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Ring

 

The wine bottle in front of him sways with the wind outside, swimming at a hazy pace. Jeongguk wishes it would sit still.

 

Ring

 

A breeze folds over him, the bottle tipping to the side. From between the curtains, moonlight spills across the rim, hitting  the forest green with a translucent silver hue, ethereal and ephemeral, all at once.

 

Ring.

 

One last, final wind; and then the echo of shattered glass.

 

Ri-

 

“Hello?”

 

Jeongguk tucks his feet under himself, a pillow clutched in his hands. “Hey,” he says softly, keeping his voice low, the leaves outside of his window swaying in encouragement. “What’s up, hyung?”

 

Yoongi’s voice is quiet. “I thought I asked you to stop calling.”

 

“ ‘mm,” Jeongguk lets loose a low giggle, head tipped back onto the couch. Music plays in the background, soft beats and harsh words, Yoongi’s voice filtering through the speakers. “You did.”

 

There’s a rustle on the other side. Jeongguk imagines Yoongi moving, his sleepy eyes and his messy hair, the dim lamp in his studio a flicker of warmth. “Jeongguk.” Yoongi sounds tired, exhausted, sad. “This isn’t easy for me either, you know that. Please.”

 

“I miss you.”

 

“Yeah,” Yoongi lets out a shuddering breath, and Jeongguk can almost see him, the hand he has across his face, the hair that falls into his eyes. “Yeah, I miss you too, bun.”

 

The endearment lingers on Yoongi’s lips the way it always has, with a hint of satoori and quiet want. Jeongguk takes in a deep breath.

 

“Can I come over?”

 

“You shouldn’t.”

 

“But can I?”

 

“Do you want to?”

 

“I want you,” Jeongguk whispers, wrapping the blanket around himself tighter, keeping his voice quiet. “I just want you, hyung. You take care of me best.”

 

“Yeah,” Yoongi’s voice is gruff, a little raspy, a little low. “Come over.”

 

The line goes dead.

 

♬  

 

Jeongguk fell in love with Yoongi the way others fall in love with music

 

A note - a melody - a beat - and then all of it, sewed together, the threads of an orchestra.

 

Jeongguk fell in love without mercy, consumed until there was nothing left but an aching need for more.

 

 

The door opens before Jeongguk can even  knock.

 

Yoongi stands in the entrance of his small apartment, the one with an attached studio, the one his management doesn’t know about. His hair is blonde this time, bleached and damaged, the tips coarse. Silver glints in his ears, along his wrists, his fingers, a thin, pretty chain hanging loosely from his neck. “Hey.”

 

“Hey, yourself.” Jeongguk sways where he stands, a little sleepy, a little in love. He grins. “Missed you, hyung. More than you could ever believe.”

 

Yoongi tips forward, catching Jeongguk by the shoulder before he drags him closer, nosing into the space of his jaw, breathing him in. “You’ve been drinking.”

 

It’s not a question. Jeongguk nods, twines his fingers into Yoongi’s chain, the pendant resting against his throat glinting dimly. “Just wine.”

 

“You feel so soft,” Yoongi hums, threading his fingers through Jeongguk’s hair, a gentle touch. “You feel so warm, bun. So fucking warm.”

 

“ ‘m not drunk.”

 

Yoongi presses his lips to Jeongguk’s hair.

 

“ ‘m not.”

 

“Drink some water, bun, and then - then we can do whatever it is that you want.”


 

Jeongguk fell.

 

In the middle of the night, running away from his bastard of a father, from his harlot of a mother, he fell.

 

His knee was scraped red, skin bruised black and blue, a cut on his cheek bleeding from where his father’s ring left a mark.

 

Yoongi found him like that.

 

15 years old, teary eyed, half chilled to death, stuck through with harsh words and broken promises, Yoongi found him.

 

Jeongguk hasn’t felt lost since.

 

♬  

 

Yoongi hands him a glass of water, dark eyes sharp, focused.

 

“Drink,” he tells Jeongguk.

 

Jeongguk wraps his hands carefully around the glass, peering at Yoongi through curious eyes. “If I drink--”

 

“Drink.” yoongi repeats. “And then we can talk.”

 

“But I’m not drunk.”

 

Yoongi sits across from him, straddling the chair backwards. He rests his chin on the wood, fine strands of hair falling into his eyes, and brushes his knuckles against Jeongguk’s cheek, just over his scar. Jeongguk turns, pressing a kiss to Yoongi’s palm before he can move.

 

Yoongi’s voice is a breath of want. “I know. But I need you to drink, bun. For me. Please.”

 

Jeongguk drinks.


 

“How much.”

 

Jeongguk shuddered in Yoongi’s grip, face buried against his shoulder. Yoongi smelled of cigarettes and lonely nights, of week old alcohol and faded scars.

 

He smelled of home.

 

Yoongi shook him again, breaths harsh in the dark night. It was just the two of them,  Jeongguk full of alcohol, too much, too drunk, tipsy where he stood.

 

“I - I don’t know.”

 

“Look at me - Jeongguk, hey, hey -”

 

Yoongi grasped him by the shoulders, pulling him into his house, the empty rooms mocking. “I need you to tell me, or just - just guess, how much you think you drank. Please.”

 

“There was a six pack.” Jeongguk said slowly. He couldn’t look at Yoongi. Everything swam, Yoongi swam , the walls around them laughed, and all of it, all of it sounded muffled, as if he was hearing it through the ocean.

 

As if he was drowning.

 

Yoongi pushed something into his hands. Cool and narrow, condensation dripping along the glass, full to the very brim. Water. Jeongguk spilled half of it on his shirt without even moving.

 

“Drink,” Yoongi murmured, taking the glass from him and bringing it to his lips, Jeongguk’s head tipped back against Yoongi’s arm. “Drink, and then we can talk about it - about whatever it is that you want.”  


♬  

 

When Jeongguk puts the glass down, he finds Yoongi watching him. His chin rests in his palm, long fingers spanning across his jaw, nails cut short and even. The sleeves of his shirt fall across his hands, hiding a leather bracelet that just barely manages to peek through, delicate strands laced together in a braid.

 

“You still wear it.” Jeongguk reaches forward, catching the bracelet between his fingers.

 

Yoongi doesn’t look at him. “I still love you.”

 

Jeongguk threads their hands together, pushes Yoongi’s sleeves up, presses his lips to the scars Yoongi has hidden beneath, faded and red but permanent. “I never said you didn’t, hyung.”

 

“Yeah.” Yoongi presses a shuddering kiss into his hair, breathes him in, the scent of nicotine and something distantly floral. “Yeah, I know. I just thought I’d make sure.”

 

Jeongguk squeezes him tightly. Yoongi feels like bones in his arms, like a fading picture, like a polaroid that’s only half developed, empty at the edges. “I’m yours.”

 

Yoongi’s fingers find his wrist, then his sleeve. His eyes are dark and narrow, cut sharp at the edges, features unreadable. He doesn’t say anything until he sees Jeongguk’s bracelet, the same as his own, dark, braided  leather, wrought through with bittersweet memories and fleeting touches. “Never said you weren’t, bun.”

 

♬  

 

“I’m gonna make it big one day.”

 

Jeongguk wouldn’t look at Yoongi. Instead, he focused on wrapping the bandage around his wrist, on pressing a kiss to the bloody gauze when  he’d finished, lips stained red.

 

“Jeongguk, I mean it. Maybe not now, maybe not even soon , but I’m - I’m gonna make it big one day. I’m gonna get us out of here.”

 

Yoongi’s eyes were clouded when Jeongguk finally met his gaze. He had a bruise on his cheek from where he had taken one too many hits, blood smeared haphazardly across his forehead.

 

He sounded desperate. “I’ll get us out of here if it’s the last thing I do.”

 

The hug Jeongguk gave him was all the answer Yoongi needed. “Please don’t cut.” whispered Jeongguk, skipping over what Yoongi said, not because he didn’t believe him, but because he did.

