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Slipping (through the tiny cracks of your heart)

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j in-hyung: kids, don’t forget we have an interview today

 

ahh okay. I just got up lemme shower first

taetae: jiminie stinks~

jin-hyung: don’t start

jungkookie: hyung is breakfast ready i’m hungry

cook some yourself, you brat

jungkookie: hyungs, jimin is being mean

namjoon-hyung: that’s jimin-hyung to you, kook

hoseokie-hyung: good morning <3333

...

yoongi-hyung is typing...

 

Jimin’s fingers still, hovering over the keyboard.

 

yoongi-hyung: ahhh so loud too early

 

He smiles fondly. In the quietness of his room, Jimin brings his phone closer to his face and sees Yoongi’s name flash on the screen as the older boy is typing out his reply again. It’s a little longer this time, and when the reply finally appears, Jimin couldn’t help but to laugh.

 

yoongi-hyung: hurry to the kitchen or i’ll eat all your food

 

Beside him, Taehyung whines childishly and rolls off his bed. “I’m not gonna let that happen!” he cries and rushes out of the room.

Jimin lies on his bed a little while longer, and allows himself to look at Yoongi’s name on his screen for several seconds more.


 

-

When he finally enters the kitchen, the only one at the table is Yoongi himself. The rapper is tearing apart a bagel with his long fingers, and he looks sleepy than anything else as he absently takes one piece of the torn bagel and puts it in his mouth. He doesn’t seem to notice Jimin’s presence by the doorway as he continues to chew, pausing once to let out a yawn.

The sight is so domestic that it makes Jimin’s heart skip a beat. He wills himself to breathe normally before he walks nearer to the table.

“Yoongi-hyung,” he greets with a smile, “Good morning.”

Yoongi blinks once and turns to look at him. The side of his eyes crinkle as he smiles back at Jimin. He looks sleepy. Tired. Jimin suspects he didn’t sleep much last night. The shadows underneath his eyes are a proof of that. The stylist noonas are going to have a fit trying to cover those up, Jimin is sure of that.

But still. Yoongi’s smile is sincere and bright, and it warms Jimin’s chest just looking at it.

“Where are the others?” he asks as he takes a seat beside Yoongi.

Yoongi snorts. “The brats are fighting over the TV last I saw them.” The ‘brats’ are of course, Taehyung and Jungkook; Yoongi has been referring them as such for as long as he could remember, but the nickname is a fond one despite Yoongi’s claim otherwise. “Seokjin-hyung is finishing up his assignment in the room. Hoseok-ie is showering and Namjoon-ie is on the phone with PD-nim.” He pushes the plate of bagels towards Jimin. “You and I are the last to have breakfast. Eat before Taehyung decides he wants a second helping.”

Jimin gingerly takes the bagel into his hand and hesitates. There is sugar coating the bagel, and Jimin does a quick calculation in his head. If he eats this...“Um.”

Yoongi gives him a gentle, knowing look. “You can have a cheat day, Jimin. Our promotions ended yesterday. You can afford something sweet.”

Jimin laughs sheepishly. “Okay, hyung,” he murmurs. He takes a bite, and sighs at the sweetness that explodes on his tongue. It was way different from the usual boring breakfast he had to endure during promotions. He chews slowly, enjoying the taste before he swallows.

The look Yoongi gives him when he turns to look at the older boy is a mixture of pride and fondness. Something warm spreads across Jimin’s chest, and he feels blood rising up to his cheeks.

Ah.

His hyung is too much.

Jimin mumbles his thanks around his bagel, and eats in silence. In his chest, his heart thunders. He wills himself to calm down, and hopes (prays) Yoongi doesn’t notice the blush across his cheeks.

This hyung is really too much.

“Save me some!” Taehyung announces, nearly making Jimin jumping out from his skin, “I’m hungry!”

“Go away. You’re gonna make us all starve if you eat all our food,” Yoongi replies in annoyance.

As Jimin watches Taehyung whines and Yoongi batting him away, he is silently grateful for his friend’s sudden appearance, and hopes he is the only one who hears the thundering of his heartbeat in his chest.

Chapter Text

The van ride to the place of the interview is a relatively quiet one. Everyone aside from Jimin and Taehyung are asleep, and aside from Namjoon’s occasional snores from the front seat, the atmosphere is silent. But comfortable. Jimin sinks into his seat and watches absently as Taehyung plays with his fingers. It feels oddly relaxing as his bestfriend skims his fingers over Jimin’s knuckles and laces their fingers together. Moments like this are common; it’s Taehyung’s own little way of showing affection, but Jimin never finds himself growing tired or annoyed over them.

“Jimin-ie,” Taehyung says.

“Hm?”

“Did I interrupt something in the kitchen this morning?”

Jimin’s fingers still in Taehyung’s hold.

“What?” he asks dumbly.

“You were talking with Yoongi-hyung, right?” Taehyung says, his wide eyes making him more innocent-looking than he already is. Jimin sometimes wonder if Taehyung ever grows up in the inside, as despite being noticeably taller than Jimin and having a voice deeper than the Pacific Ocean, his mannerisms often, if not always, reminds him of a child; tiny, soft, and often curious.

Jimin nods slowly, carefully. “Yes… but not much. He was just giving me breakfast.”

“Oh okay,” Taehyung nods to himself, his expression solemn as if that answers every question he had. “I was just worried I was ruining a moment.”

“Moment? What do you mean by that?”

Taehyung looks at his friend carefully. He seems to be considering something, and Jimin waits to see what it is. But Taehyung ends up shaking his head and unlacing his fingers from Jimin’s. He leans into the seat, instead, and snuggles against Jimin, resting his head on Jimin’s shoulder.

“It’s nothing,” he says. He yawns once and closes his eyes. “I’m going to sleep. Good night.”

“It’s 11 in the morning,” Jimin retorts, but affectionately pats his friend’s hair, regardless. He thinks back on Taehyung’s previous expression, and bites his lip as he looks out the window.

He has a feeling that his friend knows more than he lets on.


 

-

The interview, in one simple word, is dull.

Jimin expects typical questions; sometimes, it couldn’t be helped. He expects silly games, and maybe one or two segments when he would have to let go of his image and make a fool out himself just so he could hear his fans laugh. He even expects Seokjin-hyung to crack a few Dad jokes that he may laugh at, or cringe in second-hand embarrassment.

But all they get are several typical questions (as he had expected) and there had been moments when the MC tried to be funny, but the joke is either a) not funny, or b) awkward, that the laughter that followed was becoming more and more forced as the interview ticks by. At one point, Yoongi could barely hold a polite smile. But he does, and Jimin somewhat admires him for it. Jimin himself is on the verge of nodding off.

He glances at the digital clock in front of the set. Ten more minutes left. He could bear with it for just a little while longer.

“So, BTS, I know you guys get asked this a lot,” the MC asks, smiling so wide that his face might split into half, “But I’m sure your fans wanna know if there is any change to your ideal types.”

Oh boy.

Beside him, Hoseok subtly clenches his fist. Namjoon across him looks as if he wants to disappear that very moment.

Seokjin laughs good-naturedly. “For me, no. But to be honest, though, an ideal type is really just a preference. If I like someone, I’ll go for them, regardless of my ideal type.”

“That’s easy for you to say,” Taehyung says with a theatrical sigh, “With a handsome face like yours, no one could say no.”

“While the rest of us uglies would have to watch in envy and spend the rest of our lives forever alone,” Jungkook adds with a sigh.

There is a sound of protest coming from the audience, and Jimin rolls his eyes at his bandmates’ self-diss. He laughs genuinely for the first time in the interview. He knows his friends are joking; they are more confident of their looks more than they let on.

“If Jungkook calls himself ugly, I might as well be an abomination,” Jimin replies, sighing as he pats himself reassuringly on the shoulder. “It’s okay, Jimin-ah. Life goes on.”

“You know Jimin-ie is upset when he refers himself as a third person,” Namjoon jokes, and that earns a few more laughs. The atmosphere becomes noticeably lighter and fun, and even Yoongi looks more awake than previously. The boy is smiling exasperatedly at his bandmates and shakes his head. Jimin is suddenly grateful that MC asked that question, despite having dreading it previously.

That is, of course, until MC turns his attention on him.

“Jimin-ssi, what about you?” he asks, “What’s your ideal type?”

Startled, Jimin blinks. “Me?” He pauses, and bites his lips. “I...uh.”

“Jimin-ie prefers someone shorter than him,” Hoseok teases, “To boost his self-esteem.”

“Don’t be mean, J-Hope-ssi,” Namjoon replies, “He’ll probably wear heel inserts regardless, anyway.”

“On every date?” Taehyung asks with wide eyes.

“Most definitely.”

“Yah! You guys are mean,” Jimin protests with a pout, and the whole set erupts into laughter.

Yoongi reaches out and pats the boy on the back comfortingly. Jimin’s heart does a little skip, and he suddenly feels a little flustered at the contact. He laces his fingers together and makes the gesture seem nonchalant, but he hopes whatever he feels on the inside doesn’t show on his face.

Jimin is so screwed.

The MC, however, is not done. After the laughter dies down, he leans forward and looks at Jimin again. “Jimin-ssi, don’t you want to defend yourself? Or are short girls really your type?” he says with a wink.

If Jimin is feeling uncomfortable, he hopes it doesn’t show.

“I don’t have a specific preference to be honest,” he begins, staying on the safe side, “Like Jin-hyung said, if I like a person, that’s all there is to it,” he pauses. He feels Yoongi’s steady hand on the small part of Jimin’s back. He is oddly comforted by it, and takes a deep breath. “Even if the person is lethargic and grumpy most of the time,” he says with a laugh.

There is a pause. He feels Hoseok shifting in his seat beside him. Jungkook has a funny look on his face, like he couldn’t process Jimin’s words. Taehyung is downright staring at him, his eyes wider than usual.

Jimin wonders why.

Then, he realizes his words.

In front of him, the MC raises his eyebrows. Namjoon blinks at him, and the rest of his bandmates follow suit. The sight of it would have been funny, if Jimin didn’t realize the gravity of his answers.

Oh shit.

The hand on Jimin’s back tenses.

Shitshitshitshitshitshitshit

Time, for Jimin, seems to stand still.

“That’s really specific, Jimin-ssi,” the MC says at last, “Would you care to elaborate?”

Chapter Text

“That’s really specific, Jimin-ssi. Would you care to elaborate?”

The time, for Jimin, seems to stand still. Millions of thoughts run through his head, but he can’t seem to form words. Whatever he wants to say is stuck in his throat and Jimin can’t find it in himself to force it out. The hand on his back is gripping his shirt; not too much, but Jimin feels the grip all the same.

He wonders what is running through Yoongi’s mind. He is almost afraid to find out.

“Jimin-ie is just that kind of person,” he hears Namjoon say, “He’s saying that even if the person he likes is a grouchy, lazy person, he wouldn’t mind.”

“Because he’s a masochist that way. He wouldn’t mind being hurt in love,” Jungkook pipes in playfully.

The MC seems to accept those answers, and he gives Jimin an indulgent look. “Ah, I see. Guys like that still exists,” he replies solemnly, “You better be careful, Jimin-ssi. Sometimes, it may not be worth it.” Despite the serious words, the MC’s tone is teasing, and Jimin relaxes. The hand on his back loosens its grip, and Jimin sneaks a glance at Yoongi.

The boy’s expression is unreadable, but he seems mostly at ease.

Jimin is safe. He sends Namjoon a quick grateful smile. The corner of the leader’s lips lift into a quirk of a smile of his own, and he subtly nods in acknowledgement.

“Aish...you’re too serious!” Jimin hears himself say.

As he allows himself to laugh along with everyone else, he realizes that Yoongi hasn’t said a word throughout the whole exchange.

He decides not to ask.


 

-

 

taetae: hey jimin u ok

i’m fine why

taetae: u just seem quiet.

i’m tired

that’s all

no need to worry

taetae: u sure?

definitely

 

He gets another message, and he slides his thumb over the screen to read it.

 

taetae: no one blames u 4 wat happened in the interview u know that rite

 

Jimin lets out a breath. Yes, he knows. Of course, he does. Why wouldn’t he? The members hadn’t mentioned about Jimin’s tiny slip in the interview after it was over, and they didn’t bring it up even during the whole ride home. Jimin knows they might have wanted to say something, or at least, he suspects they do, but there must have been something in his expression that stops them from asking.

(Or perhaps, they didn’t care. Maybe they really had thought it was just Jimin being Jimin; messing up with his words when he wants to say something. Maybe they just thought Taehyung was rubbing off on him.)

Either way.

Yeah I know

don’t worry so much, tae

I really am just tired

taetae: okay. Get some rest then. We have another schedule in a few hours

taetae: we all need sleep :’(

 

He types an emoji as a reply, and locks his screen. He sinks deeper onto the sofa, and listens to the lull of the TV in the background. He briefly remembers switching it on to watch the news, but he underestimates how sleepy he really is. He isn’t lying when he told Taehyung that he is tired. Even though promotions for their latest album had ended, there is still the world tour to think about, and he thinks about the future days filled with more dance and vocal practices, and flights from one place to another. His bones feel heavy and he suddenly doesn’t feel like moving from where he is.

Don’t get him wrong; he looks forward to the tour. It’s been a while since they’ve gone to see their fans from other parts of the world and he would be lying if he says he isn’t excited. But the heaviness of his eyelids and the soreness of his muscles remind him that he hasn’t rested properly in a while, and Jimin looks forward to get some sleep before the next schedule.

There is a sound of footsteps, but Jimin is too asleep to hear it.

-

Yoongi blinks and rubs his eyes tiredly. He glances at the clock at the corner of his computer screen. He has two hours before their next schedule. He considers taking a brief nap, and stretches his arms. He should probably rest.

Beside him, sitting on another chair, Namjoon snores in his seat, his earphones hanging around his neck. His mouth is open, jaw entirely slack, and every so often, he makes tiny noises in his sleep before resuming snoring.

Yoongi shakes his head in exasperation, but his expression is fond. Namjoon may be his dongsaeng, but no one could deny that he works harder than everyone else. He’s proud to have him as their leader. He reaches out to pat Namjoon’s hair and gets up from his seat. He snatches the woollen blanket from the nearby sofa and covers Namjoon up to his chest with it. Yoongi lets out a yawn, and flops himself on the sofa.

His phone ‘pings’ with a notification.

Bratty tae: Hyung, look.

Annoyed, Yoongi briefly considers ignoring the message, but he sees an attachment underneath the message and curiosity gets a better of him. He sighs, and slides his thumb across the screen.

The message pops up instantly, including the picture underneath it.

It is Jimin, sitting against the living room sofa. His face is smoothed out from sleep, and he has his arms wrap loosely around a pillow, as if for comfort.

There is a sudden pang in Yoongi’s heart.

Silently, his fingers move across the keyboard, typing out a message.


 

-

Jimin’s phone is slowly slipping out from his slacking grip. As it lands on the sofa with a thud, there is a sound of notification coming from it; one that Jimin does not hear.

There is a name flashing across the screen.

Yoongi-hyung

don’t tire yourself out, get some rest

Chapter Text

The days of the tour pass by like a blur to Jimin, as they travel from one country to the next, performing on one stage to another. He barely remembers feeling tired or exhausted; just the rush of adrenaline and the screams of his name by the fans.

They are in New York now, and Jimin has just finished his shower when he spots Jungkook lounging on his bed, grinning at his phone. The maknae spies Jimin from the corner of his eyes and quickly motions him to come over. Spotting the familiar logo at the corner of the phone screen, Jimin realizes that the boy is doing Vlive. Throwing his towel on a nearby chair, Jimin makes his way towards the bed, and bumps his shoulder against Jungkook’s as he sits behind him.

“Jimin-hyung is here!” Jungkook announces to the screen. Jimin does a little wave and grins shyly at the camera. Having gotten rid of his make up, his face looks a little pale in the dim lighting of the room. But there is a healthy glow on his cheeks and the shadows underneath his eyes are just a distant memory. He yawns a little and watches the comments on the screen.

“Good evening, everyone,” Jimin greets, “We just finished our concert.”

“Say something in English,” Jungkook says with a nudge, “We’re in America, after all.”

“Ah...um.” Jimin racks his brain for words. His English skills are improving, but nowhere near Namjoon or Seokjin’s level of competence. He still feels a little awkward speaking the language, but he sees the stream of encouraging comments flooding the side of the screen, and he gives his fans a tiny side smile.

“Hello, everyone,” he says carefully, wincing slightly at his obvious heavy accent, “I...um...How are you guys?”

“Wow, impressive.” The tone of Jungkook’s voice is solemn, but his expression is mischievous, so Jimin smacks him lightly on the shoulder as retaliation.

“Brat.” Jimin reads the comments for a brief moment, smiling at the emojis and the various exclamations of his and the other members’ names. He doesn’t understand all the words in the comments, especially the ones in foreign languages, but he sees the words “love”,“healthy” and “can’t wait to see you” among the others, and finds comfort in them. He giggles at one particular loud “MARRY ME, JIMIN” comment, and shows a finger heart to the screen.

“Hello Europe...India….Malaysia….” Jungkook reads, handing the phone to Jimin as he does, “Ah, yes. We would really love to go to all those countries if we could. We’ll work harder so that we’ll be able to see all the international ARMYs.”

“Ah, Jungkookie, one of em said your Begin choreography is cool.”

Jungkook flushes, and ducks his head. He looks cute, and Jimin reaches out to pinch his cheeks playfully. “Jungkookie here worked hard for the dance. He was looking forward to show you how cool he will look on stage,” Jimin says with a fond smile.

“Ah hyung, stop it,” Jungkook whines.

“What have I been up to?” Jimin reads, “Um...” He laces his fingers together, pondering. “Aside from preparing for the concert, all of us are pretty much preparing for our next comeback.” When his words were followed by a torrent of exclamation marks in the comments, he laughs, and runs his hand through his damp hair. “I won’t tell when it is, but it will be sooner than you think it is,” he says with a wink.

“Jimin-oppa, please don’t strain yourself,” Jungkook says in a high-pitched voice, his head propped on Jimin’s shoulder as he reads the fan’s comment. “Oppa, please get more sleep.”

“Don’t worry,” Jimin reassures, “We’re fine. We’re not doing too much as of yet. Just playing around with lyrics and tunes. We’re getting enough sleep, I promise.”

He pauses, unsure if he should continue.

“There’s a song I’ve been working on,” he begins carefully. Beside him, Jungkook shifts his weight, his cheek brushing against Jimin’s. It’s a rare affectionate gesture that Jungkook rarely show on broadcast, so Jimin guesses that the boy is getting sleepy; he gets unintentionally affectionate if he is drowsy. Slipping an arm to around Jungkook’s shoulders, Jimin presses himself closer against the maknae.

“Anyway,” he continues, feeling Jungkook’s warm breath against his cheek, “It was supposed to be on the Wings album, but I didn’t manage to finish it on time...so I was hoping to be able to show it in our next comeback.”

He feels Jungkook’s heartbeat slowing down into a steady pace, and hears the long draws of breath. He reads the comments on the screen, some of the fans already noticing that Jungkook was about to fall asleep. “What’s it about?” Jimin says softly, “You’ll find out soon,” he teases, “It’s getting late. Our maknae here can barely keep his eyes open.”

Jungkook’s eyes are, in fact, already closed, and he snores softly against Jimin’s shoulders.

“I’ll tell you more about the song in another time,” Jimin promises, sending one last finger heart to the screen. “Until then, see you, ARMYs.” He waves, reading a few more comments and reaches out to switch off the broadcast.

“The brat fell asleep while on broadcast?”

Yoongi’s voice snaps Jimin out of his reverie, and he very nearly drop the phone. Standing by the doorway, in the midst of slipping off his shoes, Yoongi sends Jimin a tiny smirk at his surprised expression. Jimin flushes, and hopes the dimness of the room prevents Yoongi from seeing the redness of his cheeks.

“Sorry,” he mumbles, “I didn’t hear you come in.” As Yoongi walks closer to the pair, Jimin notices droplets of water in Yoongi’s hair and he furrows his brows. “Where were you, hyung?”

“Out,” Yoongi answers simply, “Namjoon-ie needed something from the convenience store and I could use some air.”

“Your hair is wet,” Jimin points out.

Yoongi touches his hair absently. “Ah...It began drizzling on our way back. I’m fine,” he adds quickly, seeing Jimin’s concerned expression, “I’ll take a shower.”

“Eat medicine afterwards. We can’t have you getting sick.” Jimin shifts his body so that Jungkook’s head is on his lap instead, and he combs his fingers through the maknae’s hair. Jungkook continues to snore, seemingly unstirred by Jimin’s ministrations.

Yoongi watches the scene with a small smile, before turning on his heel towards the bathroom. “Yeah, yeah. Get some sleep, Jimin-ie. We have a long flight tomorrow.”

Jimin flushes and nods. “Okay,” he answers softly, “You should sleep early tonight as well.”

Yoongi replies with a dismissive wave and enters the bathroom. After listening to the sound of the door clicking close, Jimin breathes out loudly. His cheeks are still warm, and Jimin pats them with one hand. He forces his heartbeat to slow down. He glances at the closed bathroom door almost wistfully, his fingers still combing through Jungkook’s hair.

Jimin has known Yoongi for a fairly long time, and yet, it seems nowadays, he finds it hard to be calm around the boy. The feelings he had successfully suppressed for the past years had suddenly became too hard to contain, and there are days where Jimin feels as if they are bubbling at the surface, and if he’s not careful, he might say the wrong thing at the wrong time again.

He breathes out a sigh.

He wonders a lot if Yoongi knows this.


 

-

hyung, I need to step out for a bit, don’t wait up

seokjin-hyung: namjoon-ah where do you plan on going at such an hour

I won’t leave the hotel. I just need to call PD-nim for a bit

seokjin-hyung: why

judging from the number of missed text messages i’ve gotten im guessing it’s important

seokjin-hyung: :(

seokjin-hyung: okay, come back quickly

I will


 

-

“Good afternoon, PD-nim...at least, it’s afternoon there right? I’m not too sure.”

Just about.”

“Sorry I haven’t been able to reply your messages.”

No, I understand. You guys are busy.”

“...Did you want to talk to me about something?”

There is a brief pause, and Namjoon hears a long drawn breath.

Namjoon-ah… you can be honest with me, right?”

Namjoon furrows his brow. “Of course, PD-nim,” he says, “What’s wrong?”

You’ll tell me...” He trails off to silence.

“PD-nim?”

Namjoon-ah...you’ll tell me, right? If any of the members are seeing someone, right?”


 

-

Taehyung scrolls through their mentions, feeling his eyelids growing heavy. Hoseok is already asleep beside him, his arm thrown haphazardly across Taehyung’s torso. The boy has his face pressed against the pillow, muffling the sounds of his breathing and mumblings, and every so often, his hand on Taehyung’s torso twitches.

Taehyung glances at his watch. Their flight is in less than 10 hours. He decides to turn in for the night. Just as he is about to switch off his phone, a notification rings. It is a message from Jimin.

 

Jiminie: Taehyung-ah...I think I’m going crazy.

 

Chapter Text

Jimin spends five years being in love with Yoongi.

He thinks that is a fairly long time, especially for a feeling that starts from an afterthought of a realization. The feelings don’t make any hints of showing up; they just kinda do. Which is strange, when Jimin allows himself to think about it, because when it all comes down to it, the feelings start when Jimin looks at Yoongi one day and decides

oh. he’s actually kinda cute.

Which is childish in every way possible, but Jimin was a child (okay, 19, but 19 is underage and therefore, a child) so he feels he’s allowed to think that way. What’s funnier is how belated that thought was, because Jimin has already known Yoongi for nearly a year by then, and he sees the boy almost 24/7 and had felt nothing, until the day of their debut stage, and Yoongi was a bundle of nerves but he hid it with his trademark gummy smile and then-

Jimin suddenly decided to finally notice how cute he actually is.

Which is quite insulting, if Jimin thinks about it, because Yoongi has always been cute, in a grouchy-don’t-touch-me kind of way. Jimin is too much of an airhead to realize it sooner.

But see, the “oh, he’s actually kinda cute” transforms into “Oh, he is cute” and then into “Please stop smiling I can’t take it” and eventually, Jimin finds himself memorizing the way Yoongi crinkles his eyes when he smiles, and how his gums would show when he laughs, and how graceful his fingers look as they slide over the keys of the piano. All in the span of five years!

And Jimin had hoped (prayed) that the feelings are really nothing but a tiny schoolboy crush, because who wouldn’t be crushing on Yoongi? He’s like that cool school senior, and Jimin is destined to be that lovestruck junior who spies his senior from the corner, and runs away when he approaches. Yoongi has charms. And Jimin is thoroughly charmed.

But still.

Five years is plenty of time for a crush to disappear.

(Sometimes, Jimin wonders why is it even called a crush anyway? Sounds like a scary word, like his heart is meant to be crushed in the process.)

But no, the feelings stayed, and the worse part of it all is that they continue to grow, and each day, Jimin could feel the increasing intensity of them. The feelings almost became a physical part of Jimin, and he could feel them gnawing his bones and itching his skin. He feels them bubbling at his throat, threatening to burst out and make Jimin say the wrong thing, at the wrong time.

So Jimin does the only rational thing he could think of; suppresses them.

Who is he to kid, anyway?

Jimin is an idol, and so is Yoongi (and everyone in BTS, duh). And they’re growing still, gaining popularity with each coming day. And as much as Jimin is grateful, he knows that he has to become more careful over his actions, especially with anti-fans lurking around the corner just waiting for him to mess up.

(And he does have the tendency to, if he is not being vigilant enough.)

So he keeps quiet about his feelings, and settles for appreciating Yoongi for a second longer than he should.

Appreciates the way his long fingers glide over the piano keys, and the way he furrows his brows in concentration as he works on his latest project. Jimin stares for half a second longer when the corner of Yoongi’s lips would quirk into a tiny smile, and studies the way he would lean forward when he’s paying attention and the way he would unconsciously purses his lips as he listens to someone or something.

Jimin decides that Yoongi’s very existence is like a flame, and Jimin is the foolish moth that is drawn towards it.


 

-

Yoongi, Jimin realizes, remains unaware of the way Jimin seems to stumble and fall and mess up his words around him.


 

-

(He finds this both reassuring and frustrating.)

 

Chapter Text

Taehyung knows that probably the whole world by now knows this, because he doesn’t exactly keep it a secret.

But Park Jimin is his bestfriend, and probably the best of the best.

And Taehyung would know, because he has a lot of previous bestfriends, but Jimin takes the cake. He’s possibly the sweetest, most caring, and most smiley person Taehyung has ever met, and the best part of his bestfriend is how genuine he is in anything he does. And Taehyung doesn’t doubt it for a second because Jimin is like an open book, and whatever he is feeling shows on his face. It’s refreshing, and very comforting, because then Taehyung wouldn’t spend time guessing around in their friendship; Jimin is just so very real. And so very precious. Taehyung wouldn’t trade him for anyone else in the world.

So when he sees Jimin in front of his door, his hair still kind of damp from the shower he took, and his expression so dejected,

Taehyung’s heart breaks a little.

(A lot.)

So he doesn’t say a word, and instead, grabs Jimin’s hand (carefully, gently) and leads him into the room before sitting him down on the nearby chair. He is careful to not make any noise, because Hoseok is tired (everyone is tired) and he doesn’t want to disturb what little sleep his hyung can get.

Taehyung can sleep in the plane later.

Jimin doesn’t say anything for a bit, just lacing his fingers together, before he takes a breath and looks Taehyung in the eyes.

“Sorry for disturbing you like this,” he murmurs, and Taehyung immediately shakes his head.

“You’re not a bother,” he assures, because his bestfriend is never one. He hesitates, and shifts on his feet. “Do you...Is there something you want to talk about?”

Jimin bites his bottom lip, and nods. “A bit,” he laughs a little, “Well, a lot, actually. But it’s complicated.” He runs his hand through his hair, and lets out a loud breath. “It’s weird. I mean, I want to talk about it, but now that I’m here...” He makes a frustrated noise. “The words just won’t seem to come out.”

“Do I make you uncomfortable?” Taehyung asks, a little meekly, because he hates the possibility of him making his friend feel that way.

Jimin quickly shakes his head. “No, it’s not you. I’m the one who’s making things difficult for myself.” He ducks his head.

There is silence.

“Do you want a drink?” Taehyung asks suddenly.

Jimin snaps up his head. There is confusion dancing in his eyes. “What?”

“Drink,” Taehyung repeats, “Hoseok-hyung bought some beer from the convenience store...to, you know,” he gestures towards the bed, “To help him sleep. I don’t know how it works...but alcohol makes you drowsy?” He makes a few more hand gestures, a habit he has when he is trying to explain something. “Maybe, it can like...help you?”

Jimin blinks repeatedly in response. “Um.”

“We can use a few drinks. To help us sleep. Or calm down. Or...” Taehyung stops himself. “Um.”

Jimin offers him a tiny smile, followed by a giggle. It’s the kind of giggle that makes Taehyung’s heart soar just by hearing it, and he feels marginally better for fumbling over his words previously if it can get Jimin to laugh.

“Okay, Tae,” Jimin says. “Let’s have a drink, the two of us.”


 

-

When Namjoon returns to their hotel room, Seokjin immediately catches the worry written all over his face. He puts down the book he has been reading, and gets up from the chair to walk towards Namjoon.

“Namjoon-ah. What’s wrong?”

Namjoon looks a bit distracted as he answers. “Huh? Oh. It’s nothing.”

When Seokjin’s expression tells him that he clearly doesn’t believe it, the leader sighs. “It’s the PD-nim. He was concerned about something.”

“About?”

“Something about the previous interview we had before the tour bothered him,” Namjoon replies. He sits on the bed, his shoulder slump. “Remember when Jimin made a tiny slip up?”

Seokjin tilts his head. “The one about the ideal type? It wasn’t a big deal.”

“It was to him,” says Namjoon, “Or at least. To some of the fans. Apparently, they’re starting to suspect something.”

“Namjoon, dating speculations come and go,” Seokjin reassures, sitting beside Namjoon, “Remember that time when there was an article about Jimin supposedly dating Seulgi-ssi from Red Velvet?”

“Yeah, but those were from baseless rumours. Something we can easily dismiss.” Namjoon looks a little stressed now, as he looks down at his lap. “Either way, the PD-nim wants us to be more careful while on broadcast. Our words, no matter how trivial they are, carry a lot of weight now.” He makes a frustrated noise at the back of the throat. “I don’t want to sound distrustful of you guys or anything...”

Seokjin pats Namjoon’s shoulders comfortingly. “Hey, it’s okay. If Jimin, or any of us for that matter, has something to tell you, we will. It was just a slip-up. You know how Jimin is when he’s nervous.”

When Namjoon says nothing in reply, Seokjin rubs circles on his back soothingly. “It’ll pass. We’ll just wait it out.” He offers him a soft smile. “Now, get some sleep. We have another flight tomorrow.”

Namjoon sighs and nods.

“Yeah...okay.”


 

-

Taehyung forgets how low Jimin’s tolerance for alcohol is.

It is higher than his own, of course, since Taehyung is known to have the lowest alcohol tolerance among the BTS members. But it surprises him when Jimin is starting to get tipsy on after only a single can of beer, because Taehyung himself is still fine, albeit feeling a bit warm from the alcohol.

He had hoped that a can or two of beer would be able to make him relax, and maybe lull him into a state of drowsiness like it did for Hoseok, but after seeing the noticeable sag in Jimin’s shoulders and the flush on his cheeks, as well as the way his giggles are getting a bit too frequent than usual, he suspects that the alcohol is working too well.

Maybe Jimin is more stressed than he thinks. The idea upsets him a bit.

He eyes the can in Jimin’s hold. He should probably take it before Jimin drops it and spill beer all over the carpet.

“Taeeeee…..” Jimin slurs, “What is...this...stuff?”

“Beer, Jimin-ie,” Taehyung answers.

“Feel kinda fuzzy.” Jimin rubs his cheek absently. He blinks blearily. “Do you feel fuzzy?”

“No, just you.”

“Huh.” Jimin blinks again, slowly this time. “Funny. Very funny.” He giggles again, and Taehyung notices that his grip on the beer can is getting looser. He quickly reaches out and grabs the can, placing it on the floor. This earns a protest from Jimin.

“I wasn’t done--!”

“You’re gonna drop it.”

This earns another giggle from Jimin. Taehyung decides that his bestfriend is a giggly, happy drunk sometimes, which is a nice change, because drunk Jimin is actually more emotional than usual, and he is glad he doesn’t have to deal with a crying Jimin this time.

He’s not sure if he’s ready for that tonight.

(Plus, that might wake up Hoseok, and he doesn’t want to worry his hyung.)

Jimin suddenly lets out a sigh, snapping Taehyung from his reverie. He studies Jimin’s face, noticing the sudden wistful look he has.

“Jimin-ie?”

Jimin sighs again in response, softer this time. “Can I ask you something?”

Taehyung doesn’t hesitate. “Anything.”

Jimin laughs (again) a little at the intensity of Taehyung’s tone of voice, before he settles for a tiny smile. “Have you ever...” he pauses, searching for words. “Have you ever had feelings for someone?”

Taehyung raises his eyebrow. He does not expect that question.

“Um.”

“Because you shouldn’t,” Jimin continues, without waiting for his answer, “Because...feelings are difficult.” He makes a few hand gestures, almost mimicking how Taehyung usually does it. “Feelings are sooooooo….” he pauses, “Needlessly complicated. I don’t get why people are so excited over them.”

“Why do you think they’re complicated?” Taehyung asks carefully.

Jimin smiles indulgently to himself, looking at Taehyung but not really focusing on him. “Because. They make you think one thing...” He holds up one finger as emphasis. “But what comes out from your mouth is another.”

He says nothing more, and Taehyung is somewhat grateful, because 1) he’s not sure if he’s ready to know what else drunk Jimin may have to say and 2) it allows him to ponder on Jimin’s words.

He’s not sure what Jimin’s trying to say, but for some strange reason, his words remind him of a familiar scene. One that he remembers Jimin has been hung up for a while.

That interview. With Jimin’s slip-up.

Something clicks inside Taehyung’s mind. It was like finding the puzzle piece he has suspected to be the one that fits the empty space, but isn’t quite sure of it. Taehyung has his own suspicions before but...

“Do you...” Taehyung starts, before hesitating, “Do you have feelings for someone, Jimin-ie?”

Another silence.

The corner of Jimin’s lips tugs upwards, and he slumps his shoulders. “Who knows?,” he replies a little wistfully, with a faraway look in his eyes. “Maybe I shouldn’t.”

Before Taehyung could ask what he means, Jimin’s eyelids droops, and he slumps forward. Taehyung barely has a second to react before he finds himself with arms full of Jimin.

He hears a loud exhale of breath, followed by a soft snore.

Jimin has fallen asleep.

 

Chapter Text

The first half of the tour finally came to an end, and Taehyung never once bring up the conversation he had with Jimin many nights before. He had been tempted to, partly of curiosity but mostly of genuine concern of what was plaguing his friend’s thoughts, but when Jimin woke up the next day with absolutely no memory of his words the previous night, but instead a much happier and more relaxed expression, Taehyung decided not to.

Jimin is better off smiling; Taehyung never wants to see that dejected look on his bestfriend’s face again.

But of course, that doesn’t stop him from thinking about Jimin’s words regardless, and it’s been many nights since that incident, and Taehyung still can’t help but to ponder over them. He wonders if Jimin had been referring to someone, or he was merely rambling. But his eyes had been too wistful, too faraway, to merely be rambling.

Jimin had been thinking about something (or someone) as he said those words. Problem is, Taehyung couldn’t figure out what.

He snaps out of his reverie when he feels a warm hand slipping into his own. He turns to see Jimin looking at him worriedly, his head tilting to the side.

“You okay? You look a bit distracted.”

“I’m fine. I was just thinking about some stuff,” Taehyung reassures, flashing him his signature rectangular smile. Jimin’s own lips quirk into a smile, and Taehyung looks at it in satisfaction.

That’s right.

Jimin should always smile.

Sadness doesn’t suit him.

-

namjoon-hyung: just spoke with PD-nim

namjoon-hyung: comeback is in 6 weeks

hoseok-hyung: ahhhhhhhh rly???? dang have we decided on a title track yet???

namjoon-hyung: we did?? like. A month ago, hoseok-ie

hoseok-hyung: eh we did?

seokjin-hyung: the song you’re choreographing. that’s the one

hoseok-hyung: what

hoseok-hyung: NO ONE TOLD ME

hoseok-hyung: I THOUGHT IT WAS FOR ANOTHER PERFORMANCE

yoongi-hyung: what’s the problem

hoseok-hyung: I NEED TO MAKE THE CHOREO FOR THE TITLE TRACK COOLER THEN!!!!

jungkookie: you mean tougher, right

seokjin-hyung: most probably

taetae: NOOOOOOOOOOOO

namjoon-hyung: which reminds me, jimin-ah

yes?

namjoon-hyung: that song you’re working on?

namjoon-hyung: do you think you can have it ready by the time we comeback?

i’ll try

I mean

the demo’s in the works. Just need to have approval from you guys and the other producers

namjoon-hyung: great :)

taetae: jimin-ie hwaiting!

Jimin smiles to himself, and is about to type out his reply, when he receives another notification. He raises his eyebrow, recognizing that familiar tune for private messages. He eyes the time at the corner of the screen. It’s 3.30 a.m. Who could be messaging him at this time of day?

He slides his thumb over the notification pane, and reads the name of the sender, eyes widening in surprise as he does.

It’s from Yoongi.

Slowly, he clicks open the message.

yoongi-hyung:

Good luck. i’ll look forward to listening to the demo.

Jimin’s heart skips a beat, and his cheeks grow warm at the words. He is grateful that he is alone in the bedroom, with Taehyung and Hoseok having gone out to get some food, because he wouldn’t know what to say if the two catch him this way.

He considers replying, but he doesn’t know what to say. Which is strange, because Yoongi had wished him ‘good luck’ pretty often throughout their six years of friendship. Those two words had nearly became a norm, almost a habit as the members exchange them almost automatically anytime they felt the need to; from participating in broadcasts, to something as mundane as…. Attending school for the first time in a while.

(That mostly applied to Jungkook, but Jimin digresses.)

But for some reason, Yoongi’s ‘good luck’ this time has a different impact. It holds a different kind of weight. A different kind of meaning.

One that Jimin can’t fully comprehend.

He hears another notification. Yoongi has sent him another message. Cautiously, Jimin clicks it open.

yoongi-hyung:

Don’t pressure yourself too much. Do what feels right to you.

-


 

-

In the end, Jimin gives up on replying, and instead, simply focusing on the steady thumping of his heart, the only loud thing he hears in the silence of the room.


 

-

(His hyung is really too much.)


 

-

“Hey guys. Good evening.”

Jimin looks at his screen, reading the comments that scroll past. He catches a few “i love you”s and names of countries per usual, and he waves at the screen in greeting. “It’s been a while since I’ve done Vlive. I miss you.”

The group has been given a day off, and Jimin decides to spend his in the studio, working on his song. He had previously offered to help Hoseok with the title track’s choreography, but the elder boy waved him off, saying that he will be fine for now. Taehyung is out with his friends from Hwarang, and Namjoon had left somewhere for a walk (from his latest Twitter update, it looks like he in near the Han river). Seokjin and Yoongi both opted for sleep, leaving Jimin pretty much to himself.

He might as well make use of the free time to finalize his song.

Which...doesn’t feel too final, at the moment.

“I’m at the studio right now,” Jimin says, gesturing to the Midi player on his computer screen, “Remember the song I told you guys about? Yeah...I’m currently working on it.”

He sighs. “I’m actually kinda stuck. On ideas, I mean. I wanted to finish it as soon as I can...but this is a song for you guys, so I want it to be special.” He leans against his chair, absently playing with the material of his sleeve. “I was hoping that by talking to all of you might inspire me somehow.”

A comment catches his eyes.

what’s the song about, oppa?

“What’s the song about?” he repeats the question out loud, “That’s a secret,” he says with a grin, before laughing. “Maybe to myself as well. There are a few versions of this song, and I can’t decide which is the best. The lyrics are not final yet, so I may change them a lot of times before I feel satisfied.”

oppa, no hints?

What about the theme?

We can help you, oppa

“The theme, huh?” Jimin muses, “Well...to put it simply, this song is about...well, dedicating it to someone.” He rolls his eyes at the obviousness of his answer. Even the fans are chuckling, judging from the emoticons across the screen. He rubs his neck awkwardly. “Ah, I can’t even explain it well enough. The song...it’s about...”

His words trail off into silence as he begins to ponder. What had his song been about, anyway?

He initially started the song as a dedication to the fans, and he had an idea for the tune, and somewhat for the lyrics, but that initial idea had been months ago, way before their Wings comeback, so looking at it now...it doesn’t feel right. At least, not anymore. The idea just doesn’t seem good enough any longer.

He lets out a frustrated huff. Jimin cannot afford to lose inspiration now, not with the comeback so near, yet he can’t afford to produce some half-assed song just for the sake of it. That isn’t how BTS does it. But staring at the MIDI player for hours on end isn’t gonna miraculously produce some stroke of inspiration, either.

He suddenly realizes he’s still live.

“Ah, sorry!” he exclaims, “I...I got distracted there for a bit.” He ducks his head in embarrassment. “Ah, I wish you didn’t have to see that.” He realizes the comments now have worried tones in them, and shame floods him. “I’m sorry. I forgot the world for a moment there,” he says, trying to lighten the mood with a sheepish laugh. “It won’t happen again.”

oppa

opppaaaaa

were you thinking about the song?

don’t push yourself too hard

Jimin smiles gently after reading the last comment. Those words are achingly familiar, and he clutches his phone a little tighter.

“I want what’s best for the fans,” he murmurs, “The members are working hard at their own thing...so I have to do my part as well.” He pauses briefly, before looking at the screen with a determined expression. “Which is why this song has to be special. I want you guys to be able to hear it and go...” he trails off, “...wow,” he finishes lamely, but the flurry of hearts and comments that follow makes him grin. His fans never fail to comfort him.

“Anyway, I have to go now. I think I’m ready to continue the song. Thanks for your time, everyone. See you again soon,” he says, giving a finger heart one final time, before reaching over to switch off the broadcast.

He swivels on his chair, and faces the computer screen. His smile slowly softens around the edges before it disappears completely. He covers his face with his hands and groans.

He had been lying, and he feels bad for it.

But it looks like the song-writing has to be put off for another day.


 

-

It is well after dinner when Jimin does another live broadcast, this time with the company of Taehyung.

“Jimin has been doing a lot of broadcasts, lately, hasn't he?” Taehyung teases, poking Jimin’s cheek, “He misses you guys too much.”

“That’s part of the reason,” Jimin admits, “But talking to ARMYs gives me a lot of comfort, you know?” He breathes out a sigh. “I’m still worried about the song. I was hoping that by talking to all of you might spark some inspiration somehow.”

“Jimin-ie is working hard to finish that song for you. He hasn’t been eating properly today.”

“Yah! Don’t say something like that. You’ll worry the fans,” he scolds Taehyung lightly before facing the screen again, “I ate properly, I promise. Taehyung-ah here just likes to make up stories.”

Taehyung pokes out his tongue playfully before snuggling against Jimin’s shoulder. His bestfriend smells like vanilla; probably that new body wash that Jungkook bought from New York. It smells nice, and Taehyung feels calm just being surrounded by the scent.

And because of Jimin. Jimin always makes him calm.

“What’s the song about?” Taehyung asks, a little bit sleepily.

Jimin gives a tiny shrug. “It’s a song you can dedicate to someone.”

“To who?”

“To the one you care about, I guess,” Jimin murmurs distractedly, still reading the comments, “A song which you can sing to the person who matters the most to you.” He hums to himself, thinking of an idea. “I know. Why don’t you guys throw me a word, and maybe I can figure out the main theme for my song in any one of them?”

Taehyung raises his eyebrow. “Seriously?”

“Yeah. That way, the fans can take part in the song-writing, too.” Jimin smiles to himself, pleased with the idea. “Won’t you guys like that?”

The sudden increase of hearts is enough of an answer.

“Sleep,” Taehyung mumbles against Jimin’s shoulder.

“What?”

“The word. I choose ‘sleep’.” Taehyung yawns. “I mean, our title track was once “Run”. So why not ‘sleep’ this time?” He grins mischievously. “Think of how easy the MV will be.”

“Idiot,” Jimin answers fondly, with a light smack to Taehyung’s back, “My song isn’t even the title track to begin with.”

“What? You asked for a suggestion!” Taehyung protests. Jimin ignores him in favour of reading the comments.

Friendship

Love!!

Trust, oppa.

One catches Jimin’s eyes.

Longing

Longing, huh? That word aches, somehow, as Jimin reads it. It sounds too familiar to his own liking.

Yoongi chooses that moment to enter the room. Jimin nearly drops the phone when he catches sight of the boy walking through the door, towel in one hand, a shirt in another.

“Ah, hyung!” Taehyung greets cheerfully, “We’re doing a broadcast.”

“Yeah, I saw,” Yoongi replies quietly, walking over to the nearest bed – Hoseok’s, before sitting down on the mattress, “Song writing, right?”

“Yeah,” Taehyung nods, “By the way, what are you doing here, anyway?”

“Returning Hoseok’s shirt. He packed it in my bag by accident.” Yoongi gestures to the shirt he is holding, before turning towards Jimin. Jimin realizes that he hasn’t said a thing to his hyung, and he flushes.

“Hyung...” he says, “Um. Do you have any ideas for the song?”

“Jimin-ie is giving chance to the fans to suggest him a word,” Taehyung explains, “If he likes it, he’ll turn it into the song’s main theme.”

“I thought the song’s nearly done?” Yoongi asks with a raise of his eyebrow.

Jimin flushes deeper. “I may make changes,” he mumbles.

He hears a hum, but thankfully, Yoongi says nothing. It’s embarrassing how obviously indecisive he is being in front of Yoongi, and he is almost afraid to know what the boy could possibly think of him now.

“Longing.”

Jimin blinks.

“Eh?”

“The theme. Longing,” Yoongi repeats patiently, “You’ve never written a song about pure longing before. And correct me if I’m wrong, but you mentioned to the fans that the song is supposed to be dedicated to someone you care about, right?” He finishes off with a light shrug. “So why not...longing?”

The comments rolling off the screen indicate that the fans seem to like the idea, but Jimin finds himself hesitating.

Truth to be told, the word aches to even think about.

But.

But,

He turns to look at Yoongi properly, and watches how calm the boy is looking at him in return. There is a hint of expectancy and maybe a little bit of patience in his expression, but other than that, Yoongi’s face is mostly unreadable. Jimin is unsure of how to answer.

“Okay,” he finds himself saying, to his very surprise, “I...one of the fans suggested that as well, so I guess...” He takes a deep breath. “Longing, it is.”

The tiny smirk of a smile that Yoongi gives him in return is almost too much to bear.

Yoongi rises from the mattress, placing Hoseok’s shirt on the pillow. “Anyway, I’m going to my room, now. See you later, ARMYs,” he says with a wave at the screen. He mock punches Taehyung’s shoulder, and ruffles Jimin’s hair, “Don’t stay up too late, kids.”

“Why do you have to punch me?” Taehyung whines. He waves at his hyung, regardless, watching him leaving the room with a smile before turning to Jimin again. “So it looks like you have a theme now, right?”

“Yeah,” Jimin replies a little absently, “I guess...I guess I do.”

He reaches out to touch his hair.

He is only half aware that he is still on broadcast, and he doesn’t hear what Taehyung is saying excitedly to the ARMYs. He thinks Taehyung mentioning a song cover coming soon, and he hears Jungkook’s name coming up once or twice. But other than that, he is mostly unaware of his surroundings.

“Longing,” he murmurs quietly.


 

-

Yoongi’s touch had been cold, but it was comfortable. Comforting. Familiar.


 

-

(Jimin finds himself remembering why the word ‘longing’ aches so much.)

Chapter Text

Writing the song suddenly becomes easier, now that Jimin has the theme.

He finds out that the initial composition he had for the song worked well enough, and aside from a few modifications here and there, his song receives a thumbs up from the producers of the company. Even Namjoon likes it in one listen, and coming from a person who is very particular in this sort of thing, Jimin feels a surge of confidence flowing through him when he receives a green light from the leader.

Now, the only thing left to settle is the final version of the lyrics.

He looks at the papers in front of him, groaning every now and then. Try as he might, he just couldn’t decide which lyrics to choose, and which fits the theme given to him the best. He glances at the clock on the wall.

4.30 a.m.

Fuck.

He was in the studio for four whole hours, not getting the sleep he needs for the day’s hectic schedule. Seokjin will not be pleased.

He twirls his pen with his fingers, mulling hard over the lyrics. He had written several versions of them, with most of them fitting the melody composition well enough, but now when he considers them again (and again), he suddenly decides that almost none of them feels….right enough.

Ah, screw this.

“What’s wrong with me?” Jimin whines to himself, groaning again in the empty studio. He feels bone-weary and he is sure he has a headache coming on. He is so not looking forward to today’s schedule.

The ringing of his phone startles him, making him nearly fall out of his chair.

Fumbling to reach inside his pocket, he fishes out his phone and clicks the ‘answer’ button without checking the caller ID.

“Hello?”

“Jimin-ie.”

Fuck. It’s Yoongi. Fuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuuuucccckk

“Hyung,” Jimin says instead, grateful to how calm he sounds, “What’s up?”

“Why aren’t you home, yet?” Yoongi demands. His voice sounds a bit groggy, as if he had just woken up from sleep. And rather forcefully at that. Jimin finds it a little funny (and amazing, to be honest) that his hyung manages to sound adamant and sleepy at the same time. “Your brat of a roommate and Hoseok-ie are complaining and worried about you. You didn’t answer their texts and calls.”

