It was very late; at least by their normal bedtime standards. Their time-intense and physically draining schedule did not lend itself to unreasonably late nights very often, but they'd been gifted a rare day off tomorrow, and most of them had taken full advantage of the free evening and promised sleep in.
They'd eaten and showered and everyone was warm and relaxed, most of them lolling around the living room quietly. Namjoon and Yoongi had disappeared upstairs hours ago, excited for the chance to put the finishing touches on something they'd been working on for months in their limited free time. For all Jin knew, they'd both gone to bed.
Jungkook was sprawled out on the floor at the base of the staircase; Jin had expressed worry that the maknae might get trod on, but the youngest had insisted that the lighting was best there for his drawing and wouldn't be persuaded. The chance of him actually being stood on was minimal, Jin admitted, but he was keeping an eye on the staircase regardless. After all, Namjoon and probability didn't always correlate perfectly.
Jimin was also decked out on the floor, although he was more sensibly located in the centre of the living room, in front of the blackened TV screen. He'd been scrolling on his phone for the past hour, a small smile quirking his lips occasionally, so Jin was guessing that the brat had googled himself again.
The couch opposite had J-Hope reclined across it lengthways, meticulously burritoed by a blanket (Jin knew, he'd watched the ten-minute process three hours ago), head propped up on a pillow, laptop balanced precariously on his chest as he watched whatever drama had him absorbed that month, sound channelled through his headphones.
Taehyung had nestled himself into the 'V' of Hobi's burrito legs, his face half buried between J-Hope's side and the back of the couch. The youngster has been restless all evening. He'd been playing a game earlier, but for the last hour or so, he had just been somewhere between asleep and half-asleep, draped over various members.
As Jin watched, Tae moved yet again, for the fifth time in as many minutes- this time accidentally (Jin thought?) headbutting J-Hope in the side, unbalancing the laptop. J-hope whined as he wiggled to save the computer from toppling off the edge, again. Disgruntled, he dug at Taehyung with his feet until the younger was shoved off the couch (To Hobi's credit, it was a somewhat gentle-ish shove).
Jin grinned and snagged Tae's wrist as he stumbled past (before the brat could attempt to annoy Jungkook or Jimin. Again) and pulled him towards the couch he'd claimed as his own. Tae went willingly, slumping sideways on the cushions beside him, half draping himself over Jin, his head hanging off the couch, one arm dangling to the carpet.
It was so Taehyung that Jin just grinned and turned his attention back to the book in his lap.
Within seconds Tae was moving again, turning slightly toward Jin and shaking his head, bending one leg up behind the other. Restless. Fidgety. Like he had been all night; but up-close Jin realised that it wasn't just his usual boundless energy. It was more like Taehyung was uncomfortable, or unsettled.
The younger turned his head again, and in the beam of brighter light from the kitchen behind them, Jin thought he might be a little flushed. A small frown forming between his eyes, Jin reached out, brushing his fingers through soft hair, resting for a second on Taehyung's forehead. Tae turned into the touch and sighed a little, his eyes still closed. Smiling, Jin repeated the move; he didn't think the boy had a temperature, and he seemed to have settled again.
Perhaps it was just the late hour and the sheer level of exhaustion.
Jin turned back to his book.
A moment later and Taehyung moved again, agitated. It was accompanied by a small throat clearing cough, chased seconds later by a slightly more vigorous cough. Jin dropped his book again- "Tae? You okay?"
Taehyung blinked up at him, "Ye-yeah? Just swallowed the wrong way maybe- my throat is tickly. I'm going to get a drink." And he bodily rolled off the couch, flopping to the floor like a landed fish, before climbing to his feet and padding out of sight toward the kitchen.
Jin looked up, bemused and caught Hoseok's eye across the room. They both broke into chuckles.
On the floor, Jungkook looked up from his sketchbook- "What's funny?"
Jin just shook his head, "Tae being Tae. You nearly done for the night? It's getting pretty late."
