact that she actually liked his gift. "Thank you for this gift, for that day, for that memory, and everything" she continued, trying hard to keep the tears from falling. She did not want to make such a happy occasion sound sad, but she felt so overwhelmed with everything that happened so far, and she had so much she wanted to say but did not know how to put them into words.

"I...am glad you like it" he finally said, his hands holding onto hers as she was holding onto him, not seeming to want to let him go just yet. He did not mind that, he loved feeling the warmth of her body on his, he only wished he could turn around and hug her properly while looking into her eyes.

"..." silence responded to him, washing over the room, and he felt awkward, not knowing exactly what to say or ask.

"We should head back to the party, or they might actually think someone kidnapped you for a sacrifice," he said, his voice low, almost a whisper, not actually wanting to do that, but he did not want to keep her away from their friends or the party either. She deserved to have fun, and he wanted to see her happy and smiling while dancing around with everyone.

"..." silence was his only reply again, and when he wanted to turn around and see what was wrong, her hold onto him tightened again, like she did not want that to happen.

"Yoongi, I like you, a lot!" M finally said, sounding more like a whisper the first time she said it, and he froze again, his eyes wide at what he just heard, and she said it again, holding tight onto him, saying the words louder into his shirt.

Her eyes were shut tight, and she was holding her breath, her heart beating out of rhythm inside her chest, and she thought she was going to faint. The only thing she heard inside the room was her heartbeat, and she wondered if she even said anything, if she needed to say it louder, if she mumbled it in an unrecognizable speech, afraid she tripped over words like she usually did when nervous. She felt his fingers separate her hands from their grip on his waist, and she looked at him to see his reaction, but before she could fully comprehend anything, he held onto her hands, pulling her in front of him, her back softly hitting the frame of the window. He was leaned towards her, one of his arms placed above her on the window frame, making him tower her, and his other arm was around her waist, not giving her a way to run or hide from him. If she thought the moon illuminating him from behind made him ethereal, the light hitting his face, his eyes glowing as they stared into hers, took her breath away. She could only look at him, forgetting momentarily what she said or what happened.

"How can you always make me fall even more for you, Marie?" he finally said, his voice deep, calling her name to bring her out of her shock, sounding like he was in pain, and she wanted to ask him what happened, how could she help him so he would not sound so pained ever again.

Before she could utter even one word though, his lips crashed onto hers, swallowing any sound or word she was about to make, her eyes growing wide, before slowly closing on their own, as she let herself fall into the kiss. Her arms reached for his neck, leaning into his body as she let him lead the kiss, her body squashed between the window frame and his body. The chilly wind kept hitting her back while Yoongi's body was spreading heat everywhere he touched her, and she felt confused between wanting more of the warmth, but at the same time feeling too hot. In the end, before her brain could tell her what she really wanted, the kiss ended, her arms still wrapped around his neck, her eyes still closed, breath ragged and heart racing.

"I really like you, Marie" he said, her name falling from his lips again, making her open her eyes and stare at him. He seemed to breathe just as hard as her like they both ran a marathon, his cheeks dusted in a blush that probably resembled hers, his mouth raised in a small smile, and his eyes were a fire burning brightly, and it seemed to want to lit her up on fire from the inside.

All words were lost from her brain, and she went with her instinct, not knowing exactly what to say or do now that they both confessed how they felt. She leaned into him, embracing him fully, her head placed on his shoulder, and she felt him relax into her hold, his arms wrapping around her, to make sure she was as close to him as possible. The sound of a racing heartbeat could be heard in her ears, and she did not know at first if it was an echo of her heart, or Yoongi's, but concentrating on it, she finally realized it was his heart beating just as fast as hers, and she smiled, relaxing into his arms. She was happy, content with how the night went. The gifts she got were amazing, and now she made her own gift to herself. She opened her heart once more, and happiness seemed to drown her tonight, and she did not want it any other way.

Chapter Text

"So, are you planning on telling us where you and Yoongi disappeared for the entirety of the party and night?" Kiki asked, sipping from the cup of tea placed in front of her. Lexy was sitting next to her, holding onto a cup of coffee and grinning like she was the Cheshire Cat who just saw Alice doing something amusing.

Both girls were sitting at the table in M's room, watching the girl who disappeared for a night sigh. She was still in her fuzzy Slytherin-themed pajamas, although one would never think she belonged in Slytherin just by looking at her, reading a book she picked up at the bookstore to go with the Halloween feel. M placed the book down and watched her two best friends look at her with curiosity and excitement.

"Come on, M, don't keep us waiting. After Lexy's ear-deafening screech last night when she read the text Yoongi sent to the group chat, we all are dying to know every single detail. No one sends a 'gonna take M away from the party, might not return, have fun' text to just walk you home and for nothing to happen" Kiki pleaded with M, practically jumping on the bed next to the girl in pajamas. Lexy smiled, finishing her cup of coffee before joining the other two girls on bed. One look at the red-haired woman and everyone could tell she was tired, probably still needing some sleep, but the desire to hear everything that happened while she was partying with the group overtook the need to sleep.

Both of them held onto one of M's arms and were looking at her pleadingly, until she gave in, rolling her eyes. She almost wanted to pretend nothing happened, just to rile them up for a bit, but she was tired and happy, and she did want to share everything about last night with them. It was the happiest she felt in a long time and she wanted to let everyone know. Just that she was tired as she fell asleep early in the morning, due to her brain replaying everything that happened ever since Yoongi came to pick her up at the Halloween party. And the fact that she kept squealing in her pillow to not wake up her neighbors did not help with sleep reaching her until a long time after midnight.

But how could she start describing everything to her friends, from the way she felt when he held her hand, to his arms hugging her, keeping her close to his body, making sure she was warm and safe in his arms? There were so many feelings swirling inside her own heart, she could not decide which one to pick and concentrate on, or where exactly she could start. Even at this moment, she wondered if last night was just a dream, but the kinetic sand glass standing proudly and colorful on her nightstand was telling her otherwise. She blushed as she remembered the kiss, their first kiss, and their own confession about their feelings, and her friends squealed, knowing something did happen between the two.

Before she could tell her friends about everything, she let her own brain rewind the memories of last night. The feel of his fingers on her skin, of his lips on hers, his arms around her body, and their heartbeats matching one rhythm. The words they both uttered, and how perfect the moment felt, how she felt like she wanted to stop time on that one moment when he looked into her eyes, emotions swirling into their depths, the fire inside his soul blazing to reveal how intense he felt when she was this close to him. She only wanted to keep a picture of that one moment, or create an exact drawing of his expression when he smiled at her, starting small, barely visible, until his gums were showing, his entire face lighting up, out-shining even the moonlight bathing him in celestial light. To her at that moment, no one in this world looked more beautiful, more outer-worldly, or even happier than Yoongi smiling down at her. And she reciprocated that feeling. She could only hope her face mirrored his, expressing her own inner happiness of how everything turned out until now.