Jimin winces, guilt already washing over him. “Sorry,” he mumbles, “I didn’t realize the time. And my phone was on silent until just before you called.”

He hears a ‘tsk’, and him mumbling an answer to someone’s question in the background – Taehyung’s? Hoseok-hyung’s? - before he returns to the call. “We have a long day ahead of us. You need at least a couple of hours of sleep, Jimin-ie.”

“I know. I’m sorry. I’ll head back now,” Jimin replies, already rising from the chair. “I just need to pack my things and then I’ll-,”

“Never mind. Just sleep at the studio.”

Jimin, who is in the midst of gathering his things, pause. “Um. What?”

“It’s late. You are not walking back to the dorm when it’s chilly out. Jin-hyung will murder me.”

“I can take a cab...”

“Not at this hour you won’t.” Jimin hears a frustrated sigh and a sound of movements. Like he is pacing back and forth in his room. “Just sleep there. It’s late and you need all the rest you can get.” There is a pause. “There are extra clothes in my studio, on one of the shelves. Go straight to the company later.”

“Yoongi-hyu-,”

“Jimin. Stay there and go to sleep. You’re wasting both my and your rest time by arguing back.”

There is a note of finality in his tone, and Jimin finds himself unable to argue back even if he wants to. He blinks once, twice, before he gives up and slumps back onto his chair. “I don’t know what’s gotten into you, hyung, but okay,” Jimin answers, “I’ll see you guys in a few hours.”

He thinks he hears Yoongi huff, before he speaks. “Rest up, Jimin-ah. See you in the morning.”

He ends the call without ever giving Jimin a chance to reply.


 

-

Hoseok sits beside him on the floor during dance practice several hours later, sweaty and tired, but happy. He pats Jimin on the back, and grins at him. “Yoongi-hyung said you slept at the studio.”

“He forced me to,” Jimin grumbles, tugging the material of the sweater self-consciously. It is one of Yoongi’s favorites – a black hoodie sweater given to him by a fan – and Jimin feels a little weird wearing it. It doesn’t help that there is ‘Min Suga’ sewn at the sleeve, making him unable to claim the sweater as his own when someone asks. Yoongi had said nothing when he greeted Jimin this morning (while Jimin himself was trying his hardest not to die from embarrassment), and his expression had been unreadable so Jimin cannot guess what his hyung could possibly be thinking. He huffs in frustration, crossing his arms.

Hoseok rubs his back sympathetically. “Yeah well, I’m sure he was just worried. Besides, if you had gone back, you’d waste more of your time which could be used for sleeping.”

“Yeah, he told me that. But still,” Jimin’s shoulders sag. “Sorry for worrying you and Tae last night. I was too focused on the song.”

Hoseok nods. “How’s it going by the way? You finalized the lyrics, yet?”

Jimin shakes his head miserably. “I got an....idea...” he says, sounding vague even to himself, “Is songwriting always this hard? Like one moment I have all these ideas, and then suddenly, poof.” He makes a few hand gestures to prove his point. “They're gone.” He buries his head in his arms. “I'm worried I won't be able to get it done on time. Plus, the producers have all heard the composition, so they're most probably expecting the finished product soon.”

Hoseok makes a noise that sounds sympathetic. “What's the theme again? Maybe I can help,” he offers kindly.

Jimin chews his bottom lip. He lifts his head to meet Hoseok's gaze a bit hesitantly. “Um. Longing.”

Letting out a soft whistle, Hoseok leans against the wall, his expression thoughtful. “Hmmm....that's a challenging theme if you don't know the concept of it.” He chuckles suddenly, closing his eyes. “People make it seem that writing a love song is easy, but really, if you have never experienced the feeling, it's like grasping at straws.” He opens his eyes, and glances at Jimin. “Do you know what kind of direction you're taking? The general idea, at least?”

“It's...well,” Jimin stops. “Hoseok-hyung, what does longing mean to you?”

Hoseok blinks, surprised at the sudden question. “Me?”

“Yeah.”

Hoseok tilts his head to the side, and hums. “Well...”

Taehyung passes them, then, sprinting across the room while laughing wildly. Jungkook chases after him, arms extended as if he wants to catch Taehyung. He eventually does, and sends the two of them crashing onto the floor, Taehyung still laughing as he does. Jimin hears a giggled apology, and a huff of resignation, before he watches the pair walk to the corner of the room, arms around each other's shoulders. He smiles fondly, and turns back to look at Hoseok.

He finds his hyung with a strange expression on his face, one that Jimin has never seen before. If he has to describe it, it looks like a mixture of...wistfulness, envy and...

Jimin furrows his brows in confusion as he looks at his hyung silently.

Was that...a hint of resentment he saw?

“Longing, huh?” Hoseok says suddenly, his lips curving into a smile, though it looks wan than anything else. “I think longing is like- Looking at something that's right in front of you, yeah? It's just...there.” He reaches out in emphasis. “But for some reason, no matter how far you reach or how much you struggle, you can't have it. Like, the nearer you are, the further away it becomes, you know? And you're left with this weird, unpleasant feeling in your heart that becomes familiar over time.” His outstretched hand curls into a loose fist. “Longing is...longing is like grasping at air. You get nothing out of it, but you continue to do so because you can't help it.” He slowly withdraws his hand. “Because...that's all you can do.”

Hoseok says all that quietly, and the smile he has on his face soften with each word, eventually slipping off his face. He looks a bit distracted, as if he is thinking about something this whole time, and never noticing Jimin the whole time. Jimin stays quiet, unwilling to interrupt.

Besides, the way that Hoseok explains the word 'longing' sounds...relatable, somehow. In a way that Jimin cannot put in words.

“Hoseok-hyung!” Taehyung yells from across the room, “Can you teach me this move? I still can't get the hang of it.”

“Aish, I've repeated it many times already,” Hoseok replies, but not unkindly. He turns to grin at Jimin before standing up. He gives Jimin's shoulders a squeeze. “Well, I hope I helped. Good luck with the songwriting.”

Jimin smiles gratefully. “Yeah, thank you, hyung.”

He watches as Hoseok bounds to Taehyung, throwing an arm around his shoulder. Watches him as he pulls the boy closer to ruffle his hair. How his smile, if it is even possible, grow more brighter than usual.

A sound catches his attention. He turns to the side to see Yoongi sitting alone on a chair. His head is bent over a piece of paper, and he absently twirls a pen with his fingers. He looks serious, even from far away, and from the way he is occasionally mouthing words before writing on the paper, Jimin guesses that Yoongi is busy writing his part.

Jimin slowly reaches out his hand towards him.

Yoongi does not notice.

Jimin breathes out slowly, evenly.

“Longing is like...” His fingers curl into a loose fist. “Grasping the air.”


 

-

It is two a.m when Namjoon receives a text from Jimin. Half-awake, he fumbles for his phone and slides his finger across the screen.

Jiminie:

I finished it.

And attached to the message was a text file.

 

Chapter Text

Days pass without too much of a hitch. As the comeback date gets nearer, the more gruelling the practices become. The title track is a dance number, and a difficult one at that, which is saying something since most of their previous choreographies were no easy feat. Even Hoseok took a bit more time than usual to master it, and he is noticeably quieter at the end of each practice, stress written all over his face.

Vocal practices are no short of being hellish, either, since the songs on the mini-album are more challenging than usual. Jimin chews on mint candies often, nowadays, to keep the soreness in his throat at bay. Even Jungkook, who generally has little to no problems mastering the songs, looks pinched, and spends more time in the studio than usual. Taehyung works harder to improve his high notes, practising with Jimin even at the dorms.

The songs were great, though, and the members have all agreed on the tracklist. Plus, Seokjin gets more and more singing lines, nowadays, and Jimin is honestly so happy for his hyung. He feels that it is long overdue, and watches in contentment at the happiness that radiates on his eldest hyung’s face as he practises.

He looks down at the lyric sheet in his hand. They are recording for the song he has written that day, and for some reason, Jimin feels oddly nervous. The fact that he rarely participates in songwriting and producing makes him happier of his achievement, and he likes seeing his name on the song’s credit list. He feels a sense of pride looking at his name printed there, yet the feeling is accompanied with nervousness. Insecurity. Worry.

He shakes his head. He is being ridiculous and unnecessarily hard on himself. The members have expressed their approval on the song, and are pretty much satisfied with the line distribution as well. He has no control over the rap line’s part, of course, since those parts will be written by them, but he assigns the singing parts equally to the vocal line, with each member getting at least one proper verse.

Jimin assigns himself with the first verse and the first part of the chorus. He originally planned for Jungkook to sing them because he feels that his voice would suit more, but the maknae had declined. “It’s your song,” Jungkook pointed out, “You should be the one who sing first.”

Which makes Jimin happy, but a little burdened at the same time.

Well, okay. Maybe more than a little.

“Jimin-ssi?” The PD waves at him to capture his attention. “Are you ready to start?”

Jimin nods. He takes a deep breath, looking at the lyrics in his hands. “Yeah...yeah, I am.”


 

-

Meeting up with Yugyeom always makes him happy.

Practice ended earlier that day, with their manager giving them the rest of the day off, which will be their last one until the end of their comeback promotion. Jungkook immediately takes that chance to give his friend a call.

Yugyeom had answered at the second ring.

Hello?” he said, sounding a little sleepy.

Jungkook’s heart swelled at the sound of his voice. “Yugyeom-ie,” he breathed, “Hey, it’s been a while since we talked.”

Kook-ie. Hey.” Yugyeom sounded more awake now. “Sorry, I didn’t look at the caller ID.”

“It’s okay. Are you free this evening?”

Uhh...” He heard a shuffling of feet and papers turning. “Yeah. Looks like I am. We have dance practice at 11 p.m., though, but before that, I have nothing scheduled. Why?”

Jungkook grinned. “I have the rest of the day off. Wanna meet up somewhere?”

Yeah! I mean- ah, I would love to, if the members say yes.”

Jungkook laughed at the obvious excitement in his friend’s voice, which mirrored his own. “Well, text me if they do. Let’s go to that cafe we went last spring. I heard they’re serving specials today.”

Jeon Jungkook, you do know how to seduce a man.”

Yugyeom had said it as a joke, and Jungkook knew this, but he can’t stop the blush on his cheeks, anyway, and was glad that they were not talking to each other face to face. He wouldn’t want to know what Yugyeom might have thought if he saw the look on his face.

“You ass,” he said instead, “See you in half an hour.”


 

-

“Jungkook!”

Hearing his name snaps him out of his reverie. Jungkook sits up straighter in his seat and cranes his head towards the entrance of the cafe. Standing at the door is Yugyeom himself, dressed in his favourite black and red hoodie and torn jeans. He is in the midst of taking off his face mask as he waves cheerfully to Jungkook. Jungkook bites back a laugh and waves back.

“Did you get here okay?” he asks as soon as Yugyeom sits down in front of him.

His friend nods. “Yeah. I asked manager-hyung to drop me off somewhere discreet and I basically made a dash from there.”

“Won’t that make you more noticeable?” Jungkook asks with a frown.

“Not if you’re a ninja,” Yugyeom grins cheekily which earns him a chuckle from Jungkook.

“You’re such an ass.”

The waitress comes by and places their drinks in front of them. Yugyeom raises his eyebrow at the sight of the glass of ice chocolate in front of him and looks at Jungkook questioningly. Jungkook sips his Americano, looking a bit self-conscious.

“Ah...I remembered your usual drink, so I thought I’d order it for you to save you the hassle.” He rubs his neck awkwardly. “That’s...that’s okay, right?”

“It’s okay. It’s...more than okay, actually,” Yugyeom admits, “I’m just surprised you remembered.”

Jungkook huffs. “Who wouldn’t remember such a simple detail?”

Yugyeom chuckles as he sips his drink. “You’d be surprised.”

They settle into an easy conversation after that. Jungkook tells him of their comeback preparations and how they are still sort of struggling with the choreography. He tells him of how Hoseok nearly scared even Yoongi out of all people when he glowered at the group for messing up the routine (but apologized afterwards). That earns a laugh from Yugyeom, who in return recounts how BamBam nearly set the kitchen on fire (again) while attempting to cook. Got7, as it turns out, is also preparing for a comeback, but the date is still unclear. The group still busied themselves with Cfs and modelling deals, and Jungkook learns that Yugyeom had been invited as a dance instructor at One Million Dance Studio this upcoming Saturday.

“Whoa, that’s so cool!” Jungkook gushes, “You’ll get to dance with Kim Eunho-ssi!”

Yugyeom blushes. “Among others, yeah. I won’t be choreographing anything, of course. I’ll just follow their lead and teach my own group of students for an hour or two.”

“Still, that’s so cool. As expected of the winner of Hit the Stage,” Jungkook teases.

“Shut up, Kook-ie.” Yugyeom looks as if he just realized something. “That reminds me, Jimin-hyung composed one of the songs on your upcoming album, right?”

Jungkook nods an affirmative. “Yup. One of his few ones. The rapline hyungs will still write their own raps, of course, but for the most part, including producing and lyric writing, that was all Jimin-hyung.”

“I can’t wait for it, then. I watched his Vlive the other day. With Taehyung-hyung and Yoongi-hyung. The theme is longing, right?”

“Yeah. The song’s really good. Look forward to it.”

“You know I will.”

Jungkook leans back against his seat, and watches Yugyeom trying to devour a strawberry cheesecake – surprisingly, one his favourite specials in the cafe and the main reason Jungkook invites him here in the first place - in one mouthful. He doesn’t quite succeed, and is left with a noticeable smear on his cheek. He smiles fondly, and hands his friend a tissue wordlessly. “Eat like a civilized person, you goon,” he teases. Yugyeom flushes and accepts the tissue.

“Sorry. Hungrier than I thought.” His phone ‘ding’s with a notification, and Yugyeom reaches out to take it. His eyes light up suddenly, and he looks at Jungkook excitedly. “Ah, Jimin-ie will release a song today!”
“Jimin…ie?” Jungkook tilts his head in confusion.

“JYP Park Jimin. 15& Jimin. Sugar~” He sings the last word along with the familiar hand movements, looking so ridiculous that Jungkook had to laugh. “Yeah, anyway. She texted me that M.O.L.A...you know M.O.L.A, right?”

Jungkook says that he does. He listens to their releases from time to time, and his members know about the unit. Even Yoongi keeps one of their songs – Trick or Treat – in his playlist, and that alone says a lot of things. He nods again as a confirmation.

Yugyeom shows him his text conversation with Jimin. Jungkook takes note of the change of his KakaoTalk background image – it used to be plain blue, now it’s a picture of his initials written in blue Sharpie pen.

Jimin-jimani: Gyeom-ie, MOLA’s new song is ready for official release tonight! Teehee look forward to it~


“Jimin-jimani?”

Yugyeom looks embarrassed. “It’s a nickname.”

Jungkook hums, looking at the picture of Jimin attached at the bottom of the text message. She looks prettier nowadays, as if she is made for adulthood. She’s slightly taller, too, he thinks, from the last time he has seen her on ASC. Her hair is longer now from her previous bob, and dyed a deep red colour. She wears a cap that Jungkook thinks he recognizes, though, like he has seen it somewhere.

Isn’t that…?

He glances at Yugyeom. His friend has a pleased expression on his face, and his eyes shine brighter than usual.

Ah, now he remembers. Yugyeom wore that cap once, during one of their bowling outings a few months back.

“You should reply to her, then,” Jungkook replies, “Tell her I look forward to it, too.”

“Yeah yeah. I should.” Yugyeom types away on his phone, and the conversation goes on a bit longer than Jungkook expects as he seems to be replying to more than just one message. Jungkook waits patiently, though. He twiddles with the straw, and focuses on the dark liquid in the glass. He peeks a glance at Yugyeom. That kid has one of the biggest smiles on his face Jungkook has ever seen.

Yugyeom laughs suddenly. “Jimin-ie, you’re so weird~” he singsongs into the voice recorder.

Jungkook ignores that sudden twinge of envy in his heart, and buries it alongside the feeling of resentment that accompanies it.

He focuses on the bitterness of the Americano on his tongue, instead.


 

-

Yoongi sits alone in his bedroom. Seokjin is in the kitchen preparing dinner, leaving the room all to himself. He sits cross-legged on his bed, with a piece of paper sitting on his lap. He reads the lyrics that Jimin has written over and over again.

His own part isn’t fully done, yet, and Yoongi wonders if he should change it again. He taps his pen on top of the paragraph that has Jimin’s part, outlining one word in particular from the verse, circling it over and over again until he makes a noticeable dent on the paper.

Lonely

The word strikes something in him, in ways he couldn’t explain.


 

-

In the silence of the desolate practice room, Hoseok drops to the floor for the umpteenth time. Sweat trails down his cheeks, and his eyes shine with unshed tears. He slams his fists onto the floor, ignoring the spikes of pain that come with it. His body ache all over, anyway, and his ankles feel as if they are on fire; one more pain can hardly make a difference.

He presses his head down onto the ground, and he heaves a deep breath. In the dimness of the room, Hoseok looks as if he is bowing down to a deity, or a higher being that no one else sees but him.

“Stop messing up,” he mutters. His tone is quiet, but filled with anger and frustration. “Stop messing up.”

It sounds like a hopeless prayer; like a desperate call for help.

Chapter Text

Falling in love with Taehyung comes as a surprise, even to Hoseok himself.

He never expects it; never has the reason to, really. Taehyung is like a dongsaeng to him; an awkward gangly Daegu kid with all these long limbs and loud presence. He had been a little shy when he first arrived at the dorms, but that had been really really temporary. It took him little time to get used to the rest of the members, and very soon, Hoseok found out that Taehyung had little to no problem with making friends. Him with his prominent satoori and bright eyes and flailing limbs and loud laughter; it’s hard not to like him. He was infectious, and there’s no known cure to his addictive personality.

When Jimin arrived at the dorms, all cute and soft and eyes filled with curiosity, the two had clicked almost instantly, even more so since the two were the same age. Wherever Jimin went, there went Taehyung.

Hoseok likes, no, loves Taehyung very much. That much he can admit. Their personalities are similar, and Taehyung has that infinite air of innocence around him, and how he views the world is so refreshing that it makes Hoseok so happy just by being around him.

But Hoseok wasn’t in love with him. At least, he didn’t think so, not at that point of time.

But he does love Taehyung. He’s his dongsaeng and friend.

(Hoseok later finds out that the word ‘love’ has vast meanings.)

He cannot remember the exact date, but he knows it was in 2014 when he starts feeling...differently for Taehyung. It wasn’t a sudden thing. He didn’t wake up one day to find himself heads over heels over the boy. Rather, the feelings started out slow and gradual, but it was silent, so Hoseok didn’t realize at first how it crept up to him.

He remembers that it had been during their ‘Boy in Luv’ promotions, and Taehyung had that wild orange hair that strangely suited him. They were in the dressing room, waiting for their turn to perform. Taehyung was bothering Jungkook, who fell asleep on the couch again while loosely clutching a hairdryer. Apparently, Taehyung thought it was a funny scene (well, to be fair, it was pretty amusing to watch) and decided to film the maknae. He caught sight of Hoseok, who had been watching him from the other side of the room, and beckoned him to come over.

“Hyung,” he said, voice high with excitement, “Look at Jungkook-ie. Isn’t he cute?”

Hoseok was about to reply “yes, yes our maknae is always cute” but for some reason, his words got stuck in his throat. Because in that moment, Taehyung had decided to grin at him, and Hoseok suddenly realized,

Has he always been this adorable?

Because Taehyung was, still is really, cute, with that rectangular smile and bright eyes. He didn’t have Jimin’s irresistible eye-smile, or Yoongi’s charming gummy grin, but Taehyung’s happy expression had a draw of its own, and at that moment of time, Hoseok was successfully drawn in.

That was the day when something indescribable took hold of Hoseok’s heart and began to grow.

The day that Hoseok can finally put a name to that strange feeling in his heart was on the day of Taehyung’s 20th birthday. They hadn’t been able to really celebrate it properly because of their busy schedules, but each member made sure to wish him happy birthday that morning. Seokjin had made him seaweed soup and ruffled his hair affectionately as Taehyung ate. Namjoon and Yoongi used part of their savings to buy him a hip-hop album of an artist that Taehyung didn’t recognize but promised to listen to (he ended up becoming a fan). Jimin and Jungkook didn’t give him anything but showered him with extra attention that day to make up for it.

Hoseok had wanted to give him something, but his (then) meager bank account balance didn’t really allow him to, so he settled to waking up extra early to help Seokjin with the cake, and had been the first one to wish Taehyung happy birthday. In fact, he had patiently waited for the boy to finish getting ready and immediately grabbed him into a bear hug the moment he stepped out of the bedroom, earning a surprise yelp from the boy.

“Yah! Happy Birthday, Taehyung-ie!” he shouted excitedly, “You have officially lived for 20 years, now.”

Taehyung giggled in Hoseok’s arms, and returned the hug. “Thank you, hyung,” he said softly. When Hoseok turned to look at him, he saw the pure happiness in the boy’s expression and his heart swelled. “Thank you for remembering...” he whispered, sounding almost like a child.

Hoseok’s smile slipped a little. “Of course I remember. Why wouldn’t I?”

Taehyung shrugged. “Having a birthday at the end of the year is kinda easy to overlook, I guess.”

There was something lonely in Taehyung’s tone, and Hoseok’s heart hurt listening to it. He gripped Taehyung tighter and nuzzled his hair with his cheek. “Well, don’t you worry. Hyung-ie will never forget you!” he cooed.

Taehyung giggled again and looked up to meet Hoseok’s gaze. There was prominent adoration in his eyes, that it made Hoseok’s cheeks grow warm just looking at them. Taehyung smiled widely. “You’re the best, hyung. I’m so glad I met you.”

Hoseok…

Hoseok had nothing to say to that.

When Taehyung ran off to play with Jungkook, grabbing the maknae into a tight hug and laughing at whatever joke Jungkook made, Hoseok continue standing by the doorway. His hand reached out to hover over the spot where his heart was, before gripping the material of the shirt. Underneath his hand, he could feel his heart thumping steadily, yet faster than usual. His cheeks were still warm.

Ah.

That was when he could finally name that strange feeling that had taken root in his heart all these while.


 

-

(Love. It was another definition of love.)


 

-

Hoseok realized belatedly that he was, still is and probably for a long time coming, very much in love with Taehyung.

Chapter Text

Before Jimin realizes it, 6 weeks have easily become two, and their preparations for the comeback becomes more gruelling than ever. Practices become longer, sleep becomes shorter and infrequent. Jimin can hardly remember when was the last time he slept for at least 4 hours, but he ignores his fatigue and occasional drowsiness in favour of more practise and improvement.

He can rest when the promotion is over.

Focusing on the beat of the music, Jimin watches his reflection in the mirror carefully as he dances. The choreography – a joint collaboration between Hoseok and an instructor from SoulDance Studio – relies on quick and precise feet movements, and while Jimin is usually quick on his feet, the fast transition between one complicated move to another has him struggling at first. He is improving, though, and is determined to have it 110% perfected by the time of their comeback stage. He sings the lyrics of the song under his breath as he continues to dance.

He hears a thump – like something falling to the floor - and pause. He turns to see Hoseok kneeling on the floor, breathing heavily. His expression is that of pain.

“Hoseok-hyung!” Jimin rushes to his side. “Are you okay?”

Hoseok glances at Jimin. There are visible shadows underneath his eyes, and his skin looks paler than usual. Cold sweat trickles down his cheeks as he breathes heavily. He looks downright exhausted. Something twinges in Jimin’s heart.

“I’m fine,” he mutters, “I just tripped over my own feet.”

Jimin frowns. “Maybe you should take a break. The rest are at the vocal studio...maybe you can check on them or something-”

“No,” Hoseok cuts him off abruptly. He brushes Jimin’s hand off his shoulder, and stands up. “I need to practice, Jimin. I’m fine.”

“Hyu-,”

“Jimin.” There is something in Hoseok’s tone that makes Jimin’s words stuck in his throat. His hyung looks at him, and Jimin could see just how visible the exhaustion in his eyes. “I need to perfect this dance, Jimin. I’m the one who helped choreograph it and I can’t afford to mess up.” He tries to smile, but it doesn’t quite reach his eyes. “How am I supposed to help Namjoon and Jin-hyung if I can’t even teach myself?” He sighs. “I’m sorry for worrying you. I’ll be fine, I promise.”

Jimin nods hesitantly, deciding that he shouldn’t argue anymore. He gets up and faces the mirror again. He watches as Hoseok gets up onto his feet before he starts dancing again. Each move is more powerful than ever, but Jimin couldn’t help but notice how forced it looks. Like Hoseok is using every inch of his energy just to execute a single move.

He chews on his bottom lips. As he practices his own solo part, the worry lingers in his mind.


 

-

“So we’ll have three radio interviews for this comeback promotion. Cultwo Show, Hongkira and the other one is still tentative.”

Namjoon sits at the head of the table, looking at his phone. His plate of food remains untouched in front of him, and Seokjin looks at it disapprovingly. But he says nothing, and waits for Namjoon to finish his explanation.

“Our promotion is set to last for two weeks this time, with interviews and maybe one variety show or two in between. There will be three fansigns over the course of the two weekends. One in Myeongdong, one in Ilsan, one in-,”

“Namjoon-hyung, are we gonna do Vlive before the release of the MV this time, too?” Jungkook asks as he chews on his chicken.

Namjoon nods, without looking up from his phone. “The staff will review on that later.”

“Will the variety shows include Weekly Idol or ASC?” Taehyung asks, his expression thoughtful. “It’s been a while since we’ve gone on those shows, and I’m sure the fans will be thrilled to see us.”

Yoongi snorts. “I’ll pass Weekly Idol, to be honest. No hate, but they always edit me out a lot.” Seokjin reaches over to rub Yoongi’s back comfortingly. “Oh come on, don’t be like that. We can talk to the writers if it upsets you so much.”

Yoongi shrugs, and continues eating.

“Not sure about Weekly Idol,” Namjoon says, “But the ASC is a good ‘maybe’. The producers called yesterday, and Bang PD-nim said he’ll consider it. “

“Yay!” Taehyung grins. “We’ll get to see Jimin-ie again.”

“Jimin-ie is right here,” Jimin mumbles, which earns a withering look from his friend. “I’m just kidding!” he says defensively.

As Namjoon continues to discuss about their upcoming comeback promotion, Jimin eyes Hoseok beside him. He is usually lively during mealtimes, so much that Yoongi usually threatens to sew his lips shut just to stop him from talking. Hoseok is quiet now, even more than usual. He plays with the peas on his plate with his fork absently, and his lips are pulled into a thin line. He looks exhausted, and from the slouch in shoulders and the tenseness of his frame, he seems to be very stressed as well.

Jimin nudges his shoulder gently, and when Hoseok turns to look at him, Jimin offers him a tiny smile. Hoseok returns it, with much effort.

“You okay?” he whispers.

Hoseok gives a small shrug. “Just tired. I’m fine, Jimin-ah.”

“Ah!” Taehyung suddenly cries. “Hoseok-hyung didn’t touch his vegetables!”

“Hoseok-ie,” Seokjin sighs, “You know we need to eat properly. We can’t have you falling sick.”

“Or get constipated,” Taehyung adds, and winces in pain when Jungkook elbows him in the ribs. “It’s true!”

Hoseok laughs, which sounds a little hollow to Jimin’s ears. The rest don’t seem to notice. “I’m eating, I’m eating!” He forks the peas into his mouth, and makes exaggerated chewing movements. This makes Seokjin roll his eyes, but the elder looks satisfied enough. He leans back against his seat and looks at Namjoon with a frown. “You eat, too. We can discuss the promotions after dinner.”

Namjoon winces at his stern tone and sheepishly puts away his phone. “Sorry.”

Seokjin nods, visibily appeased, and returns back to his own dinner. Beside Jimin, Hoseok goes back to his own quiet staring at his plate, making Jimin more and more worried with each passing second.

-

Jimin goes to the living room and sees Namjoon pressed against Seokjin with their heads bent over Seokjin’s phone.

He raises his eyebrow at the sudden display of affection when he realizes upon closer inspection that the pair is doing Vlive. Jimin sighs inwardly at his own assumptions.

“Hyung-deulie~” he sings, throwing himself onto the couch, “I wanna say hello to the fans too!”

Seokjin laughs and ruffles his hair affectionately. “Everyone, Jimin-ah is here!” he announces. Jimin waves cheerfully at the screen, and brushes his hair out his eyes. “What were you guys talking about just now, anyway?”

Namjoon shrugs. “Nothing important. We just wanted to talk to the fans for a bit.”

“I suggested playing a word game, but Namjoon-ie isn't very good at it,” Seokjin says with a pout.

“Yah! I am good at it!”

“You just keep on throwing English words at me!”

“It's not like they were hard or anything!”

“Still-!”

“Anyway,” Jimin interrupts, “While the hyungs are arguing like a married couple, let's ask the ARMYs to give us a word.”

Seokjin nods eagerly. “Yeah. Jimin did this before, right? When you asked the ARMYs for ideas for the song.” Jimin nods, and Seokjin smiles at the screen, as if addressing the fans directly. “Give us a word, and we'll say the first thing that's on our mind.”

The three watches as the comment sections begin to fill up with random singular words as the fans eagerly type out their suggestion and Jimin could barely keep up enough to catch one word. Seokjin scans the comments silently, biting on his lower lip. Namjoon hums thoughtfully before he reaches out to point at a word quickly before it gets swallowed up by the rest of the comments.

“Red.”

“Red?” Seokjin repeats with a raise of an eyebrow. “Um...red is for...”

“My love for ARMYs!” Jimin supplies helpfully. Namjoon and Seokjin laugh, and the latter smacks Jimin's shoulder playfully. “How greasy,” he teases.

“It's true, though. My turn.” He briefly scans the comments. “Soft!”

“Jimin's hair,” Namjoon says solemnly, earning a pause from the other two before Seokjin becomes the first one to crack up. Jimin follows soon after, his cheeks flushed pink from the compliment.

“Ramen!”

“Seokjin's favourite food.”

“Rabbit.”

“Jungkook-ie!”

“Hah! That’s a good one.”

“Glimmering.”

“ARMY's hope for us.”

“Ay….that’s smooth.”

“It’s the truth-,”

“Oh here’s one. Love.”

Jimin pauses. “...love?”

Seokjin grins, relaxed and happy. “Yeah, love. What does love mean to you, Jimin-ah?” He bumps the boy’s shoulders playfully, his eyes glinting. “You recently wrote a song, didn’t you? If there’s anyone who could answer this, it’d be you.”

Jimin blinks, hesitating. “I...uh...” He scratches the back of his neck. “Love...is…” Jimin begins to ponder, lacing his fingers together, a habit which he comes to have when he is thinking or nervous. Love. For such a simple and short word, the meaning behind the word is unexpectedly broad, and Jimin couldn’t find the right words to summarize it well. “Love...is...”

The first thing that comes to his mind is the song he wrote. The lyrics appear in his mind almost effortlessly, as if the word ‘love’ had been a trigger. The words dance around the edges of his mind, as if teasing him. He thinks about the hours spent writing that song, how at first the words wouldn’t come, but when they did-

He remembers the cool yet comforting touch on his hair, and how it lingers for half a second.

“Jimin-ie-”

“Familiar.” Jimin murmurs, but loud enough for his hyungs, and possibly the ARMYs, to hear. “Love is familiar.”

There is silence, with Seokjin and Namjoon exchanging glances. There is something different in Jimin’s expression; something almost sad, even, and they doubt Jimin realizes it.

Namjoon reaches out to scroll up the comments. “The new word is-,”

The word game continue, and as Jimin laughs along with his hyungs, he thinks he feels a warm touch against the small of his back.

It feels almost reassuring.


 

-

Yoongi watches the Vlive in quiet amusement. Seokjin is tackling Namjoon onto the floor as retaliation for something he said, and Jimin giggles, in that bright and squeaky way of his, at their antics. Yoongi smiles fondly, and shakes his head.

The studio is quiet save for the background music that plays from the stereo, an instrumental of one of his favourite songs. He had gone there immediately after dinner despite protests from Seokjin, with only promises to come back in a few hours to placate the eldest hyung into allowing him to go.

He switches off the Vlive (he’ll watch the re-broadcast later) and sets down his phone onto the table. He glances at the lyric sheets beside it and suppresses a sigh.

Namjoon and Hoseok just recently submitted their part for Jimin’s song, and he had read them thoroughly, hoping that whatever they wrote could inspire him for his own part. He needed to finish the song the very latest tomorrow and have the rap line record their part before they are able to finalize the tracklist. The album jacket photoshoot is tomorrow evening and the MV filming is the day after so he knows he will be too exhausted to work on the song at a later date.

That, and the design staff who are in charge of the physical album production are starting to nag him. He couldn’t blame them, really. He’s significantly slowing down their job. He couldn’t even be annoyed at the threat of ‘dying his hair with bleach so strong he will grow bald’ if he doesn’t submit the final tracklist by the time their MV has finished filming, because in all honesty, he thinks he deserves that threat.

But at the same time, he doesn’t want to write something half-assed just for the sake of it.

He groans. Why does Jimin have to write such a difficult song for?

He looks at Namjoon’s and Hoseok’s lyrics again. Namjoon had spoken about the bitterness of longing, of how he spends sleepless nights and endless days waiting to hear that one word from the person he’s addressing, and berates himself for torturing himself because he knows the word will never come. Hoseok’s lyrics had more of a hopeful note to it, where the days spent with the person are the happiest, and although the longing hurts, the memories he has of the person makes up for it.

Yoongi snorts. Sometimes he wonders if his friends are straight up masochists.

Jimin’s lyrics, the ones the vocal line will sing, is a combination of both; his lyrics are bittersweet, with each end of the spectrum of bitter and sweet carefully balanced. His lyrics are not as sad (and honestly, depressing) as Namjoon’s, but they aren’t as hopeful as Hoseok’s either. Jimin’s lyrics tell a story filled with ups and downs, with Yoongi following every word, every chapter of the story. The story about reaching for something that is within his reach, but always escaping at the very last moment.

There is one thing Yoongi notices about his lyrics, though.

They sound incredibly lonely.

He thinks about Jimin’s earlier words in the Vlive.

Love is...love is familiar.

That sparks something in Yoongi; like a trigger to a torrent of words that Yoongi never realizes exist at the back of his head. The words form sentences, and the sentences become lyrics, which teases along the edges of his mind. Yoongi reaches out for his pen and presses the tip against the paper in front of him.

Love is…

Longing is…


 

-

yoongi-hyung: Namjoon, Hoseok. Get your asses up. Time to record the song.

Chapter Text

This is it.

Today’s the day of their first comeback stage.

To say that Jimin isn’t a bundle of nerves is a big fat lie, even more so when he sees their performance list and spots the title of his song on it. He bounces on his feet, trying to ease his nerves as he waits for their turn to perform.

“Jimin-ie!” Taehyung drapes his arm around Jimin’s shoulder, nearly startling the latter in the process. “Why are you so jumpy? You’re not nervous, are you?”

“A bit, yeah,” Jimin admits. He fiddles with the sleeve of his button-up shirt, and continues bouncing slightly on his feet. The nerves are harder than usual to shake off, and there is a weird feeling settling at the base of his stomach.  Taehyung pats his back comfortingly, giving his best friend a reassuring smile.

“You’ll do fine.” He grins. “I’m sure the fans can’t wait to hear your song being performed live. The album reception is very good, last I heard from Namjoon-hyung.”

Their 3rd full album has a full hip-hop concept this time around, a reminiscence of their Dark and Wild era, only with less grit and leather jackets (and burning pianos), with “Higher”, a song with a genre of both hip-hop and dance, as their title track. The MV, a fairly dark-themed video which showed the boys fighting against their own inner demons depicted in the most abstract ways, had garnered 12 million views in 24 hours. Their album, consisting of 13 tracks with a mixture of hip hop, dance and ballad genres, received an all-kill in most major music charts.

Their album jacket photoshoot had them decked out in outfits of combinations of red and black, with an empty warehouse as their setting. They are supposed to represent of a gang of unruly boys who rebelled against society. Jimin smiles inwardly. At least, they didn’t have to do much acting to match that concept.

Namjoon himself is sitting on the couch, listening intently to the stage director. The boys will be pre-recording their title track stage, and perform two non-title tracks live; Jimin’s track, as well as the one Namjoon composed. They have just finished recording, and are preparing for their live stage.

He catches sight of Hoseok leaning against the wall with an iPad in his hands, monitoring their pre-recorded performance. His expression is serious and he purses his lips every now and then. He shakes his head once or twice, frustration slipping into his expression. Jimin furrows his brow in concern.

His hyung seems to still be troubled over the choreography despite the other members’ reassurance that he is doing just fine as he usually does, but for some reason, Hoseok seems to become more and more stressed the more he is reassured that he is doing well. During the pre-recording, he heard Hoseok moaning to Yoongi about messing up a few step sequences. Judging from Yoongi’s incredulous expression, it doesn’t look like Yoongi believed that he did.

Jungkook appears, looking handsome and prim in his peach coloured long-sleeved shirt. He is wearing green contact lenses this time, making his eyes stand out against his dark hair. Out of the members, only Namjoon and Seokjin has their hair dyed this time around, dark green and dark purple respectively. Jungkook has his hair swept up, exposing his forehead. It suits him well, and Jimin finds himself smiling fondly.

The maknae has grown well.

“Jungkook-ie~” Taehyung moves over to Jungkook and mock punches his shoulder. “You ready for the live stage?”

Jungkook grimaces. “Honestly, the falsetto in Jimin-hyung’s song is gonna kill me.”

“No, it won’t!” Taehyung disagrees, “You sound great during recording.” He leans forward to nuzzle Jungkook’s cheek with his own, wrapping the boy into a tight hug. “The maknae has improved so much! Hyung-ie is proud!”

“Aghh, get off-“

“Never!”

Jimin smiles at the scene in front of him. It is really ironic for the boys to be depicted as unruly in the MV (Taehyung and Seokjin even had a physical fight scene!) and yet, looking at Taehyung and Jungkook collapsing into fits of giggles as they try to tackle each other onto the ground, he couldn’t help but think how soft they look.

Unbeknownst to him, Hoseok is observing the scene as well. His grip on the iPad tightens, and there is a fleeting expression across his face before it is quickly gone.

The expression almost resembles resentment.


 

-

“Two, three…Hello! We are, BTS!”

The camera pans to each of their faces as they begin the usual backstage interview at M!Countdown. The boys are dressed in a combination pastel-coloured long sleeves shirt and dress pants; a reminiscent of their previous Butterfly stages. They bow deeply after the introduction, smiling brightly at the camera. Taehyung does his signature silly dance moves, nearly bumping into Shownu of Monsta X, who gives him an exasperated look but smiles all the same.

“Yes, we have BTS and Monsta X here with us today!” SHINee’s Key announces, before turning to address BTS. “Rap Monster-ssi, your group returned with another full album following Wings. Can you tell us what to expect for your comeback stage today?”

“We’ll be performing three songs today,” Namjoon explains, “Our title track “Higher” will be a hip-hop dance number with a choreography focusing on our footwork so you’ll be seeing a lot of possible zoom-ins to our feet,” he says with a laugh.

“Can one of you show us the point choreography?” Key asks.

“J-Hope!” Namjoon gestures towards his bandmate. “Our dance leader, show us what you got!”

Jimin side eyes Hoseok, trying to mask his apprehension. Truthfully, he expects Hoseok to be asked to dance – it’s almost a tradition at this point – but this time, he feels nervous anticipating it, knowing how Hoseok is lately. He watches in silence, maintaining that smile on his face as Hoseok flashes his signature grin towards the camera and steps forward.

When Hoseok starts dancing, Jimin forgets why he was worried to begin with.

He pulls the point move – a complicated footwork that involves glides and heel turns – flawlessly, and finishes it off with a light twirl. The dance, though brief, is executed with as much power one would expect from the leader of the dance team of BTS.

As the rest of the members (and Monsta X) cheered, Jimin breathes a sigh of relief. He has been worried for nothing, apparently.

“Wow! That was awesome,” Key nods approvingly, “What about the other two songs? Suga-ssi, what are they about?”

“Ah~ Yes, we’ll be performing a track that our leader composed; a fun hip-hop track one would expect from BTS,” Yoongi says with a cheeky grin, “So look forward to that.”

Jungkook abruptly starts singing a line from the song, adding a few exaggerated dance moves as he does. “We, we, we’ll get the night started! Who are we? B-T-S, yeah we are the-“

Yoongi shakes his head in exasperation while looking at Jungkook meaningfully, instantly stopping the maknae from singing further, but not quite stopping him from winking mischievously at the camera. “Well, before Jungkook-ssi starts performing the whole song,” He gestures towards Jimin next, hand touching his shoulder briefly. “Jimin-ssi here also composed a track. Jimin-ssi, why don’t you tell us about your song?”

A little startled by the sudden attention, Jimin hesitates for a brief second before accepting the microphone from Yoongi and brings it closer to his face before speaking. “The song is a ballad and it’s my second fully composed song, after ‘Lie’, so I’m really excited to perform it for the first time. I hope the fans will look forward to it.”

“Sing a line for us!” Jungkook pipes in.

Jimin ducks his head, cheeks flushing slightly. This segment of the interview isn’t planned; they were originally going to touch on the title track only, so Jimin isn’t prepared to talk much about his song other than to perform it live later. He ponders quickly on which line to sing without spoiling the song too much. He exhales softly, and slowly looks at the camera.

“Looking at you is like looking at the moon…” He trails off, before bowing. “Thank you,” he murmurs. He flushes again when his members clapped, and flashes a shy smile.

“Whoa~ That sounded like a beautiful song.” Key grins at him. “I’m sure the fans will look forward to your performance.”

“We can always trust our ARMYs to be excited for our cool performances,” Seokjin adds, winking to the camera and blowing a kiss.

Key laughs briefly before turning towards Monsta X. “I heard Monsta X has also prepared a very special performance-,”


 

-

Jimin sits on the sofa in the dressing room, almost in a daze.

Maybe he is, and hasn’t quite woken up yet.

The live performance of “Faraway” – the name of his song- had gone surprisingly well despite Jimin’s prior nerves.

The stage had been simple. There were no extravagant backdrop or special effects. The boys stood on a raised platform which spun around very slowly as they sang. There was a soft light shining on them from above and fake flower petals which drifted in the air (kudos to the staff for their hard work at slowly pouring down baskets of flowers from above), which had given the desired ethereal effect on the stage.

There was no choreography for this performance – at least not yet. It was purely a vocal performance, which made Jimin even more nervous than before.

As the ARMYs slowly wave their lightsticks to the beat of the music, Jimin began to sing his line.

I sit at the dusty corner of my heart,

Watch you grow brighter than any other star as the days pass.

The song started out quiet; a soft whisper of a confession. Jimin pressed one hand against his chest, above the spot where his heart beat steadily. He closed his eyes, and immersed himself in the sound of the piano keys.

I can only watch you now, and no longer reach out for you,

Like the way I did in distant memories of yesterdays.

Jungkook’s lines came next, and as he sang, his voice melting in the steady strum of the guitar strings and the gentle rhythm of the piano, Jimin was brought back to the time of when he struggled to write the song. He remembered the sleepless nights spent in the studio. He remembered the endless worrying. The gnawing thoughts of potential failure that swam in his mind as he struggled to finish his composition.

Taehyung’s familiar deep voice  mingled with Seokjin’s soft one snapped Jimin from his reverie, and the first thing he saw was the faces of their fans. They were quiet this time, the usual loud cheering brought down to a minimum. They continue to wave their lighsticks along with the song, a smile gracing their faces.

Beside him, Yoongi stood in his position silently, body swaying slightly to the music. He wasn’t smiling, but there was a serene expression on his face as he listened to the song with half-lidded eyes. His gaze then slowly slid over to Jimin, and the corner of his lips twitched into a crooked smile.

He looked,

Proud.

By the time Jimin felt the weird combinations of feelings in his chest – a kind of happiness which made him want to soar into the sky, yet mingled with a strange ache that knocked his breath out – , it was his turn to sing the chorus.

The fingers gripping his shirt dug into the material deeper.

They say love is like a poetry,

Well then, mine is a library of books, an archive of longing memories,

Looking at you is like looking at the moon,

Beautiful yet so faraway,

Lovely yet so very lonely.

He bit his bottom lip.

In all honesty, ‘Faraway’ was never meant to be a longing song. It was meant to be dedicated to someone you miss, sure, but Jimin originally never had the intention in writing a song that required him to lay his feelings bare, to expose himself and allow him to be vulnerable for the whole world to see, and now here he was, doing just that. He stole a quick glance at Yoongi, who lifted the microphone to his lips, preparing to rap his part.

In all honesty, it was all this hyung’s fault. And Jimin was too much a fool to really blame him for it.

Chasing, chasing, never quite reaching,

They say all fair's in love and war, but girl, the fight is clearly one sided,

Jimin’s eyes widened.

This was the first time he heard Yoongi’s part in his song – he didn’t have the time to listen to the final demo of the song, and by the time the album was released, Jimin was too caught up in preparations and practice to give his own song a proper listen. To listen to his hyung’s part for the first time live on stage was both thrilling and nerve-wrecking.

But he never expected that kind of lines to come out from Yoongi’s mouth.

Your fire lights up my life but not before it burns me to ashes,

Why can't I grab hold of you? Why won't you let me?

Yoongi gripped his microphone tighter.

Why do you insist for me to be in your life,

But you keep your doors locked and bolted shut to me?

Jimin can’t stop himself from staring at his hyung now. He wondered how he might have looked to the fans, but at that moment of time, he couldn’t seem to find the will to care.

Goodbye, goodbye, maybe that's all I should say,

When the word 'love' becomes too painful to be beautiful anymore.

There was a sharp sting at the base of his throat, and Jimin suddenly found himself struggling to breathe. The words in Yoongi’s rap; Jimin had never expected those kinds of words. The words he heard coming out from Yoongi’s mouth, for some reason, they-

Ache.

Like they were too close to the truth.

Jimin barely registered Namjoon’s and Hoseok’s lines – he heard something about loneliness and hope, but his mind wandered a lot. When the song reached its bridge, there was a brief silence which seemed to echo following the end of Jungkook’s high note. There was shuddering breath, and Jimin realized belatedly that it was his.

“Maybe in this game of push of pull, I'm the fool,” Jimin sang, his voice barely above a whisper.

For I keep my feelings hidden, but I hope that you'll understand anyway.

Turning away from Yoongi, the pain in his chest suddenly becoming more and more overwhelming, his fingers dug into his palm as he tried to keep his voice steady as he sang.

Maybe it was never a fool's game to begin with,

As the bridge slowly drew to a close, and soon it will be Seokjin’s turn to sing the last chorus, Jimin stole one last glance at Yoongi. His hyung was not even looking at him. Instead, his gaze was focused on the floor. The ache in Jimin’s chest began to wrap itself like a thorny vine around his heart.

Because I'm the only one playing.


 

-

“Hey.”

Yoongi is looking at him, hair damp and eyes shining. There is rice grain stuck on his cheek.

“You should eat, Jimin-ah,” he says, gesturing to the lunchboxes on the table. “We have another schedule after this.”

Jimin blinks. “Yeah. Um. Sure.” He gets up from the sofa, and pauses. He turns to Yoongi. “There is rice on your cheek, by the way.”

Yoongi’s hand reaches out to wipe it off, and he mumbles something along the lines of “the staff didn’t say anything when I passed” but Jimin isn’t paying attention enough to know what the exact words are. Instead, he silently gazes at his hyung, his head tilting to the side. When Yoongi finally realizes Jimin is looking at him, he raises an eyebrow.

“What is it?”

Jimin flushes slightly. “Your part in Faraway…I, uh.” He fidgets on his feet. “That was the first time I heard it. It was…” Crue-. “Nice.”

“Oh?” Yoongi runs his hand through his hair. “I’m glad you liked it then. I gave it a lot of thought.”

“Oh.”

Seconds tick by.

“Hyung.”

“Mm.”

“What…inspired it? Your part.” Jimin forces himself to maintain eye contact with Yoongi, no matter how much he wants to look away. “The lyrics sounded… personal.”

The look that Yoongi gives him is a surprised one, as if he wasn’t expecting that sort of question. Jimin supposes that he didn’t. Yoongi doesn’t get asked much about the reasons behind his lyrics; people just generally liked them and left it like that.

“They…” Yoongi pauses, considering his words. “I guess…they kinda are. Personal, I mean.” He nods. “Yeah, the lyrics are based on a personal experience, in a way.” Yoongi gives Jimin a gummy smile, which made the old pain which had finally settled down to a hum in the background which Jimin could have easily ignored, to flare up again. This time, two times as much.

“I’m glad you like them, Jimin-ah. I did my best with them.”

Goodbye, goodbye, maybe that's all I should say,

The smile that Jimin gives in return is tiny, and tight around the edges. He tries his best to keep the lump in his throat at bay.

“Yeah. I love them.”

When the word 'love' becomes too painful to be beautiful anymore.


 

-

Jiminiesmile: guys, did you see the way jimin looked at suga today?

Hopeeeeeeeful: @jiminiesmile yeah yeah during faraway right? That was some intense shit there

Jiminiesmile: @hopeeeeeeeful do you think something happened? He doesn’t look too happy.

Hopeeeeeeeful: @jiminiesmile something is definitely up. That song gave me vibes like it meant more than just longing

Jiminiesmile: @Hopeeeeeeeful that song is definitely sounded too painful to just be about longing

Chapter Text

Seokjin loves BTS. Loves his members. His children.

He knows the last term is merely an endearment given by A.R.M.Ys to describe the mother-like relationship he shares with the rest of the members, but really,

He spent enough time with them that the term isn’t a complete lie.