Jungkook snorted a laugh at 'Tae being Tae', but nodded in answer to the question, replying, "Yeah- It's pretty much done." He paused, looking up almost shyly through his fringe, before adding "Would you like to see?"
Jin grinned as he nodded his definite agreement, saying, "Sure, I'd love to!" putting his book aside completely and patting the seat beside him. Kookie was usually quite private when it came to his artwork, and Jin could count on one hand the number of times their maknae had opened his sketchbook in front of others. He wasn't sure yet if it was his inerrant shyness, or just a personal preference, but Jin felt honoured by the offer. And he wasn't going to turn down an opportunity to praise.
And worthy of praise it was. "Wow…Kook-ah, just- wow. This is really, really good. It's fantastic! I didn't know you'd gotten this good." The youngest had always had an affinity for drawing, but Jin could tell he'd been practising- the image on the page below him was really, really well done- "It really looks alive- like it's about to fly away!"
"Thanks, Hyung." The smile he was bestowed was beautific; the maknae was almost preening under the praise. Jin couldn't help smiling back. Jungkook threw a covert glance to where J-hope was still absorbed by his show, and then looked back to ask in a whisper, "Do you think it's good enough for Hobi's birthday?"
"Wow, Jungkook-ah, He'll love it- It's gorgeous." Jin replied, closing the book and handing it back to a beaming Jungkook.
Jin was suddenly blindsided by momentary panic, sitting up straight to ask, "Hobi's birthday?!"
Jungkook grinned as he stood back up, tucking the book under his arm-, "Don't worry Hyung, it's okay, his birthday's not for months. It must be so hard getting old…memory loss and joint ache-"
"Aish, you brat! I'll show you old- just you wait until I get up. Old! Where are you going! Get back here!" Jin slowly got to his feet, much like a rickety old man would, to Jungkook's great amusement. The kid was still laughing when he fled up the stairs.
Shaking his head fondly, Jin stretched, looking across the room as noise suddenly spewed from J-hope laptop. The song played over the end credits for a second while the dancer wrapped his headphones around his phone, and then was cut off as he closed the browser and then the laptop itself.
"All done, Hobi? Any good?" Jin asked, gesturing to the laptop.
J-hope looked up from where he was unplugging the power cord, "No, I've still got an episode to go, but I kept falling asleep- I'll finish it early in the morning though- it's really good!"
Jin laughed, cutting him off before he got sucked into an in-depth 40-minute review of whatever show the younger man had been watching, "You'll have to tell me about it after you finish, huh? - But no spoilers!"
Blanket draped about his shoulders like a cape, laptop balanced carefully on his pillow as he started up the stair, J-hope called back down, muffled by the blanket held fast between teeth– "You've got it- First thing tomorrow, over breakfast Hyung!"
Jin laughed, replying "Sounds good. Night Hobi".
He was pretty sure the muffled reply was "Goodnight, Jin-Hyung!", but wouldn't have been willing to swear to it under oath.
In the centre of the room, Jimin was still sprawled out on his stomach on the floor, but his phone was dark in his lax hand, and his face was pressed into his crossed arms. Jin smiled fondly.
Pulling out his own phone, he dialled quickly, bringing it to his ear.
Across the room, Jimin's phone lit up, squawking the particularly obnoxious ringtone that Jungkook had managed to set on all their phones earlier in the week, but only Jimin had left alone.
Jimin shot upright, fumbling the phone as he tried to focus his bleary eyesight, swiping to answer, his face adorably confused as he noticed the caller id, "…Jin-Hyung?"
"Bedtime, Jiminie." Jin answered softly, laughing when the boy didn't seem to notice the strange echo in the room.
Jimin pulled the phone away from his ear, looking down at the screen "Huh? Wha-"
The laughter finally seemed to penetrate, and Jimin looked up and found where Jin was standing in the near shadow of the staircase. It only took him a second to piece it together, "Hyung! Don't tease…I'm sleeepy…", it was an all-out whine and Jin laughed harder, crossing the room to drag Jimin to his feet.
