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spring comes just as jungkook is dying.

 

the formerly bare trees are sprouting green leaves, new life forming itself on dry branches. this used to be yoongi and jungkook’s favourite season; it’s still jungkook’s favourite. yoongi prefers winter nowadays, as winter was when the cold turned jungkook all pink in the cheeks, warmer to yoongi’s touch. more alive than now.

 

cold air bites at jungkook’s skin as he basks in the glory of springtime, of blooming flowers, morning dew, and less harsh winds. he wonders distantly, if this is his last spring. he opens his eyes and wraps the blanket around himself a bit tighter.

 

yoongi watches from inside their home as the other watches the world go by. he basks in the presence of the other, of his mussed hair, soft tan skin, bunny teeth and ghosts of melodic laughter caught in his throat. yoongi tries to hear jungkook’s laugh in his head, but it isn’t quite the same; it is nothing but sounds that fill the space, no joy in it unlike before. he watches jungkook’s eyes flit to follow the path of a flock of birds.

 

yoongi can’t hear his laughter, and wishes he could, again. because this isn’t jungkook’s laughter; it’s more of white noise to yoongi.

 

-

 

“hyung,” jungkook had said before, when fall had just begun, “when i die in the future, don’t get another boyfriend okay?”

 

yoongi stops packing to look at jungkook, eyebrow raised. jungkook is sitting on the bed, clothes strewn everywhere but his suitcase. “girlfriend it is, then.” yoongi teases. the younger groans, walking over to yoongi as he continues packing and turns his back to jungkook.

 

“i’m serious, hyung.” jungkook says.

 

“okay. got it, no boyfriend nor girlfriend when i’m 80.”

 

“you never know,” jungkook huffs, hugging yoongi from behind. protectively, almost. “you still might have some spice left in you when you’re 80.”

 

yoongi scoffs and leans into the embrace. he reaches up to rub underneath jungkook’s chin the way he likes, and feels the other sigh, slumping over a little. “hmm. maybe i’ll let other people court me this time,” yoongi says. jungkook only whines, despite leaning his head further towards yoongi’s hand.

 

“nooo, you can’t.” jungkook whines.

 

“but i’ve already courted you before? i wanna know what it’s like, too, y’know.”

 

jungkook pauses, and so does yoongi’s hand. they both look at each other, heads turned the slightest and they’re all too close suddenly. then, “then i’ll court you now. so you have no excuse to date anyone else.” jungkook says it in the most serious tone that yoongi has to laugh. he cradles jungkook’s face with the hand that was rubbing his chin and brings him close.

 

“oh man,” yoongi whispers once his laughter has died down, traces jungkook’s cheekbone with a finger and, “you really think i’d love anyone after you?” jungkook visibly flushes at this, frown faltering to a blush before he recovers.

 

he’s most vulnerable when yoongi’s honest like this, even though he’s very aware of the elder’s feelings; it’s just that, when he verbalizes them, it’s when jungkook least expects it, so he’s left to choke on words he meant to say and god dammit min yoongi i was mad at you where was i going with this.

 

“i don’t know, maybe you’ll get tired of my wrinkly ass in the future.” jungkook shrugs. yoongi continues tracing his cheekbone, and looks at his eyes – they’re big and black and uncertain, yoongi wants to know for what. but there’s an almost physical fear in his eyes that yoongi sees and is intimidated by. the air is still light with humor, but yoongi can feel the underlying tension that spurred the conversation in the first place. he can see it too; almost like it’s taking up a physical form.

 

“hey.”

 

it’s starting to get colder in seoul, but jungkook is warm as ever; he’s always been warmer than yoongi is. their hands find their way to each other, intertwining softly and naturally, as everything always is between the two of them.

 

jungkook looks up at yoongi and sighs, foreheads touching. yoongi belatedly realizes they’re slightly swaying; it’s strangely comforting.

 

“i’ll only ever love you. don’t forget that.” yoongi says, and he swears he sees the fear grow in jungkook’s eyes, in the quiver of his lip and the twitch of his fingers in yoongi’s own.

 

jungkook’s breath comes out shaky on yoongi’s mouth. says, “i won’t,” before he’s kissing yoongi.

 

because he won’t forget yoongi’s love. the world could strip jungkook of everything, but he’ll always feel it, somehow. there are some things the heart can’t forget even if the mind does, and this is one of them. he could forget how yoongi kisses him slowly, sometimes eagerly, but never in a hurry to pull away. he could forget how yoongi touches him where he likes, holds him in all the right places, but never the affection behind them.

 

he could forget yoongi’s face, but never how yoongi loved him.

 

they pull away, and yoongi sees something else in jungkook’s eyes when they open. he hopes he’s right to see contentment.

 

-

 

the rain is oddly awful on a spring day, pelting against the windows with winds howling nonstop. it seems the weather of spring follows jungkook’s moods, too.

 

the two are on the couch, a thick blanket carelessly thrown over them as they watch movies together. jungkook’s feet are cold, so yoongi brushes them with his, hoping they’re warm. it seems they are when jungkook looks up at him and gives a smile then says, “thank you hyung.” if there’s one thing yoongi is grateful for, at least, is that jungkook’s sickness hasn’t dulled his smile. it still comes every so often as it used to be, and genuine as it always was.

 

-

 

weeks have passed since spring began. jungkook can’t stand anymore. not without his wails of, hurts, hyung, hurts everywhere i don’t wanna, though he denies them afterwards and carries on with the same smile as if nothing happened.

 

yoongi does the same.