Being the eldest automatically sparked some kind of protectiveness within him, one that urges him to careloveprotectcherish his members (his family). Even though Namjoon and Yoongi had been one of the earliest members of BTS and been around at the company longer than he had, he still had that instinct to watch over them, because in spite of the experience they had as trainees, and while in terms of technicalities the two of them were his trainee-sunbaes, Namjoon and Yoongi were also two of the most fragile of the bunch. The fact that that they were around longer meant that their desire to debut was stronger, and more desperate. They were more acquainted in the feeling of not knowing the outcome of the future; had walked alongside with it at each passing day.

Especially Namjoon, who had been around since the earlier days of the formation of BTS; back when the line-up was completely different.

So Seokjin watched over the two of them, and his protectiveness extended to the rest of the members. He loves every one of his dongsaengs. Yoongi, in spite of his tendency to overwork himself, for his quiet yet reassuring presence. Namjoon, for his dimpled smiles and capability as a leader. Hoseok, for his sunny composition (even though, there was a time, when he was not as sunny but Seokjin loves him then, as well) and his continuous effort to make everything seem alright when things get tough. Jimin, for his charming eye-smiles, and overall sweetness. Taehyung, in spite of his eccentricities, for his genuineness towards everything he does, even though he may not be good at it. Jungkook, the shy yet the most hardworking maknae he has ever met.

His dongsaengs mean the world to him. He would do anything for the sake of their own happiness.

So naturally, when something troubles them, Seokjin is one of the first, if not the only one, to notice.

He pretends not to, of course. Because he knows his members will try to hide their worries if they could, just so they could spare the others from the problems they have. Seokjin doesn’t really appreciate it when they do this, but in some ways, he can understand. Some of them may not look like it, but his dongsaengs are generally very private people. Most of the time, they have to be prompted to share whatever concern they have on their mind.

Seokjin notices. He cannot help but to.

He takes note of the recent sag in Hoseok’s shoulders, and the way the boy seems to tense at the mere mention of their title track’s choreography. The choreography is harder than the rest, but that seems to be kind of a tradition at this point; every title track is harder than the rest in some ways, with choreography being the most frequent significant factor. Seokjin himself is still improving, and is honestly so thankful that the cameras didn’t catch his mistakes for broadcasts. But for whatever reason, the one who seems to be struggling the most this time around is surprisingly Hoseok, despite the fact that he helped choreograph some parts of the dance. His mistakes weren’t as visible as Seokjin’s, but he notices the way he seems to hesitate more than often, and stresses more than usual over tiny slip-ups which were mostly negligible. He pretends not to notice the frown that graces Hoseok’s face at most dance practices, and pretends not to hear the frustrated huff that escapes the boy’s lips when he spins on his heels half a second bit too late, or misses a glide in the chorus.

Instead, at the end of a tiring day, he lets Hoseok press his head against Seokjin’s shoulders and gently runs his hair through the boy’s hair, which is usually damp with sweat. “Dinner?” he would ask quietly, like the question is like a code for something else; something unspoken but agreed between the two of them. Hoseok would usually hum his answer, a short form of “yes”, and Seokjin tries his best to make his dongsaeng’s favourite food for the night. He cannot help much with whatever concern Hoseok has on his mind, but if he could see his dongsaeng smile for a brief moment at the sight of his favorite dish, that would be enough for now.

He pretends not to notice the clear heartbreak in Jungkook’s eyes at the mention of Yugyeom’s name. He knows that Jungkook considered the boy as something more as friends; there is always a noticeable change in his tone whenever he mentions his friend – a little exasperated, but always fond. His eyes would light up whenever the two meet, and his excitement to hang out with Yugyeom is so infectious that Seokjin couldn’t help but be excited for him. Jungkook was so obviously infatuated with the boy, it is adorable.

But he also knows that Jungkook knows Yugyeom has an infatuation towards someone else; a girl who shares the same name as BTS’s Park Jimin. Jungkook tries to hide it, but a flitting shadow would flash across his face when 15& Jimin’s name is brought up – be it about her recent release, or her antics on After School Club which BTS occasionally binge watch on their days off -, and occasionally, he fails to hide the resentment dancing in his eyes, mixed with the feeling of guilt. Because Jimin is a nice enough girl, and her personality is infectious, so Seokjin knows that Jungkook does consider her a friend in some ways, even more so since they are of the same age. But the combination of the fondness and a strange kind of sadness in Jungkook’s eyes at the mention of Yugyeom’s name, and the hint of resentment and envy at the mention of Jimin’s, it clicks in Seokjin’s mind.

Ah, so that is what is all about.

He pretends not to notice, but he does occasionally slip his hand in Jungkook’s when the maknae’s tone begins to subdue, after its initial excitement when talking about his recent hangout with his friend. He mentions Yugyeom mentioning Jimin again – something about a new song and a potential collaboration in the future -, and his expression visibly drops, despite the soft smile on his face. Heartbreak, though Jungkook may try to hide it, is written all over his face; so much that Seokjin is surprised no one else noticed. He listens to Jungkook quietly, and when he thinks he hears a hitch in his dongsaeng’s voice, he runs his fingers over Jungkook’s knuckles reassuringly and lets him squeeze his hand tighter in response.

He hears a knock on the door.

“Hyung?”

Jimin stands by the doorway. His face is makeup free, and his hair damp from the shower. He is wearing his oversized stripped sweater over baggy shorts. Seokjin’s heart clenches at the sight of him.

There is always something soft and small about his dongsaeng, which makes him even more protective of him than usual.

“Yes, Jimin-ie?” he asks with a smile.

Jimin hesitates, chewing on his bottom lip. “I know it’s late…but I’m kinda starving.” He grabs his other arm, ducking his head slightly. “We’re out of ramyeon, and I’m not so good at making anything else so…I was wondering if you could make me something?”

Seokjin’s smile grows, and he immediately gets up from his bed. “Of course. Why didn’t you tell me sooner?” He walks towards Jimin, and slips an arm around his tiny shoulders. “What would you like?”

Jimin looks up at him with an almost hopeful expression. “If it’s not too much trouble…kimchi fried rice?”

Seokjin reaches out to ruffle Jimin’s hair. “Sure, kid. Anything you want.”

When Jimin’s face lights up, there is a strange ache in Seokjin’s heart when he looks at it. There. That right there.

Jimin should always be this happy. He deserves nothing less.

As the two of them walk to the kitchen, Seokjin keeps his thoughts to himself, and refrains from asking about the worry he sees in Jimin’s eyes lately. He doesn’t ask why Jimin looks so troubled and sad these past few days, ever since their first comeback stage. He doesn’t ask why he turns the volume down when the song he wrote plays on the radio. Doesn’t address the strange expression on Jimin’s face when he sees Yoongi.

He pretends not to notice all the things he did.

Like he usually does.

 

Chapter Text

The comeback promotions go on without too much of a hitch for the following week.

They no longer perform B-side songs, though, and instead, focus only on the title track. Hoseok seems a bit less stressed over the choreography as the promotion went on, but Jimin couldn’t help the tiny gestures he makes when he finds himself making a mistake, no matter how tiny and insignificant it may be. Jimin worries a lot, because while it is not an uncommon thing for Hoseok to be particular about a choreography, it is rather rare for him to be constantly stressing over it.

Dancing is a part of Hoseok; intertwines with his flesh and blood, strengthens his bones, and becomes the air he breathes. His love for dancing is what defines him as a person, and is what makes Hoseok…Hoseok. He doesn’t do it because he’s the dance leader of BTS. He doesn’t do it because he’s been trained to.

He does it because he truly, genuinely loves to; because dancing is a very important part of his life, and is what completes him.

So, seeing him struggling with the one thing he is truly comfortable with unsettles Jimin, and he couldn’t help but wonder if the real root of the problem lies somewhere else.

“I doubt it’s a physical thing,” Yoongi comments, “No matter how hard a choreography is, Hoseok-ie usually finds a way to be comfortable with it.”

Jimin hums his agreement, unwilling to say too much.

To be quite honest, he doesn’t know what to say around his hyung nowadays.

Jimin knows he is overreacting. He finds it silly, and downright stupid even, to be upset over lyrics which probably have nothing to do with him. He is very much aware of the way he overthinks the situation. It was not as if he had expected Yoongi to know the real implication behind the song he wrote, anyway. How could he? Why would he? Jimin gave him absolutely no reason to.

Yet,

Despite the numerous reason he made to himself, the ache in his heart remains stubborn, and if possible, more than ever before, and this makes it harder than ever to interact with his hyung as comfortable as the way he did in the past. Looking at Yoongi just reminds him of those lyrics, and the painful meaning behind it.

Sometimes, he wonders if Yoongi notices the way he has been acting around him these past several days. Most times, he hopes he doesn’t.

Jimin sighs. He supposes, Hoseok isn’t the only one with complicated problems these days.


 

-

Jungkook is scrolling through his Twitter feed when he receives a message notification.

A grin forms on his face when he sees Yugyeom’s name.

You have a comeback stage today, right? Good luck~

Attached to the message is a picture of Yugyeom, who is grinning cheerfully to the camera.

There is a warm feeling in Jungkook’s chest and his smile grows wider without him realizing it. Yugyeom never fails to make his day just a little bit brighter, and without even trying. Jungkook laughs to himself, and his finger hovers over the keyboard to type out a reply.

It stills, and the smile on Jungkook’s face slips a bit when he belatedly realizes the person beside Yugyeom.

15& Jimin.

Another message comes in, this time with an audio attachment.

By the way, Jimin-ah has a new song with PrimeBoi! Give it a listen. It’s dope. ^^

Jungkook doesn’t doubt that it is. Jimin is a great singer, Jungkook knows this much. He does have a few of her songs downloaded into his phone (recommendations from Yugyeom and BamBam mostly, and one personally from Jimin herself) Her style is unique, and her quirky personality just adds more to the charm. She draws people in with her presence alone, and very few people could deny of how talented she is.

See, the thing is, Jungkook likes Jimin; she’s a decent friend and a fun person to talk to during the occasional text messages they exchange. It’s hard not to like her. There’s very few reasons not to.

But still,

Looking at the message again, and seeing the way Yugyeom leans his head closer to Jimin’s, and the genuine, eye-crinkling smile he has which is usually reserved for the people he is closest to-

Something else grows in Jungkook’s chest. Something terrible, but very familiar. Something he has lived with for quite a long while.

His smile softens around the edges, before it fades entirely.

Jungkook likes Jimin.

But he also resents her.


 

-

“So can we talk about the other songs on the album?”

Jonghyun smiles warmly at his midnight radio’s latest guests. Since all the members are now legal adults, all of them could be present at his show without having to worry about curfews. Beside him, Jungkook fidgets in his seat, excited to be on such a late radio show for the first time. He finds it endearing to watch, and his fond smile matches the sentiment.

“I heard that the you guys are more involved in the song-writing this time around?” Jonghyun asks.

“Ah yes,” Namjoon confirms, “While we do try to actively be involved in the process of the songwriting, we have our own team of producers to help us out when necessary and pitch in their ideas. For this album, though, it’s mostly just us.” He gestures to the vocal line members. “Them, especially.”

Jonghyun hums as he flips through his script. “Jimin-ssi, I heard you have your own self-composed song here on the album?”

Jimin adjusts his headset and leans closer to the microphone. “Yes…it’s called Faraway.”

“The song seems to be doing very well on the charts. How do you feel about having your song well-received by the public?”

“I was nervous prior to its release,” Jimin admits. “Aside from Lie, this is the first time I released a song I composed myself, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I worried a lot. But seeing the song doing well on the charts makes me feel relieved, and grateful to the fans.”

“Jimin-ie worked hard on the song,” Seokjin adds, “He used to disappear to the studio whenever he could just to finish it.”

Jonghyun smiles. “I can understand that feeling.” He tilts his head as he turns his gaze to fully address Jimin. “I watched your VLive, by the way. I think it was a month or so before your comeback? You asked the fans for their opinion on what the song should be about.”

Jimin flushes. “Ah…you watched that?” He scratches the back of his neck, feeling embarrassed. “I was stuck on ideas…so I figured maybe the fans could help. I want ARMYs to feel like they contributed something to the song. I wanted it to be special so…”

Jonghyun nods. “It was a sweet gesture, Jimin-ssi. I’m sure the fans felt appreciated.” He leans against his seat. “The theme of the song…Longing, was it?”

Jimin nods.

“Can you tell us more about it?”

“Ah…” Jimin blinks slowly, trying to rack his brain for proper words. It is the first time he is asked to really talk about his song, and while he sort of did anticipate that the question may come sooner or later, he still finds himself quite unprepared for it. He bites his bottom lip. “The song…” he begins, laughing slightly out of nervousness. “When I was in the early stages of writing it, I originally planned for it to be a dedication. Towards the people who I care about… But I got stuck halfway and couldn’t continue. Hence, all those VLive sessions.” He takes a breath, seemingly calmer. “When I saw the word longing among all those comments, I guess something just…struck me.”

“Suga-hyung suggested the word, too,” Taehyung supplies helpfully. He gestures to Yoongi. “Didn’t you, hyung?”

Yoongi nods an affirmative. “I did.” He leans closer to the microphone. “We wrote songs with different themes before, but I realized that we never really did touch on the theme of longing. I mean, not with too much depth, at least. We wrote songs about heartbreaks and unrequited loves, but longing was a bit of difficult area for us to work with, as weird as it may sound.”

“Isn’t Spring Day about longing?” Jonghyun asks, “It has a lot of elements about missing someone.”

“Well - ,” Suga begins to say.

“I wanted to write about a different kind of longing,” Jimin answers quietly. He intertwines his fingers together absently as he speaks. “Our songs sometimes talk about losing or missing someone you used to have…but I wanted to write something about longing for someone you never had the chance to be with.”

There is a short silence. Taehyung and Jungkook exchange glances with each other, while Namjoon, Seokjin, and Hoseok cast a fleeting look towards Jimin. Yoongi raises an eyebrow, but otherwise looks unaffected. Jimin, having realized the implication behind the words he has said, flushes.

Jonghyun considers Jimin for a brief moment. “I see,” he finally says. And leaves it like that.

As he moves on to other questions, with the rest seemingly forgetting what Jimin has previously said, Jimin couldn’t help but feel that Jonghyun may have wanted to say something else, but chooses not to.

He feels both grateful and apprehensive.


 

-

Btsmyjams: guys guys the radio interview though

Jhopetheangel: idk about you but I think Jonghyun kinda swerved real fast

Rapmonieeeee: jimin sounded so different, or maybe I’m just being delulu


 

-

Taehyung leans his head against Jimin’s shoulder and focus on the soft background music. The interview ended half an hour ago and they are currently on the way back to the dorm. The rest of the members are fast asleep aside from Jimin and himself. Jungkook snores softly beside Taehyung, his lips parting slightly as he breathes evenly. Yoongi ducks his head as he sleeps in his seat, earphones dangling around his neck. Hoseok has his head on Yoongi’s shoulders, and he looks more at peace than he was the previous days. Seokjin and Namjoon lean against their seat, their face smoothed out from sleep.

Jimin stares quietly out the window, allowing Taehyung to lace their fingers together. Taehyung feels comfortable like this; being with his best friend. He can feel his eyelids growing heavier as drowsiness begins to take over him. He yawns, and he feels a shift of movement as Jimin turns his head to look at him.

“Tae, you can sleep, you know. The dorm is still a distance away,” Jimin says softly.

Taehyung shakes his head. “Not until you sleep, too.”

“I’m not tired, yet. I’ll sleep at the dorm.”

Taehyung turns to look at his friend. Despite what he claims, there is weariness on Jimin’s face. His lips are pulled into a thin line, and he looks lost in thought. Taehyung frowns, but doesn’t say anything. Instead, he snuggles closer against Jimin, and laces their fingers tighter. He squeezes Jimin’s hand, and lets out a soft, quiet breath.

“Jimin-ie?”

“Hm?”

“You’ll tell me if you’re tired, right?”

Jimin blinks, not expecting the question. He turns to look at his friend questioningly, but Taehyung doesn’t meet his eyes. Instead, he is already closing his, and Jimin could feel his breathing growing slower and more relaxed. His head is heavy on Jimin’s shoulders, and Taehyung’s grip on his hand, which briefly tightens just a few seconds ago, now begins to slacken.

“Jimin-ie…” Taehyung whispers, yawning once. “Needs to tell me if you’re feeling…” He sighs. “Tired.”

Jimin waits for more, but when none comes, he peers at Taehyung. His friend is already fast asleep.

Jimin furrows his brows as he leans back against his seat. He ponders about Taehyung’s question, tilting his head as he does, nearly colliding with Taehyung’s head when he does. He feels Taehyung’s hair tickling his cheek, and smells the strawberry shampoo his friend uses.

“Tired, huh?” he mumbles to himself.

He isn’t sure what to make of that.


 

-

Yoongi closes the door behind him quietly, careful not to wake Seokjin up. His hyung is huddled up in his blankets, already lost in dreamland, and there is something about his tired expression as he sleeps and the way he sometimes mumbles the members’ names that breaks Yoongi’s heart a little.

(A lot.)

He will make sure Seokjin sleep in on their half day off. He deserves that much.

He pads into the living room, blinking as he adjusts to the dimness of the dorm. He wakes up feeling hungrier than he has ever felt before, and belatedly realizes he never ate his dinner during yesterday’s broadcast. He must have forgotten again, and was not hungry enough to realize it. Until now.

He sighs. He’s not sure if there’s anything left in the refrigerator and their manager would kill him if he ate ramyeon during their comeback promotion. But he’s far too hungry to simply go back to sleep and the members would throw a fit if they realize he’s been skipping meals at such a crucial period.

He’ll have to make do with leftovers, then.

Halfway, something catches his eyes.

 He turns and peers into the darkness. He thinks he sees a figure on the living room sofa, huddled in what looks like a green comforter. Raising his eyebrow, Yoongi cautiously approach the sofa, careful to not make any noise.

When the figure suddenly turns to face him, Yoongi does a double take out of surprise.

A second later, when he realizes the identity of the figure, an exasperated sigh escapes his lips.

Jimin sleeps peacefully on the sofa, his left hand loosely gripping what looks like a pile of music sheets. He is still dressed in the clothes he wore for the radio interview a few hours ago, and there are traces of leftover makeup on his face. It was as if he hurriedly took it off and wasn’t meticulous enough to make sure his face is thoroughly clear of makeup. Yoongi doubts he even showered before he fell asleep.

Now that he thinks about it, he recalls the boy mentioning he wants to look over the song to practice for the live radio broadcast they are scheduled for this afternoon. Namjoon had protested, but Jimin assured that it will only take a short while and he’ll rest up as soon as he can.

Yoongi sighs. That brat must have fallen asleep without realizing it.

He walks towards the sofa. He reaches out to touch Jimin’s shoulder before shaking it gently. “Hey, kid,” he says, “Wake up. Go sleep in your room. You’ll catch a cold like this.”

Jimin mumbles something unintelligible but does not stir.

“Jimin. Wake up. Come on,” Yoongi says again, louder this time. “Jin-hyung will kill me if he knows I let you sleep here.”

When Jimin still does not stir, Yoongi heaves another sigh. He considers just leaving the boy here – it’s only one night; what could go wrong? – but changes his mind just as quickly. Jimin has one of the lowest immune system among the members, and catches colds quickly if he doesn’t watch himself. It’s one thing letting his own members fall sick, knowing the potential guilt Jimin will feel if his cold troubles anyone is another.

He eyes Jimin carefully. Maybe he could carry him?

He shakes his head. Who was he kidding? Jimin may be one of the lightest, but Yoongi isn’t exactly one of the strongest. He runs his hand through his hair. How will he solve this unexpected predicament?

“Hyung.”

Yoongi’s eyes widen in surprise. He watches Jimin carefully, looking for signs the boy might be awake, but Jimin’s eyes remain closed. His lips, however, are moving, as if he is saying something.

“Yoongi…hyung.”

Ah…is he sleep talking? The corner of Yoongi’s lips quirks into a small smile. How cute.

“What is it, Jimin-ie?” he asks.

“Mm…” Jimin sighs in his sleep. “You’re so…” He furrows his brows, his lips pulling into a slight frown. “Yoongi-hyung, you’re-,” Unexpectedly, his hand slowly reaches out, curling into a loose fist as he does.

Like he is grasping something Yoongi cannot see.

“Yoongi-hyung.”

“Jimin, what is it?” Yoongi answers gently, “What do you want to tell me?”

“Far away.”

Yoongi blinks.

“Hyung…” There is a sudden change in Jimin’s tone. His eyes are closed, but there is a visible distress all over Jimin’s face. His tone is more high-pitched than usual, a sign Yoongi recognizes when Jimin is on either one end of the spectrum of emotions: excited, or distressed. From the looks of it, it seems to be the latter.  Is the boy having a nightmare?

“Hey, hey.” Yoongi’s hand hovers over Jimin’s shoulder, unsure whether to touch him or not. “Jimin, it’s just a -,”

“Yoongi-hyung, you’re too far away.”

 Yoongi pauses.

“You’re too far away,” Jimin says again in his sleep, his hand still reaching out. “You’re too…”

“Jimin.” Yoongi slowly reaches out to grab Jimin’s outreached hand, fingers curling over his loose fist before unravelling it completely. He laces their fingers together, with his thumb rubbing one of Jimin’s knuckles reassuringly. He makes a few shushing sounds as he lowers their intertwined hands before bringing them to his chest. “Jimin. Hey, I’m right here. Hyung is right here.”

Yoongi couldn’t think of the time where he wouldn’t be.

“Jimin,” he says softly, “Don’t worry so much. Hyung is right here.”

Jimin continues to sleep, but Yoongi’s words seem to have an effect as his expression gradually relaxes, and his breath evens out once more. His hand slackens in Yoongi’s grip. Yoongi breathes out in relief.

He stands up and pulls the comforter up to Jimin’s shoulders. He supposes he cannot do much in this situation. He’ll just have to explain if anyone asks, and takes the blame if Jimin does end up falling sick just so the boy doesn’t have to.

He glances at Jimin one last time before walking to the kitchen.

Something is troubling his dongsaeng’s mind. And judging by their lack of interaction since the first comeback stage, and now Jimin’s weird dream, Yoongi could only conclude one thing.

He’s the cause of it.


 

-

In the dimness of his room, Hoseok stares at his phone screen, more awake than ever.

He reads the words across his screen carefully and repeatedly, as if engraving them into his mind. Maybe he is. He might as well be. He hasn’t stopped staring at them for the past five minutes. It’s not as if he doesn’t want to. Hoseok just couldn’t.

thrashbts: heh jhope has been messing up lately has he

In reply to thrashbts, armyhell: who is he kidding? He made a fool of himself

thrashbts: So much for dance leader of BTS. Must be losing his touch.

In the dimness of his room, Hoseok’s grip on his phone tightens.

 

 

Chapter Text

Namjoon wakes up to a grumpy Jungkook.

If that’s not a sign for a bad day, he doesn’t know what is.

He watches silently from his bed as Jungkook stalks from across the room, stopping just in front of their shared wardrobe before practically flinging the door open. He mutters something underneath his breath as he rummages through his pile of shirts, shaking his head every now and then. He thinks he hears a curse word being thrown but he chooses to dismiss it as an imagination.

“Kook-ah,” he calls out when Jungkook suddenly groans, “What’s up?”

Jungkook gives his hyung a passing glance before going back to rummaging through his clothes. “Nothing.”

“Really?” Namjoon says sceptically, “Mind telling me why you’re throwing your clothes everywhere, then?”

“It’s nothing,” Jungkook repeats, “Just couldn’t find anything to wear for today’s interview, that’s all.”

“Our stylists usually help us with that,” Namjoon points out with an eyebrow raise. He gets up from his bed and walks over to Jungkook. He places a gentle hand on his shoulder. He could practically feel the energy thrumming underneath the boy’s skin, and he frowns at the way he tenses his shoulders. “Hey. You seem so restless. You sure there’s nothing wrong?”

Jungkook stills at his words. He bites his lip once, and releases a deep breath. He turns to face Namjoon, a tired smile on his face. He shakes his head once. Twice. “Just feeling a bit wound up, that’s all, Namjoon-hyung. I’m fine.”

He doesn’t sound too convincing, and Namjoon is tempted to ask more, but the maknae has always been a private person especially about his feelings. He knows the prying won’t help much. If anything, it will only make Jungkook close up even more. His hand grips Jungkook’s shoulder just a bit tighter for a brief moment, before he lets it go.

He gives his dongsaeng a smile of his own.

“Alright,” he says, “If you say so, Kook-ah.”


 

-

See the thing is, Jungkook has planned a short meetup with Yugyeom and Seokmin that morning.

But Seokmin had to cancel because of a conflicting schedule, and Jungkook had hoped that at least Yugyeom will be able to make it. He hasn’t seen any of his friends for a long while, and he was looking to the meetup.

But this morning, at exactly 7.30 a.m., he wakes up to a text message from Yugyeom.

Gyeomi : Sorry, Kookie-ah. Couldn’t make it.

Eh, why? A schedule?

Gyeomi: Ah… Not exactly. ^^;;

Then, why?

Is there something going on?

Gyeomi: Youngjae-hyung plans to bring me to the airport after class today.

Gyeomi: Jimin-ie and Yerin-ah are leaving for Finland today and we wanted to see them off.

A terrible, familiar feeling grows in Jungkook’s chest.

You didn’t tell me that before.

He knows he sounds resentful, but he was looking forward to their meeting, and Yugyeom really didn’t mention anything about this last night when they were planning their day.

Gyeomi: Their flight was supposed to be before my class, so I thought it wouldn’t be such a big deal…but it suddenly got delayed, so they’re leaving a bit later.

Gyeomi: Ah…did I make you mad? I’m sorry T_T

Gyeomi: I know it’s sudden. But I’ll make it up to you, I promise.

Jungkook grips his phone a little tighter, and is very nearly tempted to text an angry reply. He really was looking forward to hanging out with his friends, seeing as today will be the only free time he has before their group will be too busy with promotions and concert preparations. If anything, he was looking forward to spending time with Yugyeom again.

But lately, all his friend does is Jimin this, Jimin that. Oh look, Jungkook, Jimin has a new song! Jungkook, she’s an MC for this show today. Jungkookie, Jimin- 

And it frustrates him because Jimin seems to be intruding in their safe friendship bubble, even if she doesn’t play an active part in it. And back when Yugyeom and Jimin were still “just friends”, she was usually mentioned in a passing moment. Sometimes, she does join in their conversation, but only a handful of times. Jimin and Yugyeom, Jimin and Jungkook, and Jungkook and Yugyeom are three separate friendships that rarely intertwine, and Jungkook is happy with that arrangement.

But ever since that one quiet evening, a few days before the tour, during one of their bowling meetups, that Yugyeom confessed he has feelings for the girl, the barrier between the three separate friendships began to slowly disintegrate. Now, Jungkook feels like it’s Jimin and Yugyeom, and Jimin, Jungkook, and Yugyeom. On some days, Jungkook feels like he is not even a part of that equation.

Jungkook is happy for Yugyeom. He really is. He knows that Yugyeom is genuinely in love with the girl, and honestly, Jimin is a nice person. He realizes belatedly that she does fit Yugyeom’s type. And honestly, Jungkook does have other friends to hang out with. He has a circle of 97-liners he can always call up and see if they’re free. Who is he to be upset with whoever Yugyeom is hanging out with?

But still,

Gyeomi: Jungkook?

Jungkook lets out a slow breath. He begins to type.

No, it’s fine. Some other time, then.

Gyeomi: Are you mad at me?

Yes. No. Maybe. Jungkook doesn’t know.

No. Why would I be?

Some other time, okay?

Gyeomi: Okay, then. We’ll play bowling after your farewell stage, okay?

Okay.

He puts his phone down, and spends the rest of the early morning trying to get rid of the growing resentful feeling in his chest.


 

-

Two hours before their scheduled radio interview, Taehyung decides to stop by to their dance studio to slip in a few moments of practice. He considers inviting Jimin to join him, but when he finds the boy still half awake, sleepily brushing his teeth in the bathroom, he decides against it. It is their half-day off. Jimin could use as much rest as he can.

Yoongi and Namjoon had gone to the main office to meet up with some of the producers, and Seokjin is out with his friends. With Hoseok nowhere to be found, he decides to go alone. He could ask one of the backup dancers to help him.

So, he asks his manager for a drive to the studio, and twenty minutes later, he is walking into the studio. He expects it to be mostly empty, but when he hears the familiar beat of their title track, and a lone figure dancing the chorus, a smile graces his handsome features. He recognizes that person.

“Hoseok-hyung!” he greets cheerfully.

Hoseok doesn’t seem to hear him. He continues to dance, spinning on his heels and gliding to the beat. Taehyung watches in fascination as Hoseok executes each move with as much power and precision as he could and more. It is as if he is trying to prove something to someone, and the focus in his expression is almost impossible to look away from.

Hoseok has always been a remarkable dancer. No one can deny otherwise.

Taehyung wishes he can be half as good as him.

“Hoseok-hyung!” he tries again, louder this time. Hoseok finally notices, and turns towards him. He grins at him, though a bit tiredly. He waves, before walking towards him.  “Ah, Taehyung-ie,” he greets, “Practice?”

With a cheerful nod, Taehyung beams at him. “Thought I’d practice some of the moves before our comeback stage tonight.” He looks around him, and realizes that there are only the two of them in the practice room. Usually, there will be a couple of backup dancers hanging around, or their staff arranging their outfits for the day at the corner of the room, but there is no one in sight. “Huh. How long have you been alone, hyung?”

Hoseok shrugs. “I’ve only been here for half an hour. Maybe the dancers went back to the company before I arrived.” The title track in the background slowly ends, and is quickly replaced by one of their B-side tracks. Hoseok bops his head to the beat briefly before glancing at Taehyung. “You want me to help you with anything?”

“Yeah. Just the chorus. The spinning still fumbles me a bit,” Taehyung confesses. With a playful jab at Hoseok’s shoulder, he smiles. “Why did you choreograph such a difficult point move for?” he teases.

“Yah! It wasn’t me. It was Eunho-hyung,” Hoseok protests, before rubbing the back of his neck, “Thought I might have contributed a bit.”  He pats Taehyung on the back. “Okay, then. I was just practicing that part, anyway. Come on. I’ll help you.”

“Yay!” Taehyung cheers. He moves to the corner of the room to put down his duffle bag and shrugs off his bomber jacket. He is talking excitedly as he does, something about looking forward to the radio interview this afternoon – Cultwo’s Show has always been one of his favourite radio shows to be on – and he fumbles over his words as he speaks.

As Taehyung speaks, he misses the fond look Hoseok throws his way.


 

-

Half an hour later, Taehyung collapses to the floor, breathing heavily as sweat trails down his cheeks. Hoseok joins him after, with flushed cheeks, and hair damp with sweat. He peers at Taehyung, grinning widely at him. Taehyung sticks out his tongue at him playfully.

“You really show no mercy, hyung,” he complains. “Now I’m gonna have sores all over my body and will be too weak to say anything at the radio show, later.”

“You asked for it,” Hoseok points out. He touches Taehyung’s right ankle. “You’re okay, though? That was a lot of spinning we did,” he says with a laugh.

“Eh, I’ll live,” Taehyung replies with a shrug. He glances at the clock on the wall. They have exactly an hour before they are scheduled to leave, and Taehyung probably needs a shower at this point. He stretches his arms and lies down on the floor. He doesn’t have quite the will to move just yet, though. Despite what he claims, his ankles are stinging, but it’s a good kind of sting. The kind that Taehyung knows is the result of hard work. He sighs, and turns to his side. “Hyung-ie, I’m hungry.”

“Aww, our Taehyung-ie is hungry,” Hoseok cooes, “I’d get you ice-cream but then…”

Taehyung sighs in resignation. “I can’t wait for this diet to be over. I want sweets!”

Hoseok pats his head comfortingly. “Hyung-ie will buy you all the sweets after our farewell stage, okay?” Taehyung grins at him in response, and moves closer to snuggle against him.

“Hoseok-hyung is the best. Anyone who says otherwise is lying.”

There is a strange smile on Hoseok’s face as he hears those words. It’s a mixture of fondness and exasperation, with a hint of genuine gratitude. Taehyung always has something to say that could cheer him up. Even on the worst and most tiring days, he’ll find a way to lift up the mood. The fans claim that Hoseok’s the sunshine of the group, and he couldn’t really blame him because he’s always making sure to smile and grin and laugh on camera (and sometimes, off-camera), but the real moodmaker here has always been Taehyung.

“Hoseok-hyung.”

“Hm?”

“I love you. You know that, right?”

Hoseok does a double take. He clearly isn’t expecting that to come out from Taehyung’s mouth. He looks down at his dongsaeng questioningly. “Um.”

“I love you, and Jimin-ie, and Jungkook-ie, and Namjoon-hyung, and Yoongi-hyung, and Seokjin-hyung,” Taehyung continues without a missing a beat. Hoseok nearly wants to laugh at himself. Of course. Honestly, what else could he mean? “I love alllll my members,” Taehyung reaches out his hands as emphasis. “I can’t imagine my life without you guys.”

“Why are you so sentimental all of a sudden?” Hoseok asks, playing with Taehyung’s hair absently, “Did something happen?”

Taehyung shakes his head. “It’s just…” He glances up at Hoseok, staring at him with wide eyes, “Hyung, you trust that I love you and care about you, right?”

Not knowing what else to say, Hoseok merely nods.

“I love you guys so much,” Taehyung repeats, “So if there’s anything wrong, you’ll tell me, right?”

“Tae…”

“Because Jimin-ie is worried about something and hasn’t been talking to Yoongi-hyung very much lately, and Jungkook-ie is grumpier than usual. I don’t want Namjoon-hyung to shoulder all the worries and troubles, but the two of them won’t tell me much.” Taehyung grips the material of Hoseok’s shirt absently. “Seokjin-hyung is trying his best, I can tell. But I want to be able to help, you know?” His expression towards Hoseok is almost heartbreaking. “No one tells me anything, and it’s frustrating. So.” Taehyung gets up into a sitting position and touches Hoseok’s arm. “If there’s anything troubling you – anything at all -, you’ll tell me, won’t you, hyung?”

Some fans like to think Taehyung is a carefree person who doesn’t think before he speaks, and comes off as a typical airhead who only knows fun and games, but really, he’s more observant than they think. It’s moments like these when Hoseok really appreciates Taehyung’s company and treasures the relationship they share even more. He is glad he is able to know him. He doesn’t regret the feelings he has for the boy.

But it’s the same feelings that holds him back from worrying him. Because he couldn’t bear to be the reason behind his worries.

So instead, he smiles (as always) and pinches Taehyung’s cheek playfully. “You’re so grown up, now, aren’t you, Taehyung? Worrying about everyone like that.”

Taehyung huffs. “Of course, I worry.”

His phone rings before Hoseok could say anything more, and he watches as Taehyung rushes to his duffle bag to take out his phone. “Hello? Ah, Seokjin-hyung! Yeah… I’m at the practice room with Hoseok-ie-hyung. Okay, okay. We’ll head back now.” He turns to him. “We should go home and shower. The van is coming soon.”

Hoseok nods. “Yeah, okay.” He stretches a bit before standing up. By the time he grabs his backpack from one of the shelves, Taehyung is already waiting by the doorway. “You go on ahead,” he says, “I need to grab something from one of the rooms.”

Taehyung hesitates. “You sure?”

“It’s just for five minutes.”

“Okay.”

When Taehyung turns and crouches down to the floor to tie his shoelaces, Hoseok stares at his back silently.

“If there’s anything troubling you – anything at all -, you’ll tell me, won’t you, hyung?”

Smiling wryly to himself, he shakes his head. He already knows the answer to that question. He reaches out his hand towards the boy quietly, his fingers curling slightly. He thinks his hand is big enough to grab hold of Taehyung. To grab hold of his existence. But when Taehyung gets up and walks out of the room without looking back at him, he drops his hand and sighs.

Longing, he realizes, really is like grasping the air.


 

-

There is an unopened notification across Hoseok’s phone screen.


 

-

thrashbts: J-Hope please just leave. You’re getting worse day by day.

Chapter Text

If there is a day that Jimin is ever nervous for a radio interview, today is the day.

He sits in silence, forcing a smile when the rest of the members laugh at a joke one of the hosts – Chan Woo – said, and he counts the minutes in his head of how much longer this interview lasts. Truthfully, he doesn’t understand why he’s so nervous – he’s been on this radio show a number of times – but throughout the journey to the studio, there is a growing terrible feeling settling at the base of his stomach. One he couldn’t ignore.

He feels something bad is going to happen, which he finds silly, because it’s just a radio show; what could possibly go wrong?

But here he is, sitting beside Seokjin, smiling his way through jokes if he couldn’t laugh and trying his best to ignore the nausea at the back of his throat. He glances at his watch: still 20 minutes left until their segment in the radio show is over. He hopes nothing goes wrong until then.

“Jimin-ssi,” Tae Gyun says, snapping Jimin out of his thoughts, “What about you? What do you think?”

Jimin blinks. “Um…about what?”

There is laughter across the table and Jimin flushes in embarrassment. “Looks like Jimin-ssi is daydreaming!” Tae Gyun chortles, “I know it’s tiring, but please hold on just a bit longer, eh?” he teases.

 Jimin forces a smile and nods. “Ah…I’m sorry.”

“We were asking about everyone’s opinion on liking someone,” Chan Woo clarifies, “It’s been a while since anyone have asked this from what we observed, so we were kinda curious if anyone’s ideal type has changed.” He smiles at Jimin knowingly. “You wrote a song about longing, didn’t you? According to this SNS comment from Ji-woo-ssi, she said she cried for days listening to it.”

“Jimin-ie is a heartbreaker,” Taehyung says solemnly, “Making girls cry left and right.” Jimin reaches over to smack him lightly on the shoulder as retaliation, earning another laugh from the group.

“Yah! Don’t say things like that,” Jimin protests. He rubs the back of his neck. “Yes, I did participate in songwriting in this album. The song’s title is ‘Far away’ and it is about longing,” he pauses, “I’m not sure how it relates to my ideal type, though.”

“Well, the lyrics describe wanting to be with someone whom you can’t reach. If I’m explaining that right,” says Chan Woo.

“You are.”

“When you were writing this song, where did you get the inspiration from? I mean, I’m no expert at songwriting, but longing gives an impression of being a pretty hard topic to tackle. But the lyrics flow so well in this song. There must be something that inspired them.”

“Did you think of a specific person when you were writing this song, Jimin-ssi?” Tae Gyun adds.

“That’s a very dangerous question,” Jimin replies playfully, hiding the nervousness he is actually feeling. “But to answer it…” He clears his throat. He looks at Namjoon for approval. The leader nods slightly, urging him to continue with a small smile. “It’s half true,” Jimin admits, “I mean, there wasn’t…a specific person involved,” He smiles inwardly at his own lie. Of course, there is. He’s just three seats away from Jimin. “But to come up with the lyrics, I did immerse myself in the situation.”

“Mind explaining that?”

“I…imagined myself liking someone,” Jimin says slowly, “A person who is just within my reach, but no matter how much I tried, the person disappears just when I thought I could grab hold of…” He hesitates. “Them.”

There is a pause. No one says a word as they wait for Jimin to speak.

“It’s a bit like storytelling,” Jimin continues, “The person I like…” He smiles a little.  He takes a deep breath. The person he likes. How could he explain him in words?

He looks at Yoongi, who doesn’t look back. What are the words to explain him?

“The person I like is beautiful,” Jimin begins, and he smiles a bit wider at the simplicity of it. Because Yoongi, in so many ways, is in fact, beautiful. “The person I like has the warmest smile. Is very talented. Likes the quiet, but appreciates the company.” He pauses. “The person I like is passionate, like a flame. Selfless. Kind.” His smile softens around the edges. “But the person I like remains out of my reach, no matter how hard I try to grab hold.”

“That sounds…” Chan Woo exchanges looks with Tae Gyun. “That sounds so lonely, Jimin-ssi. What a lonely situation to immerse yourself in.”

Lonely, huh? Jimin supposes it is.

“But it worked, didn’t it?” Seokjin pipes in, “The loneliness of the story, it reflected well in Jimin’s song. That’s why it was well-received among our fans.” He pats Jimin’s shoulder. “Isn’t that right, Jimin?”

“Jimin has a talent in storytelling, that much is certain,” Tae Gyun agrees. He turns to Yoongi. “What about you, Suga-ssi?”

Yoongi widens his eyes slightly, a bit surprised to be addressed so suddenly. “Me?”

“What’s your take on love? Any opinions on it?”

Jimin turns his gaze on him, waiting for his answer. He watches as Yoongi seems to ponder on the question carefully, pouting his bottom lip – an endearing habit he has when he is thinking deeply -  as he does. He leans forward and taps the microphone once to test it.

“For me, love is…” he says, “Honestly, I myself don’t really understand that word fully yet. At least, not all aspects of it. I understand love between family and friends, but any more than that…there are still things I’m not sure of.”

Chan Woo raises his eyebrow. “Really? You wrote quite a number of love songs in your albums, though. You must have some idea of romantic love.”

“No one made your heart beat faster, Suga-ssi?” Tae Gyun pipes in cheekily, “You’re in the prime years of your youth. In fact, all of you are. There should be times when you wondered about looking for love. It’s only natural.”

Yoongi gives a quiet hum, considering the question. Jimin waits, trying to not look as expectant as he feels. Beside him, Hoseok looks distracted, bouncing his foot every now and then. Jimin thinks he sees him discreetly checking his phone from underneath the table, but Hoseok wouldn’t do something as unethical as that during a radio interview. So, he dismisses it as his imagination.

“To be honest,” Yoongi says, snapping Jimin out of his reverie, “I’m not looking for love, right now.” He tilts his head. “I mean, given our busy schedules and whatnot, honestly, I don’t have the time. So, because of that, I never really gave myself the chance to really ask myself what does…romantic love mean to me. Personally.” He pauses, and runs a hand through his hair. “That and…” He gives a short laugh. “I feel like ARMYs are gonna be mad at me for saying this.”

“Come on, it can’t be so bad,” Chan Woo replies, urging him to continue. Yoongi steals a glance towards Namjoon, who gives him a nod. Yoongi inhales slowly, before letting out his breath.

“Right now, I’m not all that interested in love.” When no one answers, he decides to continue. “I don’t think I will, at least, for quite a while. People often talk about love as someone who makes your heart beat faster, and you feel warm and safe and all that. If that’s the case,” he pauses, “I haven’t found that kind of person. And frankly, I don’t think I’ll look for whoever it is for now.”

“For now?” Chan Woo questions.

“For now,” Yoongi confirms, “Maybe one day; a very distant future. But for now, no.”

A few seconds tick by in silence. The hosts exchange a glance with another, unsure of what to say. Namjoon, realizing this, quickly brings the microphone nearer.

“Love is something we can’t force, after all. It comes naturally,” he says, “Whatever happens, happens. But right now, we’re focusing on our music first. If we bump into love on the way, then, we’ll see what happens.”

The other members murmur their agreement, and as the radio interview continues, Jimin leans back against his seat, and tries to breathe. There is weird taste at the back of his throat, and his chest feels heavy. He hears Taehyung saying a joke, but this time, he couldn’t bring himself to react much to it.

He looks at Yoongi across him.

“Right now, I’m not all that interested in love.”

“I haven’t found that kind of person.”

It’s stupid, he thinks. It’s incredibly stupid to feel the way he feels over something he has no right to feel that way over. It’s not something he could control. Jimin doesn’t understand why Yoongi’s words stung, but they just do.

He belatedly realizes that he found the reason behind the terrible feeling he had before.


 

-

When the first thing that Jimin does after reaching their dorm is to run towards the bathroom, Yoongi knows something is wrong.

“Does Jimin have an upset stomach or something?” Seokjin asks, watching the boy go.

“I hope he doesn’t spend too much time in there,” Jungkook grumbles, “The glitter eyeshadow itches.” He rubs his eyes as emphasis, making a face at the green glitter sticking to his sleeve. “I just want to shower and sleep. I’m exhausted.”

“We all are,” Seokjin points out, “But at least eat something first. You didn’t have dinner at the broadcast station today.”

Jungkook says nothing and stalks into his bedroom. Namjoon follows soon after, and Yoongi hears a murmured conversation. Whatever that is making Jungkook so grumpy these days, he hopes Namjoon can fix it.

Hoseok pats him on the shoulder, and gives him a tired smile. “I’m gonna rest up. Let me know if Jimin-ie is done with the bathroom.” When Yoongi nods in reply, Hoseok walks to his bedroom, Taehyung accompanying him. Yoongi watches him go, noting the slouch in his shoulders. The slouch that has been there for quite a while now.

Seokjin pads to the kitchen, muttering about having to make sure “his kids have dinner before collapsing”, leaving Yoongi alone in the living room. He makes his way to the sofa, before slumping down onto the cushions. He releases an audible sigh.

He glances at the bathroom door. He hears nothing, not even the sound of the shower running. He couldn’t guess what Jimin could possibly be doing in there.

He rubs his hand across his face tiredly.

He just wants for this day to be over.


 

-

Jimin swings open the door handle, and exits the bathroom. His hair is damp from the shower, and he smells faintly of jasmines. He also smells ramyeon, and spies a plate sitting on the kitchen counter along with a sticky note, probably left there by one of his hyungs.  He dries his face with a towel, and hopes that the puffiness in his eyes are gone.

He doesn’t want to have to explain anything to his roommates.

“You took your time.”

Jimin nearly jumps out of his skin in surprise. He whirls towards the direction of the voice and finds Yoongi lounging on the living room sofa. His face betrays nothing.

“Yoongi-hyung,” Jimin squeaks, “You surprised me.”

“Hoseok probably fell asleep waiting for the shower,” Yoongi says, “Do me a favour and wake him up for me, won’t you?”

“Ah, of course. I-,” Jimin shuffles on his feet. “I’ll go do it, um, right now.”

“Before that,” Yoongi continues, stopping Jimin in his tracks. “Mind if we talk about something for a bit?”

Jimin looks at Yoongi uncertainly. “About what, hyung?”

Yoongi languidly lifts himself off the sofa and strides over to him. Jimin forces himself to keep his ground and look at his hyung in the eye. Yoongi’s expression is smooth when he finally stops in front of Jimin, leaning against the wall.

“Anything, really,” Yoongi says.

Jimin frowns. “I don’t understand, hyung.”

Yoongi stares at him wordlessly for a moment before sighing. “I’ll be frank, then.” His expression turns serious. “Jimin-ie, we haven’t been talking much lately. Mind telling me why?”

The moment Jimin hears the question, it takes everything in him to not run away right there and then, despite every fibre of his being screaming him to. He swallows thickly, forcing himself to meet Yoongi’s gaze, but not quite able to. His gaze eventually slides down to the floor, and he shifts his weight uneasily.

“I don’t know what you mean,” he mumbles, uneasiness and dread filling his heart.

“Maybe it’s my imagination, but you’ve been avoiding me this whole week. Ever since the first comeback stage.” Yoongi furrows his brow. “Did I do something wrong, Jimin?”

Jimin waves his hand in front of him frantically, as if putting up a barrier between him and Yoongi. He shakes his head. “No! It’s not…” Jimin looks up at him slowly and uncertainly. “It’s not that, Yoongi-hyung.” He slowly steps to the side. “I wasn’t avoiding you. I was just tired.”

“Tired enough to speak to everyone but me?” Yoongi asks.

Yoongi’s words seem to stab Jimin right in the heart, and he nearly gasp at the intensity of the pain that came with them. His words stung. Jimin lowers his gaze to the floor again, biting his lip. Yoongi’s words stung, but they were true, and that frustrates Jimin. There is a burning sensation at the back of his eyelids, and he realizes, much to his horror, that he might start crying if he doesn’t remove himself from this conversation.

“Jimin…” Yoongi is looking at him with an almost pleading expression. Jimin thinks it’s pleading, anyway. But whatever it is, Yoongi’s expression is absolutely heartbreaking. Jimin doesn’t know if Yoongi realizes this. “Jimin, please tell hyung what’s going on. If I did anything wrong-,”

“Yoongi-hyung,” Jimin whispers, interrupting him, “I’m just…” he sighs, “I’m really, really tired right now, hyung. Can we talk about this later?”

“Jimin-,”

“I’ll see you in the morning, hyung. Good night.” Jimin quickly turns around, walking away from Yoongi. He reaches for his bedroom door, fingers touching the cold metal handle.

“Jimin.”

Jimin pauses.

“Did I…” He hears hesitation in Yoongi’s tone. “Did I hurt you?”

Jimin bites his lips, harder than before. He thinks he tastes blood. He doesn’t find himself caring. The pain it brings is nothing compared to the steady throbbing he feels in his heart. The burning sensation behind his eyelids increases, and his vision begins to blur.

Slowly, with his back facing Yoongi, Jimin shakes his head.


 

-

“No,” he replies softly, “I’m just hurting myself."

Chapter Text

Jungkook wakes up to a text message from Yugyeom.

Gyeomi: hey when is your goodbye stage?

This Saturday. Why?

Gyeomi: Bowling? Me and you?

A smile appears Jungkook’s sleepy face. He blinks a few times, making sure the message is real and not just a figment of his imagination. He even slaps his wrist just as a precaution, earning a yelp from himself when he slaps it a bit too hard. He’s grateful he’s now sleeping alone. He might have woken up Namjoon if they were still roommates.

It’s real. Jungkook isn’t dreaming.

Yeah that’d be great!

Gyeomi: ^_^  Same place same time?

Gyeomi: I can pick you up this time if you wanna.               

Jungkook is practically beaming at this point. He hurriedly checks his phone calendar to make sure he has the date right and confirms that he is, indeed, free on that day. With a fluttering heart, he reopens his message window and types out his reply.