"Bedtime, Jiminie." he repeated, sending Jimin toward the stairs with a gentle swat to the seat of his shorts.
Jimin loped long-sufferingly up the stairs, as if the effort was almost too much for him, leaving Jin to chuckle to himself in the living room.
"Aish, too cute…" he murmured, moving to the common light switch by the front door, flipping each button until the lower floor was dark, with only the staircase light illuminating the few feet at the base.
Where Jungkook had left his pencils scattered across the carpet. Again.
With a sigh, Jin knelt and began to gather them up, knowing that the maknae would be upset if anything happened to them (Namjoon was likely to stumble down the stairs at some stage in the morning), despite it having been his own fault for having left them out to be wrecked.
He'd also left his water glass.
Jin was now imaging Namjoon trekking blood across the carpet after stepping on and breaking the damn thing. "Aish! This kid! I think we'll be having words in the morning, Jeon Jungkook!", he muttered to the empty room, swiping the glass up and padding into the darkened kitchen to put it in the sink.
The unexpected voice startled him so badly that the glass slipped from his fingers, struck the side of the sink, and bounced in, sounding like it somehow managed to stay in one piece.
"Kim Taehyung! That wasn't funny!" Jin exclaimed, startled irritation warring with forming anger, "That was really silly- It's dark, I could have fallen and been hurt! Don't you think!?"
From the darkness to the left, Taehyung's voice answered quietly, the whisper almost lost, even in the dead quiet of the night, "…I- Jin-"
Nothing followed. No explanation, no excuses, no apology.
Jin frowned. Something wasn't right.
The kitchen wasn't actually quiet; Jin just hadn't noticed, soft as it was.
The quiet low rasping sound, almost inaudible expect for a slight hitch now and then-
"Tae? Taehyung, is everything alright?" Jin asked, already hurrying to the light switch by the door, quickening his pace when no answer came, still speaking, "It's okay, I'm just going to get the light. I'm just-" He was just trying to not formulate scenarios in his mind. Terrible scenarios involving knives and running on slippery tiles. Or standing on unbalanced chairs to reach into too high cupboards-
The switch flicked beneath his hand and the room was illuminated with harsh artificial lighting, Jin spun back around-
Taehyung was curled into a little huddle against the base of the far bench, beside the sink, one arm wrapped tightly around updrawn legs, the other tucked between them and his body. His face was hidden against his knees, his hoarse breathing muffled by cloth and flesh.
"TaeTae…" Jin breathed, horrified. He hurried back across, crouching down, using the cupboard door beside Taehyung's shoulder for purchase.
"Tae? What's wrong? What hurts?" He asked quietly, his free hand carding into Taehyung's hair, noticing the damp sweatiness, the slight trembling.
"Taehyung? Look at me, -" Jin ordered, keeping his panic at bay with a firm hand, letting his need to help keep him steady.
Taehyung didn't so much look at him, but he didn't resist the gentle pressure that pushed his head upward-
His face was far too pale, except for the bright red flush that was painted across his cheeks and the bridge of his nose. His breath was louder, raspier, now that it wasn't muffled by his legs, and the dark eyes that met Jin's were wide open, clouded with fear and alarm, watery over lips that trembled, even where they were pinched tight between teeth.
"Oh Tae-baby-" Jin breathed, eyes quickly scanning, seeking blood or injury, but finding none. Taehyung pressed his hand to his chest as his breath hitched again, and his eyes welled as he chased that breath with another, even faster. Jin knew if he didn't do something soon, he'd have a Tae in tears (and Tae in tears was pretty much the worst thing ever).
"Not feeling too good, huh baby? Can you tell Hyung what's wrong?" he coaxed gently, brushing hair from Taehyung's eyes. He felt Taehyung relax slightly when his hand blocked the light.
Headache? Jin wondered. Migraine even? He didn't think Taehyung had ever had one, but he recognised certain symptoms from when Yoongi occasionally retreated to his dark bedroom.
Should he get Yoongi? Or Namjoon?
"-Hurts. Sick." Taehyung whispered between breaths, followed closely by an almost whimpered "Itchy…" a hand scrabbling weakly at his chest.