 

Yoongi was a constant in his life; the only constant, a moon if there ever was one, a sun beaming with steady patience, a sea of stars refusing to flicker.

 

Jeongguk knew  he would keep his promise.

 

“It helps,” Yoongi couldn’t look at him, couldn’t do much other than clutch at Jeongguk’s hand, anguished. “It - it reminds me that I’m here, that I can still feel, fuck, that I’m alive-”

 

“You’re alive,” murmured Jeongguk, cutting Yoongi off with a fleeting kiss; their first.

 

Yoongi was still under him. Like stone, he sat, unmoving, eyes fluttered closed, lips parted. When Jeongguk pulled away, he looked a vision, features barely discernible in the dark of Yoongi’s closet, one of the two  places he felt safe.

 

“You’re alive,” Jeongguk repeated, pressing his fingers to Yoongi’s cheeks, breathing him in, studying his eyes, the slope of his nose, the cut of his jaw and the soft set of his face.

 

“I’m alive,” Yoongi echoed, and then he lurched forward, almost as if he was drunk, dragging Jeongguk in for a second kiss, then a third, then a fourth, a fifth, a sixth, until they lost count, lips red and hearts full.

 

We’re alive.”


♬  

 

Jeongguk traces the scars along Yoongi’s wrist. They’re crisscrossed together, some of them glaringly white, others pink, a few of the deeper ones an angry red.

 

But all of them faded.

 

Yoongi catches his hand mid touch. “Why did you call?” his voice is quiet, unsure, wanting. aching.

 

Jeongguk tips forward, burying his face into Yoongi’s shoulder the way he hasn’t in a long time. Yoongi is still beneath him, the material of his shirt a warm comfort. Softly, hesitantly, his fingers card through Jeongguk’s hair, the weight of his rings a steady reminder that Jeongguk is here; that he’s alive.

 

“I missed you.”

 

Yoongi lets out a breathless laugh, mockingly empty. “You always miss me.”

 

“Fine.” Jeongguk lifts his face to brush his nose against Yoongi’s, a sweet touch of their skin that has Yoongi falling into him. “I had a bad night.”

 

Yoongi sucks in a harsh breath. He closes his eyes and brings Jeongguk’s palm to his face, nuzzling into it, pressing kisses along the life lines he’s long since memorized. “Leave.”

 

“Hyung-”

 

“You won’t let me help you.” Yoongi doesn’t open his eyes, doesn’t look at Jeongguk, words painfully quiet. “I’m doing my best, bun. You’re not making it easy, but I’m trying, I am but you don’t-”

 

The water helped Jeongguk, at least a little bit. His head is clearer, his voice softer, emotions less haphazard. “I’ll leave.”

 

Yoongi lets go of his hand. His lips are still parted, as if he has something else he wants to say, something else he needs to tell Jeongguk. He keeps quiet.

 

Before he leaves, Jeongguk presses a kiss to Yoongi’s forehead. He has to bend to do it because Yoongi is still sitting, eyes shut and features so, so tired, lines of exhaustion lingering in the delicate planes of his face.

 

“You are so kind,” Jeongguk tells him, whispers it almost, because Yoongi looks as if he could be asleep. “You are so kind, hyung. Never forget that.”

 

The door closes behind him with a soft click , just as Yoongi’s next few words spill forward.

 

“I just want to help you, bun. Please.”

 

 

Yoongi’s face, his button nose, his sleepy eyes, were brighter than Jeongguk had ever seen them.

 

“I got in,” it was a breath, excited, fearful, unsure, but clear. “Bun, hey, I got in.”

 

The letter was simple. cream paper, black words, a signature scrawled along the edge; a melody of instruments weaving  the prettiest harmony Jeongguk had ever heard.

 

“I’m so proud of you,” Jeongguk said in a rush, handing his drinks off to another server, an apologetic smile playing at his lips.

 

The men in the bar were leering, their hands brushing too close too Jeongguk’s thighs, his arms, his bare midriff, his exposed collarbones. Yoongi shrugged off his jacket with a growl, placed it over Jeongguk’s shoulders before dragging him outside, arm settled protectively around his waist.

 

He waited until they were at the very back of the gay strip club, in the seedy streets of the red light district, a dim lamp throwing half hearted light across the two of them. “I got in.” Yoongi repeated, burying his face into Jeongguk’s throat, a soft sigh.

 

It was relieved, low and happy, a whisper meant just for Jeongguk. “We’re out, guk. You and me, bun,” he murmured, nipping at the corner of Jeongguk’s mouth, hands traveling over the gentle curves and dips of his body. “We’re finally out.”

 

At 22 years old, Yoongi was given a chance he had only ever dreamt of. “It’s not a big company,” he whispered, kissing Jeongguk’s brow, the tip of his nose, anywhere he could. “They’re kind of small, but they have a good reputation. They’ll take care of me.”

 

Jeongguk couldn’t quite believe it. He pressed into Yoongi’s chest, kissed his collarbones, ignored the sounds of traffic as he dotted nips under Yoongi’s jaw. “I’m so proud of you.” he said, sincerity leaking through his words, staining his syllables. “So, so proud.”

 

Yoongi curled into him. “I love you.”

 

His eyes, so open, so earnest, so yearning , were watching Jeongguk with all the warmth of the sun. At 22 years old, Yoongi  was at the peak of his life; he’d made it into a company, earned money for what he loved, rapped until his voice was hoarse, shattered under passion.

 

At 19 years old, Jeongguk wouldn’t take that away from him.

 

“Let’s break up, hyung.” he whispered, the catch of Yoongi’s breath the only indication he’d heard. “Let’s break up.”


 

Jeongguk sits outside the door; for how long, he doesn’t know. But he doesn’t have anywhere to go, doesn’t have anyone to go home to.

 

All he has is Yoongi.

 

So he sits and he waits and he wants.

 

He loves.


 

“Who gave you the right?”

 

“I-”

 

“Who gave you the fucking right?”

 

Yoongi was rarely angry. Most days, he was like the calm before the sea, always settled, waiting, watching, learning. But today, he was a fire, raging, burning everything in his wake, leaving behind a trail of tears.  Jeongguk shook .

 

“I’m sorry.” he whispered, flinching back when Yoongi threw a glass from their cabinet, one of the only ones they could afford. “Yoongi, please-”

 

Yoongi sobbed. Jeongguk cowered in response, watching as he sunk to the ground, knuckles stained bloody from where he’d punched a wall. His hair was a mess, eyes clouded, skin pale and unhealthy. Jeongguk knew he hadn’t been taking care of himself since he’d left, but this wasn’t what he expected.

 

“I just want you to be happy.” Jeongguk whispered, upset. He rocked back in forth in his corner, arms wrapped around his knees, at a loss for what to do.

 

For a long time, Yoongi didn’t answer. He kept his face buried in his arms, knees tucked under himself, the echo of his sobs physically painful. Jeongguk wanted to touch him; he wanted to pet Yoongi’s hair, take him into his lap, kiss away his tears, tell him it was okay.

 

But that wasn’t his place anymore.

 

“Don’t go,” Yoongi said, not even looking  when Jeongguk stood. “Give me a few minutes, please-”

 

“I’m not going anywhere,” Jeongguk promised him, voice low. Something small and quiet in his heart ached at the disbelieving glare Yoongi threw him, unused to such behaviour from him, even if he knew he deserved it. “Not for a while, at least. I came to get my stuff.”

 

Yoongi stared at his knees. “It’s in our room.”

 

Jeongguk nodded. He made his way around the two room apartment, barely enough space for him to move without knocking into the little furniture they’d collected over the years. The corner of a desk hit his hip, and Jeongguk hissed, vaguely aware of Yoongi jerking in response.

 

“I’m fine,” he murmured, because he knew if he didn’t,  Yoongi would sit him down and rub at the ache, as he’d done so many times before.