Ah! It’s fine. I can go myself ^^

I don’t want us to draw any attention.

So...Saturday?

Yugyeom’s reply is short and simple, but enough to make Jungkook’s heart soar.

Gyeomi: Saturday ^_^


 

-

Seokjin watches in amusement as Jungkook stretches his legs and hums to himself rather happily. The boy seems to be full of restless energy today, but his mood seems to have improved. In fact, he’s been in a good mood for the past few days. He smiled more, and even tolerated Seokjin’s lame jokes. Seokjin wonders whether it’s because today’s the last day of promotion, or it’s something else.

“Jungkook-ah, don’t strain your voice so much,” he chides when the boy moved on from humming to singing, “We still have today’s goodbye stage to perform at.”

Jungkook smiles sheepishly at him, making his heart soft just looking at it. “Sorry, hyung. Just excited.”

“For what?” Seokjin ruffles Jungkook’s hair affectionately. “What are you looking forward to so much today?”

Jungkook’s smile grows. “I’m going bowling with Yugyeom tonight. After our goodbye stage broadcast.”

“Ah,” Seokjin says, understanding. “I see.” He smiles fondly at Jungkook, who beams at him in return.

That would explain everything. Hearing Yugyeom’s name suddenly made Seokjin think back of the last time Jungkook hung out with his friend. They have been incredibly busy since even before the comeback period itself and Seokjin belatedly realizes that Jungkook barely left the dorm to see his friends even on their few days off. Even Seokjin himself went out a couple of times despite their busy schedule, but the boy hasn’t been out for a while.

He wonders if that was the reason why Jungkook has been so grumpy lately.

He sighs. Sometimes, he wishes Jungkook would just tell him things.

“Don’t stay out too late,” Seokjin reminds him. “You still need to rest after all of our schedules. We can’t have you falling sick when you’re finally free for a while.”

Jungkook rolls his eyes. “Okay, mom.”

Seokjin watches him run off towards Namjoon with a fond expression.

That brat. He grows up so fast.

He breathes out a sigh of relief. At least whatever issue Jungkook has is seemingly solved now. That is one less thing to worry about.

He turns to the right, where Jimin and Yoongi are. The two have their backs facing each other. Jimin is muttering his lines to himself while Yoongi is seemingly fixated on the current performance playing on the screen. From the looks of it, it was a rookie girl group that Seokjin is pretty sure Yoongi hasn’t heard of yet. And somehow, despite the fact that Yoongi’s eyes are fixed on the screen, from his blank expression, Seokjin doubts he’s even paying attention.

Jimin continues to mutter his lines to himself, his posture ramrod straight and face determinedly turned away from Yoongi.

Seokjin frowns.

Now, if he could only solve this issue.


 

-

When Jungkook finally arrives at the bowling centre that night, decked in his favourite red hoodie, casual black pants, and the sneakers a fansite master gave him for his birthday, he sees Yugyeom sitting on one of the benches, sipping on a cup of coffee. A grin spreads across Jungkook’s face.

“Yugyeom!” he calls out.

Yugyeom turns towards him, mirroring his smile as he raises his hand to wave at him. When he rises from his seat and Jungkook catches sight of a figure sitting beside him, his smile instantly drops from his face.

Jimin waves at him alongside Yugyeom, smiling cheerily at him.

“Jungkook-ah!” Yugyeom greets happily as Jungkook approaches them slightly warily, trying to school his expression into a neutral one. He glances at Jimin for half a second before focusing on Yugyeom. “Glad you could make it, man,” his friend continues, seemingly oblivious to Jungkook’s change in expression. He gestures to Jimin with a grin. “I brought Jimin-ah along.”

“I noticed,” Jungkook says dryly. He offers Jimin a half-smile. “Jimin-ah. Long time no see.”

“You, too, Jungkook-ah,” Jimin replies, “I hope you don’t mind me tagging along,” she adds somewhat self-consciously, “It was all spontaneous on Yugyeom’s part.”

Jungkook eyes Yugyeom, raising his eyebrow. Yugyeom rubs his neck awkwardly when he realizes the boy’s stare. “Ah, I lost a bet to her and I owed her dinner. But I kinda forgot about it and I don’t know where to fit it in my schedule. So I thought, why not kill two birds with one stone and go for bowling while we’re at it?” He pokes Jimin’s shoulder playfully. “Plus, Jimin here has been bragging that she’s a master at bowling and I thought I’d prove her wrong.”

Jimin rolls her eyes. “You’ll regret it.”

It sounds too much like an excuse, and Jungkook is on the verge of saying just that. He feels a bit…no, quite betrayed if he is to be very honest with himself. He looked forward to the outing, and he expects it to be just the two of them. Yugyeom never alluded that he would bring anyone else. He feels as if his privacy has been breached, as weird as that may sound.

It’s not because it’s Jimin, Jungkook tries to reason with himself. He would have been annoyed too even if Yugyeom brought one of the 97-liner guys along without telling him. Jungkook isn’t too keen on surprises, especially if it involves his own personal plans.

But the fact that it’s Jimin-

“Jungkook?” Yugyeom peers at him, “You alright? You haven’t said a thing.”

Jungkook hides his hand in his pocket, and clenches it into a fist. He’s being silly. Petty. Immature. He’s 21 years old. He can handle his emotions better than this.

“You wanna prove Jimin-ah here wrong, right?” he says with a cheeky grin, “Let’s start already. Or are you stalling?”

Jimin laughs and Yugyeom protests.

And Jungkook-

Jungkook pretends there isn’t a thorn steadily pushing its way through his heart.

-


 

Jimin is good at bowling, but she isn’t the best.

She manages to score a few strikes and even beat Jungkook’s score once or twice, but Jungkook is still better. That’s the only thing that matters.

Not that Yugyeom noticed.

“How’s that, Yugyeom?” Jimin says, “I beat your score again.” She pokes out her tongue at Yugyeom playfully.

“Beginner’s luck,” Yugyeom replies without much bite.

“Luck must like me since that’s my fourth time.”

“Oh, just you wait-,”

“I’m going to the restroom,” Jungkook interrupts.

Yugyeom finally turns to him then, worry spreading across his handsome features. Jungkook’s heart twists just looking at it. “Are you okay? You don’t look so good.”

Jungkook doesn’t doubt it. He couldn’t remember smiling throughout his whole time here. “I’m fine. I just need to wash my face for a bit.”

He thinks he sees Jimin sparing him a concerned glance, but he doesn’t check to make sure. He rises from his seat before Yugyeom could reply and makes his way towards the restroom at the corner of the bowling centre. He doesn’t look back once.


 

-

He is grateful to find the restroom empty and hurriedly goes inside the last stall before locking the door behind him. He leans against the wall, blinks once, twice, at the dirty floor underneath him, and forces himself to breathe.

Once.

Twice.

Thrice.

Jungkook is not angry. He refuses to be. It’s irrational for him to be. He will not get angry. It’s no one’s fault. No one did anything wrong. There is no mistake for him to get mad over. Jungkook clenches his jaw, and forces his breathing again. One two three four five. Six. Sev- shit, what comes after six? Nine? No. That’s wrong. It’s okay. It’s okay. Just breathe. Everything will be just fi-

His phone rings, breaking the silence.

He lets his phone ring for two seconds, before he recognizes the ringtone. He sets different ones for each of his members so he can recognize who is calling without having to check the caller ID; a tactic he adopts from Namjoon when he finds out the elder sets a Batman theme as his ringtone for jokes and giggles.

Awake continues to play.

Seokjin-hyung.

He reaches inside his pocket and fishes out his phone. He slides his thumb across the screen and brings the phone to his ear.

“Hey, hyung,” he says, half-whispering.

“Yah, maknae. Are you having too much fun you can’t even answer your phone?” Despite the words, there is no bite. Jungkook smiles softly to himself.

“I was washing my face,” he lies, “Sorry.”

“I was kidding, Jungkook-ah.” There is a chuckle, and Jungkook thinks it sounds fond. “I was just checking up on you.”

“I’m not a kid anymore, hyung.”

“I know. It’s a habit, I guess.” There is something in his tone that Jungkook couldn’t place his finger on it. Whatever it is, it makes Jungkook’s heart clench hearing it. “Are you having fun, Kook-ah?”

No.

“Yeah,” Jungkook says, trying to sound as cheerful as he can. “It was good meeting Yugyeom again.”

“That’s great. You should see your friends more often. Especially now that we’re on break.”

“Yeah…” Jungkook trails off. He shifts his weight and leans more heavily against the wall, suddenly feeling a little tired. He doesn’t care that the wall might be dirty and full of germs which could get him sick. He just needs something to lean on. So that he could rest for a bit.

“Besides, I know you miss hanging out with Yugyeom. So, it’s good that you two could meet again.”

Ah. Jungkook smiles inwardly. Is it? Funny. Jungkook remembers looking forward to the outing, and remembers the excitement rushing through him. Now he could barely remember what transpired the past hour.

The only thing he does remember is the growing resentment he feels when he sees Yugyeom and Jimin laughing at something that Jungkook is clearly not part of; a feeling he tries so hard to push down. It’s irrational. It’s bad. One two three four five six-

“Jungkook-ah?” Seokjin continues, “Are you okay? You don’t sound so good.”

Ah. He makes his hyung worry again. Jungkook doesn’t like it when that happens.

“I’m fine,” he says, but there is a sudden crack in his voice, and suddenly, everything feels overwhelming. “Ah, um.” He doesn’t understand, but his vision is suddenly blurring, and there is a heaviness in his chest that wasn’t there before. His legs suddenly feel weaker, and he struggles to remain standing. “I, um,” he tries again, but the words won’t cooperate.

“Jungkook? Hey, what’s wrong?”

“N-nothing.” Jungkook’s voice cracks again, and he feels like punching himself. What is happening? Why is he feeling this way? Why is everything spinning?

“Hyung, I-,” He feels something hot trickle down his cheek. Oh god, is he crying? Now? Of all times? “I gotta go. I-,”

“Jung-,”

He hangs up before Seokjin could finish calling his name. He unlocks the door and pushes it open. He needs to breathe. He needs air. He needs to calm the fuck down.

When the door swings open, he is met with Yugyeom, whose expression immediately shifts into bewilderment the moment their eyes meet.


 

-

“Jungkook? Hey, what’s wrong?” Yugyeom’s tone is frantic. Jungkook hates it.

He also hates the question.

“I’m fine,” he mumbles, passing him without a glance. He wipes his tears with his sleeves as he does, and hurriedly switches on the tap. He needs to wash his face. God, why is he even crying?

“You don’t look fine. Why are you crying, Jungkook-ah? Are you sick? Do you need me to call your hyungs?”

Jungkook hates questions. He hates them with passion.

“I told you, I’m fine,” he answers, his tone sounding sharper than he intends them to be. When shock flashes across Yugyeom’s face followed by a hint of hurt, Jungkook bites his lips, instantly regretting it. He runs his hand through his hair, letting out a frustrated sigh. “I’m just…” he pauses, “Tired.”

“Do you want to go home?” Yugyeom asks quietly, “I’m sorry, Jungkook. I was being inconsiderate. I shouldn’t have invited you directly after your schedule.” He sounds truly apologetic as if everything, including Jungkook’s messed up emotions, is his fault. Jungkook hates it. Hates it hates it hates it-

“No. I don’t want to ruin the fun. It’s not your fault.” He breathes in deeply. “You even brought…Jimin.” There is a change in his tone when he says her name, one which he himself doesn’t quite understand why. “Don’t let me spoil the fun.” He sounds petulant, even to himself.

Yugyeom, being sweet, caring, frustratingly observant Yugyeom, notices the difference in Jungkook’s tone immediately. Jungkook could see it in his face.

“Jungkook? What’s this all about?” Yugyeom’s expression is a mask of confusion. “Are you mad at me for something?” He hesitates. “Is it…is it because I brought Jimin-ah along?”

Yes.

Yes.

Yesyesyesyesyesyesyes

“It’s just…” Jungkook begins carefully, “I wasn’t expecting it.” He allows himself to properly frown. “You never mentioned bringing anyone else. I was…I thought. It would be just the two of us.”

Yugyeom mirrors his frown. “I wanted it to be a surprise…I mean, you haven’t seen Jimin in a while, haven’t you? I thought you might be happy to see her in person after a while.”

Jungkook clenches his fist. Grits his teeth. It sounds like an excuse. A terrible, self-indulgent excuse that is meant to protect himself but hurt Jungkook. Hurt him. He is hurt. He is-

“I don’t want to see Jimin. I wanted to see you,” he finally snaps. There is something flaring in his chest, and he is suddenly overwhelmed by a flurry of emotions. Jungkook doesn’t think he can control them. He doesn’t think he wants to. Not anymore.

Yugyeom’s expression morphs into shock again, but Jungkook doesn’t give himself time to ponder over it. He carries on, saying out the thoughts he couldn’t express before.

“It’s never just us, anymore,” he says lowly, “Even in our conversations, it’s never just you and me. There is always someone else. There is always…” He breathes out harshly. “Her.”

“Her?” Yugyeom sounds a bit defensive now, and perhaps even a little indignant. “Do you mean Jimin? Jungkook, what does she have anything to do with this?”

“Everything!”

Jungkook’s outburst is followed by silence. Yugyeom is staring at him wide-eyed now, shock swimming in his eyes. Jungkook’s vision is blurring again, and the hurt in his chest seems to intensify. Every supressed emotion is tumbling out with restraint and Jungkook nearly gasp at the intensity of them. He hurts. Jungkook hurts.

“It used to be just the two of us,” Jungkook whispers, “Now, you cancelled plans just to accompany her to the airport, when before you would just text her. You mentioned her almost every goddamn time we have a conversation. Jimin does this. Jimin does that.” Jungkook glares at his friend. “Did you ever stop to think that maybe I didn’t want to know?”

Yugyeom looks angry now. He matches Jungkook’s glare with his own. “I’m sorry, then,” he snaps, the apology being one of the most insincere thing Jungkook has ever heard. “I never realized that you wouldn’t want to talk about your own friend.” He furrows his brow. “Jungkook, please don’t bring Jimin into this. Whatever problem you have with me, we can settle it without involving anyone else.”

Jungkook laughs without humour, his voice coming out like a strangled sob. “She’s already involved from the very beginning, Yugyeom-ah.” His fists are shaking at his side, and he sees Yugyeom glancing at them. “When you invited her during our outing, of all the goddamn time, I just had enough.” He looks at his friend in the eye. “I feel like, even when you’re here…you’re never around anymore.”

Maybe it’s because of the obvious distress in Jungkook’s tone, but Yugyeom’s hard expression visibly softens. “Jungkook-ah…” He seems to hesitate, as if carefully choosing his words. Jungkook watches him in silence, being too emotionally drained to say anything else.

“Jungkook, correct me if I’m wrong but…” Yugyeom pauses, “This isn’t…about jealousy, is it?”


 

-

Jealousy.

What an ugly word.

What an ugly, irrational, despicable word.

It describes Jungkook as a person perfectly.


 

-

Jungkook smiles at his friend. The smile is small, watery, and the most heartbreaking one Yugyeom has ever seen.

“I don’t know,” he whispers, “But there is something that I do know.”

“What is it?” Yugyeom whispers back, almost afraid to hear the answer.

The smile on Jungkook’s face is slowly fracturing, until Yugyeom doesn’t think he recognize it anymore.

“I’m hurting, Yugyeom. I’m terribly hurt.”


 

-

When Jungkook exits the restroom, in his haste, he bumps into Jimin, who looks like she wants to call out to him.

He ignores her.

Ignores everyone.


 

-

Seokjin sits alone in his room, watching the clock on the wall sleepily. Yoongi is out with Namjoon and Hoseok, and Taehyung and Jimin are curled up on the living room sofa, fast asleep after a movie marathon. Seokjin remains awake, stubbornly persevering to wait for the maknae to arrive home from his outing.

He laughs to himself softly. He knows he’s being ridiculous. The kid’s 21 years old. He doesn’t need him to wait for him like a worried mother. The kid doesn’t even have a curfew to abide to anymore. And Seokjin trusts that he could take care of himself.

But still,

He’s the same kid Seokjin raised for several years. He watched him grow from one of the shyest boy he has ever met to a handsome, confident young man. It makes him proud to see him growing up so well. But at the same time, he feels oddly nostalgic.

He supposes this is how mothers feel watching their children grow up.

There’s another reason why he chooses to wait for the maknae to arrive home. He couldn’t ignore the strange tone in Jungkook’s tone when he called him earlier. He sounded as if he was…crying.

He hears a door being swung open, and footsteps approaching his room.

He immediately sits up, and is about to get off from his bed when his bedroom door swings open, and Jungkook stands at the doorway. The boy has his head down, and Seokjin sees his hands are clenched into fists. Seokjin furrows his brow. Is Jungkook…trembling?

“Jungkook-,” he begins.

Without a word, Jungkook strides into the room and immediately wraps his arms around Seokjin, enveloping him into a hug. Seokjin jumps in surprise at the unexpected gesture. “Jungkook-, hey, what’s-,”

When he feels dampness spreading across his grey hoodie, he realizes that Jungkook is crying.

Hyung, I hate him so much,” Jungkook sobs. He grips Seokjin’s hoodie tightly as he continues to cry. His frame is trembling so much, and whatever words he seems to be throwing comes out as choked sobs. Seokjin is overwhelmed by the sudden turn of events that he doesn’t know what to do.

“Jungkook-ah, oh my god, Jungkook.” It breaks Seokjin’s heart to see Jungkook so hurt like this, and without warning. He rarely sees Jungkook cry, and having him break down like this just splits his heart into half. “Jungkook, baby, oh my baby.” There are tears in Seokjin’s eyes at this point, and he holds the maknae tightly as the boy continues to cry. “What happened? Kook-ah, who hurt you?”

The question only makes Jungkook cry harder, and Seokjin instantly regrets his words. He keeps mum, opting to just continue holding the boy as he cries. He doesn’t understand what is happening, and he hates it. Something or someone hurt his dongsaeng to such a degree and he doesn’t even know how to fix it.

“Hyung, what do I do?” Jungkook whispers through his tears, “What do I do at this point?” He finally looks at Seokjin, and if his heart is in two separate pieces before, it completely shattered now. Jungkook’s expression is filled with so much hurt, so much that Seokjin wants to cry just looking at it.

“Jungkook-ah.”

“Hyung, what do I do?” Jungkook asks again. Tears continue to trail down his cheeks. “I like him so much but I can’t do anything about it.”


 

-

Seokjin lets Jungkook cry against his chest until he eventually falls asleep. Yoongi says nothing when he sees Jungkook’s tear streaked face as the boy sleeps fitfully on Seokjin’s lap, and doesn’t question the tear stains on his roommate’s hoodie, but he reaches out to ruffle Jungkook’s hair.

As if to comfort him.

He meets Seokjin’s eyes.

What happened? He seems to ask.

Seokjin shakes his head.

I don’t know.

His dongsaeng is hurting, and he doesn’t know what to do.

Chapter Text

Breakfast the next morning is a very somber affair.

Taehyung guesses it isn’t intentional, but when he walks into the kitchen that morning and sees a red, puffy-eyed Jungkook sitting at the table with shoulders slumped and Seokjin trying to coax him to eat his pancakes, Taehyung knows something is up. When Seokjin catches his eye as soon as he walks in, he gives a shake of his head as a sign to not say anything. This just confirms his suspicion.

So, he slides into his seat across Jungkook without a word and starts to dig into the pancakes prepared in front of him. He discreetly glances at the maknae in front of him and sees the boy sniffling slightly. There are traces of tears at the corner of his eyes. Taehyung frowns to himself as he chews his food.

His phone buzzes in his pocket.

He hesitates, but sees Seokjin looking at him and tilting his head. Taehyung blinks and fishes out his phone. The message turns out to be from Seokjin himself.

Seokjin-hyung: He had a rough night. Please don’t ask him anything yet.

Just before Taehyung could reply, Namjoon sleepily walks into the kitchen and sits himself beside Taehyung. He yawns, and rubs his eyes blearily.

“Good morning,” he says sleepily. His eyes are still half-closed and from the clumsy way he grabs his fork, Taehyung guesses that he’s not quite awake yet. He also doesn’t seem to notice Jungkook in front of him, and eats his food in silence.

Seokjin sighs, and shakes his head in exasperation. He gently places a hand on Jungkook’s shoulder and peers at the boy. “Jungkook-ah, make sure you eat, alright? And do you want to go out with hyung this afternoon? Hyung wants to go shopping and if you want, you can come along.”

Jungkook shakes his head. He sniffles once. Beside him, Taehyung notices the way Namjoon’s head snaps up. Ah, he noticed.

“No, it’s okay,” Jungkook answers softly, “I think I want to sleep in today.”

“Are you sure?”

“Mm,” Jungkook nods, rubbing his nose slightly as he sniffles again. “I’m tired.”

“Are you okay, Jungkook-ie?” Namjoon asks, quickly earning a startled glance from Seokjin. He tries to signal Namjoon to not ask anymore, but Namjoon doesn’t seem to notice. “Hey, you don’t sound so well. Do you feel sick?”

Jungkook seems to hesitate, before he slowly turns to look at Namjoon. With his face fully exposed, Taehyung could now properly see the obvious puffiness of his eyes and the shadows underneath them. The boy is smiling, but the smile is small and watery. Something twists in Taehyung’s heart just looking at it. From the way Namjoon stiffens in his seat, the leader probably feels the same way.

“I’m just tired from the promotions, hyung,” Jungkook replies, and Taehyung tries so hard to ignore the quiver in his voice at the last word, “I just want to sleep for the day. I’m fine.”

Namjoon looks like he doesn’t quite believe him, and honestly, Taehyung couldn’t blame him, but before the leader could say anything else, Jimin enters the kitchen, with Yoongi trailing behind not long after. The pair sit across each other from their respective ends of the table, and aside from a mumbled greeting from the both of them, they say nothing else. Taehyung glances at his friend. Jimin looks downright exhausted, and he looks at the food in front of him listlessly.

Taehyung nudges his shoulder. When Jimin looks at him, Taehyung raises his eyebrow in question.

“You alright, Jimin-ie?”

Jimin offers him a tiny smile. “I slept late. I’m fine.”

When Jungkook coughs a little, Jimin turns to the maknae and tilts his head. Taehyung watches as Jimin frowns as he takes in Jungkook’s state, and opens his mouth to say something. But Taehyung nudges his shoulder again and shakes his head when Jimin turns to look at him.

“Not now,” he mouths.

Jimin furrows his brow, but keeps mum.

Yoongi eats his food without a word, and Taehyung thinks he sees Jimin glance at him discreetly. There is a shadow flitting across his expression, and Jimin slowly looks down and eats his food quietly. The tension at the table is palpable, so much Taehyung thinks he couldn’t breathe in it. Beside him, Namjoon clenches his fist, and the change in his expression is obvious.

His hyung senses something is wrong, too. Taehyung is not the only one, apparently.

“Where’s Hoseok?” Seokjin suddenly asks as he takes his seat beside Yoongi. “Is he still sleeping?”

“He went out,” Jimin mumbles, “Left early.”

“To where?”

“He said something about the practice room,” Jimin replies, shrugging, “I might have misheard, though. I wasn’t that awake, yet.”

Seokjin furrows his brow. “Why would he go there? We just ended promotions and it’s the first day of break.” He turns to Namjoon. “Do we have any schedules soon, Namjoon-ah?”

Namjoon shakes his head. “We’re free for the whole week. PD-nim even said we can go home for a bit if we want to.” He considers something. “There is a show we have a short segment on, but that won’t be for another two weeks, and it’s unconfirmed.”

“Then, why-,”

“I can check on him, if you want to,” Taehyung interrupts, putting his fork down, “I left something at the studio, anyway.”

“You don’t have to-,”

“No, it’s fine.” Taehyung rises from his seat, and grabs his plate. “I’ll go wash up and get to it. It’ll be fine, hyung,” he adds after seeing Seokjin’s worried expression. “Not like I have anything to do today, anyway.”

Besides, there is something about Hoseok that’s bothering Taehyung lately. He knows something is bothering his hyung, and he is determined to find out what that is. As he washes his plate, his finger accidentally grazes the sharp end of the steel wool sponge, and he winces slightly in pain.

He lifts his finger and sees a thin line on it, already oozing with blood.

It hurts a little, but as he puts his finger underneath the flowing water to clean the wound, he thinks back of his friends’ faces at the kitchen table; Jungkook’s red-rimmed eyes, Jimin’s exhausted expression, and Yoongi’s stony look as he eats in silence.

His friends are in pain, too. More than Taehyung will ever be.

“Ow,” he says belatedly, not quite meaning it.


 

-

The studio, as expected, is empty, but loud, thumping music plays in the background. Taehyung immediately spots Hoseok dancing at the centre of the room.

He looks as if he’s been there for a while, judging from the way his shirt clings to his sweaty frame, and how damp his hair looks. He doesn’t seem to notice Taehyung’s presence, and continues dancing to the loud music, as if his life depends on it.

Taehyung decides he doesn’t like the music he hears. It hurts his ears, and his chest feels uncomfortable at the intensity of the beat.

Hoseok doesn’t look like he cares too much of it, though, as he continues to throw himself into the beat of the music. Taehyung doesn’t recognize the choreography, but it looks more complicated than the one he has seen before. Each move is executed with so much precision and strength that it makes Taehyung exhausted just looking at it. Hoseok’s feet move quickly to the beat as he throws his arms up into the air.

Taehyung watches in silence by the doorway as Hoseok dances, and when the music finally ends, all he hears is Hoseok’s harsh breathing after the last lingering note fades. Hoseok looks down to the floor, and Taehyung’s eyes widen in alarm when he suddenly sways on his feet before collapsing onto his knees onto the floor.

“Hoseok-hyung!”

Hoseok notices him, turning to look at him in surprise. He waves his hand dismissively when Taehyung crouches beside him.

“Hyung, are you-,”

“I’m fine, I’m fine,” Hoseok says in a huff, still breathing a bit harshly, “I guess I strained myself a bit.”

“How long have you been here?” Taehyung demands, “Jimin-ie said you left the dorm since early morning.”

Hoseok doesn’t answer at first. Instead, he looks up at the ceiling, expression thoughtful. As his breathing slows down, he lets out a hum.

“Three hours, give or take,” he answers, “I don’t keep track.”

“Hyung, you shouldn’t overwork yourself. We barely ended our promotions and you’re already practicing?” Taehyung scolds, “Come on. Let’s go home, already. Or at least, cut down the practice.”

Hoseok shakes his head. “I’m nearly done. I’ll go home later.”

“When is later?”

“Taehyung-ie,” Hoseok says. He is smiling, but there is a noticeable warning in his tone. “Later.” He pats Taehyung’s knee reassuringly. “I just need to get all my energy out. I’ll be done soon.”

Taehyung bites his lips. Hoseok looks visibly exhausted and he sees the way his frame shakes ever so slightly. He doesn’t understand why his hyung continues to push himself this way. He already practiced way more than he usually does during their promotions, and he continues to practice even when they’re on break. He knows his hyung always puts the most effort when it comes to dancing, but even Taehyung could see that he is clearly overdoing it.

The fact that there is a visible worry in Hoseok’s eyes doesn’t help matters. Something is bothering him. Taehyung just needs to find out what.

“One more hour,” Taehyung relents, “After that, I’m dragging you home. I won’t have you worry the others.”

Hoseok smiles, but it doesn’t reach his eyes.

“Okay, Taehyung-ie.”


 

-

Taehyung ends up sitting cross-legged on the floor at the corner of the room, watching Hoseok dance. The boy had invited him to join him, but Taehyung politely declined and settled down onto the floor. He isn’t up for any strenuous activities just yet, anyway. His ankles still ache from time to time and he really doesn’t want to be forced to go to the hospital for it.

He observes Hoseok, concern written all over his face. He worries a lot about this hyung lately.

His phone vibrates in his pocket. He fumbles for it before finally fishing it out and swipes his thumb across the screen. He sees Seokjin’s familiar face along with his name.

Seokjin-hyung: Jungkook won’t eat anything. And I think he’s starting to get sick from all the crying.

Seokjin-hyung: Where are you?

I’m at the studio with Hoseok-hyung. Do you want me to get anything for Jungkook?

Seokjin-hyung: Just get him some food you know he likes. He can’t take meds without food.

Is he really sick? What happened last night, hyung?

Seokjin-hyung: I’m not sure…but I think he got into a fight with his friend.

Taehyung frowns deeply. A fight?

Who?

Seokjin-hyung: I think it’s Yugyeom, since he went out with him last night. But I’m just guessing.

Seokjin-hyung: Jungkook was really hurt with whatever happened between the two of them.

Seokjin-hyung: I’ve never seen him so down before.

Jungkook was hurt that badly?

Do you want me to talk to GOT7 hyungs about it? Maybe they know?

Seokjin-hyung: No. It’s fine. We’ll wait it out. For now, let it be just between the two of them.

Okay, if you’re sure. I’ll buy him his favourite snacks on the way home.

Seokjin-hyung: Thank you, Taehyung-ah.

“What’s with that face?”

Taehyung, startled, looks up from his phone and sees Hoseok regarding him curiously. The volume has been lowered, and Hoseok is already making his way towards him.

“Are you done?” Taehyung asks.

“Taking a breather,” Hoseok says, “Hey, don’t change the subject. Why do you look so worried, Taehyung-ie?”

“It’s Jungkook,” Taehyung replies with a heavy sigh, “Seokjin-hyung says he might be falling sick. He hasn’t been eating anything lately.”

Hoseok raises an eyebrow. “The kid’s sick? He seemed well last night. Did something happen before?”

Taehyung leans against the wall and closes his eyes. He shakes his head. “I don’t know. I’m worried,” he admits, “I’m worried about Jungkook. He’s sad. And I don’t want him to be sad. He doesn’t deserve to be.” He opens his eyes and looks down to the floor. He traces a pattern on the wooden panel a little absently. Hoseok’s eyes follow his movements. “I wish I could do something about it.”

Hoseok says nothing. He doesn’t like seeing Taehyung all worried like this, and he wants to do something about it. But as Taehyung continues to mention Jungkook, with his shoulders slumped, eyes drooped down low, and tone being one of the most dejected one he has ever heard, something flares in Hoseok’s chest. It wraps around his heart ever so slowly, and takes root.

Something ugly grows in Hoseok’s heart, and he clenches his jaw slightly.

Ah, push it down. Push the feeling down, Hoseok. It’s a terrible feeling. It makes a person so very ugly. Hoseok closes his eyes and breathes out slowly. He tries to tune it out and focus on Taehyung’s voice.

“Jimin-ie and Yoongi-hyung, too.”

Hoseok’s eyes snap open. “I’m sorry?”

“They haven’t been talking to each other lately.” Taehyung peers at him curiously. “Have you noticed?”

“Sorry, Taehyung. I didn’t.” Hoseok says a little regretfully. He focuses on clearing his mind. Slowly, the ugly feeling in his chest subsides. But Hoseok could still feel it.

As if it’s waiting to be triggered.

“I haven’t been noticing things lately. I didn’t know things like that were happening,” he adds. He sits down beside Taehyung and pats him on the head. “You must feel so burdened right now.”

Taehyung sighs again. “I’m worried about you, too, hyung. Do you know that?”

Hoseok blinks. “Me? Why?”

“You’re clearly pushing yourself too hard.” Taehyung tilts his head as he considers. “During the whole comeback promotion period – heck, even before that, you’re being harder on yourself than usual.” He places a hand on Hoseok’s knee. “Is something bothering you, hyung?”

Hoseok stares at him wordlessly. He bites the inside of his cheek, contemplating. He remembers the worry in Taehyung’s eyes and thinks how such an expression doesn’t suit his dongsaeng. He doesn’t want him to worry. Doesn’t want him with slump shoulders and harbouring a guilt he doesn’t even deserve to have.

He doesn’t want him to know.

“Breather’s over,” he says instead. He smiles, though it is small and a little bit tight. “I’m gonna continue. Tell me when the hour’s up.”


 

-

The clock is ticking, and Taehyung guesses that there are 15 more minutes before the hour’s up. He leans against the wall and watches his hyung dance with half-lidded eyes.

There is a frown on his handsome features; one which wouldn’t go away.

Hoseok wouldn’t even answer his question. It hurts him more than it should, and Taehyung finds it silly for him to feel the way he does. His hyung can be secretive sometimes, and if he has something he doesn’t want the others to know, Taehyung shouldn’t pry. He doesn’t have the right to.

But still,

He observes the way Hoseok’s body is practically trembling with overexertion, and the way his face is pinched with tension and stress. The way he dances is as if he is trying to prove something. It has the usual fiery passion Hoseok always puts in his dances, but the passion seems forced this time, and Taehyung worries that it might burn out without warning.

He absently goes through their twitter mentions to pass the time, and hopefully get his mind off a few things. He smiles at the tweets their fans sent them, and saves a few fanarts he finds nice. He wishes he could like or retweet the things their fans wrote, but he figures it’s better to be safe than sorry. He doesn’t want to cause any misunderstandings that might hurt the group.

A tweet caught his eye.

Angelseok: @BTS_Twt is Hoseok-oppa okay? T_T I’m worried.

There are replies to the tweet and Taehyung clicks on the icon to read them.

Xxxtaegixxx: @Angelseok ahhh master-nim, you’re worried, too?

Armygalaxy : @Angelseok me too me too T_T Something’s bothering him, right?

Angelseok: @xxxtaegixxx @armygalaxy Yes T____T His dancing looks so forced and he looks so stressed. Something happened to him, I’m sure.

Guilt washes over Taehyung. So, fans have begun to notice, too. He thought he is the only one. He briefly recalls Angelseok being one of the newer fansite masters, who only started since their Wings comeback. He remembers her being a cheerful girl with too big glasses and hair tied into braids when they met during a fansign. She even sent them a food support truck during one of their official events.

Ah, he hates the thought of his fans being worried and him not being able to do anything about it.     

Taehyung clicks on the search bar, and his fingers hover over the keyboard. He has a suspicion about something that might be the cause of his hyung’s worry, but hesitated to confirm it. To see the ugly truth with his very own eyes.

He slowly types out the words he hopes he wouldn’t have to ever again.

“BTS J-Hope Bad Dancing”


 

-

To see the torrent of tweets in the search results shouldn’t really be a surprise to him due to his earlier suspicions, but it still shocks him nevertheless.

There are a few supportive ones, who tries to defend Hoseok from the nasty claims, but they are overridden by the torrent of horrible comments. There are countless of tweets saying how Hoseok’s dancing is deteriorating, and how much of a burden he is to the group. There are edited pictures of Hoseok, taken at an obviously bad angle, that try to highlight just how ‘ugly’ he is. There are even threads of tweets from accounts which are hell-bent on proving that Hoseok is not the best dancer, or even a good dancer to begin with, and why he should be kicked out from the group.

It hurts Taehyung reading those tweets, almost to the point that it’s physical. Each tweet seems to be worse than the last, and while some commented on his looks, most focused on Hoseok’s dancing.

Taehyung doesn’t understand. He really doesn’t. He is used to hate comments about their looks, and maybe on their vocal abilities; so much he has learnt to ignore them over the years, but to hate on Hoseok’s dancing abilities comes across as incomprehensible for Taehyung. Even fans who don’t really view Hoseok as their favourite still acknowledge that he has the best dancing skills among BTS. Taehyung has seen countless of comments about his hyung’s appearance, but the same commenters also begrudgingly admit that his dancing abilities are exceptional.

When did all these hate start? Who or what triggered it? Taehyung grips his phone tightly. He doesn’t understand-

“Taehyung, what are you looking at?”

Taehyung lifts his head to see Hoseok looking at him with a serious gaze. He crouches down to Taehyung’s eye-level, and slowly peers at his phone.

His expression is blank as he sees the tweets gazing back at him. No one says a word.

“Hyung,” Taehyung finally whispers, “Are these…Have you…”

“You shouldn’t be looking at those, Taehyung-ah,” Hoseok says in a quiet voice, “Come on. Close the window.”

Taehyung turns to look at his hyung incredulously. “Have you been reading these tweets, hyung? Is that why you’re so hard on yourself lately?”

Hoseok’s expression remains unreadable. Instead, he wordlessly reaches over and clicks the ‘x’ icon at the corner of the screen to close the application. He stands up and turns around to face the mirror. “I’m gonna continue. Before the hour’s up.”

“Hyung, stop.” Taehyung stands up and reaches out to grab Hoseok’s wrist. “Hyung, don’t listen to those comments. They’re meaningless, you know that.”

“Tae, please don’t.”

“No, you don’t.” Taehyung walks over to face his hyung, who remains looking past him instead of at him. “Don’t you see how needlessly hard you’ve been pushing yourself? You worry about the smallest mistakes which weren’t even there to begin with!” He gives Hoseok a pleading look. “Don’t believe those comments, hyung. They’re just plain hate.”

“But they’re true,” Hoseok says in a hard voice. He finally looks at Taehyung properly, and there is a steely look in his eyes. “Hate comments like those don’t just appear out of nowhere, Taehyung. There’s a reason behind them.” He shakes off Taehyung’s grip on his wrist. “I’ve become too confident. I need to step up my game.”

“Hyung, no-,”

“You don’t understand, alright?” Hoseok answers fiercely, nearly startling Taehyung in the process. “Everyone else is so versatile in this group. You and Seokjin-hyung can act, Jimin can rap, apparently, and don’t even get me started on Jungkook.” He sighs heavily in frustration. “Namjoon and Yoongi-hyung are very well acknowledged for their producing skills, and then there’s me.” He pauses, and breathes out slowly. “Dancing is all I have, Taehyung-ah. If I can’t even do that, I’m worthless.”

“Hyung, you know that’s not true.” Taehyung frantically shakes his head, and makes a few hand gestures to emphasize his point. “You rap so well, and you can sing-,”

“Compared to the rest, I’m mediocre at those, Tae,” Hoseok interrupts, his tone sad. He tries to smile, but fails to. The tiny lift in his lips doesn’t quite form a smile, and it only makes his expression even more miserable. “Yeah, I rap okay, but Namjoon and Yoongi-hyung are better. Compared to the vocal team, my singing isn’t all that special.” His shoulders begin to slump. “Dancing is what I can proudly say I’m the best at. And now that people are starting to disagree-,”

“Hoseok-hy-,”

“Tae, please drop it,” Hoseok cuts him off again. His tone is starting to get dismissive and he doesn’t meet Taehyung’s eyes as he waves him away. “My hour’s nearly up. Please. I need to continue.”

Taehyung gazes at his hyung with a disbelieving expression. His hands drop limply to his side, and he ducks his head when Hoseok moves past him. He hears the music being turned up again. He grits his teeth. Something burns at the back of his eyelids. He thinks his vision is starting to get blurry.

“You’re so cold, hyung,” he whispers.

Hoseok glances at him. “What?”

“I said,” Taehyung repeats through gritted teeth. He looks at Hoseok, anger and hurt written all over his face. It startles Hoseok to see such expressions, and whatever words that he plans to say get stuck in his throat. Taehyung’s eyes shine with unshed tears, and his lips are trembling.

“You’re so cold, hyung,” Taehyung repeats, his voice quivering, “No one tells me anything. I thought -, at least, you will.” He pauses, frustration clear on his face. “You’re just gonna allow me to worry about you like this?”  He grips his shirt at the area where his heart is. “It hurts, hyung. My heart hurts.”

Hoseok has nothing to say to that.

Taehyung, apparently, has an idea that he doesn’t. He wipes the tears that manage to slip from his eyes, and walks towards the door. He swings it open and exits the room without a word. Hoseok thinks he hears him running, followed by a loud slamming of a door.

Despite the loud thumping of the background music, all Hoseok could hear is silence.

Slowly, he mirrors Taehyung’s earlier movement, gripping his shirt at the area where his heart is. He feels it beating steadily, its thumping being the loudest thing he hears in the room.

My heart hurts.

His grip tightens.

He thinks his heart hurts, too.


 

-

His and Namjoon’s shared room is dim when he walks in. Namjoon is in front of his computer, playing a computer game. He glances at Taehyung, and smiles.

“Tae-,”

His smile immediately drops when he sees Taehyung’s face and notices the hurt written all over it. His hands are shaking by his side and his eyes dart here and there, as if unsure where to look. Namjoon gets up from his chair and strides over to him. “Taehyung, hey, what happened? Are you-,”

Taehyung wraps his arms around Namjoon’s waist and pulls him into a hug before the leader could finish his sentence. He presses his head against his hyung’s chest, and lets out a shuddering breath. Namjoon could feel the tremble in Taehyung’s frame and the tightness of his grip on his shirt.

Taehyung shakes his head.

“Please just let me stay like this for a while,” he mumbles. He doesn’t cry. He refuses to. His eyes burn from all the unshed tears, but he refuses to cry.

The throbbing in his chest is enough. More than enough.

Namjoon doesn’t say a word, and Taehyung is grateful. The elder boy merely holds him, and he doesn’t know how long they stay like that, but Taehyung is already asleep before he could find out.

Chapter Text

“How’s the brat?”

Seokjin, who was in the midst of drying his hair with a towel, pauses his ministrations to turn towards his roommate. Yoongi is lounging on his bed, playing with a handheld game console. His expression is nonchalant, but he meets Seokjin’s gaze meaningfully.

“Jungkook? He’s sleeping.” Seokjin walks over to Yoongi’s bed, the mattress dipping slightly as he sits on it. “He doesn’t seem to have a fever; it must have gone down as quickly as it came. Which is a relief.” He sighs. “Tae’s back, too. I saw him sleeping in his room.”

“Hoseok?”

Seokjin shakes his head. “Didn’t see him. He won’t answer my messages, either.” He rubs a hand across his face tiredly. “I’ll go to the studio myself if he’s not back in an hour. Honestly, that kid…”

Yoongi puts down his game console, and pats Seokjin’s shoulder reassuringly. “Don’t worry so much. He probably wanted some air. It’s our first day off. Let him be.” He offers him a tiny smile. “Knowing him, he’s probably having too much fun to notice his phone. You know how he is.”

Seokjin nods, allowing himself to relax. “You’re probably right. I’m too wound up for nothing.” He pauses, hesitating.

“Hyung?”

“Please don’t be mad at me for asking this,” Seokjin says carefully, looking at Yoongi to gauge for his reaction, “But I can’t help but notice you haven’t been talking to Jimin lately.” He bites the inside of his cheek. “Did…did something happen?”

Yoongi’s expression doesn’t change, but something in the air does. If Seokjin were to put it in words, he would describe as a heavy dark cloud hanging over their heads. There is a shadow across Yoongi’s face, and he thinks he sees his fingers tightening their grip on the game console.

Seokjin waits. At times like these, there is no other better thing to do but wait.

When Yoongi finally answers, after a brief, but thick silence, his voice is quiet and flat. “I don’t know. I’m in the same boat as you.”

“Yoongi-ah.”

“You’re right. We haven’t been talking,” Yoongi continues, “Or rather…Jimin hasn’t been talking to me.” He closes his eyes and leans against his pillows. “I don’t know what’s going on in his head, or what I probably did to him, but whatever it is, it’s enough for him to ignore me.”  He lets out a sigh. “All I know is that he’s hurting.”

Seokjin furrows his brows. “How do you know?”

“Because.” Yoongi laughs, but there is no humour in it. It sounds hollow and flat, and Seokjin decides he doesn’t like it. “He said so himself.”


 

-

Seokjin-hyung, I’m gonna get some air. Don’t wait up.


 

-

A bird cries in the distance. Namjoon commits it to memory.

He sits on the bench, his face half-covered with a black mask, and watches the people passing by. He observes the calm flow of the river, and notices the birds feeding on corn on the pavement. He brings his knees to his chest and props his chin against them. He breathes out slowly.

He realizes belatedly that it’s been a good while since he came to the Han River for the sake of it. He used to do it quite frequently even when they have tons of schedule, but for some reason, ever since the tour, the thought of it slipped out of his mind. He laces his fingers together and hums thoughtfully. A few girls turn their heads towards him, but it’s either they don’t recognize him, or they figured it wouldn’t be proper to approach him.

Either way, he’s grateful for the privacy. He feels like he needs it nowadays.

“I knew I’d find you here.”

Namjoon lifts his head and sees Seokjin standing in front of him, regarding him with an amused look. He is wearing a cap that is pulled down to hide a part of his face, but Namjoon recognizes that grin anywhere.

“Hyung, how did you know I was here?” he asks in surprise. He scoots over to the side to make space for Seokjin to sit beside him. Seokjin takes a seat beside him, shrugging as he glances at Namjoon.

“Please, I’ve known you for so many years,” Seokjin says with a huff, “You’d think I know your favourite thinking place. Plus,” he grins cheekily, “You’ve told even our fans, so it’s really not much of a secret.” He waves to a few girls who are staring at them, who blushed and ran away after squeaking out a hello. He raises an eyebrow at Namjoon and tilts his head.

Namjoon laughs. “I guess you have a point.”

Seokjin smiles a bit more, before Namjoon starts to notice the worry in his eyes. His smile softens around the edges, before it gradually begins to disappear.

“What’s up, Namjoon?” he finally asks, “You being here means you have a lot on your mind. Is there something wrong?”

“How can you be so sure?” Namjoon teases, but falters when he sees Seokjin’s knowing look. He gives up, and breathes out heavily. “Yeah, maybe I do have something on my mind.”

“Do you want to talk about it?” Seokjin asks gently.

Namjoon doesn’t say anything. He stares at the river in front of them, eyes following the steady flowing movement of the water. He wishes he could be as calm as the river. The thoughts inside his head and the conflicting emotions inside his heart are anything but. He envies the water for being able to be so calm.

“Do you think I’m a good leader, hyung?” he asks.

Seokjin blink, taken aback by the sudden question. “Huh?”

“A leader is supposed to take care of his members, right?” Namjoon continues. “Yet here I am, unaware that my members are hurting until the very last moment.”

Seokjin looks momentarily confused, until realization dawns on him, and his expression changes. “Oh, Namjoon…”

“Taehyung came home hurting this morning,” Namjoon whispers, “He didn’t cry or anything. But, he was trembling so much in my arms. I’ve never seen him like that before. It’s as if he’s struggling with his own emotions.” He looks absently at his hands as he speaks. “I was so surprised. I wasn’t expecting it. And it made me think, should I? Were there signs that I’ve missed?”

Seokjin says nothing. He doesn’t know what to say. Namjoon curls his arms around himself as he ducks his head. He seems to be folding in on himself, as if trying to keep himself contained.

“And then there’s Jungkook. During breakfast, I didn’t even realize the state he is in until he made a sound. He was right in front of me. I should have noticed something.” He lets out a shaky breath. “I didn’t even know Hoseok is struggling with himself until Yoongi straight up told me. I knew he was having a harder time with the choreography than usual, but I never knew it was this bad. And Yoongi.” He pauses, and shakes his head. “Him and Jimin not talking? I didn’t even notice.”

“Namjoon-ah…”

“Hyung, don’t you see?” Namjoon turns to him, his eyes shining. “My members were hurting by themselves and I was too wrapped up with myself that I didn’t even notice.”

“Namjoon, don’t say that,” Seokjin says gently, “You’re not at fault. I didn’t even notice some of the problems myself so-,”

“But you knew about Jungkook,” Namjoon points out, “Or at least, have an inkling about something. You noticed Hoseok being gone at breakfast. I didn’t. I didn’t know he wasn’t at the table until you pointed out.” His voice shakes. “I… I’m a terrible leader. I-,”

“Hey,” Seokjin interrupts, moving to wrap an arm around Namjoon’s shoulders. “Hey, don’t say things like that. You’re a great leader. You know that. We all know that.”

Namjoon doesn’t reply, and buries his head in his arms. Seokjin stares at him in silence for a full minute before he sighs. He unwraps his arm and grabs hold of one of Namjoon’s hand. He laces their fingers together as Namjoon watches the movement with wide, surprised eyes.

“Hyung-,”

“I figured,” Seokjin says, “That at times like these, it’s best not to say anything.” He glances at Namjoon. “Am I right?”

Namjoon blinks, and looks at their laced fingers. Seokjin’s grip on his hand is tight, but warm and comforting. One of his fingers rub circles on Namjoon’s knuckles. The leader smiles, but Seokjin sees that it is a sad one. It doesn’t quite reach his eyes and the edges tremble ever so slightly. Namjoon sighs and leans against Seokjin’s shoulder.

“You’re right. I just-,” He thinks back of the way Taehyung stood in front of him, gripping his shirt like his life depends on it. How Namjoon’s hands hover awkwardly on his dongsaeng’s back, unsure of what to do. Taehyung hasn’t said anything, and didn’t expect any words from Namjoon, either. He just stood there, trembling, before he eventually fell asleep, collapsing against Namjoon as he slips into unconsciousness.

Looking at it now, Namjoon realizes that there is a strange comfort to it, the silence. The wind caresses his face, and he could smell Seokjin’ cologne. Somewhere in the distance, he hears children laughing.

There is pain in his chest, one that grows steadily by the second, but he can’t find comfort in words. Instead, he stares at their laced fingers, and breathes out steadily. The silence, its steady and calming presence, alongside with Seokjin’s patience; those are the things that comforts him.

“Lend me your shoulder for a bit,” he murmurs.

Seokjin nods. “Alright.”


 

-

Jimin is texting his mother when he hears a knock on the door.

Jungkook stands by the doorway. Something about the way his hair sticks out in weird places, and the traces of sleep on his face, makes him look smaller, in a way that makes Jimin’s heart ache just looking at him.

“Hey, kid,” he says with a smile, “What’s up?”

“I’m 21,” Jungkook mumbles petulantly. “Anyway, Taehyung-hyung is wondering if you’re free this evening.”