Even after they left the studio, still holding hands, walking close next to each other, the silence was comforting, not awkward. It was like everything fell into place, finally, and she could leave the weight of her pain behind, and she smiled. There were still doubts in her mind though, sometimes swirling to the front of her brain, prodding her happiness, stinging her heart, and for once, she felt brave enough to ask him upfront.

"What does this exactly make us?" she asked, looking at their hands holding onto each other, confusion and happiness mixing. "I know we both like each other, but does this mean we are in a courtship, or our friendship leveled up, or..." but she was interrupted by his chuckle before she could finish.

"Sorry, I just find it adorable the way you frown when you don't understand something. You are just too cute" Yoongi replied, and she wanted to pout, but stopped herself and tried withdrawing her hand from his hold instead, not exactly in the mood to play the 'cute' card. But his hold on her hand tightened, bringing both hands to her eye-level, his eyes locking onto hers as he turned to her hand still in his hold, placing a kiss on her skin. The chill of the autumn night had no way of fighting against the warmth exploding on her cheeks, or the place where he kissed her, her skin lighting up on fire from his kiss. She was afraid she would turn to dust if he wanted to kiss her again, ashes flying from wherever his lips or fingers touched. It was like he was a wildfire, and she was a moth attracted to it, the way his eyes were trying to convey words that she could never understand.

"My answer to your question is that I never want to part from your side. I want to be the one you tell everything to, from the sad stuff which breaks your heart when you read a story to the pouts you make when something angers you but you try to keep it hidden from the world. I want to witness how much happier you can get, how your entire face lights up when someone says a good joke, and how lights dance in your eyes when your heart is truly happy." Yoongi said in a calm voice, deep and relaxing, his free hand lifting to touch her cheeks, and her heart seemed to stop beating, so she could hear everything better. Or maybe it was beating to his pauses between words, and she felt light-headed, a symptom she always seemed to get these days when close to the black-haired man in front of her.

"If a courtship you desire, I will do everything to make sure your heart chooses me and only me every time of the day. But for me, there is no doubt in mind, I chose you and I will not let you go. Call this leveling up, or being a couple, or in love, call it however you want, as long as I am allowed to only call you mine." he whispered, his face inches from hers, and her breath caught in her throat. She never realized how dangerous he was until now, how his words mesmerized her into lowering her defenses until he was ready to strike and lure her into his trap. But this trap she was not afraid of walking into, she welcomed his strikes with opened arms, and before he could notice what was happening, she was trapping him in her own heart as well. And just like that, before he could close the gap between them, her arms circled his neck, and she lifted herself on her toes so their lips could touch, their bodies glued together that not even the autumn evening wind could find any gaps to flow through.

"If you call me yours, I find it reasonable enough that I should call you mine." M finally whispered after breaking their kiss and letting go of Yoongi's neck. His eyes seemed out of focus, before they settled on her lips, slowly making their back to her eyes, his gaze a whirlpool of emotions.

"Also," M started laughing as she took hold of Yoongi's hand again and started walking once more, with no direction in mind, just randomly choosing a path and following it. "That sounded almost like a proposal, I got scared for a second, I admit" she giggled, trying hard to fight the blush away from her cheeks, and calm her heart at the same time.

"Too early for that. We both need to finish college first" Yoongi said, his voice sounding serious like he considered that option already, and M turned, looking shocked at him, just to find him smirking at her, and she playfully smacked his arm for teasing her.

Before her mind could go down that path, she wanted to enjoy the present moment, her college life, and the happy and hard moments that were about to follow while she was with her friends and family, and with what she could now claim as a boyfriend in front of everyone, Yoongi. She did not want to think that far ahead while this new portion of her life just started, and she had no idea how it would be from now on. So she started talking about different topics, trying to steer the conversation away from the future and what it could hold.

"When that will happen, you will definitely know it is a proposal though." she thought she heard Yoongi mumble, his head turned away from her, and her brows furrowed, almost wanting to ask him what that meant. The moment his eyes settled back on her, his gummy smile wide and bright in her face, she forgot everything her mind wanted to say, and she could only smile back at him. No matter what she heard or did not, she put it aside for another time, so both her mind and heart could settle in the now, and just be happy.

And just like that, they both walked around the campus for what seemed like an eternity, holding hands, until they finally reached her dorm. And even then he did not let go of her hand, his thumb running over her knuckles, his smile still present on her face, and the temptation to call him inside for a hot chocolate was high, to keep the night still going, to keep Yoongi still in her presence. But she knew her friends would come barging in to ask her about details, and her eyes widened in shock as she remembered she did not give even a sign of being alive to her friends, and she withdrew her hand from his, searching for her phone in the pockets of her dress.

"No worries, I already texted them while you were looking at your gift," he said with a chuckle like he read her mind and wanted to put her at ease, and before she could say anything, his arms wrapped around her once more, and she forgot the count of how many times she was this close to him, all in one night.

"I need to go" he whispered into her ear, and she could feel the fire spreading on her skin once more. Her heart seemed to deflate in heartbeats at the thought of him leaving, her brain split between telling him to stay and letting him go. "If I stay with you any longer, I will not be able to let you go" he continued, and she felt like he was invading her inner mind, reading her thoughts, copying her own feelings. "But if I do that, you will freeze as it gets colder, and if we go somewhere to be alone, I would want to keep holding onto you, to make sure this is not just a dream" his words seemed to swirl inside her brain, her blood rushing to her face, to keep her brain from overworking into finding the right words to what he was saying.

"But I don't want you to implode" he chuckled into her ear, the vibrations of his laugh tickling her skin, and she thought she was going to die from lack of oxygen before he could even try to hold her for more than a few minutes. She felt herself stuttering, her words breaking into just vowels squeaked out of her mouth by the force of surprise, and before she could come back to normality, his lips, that touch of fire he seemed to spawn wherever he touched her, placed themselves on her forehead. And all was silent. Her mind stopped working, her heart seemed to relax, and whatever stuttering came out of her was replaced by her breathing. Just a kiss on the forehead and all her nervousness was gone. Her body relaxed into his hold and the kiss lingered on her forehead, his fingers slowly massaging her cheek.

"Good night, M" he finally said, letting her go, smiling as he was backing away from her, his presence and body slowly leaving her. Her eyes could only follow him, a smile blossoming on her face as his own smile seemed to grow wider and wider, and before he turned around to make sure he would not trip over anything, he waved at her from the distance that seemed to grow larger and larger until the darkness of the night swallowed him whole. M was left there, standing with her arm still up, frozen in place, the smile still on her face, the blush still erupting in her cheeks, and the happiest she has ever been in a while.

