This was going to be another crappy year, Jeongguk was sure of that.
The party had started a few hours ago. Most of the people had already eaten and drunk enough and they were all dancing or chatting in places where the music was not too loud. Or resting in a sofa somewhere; which was Jeongguk’s case, of course.
December had been a rough month with the semester ending, plus having to work and practicing for the showcase. Exactly fourteen hours ago Jeongguk had returned to Seoul from visiting his family in Busan for Christmas. He was exhausted, so yeah, it had been his choice to sit alone on the couch sipping on weird pinkish drink from a straw instead of dancing with someone. This was the first semi-relaxing situation he had in months and he was semi-happy.
For most of the night he had been dancing with Jimin who eventually had left him for Yoongi. Jeongguk would literally bet that they were eating each other’s faces somewhere in the apartment now. Hoseok had spent the entire time showing off his dance moves and having absurd drinking games with random people, and maybe that was the reason he looked like he had drunk a little more than he should. And of course, Namjoon and Seokjin were nowhere to be seen since the beginning of the party. He also had crossed paths with Yugyeom and two people from the dance club and chatted for a bit. But that was pretty much it.
Jeongguk was about to get up to get a refill when he saw Taehyung. It’s not like Jeongguk hadn’t seen him all night; after all they had set up the house together for the party, but when the people started coming, he lost track of him. However, by only seeing him it was pretty obvious that Tae was having an amazing time. He was dancing with a girl in the middle of what was originally his living room and casually laughing at something she said close to his ear. And now Jeongguk couldn’t stop looking at them.
The New Year’s Eve parties in Jimin and Taehyung’s apartment were slowly becoming a tradition. This was the third year they threw one and even though their place wasn’t at all that big, each year more and more people came.
If you asked him, Jeongguk would have preferred to celebrate the way they used to, a small reunion in one of their houses with a nice meal and some drinks. But he was getting used to this by now and either way, he would rather watch Taehyung kiss some random guy or girl in a party context than in his own house and not drunk at all.
Taehyung always managed to find someone to kiss at midnight in every New Year’s eve because he believed that if you start a new year without a kiss, it would be a bad one. The task wasn’t hard at all because he was known to be one of the most beautiful guys on campus, but still he worried a little bit when the year was coming to an end.
”What would you do if you spend New Years with your family someday?” Jeongguk jokingly asked him one day.
Taehyung answered him with a very serious look on his face. “I would kiss my grandma if I had to”
“Gross” And then they both started laughing so hard until their stomachs hurt.
Jeongguk didn’t believe in those things. It’s not like he wasn’t a little superstitious —there were times when he was sure he had done okay on a test but even still had told his friends that he was probably going to fail because he didn’t want to jinx it. He wasn’t proud of that—, but a kiss? Why would that make a difference? And now that he thinks about it, he had never kissed someone in New Year’s Eve and his his last years haven’t been that bad, right?
Maybe the thing that made him realize was the weird empty feeling in the pit of his stomach he started noticing whenever Taehyung talked about his crushes. Or how uncomfortable he felt with the thought of his best friend kissing someone. Or perhaps was the rush on his skin everytime they were a little bit too close from each other. It didn’t actually matter what started it, but eventually he realized he was in love with Taehyung.
At first he tried to deny it of course, but at the same time it made so much sense that a part of him was at peace, the way you feel when you finally remember something you wanted to say the whole day but forgot what it was, just like that. Because he needed an explanation for the almost unbearable happiness he felt when Taehyung smiled, or for the impulse to hug him and comfort him when he was sad, or for the urge of kissing him when he was looking as beautiful as always.
However, Jeongguk decided not to do anything about it for various and obvious reasons. First of all, he didn’t want to ruin the friendship they had. That thought alone may be the most cliché-romcom-cringy thing that crossed his mind but he rather be bestfriends than be nothing. He truly loved their relationship, and the thought of messing up what they had scared the shit out of him. Confessing to him would ruin everything because —and this was the most important reason Jeongguk had— Taehyung was on another page and it was impossible that he liked him back.
Okay, yes. Maybe Jimin was right and Jeongguk was in fact a cry baby who didn’t want to take chances.
“Just ask him out. It’s that simple.” his second best friend had told him a few months ago, one day that the younger felt specially miserable and in love.
“You want me to die?” his offended tone was enough to know that he was dead serious. “You are the worst hyung in history. I should have went to Seokjin’s for a real advice.”