“Me? Um.” Jimin racks his brain. He doesn’t have any plans. He glances at the empty bed beside him. Hoseok doesn’t look like he’ll be home soon, either. “I guess, I am. Why?”

Jungkook smiles, though it’s small and maybe a little weary. “Let’s go out for drinks, the three of us.”


 

-

“Why don’t you come home for a bit? Mom’s been wanting to see you in ages.”

Yoongi props his phone on his shoulder as he rummages through the fridge for food. “Ah, I’m not sure, hyung. I haven’t even looked at the train tickets, yet. And the holiday’s coming up. They’ll get sold out for sure.”

“I can drive you home, if you want.”

“Hyung, no. That’s too far.”

“I don’t mind.”

“Yeah, well, I do.” Yoongi takes out the bowl of leftover beef stew from last night, and shuts the fridge door. “You’re busy enough as it is. And I still have the rest of the week to think it through. I’ll tell you later, hm?” He places the bowl inside the microwave, keying in the time before switching it on. He relaxes against the counter as he watches the bowl spin. “How’s mom and dad, anyway? Is the café running okay?”

“They’re fine. Just busy with the café. Something you’d know if you’re home.”

“Hyung, come on. Don’t be like that,” Yoongi whines. He hears a laugh, and he relaxes. Ah, his hyung can tease, too. He hears a beep, and moves to get his food from the microwave. “Hyung, I’ll come home when I can, okay? I just want to sleep on my first day of break.”

“Yeah, yeah. I was just playing with you, little brother.”

“I figured,” Yoongi mutters. He puts the steaming bowl of stew on the table, and takes a seat on one of the chairs as he waits for it to cool down. He’s hungrier than he thought. He thanks his lucky stars Hoseok ordered too much food last night.

He hears footsteps and a flurry of voices. Curious, he gets up from his seat and walks into the living room, where the voices are the loudest.

“Hold on, hyung,” he says into the phone.

“Alright.”

He sees Taehyung, Jungkook, and Jimin slipping on their shoes by the doorway. They are dressed casually, but still nicely enough that indicated a future hangout. Taehyung is laughing at something Jungkook said, who, Yoongi noted, looked a little better than he did this morning. He seems much happier now. Jimin is shaking his head at his friends’ antics.

“Going out?” he calls out.

It is almost comical the way all three heads turn to him simultaneously. They meet his gaze briefly, surprise colouring their expressions. Jimin is the first one to drop his gaze, and goes back to tying his shoelaces. Taehyung offers him a grin.

“Ah, hyung. We’re going out for a bit.” He rubs his neck awkwardly. “Sorry, I didn’t realize you’re at home.”

Yoongi waves him off dismissively. “It’s fine. I wasn’t planning on going anywhere today, anyway.” He looks at Jungkook. “Hey, brat. You’re feeling better?”

Jungkook flushes. “Yes...I’m okay. Sorry for worrying you.”

Yoongi hums. He glances at Jimin, who still doesn’t meet his gaze. He considers saying something to him, but decides against it. No need to make things more awkward than it already is. “Listen, uh…” He adjusts his weight. “You three are old enough to know to stay safe, right?” he says finally, “Don’t do anything reckless.”

“We won’t!” Taehyung chirps, “We’ll call if we need to.”

“We’ll tell you if we bump into Hoseok-hyung, too,” Jungkook adds. Yoongi nods, not missing on Taehyung’s reaction to the boy’s name. His smile remains on his face, but it looks as if it’s frozen in place. He doesn’t miss the stiffening of his shoulders, either. Yoongi raises his eyebrow, but comments nothing.

“Okay…well, then, have fun, you brats.”

As the three of them walk out of the apartment, Jimin pauses by the doorway. He glances over his shoulder to look at Yoongi briefly. He looks as if he wants to say something, but decides against it at the last minute. Instead, he nods ever so slightly and closes the door behind him.

Yoongi suddenly remembers the phone in his hand, and lifts it to his ear.

“Hey, hyung. Sorry about that.”

“Your members are going out?”

“Yeah. I was just seeing them off.”

“Sounds like it’s gonna be a fun outing.”

“Yeah.” Yoongi is suddenly aware of how empty the apartment is now that he is all alone. The silence, which he once found as peaceful, is now suffocating. “I’m sure it is.”


-

“Alcohol is the best, man,” Taehyung sighs happily, holding a shot glass in his hand.

“Careful. We still gotta walk home after this, you know,” Jimin cautions.

Taehyung waves him off. “I told manager-hyung to pick us up at 11.00 p.m.” He lifts his wrists to look at his watch. “And would you look at that? We still have two hours to kill. Plenty of time to get drunk and happy.” He finishes off with a gulp of his soju, before setting down his glass. His cheeks are flushed, and his eyes shine, early signs of the alcohol finally settling in.

“You’re lucky we managed to get a private room. Can’t imagine the look on people’s faces if they see you this way,” Jimin mutters. Beside him, Jungkook bites off a piece of meat from the skewer stick, nodding his agreement.

“I brought you guys out so you can loosen up,” Taehyung protests, “So…loosen up! It’s the first day of break, and we’re all adults. Not like we’re at a club or anything. We can afford to relax.”  He stretches and props his chin on his hands. “Or are you guys more lightweight than I thought?”

Jungkook snorts. “We all know that’s Jimin-hyung.”

Jimin smacks him on the arm, watching in satisfaction when the boy chokes on the beef he is chewing. “Watch it, brat. For a guy who was listless and sick the whole morning, you sure are energetic.”

Jungkook flushes in apparent embarrassment. “I wasn’t sick. Seokjin-hyung was overreacting.”

“Either way, you worried him. Worried us. Did you even eat the whole day before this?”

“I’m eating now,” Jungkook points out petulantly. He jerks his chin towards Taehyung. “Nag him, too. He didn’t manage to bring Hoseok back like he said he would.”

“How is that even nag-worthy?”

“Bias! You’re just biased because he’s your bestfriend-,”

“That doesn’t even-,”

“Hoseok-hyung didn’t seem like he wanna come home,” Taehyung interrupts quietly. Jimin and Jungkook turn to him. Taehyung flicks his glass absently as he speaks, watching the droplets of water at the sides of the shot glass. “He’s frustratingly stubborn…”

There is a brief silence as Jimin and Jungkook glance at each other. There is something in Taehyung’s tone which indicated a deeper story, but they decide it’s best not to pry just yet.

“Yah, don’t just drink. Eat something,” Jimin chides. He grabs his chopsticks and takes a piece of meat from the griller, putting it in Taehyung’s bowl. “It’s not good to drink with an empty stomach.”

Taehyung grins. “You’re such a good friend, Jimin-ie.” He reaches over the table to grab Jimin’s hand. The latter looks at their joint hands in quiet surprise. “The ve~ry best. That’s why you’re my best friend,” Taehyung adds. He then looks at Jungkook. “But Kookie-ah, you’re still my favourite dongsaeng, so don’t worry.”

“I think he’s drunk,” Jungkook stage-whispers.

“No.” Jimin shakes his head. “Not yet. Maybe just tipsy.”

“Yah, you two.” Taehyung pours soju into Jimin’s and Jungkook’s half-empty shot glass. “Don’t leave me alone here to drink. Drink with me.”

Jimin allows himself a small laugh. He takes the shot glass and brings it to his lips. “You’re right. I’m sorry.” He nudges Jungkook’s arm so the boy does the same, and Jungkook hurriedly takes his own glass. The two raise their glass to the air, looking at Taehyung expectantly. The latter grins as he catches on. He raises his own glass.

“Cheers.”


 

-

As it turns out, the lightweight of the trio is Taehyung himself, and after six more glasses of soju, the boy already has his head buried in his arms, eyes drooping. Jimin thanks his lucky stars that Taehyung is a sleepy drunk, and the most he could do is collapse on an unexpected stranger if he has too much of a drink. He glances at the time on his phone; they have an hour left before their manager is supposed to fetch them.

Jimin himself is starting to feel tipsier than usual, and his head begins to spin. He feels a lot warmer and fuzzy, and his tongue feels a little heavy.

Beside him, Jungkook leans heavily against Jimin’s shoulder, giggling every now and then. The maknae had more drinks than the both of them combined, which Jimin finds strange because out of the members, Jungkook doesn’t drink as much as people would like to believe.

“Hyuuuuung~” Jungkook sighs, “Ah, I’m hungry. Is there any meat left?”

“Plenty,” Jimin mumbles, blinking. The room feels stuffy, or maybe it’s just the effects of the alcohol. Either way, he doesn’t really feel like talking. He ducks his head, and closes his eyes, hoping the spinning will pass. He considers calling their manager a little earlier. He feels tired from the alcohol.

“What time is it?” Taehyung suddenly whispers, head turned to the side.

“Just past 10,” Jimin answers.

“Hm…” Taehyung reaches out to trace a pattern on the wooden table, his gaze faraway, “It’s late. Do you…” he pauses, “Do you think…Hoseok-hyung is back yet?”

“Ho..seok-hyung?” Jungkook repeats slowly, “Why…” He stops to giggle despite everything. “Ah, why…hyung-ie, the sudden question?” He pauses. “I don’t make much sense.”

“No, you don’t,” Jimin agrees, and the two of them share a laugh. Jimin feels a little – or maybe, a lot – lightheaded, and he moves to grab the soju bottle. He shakes it, and hears the slosh of the remaining contents. He sighs, and pours some into his glass. Might as well finish it.

“Hoseok-hyung is so stubborn,” Taehyung continues, “That hyung…won’t listen to what I say.”

When no one answers, he takes it as a sign to continue. “He won’t…he won’t tell me anything. Even though I asked him a loooot of times, that stupid hyung still ignores me.” His voice starts to quiver towards the end. “I don’t understand why he choose…to be in pain all alone.”

Jungkook lifts his head from Jimin’s shoulder to look at Taehyung blearily. “Hoseok-hyung is…hurting?”

“Mmm,” Taehyung buries his head in his arms again, his voice muffled against the fabric of his sleeve. “Everyone is hurting, Kookie-ah. Hoseok-hyung…Yoongi-hyung…You…even Jimin…”

Jimin hears his name, but he can’t find the energy to properly react. Instead, he nods and sighs, as if he is listening in as a third person.

“And you know what’s the most frustrating thing?” Taehyung lifts his head again. There is a frown on his face. “No one…no one tells me anything. I mean, I wanna help, but,” He stops, and smiles sadly. “No one tells me anything. Nothing.” His head droops again. “Not a single thing.”

There is silence.

Jungkook suddenly slams his shot glass onto the table, startling Jimin greatly, but Taehyung merely lifts his face slightly to look at him questioningly.

“Ah…speaking of hurting,” Jungkook says calmly, despite his earlier actions, “I’m hurting,” he announces, before grinning, as if proud of himself. “Yeah…I’m hurting. I’d like to say I was hurting, but the pain’s still there…it never really left.” He clutches his shirt at the area where his heart is. “I guess this is what happens when you hide your pain for too long. You stop remembering it’s there.”

“Why are you hurting, Jungkook-ah?” Jimin asks.

Jungkook lets out a small laugh. He turns to him, and Jimin is greeted by the saddest pair of eyes he has ever seen.

“Heartbreak, hyung,” Jungkook answers, “I suffer from heartbreak.”

Taehyung tips his glass over, spilling the remaining contents of soju on the table. It wets his sleeve, and some splashes onto his cheek, but Taehyung couldn’t bring himself to care.

Jungkook goes back to leaning against Jimin, burying his head at the crook of the boy’s neck. He breathes out, and it washes over Jimin’s skin. Jungkook laces their fingers together, and brings up their hands. Taehyung watches with glazed eyes.

“Wanna know something about heartbreak, hyung?” Jungkook asks to no one in particular. “It’s funny, you know? This thing called heartbreak.”

“Why do you say that?” Jimin asks softly.

“Because we become used to it.” Jungkook looks at their laced fingers with some sort of wonder in his eyes, but the words he says don’t quite match his expression. “Like, all the cuts and bruises and pain that came with it just become dull over time. They’re not healing, or maybe they are but slowly. We just became adept at ignoring them. We become so used to the pain that we don’t even realize we’re still hurting.” Jungkook shrugs. “Maybe that’s why we tend to react...more, when something inside of us, something that created the heartbreak in the first place, gets triggered. It’s like an alarm, and your body’s all confused and scared because you don’t know what’s happening because you don’t remember.

 Jimin frowns. “Why do you sound like you know the feeling so well?”

 Jungkook smiles, but it twists his face unnaturally, and Jimin doesn’t like the look of it. “Because every day, ever since I realized I had feelings for Yugyeom, one which will not be returned, a tiny piece of my heart breaks.”

 Taehyung tips another glass, this time Jimin’s, and watches the tiny pieces of ice roll out from the glass. He flicks those, too. One hits him just above his eye. It’s cold, and hurts a little, but Taehyung continues flicking the ice. It’s comforting, he finds. Like a calm buzz against all the static. It helps him concentrate.

 Jimin, on the other hand, feels cold all over. The warm fuzzy feeling he had previously is quickly replaced by a cold, numbing feeling. It’s as if someone poured ice into his veins. There is a sudden ache in his heart, and it takes him by surprise. There is a burning sensation behind his eyelids, and he realizes, to his frustration, that his vision is beginning to blur.

 “How do you get used to it?” he whispers, “The heartbreak. The pain. How do you even learn to ignore it?”

 "Hyung?”

 Jimin clutches his shirt, and gasp at the intensity of the pain in his chest. He’s not sure whether it’s the alcohol, or just him in general, but he suddenly feels too much. The conflicting emotions he has been hiding for the past weeks flare up, and he is very unprepared for it. His throat tightens and tears slip past his eyelids. Jungkook notices the way his frame shakes, and he turns to look at Jimin properly.

 “Hyung?” he asks, “Hey, what’s wrong?”

 “Jimin-ie is crying,” Taehyung points out calmly. He tips Jungkook’s glass, but his is empty, and he frowns at this.

 “Ah, um.” Jimin tries to wipe his tears, but this only prompted more tears to flow down his cheeks. “I’m sorry, I’m just-.” He gasps again, and his frame shakes uncontrollably as he begins to cry. Tears trail down his cheeks, and he hiccups as he continues to sob. He doesn’t understand why, but his heart hurts so much, and he doesn’t know what to do about it.

 “Oh god, I’m sorry. I-,” Jimin chokes. “I-,” He unlaces his fingers from Jungkook to cover his face with his hands. “It’s just…”

 “Jimin-ie is hurting.” Taehyung says this in a calm voice, as if he’s merely stating the facts. He feels oddly calm, as if the turn of events can’t affect him. Won’t affect him. “You were hurting all this while, weren’t you? But you never told anyone.”

 “Jimin-hyung.” Jungkook frowns, and suddenly groans. His head hurts. He wonders if it’s the alcohol.

 “I don’t get used to it,” Jimin finally chokes out, “I just can’t. Every day, when I see his face, the more it reminds me of how I can’t have him. And it hurts so bad just thinking about it.” He breathes out shakily. “I don’t like having these feelings. I just want them gone.” He looks at Taehyung pleadingly. “How can I make them go away?”

 “It doesn’t work that way, hyung,” Jungkook whispers, “Those feelings…if they are unreturned, all they do is grow. So much that you can’t hide them. So much that you…” He thinks back of Yugyeom’s hurt expression after he lashed out at him. The disbelief in his voice. The confusion on his face. Jimin’s hand reaching out to him. Jungkook clenches his jaw. “You grow resentful because of it.”

 Jimin sobs quietly in his seat. Jungkook lays his head against the table tiredly. He feels exhausted. He wants to sleep it off. Maybe then, the throbbing in his chest would stop. Maybe then, he could forget.

 “You’re so calm, Taehyung-hyung,” he mumbles, “I envy you.”

 “I’m not hurting,” Taehyung answers. He puts his glass into an upright position before tipping it over again, just to watch the soju he poured in earlier spill over the table. “I’m not…” He thinks of the way his friends keep their worries to themselves. How Jimin assure him with lies. How Jungkook clams up. How Yoongi glances at Jimin every now and then, concern and confusion in his eyes. How Seokjin and Namjoon hover worriedly, because they don’t know what’s going on.

 Taehyung picks up a tiny piece of ice. It feels cold. It reminds him of Hoseok’s dismissive tone and the way he shuts him out.

 That one. That one stings the most.

 “I’m not hurting,” Taehyung mutters.

 “I am,” Jimin whispers. “I hurt so much.” He curls his fingers into a fist. “I hate that I am. I hate that I can’t control these feelings. I don’t want…” He closes his eyes as a few tears slip past his eyelids. “I don’t want to be the fool. I don’t want to be in love with him, anymore.”

 "With who?” Jungkook asks quietly, eyes already slipping shut.

 Jimin leans forward, and lays his head against the table, mirroring Jungkook.


-

 “Yoongi-hyung,” he mumbles, before the alcohol finally drifts him into unconsciousness.


 

 -

 There is a flurry of movements behind the sliding door, and a figure hurriedly runs downstairs.

Chapter Text

armyrats: heh, I knew this group will flop. Thanks, Jimin-ie. I owe you <3 <3 kekeke


 -

His phone rings insistently, and for a moment, Namjoon considers ignoring it. It’s a Monday morning, and they only started their break, so he thinks it’s well-deserved.

Until he recognizes the ringtone.

His eyes snap open and he fumbled to reach for his phone before the ringing stops. He unplugs his phone from the charger and swipes his thumb across the screen.

“Bang-PD-nim” he greets, “Good morning.”

“Namjoon-ah. Is everyone at the dorm right now?”

“I-,” he pauses. He peeks at the other side of the room, and sees Taehyung lying haphazardly on his bed, his right leg dangling off the mattress. His mouth hangs open as he snores. Namjoon roughly remembering coming home to their manager dumping Taehyung on his bed, saying something about the maknae line having a drunken night out and “he should really get a raise at this point.”

“I think so,” he answers. He walks out of his room to check and is greeted by the sight of Hoseok sleeping on the living room sofa, still in his training clothes. Namjoon frowns at this, and wonders what time did he come home last night, but decides to comment on it later. “Yes, everyone’s at the dorm. Why?”

The line is quiet at the other end. Namjoon hears a long sigh. Dread settles in his heart. That could not mean well.

“Call Sejin-ssi and ask him to discreetly pick everyone up from the dorm to the office. As soon as you can.” There is a pause. “There’s a situation…regarding Jimin.”

“Jimin?”

“Just come. You’ll know soon.”

He hangs up before Namjoon could ask anymore questions. He looks at his phone in his hands, thoughts in his head running a mile a second. Namjoon turns around, and is greeted by the sight of Jimin lingering by the archway connecting the kitchen and the living room. The boy looks as if he just woke up; he’s still wearing the clothes he wore last night and his hair sticks out on some ends. He looks at Namjoon apprehensively.

“I…heard my name,” he says timidly, “Did…something happen?”

Namjoon’s only response is a shake of his head. There’s only one way to find out.

“Wake up the others,” he orders quietly, “We need to see PD-nim now.”


 -

[BREAKING] BTS Jimin admits to being in love with a man

Submitted by an anonymous tipper, a recorded audio clip revealed BTS member Park Jimin discussing about personal feelings he harbours towards a person. The identity of this person remains unknown, but from the recorded clip, it is revealed that the person is a male.

[audio clip]

Park Jimin is guessed to be having a conversation with someone which leads to him making the above confession.

BigHit Entertainment and the BTS members have yet to make a comment on this matter.


 -                                                                                                                             

Jimin stares at the online article wordlessly, feeling numb all over. Around him, his members stare at it with wide eyes, and various kinds of reactions. He thinks he hears Namjoon curse.

In front of him, Bang PD gazes at them with serious eyes.

Jimin couldn’t bear to meet his eyes.

“There’s a voice recording in case you find it unbelievable,” Bang PD states with a bone-chilling calmness, “I listened to it because like many others, I found it unbelievable at first.”

Everyone watches in silence as he takes out his phone, swiping the screen a few times before he finally places the phone on the table.

“I am.”

Jimin squeezes his eyes shut the moment he hears his own voice drifting out from the phone. It sounds muffled, as if recorded at a hidden location.

“I hate that I am. I hate that I can’t control these feelings. I don’t want…I don’t want to be the fool. I don’t want to be in love with him, anymore.”

His voice, though muffled, sounds clearly like him. There is no other explanation. Jimin couldn’t even lie even if he wants to. The recording ends abruptly, as if the person who recorded it had to leave in a hurry. Jimin suspects as much.

Silence fill the room.

“Where were you last night, Jimin-ah?” Bang PD asks in a quiet voice.

“I went out, sir,” Jimin answers softly, head ducked.

“With who?”

“With us!” Taehyung interrupts quickly, “With Jungkook and I. He wasn’t…he wasn’t alone.”

“Obviously he wasn’t since he sounds as if he’s talking to someone,” Bang PD replies coolly, making Taehyung fluster. The boy ducks his head, and focuses his gaze onto the floor.

“What were you three doing?”

“We were eating…” Jimin winces. “And drinking.”

Bang PD hums. “Were you drunk, then?”

A heavy, pregnant pause.

“Yes,” Jimin whispers, shame instantly filling him, “I can’t speak for the others, but I was drunk.”

“PD-nim, Jimin…he-,” Namjoon tries to say, but Bang PD raises a hand to stop him.

“I’m not addressing you just yet, Namjoon-ah. Please wait.”

He gazes at Jimin quietly for a long moment. No one in the room speaks. Seokjin glances at Jimin worriedly, while Namjoon fidgets restlessly where he stands. There is something hard in Yoongi’s eyes as he remains staring at the floor, his jaw clenched. Jungkook and Taehyung alternate between staring at the floor and looking at Jimin, guilt and worry clear in their expressions.

After what feels like an eternity, Bang PD finally heaves a sigh.

“Look,” he says, “I don’t want to interfere with your personal life. I have no say in who you should like and why. That’s all you.” He breathes out slowly. “However, it does become a concern of mine if it reaches to the media, especially when it’s obviously without anyone’s consent.”

“A dating scandal is bad enough as it is,” he adds, “But when it comes to something as controversial as this…”

Jimin trembles in his seat. He desperately wants to run away at this very moment, but the fear and the shock that runs through him roots him to where he is. He is too afraid to move.

“But before I say anything else,” Bang PD leans forward, “I want you to tell me the truth. Are the words in the recording true? Are you, in fact, in love with a man? At this point of time?”

Jimin’s whole frame shakes, and his heart thunders in his chest. He feels so much shame and guilt and fear, that he desperately wants to disappear. He wants so much to deny it. But-

But,

Yoongi is behind him, and he could feel the weight of his gaze. If he denies it, if he denies everything…everything could be-

“Yes,” he whispers, his voice sounding strangled, “It’s true.”

If the ground could swallow him up, he’d welcome it.

Bang PD says nothing for a short while. He looks as if he is contemplating something as he taps his fingers against the wooden table.

“Jimin-ah…” Bang PD’s voice sounds gentle. “The way you lead your life is something I can’t and won’t control, but given the circumstances, and how our society generally is, do you see how something like this can affect you?”

Jimin nods mutely.                   

“PD-nim, if I may,” Namjoon says.

“Go ahead.”

“We’re not letting Jimin face this alone,” Namjoon says determinedly, “Whatever consequences he has to face, we’ll face it with him.”

Jimin turns to protest. “Hyung, no-,”

“I’m with Namjoon-hyung,” Taehyung interrupts, “I mean,” he falters when Bang PD raises his eyebrow questioningly, “I was with him last night. I’m the one who brought him out. I should have…be more aware of our surroundings. So, I feel responsible.”

“Me too,” Jungkook chimes in, “I was there. We should have watched out for each other.”

“Yes, well.” Bang PD rubs his temples, “It’s a bit too late to regret over that now, isn’t it? While I don’t know what you kids were discussing about prior, and it’s none of my business to begin with, whoever eavesdropped on this conversation was ‘lucky’ enough to hear a very…” he clears his throat, “…significant part of the conversation.”

Jimin flushes.

“What do you suggest we should do now?” Seokjin asks, “The fans must be wanting to know the details…and I rather not leave them hanging.”

“Should we...” Hoseok hesitates, “Hold a press conference?”

Jimin stills at Hoseok’s words.

“I wouldn’t go that far yet,” Bang PD says with a shake of his head, “I don’t think Jimin would want that just yet, either. Do you?”

Jimin shakes his head vigorously. He wouldn’t know what to say if he has to go through that. He bites the inside of his cheek.

“Jimin-ah, what do you suggest we should do?” Bang PD asks, “This is, after all, your situation. How would you choose to handle it?” He thrums his fingers against the table again. “You’re gonna have to face it one way or another, Jimin-ah. Especially if it’s about your personal life.”

“I…” Jimin’s expression crumples visibly. He wraps his arms around himself. “This is…too sudden. I don’t know what to think right now. I…” He shudders. “I’m scared.” His voice breaks at the last word. “I…can I think about this a bit later?”

Bang PD stares at him wordlessly for a moment. His eyes are serious, and his lips form into a thin line. He sighs, rubbing his temples again.

“I understand. I’ll ask about this again soon, Jimin-ah.” He meets Jimin’s gaze solemnly. “We’ll need your answer eventually.”

Jimin nods, choosing not to say anything else.

“Until then,” Bang PD slumps in his seat, suddenly looking very exhausted. “All of you are on social media lockdown. And try not to leave the dorm so often. I have a feeling the media will be hunting you down,” he says darkly. “Until we have a proper statement to give, any of your words and actions can be very well used against you. All of you know that, I assume?”

The members give their affirmations.

“Good.” Bang PD nods to himself. “All of you are dismissed.”


 -

The ride home is silent. Jimin couldn’t imagine it to be otherwise, at this point.

Aside from Jungkook and Taehyung’s repeated apology for “not being able to defend him” and his repeated reassurances that “no, he doesn’t need defending”, he exchanged little to no words with the rest of his members. Namjoon is quiet as he sits in the front seat. Seokjin alternates from glancing at him worriedly and looking everywhere else, clearly agitated. Hoseok squeezes his shoulder once, and offers him a comforting smile, but quickly busies himself with his iPod after.

And Yoongi,

Yoongi, like Namjoon, remains silent as he sits beside Seokjin. He doesn’t look at Jimin once. Jimin couldn’t even remember if he even spoke a word in the office previously.

Somehow, his lack of reaction hurts the most. Jimin couldn’t blame him, though. With Jimin actively ignoring him these past several days and now landing himself in trouble, he wouldn’t blame him if he is angry, or perhaps even resentful of him.

But still, the pain is still there. Jimin acknowledges it without a word.

“I’m sorry,” he whispers.

“For what?” Namjoon asks, turning around to look at him.

“For…landing us in trouble.” He squeezes his eyes shut. “You must hate me.”

“Hate you?” Namjoon repeats incredulously, “Because of what? Because you admitted you’re in love with a guy?”

Hearing it out loud only doubles the humiliation Jimin currently feels. He always believes that sometimes the truth hurts, but he never expects this kind of pain. He is never prepared for it. Jimin keeps mum, shame visible on his face.

“Jimin-ah,” Seokjin reaches out to place a gentle hand on the boy’s trembling shoulder, “We don’t hate you for that. You’re still the Jimin we know and love. Who you’re in love with won’t change that.”

“But I got everyone in trouble,” Jimin points out miserably, “I- because I was so careless with my words, I-,”

“Jimin-ie,” Hoseok cuts him off. He reaches over to ruffle Jimin’s hair. “It’ll work out. Somehow. We all got your back. Right, Yoongi-hyung?” he asks, looking at Yoongi expectantly.

“Depends on Jimin does and says next,” says Yoongi. He turns to face everyone, his expression cool and serious. “Jimin’s right about one thing. We’re in a situation right now. Or more specifically, Jimin is.” He crosses his arms. “Our fans must be asking a lot of questions, and the media is just waiting for any signs of a wrong move. I hate to be a mood downer, but our next actions can determine a lot.” He focuses his gaze on Jimin. “Especially yours, Jimin-ah.”

Jimin bites his lip, and looks down to his lap. Yoongi’s words, though true as they are, are sharp to Jimin’s ears. He doesn’t offer any reassurances, just facts and the cold hard truth. As much as Jimin knows it’s probably for the best, it doesn’t ease the sting that come with it.

Yoongi is angry at him. There is no other explanation for it.

“You could be a little gentle with him,” Taehyung mutters. “Jimin basically admitted a big secret to us today. And it wasn’t because he wanted to. Couldn’t you be a little sympathetic?”

“Tae-,” Jimin begins.

“I’m not resentful at Jimin for being the way he is, if that’s what you’re implying,” Yoongi says sharply, “Seokjin-hyung is right. Jimin is Jimin. Who he falls for, be it a man or a woman or even a fucking goldfish, doesn’t matter. In a perfect society, it shouldn’t matter.” Yoongi pauses. He sighs heavily. “But our society isn’t perfect. It may not matter to us, but it may matter to a lot of people. Even if we dismiss their feelings and opinions for a second, think of what may happen to Jimin if this is handled wrongly. It won’t be just his reputation that would be affected.” He pinches the bridge of his nose. “Sympathy and kind words won’t get us anywhere. It won’t solve anything immediately. What matters is what we do next.

The silence that follows is heavy, and very awkward. Taehyung and Jungkook drop their gazes down to their laps, unable to say anything. Namjoon turns back around in his seat, letting out a heavy sigh. Seokjin has his hands raised a little, as if he is ready to diffuse the tension.

Jimin himself is stunned into silence. He doesn’t know what or how to answer to Yoongi’s words. Whatever words he planned to say died in his throat.

“Sejin-hyung,” Hoseok says suddenly, calling out to their manager, “Can you drop me off to the dance studio?”

Sejin, who previously was trying hard to ignore the tension in the car, turns around to look at Hoseok in surprise. “Huh?”

“The dance studio,” Hoseok repeats, “Drop me off there, please.”

“Why?” Sejin and Seokjin ask simultaneously. “Hoseok-ah, the PD-nim said not to leave your dorm so often for now,” Sejin reminds, while Seokjin nods in agreement.

“I left something there,” Hoseok explains, “Besides, I need to blow off some steam. With what’s currently going on right now…I rather not coop myself in the dorm and do nothing. I rather do something productive.”

“But-,”

“I’ll be back in a couple of hours,” Hoseok promises. “I’ll be careful.”

“I can join you if you want,” Jungkook offers, but Hoseok shakes his head.

“I rather…” he hesitates, “…Do this alone. For today.”

If Jungkook is hurt by Hoseok’s dismissive tone, he doesn’t show it. Taehyung looks out the window, but something in his expression changes. He sets his jaw, and determinedly doesn’t look at Hoseok.

Hoseok notices this, but comments nothing.

“Just don’t do anything reckless,” Namjoon cautions, “Remember what the PD-nim said.”

Hoseok nods. “I know.” He tries to smile, but Jimin sees little sincerity in it. “I’ll be careful.”


 -

When they reached the dorm, Taehyung and Jungkook pull Jimin aside to apologize again.

“I wish I could have said something,” Taehyung says regretfully, “I wanted so much to-,”

“Tae,” Jimin stops him, “There’s nothing else you could have done. It’s okay.”

“You shouldn’t have to tell us your…” Jungkook trails off. “Secret,” he finishes lamely. “It wasn’t for us to know if you’re not ready.”

Jimin smiles ruefully. “Honestly, that’s actually the least of my worries.” He sits down on the sofa wearily. “Things like that…coming out…” Jimin laces his finger together. “I don’t really have plans on things like that. I didn’t have…a label for myself, so I didn’t see the point of announcing something I’m not even sure I have a name to call it for.”

“I like both girls and guys. Or rather, gender doesn’t matter to me.” He adds, looking at Taehyung and Jungkook. “You guys understand, right?”

Jungkook nods. “I do, hyung.” He looks down, rubbing his feet on the floor. “I mean…you two…already know about Yugyeom…” He sighs. “I shouldn’t be the one to judge.”

“Speaking of names,” Taehyung says, “Does…” He glances around. “Does…Yoongi-hyung know?” He meets Jimin’s gaze hesitantly. “About…your feelings?”

Jimin blinks.

Ah.

“You two remembered what I said last night, huh?” he answers, tone resigned.

Jungkook and Taehyung awkwardly exchanged glances with each other. They nod. “The details were blurry,” Jungkook admits, “But that stood out quite clearly in my mind.” He laughs self-deprecatingly. “We made a lot of drunken confessions last night.” His half-smile gradually morphs into a frown. “Which makes me feel guiltier, because why is it only you who got into trouble because of it.”

Jimin slumps his shoulders. “I guess luck wasn’t on my side.”

“It’s not fair,” Taehyung mutters.

“Life often isn’t.”

“Do you…” Jungkook chooses his words carefully in his head. “…plan on telling him? Yoongi-hyung, I mean.”

Jimin slumps further into his seat. “I don’t know. I don’t see the point, honestly,” he admits, “But I…” He wraps his arms around himself. “I know that I’m hurting him. Even without saying anything to him, I can tell that Yoongi-hyung doesn’t feel good about me right now. And I don’t blame him.” He lets out a shaky breath. “I haven’t actually talking to him.”

He covers his face with his hands. “The feelings that I have for him…they complicate things. No.” He shakes his head. “I complicate things.”

“Jimin?”

All three heads snap up at the sound of the voice. They turn to see Yoongi standing against the wall, looking at Jimin specifically.


 -

“Hyung?” Jimin squeaks out.

“Can we talk for a bit?”

Yoongi’s tone doesn’t sound like it gives any room for argument. Jungkook and Taehyung look at each other for a fleeting moment before they quickly walk out of the living room. Taehyung manages to squeeze Jimin’s shoulder reassuringly before he leaves. Yoongi nods at the two as they pass him before his gaze settles on Jimin.

Jimin gulps, his heart thundering in his chest.

Yoongi blinks slowly, and sighs loudly. He walks over to the sofa where Jimin is sitting, and takes a seat at the end of it, body angled towards Jimin as he does. Jimin tries hard not to flinch at the sudden close proximity with the very person he has been working hard to avoid. His frame shakes a little due to the anxiety.

Yoongi, being Yoongi, notices.

“Relax, why don’t you?” Yoongi says, voice coming out a little sharper than intended. When Jimin flinches, Yoongi frowns, and cursed inwardly, regretting his words. “Look, I…I’m not gonna bite you or anything,” he tries again, “I just wanted to talk. We haven’t been doing that a lot lately.”

Jimin manages to look ashamed, but the boy continues to keep mum.

“Is it okay…if we talk for a bit?” Yoongi asks, trying to sound as gentle as he could.

Jimin hesitates, and he looks down to his lap. “I…” He takes a breath. “I…don’t mind,” he murmurs, “If hyung wants to talk to me, I don’t mind.”

The corner of Yoongi’s lips lifts, and he relaxes. “Okay.” He breathes out audibly. “Okay. So.” He opens his mouth to say more, but nothing comes out. “Ah…I forgot what I want to say.”

Jimin, in spite of everything, giggles softly, though he quickly covers his mouth to muffle it. Yoongi’s smile becomes wider. It has been a while since he heard Jimin laugh. He finds himself missing it a bit.

“How are you…these days?” Yoongi asks, “Before…you know, today happened.”

“I’m doing okay,” Jimin replies simply, “It’s nice to have a break after promotions.”

“Do you plan on going home some time soon?”

Jimin shrugs, playing with the material of his shirt. “I planned to…but then, PD-nim said…well.” A shadow fleets across his expression. “You know.”

“I know.”

The clock on the wall ticks; the loudest thing Yoongi hears in the quiet living room.

“So…” Yoongi stops, choosing the words in his head, “The guy.”

Jimin finally looks at him, confused. “Huh?”

“The guy that you like,” Yoongi clarifies, and Jimin instantly flushes, dropping his gaze again. He looks clearly agitated at the mere mention of him, and Yoongi wonders if now is the best time to talk about it. He pauses, unsure whether to continue or not, but he hears a whisper, and realizes that Jimin is speaking to him.

“What about him?” Jimin half-whispers.

“How long…has it been going on?” Yoongi asks carefully, “Is it just recently?”

Jimin shrinks into himself, scared and unsure of how to answer the question. At times like these, he wishes so much that Yoongi knows; knows the truth of it all. He wishes that he was brave enough to have told him much earlier. Jimin wishes that he didn’t dance around him, hoping foolishly that Yoongi would realize on his own.

But he wasn’t all those things, so now, he must face the music.

He slowly shakes his head. “No,” he answers, “It wasn’t…it wasn’t recently.” He bites his lips. “I liked him for a…very long time.”

“Really?” Yoongi sounds genuinely surprised. “You’re good at hiding it then. I wouldn’t have guessed.”

Jimin laughs nervously at that, but says nothing.

“How…did you know each other?”

“Through a…mutual friend,” Jimin finishes. “Yeah.”

“And you’ve never told him about how you feel? Not even once?”

Jimin stills at the question. In a lot of ways, he finds the situation funny. If he isn’t so high-strung on fear and anxiety, he would have laughed. Here he is, sitting in front of the person he has liked for a long time, and being confronted by the said person about his own feelings that he harboured towards him. It’s so ironic that it’s almost hilarious.

He shakes his head slowly. “No, I haven’t.” He winces at how shaky his own voice sounds like. “It’s...I was…I’m scared,” he adds, “I’m scared and anxious and worried about my own feelings. I wouldn’t…I wouldn’t know how he’ll react if he knows.”

“Why?” Yoongi asks softly, “Why are you so scared?”

“Because,” Jimin whispers, “I’m afraid the person I like will become even more far away than he already is.”

The clock continues to tick in the background.

“The person I like…” Jimin murmurs when Yoongi says nothing, “Is one of the kindest person I have ever met. He has always been there for me. He can be distant sometimes, but inside, he has a big heart. He…” Jimin closes his eyes, “He’s important to me. But…he’s so far away. I couldn’t reach him even if I tried.”

“And it hurts me,” he continues, “The fact that he’s so within my reach but I can’t ever grab hold of him. Even if I push my feelings towards him, I have a feeling that it will only push him further away. I tried so hard to stop myself from pining over him, but these feelings-,” He sighs. “Every day, they just grow.”

Jimin opens his eyes, and looks at Yoongi. His eyes shine with unshed tears.

“So, I decided; if I hurt him enough that he’ll hate me, if I start pushing him away, maybe, these feelings will stop.”


 -

Yoongi frowns deeply, and he stares at Jimin, disbelief in his eyes. He doesn’t understand. He can’t. He refuses-

“Why would you put yourself through that kind of pain like that?” he demands.

“Hyung?” Jimin says uncertainly, surprised by the sudden question.

“Is this guy worth it?” Yoongi asks, his tone sharp, “You hurt yourself this badly over this guy, who doesn’t even know how you feel. Is he even worth it? Does he deserve the pain you put yourself through?”

Jimin feels as if he’s been slapped. He stares at Yoongi wordlessly, unable to answer.

“Jimin, I…” Yoongi pauses, sighing, “I don’t want to see you hurting over someone who isn’t worth the pain you’re feeling. Whoever the person you like, who you’re so sure he won’t ever accept your feelings, he doesn’t sound like a good person.” Yoongi reaches out to touch Jimin’s hand. “You shouldn’t be with a person who continuously hurt you, even if he doesn’t realize it.”

His words struck something inside of Jimin. It’s as if they were a trigger, and they activated whatever alarm that’s inside of him. He feels as if a physical piece of him break, followed by another piece, then another.

He feels himself slowly chipping away, and the emotions he suppressed come tumbling out without any restraint.

Something wet trickles down Jimin’s cheek, and lands on his hand.

“You’re right,” Jimin says, his voice breaking. Yoongi’s eyes widen in alarm as he watches Jimin starts to cry. “You’re right, hyung. I shouldn’t.” Jimin chokes, as a sob rise out of his throat. “I shouldn’t.

“Jimin-,”

Guys.”

Namjoon bursts into the living room, looking frantic. Yoongi turns to him in surprise, and takes in the way he catches his breath, and the panicked look in his eyes. His left hand clutches a phone.

“Namjoon?” Yoongi furrows his brow. “What’s wrong?”

Namjoon gazes back at Yoongi, his expression hard.


 -

“Sejin-hyung called. Hoseok collapsed in the studio.”

Chapter Text

[Breaking] BTS J-Hope Collapsed and Rushed to the Hospital

BTS member J-Hope is reported to have collapsed in the practice studio earlier today. He is said to have gone there for a short practice, but is found shortly by their manager lying unconscious on the floor. This is about an hour after he arrived at the studio, shortly after the rest of the BTS members went back to their dormitory. Their manager decided to check on him after he failed to answer his phone after repeated attempts.

J-Hope is immediately rushed to the hospital. The BTS member is suspected to be suffering from extreme fatigue, though the doctors refused to comment further. Further updates on this news will be provided upon receiving comments from BigHit Entertainment or the BTS members themselves.


 

-

Angelseok: Oppa TT TT Omg pls be okay

Jiminielove: This is what happens if they overwork themselves TT TT Prayers to him.


 

-

Thrashbts: Fuckin finally. <3 BTS will flop for sure kekeke


 

-

Hoseok looks almost peaceful as he lays on the bed. His face is smoothed out from sleep, and his breathing is slow and steady.

But the sick pallor of his skin and the shadows underneath his eyes are the proof that despite the calmness of his expression, he is definitely not okay. Jimin sits on the armchair quietly, feeling numb all over as he listens to the doctor’s explanation.

Hoseok collapsed from overexertion; he overworked his own body, pushing it to the limits until it decides to give up on him. The doctor also mentions injuries on his ankles and waist; ones he suspected were caused from the overexertion and the general lack of rest over the years. Hoseok is to stay in the hospital for further observation and until the severity of his injuries could be further examined.

He is also not allowed to dance until he properly heals; an order from both the doctor and BigHit. Jimin doubts Hoseok would take the news well once he wakes up.

“That idiot,” he hears Taehyung mutter beside him. The boy’s face is pinched with stress, and he bites his nails and bounces his knees anxiously. “I told him. I freaking told him not to-,”

Jimin squeezes his friend’s hand comfortingly, and Taehyung merely leans his head on Jimin’s shoulder as a response. He thinks he hears a shuddering breath.

“How long do you think his injuries will heal?” Namjoon asks, his voice hushed.

The doctor shakes his head. “We can’t be certain yet. There are clear signs of stress on the muscles and ligaments around his ankles, and his waist needs to be checked further. If the injuries aren’t too severe, with enough rest, he may be able to dance again in a month or so.” His expression turns grave. “However, should he overexert himself again, they will take longer to heal, if at all.”

Jungkook whimpers where he sits, and Seokjin wraps his arm around the maknae’s shoulder, stroking his hair reassuringly. Yoongi stares at the floor, his expression hard and eyes steely.

Namjoon and the doctor discuss some more before Namjoon gives a nod, and bows slightly as the doctor leaves the room; an action followed by the rest of the members. Seokjin rises from the sofa, and approaches Namjoon. “So, what do we do now?” he asks.

Namjoon’s expression is grim. “Sejin-hyung told me Bang PD-nim is arranging an emergency meeting as we speak. Since Dispatch already knew about the situation, there’s nothing much we can do from preventing the fans from knowing, unfortunately.”

“There’s already an online article,” Yoongi grumbles, crossing his arms, “Our mentions are blowing up.”

“Do not check our Twitter for now,” orders Namjoon, “It will only stress us out. And we need to be as composed as possible.”

“Hyung,” Jungkook whispers. His fists are clenched on his knees, and he doesn’t look at any of them in the eye. “I’m scared. What will happen to us?”

Nothing’s gonna happen to us,” Seokjin says determinedly. He turns to Namjoon. “Right, Namjoon-ah?”

Namjoon nods. “We’ll get through this. I’ll make sure we will.” He runs his hand through his hair, sighing. “We might get…words from the PD-nim, though. We managed to land ourselves in two situations in a span of a single day.”

Jimin winces. “I’m sorry…” he mumbles.

“It’s not your fault, Jimin-ah,” Namjoon reassures, “It’s…if anyone’s at fault,” he pauses, “It’s mine.”

“Namjoon-,” Seokjin starts.

“No,” Namjoon cuts him off, “I’m the leader. I should have noticed something. But I didn’t. And now things are the way they are…” He sighs. “I’ll take responsibility.”

“Hyung, no,” Jimin protests, “What’s happening with Hoseok-hyung and I…it’s not your fault.”

“No,” says Taehyung suddenly, “Namjoon-hyung has a point.”

Everyone turns to him. Jimin’s eyes widen in disbelief. Yoongi furrows his brows.

“We’re a team,” Taehyung continues, “We’re supposed to look out for each other. If any of us have worries or troubles, we should have tried to notice. Said something. Comfort each other if need to.” His shoulders are tense as he speaks. “But we didn’t. Because no one tells each other anything; we’re always trying to hide our problems to prevent the rest from worrying.” He bites his lips. “But it doesn’t work that way. If anything, it makes things worse.”

Silence.

“Do you know why Hoseok-hyung overexerted himself? Why he pushed himself so hard? Why he was worried over the smallest mistakes more than usual? Why he spent hours on end dancing in the studio even though we’re on break? He’s the best dancer among us. Why is he suddenly struggling so much at the thing he’s the best and the most passionate at?” Taehyung exhales harshly.

“It’s because he was hated on.”

No one says a word. Jungkook gapes, and Namjoon’s eyes widen in shock. Yoongi’s expression turns dark. Jimin glances at Hoseok, shock and worry in his eyes.

“Taehyung-ah…” Seokjin whispers.

“There are comments,” Taehyung continues, voice above a whisper, “More than usual. For some reason, people started to attack him for the thing he loves to do the most; dancing. You can probably guess how well Hoseok-hyung took it when people suddenly told him his dancing is terrible, and going for the worse, and how he’s dragging down our group because of it.”

“I told him; begged him even, to not believe those comments. To stop doing to himself. But he won’t listen.

His voice trembles at the end, and Jimin belatedly realizes that Taehyung is tearing up. Seokjin springs into action, moving to wrap his arms around him, but Taehyung pushes him away, wiping his eyes. “Stop it.” Taehyung grits his teeth. “I was so frustrated. I was so angry. I couldn’t understand why he would do that to himself.” He looks at his band members, hurt as clear as day in his eyes. “Why do keep on hurting ourselves like this? We’ve always told each other everything; our worries, our doubts, our insecurities.” He glances fleetingly at Hoseok. “But now…Hoseok-hyung’s hiding so much pain and Jimin has to be outed in the worst ways possible. And Namjoon-hyung wants and possibly must take the blame for all of it?” A tear managed to slip from his eyes. “What’s happening to us?”

He spins on his heels and runs out of the room before anyone could say a word.

“I’ll go after him,” Yoongi murmurs, stopping Seokjin, “You guys stay here.”

“But-,”

“His emotions are clearly not the best right now,” Yoongi points out, “Comforting words may help, but only temporarily.” He looks meaningfully at Seokjin, who sighs, and nods. “I’ll calm him down. You guys stay here.”

After he leaves, the silence is room grows more noticeable. It’s palpable, in a way that Jimin could almost feel it. Namjoon sinks onto a nearby armchair and buries his face in his hands. Seokjin looks helplessly at the floor, unsure of what to do. Jimin slumps, suddenly very exhausted.

Jungkook, who’s beginning to twist the edges of his shirt anxiously, whispers.

“He’s right, though.” He closes his eyes. “What is happening to us?”

Hoseok sleeps on.


 

-

Btsismyhope: First Jimin now Hoseok. What’s going on??? I’m so worried

Prayforjhope: please please please pray for the boys. They must be having such a hard time right now.

Xxxtaegixxx: I just wanna give them a hug T_T


 

-

Armyrats : Jimin’s the cause of it. Him being caught stressed out Hoseok. Not that I’m complaining heh

12angellyy: One member is a homo thrash, one is a talentless thrash. Kekeke what a group

Thrashbts: Here’s to the end of the Korea’s “most talented” group hihihi


 

-

In the end, it is decided that Namjoon and Yoongi is to stay at the hospital to look after Hoseok for the day, while the rest are ordered to return to the dorm. No one argued – they were too tired for that -  and Seokjin hurriedly herded the maknae line into the van before they were noticed by the swarm of reporters outside of the hospital; ones who Sejin managed to trick that the boys were exiting through the main door.

No one speaks on the way home. Aside from Seokjin murmuring something into the phone, presumably talking to either Namjoon or Yoongi, the rest are quiet. Taehyung looks calmer when Yoongi brought him back to the hospital room, but his eyes are red rimmed, and he sniffles every now and then. Jungkook’s face is a mask of anxiety, and he bounces his knees so often that Seokjin had to place his hand on them a few times to get Jungkook to stop.

Jimin merely stares out of the window, too exhausted to do anything else. When Taehyung falls asleep and snuggles against Jimin’s side, he lets him.

Once they reach the dorm, Seokjin marches everyone into the kitchen and practically forces them to sit at the dining table.

“I’m going to make something for us to eat,” he declares, “And I expect everyone to eat it.”

“I’m not hungry…” Jungkook mumbles.

“I don’t care,” Seokjin says sternly, before his gaze softens. “Look…it’s been a hectic day for us. I don’t even remember if we even ate anything before this. I don’t want anyone else to get sick, alright?” He eyes Taehyung, who stares mutely at the table. “Especially you, Taehyung-ah.”

Taehyung turns to him, and tries to smile. He fails and his face looks sadder because of it. It breaks Seokjin’s heart looking at it.

“Okay, hyung.”

Seokjin ends up making kimchi fried rice just to keep things speedy, and he tries to hold a conversation with the rest of the boys as they eat. Jungkook replies non-committedly, and Taehyung barely replies at all. Jimin tries to make up for it by laughing at Seokjin jokes, though his laugh sounds weak, and his hyung smiles at him gratefully. Seokjin remains smiling throughout the meal, never discouraged by the boys’ lack of response. When Taehyung announces that he’s done, the eldest hyung nods, and waves him off with a smile. Jungkook follows soon after, leaving Jimin alone with Seokjin.