And now that her brain came back from her memory trip, she asked herself once more how could she explain to the girls just how happy she was, and how much she wanted to show them exactly how she was feeling. From the quickening of her heartbeat to the goosebumps she got from the memory of his touch on her skin, to how his words swayed her even now. She really had no idea how to explain to her friends, so she smiled at them, getting comfy between the two, trying to find the words to describe just what last night meant for her, and what happened that made her lose a night of sleep to happily bask in the light of the full moon last night.

Chapter Text

"Well, well, if it isn't the ghost of the cheating husband I killed" came in a sing-song voice from behind NamJoon. He recognized the voice, the teasing tone added to it making him shake his head. M always teased him after the play, calling him a ghost whenever he seemed to try and stray from her path.

It wasn't like he did not want to talk to her anymore, but he still felt awkward about everything that happened. Even now that she tried her hardest to get him to return to his ways from before everything was spilled. Well, not exactly all the way or a certain basketball player would make sure more than one ball would fly directly to his face.

"You know, you should stop avoiding me when not in a group, NamJoon. Were a slap and a stab not enough for those toxic ties to be cut away from our friendship?" she continued, not letting him add anything. He looked at his friend and he could tell from the serious expression on her face that she meant business, even if she tried joking about the situation.

"I...I just feel a bit awkward about everything. And well, maybe I am scared you might change your mind and actually pull a real knife out on me" he added, joking as he was reaching for something in the store that caught his eye. He did not notice the frown appearing on M's face, but he did feel the light punch she delivered to his shoulder.

"Well, stop it. We are friends still. Yes, you might have a lot of work to do to atone for all those shitty words you threw at me while drunk, but there is always a start. And you can start by buying me lunch" she said, with a grin, already picking something she liked from the stands.

NamJoon could only look after M as she walked around the store, picking something to eat and drink, before coming back to his side, presenting him with the basket of goodies she picked. He knew he lost to her logic, and just got out his wallet to pay for everything she picked. Before he could actually pay for the stuff she had, she sighed and stopped him, paying for everything herself.

"Nope, not letting you. My best friend would try to bargain with me about paying only half or only chosen products of his taste, not just give up like that and pay it before going through a half-hour argument about who should pay and why. I am not forcing you to be like that NamJoon, but I don't want to see you bend against your will just to make sure you don't make me sad again." M stopped talking, sighing as she looked at the bag of items in her hand. "Take your time to find yourself in this new friendship of ours, NamJoon. We might not be the same as before, but I still want both of us to be comfortable with each other, ok?" she finished with a smile, before turning to exit the store.

Left behind, NamJoon could only stare after her retreating back, and after years of knowing her, he realized this was the first time she left him like that. In the past, it was always him who left first, who turned away from her so many times without a thought about how she was left there to look at him leaving with someone or for someone. At that moment, he realized that while their status of best friends would take a long while to recover, all these firsts as friends in recovery would help him mature as a person as well. Smiling, he paid for his own items, leaving the store more relaxed than when he noticed that M was in the same place as him. He could only promise himself that he would take small steps, one by one, to be that best friend that M deserved, and next time he would see her, he thought about learning some dad jokes to surprise her, and show her at the same time he was all for change, not only in himself but with the ones around him as well.

M, on the other hand, left the store happily, ticking off everything on her list. She made NamJoon realize how awkward he was behaving towards her, bought the snacks and drinks she wanted, had a good night's sleep, and all the afternoon was free even though it was a school day. And it was Friday, meaning Saturday and Sunday she could sleep in, relax and spend time with her friends and boyfriend. The blush spread through her cheeks at the mention of the word boyfriend, even if it was in her mind. She still did not process the fact that Yoongi was actually her boyfriend, even though a week has passed since then. Her friends' teasing did not help either, always asking about dates and their weekend plans, all the time grinning and winking at her. Luckily for her, they barely had the time to meet during the week, as their classes were at different hours, or he would have to see all the shades of red she turned from their comments.

Today, she was all alone. V had the afternoon off, just like her, and decided to go back to his apartment to sleep, as Lexy had classes until evening. Jin and Kiki were stuck in rehearsals for the Christmas play the college was putting on, even though it was the beginning of November, and those usually lasted until late at night. And it seemed NamJoon avoided her like the plague, scared of hurting her or making her sad, but she solved that with some stroke of good luck. She had no idea where Jungkook was, as he did not reply to the group chat, and Felix was MIA as well. In the end, she decided to go see Yoongi, as she knew his Fridays were spent at the studio, trying to finish his big project for the end of the year. He started working on it last year, adding details here and there, but nowadays, he wanted to make sure everything would work out the way he wanted it to look.

Arriving at the studio, she knocked on the door, waiting for someone to come open it, hoping there were not many people around the studio. But only silence answered her, and she wondered if Yoongi was not actually in. In the end, apologizing in her mind for being rude, she reached for the door handle, twisting it, surprised when the door opened by itself when she pushed. She peeked inside, her eyes finding only darkness, waiting a second until they adjusted. In the end, she saw no one inside, and she almost gave up, ready to close the door and text Yoongi to tell him about the unlocked studio. But a slight move from the table in the middle of the room stopped her from leaving, and wary about what it might be, she stepped inside, hoping it was not a stray animal that might damage the projects Yoongi and his colleagues were working on.

Stepping lightly inside, making sure not to startle whatever or whoever was inside, M tried to figure out what caused the movement, almost bursting into a fit of giggles when she noticed Yoongi was asleep on the table while kneeling in front of it. Some toothpicks were stuck to his cheek, probably from how he slept on them, and the plastic container was rolling slowly on the table, probably the cause of the movement which brought M inside the studio. She could only grin, finding the view in front of her adorable, and she had to stop herself from taking a picture to keep as a memento of actually seeing Yoongi sleep. In the end, she looked around and noticed a small blanket on the couch, and not wanting to wake him up, she placed the blanket on his shoulders, hoping he was comfortable enough in that position. It did not take her long to guess he probably started working on the project from Thursday night and did not even sleep during the night, trying to make everything work out how he envisioned the lines and images. She saw the numbers scribbled on sheets of white paper, the lines drawn next to it, the stuff he wrote to help him with details and measurements. Not wanting to snoop, she turned around, almost ready to leave, but in the end, the thought of leaving him alone for who knows how long again, without knowing if he ate or even had something to drink, bothered her. She placed the bag of stuff on the couch, and stepping lightly, she went back out, heading for the coffee shop, to make sure Yoongi had some coffee ready when he did wake up, even if it might not be as warm as when she bought it.

Opening the door to the studio after her coffee trip, M is surprised to find Yoongi wide awake, looking suspiciously at the bag of snacks on the couch, the blanket still draped on his shoulders. His slight pout and confusion made his cheeks puff out, and she compared his current expression to that of a child who just woke up. The word 'adorable' kept swimming in her head, and she had to stop herself from grinning widely, to not let him suspect anything about her thoughts. When the sound of the closing door echoed throughout the room, his eyes darted towards her, immediately growing bigger in surprise at seeing her inside the studio. The already dimming light from outside outlined his hunched figure on the floor, the small spark of fire igniting in his eyes as they followed her walking from the door closer to him.

