Number 3. Taekook.
Things you said too quietly.
Jungkook was always too much of something – too impatient, too rigid, too busy. It wasn’t any different around Taehyung either; he was too quiet around the other. Never knowing what to say and, if he did, not knowing how to say it. It was no wonder that Jungkook usually refused to show up in front of Taehyung if someone else wasn’t there either. The silence shared between them would get awkward and that reality was not something Jungkook wanted to face.
Not like the universe wanted anything to go Jungkook’s way for once, however.
“It’s going to rain today…” Jungkook muttered as he glanced at the weather app on his phone. Eyebrows furrowing as he flicked through the rest of the forecast details, he looked up when he didn’t register a response from Taehyung. The other was going to plant his face into his bowl of cereal, sleep tugging his eyelids down, down, down.
Taehyung didn’t hear him.
“Huh?” Taehyung’s head snapped up, blearily looking around until his vision focused on Jungkook. A lazy smile spread across his features and he nodded, as if Jungkook asked him something. “Hello, hello, g’mornin’.”
Jungkook snuck an extra umbrella into Taehyung’s bag later anyway, watching as the elder swung it over his shoulders unknowingly and waved goodbye to zoom to his first morning class. They weren’t even roommates, but Taehyung tended to crash over since he always misplaced his keys.
Jungkook kept to himself when he heard the jingles inside Taehyung’s jacket pockets anyway.
When Jungkook fell ill last winter, Taehyung didn’t know until one of the others let it slip. Jungkook specifically told them to keep his health status on the down low, not really wanting to greet attention and pity full force. However, to his dismay, Taehyung’s deep bellowing voice echoed down what sounded like the entire neighbourhood, fist banging against the front door and almost breaking his way in if Jungkook didn’t waddle downstairs.
Due to much begging, Taehyung relented and wore the medical mask that Jungkook kept waving in front of his face once getting back to the younger’s room. Weakly getting back into bed, Jungkook looked up and somehow felt better since Taehyung was present; a source of healing that couldn’t be found anywhere else. He prayed that the flush in his cheeks could be rendered and blamed on the fever that was almost baking him from the inside out.
A bowl of soup, animated chattering, and a mouthful of proper medication later, Taehyung was staring at his watch and announced that he should probably get back home in time for dinner. As he kept at it about the amounts of homework he had, Jungkook’s words tumbled out of his lips, voice groggy and raw from lack of use. “Don’t go.” It blended with the melodious tone of Taehyung, to the point where the other couldn’t decipher what Jungkook meant.
Leaning in closer, Taehyung tilted his head to the side. “What was that? You alright, Jungkook?” The words tickled against Jungkook’s tongue again, but the urge to say it died completely with the other so near. Closing his eyes tiredly, the younger boy shook his head and sank deeper under the covers, hiding away his face – as well as his heart. “Nothing. Take care, hyung.”
Years flew over their heads and of the friendships that both of them created with others, they were one another’s strongest links since the very beginning. At one point, Taehyung had to move to back to Daegu for a while – something about his grandmother and how he needed to be there for her, time ticking away and she wasn’t getting any younger. Jungkook felt like a terrible human being for wanting Taehyung to stay with him in Seoul, something about the big city blues could be vicious against a boy’s small heart that only held space for someone that didn’t even know.
Perhaps not the second part, even in the most silent of voices, but maybe Taehyung would have caught the drift anyways. Maybe.
Jungkook saw him off at the train station, hands digging into hoodie pockets and occasionally readjusting the snapback on his head. Taehyung chattered about home, about friends, about finally settling down in a place where he was comfortable. Taehyung must have realized the offence his words made, as he quickly backtracked and said Seoul was only tolerated thanks to Jungkook’s presence.
That didn’t really lessen the offence against the younger’s heart, but Jungkook wouldn’t let Taehyung know anything.
It was only when the train finally roared its signal, announcer voice echoing through the station that it was the final call for Daegu passengers to get on board. There was only seconds left – who knew when the next time would be, seeing each other in person again? People always said that emotions and feelings meant more when expressed in person, and Jungkook felt like he was choking when Taehyung reached up to tussle his hair one last time. “Bye Jungkook! I’ll Skype you soon, I promise. Make sure to get back safely, send a Facebook message to let me know–!”
“I love you.”
It was loud enough to ring in Jungkook’s ears, it was loud enough to resonate towards Taehyung, it was loud enough for Taehyung to stop. Although Jungkook wanted to believe that the softening of an expression and a gentle smile was that of understanding, he already knew the moment Taehyung laughed that it wasn’t the right kind of understanding.
Of course it wasn’t.
“I love you too, Jungkook!”
He had said it, the words that were dim and low, cowering and poisoning. He had finally said it, out personally, out of impulse, out loud. But as Jungkook watched as the train pulled away, farther and farther from the platform before disappearing over a gradual turn, Jungkook realized that Taehyung probably took his heart with him, too.
Jungkook also realized he probably didn’t say it loud enough.