 

There was no answer. Jeongguk rocked back and forth on his heels before he let out a quiet sigh, turning into Yoongi’s (their) bedroom with all the grace of a wounded deer. The faint scent of Yoongi’s cologne was enough to have him sinking to the floor, enough to have him swiping angrily at his eyes , curled into himself at the edge of the unmade bed.

 

The room screamed of misery; there was shattered glass littering Yoongi’s desk, the lamp shade knocked off kilter. Empty alcohol bottles were stacked in the corner, green bottles of soju buried under hollow cigarette packs, torn pictures and a chipped mug balanced on top.

 

Carefully, quietly, Jeongguk took in a breath. He stood and gathered his things, putting it in all in a box he’d brought with him, first with his photos, then his clothes, stealing one of Yoongi’s shirts along the way. It was big, a sweater, the kind that reached Yoongi’s knees and swam at his shoulders, the kind where the sleeves fell well past his wrists, the kind he wore because he knew they made Jeongguk happy. Jeongguk would miss them.

 

(Yoongi. He would miss Yoongi.)

 

When he finally, finally made his way back into the kitchen, Yoongi was sitting where Jeongguk left him. Small, tucked into himself, silver hoops and black hair, face buried in his knees, breathing even and shallow; he looked like he could be asleep.  A vision if there ever was one.

 

So Jeongguk bent, box heavy in his hands, and kissed the top of Yoongi’s head, a brief, fleeting touch. before he could leave, Yoongi’s fingers curled around his wrist. “You,” he said quietly, so quietly that Jeongguk could barely hear him.

 

“What?”

 

“You said you wanted me to be happy,” Yoongi clarified, lifting his face, eyes red rimmed and cheeks damp. Jeongguk felt his breath catch in his throat. “You. You make me happy.”



The moon is a small pinprick of light, shadowed in fog and hazy clouds. Jeongguk sits outside of the door of Yoongi’s apartment, head tipped back against the wood, chin tucked into his knees. A breeze crawls over him, a reminder that it’s fall, that he’s outside without a jacket, that he’s alone.

 

Always, always alone.

 

The hours pass in a still sort of quiet. Jeongguk watches the clouds travel across the sky, counts each and every flicker of the corner street lamp, wishes on the fireflies that flit past, until finally, finally , the door opens.

 

“I thought I told you to leave.”

 

Jeongguk doesn’t turn around. His voice is muffled into the material of his ripped jeans, face hidden to keep warm. “You did.”

 

Yoongi bends down, brushing a hand through his hair. Jeongguk leans into the touch, lets out a soft sigh, breathing in  when Yoongi falls to his knees, wrapping him in a tight back hug. “Thank you for not listening.”

 

Jeongguk finally lets himself grin. “Anytime, hyung.”


 

When Jeongguk first left Yoongi, he couldn’t quite figure it out. His chest felt empty, his body felt empty, he felt empty, and then he realized, three months later and curled into a stranger’s lap, that Yoongi wasn’t his anymore.

 

It hadn’t really struck him until then. He’d been steadily ignoring it, going to work when night fell and then sleeping the day away. But there in the strip club, with his legs straddled around a fat waist, with a pair of hands clamped uncomfortably around his hips, it was gradually beginning to sink in.

 

Not yours.

 

Not anymore.

 

Like a fool, Jeongguk pushed away. He muttered an excuse, scampered away even as he heard the angry curses, felt the heavy glare of dissatisfaction. “Sorry,” he said, screamed maybe, because the club was loud, and Jeongguk needed to be louder. The desire to be heard was sudden and consuming, and before he could consider what he was doing, Jeongguk dialed Yoongi’s number.

 

Yoongi didn’t pick up. Jeongguk listened and cried and sobbed, and when the empty voice echoed through the speaker, he hung up. At the time, it had all seemed so bleak. Like he was living in circles, part of an endless pattern.

 

Tiredly, Jeongguk nicked a bottle of gin from behind the bar. Taehyung wasn’t there to stop him, was flirting with one of the other strippers, the pretty one with blonde hair and thick thighs and a high pitched giggle. Jeongguk felt bitter.

 

The alcohol burned  going down. It stung the back of his mouth, left him feeling achingly empty, filled his bones with an artificial warmth. He didn’t like the flavor, the regret, the stinging taste of bittersweet memories.

 

But he did like the implications.

 

By the time his shift came to an end, Jeongguk had finished the bottle of gin and then some. He was swaying where he stood, a half  empty bottle of rum sitting heavy in his stomach, another quarter of cherry vodka sifting through his veins. He felt so free, like he could do anything; as if the sun was his.

 

As if Yoongi was his.


The cab he caught in the next few minutes was a blur. There were drunks milling around, and they pushed and whistled at Jeongguk’s narrow frame, his heavy thighs, his tight shorts and his pierced stomach; Jeongguk waved them off with a flirty grin and a few soft words, far too used to this kind of behaviour to be bothered by it.

 

Inside the taxi, Jeongguk felt filthy. He wasn’t a stranger to it, wasn’t a stranger to the phantom touch of greasy men and their crawling smiles, the clinging scent of nicotine and stinging alcohol. The cabbie watched him from where he was sitting in the front seat, a frown twisting his features into an expression of disgust. Clearly, he didn’t want Jeongguk here; Jeongguk couldn’t find it in himself to blame him.

 

Yoongi’s (and his) apartment was a half hour away from Jeongguk’s work. They’d picked it together, had gone house hunting as soon as Jeongguk had graduated high school, grinning and laughing and content . It was small, barely more than a bedroom and a tiny kitchenette tucked into the corner, but Jeongguk made it theirs.

 

“It’s not much,” Yoongi had said, eyes trained on his shoes, shoulders low and weighed down. He had looked so small there, curled into himself in the empty room. “But it’s -”

 

“It’s perfect,” Jeongguk had whispered, cupping Yoongi’s face in his hands, endeared and fond and in love, all at once. “Home has always been with you, hyung. I never doubted that.”

 

Remembering it now, Yoongi’s shy grin and his soft lips, the familiar warmth in his eyes and comforting weight of his hands, Jeongguk ached. The cabbie pulled into the parking lot of Yoongi’s building, and Jeongguk left with a murmured thanks, handing him a crumpled wad of dollar bills. He didn’t wait for the change and instead took the elevator up, heart beating a pretty tattoo against his chest.

 

The idea of seeing Yoongi again had Jeongguk bouncing on the balls of his feet, nervous and unsure but excited. He counted the seconds it took, checked his reflection in the grainy metal, fixed his hair and fiddled with his earrings, until finally, finally, the elevator doors opened.

 

The funny thing about it all was that none of it looked different. The floorboards still creaked if he stepped wrong, their signatures were still scrawled into the wooden frame, and if he pressed just right, the chip in the wall would give way to a heart Yoongi had drawn for him.

 

The funny thing about it all was that none of it looked different; but the person who answered the door wasn’t Yoongi.

 

“Hello?” The woman was tall and thin, a glass of wine in her hand. She looked drunk. “Can I help you, sweetie?”

 

Jeongguk stumbled backwards, confused. “Um,” he stuttered, hunching over, suddenly aware that he wasn’t in the proper clothes for this. “I’m looking for Yoongi? Min Yoongi?”

 

Her eyebrows knitted together in a tight line. “I don’t know him.” she said simply, her voice a loose drawl,  uncaring.

 

“Okay.” Jeongguk nodded, still reeling. The woman was frowning at him now, crossing her arms over her chest and glaring. “Do you, um - Can I ask how long you’ve been living here?”

 

She blinked. “Two months.”

 

Jeongguk shook. “Okay,” he said again, nodding mutely.

 

And then he turned on his heel and left, wandering into the sharp chill of a lonely night.