"How..." Yoongi started speaking, his own voice sounding groggy and deeper than usual from having just woken up, and he stopped asking after he realized he left the studio door open, and that is how she got inside. Before he could ask anything else, she placed the still-warm cup of black coffee in his hands, smiling at him.

"Well, I wanted to see how you were doing and if you needed any help with the project if you wanted to know why and what I am doing here," M said before his mind could even come up with other questions "I also brought something for you to eat, as I had an inkling you might not have eaten." she said, reaching for the bags of goodies she left on the couch. Opening it, she revealed some snacks and some sandwiches, next to some bottles of water and her favorite tea, just in case he actually buried himself in his work, forgetting about eating and drinking.

"Thank you" he whispered, knowing she heard him by the wide smile she gave him, his hand going for her own, holding it while he took a sip from the cup of coffee in his other hand. The warmth of the coffee transferred to her skin while she was holding it, so his own slightly cold skin warmed up quickly, a warmth that seemed to seep all the way to his heart.

"So, do you need any help?" she asked after he seemed to wake up the more he drank from his coffee. He shook his head, not knowing how to explain all the images and ideas he had stuck in his head, and did not quite know how to put them down on paper or bring them to life. "Well then, if you don't mind, I can just stay here and read, and keep you company if you actually do need something?" she smiled, not moving from where she was crouching down in front of him, waiting for him to either accept or reject her offer.

Yoongi nodded, knowing well he could never tell her to go away, no matter the situation, and she beamed at him, reaching for her purse, getting a book out of there, already prepared just in case. His lips quirked upwards in a smile, before disappearing, trying to pretend he did not find it amusing how she always seemed to whip a book into existence out of nowhere, surprising people around her. He watched her settle on the couch, looking at him with a smile before losing herself into the world of the book, something that had nothing to do with psychology, from what he guessed by the title of the book. The darkness slowly settled into the studio room, but it seemed not to bother M, eyes glued to the pages of the book, and before she started squinting to make out the letters on the pages, Yoongi got up to switch the light on. Groaning as every bone in his body protested at being stuck in a certain position for too long, creaking and snapping at every move he made, he reached the switch, groaning once more when the light turned on, his eyes hurting from being used to the darkness for too long.

M seemed unbothered by the changes in the room, not even looking up at the blaring light inside the room, and Yoongi chuckled to himself. He went back to the table, taking one of the sandwiches she brought him, bite after bite turning into him eating all the sandwiches she brought, reminding him the last time he ate was Thursday afternoon. Meanwhile, his mind was busy reproducing the lines he drew on paper into real structures, measuring and calculating numbers. By the time he was satisfied with how everything looked inside his head and on the papers in front of him, the evening turned into late at night, and the three bottles of water were emptied and placed next to the couch. The bags of snacks were almost gone, just one left half-empty, and he looked confused at it, as it was placed in his lap. Looking around the room, he noticed the clock telling him the time was close to midnight, and his eyes immediately jumped to the couch at his back. M was no longer sitting on it, crouched in a corner with a book in her lap, but she was laying on her stomach, seemingly lost in the pages of some manga, humming from time to time, an expression of awe appearing on her face and then disappearing as she turned the pages.

Yoongi could only blink, not really understanding what happened between now and the time she came to his studio, the last thing he remembered was him eating the sandwiches and her reading an actual book, not a manga. Flashes of water bottles being offered to him, and a calm voice asking him if he wanted to eat or needed help echoed through his mind, and he slowly remembered how she always made sure he actually ate or had something to drink. He felt annoyed with himself, with how he could just ignore her presence and just get lost in his presence, bits of memories from the past when that happened with his last girlfriend and she seemed angered with him. Before he could make the annoyance that started stirring his heart go away, he felt something in his hair, and looking up, he saw an arm reaching for his head.

M smiled, ruffling his hair, the manga closed next to her. "Finally done? I am sorry I was not of much help" she said, her fingers combing through his black locks of hair. Whatever annoyance he felt at himself dissipated at her touch, his eyes locked onto hers, words forming in the back of his throat before being swallowed by him. He really did not know what to say, or how to formulate his feelings.

"Want to eat some real food though? Those snacks and sandwiches weren't probably enough. I know a place that is open 24/7 and the food is decent, especially for this hour of the night" she continued, taking back her hand from his head. Before her fingers could retreat all the way out of his hair, Yoongi reached with both hands for hers, surprising her when his lips kissed the back of her hand, placing his forehead against her wrist. "Erm, Yoongi, are you ok?" she asked, not really understanding the meaning of what just happened. She still felt like she had a lot to learn about Yoongi and the meanings behind his actions.

"Sorry" came his whispered voice, sounding sad and haggard. "I am sorry for today" echoed through the room, and she felt even more confused than ever as to why he was apologizing to her. "Instead of spending time with you, or taking you out on a date, or talking to you, I kept you stuck in here, in silence, ignoring you. I am sorry" Yoongi continued, sounding like he was repenting for the biggest sin he could ever commit in his life.

"Oh, Yoongi" M's voice cut through his apologies, her other hand reaching for his hair once more, slowly sliding through the soft locks, fingertips touching skin as they glided over to his cheek. Holding his cheek, she slightly pinched his skin, before pulling on his cheek until he looked at her, confusion swimming in his eyes. He let go of her hand, holding onto the hurt cheek, his eyebrows furrowed, the question 'why' swirling in his gaze.

"You silly goose," M said, shaking her head with a smile, before leaning her chin into one of her hands. "You think I came here because I wanted a date? True, I want to spend time with you, but a date does not have to be always going out. Just us, sitting here, doing our own thing in silence, without feeling awkward, I consider this a date as well. I don't need you to force yourself to forget your important work just to talk to me. For me, being around you, seeing you work and create something that makes you happy, is enough. That is my date for today. We have other days for other types of dates" she laughed, feeling satisfied with her answer, not expecting Yoongi to reach for her hand which was resting on the manga.

A slight pull from him, and the top half of her body flew off the couch into his arms, her entire weight being supported by him, her eyes wide in shock, before she settled into the hug. The quick heartbeats calmed down once her brain realized no harm was coming to the body, and her arms wrapped themselves around the basketball player and architect holding onto her. No matter the time of day or night, his hugs always relaxed her, and she always forgot about her worries, her entire being concentrating only on him. She heard him mumble something into her shoulder, not really understanding what he wanted to say, but she let him find his own words before he would say it loud and clear for her to say. Her fingers were playing with his hair, slightly massaging the back of his neck, enjoying the silence inside the room.