 

(even when he watches jungkook fall on his knees one time after trying to stand up by himself again. he calls out, “kook?” but the younger only trembles before his gaze is on yoongi, head facing up from where he’s seated on the floor. even when he gives the same, warm smile that opposes his bruised knees and paralyzed legs— despite all of it and despite himself, yoongi returns the smile.)

 

(it never reaches his eyes.)

 

-

 

jungkook asks, one day, “why don’t you smile anymore, hyung?” because he’s always been observant. not that yoongi was ever trying to hide it, though.

 

“i do smile.” yoongi replies, and fixes jungkook’s parka. he’s getting thinner, which means he’s more sensitive to changes in temperature; hence, more layers. yoongi finishes up and looks at jungkook, who’s already looking back at him. expectant. so he pulls his lips up into a smile. it probably looks so stupid, because jungkook laughs.

 

for the first time in a long time, it doesn’t feel empty, and yoongi is nothing but relieved. he finds himself smiling too when jungkook’s expression slowly changes from neutral to giddy. then, yoongi recalls, glee.

 

he thinks it’s because the day started with tall, yellow sunflowers greeting them both in their garden. but yoongi’s sure that today is easily the most beautiful day of spring.

 

-

 

Chapter Text

jungkook knows taehyung hadn’t done it on purpose; sometimes, people say things in the heat of the moment when emotions are at its peak, and rationality at its lowest.

sometimes, people say things.

but jungkook can’t help it if he’s a little too sensitive, a little too jumpy, a little too sad and a little too self-pitying, so excuse him if a comment that attacked his person made him walk out of the shared apartment as a result of a split second decision. because sometimes, some people don’t know how to say things so they do something else. jungkook’s thing just so happens to be running away.

but to jungkook, what he does isn’t really running away; in fact, he considers it going back home. but if running away is what you call it, then so be it. jungkook doesn’t mind too much about what others think about his home.

he finds himself in front of a small, fenced house, his feet finding the place with ease. the house is dark as usual, empty, but never really. the wind blows hard enough to swing the wooden gate open, tells him to go inside, to make yourself at home, this is home, this is home. and he lets himself believe it because it’s true - it’s home, it’s always been home.

jungkook walks over to the piano in the living room, right next to the window where it’s always been. the keys are dusty from disuse; he winces slightly when his fingers are completely covered in grey as he touches them.

“sorry, i forgot to cover it last night.” a voice says from behind him. jungkook doesn’t flinch or jump in surprise like he would have any other time. instead, he lets his shoulders sag in relief. contentment. the space beside him on the chair sinks as pale hands touch his tanner ones on the piano.

jungkook dusts the piano keys. sighs and says, “you’re so irresponsible, really.”

the boy beside him chuckles. jungkook finds himself smiling too. “mm, you love it though.”

and he didn’t mean to say it, but naturally, jungkook replies, “yeah, yoongi, i do.”

a silence blankets them, until yoongi starts to play a tune. reverie by debussy, jungkook thinks vaguely. it’s one of his favourites. of course yoongi knows - he always has.

“so what did taehyung do this time?” yoongi asks, still transfixed on the piece he’s playing.

jungkook sort of hates and loves how he always seems to know what’s going through his mind: loves it, because he doesn’t need to talk and hates it, because yoongi always says what he wants to say, and sometimes better than he ever could. and often times, he says things that jungkook doesn’t even realize himself until yoongi verbalizes it. it frustrates him sometimes.

“nothing,” jungkook lies. he replaces yoongi’s left hand and plays the left hand of the piece for him. yoongi steps on a pedal.

“when i used to do nothing, you’d push me off the bed, not walk out on me,” yoongi points out.

“taehyung isn’t you, hyung.” jungkook says quietly, “that’s the problem.”

the piece has ended and jungkook barely registers that it has. he wants to hear the piece again, bring him back, back when he was with yoongi; a reverie of happier days, of playing the piano with the sun on their fingertips and love in their eyes and in their smiles. all now part of jungkook’s reverie.

“he isn’t me,” yoongi agrees, “but that’s only fitting. wouldn’t it be scary if he was exactly like me?” he fits their hands together, the tips of jungkook’s fingers covered in dust while yoongi’s were clean, reminding him - reminding both of them - of where they stand now.

jungkook looks up at yoongi and sees the elder smiling fondly at him. he feels his heart clench as he lays his head on yoongi’s shoulder. “i guess,” he sighs.

“you guess,” yoongi repeats, and runs his hands through jungkook’s soft hair. tugs on the ends a little, like how he knows he likes it. he leans in to the touch that feels warmer than it should be and nods.

yoongi presses a kiss to the top of his head. “don’t fall asleep here, kook,” yoongi says lightheartedly, “you know i won’t be here soon, so you’ll fall on the floor.”

it only serves to make jungkook’s fist tighten in yoongi’s shirt.