 

“Come on, bun.” Yoongi coaxes him from the floor, rubbing warmth into Jeongguk’s arms, his shoulders, the corded muscles of his back. Jeongguk leans into him, falling against the warm curves of Yoongi’s body, fingers pressing into the familiar dimples of his waist.

 

They stand there for a few seconds, the open door letting a steady wind filter in. The air smells crisp, a twist in the breeze, bringing with it a distant memory of what Yoongi’s touch does to him, of how delicate his fingers are.

 

“Hyung.” Jeongguk murmurs, lips curling upwards in a sleepy grin. “Want you to touch me.”

 

Yoongi stiffens. His tongue darts out, wetting his lips, the warm pink of his mouth beckoning, the glimmer of his dark gaze a dream. “You said you had a bad night.”

 

“I did.”

 

“Then-”

 

“When I’m with you,” Jeongguk begins, biting his lip before he continues, words falling from his mouth in a litany of satoori stained syllables. “When I’m with you, the bad turns into good.”

 

Jeongguk has never been very good with his words. He stutters and he stumbles and they spill out of him without permission more often than not, but with Yoongi, he’s found it doesn’t quite matter. Instead, Yoongi listens and he hears and even if he doesn’t understand, he takes it in stride.

 

“You mean that, bun?”

 

Jeongguk lets his grin curl upwards a little more. Yoongi stares at him with an uncertain expression, blonde hair wisping tiredly into his eyes, looking hopeful and lost and so scared, Jeongguk aches.

 

“Yeah.” Jeongguk murmurs. He moves closer, lets his body wrap around Yoongi’s, arms threading around his waist, the beat of Yoongi’s heart echoing in tandem with his. “I don’t think I’ve ever meant anything more, hyung.”


 

In the end, it was Yoongi who found him again.

 

Weeks had passed, the leaves outside turning from green into the warm colours of autumn, leaving behind a stinging chill, the dredges of a hazy dream. Jeongguk did his best to move on from it; he flirted with the men at the club, lined his eyes in dark kohl, lips stained sunset red. But sometimes, when the evenings weren’t as busy and his distractions weren’t so much of distractions as they were work, Jeongguk found himself spilling secrets.

 

Jimin, the stripper from before with the thick thighs and the high laugh, the one Taehyung was a little in love with, was an attentive listener. His eyes were pools of warmth, neon lights reflecting off the sharp planes of his face, lips parted and features expressive.

 

“So you loved him?”

 

“Love him.” Jeongguk corrected quietly, taking a sip from his martini. The thought of it now didn’t upset him, so much as it made him reflect. “But I don’t regret it.”

 

Jimin peered at him from beneath heavy lids, black casting shadows over the sharp angles of his cheeks. He looked confused, if a little intrigued. “Why?

 

“It’s like this,” Jeongguk said, laying his hands flat out onto the bar in front of him, studying his nails in a half-hearted attempt to avoid Jimin’s gaze. “I’ve loved him since - since we were kids. He’s always taken care of me, and he doesn’t ask for much, and he’s - he’s mine. But hyung is talented. He has a future -”

 

“Gukkie,” Jimin interrupted softly, but Jeongguk carried on, unconcerned.

 

“and I don’t. Which is fine, hyung, it’s fine , I made my peace with that a long time ago. It’s not something I’m upset about, but - but hyung has a future.” Jeongguk repeated, keeping his eyes down, head low. “and I don’t want to be responsible for taking that away from him.”

 

Jimin hummed, a hand carding through Jeongguk’s hair. “You have a future, too.” he said firmly, fingers tracing a delicate path from Jeongguk’s temple to his jaw, around the curve of his chin until Jeongguk met Jimin’s gaze. “I’ve seen your sketches before, I’ve seen what you can do with your hands, and it’s-

 

“Useless.”

 

Gorgeous ,” Jimin breathed, eyes burning red-violet under the neon lights. “It’s gorgeous, Jeongguk. You have so much in you, so much life , like you’re brimming at the edges with something the rest of us can’t quite see, and it’s -  

 

“Hey.”

 

Jimin abruptly fell quiet. Jeongguk studied him, at how Jimin could barely sit still under the weight of Taehyung’s gaze, at how Taehyung couldn’t look at Jimin without sucking in a harsh breath, and ached a little with just how much he missed Yoongi.

 

“Um,” Taehyung began, rubbing the back of his neck sheepishly, one of his hands precariously close to Jimin’s shoulder. It hovered there for a moment, unsure, before Taehyung let it fall to his side. “Jeongguk, there’s a man asking for you.”

 

Jeongguk knocked back the rest of his martini, tired. “Tell him I’m done for the night, hyung. My last lap dance ended almost an hour ago, and I’m too tired to take on an extra shift.”

 

Taehyung whistled lowly through his teeth. “He seemed angry enough already, gukkie.”

 

Jeongguk scoffed. “Do I look like I give a fuck? It’s almost an hour after my shift, it doesn’t matter if he’s angry-”

 

“Even if it’s me?”

 

Jeongguk stiffened.

 

It had only been six months, but Jeongguk hadn’t quite realized just how much he missed Yoongi until now. Yoongi looked a little different; for the first time in years, his hair wasn’t black, instead curling faded mint into his eyes, too long. The sweater he was wearing was thick, thicker than any of the ones he’d been able to afford before, coloured cream and stretched languidly  across his chest, clinging to a layer of lean muscle. Yoongi filled the space easily, arms crossed and head held high, the dark of his gaze flitting from Jeongguk’s eyes to his nose to his lips, taking in, in, in.

 

Jeongguk ached. “Hyung,” he breathed, but before he could do anything else, Yoongi jerked his head.

 

“In private,” he said evenly, stiff under the weight of Jeongguk’s gaze. “Can we go somewhere?”

 

Taehyung interrupted, then. “A private dance costs double,” his tone was sharp, leaving no room for argument. “Can you afford that?”

 

Yoongi’s gaze hardened. Instead of answering Taehyung, he turned to Jeongguk, features carefully arranged in a neutral expression. “You do private dances now?”

 

Hesitantly, Jeongguk nodded. He could see Yoongi sucking in a harsh breath, could see his jaw stiffen and his head shake. “Okay,” he said, and then he threw a thick wad of paper bills at Taehyung, more than Jeongguk had ever seen him carry around before. “Lead the way.”

 

Carefully, Jeongguk stood. He made his way down the corridor and took a sharp left, Yoongi following behind him easily, footsteps quick and oddly enough, familiar. When Jeongguk pulled the curtain aside, the heavy red velvet swinging with a sharp hiss, there was quiet.

 

Yoongi broke it first. “ Private dances? ” he asked, rubbing across the bridge of his nose, angry and a little - a little upset, it seemed. “I thought - I thought we agreed you wouldn’t do that, that you weren’t comfortable-”

 

“I’m not.” Jeongguk said quietly. Yoongi’s words came to an abrupt halt. “But money is tight and rent is expensive  and it’s - it’s not a choice anymore, hyung.”

 

For a fleeting second, Yoongi was still. But then, it seemed almost as if he couldn’t quite contain himself anymore - as if the thread keeping him together suddenly fell apart.

 

“Not a choice?” he asked, but it clearly wasnt a question, voice bordering on the edge of violent. “Jeongguk, you - you broke up with me, and for what? So that you could spend your nights touching perverts? dancing for greasy men who cop a feel every chance they get?”

 

“Hyung-” Jeongguk whispered, hurt staining his words, but Yoongi didn’t hear him, couldn’t  hear him.

 

“Tell me, do you whore yourself out now too? Do you let yourself get fucked for money, because God, Jeongguk, that’s low, even for-.”

 

Crack.

 

The sharp sound of Jeongguk’s fist hitting the side of Yoongi’s face was uneven, mockingly loud in the quiet of their room. Jeongguk stared at him, horrified when Yoongi’s hand came away stained with blood, the corner of his lips coloured rose. Yoongi was still, his breaths harsh, and he seemed so quiet then, so unnervingly numb, that Jeongguk barely felt when Yoongi pushed him.