“The boys eat so fast,” Seokjin comments cheerfully.

Jungkook’s and Taehyung’s plates are still half-full of fried rice.

“Yeah…” Jimin smiles weakly at his hyung. “Thank you for making us this, hyung.”

“You’re welcome.”

 A beat of silence.

“I’m sorry,” Jimin finally says.

“For what?” Seokjin asks calmly.

“For…this.” Jimin eyes Jungkook’s and Taehyung’s empty seats and half-full plates. “For that. For…everything.” He looks down to his lap, ashamed. “You’re worried about us, and all we do is keep worrying you still. I just…” Jimin shakes his head. “I’m sorry.”

He hears a long sigh, before he feels something warm take his hand. He slowly opens his eyes and sees that Seokjin has his hand placed on top of his, and his hyung offers him a tiny smile. His eyes, however, have a hint of sadness in them.

“Things are…difficult for us, right now,” Seokjin says slowly, “And it’s so sudden; I don’t blame them for acting the way they did. Honestly.” He looks at his plate thoughtfully. “I’m not all that hungry, either. When we reached the dorm, my first thought was actually how much I wanted to sleep.” He laughs humourlessly. “I wanted to see if today’s some kind of nightmare that I have yet to wake up from. And even if it’s not, I just wanted to forget everything for a few hours. Sleeping was so tempting.”

“But,” he adds, voice low, “I knew I wouldn’t be the only one with those kinds of thoughts. I knew that all of us would like to believe that today isn’t real, or find a way to escape from it for a while. And I also knew that...escaping the reality of the situation won’t make anything better, not even a little bit.” Seokjin smiles sadly. “I just…everything is so hectic today, and without any sort of warning, I just wanted…a little normalcy. Even if it’s just for a moment.”

Jimin sees how Seokjin’s composed expression crumples a little bit, and his own heart starts breaking. “Hyung…”

“And while we’re on the subject of apology,” Seokjin continues, “I think I should apologize as well.” He sighs. “Taehyung’s right. We haven’t been talking to each other lately. I don’t know whether it’s because we’re getting busier, or something else, but we just haven’t been…communicating.” He withdraws his hand from Jimin’s to cover his face.  He groans. “I’ve guessed. That’s all I’ve been doing. Namjoon-ah as well.”

Jimin frowns. “What do you mean?”

“We had a feeling that there’s something going on with some of us. We noticed some things,” Seokjin admits, “I noticed how grumpy Jungkook was these past week, and I couldn’t be sure what it was, but I knew Hoseok is struggling with something. “He looks at Jimin carefully. “I even noticed how you and Yoongi didn’t speak to each other for a while.”

Jimin flushes. “Ah…”

“I didn’t say anything because I thought I was respecting your privacy,” Seokjin whispers, “I didn’t talk to Jungkook about his feelings, and I didn’t dare to ask Hoseok about whatever that was troubling him. Yoongi told me you guys had a falling out, but I never pressed further; I thought it was too personal for me to know. I thought maybe…if I waited it out, things might get better, or at least, you guys will be ready to say what was on your mind.” He groans in frustration. “Now I wish I’ve said something earlier. I could have…” He shakes his head. “Namjoon would have been less burdened, at least. He thinks he failed as a leader for not realizing anything. And honestly, I feel like I’ve failed as a hyung for not saying anything despite knowing more than I let on.”

“Hyung, no,” Jimin protests, “It’s not your fault. You’re…if anything, you’re the one who tries the hardest amongst us. It’s…you couldn’t have known. You and Namjoon both. We’re the ones who should have said something.” He bites the inside of his cheek. “What’s going on between me and Yoongi-hyung…it’ s just…” Jimin squeezes his eyes shut, and shudders. “I was just scared. I didn’t want to acknowledge it. And I didn’t want to worry anyone. I just…”

“Is it Yoongi?”

Jimin turns to his hyung, eyes questioning.

“The guy that you admitted you’re in love with…” Seokjin’s tone is gentle. “Is it Yoongi all along?”

Jimin blinks. He feels himself flushing. He opens his mouth, but all he can do is gape. Seokjin waits, though. He doesn’t say a thing.

Finally, in a quiet voice, Jimin asks, his head ducked. “How…How did you know?”

“I was just guessing,” Seokjin admits, “Yoongi told me you were hurting, and the way you confessed about your feelings back in the office and how you mentioned how scared you were about what was going on between you and Yoongi…I just pieced things together. Besides,” he pauses, smiling ruefully, “You just reminded me of Jungkook when he told me that he likes Yugyeom.”

Jimin peeks at his hyung. “You knew about that, too?”

“I’ve had an inkling. I told you…I guessed a lot.” Seokjin laughs with no real heart in it. “But he told me a couple of nights ago, after he came home from a failed night out with Yugyeom.” His expression darkens as he remembers. “He cried a lot. Practically shaking in my arms. I was so terrified; I’ve never seen him that way before. I didn’t know what to do about it.” He tilts his head, looking thoughtful. “But you know what was one of the first few things he told me as he cried? How scared he was about his own feelings.”

“And I thought,” he continues when Jimin says nothing, “How painful and confused he must have felt when he realizes he likes a person…society usually deems wrong for him to like.” He glances at Jimin. “Were you? Was that why you distanced yourself from Yoongi?”

Jimin could only nod. His chest feels heavy, and his throat is tight. He doesn’t know what to feel; aside from the waves of shame and guilt which continuously engulf him.

“It makes me so mad. Love is supposed to be a good thing. You…” Seokjin shakes his head. “You two don’t deserve this kind of hurt. And Hoseok…” He clenches his fist. “I don’t understand how people can needlessly hate on someone just for the sake of it. And attacking him for the one thing people knows he is passionate about…” Seokjin looks pained. “People can be so cruel.”

“Not all people are cruel,” Jimin murmurs. When Seokjin looks at him questioningly, Jimin offers him a hesitant smile. “We have people like you. Who worries and genuinely loves others…who isn’t quick to judge. I…” He takes a breath. “I’m grateful that I have people like you by my side, hyung. It comforts me a lot.”

Seokjin looks touched. “Jimin-ah…” He smiles softly, eyes shining. “All of you are my dongsaengs. You guys are precious to me….”

“It’s like that for me too, hyung.”

The two of them stay like that for a while, content with each other’s presence. Jimin lets Seokjin intertwine their hands together, and they talk for a bit more about random things. He feels a little calmer now, after their previous talk, and when they finally separated to their respective bedrooms, Jimin feels a little lighter.

He lies down on his bed, staring at the ceiling. His eyes slowly droop.

His phone buzzes in his pockets, which he doesn’t feel. There is a Twitter notification; one he forgets to turn off.


 

-

120xxbtssucks : Jimin’s fault Jimin’s fault~ Hoseok collapsed bc of Jimin’s stupidity. Leave leave leave!


 

-

Kiki: Poor hobi. Not only he received hate, Jimin decides to fuck up for the whole group. No wonder he collapsed.

4lyfegem: fucker, you stupid fucker. You should have kept your mouth shut. Stressing other members.

Breakwings: what a joke heh he’s an idol what’s he doin making drunk confessions out in the open

Thrassssshhhhesarmy : Hobi better slap him for me. I would if I were him.


 

-

Jimin knows he shouldn’t have checked his Twitter. Namjoon forbade him to, and Bang PD-nim’s words still rang in his ear. He gave the two of them his word he wouldn’t check. He promised.

But he couldn’t help it.

When he woke up to practically hundreds of notifications, his first thought was Ah, I must have forgotten to switch it off. He should have left it like that, and moved on. Better yet, he should have gone ahead and switch off his notifications like he should.

But he was just so goddamn curious.

It starts with one or two tweets, and then, three, four, five, nine, fifteen; before he realizes it, Jimin spends the entire evening cooped in his room, scrolling through his mentions. Some tweets are supportive and reassuring, but they quickly overrun by malicious tweets; some directed towards Hoseok and BTS as a whole, but most,

Most are about him.

Breakwings: fucker fucker fucker you fucked up you messed the whole group congrats

Angel203: things would have been fine if you just learn to live quietly

Jimin scrolls though more, as if on autopilot. He doesn’t cry. He doesn’t frown. He sits still. There is no heaviness in his chest or any pain in his heart.

Jimin doesn’t feel anything.

He just scrolls, and reads, and scrolls, and reads.

Kickoutjimin: Jimin needs to leave. Talentless sick fucker.

Jimin wonders if he agrees.


 

-

His mother calls; the only thing that finally stops him from looking though his mentions.

He stares at the caller ID, hesitating to answer. He finally feels something.

Fear.

When he finally picks answers the call, he doesn’t say anything. He just waits, breathing quietly into the speaker.

“Jimin,” says his mother, “You’re there, right?”

“Hi, mom,” Jimin replies, his voice barely above a whisper.

“I missed you, my son.”

Jimin’s throat suddenly feels tight. “I miss you too, mom.

“Are you doing okay?” A pause. “…I’ve seen the news.”

Her words break something in Jimin. He gasps, and clutches his shirt. His vision blurs rapidly, and he suddenly finds it hard to breathe. His mother knows. She knows.

“M-mom…I…” he chokes, “…I disappointed you, haven’t I?”

“Disappoint me?” His mother genuinely sounds surprised. “What makes you say that?”

“For being…” Jimin’s throat tightens more. “…the way I am.”

A beat of silence.

“Oh, honey…” She sounds rueful. “Do you think I’m angry at you for that?” Jimin hears a sniffle. He frowns. Is his mother crying? “Jimin… my precious son, I’m not. Why would I be?”

“Why wouldn’t you?” Jimin asks softly. “What I admitted to…” His expression crumples. “It’s wrong.”

Who you love doesn’t matter to me,” his mother answers, “Sometimes, you don’t get to choose who you fall in love with. It’s not up to us to decide. Besides,” A pause. “I thought…what you did was incredibly brave. Admitting your feelings like that, it takes a lot of courage. You’re still the son I’m always proud of.”

Jimin tears up, face already warming up because of it. “Mom…” A sob rises out from his throat. “Mom…I love you so much.” Tears spill from his eyes. “I…”

His phone buzzes. He catches sight of his notification bar.


 

-

Thrashbts: I fucking hate you, Park Jimin. LEAVE.


 

-

“Mom…mommy,” Jimin chokes. He hurts so much. He hurts everywhere. “I want to go home. I wanna see you, mommy.”

A pause.

“Then, come home, my son. I’m right here.”


 

-

“Are you sure about this, Jimin-ah?”

“I’m sure, PD-nim.”

“It’s…a bit of a sudden decision, don’t you think?”

“I know…I just…” Jimin looks out his window, gazing at the night sky. The dorm is quiet. He doesn’t know what the rest of the members are doing – he thinks he hears Seokjin shuffling about in the living room, and maybe Jungkook murmuring to someone outside his door – but he isn’t in too much of a hurry to know. He looks at the city stretched out in front of him, feeling peaceful for the first time in a long while.

“I just want to be somewhere different for a while.”

“…Alright.” A sigh. “I suppose you deserve at least that. Alright then. Do what you need to do. Take a breather. Clear your mind. But when you come back,” A brief pause. “I expect an answer, Jimin-ah.”

Jimin smiles, small and sad.

“I know.”


 

-

Namjoon is on the verge of nodding off when he hears his phone sound. A message notification.

Yoongi sleeps cross-armed beside him, head lolling to the side. He looks exhausted even when asleep, and Namjoon’s heart twinges at the sight of it. He pulls up the blanket to the boy’s chin, and quietly leaves the room. He takes a quick glance at Hoseok as he does, who remains asleep on the bed. The doctors mentioned he might wake up in several hours once his body fully recharges and heals itself, and Namjoon could only hope it’s true.

He pulls out his phone from his pocket and swipes down the notification bar.

A group chat notification. He sees Jimin’s name.


 

-

Jimin: I’m taking the last bus to Busan. I’m going home for now. I need…to be alone for a bit.

Jimin: Please don’t look for me. I’m fine. Please don’t worry.

Chapter Text

Hoseok plays with his food, not meeting Taehyung’s eyes.

Taehyung stares at him relentlessly, not breaking his gaze.

“You’re just gonna stare at me like that?” Hoseok finally asks.

“Maybe,” Taehyung replies, “Until you start talking to me.”

“I am talking to you.”

“Properly.”

Hoseok sighs. He puts down his plastic fork – cold rice with kimchi and lukewarm soup isn’t all that appetizing, anyway – and looks at Taehyung. “If you’re going to scold me, you might as well do it now. While I’m still awake.”

Taehyung raises his eyebrow. “What makes you think I’m here to scold you, hyung?”

“Because…I worried you?” Hoseok guesses.

Taehyung scoffs. “I wasn’t worried.” When Hoseok looks at him sceptically, he sighs and slumps his shoulders. “Okay, maybe I was. We were all worried.” He steps forward and sits on the chair next to the bed. “With what’s happening to Jimin and Dispatch hunting us down for details, you suddenly collapsing didn’t exactly make the day better, hyung.”

Hoseok winces. “How…is Jimin, anyway?”

“You didn’t read the group chat?” When Hoseok shakes his head, Taehyung crosses his arms, looking very tired. “He left for Busan two days ago. The night you collapsed.”

Hoseok’s eyes widens. “Why?”

“He wants to be alone. He even told us not to look for him.” Taehyung sighs. “He deserves some space. Especially with the media lurking about waiting for him.” He eyes Hoseok. “And you.”

“Sejin-hyung told me that,” Hoseok mutters, “That’s why he won’t give me my phone back. Apparently, we’re on social media lockdown until further notice.”

“Honestly, I’m glad that we are.” Taehyung’s gaze is serious. “It’ll stop you from reading all those hate comments.”

Hoseok, at least, looks ashamed.

“I knew you’re mad at me,” he mumbles.

Taehyung shakes his head, sighing again. “I’m not mad… I was just incredibly frustrated, and frankly…” He pauses, “Hurt. I was hurt, hyung.”

Hoseok says nothing. He ducks his head, staring down at his food tray.

“Can you really blame me, though, if I was angry?” Taehyung adds, “I don’t understand why you choose to hurt yourself like this, and when I try to reach out to you, all you did was to coldly push me away.” Taehyung’s expression visibly crumples. “I was so hurt by that, hyung. It felt as if you were rejecting me…and that really hurts. And when you collapsed…” he trails off. He takes a breath, and shakes his head again. “So many thoughts were going through my head that day.”

“And the thing with Jimin, too.” Taehyung sets his jaw. “He doesn’t deserve…” Anger is clear in his eyes as he speaks. “How could a person be so thoughtless like that? The fact that he or she was recording us is bad enough…but to actually leak-,” He broke off, and exhales loudly. He pinches the bridge of his nose, frowning deeply. “Jimin doesn’t deserve this.”

“He doesn’t,” Hoseok agrees quietly, “I could only hope he’s doing okay.”

Taehyung glances at him. “I hope you’re doing okay.” He reaches out to touch Hoseok’s arm. “How are you feeling?”

“Physically?” Hoseok smiles wryly. “Like I’ve been hit by a truck.”

“The doctors said-,”

“That my waist and ankles are injured,” Hoseok cuts in softly, “I know. I’m not allowed to dance until they heal properly.”

“How do you feel about that?”

“Angry,” Hoseok confesses, “Not at anyone else, though. Just me.” He grips his blanket. “I…I did something stupid. I pushed myself too hard and now I’m paying for it. It’s no one else’s fault but mine. But that fact just makes me angrier…”

Taehyung watches him in silence for a moment, before his hand on Hoseok’s arm move to Hoseok’s hand instead, and the latter looks at him questioningly. Taehyung smiles softly.

“Well, at least you acknowledged your mistakes,” says Taehyung, “You’re right; you are an idiot. A fool who hurts himself for his own personal reasons, and pushes everyone away. You’re a fool who ends up hurting others in the process of hurting yourself.”

A shadow flits across Hoseok’s face but he says nothing.

“There is something I want to know, though…” Taehyung considers his words. “Why do you insist on reading those hate comments? Despite knowing what they could do to you.”

“Because they ground me.”

Taehyung furrows his brow, as he lets the words sink in. The clock ticks in the background, and a soft chatter from the nurses outside can be heard as silence fills the room.

“What do you mean?” he finally asks.

“It’s…hard to explain.” Hoseok looks at his hands. “Dancing is…who I am. I enjoy it, and I strive to be the very best that I could. When the fans cheer my name, it makes me feel…happy…almost…” He smiles softly. “Euphoric.”

“But I’m scared if I depend so much on those emotions, I’d forget who I am. Where I came from,” he continues, “I needed something to ground me. To make me focus. That’s where…” He hesitates, “The comments come in.”

When Hoseok doesn’t seem like he’ll continue, Taehyung pats his hand, offering him a tiny smile. “Go on,” he urges.

“…When the first few comments started appearing in our mentions, I brushed them off,” Hoseok admits, “It was after a particularly hard dance practice, so I didn’t really need the extra stress. But…” He trails off. “Eunho-hyung texted me. Saying how proud he was of me, and was looking forward to working with me again. I was – I was happy. My heart soared at his words. But,” He clutches his shirt. “I was also scared. He has so much expectations of me. I was afraid I couldn’t live up to him.”

There is a change in Taehyung’s expression but he keeps mum.

“Then,” Hoseok sighs, “I saw the comments. It was the usual kind of hate…ones I learnt to ignore. But then. There was that one comment I remembered the most.”

Hoseok stops.

Taehyung waits.

“It said… how my dancing is getting worse, and how I should stop dreaming all the time.” Hoseok’s expression is smooth as he twists the edges of his shirt. “Normally, those kinds of comments would hurt. Sting. Bring me down. But for some reason, at that time, reading it calms me. It decreases the initial euphoria, sure, but it also erases my anxiety temporarily. It gave me…something to focus on.”

“I thought, ah. I should improve. If I want to live up to anyone’s expectations, I should get my head out of the clouds and work harder. When I continued practicing, my head was clear. For the first time in a while. It felt…refreshing.”

“Hoseok-hyung…”

“I didn’t want to read the other comments, at first,” Hoseok whispers, “I thought one is enough. That one single comment is enough to push me forward…but then, when we posted our dance practice video on Twitter, the comments started to pour in. I probably wouldn’t have noticed them since there were so many other comments, but I managed to catch one before it went away. That, too, commented on my dancing.” He chews his bottom lip. “I had the same feeling as before. It made me want to work harder. Soon, I wanted…no, needed that feeling back. So, I…” He winces, guilt in his eyes. “I started looking for the other comments.”

Taehyung’s fingers lace through Hoseok’s and Hoseok looks at them with a wan smile.

“I guess I was…addicted to it, in the end. It became a habit. I even had some of more often ones bookmarked and visited their accounts regularly just to see if there is anything new. I convinced myself saying that it’s just for motivation. Something to push me on the days when I don’t even feel like moving.” Hoseok pauses, laughing bitterly, “But I guess I realize now that those comments push me to the point of making sure I never got up.”

As silence descends in the room, Taehyung finds himself struggling with a torrent of emotions. Sadness. Anger. Frustration. Fear. He looks at Hoseok properly. Observes his expression. Notices the lack of spark in his eyes, and the dullness of his tiny smile. The way his shoulders are visibly slumped. He sees something that he prays he should never see again in the hyung who calls himself the hope of Bangtan.

Hopelessness.

He moves to cover both of Hoseok’s hands with his own and lifts them up. As Hoseok looks at him questioningly, he meets his gaze determinedly.

“Hyung,” he says, “If there are days when you want someone to ground you, talk to us.”

Hoseok furrows his brow. “Tae-,”

“If you need help reminding that you have people supporting you with every step you take, talk to us,” Taehyung continues, “If you need someone to lift you up, talk to us. If you’re having a bad day, talk to us. If you’re hurt, talk to us.” He tightens his grip on Hoseok’s hands. “Talk to me.

Hoseok blinks. “Tae, I-,”

“Don’t rely on hurtful words. Rely on me.”

Taehyung’s tone is fierce, that it catches Hoseok off-guard. He gapes at him wordlessly, blinking owlishly.

Taehyung, apparently, isn’t done. “Please…please don’t do this to yourself anymore, hyung,” he begs, “I hate seeing you hurt and I hate that I couldn’t understand why. We’ve always relied on each other, haven’t we? All our pain and worries, we share them. So, don’t…” He chokes. “Please don’t hurt on your own. Please don’t keep secrets that will only cause you more pain.”

When he hears sniffling, Hoseok belatedly realizes it.

Taehyung is crying.

“Ah- Taehyung-ie,” Hoseok’s expression is helpless. “Ah-, um, please don’t cry. Please – um, hyung…hyung doesn’t want to see you cry.”

“Whose fault do you think it is?” Taehyung asks a little sharply, letting go of Hoseok’s hand to wipe his tears, “When one of my hyungs is being dumb and hurting all alone, of course I’ll cry.” He looks at Hoseok with watery eyes. “Apologize, you dumb idiot.”

“Dumb idiot is redundant – um,” Hoseok pauses at Taehyung’s glare. “I’m sorry.”

Taehyung glares at him for a moment, before his gaze softens and he sighs. He sniffles, and wipes the remaining tears before moving to grab Hoseok’s hands again. His skin feels soft underneath his hands, but lacks the usual warmth. He frowns at this.

“You’re so cold,” he murmurs.

“I haven’t been moving much lately,” Hoseok murmurs back.

“Did the doctors say anything else?”

“Just that I need to rest more, and if required, I may have to attend physical therapy for my waist.” Hoseok sighs. “Dancing will be off-limits for a while.”

“You deserve that,” Taehyung says softly. Despite his choice of words, they carry no venom, and Hoseok finds himself agreeing with him. He supposes he does deserve it.

“I’ll be here for you,” says Taehyung, “All of us will.” He looks at Hoseok fiercely. “If there are days when you feel like giving up, call us.” He hesitates. “Call me. I’m always just a phone call away.”

Hoseok smiles, clearly touched. “Taehyung-ah…”

“Just… no more secrets, alright? Especially the ones that hurt you.”

Hoseok bites his lip. He stares at Taehyung, who stares at back at him earnestly. He glances at their joint hands. He feels the warmth from Taehyung’s hands, as compared to his cold ones. He closes his eyes briefly, and considers. He takes a deep breath, and exhales slowly.

It’s now, or never.

“Before I make that promise,” he begins, “I have one more thing to tell you.”

Taehyung tilts his head. “What is it?”

Hoseok opens his eyes, and gazes at Taehyung properly. His heart thumps rapidly in his chest, and he thinks he feels cold sweat on his palms, but he squares his shoulders and turns his body to full face him.

Slowly, his lips form a smile.

“Kim Taehyung,” he says, “I like you.”


 

-

The seconds suddenly pass by very slowly for Taehyung.

“I like you.”

Hoseok says those words with a smile.

“I like you.”

Those words. They are real.

“I like you.”

Hoseok actually said them. He isn’t dreaming.

Hoseok is also still looking at him.

“I…um,” Taehyung blinks rapidly. “I... really? You like me?”

Hoseok nods.

“Like…like like me?”

Hoseok looks startled at first, before he laughs. His body shakes as he does, and Taehyung commits his laughter to memory. It’s the first time he actually laughed in a very long while. Taehyung finds himself missing it.

“Yes, Taehyung-ie,” Hoseok says with a smile, “Like like you.”

Taehyung binks owlishly again, his lips forming into an ‘o’ as he lets the words sink in. He leans against his seat, letting go of Hoseok’s hands in the process.

“Wow,” he breathes, “I didn’t - since when?”

“Since…well,” Hoseok runs his hand through his hair. “Funny – Actually, I can’t really remember. I guess it’s been that long.”

“Wow,” Taehyung repeats, “I didn’t know. Never expected a thing.”

“I was good at hiding it, I guess.”

“Either that, or I’m not as observant as I thought,” Taehyung muses. He frowns suddenly. “Why didn’t you tell me earlier?”

“Before that,” Hoseok looks at Taehyung curiously, “You’re not…You’re taking this pretty calmly.”

Taehyung furrows his brow. “I’m surprised, I guess. But you say that as if you’re expecting something else.” He crosses his arms, narrowing his eyes. “Were you?”

“I…maybe?” Hoseok looks confused. “I just told you that I have feelings for you…and I thought…that…”

“That I might act badly to it?” Taehyung guesses.

When Hoseok nods, Taehyung sighs. “Hyung, why would I? I mean…I’m surprised, and-,” He pauses, pink dusting his cheeks as he flushes slightly, “Honestly, quite pleased. I just…I didn’t expect it, that’s all. I never thought of the possibility.” He fidgets in his seat. “And the fact that you said you’ve had it for a long while…I…” He looks almost shy. Hoseok smiles in spite himself. “Why didn’t you tell me earlier, though?”

“Because I was scared of what you’ll think. It took me time to come in terms with it, so I wasn’t sure how you’ll react to it.” Hoseok hesitates. “And because… I thought…Jungkook -,” He breaks off, visibly embarrassed for some reason.

Taehyung begins to look confused. “Jungkook? What about him?”

Hoseok looks even more embarrassed, his cheeks already flushed. He ducks his head and avoids Taehyung’s gaze. “I…didn’t wanna say anything because I thought…” The tips of his ears are red. “I assumed you liked Jungkook.”

Taehyung stares.

“You thought…I liked Jungkook?”

Mutely, Hoseok nods.

Taehyung stares a bit more, before his lips curve upwards, and something rises out of his throat. He giggles softly, catching Hoseok’s attention enough for him to look at Taehyung, and he watches with wide eyes as Taehyung begins to laugh in earnest. He covers his mouth to muffle his laughter, his frame shaking as he giggles.

“Taehyung?”

“Hyung, you’re so silly,” Taehyung laughs. He slowly begins to calm down, wiping the tears of mirth from his eyes. He faces Hoseok with a slight grin, his expression teasing. “Hoseok-hyung, Jungkook’s quite a man, and he is a looker, but I don’t see him that way. He’s just my favourite dongsaeng. Nothing less, nothing more.” He chuckles a bit more. “Why did you even assume I had feelings for him?”

“I…I…because,” Hoseok stammers, “I mean. It’s just the way you look at him, sometimes. And you two are so close, I thought-,”

“Jimin and I are close,” Taehyung points out, “We’re bestfriends, even. You didn’t think we had feelings with each other.” He pauses, squinting his eyes. “Did you?”

“No.”

“See?”

“But that’s because I knew you two are bestfriends,” Hoseok argues, “Everyone in Bangtan knows it. There’s literally nothing to assume.”

“True,” Taehyung allows, “Okay, you have a point. But still.” He tsk’ed. “You really shouldn’t assume without asking, hyung.” He looks at Hoseok fondly. “Aish, you worried over nothing. There’s nothing going on between Jungkook and I, I promise. As manly and handsome Jungkook-ie is, he’s not my taste,” he adds playfully. “And besides…” The smile on his face softens around the edges. “The kid likes someone else.”

“How do you know?”

Taehyung shrugs. “It’s as plain as day, really. And I actually asked,” he says pointedly. He pauses. “Okay, I didn’t. More like he told me. But that’s not for me to elaborate.” He shakes his head. “Look, the point is – hyung, don’t assume without asking. Aish, I’m actually quite angry now.” He fixes Hoseok with a glare, though it has no real heat in it. “Apologize.”

 Hoseok quirks a smile, amusement dancing in his eyes. This kid.

“I’m sorry, Taehyung-ah. I won’t assume.”

“And?”

“And…I won’t keep anymore secrets that will hurt me.” He reaches out to pat Taehyung’s arm. “I promise, okay?”

Taehyung looks satisfied, patting Hoseok’s hand on his arm. “Good. I hope you learn your lesson.” His eyes twinkle. “And as a reward for being a good hyung, I’m gonna allow one kiss.”

He says it as a joke, and truly meant it as one. He wants to lighten up the mood, and frankly, he was looking forward to seeing Hoseok getting flustered. He wants a little playful revenge for all the times Hoseok made him worried and hurt.

The request was a playful joke.

What he doesn’t expect is for Hoseok’s expression to slowly morph into a serious one, and how he seems to actually consider his words. He tilts his head, and Taehyung is suddenly very aware of Hoseok’s gaze slip to stare at his lips.

A faint blush forms on Taehyung cheeks.

“I mean. Um-,” he tries to say.

Hoseok reaches out to cup Taehyung’s face, and the latter barely has time to process anything when Hoseok leans forward and captures Taehyung’s lips with his own.


 

-

Jungkook listlessly flips though the channels, bored half to death. With Jimin back to Busan, Taehyung at the hospital visiting Hoseok, Jungkook doesn’t really have anyone to talk to. Namjoon, Seokjin, and Yoongi are still fast asleep in their respective rooms; with nothing else to do and nowhere to go (they are banned from leaving the dorms unless absolutely necessary), they might as well use the time to catch up on the little sleep they had the past few days. The fact that they are also on a social media lockdown makes things worse.

Jungkook doesn’t like to whine; he understands the situation and he wants to avoid getting into more trouble by running into the media.

But he is bored.

His phone buzzes, nearly making him jump out of his skin.

He fumbles to take out his phone, and unlocks the screen. Upon seeing the sender of the message, his eyes widen almost comically.

Yugyeom: Can we talk?

Jungkook stares at the message for a full minute. His fingers hover above the keyboard, unsure of what to do. He bounces his knees together, suddenly feeling anxious.

What deletedeletedele hey how deletedeletedelete Yugyeom I deletedeletedelete

Yeah, what’s up?

The reply comes almost instantly.

Yugyeom: I was wondering if we could meet up.

I’m not allowed to leave the dorms whenever I want right now.

Yugyeom: I know. I heard.

Yugyeom: Maybe, I could go to yours?

Jungkook hesitates. He turns around when he hears the sound of footsteps and sees Namjoon walking into the living room, hair messy from sleep. He greets Jungkook with a smile when he sees him, and sits himself beside him on the sofa, reaching to ruffle his hair fondly.

“What’s up, kid?”

“Um.” Jungkook glances at his phone. “Yugyeom…he…”

Namjoon frowns a little looking at Jungkook’s visible hesitation. “Yes?” he urges.

“He wants to come over. To the dorm. To…talk with me. Is that…” He peeks at Namjoon from underneath his lashes. “Will that be okay?”

“I’m okay with it. I doubt Seokjin-hyung and Yoongi-hyung would mind, either.” He tilts his head, his gaze fixed on Jungkook. “The real question is: will you be okay with it?”

At first, Jungkook doesn’t understand the implication behind Namjoon’s tone. Then, he remembers the episode with Seokjin, and Taehyung’s emotional outburst at the hospital a few days ago, and it dawns to him. Namjoon must have known. One of them will bound to explain to him eventually, even if he doesn’t ask.

Jungkook isn’t sure if he is comfortable with this fact, but he lets it go, feeling strangely resigned.

“I’m not sure,” he confesses lowly, “But I suppose there’s only one way to really find out.” He turns his attention back to his phone. Yugyeom is still online, clearly waiting for his response.

Yeah okay. I’ll text you the address.


 

-

“Yugyeom-ah,” Seokjin greets warmly, “It’s good to see you.”

“Hey, hyung,” Yugyeom replies, “Is… Jungkook in?”

Namjoon peers over Seokjin’s shoulder. “Oh, hey, Yugyeom. If you’re looking for Jungkook, he’s in his room playing video games.” He grins at the boy, patting his shoulder. “Did you get here okay?”

Yugyeom nods. “Yeah, my manager drove me here.”

“His room is at the end of the hallway,” Seokjin explains, nudging Yugyeom towards the direction. “I don’t think his door is locked, but you can knock to check. He knows you’re coming, anyway, so I don’t think he’ll mind if you just push the door open.”

“He wears headphones while gaming, so I suggest you do that first,” Namjoon adds with a laugh, “Once he starts gaming, it’s rare for him to hear anything on the first try.”

“Noted, hyung.”

Yugyeom walks towards Jungkook’s room, and sees the door is ajar. He slowly approaches it and peeks inside. Sure enough, Jungkook is hunched over his computer, wearing headphones. His expression is focused as he clicks on his mouse repeatedly, mumbling every now and then. When he curses, hitting the table as he does, he takes off his headphones and grumbles at the screen.

“No, why does the Internet have to be unstable now?” he whines.

“What are you playing?” Yugyeom asks.

Jungkook turns abruptly to him, clearly surprised. He rises from his chair immediately, putting his headphones on the table. “Yugyeom! Hey, um…” He fidgets uncomfortably. “I didn’t hear you coming.”

“With headphones as big as that, I’d be surprised if you did,” Yugyeom teases. This earns him a hesitant smile from Jungkook.

“Come on in. What…what are you standing around there for?”

“Um, right.” Yugyeom steps inside, looking around his room. “It’s cool that you have your own room now.”

“Yeah. It has its perks.” Jungkook walks over to the bottom bunk and sits on the mattress. He pats the spot beside him. “Come, sit. My room’s kinda cramped with all the stuff lying around.”

“You really need to organize your things, Kook-ah.”

“Please,” Jungkook wrinkles his nose. “You’re starting to sound like Jin-hyung.” He stretches his arms. “Though I guess I should get rid some of my things. I don’t want to come off as a hoarder to my fans if there’s suddenly a surprise broadcast in this dorm.”

 “I’m sure they’ll love you, regardless.”

“Heh.”

They settle into silence. Yugyeom looks around his room a bit more as he sits beside Jungkook. The room itself might have been big when empty, but the clutter of things makes it seem smaller. Jungkook’s collection of video games and DVDs are all stacked up on his work station, and on the floor beside it. He sees reference books with dog eared pages on the mattress, and spies his jacket being hung on the doorknob. The cap Yugyeom recognizes as one of his fangifts covers one of the computer speakers.

The only thing being kept neatly in his room are his electronics and figurines; arranged nicely on the shelf pushed back against the wall.

“So.” Jungkook laces his fingers. “Did you want to talk about something?”

“Ah.” Yugyeom shifts in his seat, feeling awkward. “Right, about that. I…” He takes a deep breath. “I wanted to talk about…what happened last Saturday. At the bowling centre.”

He thinks he sees Jungkook flinch.

“I wanted…I mean, I’ve been meaning to - ,” Yugyeom shakes his head, hoping to clear his nervousness. He turns to face Jungkook, though the boy is not looking at him. “Look, I’m sorry. For what happened.”

Jungkook turns to him surprise. “You’re sorry?”

“Yeah…I mean,” Yugyeom scratches the back of his neck. “When I thought about it, I guess I was being inconsiderate. I talked to Jaebum-hyung about it. He said that I should have asked you if I wanted to invite someone else to an outing that was planned for two.” He looks down to his hands. “I didn’t understand at first, but the more I thought about it, the more I realize what I did was a pretty dick-ish move.” His expression turns guilty. “You had every right to be upset. So…” He exhales loudly. “I’m sorry.”

Jungkook keeps quiet, unsure of how to respond. Yugyeom takes this as a sign to continue.

“Jaebum-hyung said that friendships aren’t something I should take for granted, especially if you’re close with that person. Sometimes, we might not mean to hurt someone, but it doesn’t automatically erase the fact that we did, even if unknowingly. That Saturday…at the bowling centre, I…” He winces. “I knew I hurt you. When you ran out from the bathroom, I just had the most terrible feeling in my chest, but I couldn’t name it. I couldn’t understand it. It made me…angry, even. That I didn’t.”

“So…” Yugyeom turns to Jungkook again. “Whatever it is that I did to you, even if I don’t understand it, I’m sorry. Because I hurt you, I’m sorry.”

“Gyeom…” Jungkook sighs. He rubs his face with his hands, groaning. “If there’s anyone who should be apologizing, it’s me.”

Yugyeom blinks. “Why?”

“Because you were right.” Jungkook looks at his friend. “Yugyeom-ah, you didn’t do anything wrong. At least… not something you should be apologizing for, to be honest. I mean, yeah, I was annoyed when you invited Jimin out of the blue but really…rationally, it’s not really something worthy to be upset about. I was just…” Jungkook chews the inside of his cheek. “I was just…jealous,” he whispers.

“Jealous?” Yugyeom sounds incredulous. “What were you jealous of?”

“The real question is not what,” Jungkook says with a bitter laugh, “But who.”

Yugyeom frowns. “I don’t…” Then, his expression changes as the realization hits him. “Do you mean…You were jealous of Jimin? Jungkook-ah, what I said at the bathroom the other day, that was just…I was -,” He lets out a frustrated noise. “I was angry. I didn’t even know why I said that.”

“But you were right,” Jungkook answers, “You may not have meant the words, but you were right.”

“But why?” Yugyeom places a hand on Jungkook’s knee. “I don’t understand. You’re my best friend, Jungkook-ah. No one could replace you. Jimin’s just…Jimin is…” He trails off, a faint blush covering his cheeks. “She’s someone I like, that’s all.”

“Exactly.”

Yugyeom’s expression is a mask of confusion. He stares at Jungkook, who gazes back with a calm expression, but the smile he gives is rueful. Resigned, even. “Kook, I don’t understand - ,” He pauses. His lips form into an ‘o’ and his eyes widen slightly as he realizes it. Jungkook continues to smile at him, waiting.

“Oh,” Yugyeom says quietly.

“Oh,” Jungkook repeats.

“Jungkook…you don’t mean…”

“I like you,” Jungkook says, cutting him off. Yugyeom’s expression morphs into that of surprise, but Jungkook pushes on, anyway. “Kim Yugyeom, I like you.”


 

-

There is silence. Kim Yugyeom, who always has something to say, is rendered speechless.

He stares at his friend, blinking a few times, as he registers and processes the words he has said.

“Jungkook…I…” He searches for the words. “I…how long…?”

“For a while,” Jungkook confesses, “I mean, not too long, but it’s been a while.” He shifts slightly. “I think maybe since last year?”

“I…” Yugyeom looks down to his lap, still processing the words. “Why didn’t you tell me earlier?”

“Because I was scared,” Jungkook replies simply, surprisingly calm, “I wasn’t sure of the feelings I had. I didn’t want to confuse them with something else. That, and we were so busy with our schedules, I never really gave myself the time to think about it. But the feelings…they grow each day, that much is true. And…” He hesitates. “When you told me you like Jimin, I decided it wasn’t worth it.”

Something twists in Yugyeom’s expression. “Jungkook…”

“It’s fine,” Jungkook says hurriedly, then pauses, “Actually, no. It wasn’t fine. When you told me that, I did feel hurt. Not because of you, of course. It’s just…” He puts a hand on the spot where his heart is. “It hurts here.” He laughs a little with no real humour, “I guess I was more immature than I thought. That hurt…eventually turned into resentment.”

Yugyeom says nothing, and Jungkook doesn’t wait.

“I have nothing against Jimin. She’s a good friend. But when I see you talking about her more often, the ugly feeling I had in my chest just grew. I don’t really know how to describe it,” Jungkook confesses, “All I know, it was ugly. It made me resent her, resent you and…” He bites his bottom lip. “Resent myself. For feeling the way I did. And for putting all the blame on you. That’s why I ran away last Saturday.” He looks at Yugyeom ruefully. “I couldn’t handle it anymore.”

“Heartbreak,” he whispers, “…is more powerful than I thought.”

One beat. Two beat. Three beats.

Yugyeom shifts his position to lean against the wall, letting out a shuddering breath. His head is spinning at the sudden turn of events and he doesn’t quite know what to think. Jungkook follows his movements, and bumps his shoulder against his. He doesn’t say a word.

“Jungkook-ah,” Yugyeom whispers, “I…what am I supposed to say?”

“What do you want to say?” Jungkook whispers back.

“I don’t know.” Yugyeom makes a frustrated noise. “I just found out that my best friend has feelings for me, and that I’ve been hurting him all these while for being oblivious to them. All these time…” Yugyeom turns to look at Jungkook, guilt in his eyes. “That’s a long time to be hurting so much.”

Jungkook smiles sadly. He shrugs. “I got used to it eventually. I learnt to ignore it. But I guess these past few weeks have been a little harder than usual for me to cope.”

“Didn’t you ever…god, if I were you, I would have broken off our friendship by now.”

“I wouldn’t go that far.” Jungkook relaxes slightly. “Honestly, though? I feel better, now that I’ve told you.” Jungkook laces his fingers together. “My chest feels a lot lighter. I guess, part of the hurt that I’ve felt stems from me not being able to tell you the truth. But now that it’s out…” Jungkook smiles to himself. “I feel…better.”

“Kook-ah.” Yugyeom seems to struggle with himself. Jungkook waits. “I… about…your feelings -,”

“I understand that you don’t see me that way,” Jungkook says gently, “I’ve known it for a long time and I know no matter what I do, it won’t change. And I…” He laughs to himself, shaking his head. “I may be tenacious, but you’re just as stubborn. Maybe that’s why we get along so well. Because we’re so similar.” He turns to his friend. “I understand. And Yugyeom-ah, don’t beat yourself up for it.”

“But-,” Yugyeom grabs Jungkook’s hand. “I just wish I realized your feelings sooner. I would have- I wouldn’t have hurt you the way I did.”

“It’s my fault for not telling you. It’s not like you have a way of knowing, anyway,” Jungkook points out.

“But-,”

“Hey.” Jungkook holds up his hand, stopping Yugyeom. “It’s okay. Gyeom, you like Jimin, don’t you?”

Yugyeom nods mutely.

“It won’t change, right?”

Yugyeom hesitates, but he shakes his head.

“Then, it’s okay. I respect that.” Jungkook pats his friend’s hand. “I’m just glad I finally told you how I felt. I feel better, but Gyeom, that doesn’t mean you should feel worse.”

“I just can’t get over the fact that I’ve been causing you so much pain,” Yugyeom mumbles.

“That’s just life. And while in my darkest moments I might have been angry at you, I never blamed you, so stop doing it for me. Trust me on this one; self-blaming hurts more than you think it will.” Jungkook releases a breath. “I just…I guess now, I can properly move on.”

“What do you mean?” Yugyeom asks carefully.

“I’m not sure how long my feelings for you will disappear, if at all,” Jungkook admits, “I don’t even know if I can look at you and Jimin and not be hurt by it. I can’t offer any promises that I’ll be completely okay, whether to you, or even to myself.” Jungkook gives Yugyeom a small, reassuring smile. “But now, I’ll work harder to not blame anyone for the feelings I have; not you, not Jimin, especially not myself. I’ll try my best to look forward instead of allowing myself to be rooted in place. And I…” He pauses. “I’ll cheer you and Jimin on. Properly, this time.”

“Jungkook, I just…” Yugyeom shakes his head. “May I ask you something?”

“What is it?”

“Even if…with what’s going on with Jimin and I…and the fact that I now know how you feel towards me but I-,” He takes a deep breath. “Even if I can’t return your feelings, will we still be okay?” He looks genuinely worried, letting go of Jungkook’s hand to place both of his on his lap. He clenches them into loose fists.

Jungkook stares.

“Yugyeom-ah.” Jungkook nudges the boy’s shoulder, making the latter look at him. “Why wouldn’t we be? My feelings for you isn’t a reason to change anything. We’re best friends, and I’m gonna make sure we’ll stay that way for a long time coming.” He grins playfully. “I’m not letting you go anytime soon.”

Yugyeom blinks, unsure of how to respond. A slow, hesitant smile breaks across his face soon after, and he nods.

“I won’t let you,” he promises. His expression turns serious. “Jungkook-ah, from now on, if I’m hurting you in any way at all, you have to tell me, alright? Don’t keep all your worries to yourself.”

“You sound like Taehyung-hyung,” Jungkook complains jokingly, but holds up his hands in defeat when Yugyeom glares at him. “Alright, alright. I promise.”

“Good.”

“So….” Yugyeom grins at Jungkook, though there’s a hint of nervousness in it, “We’re okay, right?’

Jungkook nods, returning the grin. “We’re okay.”

Yugyeom breathes out a sigh of relief, slumping his shoulders. “I’m glad. Ugh. For a second there, I thought I might have to step up my crying game. Maybe beg a little.” He pauses, smiling slyly at Jungkook. “Or would you like that?’

Jungkook blinks, cheeks flaming at the implication, and splutters. He smacks Yugyeom loudly on the shoulder, smiling in satisfaction when his friend cries out in pain. “You ass. You’re so full of yourself. I’m going to tell Jimin so she’ll reject you when you finally confess.” He smiles darkly. “She deserves a heads-up.”

“You’re evil, Jeon Jungkook.”

“Takes one to know one.”

They laugh a bit more, and spends a few more minutes talking. Jungkook’s spirits have improved, and he finds himself genuinely enjoying the conversation. When Yugyeom’s phone buzzes, the boy fishes it out from his pockets and looks at it for a moment. “Ah, Mark-hyung wants me home for lunch. I gotta go,” he says a little regretfully.

Jungkook nods. “Go. Spend time with your members. Say hi to them for me.”

“Yeah, okay.”

As Yugyeom moves to get off the mattress, Jungkook reaches out to grab hold of his wrist. Yugyeom pauses to look at it and then at him, his gaze questioning. He raises his eyebrow when he sees Jungkook hesitating.

“Hey um.” Jungkook meets his gaze a little shyly. “Can I…can I just do one thing? To…um…” His cheeks are pink. “To let go.”

Yugyeom blinks, curious. “Sure. What is it?”

“Lean in for a bit.”

When Yugyeom does, Jungkook grabs hold of his face, and presses his lips against Yugyeom’s.

The kiss is chaste; just a mere press of the lips and nothing more. Jungkook feels Yugyeom’s warmth at a much greater intensity due to the sudden closeness. He hears his friend’s surprised squeak, but other than that, Yugyeom doesn’t react. He doesn’t pull away, but he makes no move either. It’s as if he’s unsure of what to do.

The kiss lasts for a few seconds, before Jungkook pulls back. His cheeks are flaming, and the tips of his ears are red. They hold each other’s gaze for a moment, with Yugyeom’s eyes as wide as saucers as he blinks rapidly. Jungkook steadily holds his gaze, though the desire to tear it away is highly tempting. His heartbeat thumps rapidly in his chest.

A beat of silence passes.

“Jeon Jungkook,” Yugyeom finally says, a slow, teasing smile forming on his face. “You’re a terrible kisser. The fangirls would be so disappointed.”

Jungkook blinks once.

When his words finally sink in and he realizes Yugyeom’s teasing expression, his own smile graces his handsome features. He feels so relieved, he almost feels like crying.

Almost.

“Kim Yugyeom, like you’re any better,” he bites back.

“Please, between the both of us, obviously I’m the better kisser.”

“You fucker-,”


 

-

Laughter drifts out from the room, and Seokjin and Namjoon exchange knowing smiles. They walk away from the room, feeling lighter than they have in days.

Chapter Text

It’s been five days since Jimin left, and the dorm feels noticeably emptier.

Yoongi scrolls through his phone, rereading old messages and looking through photos on Instagram. He, like the rest of the boys, are not allowed to touch Twitter under any circumstances. He personally doesn’t have too much of a problem with it, but he is lying if he says he is not curious of what is happening among their fans. He refrains even from going to the fancafe, knowing that once he starts, he may not stop.

Their group chat is mostly quiet, other than the occasional reminder to have their meals and to run a short errand outside. The boys have been allowed to go out to buy necessities, but under strict discretion. It makes him feel a little claustrophobic at the beginning, but when Jungkook was nearly mobbed by reporters last night when trying to buy some snacks at the convenience store, he understands why they have to be careful. Jungkook hasn’t tried to go out since, but he makes his restlessness known by grumbling every now and then.

Yoongi honestly couldn’t blame him. He feels like strangling someone himself.

Hoseok has been discharged from the hospital, but is given strict orders to rest at home and attend a few physical therapy sessions for his waist. His ankles are tightly bandaged to reduce stress on them when walking. He is banned from dancing or any other strenuous activities for at least a few weeks. Hoseok has accepted it with a heavy heart and a resigned expression. Yoongi watches him stare at the television with a half-lidded stare, nearly falling asleep from boredom.

And Jimin,

Jimin hasn’t texted them once.

He hasn’t appeared in the group chat since the night he left, and from the way he catches some of the members checking their old messages from Jimin, he guesses that he never personally messaged anyone, either. Even Taehyung shakes his head in denial when Yoongi asked him.

“He’ll text me when he’s ready. Until then…” Taehyung looks down to the floor. “It’s best to leave him be for now.”

The press is restless for a statement from BigHit, or Jimin himself, but both sides remain mum. BigHit refuses to say anything without Jimin’s consent, and while Yoongi respects and appreciates it, he could tell that the company is receiving the brunt from Jimin’s silence. He remembers the deep frown on their manager’s face as he corresponds to countless of emails and texts from the company. Bang PD, while calm and soft-spoken when he talked to the boys, radiates tension. Yoongi could only guess how long his patience will last.

He looks at Jimin’s icon on his KakaoTalk profile. It is a side view of him grinning at something, the crinkle around his eye visible. The picture seemed candid and taken without him knowing, but Jimin liked it enough to make it his profile picture, apparently. He looked happier than he was the past few weeks. Yoongi couldn’t remember the last time he sees Jimin properly smile.

He misses it, if he must be completely honest with himself.

“What’s on your mind, Jimin-ah?” Yoongi murmurs to himself.

He doesn’t know when it started, or the reason behind it, but when Jimin eventually stops talking to him and avoids him like a plague, Yoongi had racked his brain for an explanation as to why. He couldn’t remember a prior argument, and searched in his mind for words he said that might cause a misunderstanding. Even their last exchange had ended Jimin in tears and Yoongi is still overwhelmed by it.

All he knows that Jimin likes someone, and whoever that person was, he is causing Jimin pain.

Yoongi sets his jaw.

“Fuck this.” He throws his phone onto the couch, startling Hoseok out of his sleepy stupor.

“Hyung?” he asks slowly, “Is something wrong?”

“No,” says Yoongi but his face says otherwise.