“yoongi-hyung, i wanna be home with you.” he says. he’s trembling, but he can’t find it in himself to care anymore. he just wants to be with yoongi again, to sleep under the same covers, stay up at ungodly hours of the night to watch anime, wake up to kisses pressed onto his eyelids and a litany of good morning’s on his lips, but —

those days are long gone.

and they both know it; yoongi just chooses to ignore it. jungkook, however, notices everything. he’s much too hurt to miss the pain that stings every time. it’s like the wound gets deeper and deeper the more time passes by; isn’t it supposed to be the other way around?

yoongi tries, “you can go home, to taehyung — ”

jungkook shakes his head. says, “taehyung isn’t home. not like you were.”

at this, yoongi is silent, so jungkook continues. “i can’t love taehyung the way i loved you, hyung. and it’s unfair - it’s unfair to him because i still love you. and it’s —” jungkook chokes on his tears but continues, “it’s hard, because every time i try, i can’t forget you. it’s always, always you.”

jungkook looks up at yoongi slowly. their faces are close, yet they’ve never felt so out of reach. jungkook’s nose is touching yoongi’s cheek and his eyes are boring into yoongi’s dark ones. he swears he sees stardust in them, at least a little. at this point, he’s sure he’s hallucinating, but jungkook would take a hallucination over nothing.

“you can always find your home here,” yoongi whispers, breathes coldly onto jungkook’s lips, “always.”

and jungkook hears it, because he always has, because he and yoongi seem to always get one another. just like that. jungkook hears what the silence says better than words ever could. he hears yoongi say, i love you, hears i’m sorry, and he hears i miss you, i miss being the only one loving you.

jungkook and yoongi meet halfway to try and kiss the pain away.

but while jungkook leans forward and meets air, yoongi leans forward and disappears. jungkook tries not to shake as the sun sets and the space beside him is suddenly empty again. tries not to think about how the keys on the piano are dull and dusty once more, and how the bed is still unmade from when yoongi last slept in it years ago. jungkook tries not to cry when he plays the left side of reverie, when he realizes he can’t play the other half of the piece, the melody – because he doesn’t know it and there isn’t another half to play it. he’s lost the other half in the dust.

when jungkook goes back to taehyung, he tries not to think about how the ghost of the small house isn’t really yoongi; rather, the ghost of yoongi and jungkook. but home is home, and jungkook must always come back to it. even when there’s no one to come home to. at least, not anymore.

Chapter Text

there’s a pattern that yoongi notices whenever he wakes up:

 

it’s that in the early hours of morning, when it’s still too dark for a sliver of light to make its way between the curtains, there is a mess of jungkook and yoongi in the bed. not the rumpled sheets, the clothes scattered about, wrappers that yoongi discreetly (but apparently not discreetly enough because jungkook knows about them anyway) (yoongi denies the accusation every time and jungkook has given up) pitches under the bed, nor the stains on their bodies that they never bothered to wipe off from the night before. these are not what yoongi wakes up for.

 

it’s jungkook’s limbs strewn across the bed, one hand clinging onto some part of yoongi’s body and legs sometimes crossed, sometimes twisted in some way that yoongi didn’t even think was possible

 

jungkook’s other arm is atop his own torso sometimes. other times it’s over his eyes, still covering a blush that seems to be ever present long after he’s gone down from his high the night before or a few hours prior this. this being: the calm before the mess.

 

yoongi stifles a laugh whenever he reaches over, makes some silly hairstyle with a middle parting that jungkook would never let him do awake.

 

he smiles whenever jungkook scrunches his nose in his sleep or lets out a soft snore - something he’ll never admit to doing because he does not snore; later he’ll say it’s probably yoongi just hearing himself in his sleep and yoongi just laughs at this and the way jungkook raises his chin in defiance.

 

he sighs, almost dreamily like he took a breath of fresh air, whenever he wakes up in the darkness and sees - feels - jungkook’s body move over to yoongi’s side of the bed, legs curling up under himself, ankle around one of yoongi’s as if to anchor himself. his hands, they clutch yoongi’s shirt tightly at first, then yoongi watches as the hold becomes gentle, fists uncurling the slightest bit. when jungkook, still asleep, decides he’s settled, his breathing evens out and the crease that’s formed between his eyebrows is gone.

 

yoongi slings an arm over jungkook’s waist, fingers lightly sliding along his bare skin. he watches as jungkook shuffles closer to him sometimes, when asleep jungkook decides he’s not close enough, and yoongi takes the initiative to pull the younger towards him until his head rests on yoongi’s chest or his shoulder where every puff of breath can be felt against his skin. sometimes he lets their foreheads touch, watches jungkook contentedly until he falls asleep.

 

jungkook, he’s a morning person, much unlike yoongi. when the sun rises so does jungkook, which usually leaves yoongi waking up alone and sure - breakfast in bed is a sweet thing for jungkook to do. but he’d much rather have his boyfriend cuddle with him thank you very much.

 

but because of this, because of jungkook’s morning routines, yoongi is more grateful for the moments so few and far between that he gets to see the other - in the mess that he sees themselves in at dusk.

 

so yoongi doesn’t think about how jungkook will wake up soon, how he’ll leave the bed to, “start your day right, hyung!” to which yoongi will just grumble in reply. instead, he presses kisses on jungkook’s forehead, his cheeks, his nose that twitches in response, and other times, he leaves a kiss onto each of his knuckles, lets his lips drag themselves across skin.

 

before yoongi falls asleep like this - in their mess - when a single ray of light makes the sunrise known, yoongi leans forward and whispers, “i love you,” then falls asleep easily.

 

when he starts dreaming and the sun is beginning to rise, jungkook opens his eyes and smiles, tucks himself into yoongi a bit further and says, “i love you,” to start his day right.

 

he lets himself linger for a while then, in the only kind of mess he’d ever allow. not the sheets, not the wrappers, nor the dried stains on their bodies.

Chapter Text

chapter 18: the cardiovascular system, jungkook reads on and flips a page. there’s the low, steady whirring of the washing machine he’s sitting on, crossed ankles swinging back and forth.