 

Instead, he stumbled back, head hitting the wall with a sickening thud. Yoongi pushed him again, harder this time. “Go on,” Yoongi said, spat it almost, blood slicking his words. “Hit me, Jeongguk-ah. That’s all you’re good for, isn’t it? Using you fists like some kind of thoughtless kid-”

 

“Stop it,” Jeongguk whispered, and he could feel his body shaking, nails digging into his palms. “Hyung, stop it.”

 

But Yoongi, it seemed, wouldn't - couldn’t. “But that’s it, isn’t it? You’re just a kid, Jeongguk. Some snotty little kid without half an idea of how reality works. You think hitting me is going to do anything? No wonder you’re stuck in such a dead end job-

 

Shut up!”  Jeongguk screamed, and he pushed back, feeling scarily empty as he watched Yoongi hit the wall, knocking into the plaster with a dull crack.

 

There was quiet for a few seconds. Jeongguk was trembling in the corner, and he cowered when Yoongi, hair messy, eyes black,  stood again.

 

“Stop,” he whispered again, wrapping his arms around his knees, a steady ache building in the back of his head.

 

For a few seconds, Yoongi was still. But then, his hands were coming into view, his touch gentle. Carefully, he let his fingers curl over Jeongguk’s wrist, kneeling on the floor to wrap him in a quiet hug. Jeongguk was stiff at first, fear still curdling through his veins, but eventually he softened, leaning into Yoongi’s touch as he had so many times before. Yoongi didn’t say anything, but Jeongguk could feel his relief, the palpable way his grip tightened.

 

“Sorry,” Jeongguk muttered eventually, because he knew it was his fault. He hit Yoongi first, and Yoongi shouldn’t have hit back, but he did and it was okay because it was deserved. “That was -”

 

“Immature.” Yoongi finished for him, giving Jeongguk an empty smile from where he sat, eyes dark and a little sad. “You were being immature, but I wasn’t any better. I shouldn’t have pushed you, I know you’re easily triggered by that stuff, so I - I’m sorry, too.”

 

Jeongguk nodded. Then, so quietly, he wondered if Yoongi could even hear, “Why did you do it?”

 

“What?”

 

“Why did you say that?” Jeongguk repeated, voice soft. He fiddled with the sleeves of his sheer shirt, refusing to meet Yoongi’s gaze. “You’ve been here since the beginning, and you know I’m not good with - with this kind of stuff. That I don’t like this job, that I don’t want to be here. So why?”

 

Carefully, Yoongi cupped his face, thumbing away tears Jeongguk hadn’t realized he’d been crying. “Shh,” he fussed, cradling Jeongguk like he used to when they would watch movies together, cuddled close on their small loveseat. “You’re fine, Jeongguk. Breathe with me, okay? You’re fine.”

 

Jeongguk listened, warily tipping his head onto Yoongi’s shoulder. But the hesitance fell away when Yoongi began brushing a hand through his hair, his touch a familiar dream, bringing with it the memory of lonely nights and whispered love. Jeongguk keened at the thought, at the sweetness with which Yoongi was touching him, and realized then, that he’d missed Yoongi so much more than he let himself believe.

 

“I’m sorry,” Yoongi murmured, his hand stilling in Jeongguk’s hair. “I just - I wanted to hurt you.” he said quietly, words barely audible.

 

Jeongguk pushed away from him and scrambled to his feet, panic bubbling low in his stomach again. “You - what?”

 

Yoongi’s eyes were tired, twin pools of warm sorrow. “Not like that,” he said, chin settled on his knees, and he drew such a lonely picture like this, tucked into the corner by himself. “Jeongguk, when you left me  I thought I was going insane. I’ve spent the better half of my life looking after you, keeping you - keeping you safe. But then you were gone, without a single word. I felt awful, and I- I wanted you to feel at least a fraction of what I did. A fraction of what I am.

 

Yoongi tipped his head back to look at him, and Jeongguk could barely keep from whimpering at the apology in his eyes. Through the haze of tears, Yoongi was softer, painted in blurry lines and a sheen of want, but it wasn’t enough, it seemed; it hadn’t been enough for a long time.

 

“Jeongguk,” Yoongi whispered. He sounded so hurt, so torn, as if he was teetering on edge between emotions. “Can you at least tell me why? You never explained what happened, why you - why you left. I deserve an answer, Jeongguk. Please.”  

 

Carefully, Jeongguk studied Yoongi; the soft slope of his nose, the delicate planes of his face, his cat like eyes and the warm pink of his mouth. Yes , Jeongguk decided, nodding his head, unaware of Yoongi watching him. Yes, you deserve an explanation. You of all people, deserve everything.  

 

It’s quiet, Jeongguk’s voice. He tells Yoongi what he told Jimin; that Jeongguk would only ruin his future, would tear him apart if their relationship were ever discovered, and he didn’t want to be responsible for that.

 

“I’m not worth it, hyung.” Jeongguk admitted softly, keeping his knees pressed close to his chest. It made him feel less like he was  spiralling out of control. “You would be so much better off without me.”

 

Yoongi was quiet. Jeongguk could almost hear his thoughts, the wheels turning in his head, but he let the silence settle between them, a heavy blanket of unsaid words, before Yoongi’s voice, low and a little angry, spilled out. “Who are you to tell me that?”

 

“What?’

 

“Who are you,” Yoongi enunciated carefully, drawing each word out, thick with satoori. “To tell me that.”

 

Jeongguk didn’t have an answer for him.

 

Yoongi watched him with dark eyes, angular and unreadable, before he leaned closer to bury his face in the crook of Jeongguk’s neck, breathing him in. “I love you, bun.” he murmured, lips brushing against Jeongguk’s skin in the barest of kisses. “But you need to tell me what you want. You keep calling me and leaving me voicemails and you - you’re never sober during them, and it kills me, Jeongguk. I feel like I’m watching you fade away, as if one of these days you’ll just disappear and it’ll all feel like a dream.”

 

Jeongguk sniffled when Yoongi pulled him into his lap. They were still sitting on the floor, Jeongguk in his too-tight shorts and Yoongi in his cream knit sweater. “I’m sorry,” he whispered miserably,  curling up in Yoongi’s arms, clinging to him tightly. “I’m sorry, hyung.”

 

Yoongi didn’t tell him it was okay. But he did rub across Jeongguk’s arms, sending warmth rushing over his skin, pinpricks of heat that lingered in his veins. Jeongguk wasn’t aware of how long they sat there for; all he knew was that Yoongi was solid against him, curled in and around the spaces of his body with familiar accuracy.

 

“I’m sorry.” Jeongguk whispered again, picking at the sleeve of Yoongi’s sweater.

 

Yoongi let out a heavy breath, taking one of Jeongguk’s hands in his. Carefully, almost as if he were afraid, he threaded their fingers together, the silver of his rings glimmering dimly against Jeongguk’s skin. “You don’t want to get back together again, do you.”

 

It wasn’t a question. Yoongi said it quietly, the words rushing out of him in a single breath, as if he already knew the answer.

 

“No,” Jeongguk admitted. He didn’t protest when Yoongi moved away, a chill already wrapping around him, mocking and unforgiving and lonely.

 

Yoongi turned, getting to his feet and walking towards the door without another word. With his mint hair and his lean muscles, his expensive clothes and his branded shoes, he looked worlds away from the Yoongi Jeongguk remembered.

 

“Don’t call me again,” Yoongi said softly. He wouldn’t look at Jeongguk, instead facing the door, back stiff. Jeongguk ached. “You wanted this, so - so don’t call me again. Don’t come looking for me, and for fucks sake, please take care of yourself.”

 

“Okay,” Jeongguk nodded numbly, shivering in the sudden wind.