Jin had a sudden sinking suspicion.
He gently pulled the collar of the too-large pyjama shirt down (Jin was pretty sure Namjoon had been wearing it a few nights ago) and sighed when patches of blotchy, slightly raised skin were revealed.
And with it, mind numbing relief swept through him, because it meant he knew exactly what was happening and how to help Tae.
"TaeTae, I think you're having an allergic reaction to something-"
Taehyung's eyes widened with alarmed confusion, "-but…"
Jin picked up when his breath caught again, continuing, "I know- you're not allergic to anything. We'll have to get some tests done though, because apparently…" Jin gestured pointedly at the red welts that seemed to be crawling across Taehyungs chest before his very eyes.
Tae's eyes widened with horror when he noticed what Jin was pointing at.
Aish, stupid! The kid was already scared enough as it was. Just because Jin could now brush off a mild allergic reaction like it was a paper cut, didn't mean it wasn't scary for someone who had no familiarity with the feeling of their chest trying to turn inside out and their skin crawling away from itself.
Jin still remember the first time he'd had an allergic reaction.
It had been terrifying.
And Jin was pretty sure that was what was causing the scariest symptom, not the actual reaction.
Tae was half way to hyperventilating because of the complete unexpectedness of the reaction.
He hurried to reassure, "Hey. Hey! It's okay, it's okay! Breathe- That's it. Feel that? You can still breathe just fine. I know, I know- your chest feels tight, and your skin is hot and itchy and you feel awful overall- but you're not actually having trouble getting breath- that's just the panic."
Tae was watching him, listening, hanging on every word, and Jin realised- Taehyung was trusting him to fix this, to know how to make it better. To help him stop him being so scared of his body's awful reaction to whatever had caused this.
And Jin actually was. And it was effortless.
Jin had never thought he'd ever be thankful that he'd been born with a severe allergy to peanuts.
But just knowing the right things to say and do right now, when otherwise he might have had to watch on uselessly while Tae was so frightened he couldn't breathe properly, made him grateful.
He squeezed Tae's hands, drawing them away from where he was worrying at the blotchy skin at the base of his throat, continuing- "See? I've got you. This is okay- you're okay. You haven't got any swelling around you face or throat- it's a relatively mild reac-"
"Mild!" Tae broke in to exclaim, his voice indignant and insulted despite the raspy hitch at the end.
Jin had to laugh. Leave it to Tae to be offended that his allergic reaction wasn't bad enough to be considered severe. Feeling a lot calmer, now that he knew what was happening, Jin placated gently, "Aigoo, you brat! Relatively! I said relatively mild. I just meant that you don't seem to be going into full anaphylactic shock-", and thank small mercies for that, Jin thought with a shudder. He'd been there only a few times himself, but dreaded it with every fibre of his being…
Taehyung still didn't look overly convinced, and Jin felt for him- "Bet you still feel pretty awful though, don't you, TaeTae?"
As if reminded, Tae nodded miserably, rubbing at his chest again, eyes blinking tiredly against the light.
How was it possible for someone to be so adorably exasperating? Jin honestly wasn't sure he wanted to know.
Jin wasn't sure what to do next.
It wasn't bad enough to require an ambulance, and he didn't even think it was even really necessary to go to the hospital- they'd have to organise some tests in the next day or so, but the reaction was almost over, and Tae was just left with symptoms Jin could treat at home.
There was also the fact that a hospital visit would not stay quiet. It didn't matter how discrete they were, the media would inevitably get a hold of it and the fans would know and it would be social media chaos for the foreseeable future. It wasn't truly a problem, but the circus it created could be overwhelming.
But Tae might feel better going to a hospital; a first-time reaction is always really scary, and Jin would do whatever would make Taehyung most comfortable, whatever his choice.
Deliberating was getting him nowhere, so he asked, "How are you feeling now TaeTae? Do you want me to call someone? - They'd have you feeling better almost straight away at the hospital-"
Taehyung was already shaking his head, his breath catching in a way it hadn't for the past few minutes, "…Can I just- I'm- I don't want to go to the hospital by myself-"
Like Jin would have left him there alone.