 

a ping comes from the far end of the room where an old lady has dozed off waiting for her laundry to finish. jungkook dog-ears the page he’s on and hops off the machine to walk over to her. he calls out a soft, “ahjumma,” but she only continues snoring, so jungkook decides to take out her laundry himself. it’s not something he hasn’t done before, anyway. he takes out her laundry and folds them neatly in her basket which he settles in front of her for when she wakes up. for now, he picks up his book again and resumes his spot on top of the washing machine.

 

it’s always quiet at this hour, what with the secluded and hidden nature of the laundromat, and it’s something that jungkook appreciates. the place isn’t perfect; the storekeeper, seulgi, is always in the pantry probably on her phone, and she’s only by the register when the manager swings by or when her girlfriend irene comes to pick her up. the machines are ancient, too. every 5 minutes, jungkook has to kick the rickety old thing otherwise the setting changes. (if there’s anything else he got out of the mishap that happened the first time, it’s that he ’s gotten  four white shirts less and four new blue ones in his wardrobe.)

 

it’s also at this hour that the usual two becomes three and the power gets cut off to save electricity too, leaving only one row of operating machines.

 

the doorchime breaks the silence for a second. heavy boots trudge to the space beside jungkook, who only turns the page. the myocardium (or heart muscle) sends electrical impulses through the fibers of the atria and ventricles to contract -

 

the same routine happens: jungkook studies, the old lady starts to wake up, seulgi plays some obscure indie song in the back, jungkook kicks the machine so his whites stay white, the man beside him brings in red-stained clothes to bring them out white later on.

 

it’s what always happens on his designated laundry days - wednesdays and sundays - jungkook’s ‘laundry neighbor’ as he’s come to call him in his head, never fails to bring in blood-stained clothes every time. though his clothes are ruined as they are, his face is never as bloodied. it’s actually -

 

(jungkook wouldn’t say pretty, but. he has to.)

 

(because it is. too pretty, if he’s being honest.)

 

his face is clean, neither dirt nor sweat marrs his pale skin. jungkook wonders if this man’s in some sort of messed up business of cleaning up after the mafia, or a hitman, or some kind of killer he works for. or worse, if he is the killer himself.

 

but there’s a gut feeling, one that stems deeply inside jungkook that says, no, and he has to shake his head in real life, too, this guy isn’t a killer. so he tells himself whenever the door chimes four past ten, the mafia’s laundry boy has arrived.

 

they never talk, mostly because jungkook’s always on his book and consequently, he never gets to learn the other’s name. his curiosity eats at him, the way it always does when his essay gets an a minus instead of the a plus he thinks he so rightly deserves, when there’s an unexplained phenomenon that science has yet to prove; his curiosity makes him bite his lip so he doesn’t ask, “what’s your name?” aloud. no one wants to be associated with someone who brings in bloody laundry twice every week, after all.

 

as for the other man, well, jungkook senses that he’s not much of a talker, either, so they sit in silence every laundry day - or night, rather - for two months.

 

snoring also gradually turns into grumbling. the old lady shuffles around to open her bag then shoves in her folded laundry (courtesy of jungkook). she pulls up the cart handle and rolls it behind her as she leaves, remembering to pass by jungkook to hand him five thousand won.

 

“ahjumma,” jungkook says, “i think you gave me too much. this is too much for laundry.” the lady shakes her head and smiles up at him. she pats his hand with the money in it.

 

“for your laundry and a meal,” she says, “you’ve been looking too thin nowadays. don’t study too hard, boy.” jungkook flushes and bashfully mumbles out a thanks before she leaves. he pockets the money, raises his book to his face again and reads on.

 

chapter 18.4: complications of the heart. the routine falls back into place again, the laundromat filled with the sound of two machines whirring and water filling up the other washer.

 

“why’re you always reading, kid.”

 

the man speaks up suddenly, and only then does jungkook realize he’s never actually heard his voice. he startles slightly, does a little jump on the machine and it does a good alternative to kicking because the machine gives a low hum, almost pleased if jungkook listens closer. he looks up and laundry boy is looking forward, eyes focused on the tumble of his clothes in the machine.

 

“i - ” he stutters, the way he always does when he’s put on the spot and he hates that, hates being the focus of even one person’s attention like that - like this. “i’m - i’m a m-med student. i have t-to.”

 

and the man, he tears his gaze away from his clothes and settles on jungkook this time. his lips are cast downward in a natural pout, eyebrows furrowed together. “huh,” he clicks his tongue, eyes running up and down jungkook’s figure. “that so? you look young for a med student.”

 

jungkook can only think, stranger danger stranger danger stranger danger - jimin’s voice pops up in his mind, says, the strongest part of your body is your elbow. use it to defend yourself. if you can’t use your elbow to hit, dig into the eyes with them thumbs. but laundry boy looks at him expectantly and he thinks if he’s going to get attacked, he might as well stall and give himself a small pep talk so he’s ready before it happens.

“i took… i took advanced classes. i’m twenty-two,” jungkook’s eyes widen at what he just said and he scolds himself because, why did he just say that to some stranger who brings in clothes full of blood every week? he talks himself into being more careful next time, tells himself he has to. thinks about how it could be his blood being washed off those clothes next week.

 

laundry boy raises his eyebrows at this, clearly impressed; jungkook is convinced it’s a tactic to get his trust. “twenty-two? woah. i feel like you’ve accomplished more than i have at this age.”

 

well. that piques jungkook’s interest. (read: never-ending curiosity.)