"Thank you" came from Yoongi, a second time today, and M wanted to tell him he did not have to keep thanking her for just wanting to be there, close to him, even without doing anything that others considered was couple oriented.

"Let's go eat then," he said, slightly letting her go to be able to get up, then holding onto her waist, pulling her up in a quick movement from the couch as well, chuckling when she smacked his arm for doing that without notice. "My moped is in the back. We can go to the place you had in mind with it" he continued, keeping one arm around her waist as he fished for the studio keys in the pockets of his jeans to lock it up for the day.

"When did you bring it here? I thought you came by train" M asked, surprised the red moped was still around, not having seen it since the time Yoongi gave her a ride last year before all the drama unfurled. Yoongi only smirked, shrugging at her question, making sure to lock up the studio, before directing her to where the moped was. He did not want to explain to her how he hesitated to bring it when they were together, as he noticed last year how uncomfortable she felt. Now that she opened herself more to him, and he learned about the reasons why she sometimes put herself down or talked bad about herself, he wanted to let her know she was not at all how she saw herself, or how other people with no brain wanted to make her feel.

After months of barely using the moped, but still making sure to keep it clean and just as brightly red as before, the first ride on it of the new school year belonged to him and M as a couple, and Yoongi felt happiness swirl and grow inside his chest. No longer did she worry about breaking the moped or slowing them down. She put the helmet on, grinning at Yoongi before sitting behind him, her arms wrapped around him, no longer anxious about where to hold him. Her body close to his, her cheek on his back, her warmth enveloping him, and Yoongi felt ready to take on the world, to tour around town on the red moped for a million times, all to make her smile at him always. With the slightly chilly wind in his face, he smiled, one hand on her locked fingers on his waist, making sure she was holding even tighter onto him, before following her directions to the restaurant she knew, and he was content, already filled with happiness from just being with her.

Chapter Text

"Sorry to say this, Kiki, but your Christmas play was forgotten the moment our basketball team won and Yoongi did that!" Lexy told the taller brunette, giggling as she was holding onto her glass of eggnog.

The Christmas party was still going, people exchanging gifts or telling each other what they wish the break would bring them. Most of the students were still on campus, not wanting to go back home for a family reunion where they would be asked about grades and other social stuff. Red and green were the main colors people dressed in, some even getting in 'ugly sweaters' competitions. Antlers and red noses were mandatory for the party, so the mix of colors and sweaters with the accessories always provided a fun scenery.

"I am not even mad" Kiki replied, drinking from her own eggnog, her eyes glued to the couple on the couch. "Like after what Yoongi did, he deserves to have the top spot in reputation" she continued, her eyes still on M and Yoongi, who seemed lost in a conversation of their own.

"I still can't believe he went straight for M after he shot the winning ball, and kissed her in front of everyone!" Lexy spoke in a whispered voice, her eyes were still wide like she just saw that moment all over again.

Everyone's jaws were on the floor after the match ended, Christmas play was forgotten, the party that was about to start almost forgotten as well. They were not expecting the quiet basketball player to just do that in front of their school, and their rival's school. The fact that it was the rival school from last year's match where M got hit by the ball after the match made it even more amusing, in Lexy's opinion. Back then, the rival guy hit her with a ball, this year, the same dude approached her to hit on her, without even apologizing for what happened back then. Everyone on Yoongi's team could sense the danger vibes before they could turn around to see how their short teammate reacted. But before anyone could go stop the guy, the match started and they were forced to go out and play.

The dangerous vibes disappeared a tiny bit after the break started and everyone saw that the guy left M's side, and the girls were sitting there alone, chatting among themselves, just Jin and NamJoon having disappeared from their seats. And just like that, the guys kept playing, sometimes their eyes straying to Yoongi, who seemed to concentrate mostly on the side of the court closest to where M was sitting. Then their victory shot came, everyone cheered while the rival gallery sighed in disappointment one more year, and Yoongi surprised everyone.

If she had to be honest, Lexy thought he did it because there was more than that one rival guy trying to catch her attention. Two freshmen from his own team tried flirting with her, and Lexy thanked the gods M was just an oblivious person when it came to those things for herself. Of course, that did not seem to sit well with Yoongi, especially after her popularity seemed to rise a tiny bit after her play before Halloween. People seemed to approach her to ask her about other projects that included plays, especially guys who were trying harder to get her attention. While M did politely, or obliviously, rejected their offers for coffees, directing them to the Theater students, Yoongi probably felt like he could not just leave things like that. And that brought everyone back to the night of the basketball match, which started half an hour after the Christmas play ended.

Jin and Kiki had their spotlight stolen from them in the blink of an eye when a serious-looking Yoongi simply walked towards the gallery seats, people moving out of his way due to his intense gaze. Before M could even say anything, he took hold of her hand, kissing it before moving in like a hawk after his prey. His lips attached themselves to hers, his eyes closed, his free arm wrapping around M's waist, bringing her closer to him. Both girls on M's side froze in their seats, their eyes just as wide as M's, who even though she was used to kissing Yoongi, was surprised as it happened in such a social situation. She did not even have the time to react and kiss back, before he leaned back, looking back at her with his wide smile, revealing his gums, whispering something into her ear, before ruffling her hair and turning to leave back to his teammates. Lexy and Kiki read that as his declaration against every rival he had in the entire stadium for M's heart. His spot was already secured in her heart, so if they wanted to get it, they would have to fight him for it, and he will not just let them have it without a vicious fight.

The audience seemed just as frozen as Lexy and Kiki until the ones who were not interested in either M or Yoongi started cheering, whistling after the basketball player, and congratulating him on winning the match and the heart of the girl he liked. Meanwhile, both Yoongi and M's admirers seemed to deflate as they saw the kiss happening, so the group of friends was happy that just happened to kill two rabbits with one kiss. And on the way to the Christmas party, all they heard were whispers about the kiss and theories about how it all started and who chased after whom. M was flushed in the cheeks like she just had a ton of alcohol, keeping quiet on the way as she heard everyone talk about her and Yoongi. Every time something seemed to bother her, her fingers flexed harder against Yoongi's hand unconsciously, looking up at him whenever he brought their linked hands to kiss the back of hers. The smile never left her face, even though some of the words she heard from the passersby hit a weak spot inside her heart, or reminded her of a bad time. It seemed that just having Yoongi next to her was enough to calm her down, and not let her go down the anxious roads her mind tended to go.

The two couples, plus Jungkook and NamJoon, were walking behind them, watching them intently just in case something, or someone decided to disturb them. The girls were awwing at the cuteness they were witnessing, while the guys kept talking about the match and their own Christmas plans. Felix and Chan joined them not long after the match ended, trying not to butt into the conversation, but soon getting welcomed by Taehyung's sociable personality.