“You brat!” Jimin had taken a deep breath. “I just wanted to say that if he rejects you, which I know it’s not going to happen...” Jeongguk looked at him suspiciously. “Even still— everything would be okay between you two. You know Tae, he could never do anything that would hurt you.”
Those wise words had stuck with him, but still he hadn’t had the courage to do it yet. Besides, he was an expert on the art of hiding emotions from the rest of the world, he didn’t spend seventeen whole years in the closet for nothing.
Nonetheless, seeing Taehyung moving like he was right then, dancing at the rhythm of the music, touching his brown hair and closing his eyes while feeling the song, Jeongguk didn’t want to hide it anymore. He wanted to stand up, go to him and tell him everything. And finally —finally— be able to kiss him. Jeongguk fantasized about the feeling of Taehyung’s lips on his a lot more than he should, to be honest.
He had got himself so carried away by his thoughts that he almost didn’t notice that Taehyung was walking away from the living room to the kitchen, trying to pass through the small but crowded group of people without getting hit. And alone. Finally alone. Without much debate, Jeongguk got up and followed him through the wooden door.
The kitchen was a total mess. There were empty bottles on the floor, dirty plates hanging around and the floor sticky beneath Jeongguk’s black combat boots. The room had a wide bar that Taehyung and Jimin usually used as a table for breakfast or quick lunches, but now it was full with booze bottles and empty cups.
“Oh! Hi Gukkie.” Taehyung called out when he saw him. He was on the other side of the bar and brightly smiling at him. “What can I get you?”
“Uh, just a beer” he responded kinda confused.
Then Taehyung started acting like he was a real bartender moving some bottles on the table making a greater mess than before, and finally he leaned over and grabbed a beer can from the bucket below the bar. He opened the can in slow motion and then gave it to Jeongguk.
The burning feeling in his cheeks made him realize that he had been widely smiling the whole show. Losing control of his reactions happened a lot to him when it came to Taehyung. He sometimes found himself laughing so hard that he fell on the floor, or blood rushed to his cheeks without him even noticing, and some other stuff. Namjoon had told him that the infatuated gaze with which Jeongguk sometimes looked at Taehyung made him believe in true love—Seokjin had punched him in the arm and ignored him almost an entire day—. The poor boy had no idea what he was talking about but still, everytime he was around Taehyung he felt betrayed by his own body.
When Jeongguk finished chuckling at Taehyung’s small skit he took a large sip of the beer. It was unreal how happy the elder can make him in just a few seconds. Minutes ago he had been literally miserable alone in a couch and now he couldn’t stop smiling.
Taehyung served himself a mix of vodka and juice. “I really missed you this week.”
“Me too, hyung. It’s incredible how I miss my family all year long but the moment I see them I want to come back here and be with you guys.” Jeongguk leaned in the wall while talking.
“What did your parents think of the video?” It was obvious how much he wanted to make him that question. “Photography Director Kim Taehyung first work for the public.”
“They really loved it.” he answered and then looked down for a second. “I still can’t believe you took the trouble of focusing only on me and editing every piece of performance I was in.”
“It was nothing” Taehyung uttered. “I enjoyed it. You looked really pretty that night.”
Maybe if Jeongguk hadn't choked on the beer and started coughing like crazy, he would have noticed that Taehyung's face had been tinted with a slight pink around the cheeks when he said those words.
Jeongguk clearly remembered the night of his showcase. Seokjin, Yoongi, Namjoon and Taehyung went to see Hoseok, Jimin and Jeongguk perform for the dance club of the university they all went to (minus Seokjin who had given his final thesis the week before and had graduated with honors). The show was divided in two with a ten minute intermission and Jeongguk was sorted in the last bit. Hoseok and Jimin, who performed before the break, did amazing and when their part ended Jeongguk started getting a little nervous. The dancers who had appeared first had been told to leave the stage, so Jeongguk was alone behind the curtains. He had practiced day and night to rock it and not fuck it up but he couldn’t help being a little scared. To stop nervous walking in the dressing rooms he went to the left side of the stage and, hiding from the public, looked at the crowd. He found his friends really quickly, Hoseok and Jimin still wearing the outfits from the performance, and all of them excitedly talking to each other.
It took a few seconds for Jeongguk to realize that Taehyung wasn’t there anymore. Where was he? His performance was about to start in a few minutes, was he gonna lose it? But when the irrational string of thoughts was about to go in a dangerous path, he scanned the large room and saw Taehyung walking to their seats. ‘He probably went to the bathroom’, he was telling himself when he notice Tae was holding something in his hands. A bouquet of flowers. Jeongguk’s heart rate escalated quickly. He didn’t want to get his hopes up for nothing, but when Taehyung took seat beside Hoseok and didn’t give it to him, Jeongguk knew that those flowers were for him. From Taehyung, for him.