 

“what… is your age?” jungkook asks slowly, treads carefully, “hyung.”

 

the other snorts, “twenty-six.” then, “kick.” when jungkook doesn’t respond, he motions to the machine underneath him with a jerk of his head. “kick.”

 

it registers in jungkook’s head when he looks down and says, “oh,” and hits the old thing with the heel of his shoe. “thanks,” he mutters shyly. laundry boy shrugs and goes back to staring at his own laundry again.

 

“i’m yoongi, by the way,” he introduces himself, as if he sensed the question that was itching on the tip of jungkook’s tongue. “min yoongi.” he doesn’t know why, but he feels a sense of ease wash over him, as if knowing laundry boy’s - yoongi’s - name reassures him that if something happens to him, well, he’s got the guy’s name at least. and to take extra safety measures, he refrains from giving his own name -

 

“jungkook, right? jeon jungkook.”

 

oh.

 

jungkook’s pretty sure his myocardium is sending more signals to his atria and ventricles to contract, if the rate his heart is beating at is anything to go by.

 

“h-how do you - how do you know m-my name…?” he stutters, because there’s an image in jungkook’s mind that he can’t get out: he sees it, sees his name in the headlines (‘local med student found dead in an alley’), sees the batch that yoongi loads this coming sunday, with jungkook’s blood all over it - oh, gods. he thinks back to the time he complained while studying for an exam; be careful what you wish for.

 

above the erratic pace of his heartbeat, jungkook hears yoongi scoff, arms crossed in front of his chest, “well how could i miss your name when  it’s  sharpied onto your underwear in black, jungkook-ssi?”

 

never mind, jungkook takes it back. he wants the ground to swallow him up now, take him whole. body and soul and - memories, too. at this point, he doesn’t know if he’ll die because of min yoongi first, or from embarrassment. he feels his face warm up, heat creeping up his neck to his cheeks. jungkook opts to bury his face in his book instead, though he fails to comprehend the words on the pages.

 

it does nothing to quell his flustered state, either, when he hears yoongi laugh heartily at the expense of jungkook’s embarrassment.

Chapter Text

jungkook constantly shows up at yoongi’s door on tuesdays and fridays in his free time. sometimes they talk, sometimes jungkook asks yoongi to come with him to buy medicine. mostly, they’re silent; watching tv together - but not together , yoongi clarifies to no one but himself. just, together. - yoongi making ramen while jungkook is sprawled on his couch, always together but never touching.

 

and always careful, always always careful.

 

because after all these years, after mastering witchcraft and the gift bestowed upon him -

 

yoongi is still afraid.

 

jungkook looks up from where he dangles off the side of the couch and yoongi jumps, surprised that he got caught staring. an apology is on its way when the other speaks up first.

 

“hyung, your pot is boiling.” yoongi looks down and, shit, it is . it’s overflowed and spilled on the kitchen counter and when yoongi tries to turn off the stove, some of the hot water drips onto his hand so he flinches out of instinct. then -

 

then, jungkook is laughing, a melodic sound that started with a snort, then a snicker to what it is now. his head is thrown back against the cushion of the couch and his hands cover his mouth; and his eyes - they’re closed tight, scrunching up at the sides just the tiniest bit. his laugh is loud, but it’s the best damn thing yoongi’s heard. on anyone else it would have raised an eyebrow for yoongi, but. it’s jungkook. his jungkook, the one who stayed with him in his hiding spot in the rain all those years ago.

 

it’s over too soon, and jungkook’s eyes are now open, but yoongi doesn’t look away. even upside down, jungkook’s eyes almost sparkle. in a way that yoongi is sure he’s only hallucinating.

 

jungkook sits up, a bit more concerned now after seeing that yoongi wasn’t finding as much humor in the situation as he was. his eyebrows turn down into a frown and yoongi suddenly thinks he never wants to have to see him wear that. “hyung? is everything okay?” and it’s not - yoongi is not okay. he can’t be, not with the way jungkook’s head is tilted to the side just a little, the way his sweater - yoongi’s, actually - is too big for him on the shoulders, and how his lips look plush, soft, and how would they feel against yoongi’s lips?

 

min yoongi is a lightheaded mess.

 

“kook-ah,” yoongi pauses, “let’s make friendship bracelets.”

 

he doesn’t say, “i’m sorry for leaving you,” nor, “i miss you.” but he means both those things by saying that. he can only hope that jungkook feels it, too. the boy only gives him a smile, almost knowing.

 

five minutes into bracelet making, jungkook finishes all the ramen and some of yoongi’s, and continues braiding the threads. yoongi looks over at what he’s doing, still unsure as to whether his own is okay or not because he could be doing it right; it’s just that jungkook’s is much better (which is so often the case), when he sees a short noodle strand caught somewhere on his top lip and under his nose. yoongi chuckles, while jungkook frowns.

 

“sorry, you just - ” yoongi leans over just that bit, swipes his thumb over the noodle and jungkook follows the movement - “noodle.” he shrugs, and if jungkook squints, he thinks he can see a slight flush forming on yoongi’s ears. he doesn’t doubt that his own blush has already spread to his whole face - down to his chest, probably.

 

and he sure doesn’t doubt it when yoongi sticks part of his thumb inside his mouth to eat the stray noodle while he stares at jungkook.

 

they’re moving closer now, getting brave enough to shift their legs together, but still anxious enough to be torn between keeping their hands to themselves or - touching.