At the present moment of the party, Kiki and Lexy were looking at M and Yoongi on the couch, while still keeping an eye on Felix and Chan. They liked the two guys, after they heard from M how much they helped her during the secret project, and outside of it, and based on their own assumptions and intuition, the two seemed to like each other.

'What better moment to help them get together than Christmas?' seemed to be their main thought, trying to come up with plans on how to get them together, or at least one of the two to make the first step. Neither realized when movement happened around them, other party-goers spilling some drink on three of the four people on the couch, turning around when a commotion started. Eggnog seemed to have been spilled on M, Felix, and Chan, someone tripping over a person dancing close by the couch, the liquid falling on the three, somehow missing Yoongi, who was sticking pretty close to M. The person kept apologizing, but their luck was pretty high, as the people they spilled eggnog on were some of the nicest people in the entire room, and they were soon forgiven and let go on their way.

Kiki and Lexy sighed, wanting to go help them, when they saw M pointing at the kitchen and linking arms with the guys, she started pulling them in that direction. For a split second everything was back to normal, the music blaring in the room when everything seemed to stop. Shouts of 'mistletoe' and 'kiss, kiss, kiss' were heard throughout the room, and M's friends immediately got up to see what was going on, having a feeling it involved their friends. Just as they suspected, a crowd was surrounding one of the doorways, a bunch of mistletoe nailed on top of the doorway. Underneath the mistletoe, three people in eggnog stained shirts and one sweater stood awkwardly, looking in different directions, different shades of blushes on their faces.

"Woah, she is so lucky. The top basketball player kissed her after the win, and now she gets two more kisses from the top voted freshmen!" someone exclaimed, drunkenly giggling as they gave M a thumb up. Others seemed to join in on the cheer, some drunk, others just sarcastically doing it, envious she got in such a situation.

M on the other hand was losing the blush from her cheeks, her skin slowly turning paler by the second, not really enjoying the drunken cheers, the provoking slurs turning her way, or the looks of envy burning through her skull. She wanted to be anywhere but there, and looking at her two friends, just as frozen as her, she realized they wished for the same. Before anyone could keep cheering for them to kiss, she inhaled once, and jumped, reaching for the bunch of mistletoe, taking it off and throwing it in a different direction, to create the kind of environment the drunken people wanted: chaos.

The moment the mistletoe seemed to land on someone, giggles and exclamations started throughout the room, chaos ensuing, totally forgetting about the three people that were supposed to kiss, and she took her chance to grab the hands of Felix and Chan and run away from the commotion. The music kept blaring behind them, the colorful lights placed randomly on the walls in the spirit of Christmas decoration lighting up as they ran away, laughing. For a second, M forgot everything about the people left behind at the party, about the fact she was about to have a panic attack due to being in the center of jeers, about the fact that she was dragging Felix and Chan outside the party room. She felt confident with herself, having just done something so out of her character, and when her lungs could no longer breathe properly, she stopped, laughing as she collapsed on the ground in the freshly fallen snow. The two guys did the same, their laugh overlapping, soon turning to coughs as they were trying to catch their breaths.

"Hope no one is stupid enough to...hah" M tried talking, trying to still breathe in the cold air of December to calm down her fastly beating heart "to eat the mistletoe. It is poisonous and could actually kill someone" she managed to finish, worried enough about the drunken people who would actually try to ingest the plant on a dare.

"Nah, noona, I am sure they will try to use it for stealing kisses, not lives" Felix laughed, exhausted enough from the run, even though it was not far from the building they were just in. His eyes kept darting to Chan, who seemed not bothered by the run as much as them, and he seemed to want to say something. M read the situation pretty quickly, giving him a thumbs-up before getting up from her kneeling position, dusting off the snow from her jeans.

"True...I better go look for our friends to let them know the crowd did not, you know, trample us. Wait for us here?" she asked, mostly looking in Chan's direction, knowing Felix would wait for them. When she got a nod from both guys, she shook her head, before heading back to the building, wishing Santa would help them get together.

M admitted to herself that if push came to shove and they actually had to kiss, she would have ducked out of the way to let them two kiss, but she knew such a forced kiss would not help them confess. Looking back at the two guys she was leaving behind in the snow, she could only hope one of them would be brave enough to make the first step on such a beautiful night, which seemed perfect for all kinds of miraculous things to happen. Turning back to the building to give them their privacy, M smiled as she saw Yoongi waiting for her at the entrance, a scarf and her coat in his hands, already guessing what went through her mind before all the running. She ran up to him, gasping as she slipped on some of the snow, laughing as all it did was launch her into his arms, her arms thrown around his neck to find something stable to hold on to. Her laughter rang throughout the night when he did not move, her cold fingers stuck on his warm neck, and she kissed the tip of his nose, finding him too cute to pass on such an opportunity.

"Merry Christmas, Yoongi" she told him, smiling widely as his arms fell around her, his warmth enveloping her as he returned her hug, kissing the top of her forehead, his signature kiss when he wanted to tell her how much he cared for her, but could not find the words he needed.

"Merry Christmas to you too, M" he finally whispered into her ear, watching as more snowflakes fell from the sky atop her hair, smiling as he felt her snuggle even closer into his arms. The night was calm, enveloping everything in another blanket of snow, covering the couple hugging at the entrance of the building where the party was still going on, and the two guys that seemed to talk about something not far away, the snowflakes melting on their reddened cheeks, aftermath from both the chilly air and from the conversation they just had.

Chapter Text

"So, any resolutions for this new year, girls? Maybe M wants to greet the new year while cuddling with Yoongi, in the same bed, after a night of...ooof" Lexy's teasing was interrupted by a pillow hitting her straight in the face. She coughed after the pillow fell on the floor, glaring at M who threw the offending material at her face. "Come on, M, I just finished my make-up like a minute ago, I don't want to reapply it"

M only shrugged, sticking her tongue out at her friend. "Well, next time, you need to know when to stop with the teasing." she said, going back to picking a shirt to wear at the gathering at Tae's apartment for New Year's Eve.

"It is a normal conversation to have, M. Plus you have been together for two months now. And you already are like a married couple, why not just get to that step now, get married when he finishes college, and have a kid after you finish your degree?" Lexy said, not really looking at the girls as she was doing her nails. It all seemed flawlessly planned in her mind, and it could have been a perfect course for the two to actually take. M, on the other hand, was shocked at how her friend saw her love life suddenly evolving, and knew nothing on how to respond, her eyebrows furrowing as she tried to come with a reply.

"Stop teasing her, Lexy." Kiki immediately intervened, sensing the immediate change in both girl's attitudes. While she was still teasing, Lexy's expression was serious, showing she actually believed that was how it will all probably happen. Meanwhile, M seemed frozen on the spot, but her eyes seemed to light up with annoyance. One thing that changed ever since M got with Yoongi, was that she became more expressive of her emotions, and it all could be read in her eyes before she actually expressed it.