Somehow, Yoongi seemed to hear it. He turned around, eyes lingering on Jeongguk’s bare legs, his sheer shirt, before he shrugged out of his sweater. Jeongguk started when Yoongi placed it around his shoulders, moving forward in a desperate attempt to  give it back to him.

 

“Hyung-”

 

“Don’t.” Yoongi said quietly. He sounded exhausted, uneven, as if he’d been knocked off his axis. “I always bought them bigger so you could wear them, too, and - and old habits die hard, I guess. Keep it, please.”

 

Jeongguk nodded, lip bitten between his teeth, and watched as Yoongi left, the curtain fluttering close behind him with a whisper of velvet. He stared at the sweater in his hands, turning the  material over in his palms, downy soft and thick.

 

“I’m sorry,” Jeongguk whispered again, but this time, he didn’t know who he was apologizing to.


 

Jeongguk stands in the entrance of Yoongi’s bedroom, taking in the bare walls, the black bedspread, the empty desk. There isn’t a single trace of Yoongi in here.

 

“Hyung?” Jeongguk calls softly, wrapping his arms around himself, feeling hollow in this shadow of a room. There’s no answer.

 

Yoongi is in the kitchen when Jeongguk wanders out, his back facing Jeongguk’s front. He’s filling a glass of water, watching it run through his fingers to wet the cuffs of his shirt, eyes cloudy.

 

“Hyung,” Jeongguk repeats, tentatively pressing into Yoongi, chest against back. “Hey.”

 

Yoongi’s gaze clears a little when he turns around, a small smile curling his lips. It doesn’t reach his eyes. “Hi,” he murmurs, before tipping his head back, downing the water in a long swallow.

 

Jeongguk studies him, the graceful curve of Yoongi’s throat, the pretty way his eyes flutter close, body loose limbed and easy. He seems sweet like this, drowning in a pair of too-big joggers, sweatshirt cuffs trailing well past his wrists, all delicate bones and lean muscle.

 

“Hyung,” Jeongguk breathes again, nudging into the space of Yoongi’s throat, bending a little to breathe him in, washed cotton and lemongrass and sleep. “Touch me, please.”

 

He can feel it when Yoongi’s arms circle his waist, when he presses tighter against Jeongguk, nose buried in his chest. “Like we used to?”

 

Jeongguk nods, a fleeting assurance. “Of course,” he mumbles, shuddering when Yoongi’s grip tightens, a warm pressure. “Wouldn’t want it any other way.”

 

Yoongi sucks in a harsh breath before pulling back, Jeongguk’s wrist held tightly in his hand. He walks, turning on his heel without a word, and Jeongguk stumbles along behind him,  a familiar feeling of anticipation rushing through his veins.

 

“Hyung-”

 

Yoongi pushes him onto the bed, sharp eyes dark, unrelenting. Jeongguk shivers. “How do you want this?”

 

Yoongi is always very careful with him. There isn’t a detail left unplanned,  a limit left untouched, and he stares at Jeongguk now, knuckles brushing across his cheek in question.

 

“mean,” Jeongguk whispers, and he can hear the plea in his own voice, a whisper of uncertainty. “Please, be a little mean, I - I need it.”

 

Yoongi’s eyes widen a little, and he stumbles over his words, hesitant. “Are you sure? It’s been a while since we’ve done this, Jeongguk, I don’t want-”

 

“I’m sure,” Jeongguk interrupts, bringing a hand forward to cup Yoongi’s jaw, a soft kiss pressed against his lips. “Please, hyung. Please.”

 

Yoongi stares at him, eyes traveling over his features, taking in the assurance there, the want. “Okay,” he breathes, and then he’s leaning forward again, pressing his lips to Jeongguk’s carefully, as if he’s as delicate as a dream. “Okay, bun. Whatever you want.”

 

They kiss for a long time. Yoongi pushes him into the pillows, legs straddling his waist, palms a firm pressure against his chest. He presses kisses against Jeongguk’s mouth like they’re gifts, sweet and unassuming and soft, an easy acquiescence. It’s tentative at first, hesitance in every brush of their lips, but eventually Yoongi is bending forward, searching for a year’s worth of lost kisses.

 

 Jeongguk is keening beneath him by the time Yoongi pulls away, fingers curled into the hem of his shirt, lips parted and eyes shut.

 

“You’re so gorgeous,” Yoongi murmurs, cupping his face, thumbs drawing patterns into the sharp bones of Jeongguk’s cheeks. Jeongguk shudders beneath him, back bending forwards in a graceful arch, and he can hear Yoongi’s sharp intake of breath, feel him shiver.

 

“Please,” Jeongguk mutters. He doesn’t quite know what he’s asking for, but Yoongi is looking at him with dark, narrow eyes, cut sharp at the edges. “Please, hyung, I want - I want -”

 

“What do you want?” Yoongi asks, dragging his nose along the curve of Jeongguk’s throat, across his cheek.

 

“You,” Jeongguk whispers, easy and quick, words falling from his mouth in a litany of pleas.”Just you, hyung, please. You take care of me best.”

 

Yoongi shudders, letting out a heavy breath of want, fingers burning unsaid words into Jeongguk’s waist. “Yeah,”  he agrees, raspy and a little low. “Yeah, okay.”

 

and then he’s moving, grabbing a pair of silk scarves and a black blindfold from the closet, footsteps quick, breaths even. Jeongguk watches Yoongi as he ties the indigo silk  into pretty knots, loops the material over and around Jeongguk’s wrist, touch methodical, work neat.

 

He keens when Yoongi brings out the blindfold, a quiet, breathy sound, straining against his bonds; they’re loose, easy to break, but Jeongguk doesn’t want to break them. All he wants is Yoongi.

 

He tells Yoongi as much. “Hyung, please, I just - I want to see you.”

 

Yoongi cocks his head to the side, hair falling languidly across his forehead, dusky in the low light. He’s thoughtful, eyes dark, shadows dancing across the delicate planes of his face, the sharp line of his jaw, echoed in the curve of his throat. “You’ll listen to me?”

 

“Yes,” Jeongguk nods, biting his lip earnestly. “Yes, hyung, I’ll listen to you. Always.”

 

Carefully, Yoongi thumbs across Jeongguk’s cheek, the faded scar there, the curve of his bone. “What was that?” his voice is quiet, undeniably firm, two questions in one.

 

“Sir,” Jeongguk breathes, turning his face to nudge into Yoongi’s palm, skin warm, familiar. “I’ll listen to you, sir.”

 

Jeongguk can hear Yoongi suck in a harsh breath, but he keeps his eyes close, face buried in Yoongi’s palm. Yoongi’s legs are straddling his waist, and when he bends, he nips at Jeongguk’s ear, catching the piercings there with his teeth, wet and warm and a hint of want.

 

“I  missed you so much,” Yoongi admits, words spilling from his lips like candied ice, nose brushing along the line of Jeongguk’s throat.

 

Jeongguk doesn’t say anything, but he does unfurl his fingers, pulling gently at his bonds until Yoongi takes his hand, palm warm and touch familiar. Their fingers thread together, and Jeongguk can feel Yoongi’s rings against his skin, the dips and curves of his knuckles, the narrow spaces between his veins.

 

He rubs his thumb across Yoongi’s skin, twisting until he can press a kiss against his palm, a whisper of skin and want and not much else.  A shudder runs through Yoongi and he reaches forward to tentatively brush a hand through Jeongguk’s hair, parting the strands, watching as he bends into the touch, scarves straining skin.

 

“Stay still,” Yoongi murmurs, moving until he’s straddling Jeongguk’s waist again. Jeongguk listens to him, settling into the pillows, a familiar ache building in his arms, the tense muscles of his shoulders. “You’re okay?”

 

“I’m fine,” Jeongguk answers, a little too curt. He stiffens when Yoongi raises an eyebrow, the cut of his jaw tense, his fingers curled; a subtle indication.

