Music as Discourse: Semiotic Adventures in Romantic Music. Analyzing Atonal Music: Pitch-class Set Theory and its Context. Explaining Tonality: Schenkerian Theory and Beyond.
You stared at the shelves of books opposite you, mindlessly reading the titles and ignoring the dawning exhilaration creeping up on you, rioting in a wave of goosebumps down your back. It felt like an out-of-body experience, as though you were floating above the stacks in the music department library and staring down with some pity at the seniors desperately cramming three months of theory into one cheat sheet, but the warm, heavy weight resting on your thighs tied you unwaveringly to the ground. You’d lost feeling in your legs somewhere between reviewing vocabulary flash cards - he kept mixing up accelerando with con moto - and now the tingling numbness as subsided into the pins-and-needles sensation of a genuine disruption of blood flow.
You should be concerned. You should probably shove him off and roll around on the itchy old carpet in agony until the feeling came back and you could stand without your knees buckling. At the very least, you should take your hand away from the plushy softness at the top of his head while he was sleeping. That was maybe a bit creepy.
You did none of those things.
Jeongguk had fallen asleep with his head on your lap while you were studying for the final. And his rabbit ears had sprung from the top of his head minutes later.
You bit your lip and glanced around the shelves again, but the small, abandoned area of theory you’d found to study in remained quiet and undisturbed, the faintest traces of life only to be found in the quiet, barely audible snores that slipped past Jeongguk’s parted lips.
He’d been working hard these past few weeks, juggling his vocal lessons with dancing and composition, spending time with Taheyung and Jimin and with you. This little furrow between his eyebrows had formed last week that you wanted to smooth away with your finger, maybe kiss the spot or nuzzle your nose against his neck in comfort. The bags under his eyes told you he’d not been getting enough sleep, although the coffee smell lingering on his close and breath every time you saw him had hinted at that all the same. He needed the rest, even for just a half an hour or so. However long he managed to sleep on this unforgiving, crusty sponge of a carpet that probably hadn’t been refurbished since the eighties.
But the ears….
In the seven months since you’d met him (four of which you’d been dating), Jeongguk had only ever half-shifted in front of you once. When you’d gone to his apartment that day after he’d missed the meeting at the library and he’d been so shocked to see you there, he’d half-shifted out of reflex. You’d wanted to ask him about it recently, about why he never shifted form when you were together or if he was waiting for you to do it first. You’d danced around the topic a little bit but hadn’t managed to work up the nerve to be upfront about it. His friend Taehyung had no problems popping tail and fur whenever he felt like it–on the couch watching k-dramas, hungover and eating cereal in the kitchen, running through the halls when he was late for class. His roommate Jimin used his ears and nose all the time to get his boyfriend Mint Yoongi (as you had begun to call him, even though his hair was now cotton candy pink) to buy him coffee and snacks from the convenience store.
But not Jeongguk. Even when doors slammed nearby, surprising even you enough that your ears popped instinctively, or when he got extremely excited about the latest BigBang comeback and practically hopped around the room with joy. No ears. No nose. No tail.
You were starting to suspect he was uncomfortable shifting around you, and you’re not sure how to react to that.
You glanced down at the shifted parts in question, the tips of your fingers lightly stroking up the long, velvety soft curve of his right ear. It twitched under the touch and a hitch interrupted Jeongguk’s snores, his head rolling slightly on your thighs until his face was angled toward you. His eyes were firmly shut, lips parted, still dead to the world. So you dipped your hand inward slightly and brush the pitch black fur in the shell of his ear, something melting in your chest when Jeongguk sighed.
This was wrong. An invasion of his privacy. If Jeongguk wanted to shift with you, he would in his own time, and you shouldn’t be taking advantage of the fact that he’d unknowingly shifted while taking a nap in your presence. But his ears were so soft. He looked so soft and cute, curled up on his side and sleeping like he hasn’t in days, his hands balled into little fists and those tiny snores, and the fact that he trusted you enough to let his guard down– he couldn’t have pressed more of your buttons if he’d tried.
Jeongguk was so shy about his rabbit form, even with you. You’d figured he thought he needed to put up a ‘manly’ front with you, that you’d fallen for the muscles and the black t-shirts and the smirk he tossed out when he caught you staring at him for longer than appropriate. And those were nice (read: hot as hell), but… more than that, the awkward, soft-hearted Ironman and G-Dragon fanboy that complained about his best friend’s neediness but still walked ten blocks to pick up his favorite soup when he was sick, that brought you a banana nut muffin to class when he knew you’d woken up late and hadn’t had time to eat. The guy that gave you his sweatshirt on cold days and pretended he wasn’t charmed by how big it looked on you, the guy that gave you bunny kisses on your cheek when he thought you’d fallen asleep on movie nights.
You liked leather-jacket Jeongguk, but the boy with the sweet smile behind him…. You were maybe close to falling in love with that guy. Closer than you could admit for now.
So you bent over and pressed a kiss to his temple as lightly as you could to avoid waking him and you sat in between those shelves, gently petting his ears as he slept. And thirty minutes later, when he started to wake up and his ears disappeared beneath the dark chocolate bedhead, you didn’t mention it. You just laughed quietly when he apologized sheepishly, brushed the hair stuck to his cheeks behind his human ear, and smiled.
You could wait until he was ready to share that part of himself with you.
Its his freshman year and Bitty is walking around campus on his Taddy Tour™ with John Johnson, Ollie, Wicks, and some other guys on the team that Bitty doesn’t know. They are coming to the end of the tour and are walking down the frat row where all the sports teams have their respective houses. They walk past the volleyball house and the soccer house with no problem, but things get louder once they reach the football house.
There are a bunch of hulking men gathered on the front lawn tossing a ball back and fourth. One, with short black hair and a very broad chest catches the ball, turns to the group and shouts,
“Hey hockey jerkoffs! look out!”
He throws the ball, and it cuts through the air with Wick’s head as its target. It would have hit him straight on the nose too, if Bitty hadn’t caught it, snatching it from air as easily as anything.
“You better keep this! you clearly need the practice!” Bitty threw the ball back to him in a perfect spiral, and when the offending player caught it, he was knocked to the ground with the force of it.
Everyone was gapping at the mountainous man on the ground. A different player with shaggy brown hair called out in disbelief, “You just took out the school’s tight end!”
Bitty shrugged, unbothered, “I hope he’s second string.”
All of the guys on the Taddy Tour™ starting whooping at the chirp, and the group moved onward toward the Haus, leaving a pack of slack jawed football players in their wake. The shaggy haired one offered a hand to the man on the ground.
“You good Brandon?” He asked, hoisting the other player to his feet.
“Yeah dude, nothing hurt but my pride.” Brandon rubbed at the back of his neck sheepishly, “Who was that guy?”
Shaggy hair shrugged, “One of the new Hockey recruits I guess.”