"I don't know why you say we behave like a married couple, Lexy. Just because we don't like socializing as much as you and Tae on our date nights, doesn't mean we are on the path to marriage. If anything, I believe Kiki and Jin are unofficially married and at the end of the year they will spring that news on us" M said, her eyes locked with the red-haired woman, daring her to go against what she just said.

"Ok, that is enough, you kids," Kiki said once more, rolling her eyes at her two younger friends. "Look, M, Lexy is right about you being all homely and just giving the vibes you have been together for so long already. And Lexy, just because they give off that vibe, it doesn't mean that is in their future. Anything could happen" she continued, her eyes traveling from M to Lexy, making sure they understood her point. The girls just nodded, each going back to their tasks, and she sighed, not wanting to get in an argument with her friends right on the eve of the years changing.

"Sorry, M," Lexy said, looking at her nails to make sure she didn't botch her work, before looking at her friend. "But you know, from time to time, a date at a cinema, or a restaurant, or in a place that is not you at all, helps. You both get to understand how you work in an environment you have never been in, maybe you find something you like or hate, or not even have in common. Staying in all the time, or just going to your fave place during the weekends is cool and all, but you need diversity. And this is his last year here, you know? Have fun before he goes to find work and barely has the time to manage work time and free time." the red-haired spoke, looking at the reflection of her friend, trying to convey with her facial expression exactly why she was saying all that.

M could only watch her friend through the mirror and sigh. Her mind wasn't on the clothes she should wear at the small party they were having, but what her friends were talking about. Her silence was weighing heavily on Lexy's shoulders, who felt a tiny bit guilty for making M feel like that right before a fun night, and she immediately changed the subject, turning to Kiki.

"Also, while I think M and Yoongi are like an old married couple, you and Jin are totally the newlyweds, even after all these years, Kiki. I have no idea how you do it" Lexy laughed, trying to joke to lighten to mood. Kiki understood what she was doing, chuckling as she chose the pink rose earrings Jin gifted her on her birthday this year, which were so dear to her heart, just like everything else he gifted her until now. He always did know what to pick for her.

"Well, we have been best friends for years, before becoming a couple, so I guess we already went through tons of fun and new things together before doing the couple-y stuff. In a way, we were already doing couple stuff, but without the kissing and all that", she laughed, remembering the fun times when they were in high school before a certain Cupid made them realize they like each other and that it wasn't one-sided.

"But as far as marriage goes, who knows when it will happen" Kiki kept talking, sighing as she turned to look at her friends. "Just like Yoongi, this is our last year here, and after March, our time to have fun with you guys will be cut off, while we go do our practices and find our path for after we graduate"

"Do you have any idea what you will do after graduation?" M asked, curious about what her friend had planned for her life, and if she knew what path she wanted to choose.

"Actually, I do" Kiki smiled, calm, her entire face lighting up as she let the newfound information she got to spill for her friends to hear. "I was approached after the Christmas play by a representative of the city theater and they asked me if I want to do my practice there, and if both sides agree afterward, I can continue interning there until I make a reputation for myself. Of course, I would have to start low, from being a behind the scenes helper to nameless characters, and work from there until I reach where I want, but it is a start in what I always dreamed about" she said with such conviction in her tone, her eyes lighting up like she could already see she was on the big stage, performing for a worldwide audience to see and applaud for her.

"Wow," both Lexy and M said at the same time, pride and admiration written on their faces for their older friend, embarrassing Kiki as they started clapping in unison for her already well-laid life path.

"Also, Jin started applying for an internship at acting agencies while taking on some model jobs Taehyung kept referring him for" she continued, turning back to hide the flushed cheeks from her friends. She was never quite accustomed to the compliments her loved ones offered her, easily embarrassed when her friends sang her praises. "While his journey might be a bit harder to reach an endpoint he wants, he is satisfied with how it is going so far, and I am proud of him. We both know what we want, and we are willing to fight for it" Kiki said, convinced both of them will find their happy ending together, even while working hard, and being apart for a while.

M could only look at her, happy her friends seemed to find what they wanted to do. One look at Lexy though reflected her own confusion at her own path. Neither of the two knew what they wanted and how they should proceed with their life. Before the conversation could go down that path though, Lexy immediately lightened up with some music, making Kiki sing for them, declaring this night should be for fun thoughts only.

As they started their way downstairs, M declared she was going to get Yoongi, as he was probably still in the studio, working on his project, and promised the girls she would make it to the party before midnight. Rolling her eyes at Lexy's whispered 'use protection', she made her way down to the studios part of the campus, her mind wandering to the conversation they had about what they wanted in life. Before she could let the confusion overtake her, Yoongi's studio greeted her from afar, and she speed-walked to it, not wanting to let the cold bother her anymore.

"Yoongi, are you in there?" she asks, opening the door, smiling as she saw the black-haired man tinkering on his project, just like she knew he would. He gave her a small glance before going to add something to the building he was constructing, and M knew he wanted to finish that part before his ideas would run away from him.

Closing the door, she walked inside, taking a seat on the couch at Yoongi's back, watching him work, her mind still buzzing with heavy questions: 'What did she want to do when she graduated? Where did she see herself in life?'

"Yoongi, after graduation, do you know what you will be doing?" she asked before she could stop herself. The question laid heavily on her mind, and she wanted to know if anyone close to graduation had the same feeling as her, and felt just as lost as her. "Do you have a plan for your life?" she kept asking, the barrage of fears and questions spilling out from her heart.

Yoongi stopped what he was doing, placing down the items in his hands, before turning to look at M. He could see the worry and confusion battling in her eyes, and while her face betrayed nothing, her fingers kept fidgeting on the couch, trying to pick at invisible lint.

"After graduation, I will apply to architecture firms with the designs I have created. Before graduation, starting this March, I will intern at a demolishing company. I know it is the opposite of what I want to do, but I still get to learn about building design, materials, what goes against construction and so much more. And maybe that information might be able to help me get a job in a place I really want. My professor already gave me directions on which firms would be better based on what I want to design, so I already created my CV based on those places." he said, his eyes turning back at his project, not pausing once in doubt or fear of what the future might hold in his dreams.

"But until March, I still have time to finish this project, or even change my mind and want to become a singer, for all we know," he said with a chuckle, covering his project before turning to sit next to M.

"Now, tell me, what made you ask all this?" he asked, taking hold of her hand, his thumb massaging her knuckles to calm her worries down.

"I...Kiki and Jin already have their life laid out in front of them, they know what they want, and now you tell me you do too, and meanwhile, I am lost. I know I like psychology, I want to learn more about this subject, but do I want to work in this domain? Do I want to choose one of the thousands of paths it could lead me down and keep on it? I don't know what to do" M said in a rush, not understanding the spillage of words from her mouth either. She stopped when she felt Yoongi's hand going up and down her back, trying to comfort her.