 

neither of them pull away when their noses hit each other’s cheek, and jungkook doesn’t flinch when yoongi reaches up a hand timidly to slide it back and forth across his jaw. jungkook is all puffs of air on his mouth, and he wants so badly to have more . but the boy is shy, so it’s a surprise when he says - asks,

 

“kiss me, hyung.”

 

and it’s another surprise when yoongi does.

 

it’s a soft mesh of lips together, shy, like a kiss of lovers who have known each other for years because maybe it is.

 

yoongi tries to lick at jungkook’s lip and they part easily, their heads turning to make the slide easier and closer - impossibly closer. yoongi hums; jungkook pulls away for a split second to breathe and yoongi watches him before their mouths are connected and moving against each other again. jungkook is so lost in the moment, in the kiss, in the feeling of yoongi’s mouth against his - finally finally - hands balling yoongi’s shirt that he doesn’t open his eyes even until they break apart and yoongi touches their foreheads together. he holds jungkook by his nape, the other hand on his hip. they pant together, and then they laugh half out of relief and half out of exhaustion, but maybe more of the former.

 

“kissing is tiring, hyung,” jungkook all but whines, then rests his head on the elder’s neck. yoongi laughs softly, his other hand going up to reach behind jungkook, to stroke his back the way he used to before when they were kids - it seems not much has changed. well - except for the kissing, of course.

 

so they kiss a for little while more, kissing until at one point yoongi has jungkook panting soft breaths underneath him and jungkook is sitting on yoongi’s lap with hands wandering farther than they should. yoongi pulls away, and he looks at jungkook, really looks at him.

 

he’s still scared - unbearably so. he has more control over his powers now, to the point where he doesn’t have to worry about accidentally setting his house on fire while he’s asleep and dreaming about dragons.

 

there are still moments when it comes back to him, when he remembers what kind of person he is and what danger he poses to society, no matter how controlled his powers may be. yoongi is afraid of the moment something might - will - happen to jungkook, of the moment it’ll take just a slip of the hand for jungkook’s demise to be caused by him.

 

but when jungkook kisses him, soft and slow, then desperately as if to say, i’m going to stay, and i’ll be alright. you’ll be alright , who is yoongi to argue? he believes that things will be alright because jungkook says so - how could it not be?

 

jungkook looks at him like this, pupils blown wide and dark, looking for all the world much, much content to be sitting in his hyung’s lap if the wide bunny smile is anything to go by -

 

“so,” jungkook drawls, poking yoongi’s nose with his own, “my friendship bracelet looks better than yours.”

 

yoongi pinches him and he lets out a half-squeal, half-giggle. “show off.” he scoffs, but it seems tepid when he kisses jungkook again.

Chapter Text

click!

 

there’s a question on the tip of yoongi’s tongue, but he sees jungkook with a peace sign held behind his head and all, and it’s immediately answered.

 

he watches jungkook through the doorframe of their bedroom from the kitchen with a towel in one hand and a mug in the other, and smiles fondly as jungkook rests his chin on upturned hands. it seems jungkook is as amused with himself as yoongi is with him when he chuckles at the screen.

 

yoongi leaves the mug inside a drawer that he’s sure is the wrong one, for which he’s also sure jungkook will later scold him (non threateningly). but he strides over to their bedroom, view and mind and heart full of jungkook.

 

the other doesn’t acknowledge yoongi’s presence until a flash projects on his face, drops the v shape from his chin and loses his wink. jungkook looks up, then, to where yoongi rests against the doorframe, eyebrows slightly raised and grinning at him. his smile grows wider when he says, “let’s take pictures, hyung,” eyes scrunching at the sides, and who was yoongi to deny him of anything.

 

so he takes his place beside jungkook on the bed, gaze travelling over previews of countless pictures that the younger had already taken. he sees one with what looks like birds around his head, some wherein jungkook’s head is enlarged, one where he crosses his eyes, among other silly, silly poses.

 

(he points at one with hearts around jungkook’s head and says, “that’s what you look like when you see me.”

 

jungkook pouts, but says nothing to argue.)

 

“you that bored?” yoongi asks while jungkook situates the laptop a bit farther in between them to get both of them in the frame. when he does, the filter scrunches yoongi’s face by the nose and jungkook snorts.

 

“i was supposed to take a picture for my profile on skype. i still haven’t transferred all my files from my old laptop, so,” jungkook shrugs, smile unwavering. “hyung, smile!”

 

they take a picture, and another, and then they take more pictures with other filters. sometimes yoongi does a certain pose that angles his head in the most obscure way and jungkook laughs into his hands, or sometimes breathes it into yoongi’s shoulder. by now, yoongi thinks they’ve taken too many pictures, but jungkook insists to try this one - oh, no, wait, this one! and when he pulls more soft peals of laughter from the other, he decides it’s not too bad, taking this many.

 

after a few dramatic poses with a rollercoaster background, yoongi chooses the black and white filter on his turn to pick, to which jungkook whines ( it’s just not as funny , he’d shrugged when yoongi suggested it earlier).

 

“just let me have this,” yoongi all but grumbles, which earns him a poke to the side as jungkook moves closer to rest his cheek on the elder’s shoulder.

 

“okay, old man.” there’s little time to sport a frown with a second left on the timer, but yoongi does it anyway.

 

in the photo: jungkook beams up at yoongi, nose brushing the latter’s chin; the last second frown is evident on yoongi’s face as he looks down at jungkook, but is far from upset, and closer to fond.

 

jungkook giggles softly with his eyes closed, and yoongi commits the image, the sound, the feeling all to memory. he presses the camera button again anyway. jungkook turns to press his cheek where it was before again.