“I don’t believe you,” Hoseok replies, concern on his face, “Something’s bothering you, isn’t it?” He hesitates. “I…do you want to talk about it?”

“I don’t think I can address it by just talking,” answers Yoongi. He rises from the sofa. “Where’s Namjoon? I need to ask him something.”

Hoseok blinks, his expression unsure. “Last I saw him, he’s in his room…”

“Great, thanks.”

He walks out from the living room, not giving Hoseok a chance to respond. He goes straight to the leader’s room, pausing for a few seconds before knocking on the door.

“Namjoon-ah,” he calls out, “Can I come in?”

The door opens, but it is Taehyung who greets him. “Namjoon-hyung’s in the shower. Wanna wait inside?”

“Yeah.” He stops. “Actually, I kinda need to discuss something with him, and it’s a bit private so…”

Taehyung nods in understanding. “Yeah, okay. I’ll hang with Hoseok-hyung in the living room.”

Yoongi gives him a grateful smile, ruffling his hair affectionately. “Thanks, kid.”

As he watches him go, Yoongi notices the skip in Taehyung’s step. He raises his eyebrow but chooses not to comment. Hoseok and Taehyung had been looking cozy ever since Hoseok was discharged from the hospital, and Yoongi could only guess what transpired between the two of them.

He sits on Namjoon’s bed, observing the room. He rarely spends time in here, other than the occasional peak from the door to tell the occupants something. Namjoon’s computer is still on, and he sees he has his music programme up, no doubt in the midst of composing something. Yoongi smiles wryly to himself. Leave it to Namjoon to be more productive than usual in boredom.

He waits in silence, occasionally checking his phone. When Namjoon finally comes out, hair damp from shower, he nearly gives a double-take seeing Yoongi sitting on his bed, who gives him an amused stare.

“Hyung, Jesus,” breathes Namjoon, surprised.

“I won’t consider myself that highly yet,” Yoongi says drily, “But thanks.”

“I didn’t hear you come in.” Namjoon towel-dries his hair, and sits beside Yoongi. He smells faintly of green tea and clean soap, and his warmth radiates so much that Yoongi could feel it.  “What’s up?”

“Have you heard from Jimin, lately?” Yoongi asks, not wanting to beat around the bush.

“Jimin?” Namjoon looks thoughtful. “Not since the night he left. I don’t think he’s been online lately, either.”

“How long do you think he’ll be in Busan?”

“Hard to tell. PD-nim didn’t mention anything, either. Hopefully not too long, though.” He looks a little sad. “Jimin needs some time to clear his mind. The news about his sudden…” Namjoon shakes his head. “Well, it hasn’t died down, yet. Last I checked Naver, his name is still the most searched keyword as of now.”

Yoongi winces. “You think he knows?”

“I hope he doesn’t, but I can’t promise anything.”

“What about Hoseok? Has there been any statements?”

“The company’s planning to release one in two days. They’re waiting for the doctor’s report on the full extent of Hoseok-ie’s injuries before they could release anything. Sejin-hyung told me that the fans have been told of his release from the hospital in the fancafe, so that’s a small relief, I guess.”

“Yeah…” Yoongi glances at his phone. He sees a notification. Twitter.

Namjoon follows his gaze. “Ah.” He moves to lie down on the mattress, staring at the ceiling. “I’ve had the app uninstalled, you know. I’d tried turning off notifications, but I wasn’t sure I could resist checking it so I just uninstalled it for the time being.”

“I wish I could just…say something. Even a word. To let ARMYs know that we’re okay.” Yoongi sounds frustrated.

Are we okay, though?” Namjoon asks quietly. “Hoseok just got out from the hospital with injuries we have no idea when they will heal, and Jimin has been outed in the worst ways possible. Even if we said we’re okay, do you think ARMYs will believe us?”

Yoongi knows the answer all too well. No, of course they won’t. Sometimes, he feels that their fans know him better than he knows himself.

“Speaking of Jimin…there’s a reason I wanted to talk to you.”

Namjoon gets back into a sitting position. He faces Yoongi. “What is it?”

“I want to go to Busan. To talk to him.”

Namjoon pauses. He hesitates, and it’s clear on his face. “Yoongi-hyung, I’m not sure…Jimin told us not to look for him.”

“It’s been five days. Soon to be a week,” Yoongi points out, “I understand he needs time, but I also need to know the full extent of situation.” He crosses his arms, frustration and confusion clear in his eyes. “I know…he’s struggling. I don’t blame him for wanting to be alone. But I just…” He lets out a sharp exhale. “God, I just couldn’t get that conversation out of my mind.”

Namjoon’s brows knit together. “What conversation?”

“Jimin and I…” Yoongi’s head is bent. “After we got back from the company, on the day Jimin’s news came out, Jimin and I talked for a bit.” He looks at his hands. “I just…we haven’t been talking for a while, and I wanted so much to find out what’s going on in Jimin’s mind so I just…we talked.”

Namjoon wraps an arm around Yoongi, pulling him into a half-hug. “And then?”

Yoongi sighs. “It was going well. He… opened up to me a bit; more than he has for the past week. But then, when I asked about the…person he liked…”

He feels Namjoon tense beside him.

“Namjoon-ah, Jimin…he… he likes this person so much. I can tell. For so long. And he couldn’t tell him how he feels because of how scared he is of his own feelings.” Yoongi wraps his arms around himself. “He is hurting so much because of it. And seeing him struggle with himself like that over a person, I just… I was so angry. I felt helpless. I don’t know what to say that could make him feel better. Especially when he has to be outed in the way he did.”

“Yoongi-hyung…”

“I told him,” Yoongi whispers, “Whoever that person was, he doesn’t deserve the hurt he feels. If all he does is hurt Jimin, he doesn’t deserve whatever feelings Jimin has for him.”

Namjoon is still. He does not say a word.

“And then, Jimin…he. He just. He cried.” Yoongi folds into himself, as if trying to keep himself contained. “He cried so much and told me I was right. He shouldn’t be in love with a person who only keeps on hurting him. And for some reason, those words…” Yoongi closes his eyes. “They sting. It’s as if they were directed at me. I just…I felt so strange.”

“Have you ever wondered who the person might be?” Namjoon asks quietly, “Who Jimin holds dear to his heart so much he is willing to be hurt and remain hurting for so long?”

Yoongi shakes his head. “All I know that Jimin knew him for a long time.”

Namjoon hums. “Hyung, do you remember Jimin’s song on the album?”

Yoongi opens his eyes to look at him. “Faraway? What about it?”

“After he submitted the song to me, Jimin told me something that really got me thinking. I asked him once, about what truly inspires him to write the song. The lyrics…” Namjoon pauses to laugh without any real humour. “They were so…lonely. They’re not too sad, but I can sense the desolateness in them. The song itself was heart-breaking, in so many ways, but at the same, bittersweet. There is hope, but not the kind a person can depend on for so long. And I thought it was unusual, you know? For a song meant to be dedicated to someone, it sounds so lonely.”

“So, I asked him on the day of the recording,” he continues, “I said, ‘Jimin-ah. What’s the story behind the song?’ He didn’t answer me right away. He kept quiet for a short moment, looking more thoughtful than I have ever seen him. And when he finally answered, he was smiling…but it looked so lonely.”

“What did he say?” Yoongi asks softly.

“He said… ‘I wanted to address the lingering growing feelings that I’ve kept hidden in my heart for so long. I wanted to accept the happiness it brings, but the pain that follows. I wanted to acknowledge the hope it gives, but the loneliness that comes with it.’” Namjoon stops. “His answer got me thinking. Can a person really make you feel so much? And I kept wondering, who is the person who makes Jimin feel all these things?”

“It must be the same person Jimin admits to liking,” Yoongi mumbles a little bitterly.

Namjoon smiles to himself. “Maybe. There’s a strong possibility.” He looks at Yoongi. “I was also intrigued by your rap part, hyung.”

Yoongi’s expression turns confused. “My rap part? Why?”

“The lyrics…they complete Jimin’s. As if answering them.” Namjoon shrugs a little. “Maybe it’s just me.” His arm arounds Yoongi tightens. “Anyway, I think the answers to all the questions you have regarding Jimin are not as complicated as you think.”

“What do you mean?”

He gives Yoongi a knowing smile. It makes his already handsome face even more attractive. “Why don’t you go to Busan and ask Jimin that himself?”


 

-

When Yoongi first meets Jimin, the boy had been bright-eyed and shy, but hardworking and so eager to please. He reminds Yoongi a bit of a duckling, and the hyungs are the family he imprinted on. He dotes on Jungkook like he would to his own brother, and plays with Taehyung when everyone else was too busy. He listens to his hyungs well and gives his best at everything he does.

He is naturally so likeable, and Yoongi is no exception to his charm.

Watching him grow and mature over the years gives Yoongi a sense of pride. He wasn’t as shy as Jungkook was, but he was still more reserved than the rest and had so much insecurities about himself. Now, although he still worries at times, it is considerably less and he shows more self-confidence and embraces the fans’ love wholeheartedly, instead of trying faults in himself. He walks with his head held high and sings with his all.

Yoongi remembers watching him working quietly at his desk, writing songs and humming to himself, and feeling so much pride for his dongsaeng. Park Jimin, the once reserved boy who is always working so hard to improve, has blossomed beautifully over the years. Yoongi feels happy, and grateful.

He likes Jimin. He cares for him.

So, when Jimin suddenly starts talking to him less and less, he feels strange. Odd. Disconnected. Something isn’t right. This isn’t the Park Jimin he knows.

When Jimin begins avoiding him, and so suddenly, Yoongi doesn’t know how to react. His mind automatically reels back to the past events, and searches for any that might have upset Jimin, and is genuinely confused and frustrated when he finds none. He tries to reach out to Jimin, but the boy is determined to remain out of his grasp no matter how far he reaches out.

It is as if he is pushing himself away, and putting a barrier around himself that keeps only Yoongi out.

He glances at his phone. Faraway is currently playing, and Jimin’s high note drifts into his ears. Yoongi listens to the lyrics, and really listens to them properly this time, taking note of each word. Namjoon is right; now that he realizes it, the lyrics do sound lonely. The song isn’t as sad as some of the other ones Bangtan have released, but is pretty much the most bittersweet that Yoongi have ever heard, in a way that makes his heart feel heavy just listening to it.

Maybe in this game of push of pull, I'm the fool,

For I keep my feelings hidden, but I hope that you'll understand anyway.

Maybe it was never a fool's game to begin with, because I'm the only one playing.

“Do you think you’re the fool, Jimin-ah?” Yoongi murmurs, “To this person whom you love so much?” He clutches his shirt. “Why did…why did you cry back then? And why did I…” He closes his eyes. “Why do I feel so strange?”

He hears a lingering note that marks the end of the song, and he opens his eyes to look out the window.

“Park Jimin.” Is all he says.


 

-

After a quick goodbye to the rest, and a brief explanation to their manager and Bang PD, Yoongi boards the last train to Busan, sitting non-conspicuously at the back with his cap drawn down and mask pulled up. There were looks being thrown his way, but the passengers, consisting mostly of the elderly and college students, otherwise ignored him. He settles in his seat and looks out the window.

Soon, he falls asleep.


 

-

He dreams of colours.

Bright vivid colours which hurt his eyes, but at the same time, he couldn’t look away. He allows the colours to surround him, to fill his entire being, to define him.

Somewhere in the midst of the brightness, he thinks he sees something – no, someone – reaching out to him.

“Jimi-,”


 

-

“Sir.”

Yoongi’s eyes snap open, and he is greeted by the sight of a female attendant.

“Sir, we’ve arrived,” she says gently.

“Right, thank you.” Yoongi rises from his seat, takes his backpack and hurriedly walks out of the coach. It seems he is the last one to disembark, and he is greeted by a mostly empty station. He glances at his watch. It’s nearly 3 am in the morning.

He curses inwardly when he realizes, that in his haste to leave, he forgets to book himself somewhere to stay for the night.

He considers making a last-minute booking in one of the nearest motels, but decides it’s not worth the trouble. He walks to the arrival hall and quickly spots an empty bench. He makes his way towards it and immediately slumps onto it. Aside from a few other people sleeping against the wall, and several shopkeepers who are cleaning up their stores, the station is mostly empty.

Yoongi fishes out his phone.

I’ve arrived at Busan. Gonna spend the night at the station.

Seokjin-hyung: Stay safe.

Namjoon : Take care, hyung.

He keeps his phone back into his pocket and leans in his seat, his head hitting the wall. He might as well get some sleep for a couple more hours.


 

-

A couple more hours turn out to be five, and by the time he woke up, the sun is high in the sky. He looks around and checks his belongings, relieved to find them undisturbed.

He takes a quick trip to washroom to freshen up and hurriedly exits the station to catch a taxi.

Jimin’s exact house address requires some walking to get to, so Yoongi asks to be dropped at the nearest landmark, which is a small restaurant overlooking the beach. When he reaches his destination, he thanks the driver, pays him, and gets out of the taxi. As he watches the taxi drive away, he stretches his arms and looks around.

It’s still not quite afternoon yet, even after the long ride, and Yoongi isn’t all that hungry, either. He sees the beach in front of him, and observes that it’s quite empty, despite being the weekend. Maybe it’s the weather. Or maybe it’s the time. Either way, he adjusts his bag on his shoulder, and walks towards the beach.

He might as well take in the view while he’s here.

He hasn’t been to Busan too often aside from a few holidays in the past. But the sight of the ocean stretched out in front of him, and the feel of the breeze caressing his skin make him feel slightly nostalgic. He breathes in deeply, tension melting away from his body.

He understands why Jimin would want to return home to clear his mind. Yoongi would go here too if he were Jimin.

A bird cries in the distance, and Yoongi is suddenly aware of the figure standing by the seaside. The figure is crouching down onto the sand, his hand reaching out to touch the water. The breeze blows his hair, making it flutter.

Yoongi’s mouth fell open when he realizes who he is. There could be no one else.

“Jimin,” he breathes.

As if hearing his name, Jimin turns his head, his eyes widening in shock when his gaze falls onto Yoongi’s face. He gapes.

“Hyung?”


 

-

Jimin strolls along the boardwalk in silence, hyper aware of Yoongi’s steady presence beside him. They haven’t spoken much after the initial surprise, other than Jimin’s quiet “Follow me” when he approached Yoongi.

He sneaks a glance at his hyung. His clothes look crumpled, as if he slept in them and never bothered to change. He carries a backpack on one shoulder. His expression is smooth as he walks alongside Jimin, not saying a word.

“I like going here,” Jimin starts, breaking the silence, “It’s never too crowded, even on the weekends, and the view is great. It’s peaceful.”

Yoongi hums his agreement. “It’s nice. I can see why you like it here.”

“I used to go here with Ji-Hyun,” Jimin continues, referring to his younger brother, “But he’s been busy with college lately so he rarely goes here anymore. Which is a shame. He’s missing out on a lot.”

“Is your family doing well?”

“They’re fine. My parents are thrilled to have me home,” Jimin answers in a quiet murmur.

“What have you been doing this past week?”

Jimin shrugs. “Helped my mom around the house. Cleaned my room. Hung out with Ji-Hyun. That brat is taller than me now, can you believe that? He’s grown so much.” He lets out a breath, and stuffs his hands in his jeans pockets. “I slept more than usual. I didn’t…” He hesitates. “I rarely left the house. Because of…you know.”

Yoongi knows. Of course, he does.

“But today,” Jimin gazes distantly at the view in front of him, “I just felt like going to the beach. I just wanted…to feel the breeze for a bit.” He glances at Yoongi, smiling slightly. “Who would have thought I’d bump into you of all people.”

“Am I bothering you?” Yoong asks.

Jimin looks at him for a moment before slowly shaking his head. “You’re never a bother, hyung,” he says softly.

“I know you told us not to look for you. I was just…” Yoongi trails off.

“Worried?” Jimin guesses, “I understand if you are. I haven’t exactly been communicating with you guys this past several days lately, either.” He stops walking, with Yoongi following suit. “How is the company taking it? Has there been any statements? And Hoseok-hyung…how is he?”

“Hoseok has been discharged, but given strict orders to rest at home. He’s not allowed to dance for at least a few weeks, but knowng BigHit, it’ll be longer than that. And as for the company…” Yoongi sighs. “They’re doing the best they could to appease the fans. We can’t release anything without your consent, and they’re still waiting for the doctor’s reports to say anything about Hoseok.”

Jimin ducks his head. “I’m causing you guys so much trouble.”

Yoongi reaches out to pat Jimin’s head, ruffling his hair a little. He smiles inwardly when the boy doesn’t flinch away from his touch. He considers it as a small victory.

“Bad things happen. We’ll get through it together,” Yoongi promises, “So, don’t burden yourself too much.”

“Thank you, hyung,” Jimin whispers. He looks at Yoongi, his expression grateful. He offers him a smile, and it lights up his face.

Yoongi swallows, suddenly feeling self-consciousness. He looks away, and scratches the back of his neck awkwardly. “Yes, well.” He clears his throat. “It’s what friends do.”

Jimin smiles softens around the edges. “Friends, huh? I suppose it is.”

They descend into silence. They continue walking, and once or twice, Jimin turns to stare at the ocean, his expression wistful. His hair flutters in the wind as the breeze blows against their faces. Yoongi sneaks a glance at Jimin. The boy looks relaxed, his posture free from any tension, and when he looks at Yoongi after noticing his gaze, he even offers him a tiny smile.

Something he hasn’t been able to do for a while.

Yoongi stops walking.

“Jimin-ah.”

Jimin stops, and turns towards him. “Hm?”

Yoongi takes a deep breath. He holds Jimin’s gaze steadily, willing himself to not tear it away. He swallows, his heart thumping fast in his chest.

“I’m sorry,” he says.

Jimin stares, seemingly surprised. “For what, hyung?”

“For…the other day.” Yoongi shifts uneasily, looking embarrassed. “I…made you cry.”

Jimin tilts his head, confused, before he starts to remember, and his expression slowly morphs. His lips shape into an ‘o’ as the memory of the previous conversation washes over him. He drops his gaze down onto the ground, feeling awkward.

“Oh,” is all he manages.

“I said some thoughtless things,” Yoongi adds, “It’s not up to me to decide how you should feel for someone. And I said all those things about the person you like, which was rude and hurtful. It’s not a good excuse but I was just…” He breathes out harshly. “Seeing you hurt over this guy, I was just so angry. I wasn’t thinking straight. I’m sorry.”

“Hyung,” says Jimin quietly, “You have nothing to be sorry for.”

“Of course, I do,” Yoongi insists, “And I’m not just apologizing for that. You’ve been avoiding me for a while, and even though I might not have understood why, I know that I must have hurt you, despite you saying otherwise.”

Jimin flinches, saying nothing.

“I… I don’t know what I did, or what I said, but I hurt you. Deeply enough for you to avoid me. So, I’m sorry, Jimin.” Yoongi bows slightly, making Jimin look taken aback by the gesture. “I’m sorry.”

“Hyung…please don’t do that.” Jimin sounds pained, and he touches Yoongi’s shoulder. “Please believe me when I say this, but you have nothing to apologize. Don’t do that. Please.”

Yoongi raises his head to give Jimin a disbelieving look. “I’ve clearly hurt you and I said I did nothing wrong.”

Jimin shakes his head. “You didn’t hurt me, hyung.”

“Bullshit, I clearly - ,”

“I’m hurting myself!”

Jimin’s sudden outburst stuns Yoongi into silence, his eyes widening as he watches Jimin breathe heavily where he stands. Jimin’s eyes dart wildly everywhere but him, and after a while, he buries his face with his hands, sinking onto the ground in a crouching position. Yoongi hears a frustrated groan.

“Jimin-ah…” Yoongi crouches beside Jimin, reaching out to touch him. “Hey.” He frowns when he feels Jimin trembling. “Are you – are you okay?”

He hears a humourless laugh. “I’m not okay, hyung. I haven’t been okay for so long.” Jimin looks at Yoongi, his eyes shining with unshed tears. “And it’s not because of anyone else. It’s always been because of me.”

“I don’t understand - ,”

“Yoongi-hyung, do you know who is that person that I’ve liked for a long time?” Jimin whispers, “The one who I’ve loved and held dear to my heart so much that it hurts?”

Yoongi falls silent. Slowly, he gives a shake of his head.

Jimin smiles, slow and sad.


 

-

“It’s you, Yoongi-hyung,” he confesses. “It has always been you.”

Chapter Text

The coffee in front of him is bitter. Yoongi sips it anyway, finding comfort in the warmth that fills his stomach as he downs the drink. In the background, a Sinatra song plays. Taehyung would have loved this song. Yoongi makes a mental note to tell him later when he reaches home.

In front of him, Jimin stares wordlessly at his own iced tea, not meeting Yoongi’s eyes.

“How long?” Yoongi asks, not bothering to elaborate.

“For at least 2 years,” Jimin answers.

Jesus Christ.” Yoongi curses under his breath. “That long? And I never…I never thought of it once.”

“I was good at hiding it,” Jimin mumbles.

“Either that, or I’m denser than I thought.” He sighs heavily. “I can’t believe I didn’t realize anything.” He looks at Jimin. “Why didn’t you tell me?”

Jimin smiles, though it doesn’t reach his eyes. He puts his hands on the table, lacing his fingers together. His gaze remains downcast. “There are so many reasons for that, hyung. But mainly, it was because…I was scared.” He says this with a voice barely above a whisper, as if he is confessing a secret. He is, probably. He couldn’t imagine saying these words to Yoongi, yet here he is.

He hears Yoongi letting out a shuddering breath, and he peeks at him from underneath his eyelashes. Yoongi is looking out of the window, chin propped by his hands. He looks troubled, and deeply in thought. He seems to be struggling for words as he stares out of the window with furrowed brows.

“Is that why you’ve been avoiding me?” Yoongi finally asks, turning to him. “Because of these feelings?”

Jimin nods mutely.

Yoongi thinks back of Jimin’s previous words during their past conversation. He remembers how small his voice was when he admits about the guy he likes so much. How nervous and unsure he sounds when he tells Yoongi about his feelings.

“It’s...I was…I’m scared. I’m scared and anxious and worried about my own feelings. I wouldn’t…I wouldn’t know how he’ll react if he knows.”

And Yoongi had been so angry when he knew about the pain that Jimin had kept to himself all these years. How helpless he felt about not being able to do anything about it. He didn’t understand why. He refused to.

“I don’t want to see you hurting over someone who isn’t worth the pain you’re feeling. Whoever the person you like, who you’re so sure he won’t ever accept your feelings, he doesn’t sound like a good person.”

“You shouldn’t be with a person who continuously hurt you, even if he doesn’t realize it.”

Yoongi had been talking about himself all this while. And to tell Jimin that he shouldn’t be with him…being the person he likes...it must have sounded like-

“I wasn’t planning on telling you until I was ready,” Jimin confesses, breaking Yoongi out of his train of thoughts. He stirs his iced tea absently and he doesn’t meet Yoongi’s gaze. “Not that I knew when it was, but it was the only thought that comforted me. That one day, I’ll be brave enough to tell you. I was just content from…liking you from afar.” He smiles to himself. “For a coward such as myself, it was enough. It won’t get me anywhere, but it was enough.”

“But then, for some reason, my feelings for you grew stronger, and there are days when I could barely hold them in. I felt like I was going to say the wrong thing at the wrong time,” he continues. “Like that interview…before our tour.”

Yoongi blinks.

“When the interviewer was asking about our ideal type,” Jimin reminds, “I was…” He flushes. “I accidentally described you.”

“Even if the person is lethargic and grumpy most of the time.”

Oh. That. Yoongi remembers now.

“Ah,” is all he manages.

“And the song…” Jimin trails off.

“The song?” Something clicks in Yoongi’s mind. “Faraway?”

“That song…” Jimin hesitates, cheeks flushed. “I mentioned in the live broadcasts that it’s dedicated to a person. That person is…” His cheeks reddened further. “That person is you, Yoongi-hyung. When I was working on the song, I thought of you.”

Yoongi cannot find anything to say. What should he say at times like these? Here he was, sitting in a near-empty café in Busan, his dongsaeng whom he has known for years, confessing his feelings to him; feelings that Yoongi should’ve realized much sooner.

“It wasn’t always intended that way,” Jimin admits, “I originally wanted to make the theme more…general. I didn’t have the idea of dedicating it to a specific person. But then, I got stuck, and I was unable to continue.”

“Then, you did the live broadcasts,” Yoongi murmurs.

“Yes…I thought maybe the fans could help me. Maybe I could find some inspiration.” Jimin stops briefly, considering his words. “When I asked for a word from the fans, something I could use as a theme, one of them said…longing.” He finally looks at Yoongi, albeit hesitantly. “The same thing you said.”

A beat of silence.

“I asked Hoseok-hyung, you know? What does longing mean to him. I wanted…to get someone else’s opinion on it.” He smiles wistfully, as if remembering a good memory. “Do you know what he said?”

“What?” Yoongi asks softly.

“He said…longing is like grasping the air. No matter how hard you try, you can’t grab hold of anything in your hands.” Jimin’s smile becomes muted, and he looks somewhere past Yoongi, his expression faraway. “I thought it described my feelings for you perfectly. And that was how…that became my inspiration for my song. Faraway.” He laughs to himself. “Like you are from me.”

“Jimin-ah.”

“I liked that song,” Jimin continues, “At the same time, I was scared of releasing it. I was worried that you might catch on. I nearly didn’t want to submit to Namjoon-hyung. I was that scared you’d find out something.” He smiles wryly to himself. “In the end, you never suspected a thing. I remembered looking at you when I was recording it, and your expression told me nothing. You were always so hard to read, Yoongi-hyung.”

“But then, after our first broadcast, you started to avoid me,” says Yoongi, “Is it because of the song?”

Jimin considers, before slowly shaking his head. “The song is a part of it, but it’s not the main reason.” He bites his lip. “I guess, in a way, it does play a role in it. I just…” He trails off, unsure of how to continue. He averts his gaze again, and takes a sip from his iced tea. His face is a mask of nervousness.

“What is it?” Yoongi asks gently, “You can tell me.”

“It’s going to sound stupid.”

“Even if it does, I don’t care.”

“I…” Jimin squeezes his eyes shut, his cheeks reddening again. “Your rap part in Faraway…I was…upset with it.”

“My rap part?” Yoongi leans against his chair as he thinks back. “Why were you…”

“Your part… it complete Jimin’s.”

Namjoon’s words ring clear in his head, and Yoongi finds himself pondering on them, frowning. Is this what he had meant?

Jimin, who is unaware of Yoongi’s inner monologue, continues to speak, opening his eyes to give a half-lidded stare at the table in front of him.

“It was irrational for me to feel the way that I did. I knew that much,” he says quietly, “But for some reason, hearing the words in the lyrics, it was as if…It was as if you were giving me answer. There was this part…Why do you insist for me to be in your life. But you keep your doors locked and bolted shut to me?” He says the lyrics softly, reciting them from memory. A shadow flits across his face as he does. It is as if he is remembering something unpleasant. Something twists in Yoongi’s heart.

“I just…it was weird and irrational and I shouldn’t even - “

“Jimin.”

“It felt like you were saying those words to me. It felt as if you were frustrated at me.”

No one says a thing for a full minute. There is a sound of a passing motorcyclist, the only thing that’s breaking the stillness of the room. Yoongi stares at Jimin wide-eyed, unable to formulate a reply. His thoughts run a mile a minute as he watches Jimin seems to shrink into himself at the confession. He wraps his arms around himself, as if to protect himself from crumbling.

There is a shaky intake of breath. Yoongi realizes belatedly it was his own.

“I didn’t…I never meant for it sound like that, Jimin-ah. I…” Yoongi struggles for words.

Jimin ducks his head, his expression starting to crumple. There is something in his eyes, something that Yoongi couldn’t find proper words to describe. But if he has to, it looks similar to…

Pain. Regret.

Jimin opens his mouth to speak. “That was when I started to avoid you. I was hurt by those words, in ways I couldn’t understand myself. I told myself countless of times of how stupid my fears are, but I just couldn’t help them. Every time I saw you, I’m reminded of those lyrics. I couldn’t even listen to my own song anymore without feeling hurt.”

That explains a lot of things. Yoongi recalls how relieved Jimin visibly was when it was announced that for the rest of the comeback, they would only perform their title track. He had expected Jimin to be disappointed at the news, given how hard he worked on the song, but when he sneaked a glance at the boy, he was surprised to see how calm his expression was, and despite his resigned “Ah…that’s a shame”, his tone did not reflect the words.

Yoongi had thought it was a bit odd, but he never pondered on it. But now, it suddenly made a lot of sense.

Jimin, apparently, isn’t done.

“But I guess…” Jimin tries to smile as he speaks, but fails miserably. He looks even sadder because of it. “…the turning point for me, which caused me the most pain, was during the radio interview. When the host asked you on your opinion on love…” He gazes at Yoongi, his face absolutely heartbreaking. “Hyung, I was listening. I cared more than I should.”

Yoongi, remembering what he said during the interview, couldn’t help but flinch. “Jimin…” he says, his expression pained.

“When you said that you’re not interested in love, and probably won’t be for a long time…I thought to myself, ‘Ah. So, this is his answer.’.” A humourless, self-deprecating laugh. “I was rejected even before I told you anything.”

“Stop,” Yoongi whispers.

Jimin, however, doesn’t.  He shakes his head. “I’ve been hiding all my feelings for so long, hyung. It’s about time I let them out. Please…hear them out.”

Yoongi doesn’t say anything. Jimin takes it as an answer. He lets out a breath.

“After that, I was determined. I wanted to…let go of these fruitless feelings. I don’t see the point anymore. Even if I did tell you of how I felt then, I already knew the outcome. But…” His expression crumples. The hands on the table curl into fists. “I just can’t. Every time I looked at you, it caused me so much pain, but the feelings stubbornly stayed. When I avoided you, I hurt because of it because I didn’t want to. Even more so when I saw how confused you were. I wanted… so much for these feelings to disappear, but hyung.” His voice breaks. “They can’t.

“When Jungkook, Taehyung, and I went out drinking…I thought maybe I could just let go of my worries for the night. Even if it’s just for several hours, I wanted to forget. I wanted to go back to the time when things weren’t so complicated. When I didn’t make things so complicated for myself.” A tearful gaze is directed at Yoongi, who wants nothing but to avoid it. “I wanted things to go back to normal between us. Back when I saw you as just the hyung I admired and cared for, not as a person who I’m in love with but couldn’t have.”

A tear manages to slip, and trails down Jimin’s cheeks. “Even if, in reality, I can’t. No matter how hard I tried, I can’t go back to what we once were, hyung. And that hurts me the most.”

Yoongi has a million thoughts running though his head, so much that it is starting to hurt. He continues to stare at Jimin, who is silently crying in his seat, and despite wanting so much to look away, he can’t. He continues to look at him, shocked into silence. He wants to say something. Anything. But the words don’t seem to exist.

He thinks maybe a few minutes have passed before Jimin lifts his hand to wipe his tears with his sleeve. He sniffles slightly, looking up to Yoongi hesitantly.

“Please say something,” he says softly, his voice breaking at the last word.

“What can I say?” Yoongi replies just as quietly, “I…Jimin, what can I say to make you feel better? Because…” He looks away, pain in his eyes. “From what you said, the only thing I did all this while was hurting you. I’m afraid that if I say anything else, I’d just…” He stops, breathing out harshly. “I don’t want to hurt you anymore, Jimin.”

Jimin’s gaze drops to the table. “For the most part, it wasn’t you who hurt me. It was my fears. My own cowardice towards my feelings.” He smiles to himself. “Taehyung was right. I kept my pain to myself, and all I did was assume. He must have been so frustrated with me. As you were.”

“I wasn’t-,” Yoongi starts to protest, but is cut off when Jimin holds up a hand.

“Hyung, it’s fine. I started avoiding you for no apparent reason, and ran away when you asked me for an explanation. If you were angry, or at least frustrated with my actions, I understand. I deserve it.” He sighs. “For I keep my feelings hidden, but I hope that you'll understand anyway.

Yoongi recognizes those words. Those were Jimin’s part in Faraway.

“Maybe,” Jimin begins, “When I was writing that song, my subconsciousness was trying to tell me something. But I was too caught up with my own thoughts that I never realized it.”

He pauses, as if suddenly remembering something.

“That night…I never thought someone was recording us… and now, I have to face the consequences of my actions.” A resigned smile. “If the fans leave me, I’ll accept it. It’s a price I should pay for being a coward all these years.”

That catches Yoongi’s attention.

“Jimin, no. You shouldn’t say something like that,” he protests, reaching out to touch Jimin’s hand. If the boy is surprised by the sudden contact, he doesn’t show it. “Your feelings are your own; no one else has a say in them. I…”

He exhales, before looking at Jimin straight in the eyes. “Your fears, your worries…they’re not irrational. Please don’t say they are.” He hesitates, chewing his bottom lip. “I wish you could’ve told me earlier, but I understood why you didn’t. Emotions… they can be so messy and so hard to comprehend. I don’t blame you for feeling the way you did.” There is a shift in his expression. “If I were you, I might have…I might have reacted the same way. Especially with the way our society generally is, I might have tried to push them down, too. But Jimin-ah.” His stare is fierce as he directs it towards Jimin. “Your feelings are not irrational. You don’t have to feel guilty for your own emotions.”

There is silence. Jimin blinks repeatedly, unable to find a reply to Yoongi’s words. He looks visibly touched, however, and the way his eyes shine reflects this. He feels…happy, for some reason. Yoongi, as if realizing the weight of his words, breaks his gaze and scratches the back of his neck awkwardly. He coughs.

“That being said,” he says, avoiding Jimin’s gaze, “Your feelings and fears…don’t ever say they’re stupid ever again. If you have something in your heart, just… tell us next time. Don’t run away from them.” He meets Jimin’s eyes carefully. “Tell me.

Jimin looks a bit teary now from his words. “Yoongi-hyung. I…”

“And about your feelings,” Yoongi continues, hesitating. “I...”

Jimin waits expectantly. Yoongi takes a deep breath. If Jimin finally has the strength to be honest with him, then Yoongi should return the favour. He owes him this much after all the times he has hurt him, even if unknowingly.

“Thank you for telling me, Jimin. It took you a while, but in the end, you did. That’s…that is brave of you.” A soft smile. “I’m proud of you.”

Jimin says nothing at first. He seems to be processing the words, trying to understand the implications behind them. Eventually, he returns the smile, though it is small. “Is that your answer to them, then?”

He says those words calmly, and that only makes it harder for Yoongi. He considers his words carefully in his head, and even then, he still couldn’t formulate a proper reply. “That’s…Jimin, I’m…I’m sorry.” He winces. “But for now, I can’t. I just…You’re my dongsaeng and a friend whom I care so much about, but I can’t accept your feelings. It’s not fair to you if I’m not sincere.”

His answer is met with silence. Jimin stares at him calmly. Yoongi waits. Slowly, but gradually, Jimin’s expression changes, and he exhales. “Okay,” he says.

“Jimin-ah…”

“No, it’s okay. Really.” Jimin holds up his hands as a reassurance. He sighs, before running a hand through his hair. “I guess…in the end, I guess I just needed to hear it from you instead of just relying on my own assumptions. Believe me when I say this but…” He offers Yoongi a tiny smile. “…I feel oddly better.” He stares outside the window again, his smile turning wistful. “I feel like, I can let go now. Even if… even if it will take a while. But I feel…better than I have in days.”

He faces Yoongi.

“Thank you, hyung. And it’s okay. I understand.”

Yoongi searches Jimin’s face, looking for any signs of false reassurance, but he finds none. He finds it almost hard to believe that the boy who was pretty much breaking down and laying himself bare in front of him just moments ago is looking at him calmly, even though there is something like resignation in his expression. He wonders if this is just another act.

“Jimin-ah, are we still okay?” he asks slowly. “Even if…”

“I can’t promise my pain will disappear overnight,” Jimin admits, lacing his fingers together in front of him. “I’ve been battling with my own feeling and fears for so long, I know it’s going to take a while. I might still need more time than I thought, but…yeah, hyung. We’re okay.” He laughs to himself softly. “Frankly, I’m tired of avoiding you. And I…” He drops his gaze to the table, a faraway look in his eyes. “I want to go home. It’s barely a week, but I miss you guys. I miss the loudness of the dorms. My family tried their best, but back at home with nothing but my thoughts…it was too quiet.” He pauses. “And I… wanna face my fans, and give them an explanation they deserve.”

“What are you going to tell them?”

A shrug. “I’ll figure something out. But I’ll be honest with myself. That’s for certain.”

Yoongi reaches out to touch Jimin’s hand, and the boy looks at him with a smile. Yoongi returns it with his own. “I’ll be with you at each step of the way,” he promises. “All of us will.”

Jimin places a hand on top of Yoongi’s, something vulnerable flashing across his expression as he smiles wider. “Thank you, hyung. I…” He takes a breath. “Let’s go back home.”


 

-

Yoongi had stopped by at Jimin’s house to say hello to his family and helped him pack. Jimin’s mother, as warm and loving as Yoongi last remembered her, welcomed him with open arms and made sure he had a proper meal before the boys departed to the station. As Jimin went to his room to make a last-minute check of his belongings, his mother had pulled him aside.

“Jimin told me,” she says quietly, careful not to let her son overhear. “That the person he liked was you. It’s true, isn’t it?”

Yoongi flushed slightly. “It’s true, Ma’am.”

“Then, please answer me honestly.” Jimin’s mother looked at him seriously. “What was your answer to him?”

Yoongi hesitated. “I…turned him down. I appreciated his feelings, and his honesty, but I couldn’t return those with lies…Ma’am, I…I couldn’t do that to him.”

Jimin’s mother was quiet for a moment, and Yoongi feared that she might have been angry at him. It wasn’t until she sighed, and patted him on the arm.

“I suppose it couldn’t be helped. You did the right thing by being honest with him, Yoongi-ah.” She smiled. “My son deserved that much.” She gripped his sleeve, looking at him straight in the eye. “Please look after him. He was in so much pain. With the whole thing in the news…” She broke her gaze, and Yoongi thought he heard a sniffle. “When he came home just now, looking so much better than he has these past several days, I knew you had something to do with it. He always talked fondly about you, even before he told me about his feelings for you.” She looked at Yoongi. “You and the rest of the boys will take care of my precious son, won’t you? I know…he has to face his problems one way or another, but you will be there for him, right?”

Yoongi gave her a reassuring smile. “Of course, we will, Ma’am. Jimin is important to us. We’ll always be with him at every step of the way.”

Jimin’s mother returned his smile with a watery smile of her own. She looked vulnerable then, her expression so similar to Jimin’s. Maybe that was where Jimin inherited his temperament from. Like mother like son. Wearing their hearts at their sleeves.

“Then, I suppose that’s all I could ever ask for.”


 

-

The train isn’t as packed as the boys expect it to be, despite it being a weekend, and they have the luxury to relax in their seats. Jimin has his mask pulled down, and he looks out the window, gazing at the scenery outside. His hair flutters in the wind, and he looks more at peace than he has in days.

Yoongi’s heart clenches at the sight of it.

He misses this side of Jimin.

The playlist in his phone shuffles to Faraway, and Jimin’s familiar voice drifts from his earphones into his ears.

I sit at the dusty corner of my heart

watch you grow brighter than any other star as the days pass

the brighter you become, the further you are

I can only watch you now, and no longer reach out for you

like the way I did in distant memories of yesterdays

“Jimin-ah.”

“Hm?” Jimin doesn’t turn to him, but his tone indicates that he is listening.

Yoongi swallows. He wonders if this is the right time to mention this. He shakes his head. It’s either now or never.

“About your feelings…” he begins carefully.

“…”

Jimin doesn’t say a word, but Yoongi notices the stiffening of his shoulders. He presses forward anyway. He doesn’t want to keep anything between them anymore. He wants to undo the complications in their relationship.

“Maybe in another life…” he says, his voice barely above a whisper. “Things won’t be so complicated between us.” He gazes at Jimin, who slowly turns to return it. He offers him a hesitant smile. “Maybe…things will be better.”

The sound of the train gears moving against the tracks is the only thing that is a heard for a moment. Jimin stares at Yoongi carefully, searching his face for any kind of hidden meaning. When he finds none, or at least, none that is obvious, Jimin drops his gaze.

He places his hand on the side table, next to Yoongi’s, their fingers nearly touching.

His lips form a small smile.

“I hope they will be, hyung.”

Chapter Text

When Jimin arrives at the dorm, he suddenly finds himself with an armful of Taehyung.

“Jimin-ie!” Taehyung cries happily, burying his head against Jimin’s chest. “I missed you!”

Jungkook bounds towards them almost immediately after, his eyes bright and a wide grin playing on his lips. He pulls Jimin into a hug, trapping Taehyung in between. Not that Taehyung seems to mind, judging from his giggles.

“Hyung, you’re back!” says Jungkook excitedly.

“I’m back, too,” Yoongi grumbles from behind Jimin. “No greeting for me?”

“You were only gone for a full day,” Jungkook points out.

“You brat.”

Jimin laughs softly and returns the hug, nuzzling Taehyung’s hair with his chin as he does. There is a heaviness in his chest, being surrounded by his friends like this, and his throat feels tight. “I’m home,” he chokes. “I’m sorry for worrying you.”

Taehyung shakes his head. “We understand,” he says, voice muffled. He looks at Jimin with teary eyes. “You needed space.”

Jimin hears footsteps and Seokjin and Namjoon appear at the doorway. “So this is what all the commotion was about,” says Seokjin with a smie, “I haven’t heard this much voices at the same time in a while.” He waves at Yoongi. “Ah, you’re back, too, Yoongi-ah.”

“Someone noticed, at least,” Yoongi mutters, slipping off his shoes and walking into the living room. “I’m beat. I’m going to catch up on sleep.”

“You don’t want dinner?” Namjoon asks, “We were planning to order takeout.”

Yoongi waves him off. “Jimin’s mom made us lunch. I’m still full.”

“Waaah! Jimin’s eomma cooking!”

Heads turn to see Hoseok limping his way towards them. From the looks of it, it’s as if he had just finished taking a shower, his hair still damp and the scent of his favourite Jasmine body wash wafting around him. “I want some too!” he cries. He glances at Jimin. “Jimin-ah, you’re back.” He grins, showing off his teeth. “Welcome home~”

“Hoseok-ah, you shouldn’t move around so much like that,” Seokjin scolds, “Your ankle isn’t fully healed yet.”

“Hoseok-hyung…” Jimin looks at him worriedly. “Are you… okay now? I haven’t heard any statements from the company.”

Hoseok smiles reassuringly at him. “The doctor’s reports just came in. The company should be able to release one soon. I’m okay, Jimin-ie.” He glances at his bandaged ankle. “Maybe not completely, but as long as I don’t put myself in any strenuous activities for a few weeks-,”

“Preferably more,” Namjoon reminds.

Hoseok rolls his eyes. “Yes, yes. I won’t be able to dance for a while…” he trails off, sounding a little sad. “But I guess that’s a small price to pay for worrying my fans…and you guys. I’ll just have to behave myself and cope with it.”

“Starting by not limping around so fast like before,” Seokjin points out.

“I was excited to see Jimin!” Hoseok protests.

Jungkook finally releases Jimin from his hug, and Taehyung runs off to Hoseok’s side, grabbing his hand. “Don’t worry! I’ll make sure this hyung doesn’t strain himself,” he promises, “You can count on me.”

“Then, I’ll take care of Jimin-hyung!” Jungkook exclaims, grabbing Jimin’s hand. “I’ll make sure he won’t run away again.”

“Yah, you brat-,” Jimin begins, before cutting himself off and settling for a small smile. He ruffles Jungkook’s hair. “I’m sorry for worrying you, Jungkook-ie.” He faces the rest. “And all of you. I’m…” He takes a breath. “I’m…a little better now. I’m ready to face what’s coming at me.”

“You won’t be doing it alone,” Namjoon promises, “Everyone here will be with you.”

“He’s right,” Seokjin agrees, “Whatever that is coming towards you, we will face it together.”

“It’s not even an option, really,” Hoseok adds, “It’s a given for us.” He laces his fingers with Taehyung’s, earning a pleased grin from the latter. Jimin notes this silently, smiling a little at the interaction. They seem to be getting along again. Perhaps, even more so. Jimin is glad.

“Thank you, everyone,” Jimin whispers, visibly touched. “I’ll…try my very best.”

Yoongi, who is listening from the doorway of his room, curves his lips into a fond smile, before closing the door behind him.


 

-

Btsismyangel: ahhhhhh a conference a conference!!

Jiminiesmile: our jimin is back TT TT ahhh I hope he’s okay now

Seokseok: a press conference? He’s gonna clarify the issue himself? Pls be okay TT TT

123armys: hoseok-oppa and jimin-ie, we’re rooting for you!


 

-

Jimin bounces his knees anxiously, watching the news anchor announcing their upcoming press conference. It will be held in five days, by the end of the week, as preparations for it are still in progress. It will address two main issues: Hoseok’s injuries and condition, and the truth about himself, each section having about 45 minutes each.

Jimin has a feeling it will be the longest 45 minutes of his life.

He remembers discussing about it with their company, with Hoseok by his side. The latter originally isn’t allowed to come, to avoid stressing his injuries further, but the boy is adamant to be part of the discussion that the rest of the members had no choice but to relent. Bang PD had faced the both of them with his usual calmness, addressing the problems methodically and void from any biased judgements. He allowed Jimin and Hoseok to say pretty much anything they want, as long as they addressed all the lingering questions, and their words could not be used against them.

In other words, they had the freedom, but they had to be careful with it.

Jimin finds this a fair exchange, and the two of them agreed with the conditions.

He is nearly startled out of his skin when Yoongi suddenly sits himself beside him on the sofa, casually putting around the boy’s shoulder.

“Have you thought about what you’re going to say, Jimin-ie?” he asks. His tone is light and casual, but the way he pulls Jimin a little closer to himself indicates that he cares more than he lets on. And it’s also been a while since he called Jimin with his affectionate nickname for him.

Jimin-ie.

Jimin finds his cheeks warming. He’s still the Yoongi he loves, after all. In spite of everything that has transpired between the two of them.

“A little. I honestly have no proper plan for it, to be honest,” Jimin confesses. “But all I know is that I’m going to be honest.” He chews his bottom lip. “Even if I get hated for it…I’m still going to be honest. Our fans – ARMYs, they deserve that much.”

Yoongi nods. “Don’t worry too much.” He pats Jimin’s head affectionately. “You’re not alone in this, Jimin-ie.”

Jimin flushes. “Thank you, hyung. I appreciate it.”

They settle in silence, comfortable this time, unlike their previous awkward and tension-filled ones before this. Yoongi continues combing his fingers through Jimin’s hair, and Jimin closes his eyes, allowing himself to relax. It’s nice like this; hanging out with his hyung. Yoongi does this a lot – ruffling the younger members’ hair when they are lounging together – and Jimin misses it. His heart thrums steadily in his chest as the tension is released from his body. He thinks he hears Yoongi humming a familiar tune as the sound of the TV is slowly muted into the background.

The pain in his chest is still there, but now, it’s quieter and stays still. Jimin acknowledges it calmly, and lulls it to sleep as Yoongi continues to hum.


 

-

“All these jargons are hurting my head,” Hoseok whines.

“No one’s telling you to memorize them,” Taehyung points out, playing with his video game console on Hoseok’s bed.

“Yeah, but I gotta sound like I know what I’m talking about.”

“What makes you think the reporters know all the terms, anyway? They write for the media, not the hospital records.”

“Taehyung-ie. You’re such a mood downer,” Hoseok complains.

“I’m pointing out the facts, hyung.” Taehyung pauses his game, and puts the console down. He looks at Hoseok, patting the empty space beside him. “Rather than worry about that, come sit here with me. You’re not supposed to be walking around so much, anyway.”

“You sound like Jin-hyung,” Hoseok mutters, but complies, anyway, sitting beside Taehyung on his bed. The latter leans against his shoulder, and takes his hand, rubbing slow circles on Hoseok’s knuckles.

“You’re stubborn, that’s why,” Taehyung answers. He turns his head to look at Hoseok properly. His expression is calm as he opens his mouth to speak. “I’m annoyed now. Kiss me, hyung.”

Hoseok blinks owlishly at the sudden request, clearly not expecting it. He narrows his eyes at Taehyung, trying to gauge for a reaction, but the boy merely tilts his head, looking expectant. A slow smile creeps across Hoseok’s face.

“Will kissing you make you less annoyed?” he asks playfully.

“I don’t know. Maybe you’ll have to find out, hyung,” Taehyung says coyly.

Hoseok chuckles softly before cupping Taehyung’s face. He leans in, breath washing over Taehyung. “To think that a week ago, you were a stuttering mess when I first confessed,” he teases.

Taehyung huffs indignantly. “Anyone would’ve been, hyung.” He glares at him with no real heat. “I could hardly look you in the eye for the first few hours.”

Hoseok laughs again. “But in the end, you were all ‘Let’s give it a try, hyung. I want to give it a chance,” he says, mimicking the way Taehyung spoke to him back at the hospital. “You were so cute; it reminded me of why I fell for you, Tae.”

Taehyung flushes. “Are you going to kiss me or not?”

“So demanding,” Hoseok murmurs with a smile before closing the gap between them.

He could hear Taehyung’s sigh as he presses his lips against his, and feels Taehyung’s warmth underneath his hands. His lips are as soft as Hoseok remembers, and he smiles into the kiss. Taehyung parts his lips, a little shyly, and Hoseok takes the initiative to deepen the kiss, pushing Taehyung backwards until the boy’s back is against the headboard. If Taehyung’s pleased sigh is anything to go by, Hoseok might think he likes it.