 

“Impatient, aren’t you?”

 

Jeongguk’s voice is small. “I-”

 

“Did I say you could talk?” Yoongi’s voice is quiet, eyes unreadable. Carefully, Jeongguk shakes his head no, chin low, eyes down.

 

Yoongi sighs, picking idly at his nails, a little bored, a little mean. “Dumb,” he mutters, head tilted at an angle, cat-like eyes narrowed in mock disappointment. “You’re just a dumb little baby, Jeongguk-ah, huh? Too stupid to even follow a few directions.”

 

Jeongguk mewls , bucking when Yoongi pats his cheek, features  condescending. His words are mean, but there’s warmth to them, a certain kind of care weaved between the satoori stained syllables, the low rasp. Jeongguk aches  with it.

 

Yoongi is watching him carefully when Jeongguk meets his gaze, eyes full of unasked questions, lips parted and unsure. I’m fine , Jeongguk nods, letting himself grin a little, the corner of his mouth curling upwards. Keep going.

 

Yoongi relaxes, sitting back on his haunches, his hand tracing a delicate path from Jeongguk’s cheek to his lips, across the curve of his cupid’s bow. Jeongguk mewls when Yoongi taps his jaw, taking his fingers in and suckling, soft and wet and warm, a different kind of ache bubbling in his stomach.

 

“Go on,” Yoongi murmurs, shoving his fingers farther down Jeongguk’s throat, rubbing against his tongue until Jeongguk is gagging, spit slicking his lips, staining his chin. “You like having my fingers down your throat that much, Jeongguk?”

 

Warmth bubbles in Jeongguk’s stomach. Yoongi is watching him, lips pursed, head tilted at an angle, intense and bored and a little uncaring. “Answer me.” he slaps Jeongguk’s thigh, the thick muscle jiggling, hints of red blooming under Yoongi’s touch.

 

Jeongguk nods feverishly, hips kicking when Yoongi slaps him again, a little harder this time, leaving violets behind instead of roses. “Fucking slut,” Yoongi mutters, words distasteful. “Suck.”

 

Carefully, Jeongguk sucks, the pads of Yoongi’s fingers heavy on his tongue. He tastes of skin and sugar and warmth, breaths shallow, lips red, eyes dark. There’s a heaviness building in Jeongguk’s head, a distant, hazy feeling, and it’s achingly familiarly, addictive and a little bit like a drug.

 

“Sir-”

 

Yoongi hushes him with a long, drawn out kiss, and Jeongguk can feel the question against his lips, hear it when Yoongi murmurs in his ear. “Where are you, bun?”

 

“Gone,” Jeongguk whispers, a little fucked out, dazed and warm and comfortable. “I’m gone, hyung.”

 

Yoongi doesn’t reprimand him for the slip up. Instead, he breathes a sigh of relief, pressing a kiss to Jeongguk’s cheek, legs still wrapped around his waist. “I’ll take care of you,” he promises, voice quiet and familiar, heavy as an anchor.

 

and he does. He turns softer, words sweeter, fingers dancing across Jeongguk’s skin with unrestrained delicacy. Jeongguk feels loose limbed and easy, lets out soft sighs when Yoongi presses butterfly kisses against his stomach, the bruises by his hips, his thighs.

 

“You’re fine,” Yoongi breathes, nipping at the sharp jut of Jeongguk’s hip, thumb pressed into the divot there. “You’re just fine, bun, hm?”

 

Jeongguk listens to him, the steadiness of his voice, the low, rough syllables, his heavy accent and his familiar satoori. “I’m fine,” Jeongguk agrees, and when tips forward to kiss Yoongi, he feels it in his bones again, the desperate, aching kind of love he’s missed for so long.

 

It doesn’t take much after that. Yoongi presses praises into his skin, works his cock in quick, wet strokes, thumbing over the head before dipping forward, taking Jeongguk into his mouth with familiar ease. It’s wet and warm and when he cants his hips, Yoongi places a hand on his waist, a gentle warning, eyes dark and unreadable.

 

“You can come,” he murmurs, pulling off, lips slick with precome. “But you have to be still, yeah?”

 

Jeongguk nods eagerly, crying out a little when Yoongi tweaks his nipple. He’s sensitive there, can come just from a half hour of teasing, and it’s a little mean of Yoongi to take him into his mouth again, tonguing against the slit, one hand still playing with a nipple.

 

It’s too much, the warm heat, Yoongi’s heavy eyes, his teasing touches and his quiet praises. He sucks, soft and wet and sweet, and Jeongguk comes with a quiet whine, bucking up, head back, muscles strained, body tense. Yoongi presses his hips down again and works him through it, pulling off with a wet pop when Jeongguk keens.

 

“You’re so pretty, baby.” he tells Jeongguk, lips bleeding sin, trailing feather light touches over his body, breathless. “So good for me, gukkie, you know that?”

 

Jeongguk lets out a nose, soft and small, from the back of his throat. “Really?” he asks, peering at Yoongi hesitantly, feeling a little overwhelmed suddenly. “I - I was good?”

 

“Better than good,” Yoongi murmurs, moving quickly to untie the scarfs, blue silk and red lips and faint bruises. “The best.”

 

Jeongguk sighs when they come undone. His body feels loose, his head heavy, and when Yoongi takes him into his lap, he goes easily. “Tell me again.” Jeongguk says quietly, begs almost. “Please.”

 

“Hmm?”

 

“Tell me that I was good for you. That - that you love me.” Still , is what Jeongguk doesn’t add. Tell me that you love me, still.

 

Yoongi pulls back and looks at him. His eyes are careful, delicate features lost, lips parted, head tilted.

 

He’s quiet.

 

He’s quiet for so long, that Jeongguk can feel the tears pricking at the back of his eyes, humiliation churning low in his stomach. “It’s fine,” Jeongguk says finally, moving off of Yoongi’s lap, ready to leave. “It’s fine, hyung, don’t worry about it, I wasn’t-”

 

“I love you.”

 

Jeongguk pauses. “What?”

 

“I love you,” Yoongi repeats, voice soft and low and sure. He looks up, eyes glassy, a hand swiping halfheartedly across his face, and distantly, Jeongguk realizes he’s crying.

 

Yoongi is crying.

 

“Hyung,” Jeongguk whispers, and then he’s back in Yoongi’s lap, cupping his face, thumbing away the tears. “Yoongi, baby, please, I didn’t mean - I didn’t want -”

 

“I love you so fucking much,” Yoongi chokes out, and he buries his face in Jeongguk’s shoulder, breaths shaky and uneven. “ God, Jeongguk, you don’t - you don’t seem to get it, do you? I’m always - I’m always going to love you. You keep pushing and pulling and shoving me away, and it still doesn’t matter, I just - one word from you, and that’s it. I’m right back where I fucking started.”

 

“I’m sorry,” Jeongguk whispers. “I’m sorry, hyung. I didn’t mean for this to happen, I just - I just -”

 

“You just what?”

 

“I just missed you.” Jeongguk finishes miserably. His hands are wet with tears, heavy with guilt, stained with mistakes.

 

“Yeah,” Yoongi finally mutters, burrowing deeper into Jeongguk’s shoulder, words muffled. “Yeah, I missed you, too, bun.”

 

It’s quiet after that, still except for the sound of their breathing. Jeongguk curls into Yoongi’s lap, brushes a hand through his hair, rocks them back and forth, comforting and apologetic and full of desperation. “I’m sorry,” he murmurs, again and again and again, until his voice is hoarse. “I’m sorry, hyung. I’m sorry, okay? I’m so sorry.”

 

“It’s okay,” Yoongi finally mumbles, and when Jeongguk looks at him, he finds the barest hint of a smile. It isn’t full, doesn’t even come close to reaching Yoongi’s eyes, but it’s there; it’s a start. “It’s okay, bun, yeah? You’re here now, and that - that’s all that matters.”