Jeongguk remembered dancing as he had never done before, feeling lightheaded, without any worries in his mind. When he finished and everyone in the room applauded, the happiness he felt was overwhelming. He will never forget that, the same way as he would also never forget that, lastly, the bouquet was given to him by Yoongi, not Taehyung, when he got off the stage.
What Jeongguk didn’t know is that Taehyung had to give Yoongi the bouquet. Both of his hands were required for holding the camera and filming Jeongguk’s performance. When it ended he had intended to ask Yoongi to give it back to him, but with all the fuss of the crowd he couldn’t do it. A few seconds later, Jeongguk was already down there, sweaty and beautiful, smiling at them with his big bunny smile, and with all the congratulations, Yoongi ended up giving him the bouquet. Taehyung knew it didn’t actually matter that much, but for some reason he couldn’t explain, he felt a dash of pain in his chest when the boy hugged his hyung thanking him for the gift.
Eventually, when Jeongguk was able to breathe again, he muttered a “Thanks, hyung” that he wasn’t even sure Taehyung had catched on.
Taehyung cleared his throat. “What time is it?” he asked suddenly with a worried look on his face.
“It’s quarter to midnight” he checked the time on his phone and answered. “Shouldn’t we take the champagne out of the fridge?”
But if Jeongguk had notice a slight change in Taehyung expression before, now it was completely distorted.
“Quarter to midnight? Already?” he yelled and then grabbed his head, moaning in pain.
More like fake pain. The truth was that Jeongguk knew him a little bit too much and he instantly recognized when the elder was being a drama queen. But either way, he went by his side and he stood close to him. “What’s wrong, hyung?”
Taehyung looked at him with a pout and Jeongguk immediately felt like dying. He was so beautiful with his eyes partially covered by his long hair. He felt the sudden urge of remove it from them, but he resisted it like his life depended on it.
“As you may already notice,” Taehyung began. “I don’t have a date tonight. I spent the whole party looking for someone suitable to kiss at midnight but… I don’t know... I didn’t find anyone!” he sobbed. “I’m screwed”
Jeongguk frowned. He was sure that around eighty percent of the guest in the apartment were willing, most of them wanting, to kiss Taehyung —himself included— but, call him selfish, he was not going to be the one to tell him that. Instead of that he stood there in silence staring at him like an idiot. What could he respond?
“Do you know someone who would like to do it?” Taehyung asked suddenly.
They were pretty close from each other, Jeongguk couldn’t avoid noticing. Taehyung’s lips were wet and sparkling from the drink he had just finished. The mole on his bottom lip was clearer than never before and Jeongguk had never wanted to cover it with his lips more in his entire life.
Kiss me at midnight.
That thought intruded his mind and, for a second, it was the only thing he could think about. The rejection from Taehyung, their friendship, the party on the other side of the room, were all clouded by that one thought.
But even though it felt like ages, that second passed and Jeongguk realized he had been staring at Taehyung’s lips without giving him an answer for a long time, so he abruptly took a step back. Nice move, he told himself.
“Um…” he babbled and felt his cheeks burning. “I don’t know. You could just kiss a random guy like you did last year.”
And with a last murmured ‘I don’t know’ Jeongguk found himself on the other side of the bar again, which felt just the same as being a million miles apart from Taehyung.
For a moment, he thought of having witnessed disappointment in Taehyung’s eyes? Or even worse: a glimpse of sadness. But a second later he was smiling again with his beautiful bright smile and he felt like a whipped unhopeful idiot again.
“Yeah, I will probably do that.” Taehyung answered, and then the kitchen door suddenly opened.
“Oh! You guys are here! I looked for you everywhere!” Jimin exclaimed. He grabbed Jeongguk’s arm and pulled him out of the kitchen, which took him so unprepared that he tripped and almost fell. “We will go outside to watch the fireworks for the countdown with the guys. Come on, Tae”
One moment later, Jeongguk was being dragged through the living room followed by Taehyung, who was trying to dodge the people that were gathering in the middle for midnight.
“I found them” Jimin sighed when they arrived to the balcony.