 

three, two, one -

 

in the last second, the camera sees this: yoongi’s arm tight around jungkook’s waist, neck craned as he presses a kiss onto the crown of jungkook’s head, and blurry take of jungkook’s peace sign alongside his wide smile.

 

what yoongi remembers is: his heart feeling impossibly fuller - again, sighing into jungkook’s hair, the other’s pose faltering as he’d turned red red red from his cheeks to his neck and consequently hiding his face in yoongi’s chest.

Chapter Text

blooming as the sun sets. as the moon approaches. the petals part in the soft, quiet hours of the night.

 

it blooms slowly; it’s hidden away.

 

-

 

yoongi has a sixth sense - he knows when he’s being watched.

 

it takes a while for him to figure it out, the haze of tiredness slipping inside his mind; but he sees it. sees him. his eyes scan over the room, eyelids nearly shut yet so alert, and sees, somewhere in the far corner of the room: standing by jimin’s side, bottle being tossed from one hand to the other, jungkook’s looking right at yoongi, staring just a little.

 

yoongi’s used to these kinds of things, as the younger members’ gazes always tend to wander, knowing it’d make yoongi shift a little in place, force him to give them his attention when it goes on too long.

 

but jungkook’s got a more subdued stare in place of the one that always teases, the one that wants to make yoongi uncomfortable enough to ask, what do you want? in a voice that yoongi always means to sound the least bit irritated, but ends up a little more fond.

 

(at least it is, for jungkook.)

 

yoongi knows jungkook wants something when his eyes travel elsewhere after figuring out he’s been caught staring. not that he minds; he won’t ask first, but yoongi has always been one of the more patient ones among them.

 

-

 

“hyung, can you help me write a song?”

 

it turns out he’s right; jungkook had knocked shortly before opening the door to his studio a few hours later.

 

he’s got his hands curled then opened then curled again now, over and over until yoongi sees him scratching at the skin, he way he’s always told jungkook not to do. he’s never listened before, and yoongi thinks he won’t listen now.

 

his gaze settles on jungkook again, whose hands have stilled now and swing at his sides. there are a lot of things he wants to say, but yoongi’s never really been good at saying them - there’s been far too many of those these days, he thinks.

 

but as with most other things, he pushes this to the back of his mind and asks, “have you got anything in mind?” he has half a mind to turn his chair toward his computer after just beginning to ask the question, knowing the kind of soft, crooked smile that jungkook already wears.

 

jungkook doesn’t have to ask if he can come in; yoongi lets him, anyway.

 

-

 

namjoon brings it up first (predictably), in a tone that tries to pass off as anything but curious (as usual), and fails to fool yoongi (every time).

 

he can’t blame him; there’s always something to be said when your roommate bursts through your door past one a.m., looking like he’s just done a triathlon yet diving headfirst into his sheets without so much as a goodnight uttered.

 

“so… how was your evening?” it seems like this time around, namjoon’s either just given up on the nonchalant façade entirely or gotten bad at acting. yoongi rides along nonetheless.

 

“fine,” yoongi says, lifting his cup to sip at the coffee. namjoon hums in reply. “if you’re looking for answers, you should know i’m not giving you any.”

 

he hears a huff before namjoon leaves, a hint of a slump in his shoulders as he does. yoongi looks over at the set and sees jungkook getting his face done, and very much staring at yoongi. he looks away frantically and gets scolded by the staff, having to remedy the now smudged eyeliner. jungkook mutters a few apologies, shutting his eyes. yoongi bites at his straw.

 

-

 

(they’d finished arranging the song before midnight, which yoongi celebrates. jungkook says, “if you’re so happy about it, let’s go eat.” yoongi shoves at his shoulder with his own, shoving his hands further into his pockets when he sees jungkook’s sway close to yoongi’s coat.

 

“you have money. buy your own food,” yoongi says, which jungkook laughs at.

 

they end up eating together anyway, and yoongi pays for it, still.

 

on the way home, yoongi smells the telltale smoke from the grill on both of them and the alcohol on jungkook, who leans close to yoongi as they walk. jungkook waddles a little bit behind him, holding onto the edge of yoongi’s coat pocket; he buzzes while he tells yoongi a story about something funny that he saw seokjin do the other day, and yoongi laughs along with him as jungkook hiccups and gets startled by it himself.

 

jungkook keeps talking, going on about things that happened to him in the past week, or in his childhood days, even going a little bit ahead of yoongi whenever he gets caught up in his own story. he always remembers to step back a little, though, always matching yoongi’s pace. he stops talking for a while whenever he does so.

 

he talks and talks and forgets to watch the road as they’re at a crossing, almost walking onwards on a red light before yoongi pulls him back by the hand he’s got on yoongi’s coat.

 

jungkook keeps his eyes locked on where yoongi’s hand is around his, in his, and lets himself stagger back a little.

 

“wait for it to turn green.” yoongi pulls jungkook further into him, looking away from the younger’s startled look before it turns into something else that mirrors yoongi’s right about now.

 

he’s looking away, jungkook can’t see him, yoongi thinks. he’s got a chance.

 

the counter on the pedestrian light blinks a bright red ‘7’.

 

yoongi moves his hand in jungkook’s, fingers curled against his palm. he hears jungkook’s breath hitch, probably.

 

a car passes by on ‘4’. yoongi’s fingers find the spaces between jungkook’s and bring them together, pads against jungkook’s knuckles.