When they finally part for breath, Taehyung looks at him with bright eyes, pink dusting his cheeks as he blushes. He places a hand on Hoseok’s cheek, smiling up at him.

“You’re less annoyed now?” Hoseok asks softly.

“Hm…maybe,” Taehyung replies. He ducks his head, suddenly shy. “Ah…what am I saying? Hyung, you’re making me say weird things,” he whines.

“I play no part in it,” Hoseok says, “But I like the words you say.” He nuzzles Taehyung’s hair, breathing in his familiar scent. He feels warm and safe here with Taehyung. Despite the consequences he faced for his actions – his injured ankles and waist, and not being able to dance for a while – and the upcoming ones – the possibility of losing his fans -, he feels more at peace than he has for a long while.

His notification bar is silent – he has turned off the Twitter notifications and deleted all the bookmarked blogs – and has been that way for the past several days.

“Hyung, you seem deep in thought,” Taehyung whispers, “What’s on your mind?”

Hoseok shakes his head. “Nothing much.”

“Are you sure?”

Hoseok smiles. “Yes.” He leans forward to nuzzle Taehyung’s nose. “Just that I really, really love you, Taehyung.”

Taehyung inhales sharply at the sudden confession, his flush deepening. He averts his gaze, clearly embarrassed.

“I guess I know why I say weird things,” Taehyung mumbles. “I got them from you.” He turns to Hoseok again, cheeks red but eyes determined.

He lifts his head slightly to whisper in Hoseok’s ear.

“I love you, too, hyung.”


 

-

Jungkook sinks into his seat, trying to avoid drawing attention to himself. He tries to relax, because he knows the tenser he is, the more obvious he becomes. He twirls the straw in his glass, and glances at his watch.

5 more minutes.

He can wait a bit longer.

He is grateful that Namjoon is friends with the café owner at the place Jungkook likes to frequent, and she is able to give him a private corner at the café which gives him the least exposure to the other customers. Seokjin is initially against him going out, especially this close to the press conference, but Yoongi calmly points out that he’ll go stir-crazy if he remains trapped in the dorm any longer, and eventually, Seokjin has to relent. Jungkook takes the opportunity to set a meetup with Yugyeom.

And another certain person.

He swallows. He isn’t sure if this is a good idea, but he figures it’s now or another. Doesn’t stop him from being nervous, though.

“Jungkook-ie.”

Jungkook’s head snaps up at the sound of the voice, and he immediately grins when he sees Yugyeom standing in front of him.

“Yugyeom-ah,” he greets, “You made it.”

Another figure steps out from behind Yugyeom, tugging her hair nervously as she slips into view. She peeks at Jungkook, awkwardness written all over her face. She offers him a smile.

“Long time no see, Jungkook-ah.”

Jungkook returns the smile graciously. “Jimin-ah. Glad you could come.” He gestures towards the empty chairs across him. “Come sit, you guys.” When they do, Jungkook relaxes in his seat. “Did you two get here okay?”

Yugyeom nods. “Jackson-hyung drove us here.”

Jungkook raises an eyebrow. “I didn’t know he had a Korean driving license.”

Jimin makes a face. “Since last year. He’d been itching to show off since then.”

“That sounds like him,” Jungkook says with a laugh. “Do you guys want anything? I wanted to order for the both of you but aside from Yugyeom’s infamous love for iced chocolate, I don’t know what to get you guys.

“Yah, what do you mean infamous?” Yugyeom replies indignantly. “Chocolate is way healthier than all that caffeine you’re chugging down.”

“At least I don’t fall asleep after a drink or two!”

“Why you-,”

“I’d like caramel macchiato, if you don’t mind,” Jimin cuts in. She looks at Jungkook hesitantly. “I heard it’s pretty good. At least, from what Gyeom-ie here told me.”

Gyeom-ie. It’s an affectionate nickname for Yugyeom used by Jungkook (and to an extent, some of their 97-liner male friends). He knows that Jimin uses it for him as well, often in a teasing manner since it sounds a lot like Gwiyomi, and Yugyeom abhors being called cute. On his worse days, Jungkook remembers the burning jealousy hearing (or even looking at the name in text form) it from Jimin, and how Yugyeom grins at her in response. On his worse days, Jungkook can’t even begin to tolerate the idea.

But now,

Now all he feels is a distant, dull ache; one he could learn to ignore over time. He smiles a little, and nods at Jimin.

“He’s right. It’s pretty good,” he says.

Jimin sees his smile, and widens her own, the hesitation in her eyes lessening. She relaxes in her seat, tension in her frame melting away.

“I want Americano,” Yugyeom adds, breaking Jungkook from his train of thoughts, “Iced, though. It’s bloody hot out there.”

Jungkook reaches over and playfully smacks Yugyeom at the side of his head. “Aish, go order yourself. Order for Jimin-ah while you’re at it.”

“You’re the one who asked!” Yugyeom grumbles as he rises from his seat, rubbing the side of his head. He glances at Jimin. “Do you want anything else, Jimin-ie? The cakes are good, too, you know.”

Jimin shakes her head. “I’m okay. I just had lunch anyway.”

Yugyeom hums, and leaves to order their drinks, leaving Jimin and Jungkook alone. It’s the first time in a fairly long while since Jungkook is alone with the girl. Thinking back, while they are friends, Jungkook admits that he doesn’t have too much in common with her. He likes her sunny composition, and she has a knack for making him laugh with her weird antics, and they do share slightly similar tastes in music, but other than those, Jimin and Jungkook are vastly different.

As weird as he can be sometimes, Jungkook is more reserved out of the two, and unlike Jimin who has no qualms making silly faces in public, Jungkook does care about his image more than he lets on, preferring to do those antics when he is with his members and his 97-liner male friends.

Jimin has always been more out there compared to Jungkook. At 15, he had been painfully shy and awkward, and waited for his hyungs to sleep before he could shower; at 15, Jimin sang on national television, and charmed the public with her outgoing and sunny personality. At 18, he barely had any idol friends, or any friends for that matter; at 18, Jimin was hanging out with GOT7, who in spite of her seniority, were so visibly relaxed and carefree around her.

When he was first introduced to Jimin during ASC, he did want to befriend her; perhaps, even being the initiator of it. But his shyness prevented him from even forming a proper sentence around the girl, and in the end, it was Jimin who asked if they could exchange numbers.

Jungkook envied her for her natural outgoing personality. Still envies it now.

“Jungkook-ah,” Jimin says, snapping him from his thoughts, “Thanks for inviting me today.” She shifts in her seat. “You didn’t really have to, honestly.”

“I wanted to,” Jungkook assures her. “Besides...” He scratches his head awkwardly. “I never got to apologize to you for the other day. At the bowling centre.”

Jimin looks genuinely confused. “Apologize for what? You didn’t do anything wrong.”

“I ran off without explaining anything, and…” Jungkook exhales. “There’s more than that, actually. It’s something I’ve been hiding from you for a fairly long while.”

“What is it?” Jimin asks gently.

“I…” Jungkook pauses. “This is going to sound terrible no matter how I put it, so I might as well be frank with you.” He looks at Jimin in the eye. “There was a time, where I hated you, Jimin-ah.”

Jimin blinks slowly, a slight widening of her eyes being the only thing that lets him know that she’s reacting to the words. Her expression is otherwise smooth, and she merely nods after a few seconds.

“Okay,” she answers, “Is it okay if I know why?”

She sounds calm, but Jungkook sees the way her fingers close into a loose fist on the table, and a hint of vulnerability visible in her eyes. Jungkook realizes then, that despite her strong front, Jimin is more fragile than she lets on. Jungkook hesitates, nearly wanting to cancel his intentions of telling her the truth. He doesn’t want to end up hurting her. He doesn’t want to risk losing another friend.

But he remembers how painful it is to keep a secret, and how his feelings tend to bubble over if he keeps them pressed down for too long.

And Jimin deserves nothing but the truth. If she hates him after, Jungkook will accept it with an open heart.

“I was…jealous,” he finally says, “Of you and Yugyeom.”

“Yugyeom-ie?” Jimin furrows her brows. “Why?”

“Because of how close you two are,” Jungkook confesses, “I just…I don’t know. I guess I just felt left out sometimes. And…” He pauses. Jungkook isn’t sure if Jimin knows of Yugyeom’s feelings for her, and if she doesn’t, he doesn’t want to be the one to let her know. Yugyeom should be the one to do that.

He is nearly startled out of his skin when Jimin suddenly reaches out and touches his hand briefly, bringing back his attention towards her.

She is smiling at him, but that smile seems too dim than the usual bright ones she wears. It doesn’t reach her eyes.

“Is this about your feelings for Yugyeom?” she asks.

Silence. Jungkook stares at her wide-eyed, gaping a little.

“I-I…” he swallows, “How…How did you know about that?”

“So, it’s true,” Jimin murmurs, as if confirming something to herself. “Yugyeom didn’t tell me, if that’s what you’re thinking,” she adds quickly, “I guess you can call it instinct.” Her smile widens just a bit as she regards Jungkook with a gentle expression. “I’ve always suspected something, really. We rarely hang together, but whenever I see you looking at Yugyeom, you have this…fond look on your face. At first I thought it’s just a bestfriend thing but when I thought about it more…you looked a little…” She trails off, searching for the right word. “Sad. Yeah… It wasn’t obvious, but I’ve always been too observant for my own good.”

She laughs softly, looking down at the table.

“That’s when I thought…ah, could it be?” She turns back to him. “At the bowling centre…I wasn’t sure but…you must have been so uncomfortable by my sudden presence, weren’t you?”

“No, I-,”

“It’s okay, Jungkook. I figured.” Jimin shakes her head, smiling reassuringly at him. “Maybe a bit too late, but I figured. You were very nice for not saying anything. Maybe a bit too nice.” She chuckles. “It would have been a good change if you were a bit more brutal with me, Jungkook-ah. At least that way, I could know what you’re thinking.” She sighs. “You’ve always been a bit of an enigma to me, even though we’ve been friends for a while. Either that, or you’re still too shy without you realizing it.” She gives him a playful look, one he smiles a little at after the initial hesitation.

“But, Jimin-ah, if you realized my feelings for him, then you must have – ,” Jungkook breaks off, unsure of how to continue. “I mean…”

Jimin seems to catch on, as she begins to blush. “If you’re talking about Yugyeom’s feelings for me, then yes…I know. Or rather, he told me.”

“He did?”

A nod. “A few days ago. It was during one of our hangouts. He…well, he blurted it out, really. I don’t think it was even planned. It was just…well, spontaneous.”

Jungkook smiles in spite himself. That sounds like Yugyeom.

“And what was your response?” he asks softly.

“I accepted his feelings,” Jimin replies just as softly. “I…he was so honest about them. So sincere. Seeing him like that, it makes…” Jimin looks fond, as if remembering a pleasant memory. “It makes my heart warm. And Yugyeom has always been special to me; perhaps even more than I realized.”

Jungkook closes his eyes, trying to press down the pang in his heart. “Then, doesn’t it bother you?” he whispers. “My feelings for Yugyeom.”

Jimin looks at him carefully. “Is it something I should be worried about, Jungkook-ah?”

Jungkook blinks, not expecting the question. “I…well, shouldn’t it? I mean, most people would be.”

“I’ve always believed that sometimes, we don’t have control over our own emotions. And we can’t control other people’s emotions, either,” Jimin says, “Even if I felt bothered about your feelings for him…what good would it bring me? And I…” Jimin gives Jungkook a warm look. “I know how much Yugyeom means to you. You care a lot about him, don’t you?” At Jungkook’s slow nod, Jimin continues. “You liking him…it’s not for me to judge. And honestly, I’m not bothered by it at all. Love is a normal part of our life. We fall in and out of it all the time.” She pauses. “Have you told him? About how you feel?”

Jungkook nods again.

“Then, what did he say?”

Jungkook smiles to himself, looking rueful. “He told me he can’t accept them. Because he likes you.”

If Jimin reacted to his words, and the implication behind them, she’s hiding it well. Jimin stares at him, her expression unchanging. The pair exchanges no words for a moment, just quietly looking at each other, gauging the other’s reaction.

Finally, Jimin averts her gaze and ducks her head.

“And what did you say?”

“I told him it was okay,” Jungkook replies, “Honestly, in the end, I guess I just needed to tell him the truth, and if he were to reject me, which he did, I just needed to hear it from him. And besides,” Jungkook reaches out to pat Jimin’s head, who looked up to give him a questioning look. “I’ve always known about his feelings for you, anyway. If anything, I was expecting the rejection.” He sighs. “I was…resentful of Yugyeom’s attention towards you, regardless,” he admits, shame clear on his face. “Maybe it was my own immaturity or something else I couldn’t find a name for, but my jealousy of your relationship with him, and how he holds you at such a high regard, made me resent you. What happened at the bowling centre…” He runs a hand through his hair. “That was the breaking point.”

“Jungkook-ah…” There is sadness in Jimin’s eyes.

“I regret it now,” Jungkook continues, “When I think back, it was stupid of me to act the way I did. It was my fault for not telling him sooner, yet at the same time, I expected too much of him. And…pushed my frustrations towards you.” Jungkook swallows. “I’m sorry, Jimin-ah. I didn’t mean to put you in such an awkward situation.”

Jimin remains quiet, pursing her lips as she thinks of a response. Jungkook waits patiently, bracing himself for her answer as he does. He makes a quick glance at Yugyeom, and sees that he still has two other people in front of him before his turn. He still has time.

“Jungkook,” Jimin finally says, “I’d insist it’s not your fault…but you’d probably won’t accept that, would you?” She gives him a knowing look. Jungkook’s lips quirk upwards and he slowly shakes his head. Jimin sighs. “Then, I guess the only thing left to do is to acknowledge your apology. If you feel what you did is wrong, it’s not up to me to say otherwise. What I can do, though, is…” Jimin stops briefly, before she reaches out to grab Jungkook’s hands. “I accept your apology, Jungkook-ah. Truthfully, I was kinda confused when you suddenly ran off like that…and I kept wondering if it was my fault that you did… But I understand now.” She smiles brightly. “It’s okay, Jungkook. You don’t have to be sorry, anymore.”

“And as for your feelings for Yugyeom…” she adds slowly, “If anything, I’m proud of you for telling him the truth. That…honestly, takes so much courage. And by the looks of it, Yugyeom seems to be okay with it in the end, isn’t he?”

Jungkook nods his head, glancing at Yugyeom. The boy is ordering their drinks now, looking at the menu as he speaks to the barista. Jimin follows his gaze and smiles fondly at the sight.

“He’s always been kind,” Jungkook murmurs.

Jimin shakes her head. “It’s more than just about being kind. It’s being a great friend.” She turns to Jungkook. “He’s your best friend, and he considers you as his, as well. Believe me when I say this, but he thinks so highly of you. He talks a lot about you, even when we were hanging out together.” She gives him a playful look. “If anything, I should be jealous of you.”

Jungkook laughs. That does sound like Yugyeom.

Yugyeom walks to their table, a tray in his hands. He sets it down, and Jungkook sees that he has bought a cake along with their drinks. He grins at the two of them as he places the cake in front of them. “The barista gave me a free slice of their special today! She said it was because I was handsome,” he says, expression triumphant.

“Or the fact that you’re a member of one of the hottest boy groups in Korea,” Jimin points out, rolling her eyes.

“The fact that I’m handsome has nothing to do with it?”

“Not when there are hotter guys around.”

“Jimin-ah! You’re so mean!” Yugyeom whines. He sits down with a huff, crossing his arms. “Shouldn’t have bought you along. You’re such a party pooper.” He turns to Jungkook. “Isn’t that right, Kook?”

“But she’s right, though,” Jungkook replies calmly.

Yugyeom looks affronted. He eyes the both of them suspiciously. “Are you two teaming up against me? Is there some sort of conspiracy going on right now?”

“We were just badmouthing you,” Jimin replies plainly. “Nothing special.” She smiles at Jungkook. “We talked a lot, didn’t we?”

“She told me your deepest, darkest secrets, Yugyeom.” Jungkook pretends to look crestfallen. “I’ll never look at you the same way again.”

“How dare you--!”

The three dissolves into laughter, and as Jungkook clutches his stomach and squeezes his eyes shut, giggles escaping from his lips, he doesn’t catch the look that Yugyeom throws his way. He observes his best friend with the gentlest expression, something warm spreading through his chest. He hasn’t seen Jungkook laugh like this in a long time.

He misses seeing him happy.

And after all the issues that are currently surrounding his group – Jimin’s sudden personal exposure, and Hoseok’s collapse and injuries - , Jungkook deserves every bit of happiness he can get.


 

-

[TRENDING] BigHit to Hold a Conference Regarding Jimin and J-Hope

Following the issues surrounding BTS members Jimin and J-Hope, after a week of silence, BigHit finally issued a date for a press conference this Friday. The company representative informed that all questions will be addressed during the conference.

“The members themselves will come forward and release their statements instead of relying on the company to do it for them,” said the representative, “They felt that this is the least they could do for everyone, especially the fans who have waited patiently for them. They want to tell their side of the story honestly and without any sugar-coating.”

The press conference will be a private event, but the boys are said to have a prepared a special live broadcast shortly after to communicate to their fans regarding the surrounding issues, making this the first time they will be on social media since the day of Jimin’s news release.


 

-

Angelseok: My boys…please have strength! I’ll send all my love. I’ll wait patiently for the conference and the broadcast.

Btsmyangel: I love you so so so much! @BTS_twt and nothing’s gonna change that.


 

-

Hoseok faces the crowd in front of him calmly, sitting primly on the chair. The cameras flash, and he works hard to maintain his smooth expression. It’s been a full ten minutes since the conference started, and after the cameras immediately go into a frenzy the moment Hoseok, dressed smartly in formal attire, steps onto the stage, assisted by one of their managers to keep the stress off his ankles. He smiles politely every now and then, and nods at whichever reporter who is currently speaking as an acknowledgement.

“J-Hope-ssi,” says one reporter, “We never did receive a full clarification on the extent of your injuries. From the looks of it, it seems that your ankles seem to be the worst shape. Can you please comment on it?”

“My injuries are not too severe,” Hoseok answers, “There are signs of stress on my ankles, and there are muscle-related injuries on my waist. They are not to the extent where they can be classified as severe injuries, however, the doctor advised me against strenuous activities for a few weeks to a couple of months to prevent them from worsening.”

“May we know what’s the cause of your sudden collapse?” asks another reporter.

“Overwork, mostly.” Hoseok smiles ruefully. “I pushed myself too hard, and ignored the warning signs my body is trying to give me. My doctor also mentioned it was a long-term consequence from my previous mild injuries, which hasn’t healed properly over the years.”

“Is this the result of neglect from the company, perhaps? Too much schedule and little free time?”

“I will admit that our schedules are often packed,” Hoseok replies, “It’s a norm for idols to be busy. However, my company has done nothing but the best for me and the rest of my members. They take care of us well, and if we show any signs of being unwell or injured, they’re the first ones to advise to rest and not burden ourselves. My injuries are no one’s fault but my own.”

“J-Hope-ssi, will your injuries greatly affect your future activities?”

Hoseok breathes in deeply though his nose, closing his eyes. He exhales slowly, and brings the microphone to his lips. He opens his eyes and faces the crowd. He has prepared himself for this moment, and all he could afford to offer them is his honesty.

“I won’t be able to participate in the nearest future comeback, unfortunately,” Hoseok begins, “While the doctor said I can try to slowly begin dancing again after approximately a month, I want to be more careful with myself. Besides, my current condition would only trouble my members, so it’s best if I were to concentrate on fully healing myself first.” He smiles softly. “I will admit I am disappointed by this. But in the end, it’s a price I must pay for my recklessness. I want my fans to see me at my best, so I’ll make sure I’ll return at full health. Until then.”

The crowd is hushed as Hoseok rises from his seat and bows deeply. “Please support the six members of BTS with all your heart,” he says earnestly.

The crowd dissolves into murmurs and the cameras continue to flash. Hoseok feels a tap on his shoulders, and he straightens up. He sees one of their female staff, her hand on his shoulder. She smiles gently at him.

“Hoseok-ah, you’ve said what you want to say now. Do you still want to continue?” she asks.

Hoseok considers, and he sees past her shoulders to look at Jimin. He is standing backstage, looking at Hoseok worriedly, his hands clasped together against his chest.

Hoseok shakes his head. “I think it’s enough,” he says softly, “I’m sure Jimin has a lot of things to say.”

“Alright.” The staff nods, and takes the microphone from his hand. She faces the crowd, hand still on Hoseok’s shoulder as she speaks. “J-Hope-ssi wishes to give the remaining of his time to Jimin-ssi,” she announces, effectively stopping the murmurs in the crowd. “Please allow us five minutes.”

They walk backstage together, Jimin meeting Hoseok’s eyes as he stops in front of him. Hoseok places a hand on Jimin’s shoulders, squeezing it.

“Are you ready, Jimin-ah?”

Jimin exhales. “As ready as I’ll ever be, hyung.”

Hoseok pats his shoulders. “Good luck.”

Jimin nods, and after another nod at the staffs, he takes a deep breath, and walks out onto the stage.


 

-

“Ah, our ARMYs are here!” Taehyung exclaims, looking at all the comments pouring in. He waves happily at the camera, grinning widely. “I miss all of you so much.”

“Hey, give me room; I wanna be on camera, too,” Jungkook whines.

“Have you eaten?” Taehyung reads, “Yes, I’ve eaten! We had sashimi. Namjoon-hyung messed up in the kitchen but Yoongi-hyung saved the day!”

“Our dinner is saved,” Jungkook agrees. A comment catches his eyes. A smile plays on his lips. “Ah, Jimin-hyung. They’re looking for you.” He turns to the side. “Come on, hyung. Say hello.”

Jimin slowly moves towards them, trying to keep his breathing even. Jungkook reaches out to grab his hand, pulling him towards them. He bumps his head against Jimin’s, smiling widely. “Come meet our fans, hyung,” he says gently, “They miss you.”

Jimin hesitantly looks into the camera. He tries to smile, nervousness making his heart beat rapidly in his chest. “Hello, everyone,” he says, “It’s Jimin.”

The comments explode, a torrent of words and emojis scrolling non-stop across the screen. Jimin sees a lot of crying emojis, and caplocked English words that went too fast for him to read properly, but ones he recognizes. He chokes back a laugh when he sees affectionate greetings being thrown his way.

Jimin!!!!

WE MISS YOU!!

DID YOU EAT AND SLEEP WELL???

Ahhh! Oppa TT TT

“ARMYs miss you a lot,” Taehyung says with a smile.

“I told you they would,” Jungkook adds.

Jimin’s eyes shine with unshed tears, and his throat feels tight. His vision is steadily blurring, and his heart aches so much. “Y-yeah,” he chokes out. “Ah.” He hastily wipes off the tears that are threatening to spill. “I miss you, too, ARMYs.”

Oppa, no don’t cry

Cheer up! \^0^/

TT TT TT TT Jimin-ah I’m gonna cry too

Jimin giggles as he reads the comments, still feeling teary. He really does feel like crying; he couldn’t help it. Seeing his fans still so supportive of him despite everything makes him feel so touched. He feels so much happiness that he feels the word itself doesn’t accurately describe his overwhelming emotions.

He remembers the press conference; how he stands on the stage alone, facing the cameras and the reporters. How he struggles to keep his expression calm. He had felt vulnerable then, and there were moments where he wanted to give up and run away. But for the sake of the fans who were eagerly waiting for his return, Jimin persevered.

“Jimin-ssi, do you admit the news is true?”

“Yes,” is what he had answered.

“Jimin-ssi, then, do you admit you are inclined towards men? Is this a confirmation of your sexuality?”

“Jimin-ssi, how long since you’ve been this way?”

“Jimin-ssi, do you plan on telling your fans personally?”

“Do you think your fans will take this news well?”

“Regarding my sexuality, I will comment on that later,” Jimin replied calmly. At his sides, his hands curled into loose fists, and he breathed in deeply. He prepared himself for these questions. He expected them. “As for my fans…yes, I do plan on telling them. Personally, honestly, without any sugar-coating.” Jimin paused. “That is the main reason for the upcoming live broadcast scheduled for tonight. I wish I could do it face-to-face, but we have fans who are very far away from us, and I would want to acknowledge them, too. So, I feel that a live broadcast gives an equal chance to everyone.”

Jimin exhales. “You asked me whether I am inclined towards men. I…honestly, don’t have an answer for that.” Cameras flashed with a frenzy the moment those words escaped his lips, and if it wasn’t for the staff hushing the crowd, the reporters’ questions might have followed. “I will admit that what I’ve said in the audio leak is true. It was a private conversation, and I am saddened that my fans had to learn about it through that kind of way, but in the end, it doesn’t matter. I’ll accept it as a price for keeping such a secret from the fans who have supported and loved me through all these years.”

“I was – still am – in love with a person, and that person is indeed, a man,” he continued, keeping his tone steady, “For his sake, if not mine, I would not disclose his identity, and I beg for your understanding as to why. It was…a fruitless relationship to begin with.” He stopped, allowing himself to look rueful. “It wasn’t meant to be from the start. He knew of my feelings but told me, as kindly as he possibly could, that he couldn’t accept them. So that’s that. I want to be always honest with my fans, but at the time, I didn’t see the point of telling them something that was never going to happen. But…in the end, those are just excuses, and I’m paying the price for it.”

“Jimin-ssi, you have not address the main question at hand.”

“I know.” Jimin had sighed, and faced the crowd with determination in his eyes. “Truthfully, gender doesn’t matter to me. The reason why I couldn’t tell you whether I’m inclined to men is because I’m not sure if that’s an exclusive thing. The reason why I fell in love with the guy I liked…was because of who he is as a person. The fact that he’s a male comes second.” He paused. “It doesn’t matter to me if a person is a man or a woman…if I love that person, that’s all there is to it.”

“And I know that society may not accept this,” he added quickly, “And there may be fans who will leave me because of this, but I’m prepared to accept this fact.” He faced the cameras, looking directly into the lenses as if addressing the fans directly. “My fans…my fans who supported me all these years, if you are angry, upset, or disappointed in me, I sincerely apologize for hurting you.”

The crowd fell silent, similar to the way it did earlier, as Jimin bowed deeply.

“Thank you for all the years, and I’m sorry. My fans. My friends. Family.” Jimin exhaled. “Everyone.”


 

-

“Jimin.”

Jungkook’s voice snaps Jimin back to reality, and he turns towards him. The maknae is smiling playfully. “Is hyung daydreaming already?” His tone is teasing, but Jimin can hear the underlying concern in his voice. Jimin squeezes his hand, trying to be reassuring.

“Ah, sorry. I was just thinking.” He turns back towards the camera, and bows slightly. “Sorry, ARMYs.”

Jimin-ah…my father is a reporter. He told me about the conference.

Jimin-ah, I saw the replay of the press conference. Are you okay?

Jimin’s smile dims. Beside him, Taehyung slowly moves his hand closer to Jimin’s, their fingertips nearly touching. Jungkook bumps his shoulders against Jimin’s. The two of them are offering comfort through the smallest of ways, and Jimin appreciates this greatly.

“I see that some of you watched the conference already,” he says softly, his smile still in place. “I guess I have a lot of explaining to do, don’t I? That is the reason why I set up this live broadcast in the first place, after all.”

“Everyone…to repeat what I’ve said in the press conference, I just want to say…” Jimin closes his eyes, and breathes out steadily. He opens his eyes again, facing the camera. “What I said in the audio leak is true. I was…no, still am, in love with a person, and that person is indeed a man.”

Jimin-ah TT TT

Jimin we still love you no matter what!!

What that person did…recording a private conversation like that. So despicable!

“Thank you for your kind words,” Jimin says, “It was a private conversation, and while I am disappointed you had to find out about it the way you did, the more I think about it, the more I realized one way or another, facts like these will be found out eventually. The more I try to hide it, the more likely it will get exposed. So, I decided to stop hiding.”

Jungkook looks at him carefully. He bumps Jimin’s shoulders again, and when the boy looks at him, Jungkook’s gaze towards him seems to say “Are you sure?”. Jimin nods. He is sure. He feels the warmth of Taehyung’s hand, and he turns towards his best friend. Taehyung smiles at him encouragingly. Jimin returns it with one of his own, gratefulness clear on his face.

He turns back to the camera, and sees the comments are still scrolling endlessly. He sees a lot of heart emojis and encouraging words, both in Korean and English. Tears spring to his eyes again, and he clutches his shirt, feeling immensely touched.

“Everyone,” he says, trying to keep his voice steady, “My fans. My family. My friends. Those who know me and supported me all these years; endlessly giving me their love and encouragement when I needed them the most. First of all, I…” He pauses, wiping his tears that are threatening to fall. “These past several days have been some of the hardest days I have ever faced. When the news first came out, I thought…ah, this is all over. I’m going to bring everyone down. When Hoseok-hyung fell sick…I honestly thought it was my fault. I had such a hard time, and I wanted to run away. So I…” He trails off. “I did run away. For a bit. I went back to Busan, leaving my hyungs and the company to face my problems for me.”

There is shame in his tone of voice. “I was a coward. I should’ve stayed. If not for me, at least for my hyungs, especially Hoseok-hyung who was sick. If not for my hyungs, for my fans. ARMYs, who waited for my explanation so patiently. Instead, I left. I ran away. And I’m not proud of it at all.”

“But…” A slow smile creeps onto Jimin’s face. “I…there is a hyung, who decided he won’t take my cowardice anymore and marched right to Busan, without even telling me. I was surprised when I saw him, standing there at the beach I used to frequent, with clothes crumpled from sleep and concern written all over his face. I couldn’t even believe my eyes at first. I thought I was seeing things.”

“But he was there,” Jimin continued. “He was real. And he…” A soft chuckle escapes his lips. “He practically forced me to face my fears. He told me that everyone is waiting for me back home, and hearing him say that made me realize…that I did miss everyone. My hyungs. My fans. The loudness of the dorms. I missed all of that and it had been barely a week since I left. He convinced me to come back and…here I am.”

Who is this hyung, oppa?

“A very special hyung,” Jimin answers quietly. “He means a lot to me.”

He doesn’t say anything for a moment. The implication is clear in his answer, and the fans seem to catch on. The comments got noticeably less, as if mirroring Jimin’s silence. Jungkook and Taehyung continue to be a quiet presence beside him, offering him silent comfort through small touches. The three of them watch the comments scrolls down the screen wordlessly.

Oppa

What will happen next?

Jimin wraps his arms around himself. “I don’t know,” he whispers, “I don’t know what will happen in the future. All I know that now, all I could do is to be honest with you guys, because you deserve nothing less.”

Oppa, you don’t deserve all the hate! All you did was fall in love.

“Yes. I fell in love.” Jimin smiles sadly, “And yet, in the process, I did hurt people. Including the one I fell in love with.” He exhales. “I was scared to tell him, and I pushed my fears towards him when I shouldn’t. He tried to understand me but I wouldn’t let him. All because I was scared.” He shakes his head. “It makes me think…why do people have to be so afraid of love? Isn’t love supposed to be a good thing? Maybe some might not agree…especially given how our society is, but to me, who you love shouldn’t matter. Gender, beliefs, race, the colour of our skin, those are just secondary factors which shouldn’t be the reason to stop us from loving someone. I…” Jimin pauses. “If you love someone, you should love them because of who they are, and how safe and happy they make you feel. Love shouldn’t be defined by looks. Love is…” He searches for the word. “Love is…love.”

He looks straight into the camera, as if addressing the fans directly as though they are standing right in front of him.

“Love is love. For me, that’s all there is to it.”


 

-

Namjoon and Seokjin watch the broadcast from Seokjin’s bed. Their fingers are laced together, and they look at the screen with fond expressions on their faces.

“Love is love,” Namjoon murmurs. “How true.”

“Love is love,” Seokjin agrees.


 

-

Hoseok smiles softly, leaning against his armchair. His phone is placed against the speaker, and he leans forward to prop his chin on his hands.

“Love is love,” he says, his warm gaze lingering on Taehyung.


 

-

Jimin leans her head against Yugyeom’s shoulder as they watch the broadcast. The two are at a far end of the Han River park, a spot where people rarely go to. They both have their masks on to cover half their faces. But behind those masks, smiles grace their faces.

“Love is love,” Jimin murmurs.

Yugyeom places his hand on Jimin’s, earning a fond look from the girl. He crinkles his eyes at her.

“That would make a good song,” Yugyeom comments, “Love is love, huh?”


 

-

Somewhere, at one of the practice rooms in a certain entertainment company, a girl sits with her knees drawn up to her chest, her dark orange hair forming a curtain as she ducks her head. Her phone lies beside her, the broadcast still playing. Next to the phone is a polaroid picture. The orange-haired girl has her arms around another dark-haired girl. The dark-haired girl is smiling at the camera, but the orange-haired girl is staring at her, her expression fond but faraway.

“Love is love,” the girl whispers. She wraps her arms around her knees. “Love is…” Her hand curls into a fist. “Love is love.”


 

-

Yoongi stares at the three from the archway. He doesn’t make his presence known to the boys, instead opting to remain silent from where he stands. Jimin is wrapping up the broadcast, constantly thanking and apologizing at their fans, bowing slightly every now and then. Jungkook and Taehyung join in to say good bye, keeping their arms around Jimin’s shoulders, as if unconsciously protecting him. Perhaps, they are. To make up for the times they couldn’t.

Jimin,

Jimin looks happier than he has in days. He still is a little teary, probably from reading all the comments, but those tears seem to be happy ones, judging from the grin on his face. Yoongi crosses his arms as he leans against the archway, watching him.

A soft chuckle escapes his lips.

“Love is love,” he murmurs. He stares at Jimin again. Something warm is spreading across his chest, and he hears his own heartbeat thumping steadily, maybe a little bit faster than before. Jimin sees him, then, and after his initial surprise, he smiles brightly at him.

“Yoongi-hyung,” he calls out.

Yoongi returns his smile.

“Jimin,” is all he says.


 

-

Love is love.

That would make a good song. Maybe this time, Yoongi would be the one to write it.

 

 

Chapter Text

-Six weeks later-

“So, I heard that you guys are working on a new album already?” Jonghyun asks, smiling at his guest. “It’s only been about a month or so since your last one. You sure are working hard, aren’t you?”

“We’re always eager to get back to creating more music. It’s been like that since our debut days.” Namjoon returns Jonghyun’s smile easily, relaxing in his seat. He is the special guest for Jonghyun’s radio show today, and this time, he is alone. He doesn’t seem too bothered, though, as he breezes through his session with no problems, as if he is made for this.

“Our fans do worry about us a lot. Our Twitter mentions are never short of well-wishes and reminders to rest and eat properly,” Namjoon adds, “But truthfully, we enjoy working. I mean, we do go on breaks every once in a while, but we’re always too restless to remain idle for too long so we get back to making more music.”

“You’re always making quality music, though,” Jonghyun comments, “The fans wouldn’t have to worry about that at least.”

Namjoon grins, feeling abashed. “We try our best for the sake of our fans who waited for us. They deserve nothing less than the best.”

Jonghyun hums in agreement, flipping through his script. There is a sudden change in his expression as he scans through a certain page, and he hesitates. “Ah…the fans are also wondering about something.” He faces Namjoon. “We know that J-Hope-ssi won’t be able to participate in the upcoming comeback due to his injuries, but will he still be given the chance to take part in the album making?”

The edges of Namjoon’s smile softens. “J-Hope is concentrating on healing first; he dutifully attends all check-ups and therapy sessions for his waist. His ankles are also a bit fragile right now due their previous injuries. Because of that, he won’t be participating as much as all of us, including himself, would have liked, unfortunately.” He adjusts his headphones as he leans towards the microphone. “We’re all working hard so the fans will still at least able to hear his voice in the album, but in terms of song producing, and maybe in the album jacket itself, he won’t be able to take part much.”

Jonghyun’s smile is comforting. “I’m sure the fans will understand. I heard that the statements released in the press conference were generally well-received by them, too.”

“Yes,” Namjoon says, “It’s a relief.”

“And Jimin-ssi?” Jonghyun tilts his head. “We can expect to see him a lot next comeback, too, right?”

The implication behind his question is obvious. Namjoon has a feeling that the fans who listen to this radio broadcast would catch it, too. He looks at Jonghyun carefully, but the latter merely looks curious. He waits patiently, his warm smile still present on his handsome face.

Namjoon laughs. “Of course. Jimin would kill me if otherwise.”

“It’s the sane ones that are the most dangerous,” Jonghyun agrees, nodding to himself.

“Jonghyun-hyung, what are you implying?”

“Nothing~”


 

-

Yoongi looks out of the window absently, his chin propped on his hands. His eyes are drooping slightly, the air-conditioned air of the restaurant making him drowsy. He rubs his eyes, thinking of taking a nap when he gets back to the dorm. He glances at his watch.

Ten more minutes. He could wait a bit longer.

The past several weeks has been a whirlwind; after the buzz eventually died down, the boys are finally allowed to go in and out of their dorm as they please, though the caution to remain careful still remains. Yoongi himself isn’t wearing any caps or masks like he would usually do. There are a few glances directed his way and some whispering, but other than that, Yoongi is relatively unbothered.

Besides, he misses feeling the sun on his face without the mask in the way.

His phone ‘ping’s with a notification, and he slides his thumb across the screen to see it. It’s a text message from Taehyung, with a picture attached on it.

Bratty tae: Hyuuuung~ Are you at a restaurant right now? Can you takeout for Hobi-hyung and me?

The picture attached is a selca of Taehyung and Hoseok, and from the looks of it, they are outside the hospital. Taehyung is probably fetching Hoseok from his weekly appointments; it’s always either him or Seokjin who does it, but nowadays, Taehyung does it the most. The boy has his arms wrapped around Hoseok’s shoulders as they grin at the camera.

Yoongi chuckles to himself.

Get it yourself, you brat

Bratty tae: TT TT Hyuuung we forgot to bring money

Bratty tae: And Hobi-hyung is injured! How could you??

Manager-hyung is driving you guys anyway

Ask him. Go away.

Bratty tae: Booooooo Go have fun on your date ;p

Yoongi smiles inwardly to himself. A date, huh? Would he call it that, he wonder.

Before he could reply, his phone rings, and he sees Seokjin’s icon on his screen. Everyone is already turning their heads; Yoongi had forgotten to lower down the volume of his ringtone. Flushing, Yoongi sinks into his seat and quickly presses ‘answer’.

“Hyung,” he greets.

“Yoongi-ah. Hey, can I ask you for a favour?” Seokjin’s voice sounds a bit echo-y, and Yoongi thinks he hears shuffling of feet as well.

“What is it?”

He hears a long-suffering sigh. “Namjoon broke the toilet doorknob again. And it’s completely unusable now – I tried. So, can – Namjoon-ah! Put that down; you’re gonna hurt yourself!”

“I’m trying to fix it!” argues Namjoon in the background.

“Put that hammer down or I’ll use it on you,” Seokjin warns. Yoongi hears muttering of protests before Seokjin speaks again. “Sorry about that, Yoongi. Namjoon was just trying to be…helpful.”

Yoongi rolls his eyes. “I don’t doubt it.” He straightens, and something catches his eyes. The corners of his lips quirk up when he recognizes what caught his attention. “What is it that you wanted to say, hyung?” he asks, his smile widening, his eyes never leaving the steadily approaching figure.

“Can you buy a new doorknob on your way back later? You don’t have to rush, though. We can probably survive without a bathroom lock for several hours.”

“Yeah, sure.” The figure is at the restaurant entrance now, and Yoongi cranes his neck to get a clearer view. “Hey, hyung. Sorry. I have to go now. I’ll let you know after I bought it.”

There is a pause at the other end of the line. Then, a soft laugh. “Alright. Have fun, Yoongi-ah.”

Yoongi says his goodbyes and hangs up. He stands up from his seat and turns around. The figure is lingering at the entrance, expression as if for searching for something. When his eyes meet Yoongi’s, his whole expression lights up.

So does Yoongi’s.


 

-

“You ass. That’s cheating.”

Yugyeom and Jungkook howl in laughter, high-fiving each other as one of BamBam’s RPG characters explode into pixels, indicating its death. The latter whines, his face at the corner of the computer screen being a mask of grimace. He groans, and covers his face with his hands.

“When I agreed to an online battle, I didn’t expect the two of you would team up against me,” he complains.

“You could have asked Mark-hyung to join you,” Yugyeom points out plainly, poking out his tongue. “It’ll be a fair two-on-two game.”

“I would, but Mark-hyung is busy with his friends,” BamBam grumbles. “Ah…if you’re gonna team up with one of MY members, I’ll team up with one of YOURS. I’ll call Yoongi-hyung. He’ll help me.”

“I wouldn’t bother him, right now,” Jungkook says cheerfully, destroying another one of BamBam’s characters. Behind him, Yugyeom cheers, throwing his hands up in the air.

BamBam raises one eyebrow. “Why not?”

Jungkook grins cheekily. “Yoongi-hyung is on a date.”


 

-

“What do you want to do next?” Hoseok asks.

“Hey, the doctor asked you to rest -,”

Hoseok boops Taehyung’s nose playfully. “I heard her. I know, I know. I mean at the dorms later.”

Taehyung pouts, and briefly considers. They are sitting at the back of the van, pressed up against each other side by side. Sejin is in the driver’s seat, bopping his head along to the beat of the music, mostly unaware of the two of them.

“What about a movie?” Taehyung suggests, “We never did finish the one we were watching the other day.”

“Alright,” Hoseok agrees. He leans against Taehyung’s shoulders, sighing happily. “I’m glad knowing I wouldn’t be bored if you’re here to keep me company.” He glances at his ankles – they are still in ankle guards, though the doctor said he could remove them soon – his smile dimming a little. “I can’t wait to dance again, though. Watching you guys practicing for our comeback is making me a little regretful, to be honest.”

Taehyung pats Hoseok’s hair comfortingly. “We need you to heal first. The faster you heal, the sooner you can dance again.”

“Yeah…you’re right.” A pause. Hoseok sighs theatrically. “At least I’ll have Tae to give me kisses and hugs when I’m upset!”

Taehyung flushes deeply at his words, and Sejin – who seems to have heard the words as well – coughs loudly from the front seat. Hoseok laughs, his expression cheeky. Taehyung smacks him on the shoulder.

“You’re so shameless, hyung.”

“I’m just happy, that’s all.” Hoseok presses the back of his hand against Taehyung’s cheek, feeling the warmth of his skin. “I haven’t been this happy in so long.”

Taehyung is visibly touched by his words, and he grabs Hoseok’s hand, leaning into his touch. He breathes out slowly. “You make me happy, too, hyung.” He bites his lips, suddenly shy. “I…uh…” His cheeks redden again. “I love you, Hoseok-hyung. I know I don’t say this enough but I…I love you.”

Hoseok smiles brightly, lighting up his face. He nuzzles Taehyung’s hair, and sighs happily. “I love you, too, Taehyung-ah. Always have and will for a very long time.”


 

-

“Jimin,” Yoongi breathes, “I’m glad you made it okay.”

Jimin smiles shyly. “Yeah. I had one of the staffs to drive me here. Have you been waiting long?”

Yoongi shakes his head. “Not too long.” He reaches out his hand, inviting. “Come on. I already got us a seat.”

Jimin looks at his hand, hesitating. Tentatively, shyly, he stretches out his own hand and places on top of Yoongi. Yoongi laces his fingers around Jimin’s, and tugs him forward. His hand feels cool to the touch, and Jimin finds this really comforting. He lets himself to be led by him, and soon, both of them reach a table tucked away at one of the corners of the restaurant, offering them enough privacy. They sit across each other, and Yoongi hands Jimin a menu as soon as Jimin settles down.

“I already ordered,” Yoongi explains, “I don’t know what to get you, so I figured it’s better to let you choose.”

“Oh, sure.” Jimin gingerly takes the menu, flipping through the pages. “I’ve never been here before, though, so I don’t know what’s good. Do you have any recommendations?”

Yoongi hums. “I heard the steak is good. That’s what I ordered.”

Jimin flips to the page to find it, and winces when he looks at the price. “That’s…a bit out of my budget.”

“I’m paying, idiot,” Yoongi says without any bite. “I’m the one who invited you out for lunch, so I’m the one who’s settling the bill.”

“Ah but - ,”

“No buts,” Yoongi cuts him off. He bops Jimin’s nose playfully. “Just eat whatever you want. You deserve a treat.”

Jimin still looks a bit troubled by the request, scrunching his nose as he thinks. He finally nods, albeit slowly. “Then…I’ll have the same thing as you.”

Yoongi smiles, showing his teeth. “Great.”

After the order is placed, Yoongi settles into his seat and watches Jimin does the same. The boy, like him, isn’t wearing anything to hide his face, which honestly surprises Yoongi, but at the same time makes him glad. Jimin is slowly trying to regain his courage to be seen in public again after the whole fiasco.

Unlike Hoseok, Jimin’s statements received mixed reactions from the general public. Most of their fans were supportive, and their twitter mentions exploded with messages showing their love. There were a lot of letters sent to Jimin in the fancafe, ones that Jimin read with much care. One fansite master even sent him a cute doll set – a family of plushies resembling rice cakes – with some letters from other fans, in hopes to cheer him up. Yoongi remembered that the gift made Jimin smile a lot, and he took a lot of pictures with it.

But there were also negative reactions; ones that have been expected but Yoongi had hoped to avoid, regardless. There was a decrease in their followers – not too much, but still noticeable enough that it created a buzz amongst the fans. Among all those supportive messages, there were a small amount of hate – its small number made it even noticeable. There were times Yoongi caught Jimin reading some of them, his expression devoid of any emotion.

(Yoongi had snatched his phone away, and immediately blocked the accounts on Jimin’s behalf.)

Jimin had also bore the brunt of more stares than usual when he went out. Hoseok received the occasional glances, but Jimin had received long stares and whispers, something which he struggled to cope with at the beginning. After his first outing several days after the press conference, he had ‘fans’ unsubtly following him everywhere he went, a few even physically trying to bother him, resulting him returning to the dorm earlier than intended. Jimin had refused to go out for a few days after that, and when he did, almost the whole of his face was hidden by a combination of masks, caps, and hoodies.

His song, which was previously in the top 3 in most music charts, dropped down drastically, though there were collective efforts from the ARMYs to bring it back up. Still. Yoongi remembers looking at the double-digit number beside Jimin’s song, and clenching his jaw. Jimin doesn’t deserve this. He just doesn’t.

When the buzz eventually dies down after a month, Jimin tries his best to go out normally, though the occasional caps and masks still remains. Seeing him now, face fully exposed and expression more relaxed, eases something in Yoongi, like a long-buried worry.

“Thanks for inviting me out to lunch, hyung,” Jimin says, snapping Yoongi from his train of thoughts. “I know you’re busy with the album producing…”

Yoongi shakes his head. “I needed fresh air, anyway. What about you? I heard you’re hanging out with your old dance crew lately.”

“They’re in Seoul for an upcoming gig so they decided to have a small reunion.” Jimin smiles, happiness radiating from his expression. “It was nice seeing them again after a long while.”

“That’s great. You should see your friends every now and then.”

“They were…supportive of me,” Jimin whispers, and Yoongi catches the meaning immediately. “I…” He flushes, eyes shining. “It was nice. I was…I was happy.”

“You deserve to be,” Yoongi replies earnestly, “After everything you’ve been through. Especially after - ,” He cuts himself off, hesitant to continue. Jimin seems to understand though, as he offers him a small smile and shakes his head. There is no need to say it. They both know.

Hidden underneath Jimin’s sleeve is a scar inflicted from a cut wound; healing now, but a stark reminder of how extreme a hater can be.

“I don’t want to be afraid anymore,” he murmurs. “The past few weeks made me scared even to go out. I knew being honest with everyone will have its drawbacks…and I was prepared for them. But actually experiencing them is-,” He trails off, shuddering. He drops his gaze to the table. “Jin-hyung told me I need to face it in stride, sooner or later. When things died down a little…I wanted to try again. I can’t…I can’t hide forever.”

He looks at Yoongi. “I’m glad you invited me out for lunch, hyung. It gave me a chance to…get out of my comfort zone.” He touches his cheek self-consciously. “It’s been quite a while since I went out face fully exposed like this. Back in Busan, I avoided the busy places just so I don’t have to cover myself up.”

“Hey,” says Yoongi, peering at Jimin, “I’m sure ARMYs will be glad to see your handsome face again. And things…Things are getting better. Not completely, but it’s getting there.”

He reaches under the table and takes Jimin’s hand. Jimin, startled, looks down at their joint hands and then at Yoongi questioningly. There is pink dusting Jimin’s cheeks, no doubt flustered by the sudden contact.

“Whatever the case, we’ll be here for you, Jimin-ie,” Yoongi promises. “I’ll be here.”

“Yoongi-hyung…” Jimin whispers, looking a little teary. “That’s…that’s very comforting to hear.” He drops his gaze again, flushing deeply. “Thank you.”

Yoongi smiles crookedly. “Anytime, Jimin.”

He says those words casually with an easy expression, but as he watches Jimin start to talk about a routine he is working on with his friends, wide eyes bright with excitement, Yoongi’s expression slowly morphs into something else. The smile on his face softens, and he finds himself leaning forward to listen to Jimin’s words more carefully. He observes every single one of Jimin’s animated gestures, and remembers how his voice rises in pitch when he is talking about a favourite dance move.

There is a Frank Sinatra song playing in the background, and Yoongi remembers liking it, but as Jimin continues to speak, and at one point, laugh, the song slowly fades into background, as Jimin’s voice becomes the centre of focus in Yoongi’s mind.

In his chest, Yoongi’s heart thrums steadily, but perhaps slightly faster than before.

Love is love…Maybe. Just maybe… I-


 

-

A phone ‘ping’s with a notification. Reaching inside her pocket, Minjoon takes out her phone, an excited grin forming on her face when she sees the words on her screen.


 

-

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