Namjoon, Seokjin, Yoongi and Hoseok were waiting for them in the small terrace. Hoseok looked a lot more recomposed than before and Seokjin and Namjoon were cuddled up together and slightly shivering. It was a very chilly night, but Jeongguk didn’t care: he was automatically immersed by the view. The music and the conversations from inside were muffled and being there with just his friends made Jeongguk feel a sense of stability and comfort. The city lights were warmly lighting the black sky and even though he knew that there was nothing calm about Seoul, in that moment he felt at peace.
“Oh c’mon Jimin!” Taehyung suddenly protested. The loud complaint interrupted all of Jeongguk’s thoughts. “It’s just one kiss. Please.” He said this last phrase with the cute tone he always used when he wanted to get something really badly — and, to be honest, he always got away with it without any doubt. Taehyung himself had said that that tone was a gift.
“It’s not about kissing you! I’m going to kiss Yoongi and I can’t do it with both of you.” Jimin responded. It was obvious they were having a muffled conversation before Taehyung, exasperated, exclaimed out loud his complaint. “I’m sorry, babe.”
“Ugh. Don’t worry.” Taehyung tried to give him an ‘it’s okay’ smile, but it lasted only a second.
The guy was in a bad mood, and it was noticeable. His big brown eyebrows were slightly frowned, and he was watching the view with an empty look, thinking. Anyone could have mistaken that for his usual resting bitch face, but Jeongguk knew him enough to notice, thanks to the recurring stolen glances from Taehyung, that his shoulders were tensioned and his eyes were wider than usual.
Jeongguk didn’t feel at his best either. He was kinda mad at Taehyung for not asking him for a kiss. He knew that it was an irrational thought, because even though they were best friends they weren’t like Jimin and Taehyung who had a type of friendship that in a way allowed that, unlike theirs. Besides, he was almost sure he would have denied Taehyung the kiss if he asked it because he couldn’t do it without telling him how he feels, he just couldn’t.
“Five minutes!” Jin let them all know.
A loud groan came from next to Jeongguk.
“Taehyung don’t worry about it.” Namjoon told him, knowing, just like everyone else, why his dongsaeng was acting like that.
“Nice of you to tell me it’s nothing when you’ll kiss Seokjin.” Taehyung crossed his arms on his chest and remain quiet again. Namjoon rolled his eyes and Hoseok laughed at his childish action.
“It’s so exciting! I love fireworks.” Hoseok warmly said looking at the sky.
They started a casual conversation about how this year passed so fast and how they couldn’t believe that it was 2020 already. The usual stuff. When a few minutes passed, Taehyung tried to let go a little and joined the conversation, but still he looked like he was fighting a serious internal battle. Jeongguk supposed that in Tae’s mind it was bad enough to begin a year without a kiss to make it worse by being angry.
Jeongguk talked with Yoongi for a bit about his time in Busan and he told him how Jimin’s introduction to his family in Daegu in the Christmas’ holidays went. Of course Jeongguk already knew every detail to that story because Jimin texted him everything about it the same night it happened, but he listened to Yoongi’s version anyway. They all congratulated Seokjin again for his graduation and then began to fill the glasses with champagne, preparing for the New Year’s toast.
The peace went on for a minute until the countdown to midnight began inside. 60, 59, 58. The loud screams came not only from the apartment but from the buildings around them and the street. The anticipation could be felt in the air.
42, 41, 40 seconds until twelve o’clock. The seven of them counted out loud too when the countdown was down to thirty seconds.
“Oh, my god. This is so bad. So bad.” Taehyung whispered loud. He started nervously moving across the balcony.
“Twenty one. Twenty. Nineteen…”
Jimin and Namjoon were the loudest, and the rest weren’t exactly calm either, but no matter how loud they all were, Taehyung’s whines were the only thing they could hear.
“Jin hyung you owe me one, remember? Just one peck and it’s settled! Nothing more!”
“Stop. No one will kiss you, so please stop crying.” Seokjin moaned, done with the whimpering. “Accept it for real.”
Taehyung looked at him with the angriest look he could make and then turned to Hoseok. “Hobi hyung~ My best hyung” He ignored the loud gasp from his other four older friends and continued praising Hoseok. “Please? You look so good today.”
Hoseok openly smiled and then hugged him. “Thanks, Tae! You too!”
The irritated sound Tae let go when he received that answer and not the one he was looking for, made his hyung let go of him looking pretty offended.