But still, this was better.
"Well… I've got some medicine that should help with the itchiness? Do you want to try that instead? We can raid Yoongi-Hyung's sweets, I think he's got frozen cherry ice lollies, that'll feel good on your throat. Then a warm shower if you want, and some sleep? Does that sound good?" Jin offered instead, smiling when it was obvious that Taehyung had given up on computing what was being said as soon as he realised Jin meant stay.
I've got a read on this one, Jin thought affectionately, standing slowly and holding out a hand.
"How about we get you off the cold floor for starters?"
Taehyung just blinked up at him owlishly, and Jin snorted indulgently, "Okay, Taehyungie- just this once-" (lies! All lies, he knew.) He pulled Taehyung to his feet, noting with a concerned frown that the kid did seem unwarrantedly wobbly on his feet, swaying where he stood like a sapling in a strong breeze. But it was also very late- Tae was probably already legitimately exhausted, and his own allergic reactions completely sapped him of energy and left him lightheaded and shaky.
Still, better to carry him than the piggyback he'd been about to offer; Tae slipping while they were on the staircase would be a disaster. It would be a lot more effort this way, of course, but Jin was pretty sure he'd be fine so long as he had a good grip and Tae was still.
Besides, the tiny squeak of surprise when Jin carefully swept him up 'bridal-style' was more than worth it.
As they approached Jimin and Tae's room, Tae seemed to stir from his droop against Jin's shoulder, staring blearily at his door with a questioning look as they passed by. "Medicine, remember…" Jin reminded gently, although didn't touch on the fact that he could have just as easily dropped Tae off to bed and come back with the medicine…
He wondered if Tae would ask.
He knew the three youngest slept like they were playing a never-ending and very confusing game of musical beds. Namjoon often reported finding varying combinations of the three in differing numbers of beds (Jin himself had photos of all three scrunched up asleep in one bed- blackmail material. Adorable blackmail material).
The four oldest where usually exempt from such tomfoolery. Though, all four had, on occasion, been awoken during a surprise midnight invasion, for vary reasons (excuses).
Jimin usually snuck in with J-hope when Tae wouldn't turn off his video games. And Jungkook occasionally turned up beside Jin or Namjoon's bed after a rare nightmare, quiet and apologetic until he was inevitably pulled in for a hug. Both would seek out comfort from one or another of their Hyungs whenever they felt ill or worried.
Taehyung usually didn't.
Oh, he'd approach them when it was convenient for them, for advice or for comfort. It wasn't that he wouldn't confide in or didn't trust them; he just didn't seem to realise that when he was upset or needed comfort, or just wanted some hyung-time, it didn't matter what time it was or whether it was convenient; he was always welcome. More than that, they wanted him to come to them.
Taehyung had sleep-walked himself into Yoongi's bed one night before last Christmas, and while Jin knew for a fact that Yoongi hadn't been bothered to remove the brat, Tae himself had fled back to his own bed upon waking 20 or so minutes later with a garbled apology for entering the rappers personal space without permission.
If Jin had to hazard a guess, he'd pin it on Taehyungs inherent desire to please those he respected and cared about.
Oh, he was an annoying little twerp a lot of the time (the entire maknae line was), and seemed to reserve at least 90% of everyone else's 'personal-bubble' space as his own by default. But he was also incredibly sensitive and accommodating to all the members needs and desires, and seemed instinctively inclined to put them first. It was a kind and considerate attribute to have, but sometimes Jin just wished the boy would put himself first, especially when the inconvenience to anyone else was practically non-existent.
Like the negligible inconvenience of having to make some wriggle room in bed, lending an ear or a considered word or two. Maybe a hug. Occasionally put up with snuffling or snoring. Or an elbow in the side.
So, Jin hoped Tae would ask.