"Calm down. Not knowing what you want to do is normal. Not seeing the path ahead of you is normal as well. Not knowing if you want to follow the path ahead is not something you should be afraid of" he said, his voice low and calming. "This last year opened my eyes a lot to what I want to do, to become. Before that, I was just as lost as you, if I really wanted to continue with architecture. You are still in your third year, barely reached the first half of it, and so many paths are open in front of you. Maybe by the end of the degree, you learn you want to be this type of psychologist or that type of therapist, or maybe you don't want to do anything related to it. But until then, you still have to learn more about it, do practices with real people from the field, learn from them and their experience. And while it sounds scary at first, I think that will give you an answer to this fear you should not have yet."

His speech resounded in the entire room, washing over M, calming down her fears until they seemed insignificant at the moment. She could only place her head on his shoulder, breathing in and trying to calm herself down. The fact that he was opening to her about his own fears and insecurities, and how sometimes, his mind was his own worst enemy, instead of something placed in reality.

"If you have to go to practice, does that mean no more basketball matches?" she asked, trying to slightly change the subject.

"Heh, worried I would leave you there for the freshmen to come and try to steal you?" he asked with a chuckle. "Never. I already informed the coach about this, and while I can go to practice matches or just training, I can't compete in official matches anymore. But I will still be there in the gallery, right next to you, making sure no stray balls fly close to you" he said with a tease, pinching her cheek before standing up to get ready to leave.

"Geez, that was last year. Also, in a way, that ball kinda helped us meet" she said, following after him, poking his shoulder to make a point.

"I am sure Lexy would have helped with us meeting, either way, she already had her eyes on a few guys from the team to introduce them to you, including me," he said, not realizing how much he gave away.

"She what?" M asked, shocked, but at the same time, knowing Lexy was actually capable of doing just that.

"Oh...well" Yoongi seemed to want to take it all back, locking the door, trying to think of a way to get out of spilling everything out.

"It is ok. I know she probably had something like that up her sleeve. No wonder she kept giving me a complete resume of the basketball guys at that game" M laughed it off, immediately shaking her head to show him she did not want to know who was on that list or not. "Let us head to the party before Lexy calls us and gives us a list to buy on the way there"

The red moped waited for them in the parking lot, shinier than ever, or maybe that was just the light glinting off it. M got used to them taking the moped to their dinner dates or him taking her back to her dorm, and she even learned how to drive it. Getting in the front seat, she grinned at Yoongi, patting the seat behind her for him to take. Putting the helmet on, she smiled as she felt his arms wrap around her waist, his chin placing on her left shoulders, a whispered 'ready' vibrating in her ear. And off they went, laughing as she pats his arms to hold tighter to her, loving the way his warmth surrounded her, knowing now why Yoongi always told her to be as close to him as possible when on these rides.

Arriving at the apartment, they did not even have to knock as Taehyung opened the door, welcoming them in his tiny apartment, already filled with their friends, Felix and Chan included. The girls were looking suspiciously at those two, M grinning as she knew they were already an official couple, just keeping it on the down-low as they tried getting used to the small things changing between them. But the slight touches, and small glances followed by smiles and flushed cheeks, gave them away, in M's opinion. Just that her friends never picked up on them, as those things happened before as well, just not followed by that aura of happiness that follows them now.

Her eyes left the new couple to travel around the small party area, stopping on a Jungkook staring intently at the carpet by the table. M left Yoongi's side to reach her favorite youngster in the group, immediately ruffling his hair to get his attention.

"What's up, Kookie? Who upset you?" she asked, tilting her head to take his entire face in, in case his facial expression changed while she was not looking.

He seemed to grumble something, and she could not help herself, reaching for his cheeks, pinching them to make him look at her. "What's up, bunny? Why are you pouting?"

"You should keep the nicknames for your boyfriend before he gets upset" Jungkook seemed to grumble, his eyebrows furrowed and lips were drawn in an upset pout. The word 'cute bunny' hopped through M's mind, and she immediately knew it was something that had to do with her.

"Well, I guess, nicknames are not for us. Plus how can I not call this pouty bunny for what he is, when he looks like a bunny who is upset someone forgot to pet him for the day? I can see the ears drooping as well" M said, pulling on Jungkook's cheeks more until he turned to look at her with a glare.

"Noona, stop teasing. After you got a boyfriend, you even forgot I existed. You spend the time with the other couples or just Yoongi-hyung. Not even NamJoon-hyung gets as ignored as me" Jungkook finally confessed what was bothering him, his lower lip jutting out in a pout, his eyes fired up to confess everything he had locked up in his heart.

"Oh, Kookie. I am sorry. Noona did not want to make you feel neglected like that. How can I make it up to you? Anything you want, and that is possible for me to do, of course" M said, smiling at her younger friend, who was towering over with a certain glint in his dark eyes.

"Anything noona?" he said, his voice suddenly darker than the pouting boy usually talked in. "Well, I want you to go to karaoke with me, and be my laser tag partner, and amusement park partner...ohh, also we have to read manga together, and you have to cheer for me too at games, just as much as you do for Yoongi! Also, I want you to give me homemade chocolate this Valentine's Day and then I will forgive you, noona!" he said it all in a rush, trying to say everything he wanted to do together with her, while in a group, or even just the two of them.

"You do know, all you had to do was ask, right? Also, deal with the chocolate, no worries" she said, teasing him as she poked his puffed-up cheek as he pouted once more, before reaching to ruffle his hair.

"Silence now, guys, the countdown is about to start" Tae shouted over the music, and everyone turned to look at the clock, realizing it was in fact quite close to midnight. Before she could look for Yoongi, M felt the other side of the couch dip and she turned to see Yoongi sit there, his hand immediately finding hers.

M smiled at him, squeezing his hand, already knowing everything was going to be fine in the new year that was about to come. Just as the countdown reached 'one' and she wanted to shout 'Happy New Year' with everyone in the apartment, she felt the two sides of the couch dip towards her, and two sets of lips landing on her cheeks. Her mouth hung opened as she realized both Yoongi and Jungkook kissed her cheeks, whispering their own ' happy new years' to her, before high-fiving over her head. Her shock was interrupted by Lexy laughing, pointing at NamJoon that M probably got kissed more in the last months than he ever got kissed in all his college years. While her cheeks turned red from the kisses, she joined the laugh, shaking her head at her red-haired friend, before turning to Jungkook, kissing his cheek as retaliation, sticking her tongue at him, before turning to Yoongi. Her cheeks darkened in color as she knew everyone was watching her next move, and before she could lose her courage, she leaned in, kissing him on the lips. Just a small peck, leaning back as everyone cheered, whispering so only he could hear.

"Happy New Year to us and our dreams, big or small!"