Okay, now it was official. Taehyung would rather kiss every one of their friends than kissing Jeongguk. Worse than that, since he didn’t even ask him last, he didn’t requested him at all. That alone made Jeongguk feel like going inside and losing the amazing fireworks at midnight, but he resisted it. What was so repulsive about him that Taehyung didn’t even try to convince him?
But as he was after all a good friend, he sucked his feeling up, and tried to reassure Taehyung with a sympathetic smile. “Don’t stress about it, it’s not a big deal. I always begin the year like this”
And maybe the odds were in his favor because Taehyung shut up, gave him a firm look and answered: “Yes, you’re right. Not a big deal. True.”
The statement sounded like a robot trying to convince himself that one of his strongest beliefs was not that important. Taehyung was serious about this topic just as much as he was about how dogs were the cutest animals on earth. Well, not just as much, more or less than that— which still meant a lot. Jeongguk was so whipped that he forgot for a moment the resentment and disappointment from before and he just felt bad for him.
The sulking and groaning stopped for only five full seconds because when they yelled Ten, Tae immediately lost it again. “All right. Somebody kiss me.”
“Oh, shut up Taehyung” Yoongi groaned. A sound of agreement flew around on the balcony.
“Please, it’s almost midnight!” Taehyung’s tone was getting desperate now.
They got ready for the moment, but even when the start of a new year was literally seconds away, all that Jeongguk could think about was Taehyung. How sad he would be after midnight and how this would truly affect his way of living this year, because even though sometimes he made it sound like this belief was some kind of joke, it had become a tradition. And traditions really mattered to Taehyung.
“THAT’S IT. SOMEONE KISS ME RIGHT N—“
Even before he knew what he was doing, Jeongguk grabbed Taehyung by the collar of his shirt and pressed their lips together, shushing his last word. The Happy New Year's exploded around them, immediately followed by the loud exploiting noise of the fireworks above them.
When Jeongguk finally noticed what he had done he let go of Taehyung’s shirt and, horrified, rushed back trying to get as far as he could go away from the other boy. However, he had barely moved when his back hit the railing of the balcony.
The elder was watching him with wide eyes and a surprised but weird look on his face. A mix of fear, happiness, adrenaline, excitement and regret clouded Jeongguk’s mind and heart when he looked at Taehyung, red as a tomato.
“I’m sorry—” Jeongguk started to apologize with his face burning hot. He tried to find a good excuse for the peck and when he was about to look down to the floor, Taehyung leaned in.
A pair of soft lips pressed against his with determination but also tenderness, and Jeongguk couldn’t help but to let out a small gasp of surprise, that was automatically drunk by the elder’s mouth.
Taehyung was kissing him. After months —years— of secretly pining and thinking his crush was unrequited, Taehyung had kissed him. Him.
He felt like floating and for a moment he prayed in silence that this wasn’t a dream, but he knew his imagination wasn’t that good. The feeling of Taehyung’s hands softly holding his waist made him snap out of it, and he finally reacted. Instinctively titled his head and grabbed Taehyung’s face between his hands, deepening the kiss. It felt like heaven, just like Jeongguk always pictured it but better, at first kind of messy and then sweet and warm.
Jeongguk was convinced that he didn’t know happiness until that very moment. Nothing he had ever lived or experienced could be compared to this. With this thought on his mind, unintentionally, he smiled against Taehyung’s mouth. The latter barely separated their lips only to connect them again, but this time his hands were in the back of Jeongguk’s head, running his fingers through his hair. The fireworks exploded in his stomach instead of in the sky.
“Was about time.” Yoongi said to the others. The sound of his hyung’s voice was like miles away but made him realize that their friends were literally three steps far from them, but honestly? He couldn’t care less.
They kissed and kissed, and Jeongguk would remain doing it for centuries if he was given the chance, because he finally realized how just a kiss could change your whole new year. Kissing Taehyung was the most wonderful feeling in the world and this had just blessed his entire 2020.
“I’ve wanted to do this for a long time” Taehyung whispered against his mouth, and Jeongguk was lucky enough to be pressed against the railing and grabbed by Taehyung because he felt like his legs were melting. This was too good to be true.
Jeongguk didn’t want it to end. Never. But, unfortunately, though it felt like ages after, they ended up pulling away. Losing the feeling of Taehyung’s lips in his mouth made him feel a little dizzy, but that was the least Jeongguk could expect when he had just had the best kiss in the entire world’s history.
“Happy New Year, Tae” he sighed, just a note louder than a whisper.
Taehyung’s eyes stared at him, glowing in the night. “It’ll be the best one so far”