It's weird. It's the best time of Seungri's life and people suddenly start asking Seungri if he's ok.
Daesung asks if it's hard because of the cameras, if having Jiyong-hyung wrapped around him means more camera flashes and more microphones pushed right up in his face. But Seungri loves the cameras.
Jiyong-hyung never asks. He just takes the food he wants from the side of Seungri's plate (and no one else's), just slings his arm around Seungri's shoulders, grabs his hand and drags Seungri down to sit next to him in cars, on buses, on planes. He puts his hands on Seungri's hips, puts Seungri's hands on Jiyong's hips, on his waist, on his arms-- feel how I'm moving, maknae, move with me. He puts his chin on Seungri's shoulder and his arm around Seungri's waist, and at first Seungri doesn't know how Jiyong can sleep like that, how the beating of his heart doesn't echo back through his spine, through the muscle and skin of his back to knock on Jiyong's ribs.
Seunghyun-hyung tells Seungri to knee Jiyong in the balls, if Jiyong is climbing in and out of bed five times a night with compositionally-driven insomnia. He just shifts his shoulders and his eyebrow when Seungri says he'll learn to sleep straight though any interruption. He doesn't, but Seungri minds less when Jiyong teases about Baby's panda eyes.
Jiyong talks about it all in magazines, too. He talks about them on camera, fluttering hands landing on Seungri's thigh, on his arm. He calls Seungri his favourite, the cutest dongsaeng, family, his. Seungri's happy that Jiyong chose him for the other half of this running gag, that he knows his lines, what to say, how to lean into Jiyong's hands like he was trained for it. How to get caught rubbing his lips after Jiyong pulls away.
Youngbae-hyung stares out at the Seoul skyline from their apartment balcony and says a lot of things about knowing what it's like to be young and to be confused in this crazy media thing they live in, which makes Seungri bristle, except that all it boils down to is that GD can be really intense, yeah? And Seungri knows that.
It's a joke, except it isn't. It's just something on stage, except it isn't. Sometimes Seungri half-wakes with Jiyong sliding into bed, and he asks who Seungri's favourite is, or if there are girls he likes, and his fingers are cold blades flat against the arch of Seungri's neck. And maybe it's really a dream, because Jiyong is the only one who never asks Seungri questions, and Seungri likes it better that way. Every time Jiyong says Seungri is his, Seungri's heart stops, swells and shatters into light, energy and heat.
He's not too young. He's not confused. He's happy.
And then, he's not. Seungri's crying, and instead of living with family or his hyungs, he lives alone.
They're in hotel rooms all in a row, a corridor with security at either end. Jiyong is in pyjamas, but the covers on the bed are untouched. Jiyong asks what Seungri wants, but Seungri doesn't answer. He pushes past Jiyong into the room.
The light's on by the desk, scrunched up paper with scribbles piling out of the wastepaper bin, and it's so normal that the tension between his shoulder blades just melts. They've all talked, on TV and off, in interviews and in recording booths, about the group. Not about this. Seungri knows that things are different now, must be different now, but he also just wants a good night's sleep.
"You can choose your friends," Seungri says. "But family you're stuck with."
He practiced the line in front of the mirror in his hotel room bathroom for what felt like an hour, but the exasperated smile on Jiyong's face makes him flush only in pleasure.
"Family, eh, maknae? I guess I can't turn you out into the corridor."
Seungri pulls down the sheets on both sides of the double, lets Jiyong push him down onto the left. Jiyong's still snickering when his weight lands on the right, and leader-hyung got the best room, the softest pillows because Seungri's nearly out right then, sinking into the softness to the familiar scratch of ballpoint on paper, and Jiyong humming bars.