The door to his room was partially ajar, and Jin was glad that he hadn't had to work out the mechanics of that- Tae felt 10 times heavier than he had in the kitchen. He nudged the door open with his foot, padded quietly into the darkened room and set Tae down to sit carefully on the edge of his bed.
Kneeling, he asked quietly, "How are you doing, Tae? Think you'll be right to sit here for a minute while I go find my peanut kit?"
Before Taehyung could answer, a sleepy voice called from the bed on the far side of the room, "Jin? What's wrong?"
Namjoon. In J-hope's bed.
Jin shook his head; there was always a logical (by some definition of the word) explanation. "We're okay, right Taehyungie?"
Shuffling sounded from the other bed, and the sound of cotton sliding on cotton as Namjoon started to climb out of bed. A soft thump and a stumble followed shortly after, as he obviously tripped over his own feet in the dark.
Jin just sighed.
"Tae?" Namjoon asked questioningly, finding his way to their side and sitting next to Taehyung on Jin's bed, reaching out to flick on the bedside lamp, flooding the nearby area with soft golden light.
Jin, figuring that Tae was in good hands for the few second it would take to find his allergy medication, moved to the closet across the room and reaching up, he pulled the box down from on top, knowing exactly where what he needed was by touch. He noticed absently, that J-hope wasn't in J-hope's bed.
Logical explanation. He was sure.
He spoke over his shoulder as he dug through the box, "Tae's having a bit of an allergic reaction to something- so he's pretty miserable at the moment, aren't you TaeTae?"
Taehyung murmured "M'hmm." in response, listing forwards. He didn't seem to notice Namjoon's quick reflexes in play, an arm catching him about the shoulders and pulling him to the side to lean against the rapper instead.
"Well, that sucks, kiddo- You're in good hands though. Our Jin-Hyung is something of an expert when it comes to allergies." Namjoon had seen enough of Jin's reactions to know that it was no laughing matter.
Jin popped two of his antihistamine tablets and wandered back across the room, kneeling again in front of Taehyung. "Here, TaeTae, these will help with the hives and itching, and should make your chest feel better-" he pressed the tablets into Taehyungs hand, and watched as Tae stared down blankly.
Jin was about to ask if he needed help, when Tae looked up and croaked, "Water?"
Jin shook his head, he knew Tae took his tablets with water. Most of the group could dry swallow, but the few times Taehyung had tried, he'd nearly asphyxiated himself.
Before Jin could move to get a glass of water from downstairs, Namjoon was across the room and back, his water bottle pressed to Tae's lips, "Here, Taehyungie-"
A few seconds later the tablets were gone and the water bottle had been set on the bedside table, "Good boy- do you want anything else? A shower? Something warm to drink?" Jin asked, reaching up to still Taehyungs hand where it was scratching through his shirt.
Tae shook his head in the negative, seemingly having given up on finding the energy to speak or move, his eyes blinking slowly, steadily.
"Okay, how about we see if you can get some sleep then? That should help you feel better." Jin replied, standing. Generally, Jin found sleeping it off the absolute best remedy for a minor, isolated reaction. Tae should feel immeasurable better come morning.
Taehyung looked up at him, licking his lips and shooting sidelong glances at the door, Jin's bed and Jin himself.
It was so obvious it hurt.
It didn't really matter whether he asked or not; Jin wouldn't be letting this particular dongsaeng out of his sight tonight. For all that the reaction seemed to be fairly mild, the fact that they had no idea what had caused it, as well as absolutely no precedence for how Tae would handle the reaction made Jin wary. And allergic reactions were fickle and unpredictable at the best of times, worsening or returning with no warning. So, Taehyung was staying with him for the night.
But he wished Taehyung would just ask, because he wanted to.
Shooing Rap Monster back to J-hopes bed when it looked like the overprotective leader might also be thinking of staying 'where he could keep a closer eye' Jin turned back to move the moment along, so they could all finally get some sleep.
Technically Taehyung didn't ask, but slumping backwards onto Jin's bed and looking up with wide bambi eyes that pleaded not to make him leave was close enough for now, at least by Jin's standards.