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At first, the interview had been going quite well. The members had cracked jokes and the atmosphere was good. Bangtan had come to the interview to promote their new songs but, unfortunately due to it being filmed late at night, Jungkook was unable to attend. The members didn’t even notice that Jungkook wouldn’t be with them, and they weren’t really bothered by it. It was after all, just one interview and they couldn’t stop the law. Then things got uncomfortable when the reporter mentioned that they were missing a member.
“Well you seem to be doing just fine without him.” the reporter smiled, “I mean you all are doing so great, we didn’t even notice he was gone.”
“Uh-Thanks.” Namjoon replied sheepishly, “but we miss him, and don’t worry fans; he’ll be with us really soon.”
“Anything you want to say to him?” the reporter asked.
“You better be in bed!” Jin smiled good naturedly.
“You’re the oldest member, what’s the age difference between you and him?” reporter asked.
“We’re five years apart.” Jin answered.
“Really? Wow.” the reporter looked around, “Who is the next youngest and what’s their age difference between Jungkook?”
“Jimin and I are only a few months apart,” Taehyung answered, “And we are two years older.”
“How amazing!” the reporter exclaimed, “It must be such a burden!”
“No, no Jungkook is never a burden.” Yoongi interrupted, “He’s excellent in singing, rap, and dancing; Rap Monster nicknamed him ‘the golden maknae’.”
“Still, I can imagine that he isn’t on the same level of maturity as the rest of you,” the reporter chuckled, “In fact, we have heard that he can be a complete brat at times, seriously did your company stop to think that you all would end up raising him? Is that what you signed up for, being a babysitter?”
“Jungkook is very mature for his age,” Hoseok defended politely.
That was the trouble with being an idol, they had to watch what they said, if they seemed disrespectful, then they could get serious backlash from fans and management. They had to be nice and curious at all times, no matter what.
“Anyway, next topic,” the reporter looked at her watch, “Jimin, what do you find attractive in a woman?”
——–
At first Jimin wasn’t sure Jungkook had even seen the interview, he had gone to bed before the other members got home and didn’t mention anything in the morning. They had gone home that night, burning mad from the reporters careless comments. They were all worried about how the maknae would react to such blatant criticism that was not on the internet.
Jimin glanced around the room. They were taking a short break from practice and were all spralled out on the floor. Jin was currently feeding all the members but Jimin knew that he had given Jungkook extra, even though Jungkook wouldn’t eat it because of his ridiculous ‘diet’ that he was currently on. Hoseok had been extra playful with Jungkook today, dancing to Jungkook’s favorite girl group songs with him. Even Yoongi, in his ‘uncaring’ attitude had been extra attentive and that ended up in the form of a lot of teasing. Jimin had sat himself next to Jungkook.
“Jeon Jungkookie, are you wearing my underwear again?” Yoongi accused.
Jungkook pulled on his waistband and looked down, causing Taehyung and Namjoon to laugh.
“No, I’m not hyung.” Jungkook answered.
“Ya! Why’d you have to check?” Yoongi speculated, “Stay out of my underwear, you brat!”
Everyone held their breath, and got silent, waiting for Jungkook’s repsonse.
“Hyung, you started this war.” Jungkook countered.
Everyone visibly relaxed.
“That was funny Jungkook-ah!” Jimin laughed, “You make hyung proud.”
Jungkook rolled his eyes but there was a slight smile on his face.
“We were worried that you might have seen-” Taehyung stopped mid sentence realizing what he had said.
“Last night’s interview?” Jungkook finished, “Yeah I saw it.”
“You know we don’t feel that way right?” Namjoon looked over, “She was being a jerk.”
“Yeah, I know,” Jungkook gave a watery smile and his busan accent got slightly thicker.
Immediately, Jimin sprang into action, “Don’t be upset, don’t cry.” Jimin hugged him.
“‘m not crying,” Jungkook replied, “I’m not.”
Inspite of his claim the tears were rolling down his cheeks. He tried to shake Jimin off, but Jimin held tighter.
“No you’re not getting away.” Taehyung came to Jungkook’s other side and also hugged, “We need to talk about this.”
This was part of the plan the other members had implemented at their debut. It had been discovered that Jungkook was so uncomfortable with touching that he wouldn’t let the members do fanservice, just being friendly, or physically comfort him. At first, it had hurt the members feelings, they thought that Jungkook didn’t like them. They soon realized that Jungkook was like that with everyone though. Soon the members, mostly the maknae line and Hoseok began to try to acclimate Jungkook into touching. Jin however, ended up being the most helpful because the others didn’t have a “subtle bone in their bodies” and were “scaring him”. Now Jungkook had mostly gotten over his problem with it.
“Nobody here thinks you’re a burden,” Jimin said firmly, “You are an amazing member of the group.”
“Seriously you don’t understand how much we hyungs adore you.” Hoseok smiled, “We need you in the group with us.”
“Not very mature though huh?” Jungkook sniffed, “Crying like a little kid in the practice room.”
“Jungkook stop it, you are ridiculously mature,” Yoongi snapped, “I couldn’t have handled the stress of debut and being an idol at your age.”
“You are so very helpful to us Jungkook you don’t understand,” Jin began, “The reporter was kind of right, I do see you as my child almost, but that’s not a bad thing. Jungkook you have turned into a wonderful, confident young man and watching you grow up was amazing.”
“We like raising you,” Namjoon chuckled, “Even if puberty is frightening and you’re moods are scarey.”
“At least he doesn’t whine,” Taehyung teased, “Like you hyung.”
“Excuse me?” Namjoon demanded, “What did you say?”
“Break’s over guys!” Manager called from the other room.
Jimin pulled Jungkook to his feet and gave him one last hug before letting go. Jungkook gave him a small grateful smile. Their maknae was important not just because he was talented but because he gave the group something to protect and care for.