 

on ‘2’, neither pull away, but there’s always the expectation.

 

the light turns green, finally, and yoongi shoves their hands in his pocket.

 

he says, “let’s go,” then no one says anything until they’re home.)

 

-

 

(“good night, hyung, thank you,” jungkook says, words melding together before he says something else, finding it hard to let go of yoongi’s hand on his own accord.

 

“good night, kook.” and when yoongi lets go, jungkook is a little disappointed.)

 

-

 

neither of them bring it up, and yoongi thinks maybe it’s better that way because he won’t know how to respond on either end of the conversation that needs to be had.

 

it’s just been a little more difficult to keep his eyes and hands still, lately, always finding them looking for any semblance of - someone. he usually doesn’t realize he’s doing it until namjoon says something about it, always asking if he’s okay. yoongi often takes the easy way out and just closes his eyes, though he’s never really able to come close to sleep; always itching to open them, eager to find.

 

yoongi listens to hoseok as they work on a dance step that a few of them still can’t grasp - half-listens, more like, as his attention wanders to somewhere behind hoseok on the mirror, a little to his right.

 

jungkook sits, eyes closed as he gets his hair done, some brown strands flying away. he wanders further, focused on jungkook’s cheeks now, full and relaxed as his mouth hangs slightly open, something that yoongi knows could only mean that he’s on his way to falling asleep.

 

he remembers that night when he starts to stare at jungkook’s hands, remembers how heavy his hand was in yoongi’s. remembers how their hands fit, remembers the warmness of it and how jungkook, chatty as he was throughout the night had gone quiet afterwards.

 

yoongi’s hand twitches by his side and looks away, back at hoseok, attention elsewhere.

 

-

 

a few nights pass until jungkook knocks on the door of his studio again, and yoongi almost finds it embarrassing to know who it is before the keypad beeps and unlocks.

 

he doesn’t turn in his seat when he hears the scuff of jungkook’s shoes against his carpet, nor when the door closes again. yoongi opens the file to jungkook’s unfinished song and pulls a chair beside him.

 

there’s a stretch of silence that passes before jungkook moves towards yoongi and sits beside him. jungkook moves his chair closer, but keeps to himself for the rest of the time. music floods their ears as yoongi presses play on the track, hands clasped together while his chin rests on them, eyes closed.

 

for a while, it’s easy to ignore the way his heart jumped and still beats fast since jungkook arrived, enveloping himself in his work to figure out what’s missing, what’s too much, and what can be changed in what he hears. it’s easy until halfway through the draft, yoongi feels fingers brush against his elbow resting on the table, and when he looks up at jungkook, his eyes are still closed as he listens, too.

 

and yoongi - wants. wants to be close, wants to hold jungkook’s hand again like that night.

 

so for a while, they stay like that, hands in one another’s, fingers locked, wrapped in each other’s space as they work.

 

for a long time, they share some smiles, some laughter, and they talk about everything else more than they work.

 

-

 

“wow,” namjoon says, leaning back in his chair, “i really like it. i think bang pd might just love this one a lot.”

 

from behind him, jungkook grins sheepishly whereas yoongi only nods. “thanks, hyung. that means a lot.”

 

“you’ve worked hard, jungkook. and you, yoongi-hyung.” yoongi waves dismissively, and jungkook can’t help but laugh as namjoon rolls his eyes.

 

“i had a lot of help,” jungkook says, moving closer to yoongi until namjoon sees jungkook right in front of him. “right, hyung?”

 

yoongi shrugs, but namjoon sees a ghost of a smile as he crouches over the desk beside namjoon to export the song. namjoon opens his mouth to say something, turns to jungkook as he does but it gets caught in his throat, gets forgotten almost immediately.

 

he sees jungkook. but he also sees the way jungkook’s staring at yoongi, some warmth radiating off of him. he’s got the kind of smile he wears in his eyes instead of the one for everyone else to see; namjoon feels like an intruder, all of a sudden. he wrings his hands together.

 

he closes his mouth, then. thinks, what he wants to say can wait. thinks, he’s waited for longer while he looks at yoongi, whose got the pinky of his free hand curled around jungkook’s.

 

-

 

before namjoon leaves, he wishes them luck when presenting it to the higher ups and can’t help but smile knowingly at yoongi; it isn’t meant to be teasing, not like it had been the other night, and he knows yoongi knows this.

 

yoongi is at the computer again beside jungkook when they utter their thanks, backs turned to namjoon. he leans over to say something quietly to jungkook, something about who’s buying dinner and namjoon watches as jungkook giggles, and leans right into yoongi’s space. he watches as yoongi lets jungkook burrow himself right into yoongi’s shoulder and he wonders just how much something real can make a song sound inifinitely better.

 

-

 

“hyung.”

 

yoongi grumbles in reply.

 

“i’m hungry.”

 

“feed yourself.” he buries his nose in jungkook’s hair anyway, and holds him closer. jungkook lets him. he always lets him.

 

“wanna eat with you, though.”

 

“don’t pout.”

 

“m’not,” he pouts defeatedly, and lets yoongi hold him by the waist and scratch at his head. he always lets him.

 

yoongi cracks an eye open when it’s silent for a while and sees jungkook asleep. he smiles into jungkook’s hair and whispers something hidden into it, and presses a kiss to the side of his head before he closes his eyes again.

 

“hyung.” yoongi keeps his eyes closed even if his heart gives him away. “i know you do.” then jungkook presses a kiss to his jaw and falls asleep, smile curled against yoongi’s skin.