 

“I’m sorry,” Jeongguk whispers again, just for good measure.

 

This time, Yoongi laughs. It’s quiet, wrought through with tears and sorrow and bittersweet regret, but it’s a laugh and it’s Yoongi’s and it’s been so long since Jeongguk heard it, he almost forgot what it sounded like. “You’re fine,” Yoongi whispers, words barely audible, all kinds of ruined beauty.

 

(Jeongguk wants .)

 

“You’re staying, right?”

 

“What?”

 

Yoongi draws mindless patterns over the bare skin of Jeongguk’s back, a sweet, fleeting touch. “Tonight. You’ll stay, yeah?”

 

Carefully, Jeongguk curls his fingers into the hem of Yoongi’s shirt.He’d pulled the sheets around him in a half hearted attempt at decency, and the material pools around him now, falls softly over the curves of his body. “Can I?”

 

Yoongi tweaks his nose. “You can,” he says, laughing a little when Jeongguk makes a face. “And you are.”

 

Warmth bubbles in Jeongguk’s chest when Yoongi gently nudges him from his lap. He moves and watches curiously as Yoongi shuffles around, coming back with a pair of sweatpants and a loose white shirt, the kind Jeongguk has at least ten of.  

 

“Shower?” Yoongi asks, and when Jeongguk shakes his head, his features turn disapproving. “Bun, hey, I know we didn’t get that messy but still-”

 

“Bubble bath.” Jeongguk interrupts shyly. He takes a pillow into his arms and clutches it tightly, peeking at Yoongi hesitantly. “Can we take a bubble bath instead?”

 

It takes a second for Yoongi to bite his lip, nodding quietly, the corner of his mouth curled upwards. “Of course we can.”

 

He drops the clothes on the bed before taking Jeongguk’s wrists in his hands, pulling him up and stumbling back when Jeongguk falls into him, the sheets twisted around his legs. “Fuck,” he mutters, but he’s laughing again, all quiet and warm and throaty.

 

Jeongguk watches him, endeared. Their hands are threaded together, Yoongi’s fingers long and thin and pretty against his, and Jeongguk’s missed him so much, it aches.

 

“Hyung,” he murmurs, hushed. “Hyung, c’mon, it - it’s late and I wanna sleep.” With you, is what he doesn't add. I want to sleep with you.

 

“Okay,” Yoongi agrees, and then he takes Jeongguk by the hand again, pulling him into the bathroom easily.

 

There’s a marble tub in the corner, and Jeongguk  settles on the counter as Yoongi turns on the tap, steam curling from the water and clinging to their skin. It’s comforting to watch Yoongi work; he fiddles with the taps, takes four different bottles of bubble bath before carefully picking two of them out. “Cherry Blossoms or Sweetpea?”

 

Jeongguk grins, a little sleepy. “Cherry Blossoms.”

 

The room is warm, the mirror foggy, and when Jeongguk and Yoongi stumble in, bubbles froth around them. Yoongi’s chest is firm against his back, and Jeongguk lets out a quiet, pleased sigh when he begins kneading his shoulders, focusing on the pressure points and unraveling the stress.

 

Yoongi’s hands are gentle; they always are, his touch delicate, fingers fleeting, and even now, he rubs away the ache in Jeongguk’s shoulders with warm, firm pressure. “Okay?” he asks, breath playing across the shell of Jeongguk’s ear, words soft.

 

Jeongguk yawns, quiet and tired but pleased. “Better than okay,” he murmurs sleepily, turning his head to press his lips to the curve of Yoongi’s jaw. “Always better with you.”   

 

It’s easy like this, to kiss Yoongi. Jeongguk is settled between his legs, back to chest, lips to jaw, and all he has to do is twist a bit, lean forward, press their lips together. Yoongi sighs into it; his lips move across Jeongguk’s gently, warmth and trust and petal-soft.

 

The water laps at their ribs, sloshes and spills out of the tub whenever they move, but Jeongguk can’t quite find it in himself to care. Yoongi’s skin is slippery wet under his touch, the rise and fall of his chest steady, and when Jeongguk’s lips latch around his nipple, he groans.

 

It’s a low sound, feathered out and barely audible. Jeongguk hums, suckling softly, twirling his tongue around the dusky tip, Yoongi’s hand placed on his hip to steady him. “Careful,” he warns, but it’s a little too strained, a little too breathless, to be taken seriously.

 

Jeongguk kisses the sharp jut of Yoongi’s collarbone, dragging his lips across the damp skin, poppies blooming under his touch. “Hyung,” he mumbles, tongue darting out, catching the drops of water staining Yoongi’s skin. He moves his hand, tentatively wrapping his fingers around the length of Yoongi’s cock, a loose hold. “Wanna - wanna make you feel good, hyung. Can I?”

 

Yoongi shudders, heavy breathing and warm cheeks. “Fuck,” he mutters, head tipping back when Jeongguk’s grip tightens, the flushed head peeking out teasingly. “Yeah, bun, just - fuck, give me a warning next time.”

 

“ ‘mm,” Jeongguk lets his eyes flutter shut when Yoongi slides a a leg in between his, rocking his hips languidly, easily.

 

He drags his hand along the length of Yoongi’s cock, letting go to watch as it bobs above the surface of the water, red and flushed and pretty. It’s thick, not too long, heavy in his hand, and when Jeongguk runs his thumb over the slit, Yoongi groans, head tipping back to rest against the marble.

 

He’s panting, a hand still on Jeongguk’s hip, fingers curled around the bone. “Fuck, Jeongguk, don’t tease-

 

“ ‘m not,” Jeongguk mumbles. Yoongi sucks in a harsh breath when Jeongguk’s lips latch onto his shoulder, words muffled against his skin, teeth nipping lazily across the bone. “You’re just - you’re so pretty, hyung. God, I missed this.”

 

Yoongi doesn’t say anything, but his grips tightens, fingers digging into the soft skin of Jeongguk’s waist. Jeongguk moans, a quiet, tentative sound, and he rocks his hips against Yoongi’s thigh again, hand wrapped firmly around his cock.

 

The drag is slow, achingly tight, wet and slippery with all the water between them. Jeongguk takes his time, working his hand along the thick length, alternating rhythms, biting gently at Yoongi’s shoulder whenever he switches gears.

 

It doesn’t take too long for Yoongi to come. He tips his head back, hissing quietly through his teeth when Jeongguk tightens his grip again, jerking him off faster, easier. Yoongi’s cock is heavy in his hand, coloured an angry red, and he comes with a muttered curse, a string of expletives falling from his lips.

 

Jeongguk jerks him through it, keeping his hand steady, grip tight. He rocks his own hips a little faster against Yoongi’s thigh, letting out quiet moans and heavy breaths, leaving behind a puddle of drool when he finally, finally finishes.   

 

The bubbles are gone by the time they get out. It’s quiet between them, the comfortable kind where they move around each other with familiar ease, fleeting touches and warm glances. Yoongi pushes him into the shower after he drains the tub, rubbing shampoo into Jeongguk’s hair with quick, practised fingers.

 

Jeongguk hums as Yoongi works, keeping his head low, back bent.He rinses his hair while he washes Yoongi’s, head tipped back under the warm spray, Yoongi’s back to his chest, blonde hair rough under his touch.

 

“C’mon,” Yoongi whispers, gently nudging Jeongguk awake a few minutes later, turning off the shower and grabbing a towel from the rack. It’s white, thick and soft and comfortable, and Yoongi rubs him dry methodically, passing over his arms and his legs and even his hair, leaving him with a damp, sleepy grin.

 

Jeongguk shuffles after him, fingers curled into the hem of Yoongi’s shirt.  He feels drowsy, warm and happy and comfortable, and when Yoongi hands him his clothes, he doesn’t do much other than murmur a quiet thanks. The sweatpants are soft, the shirt loose, and he grins again, a little bigger this time.

 

“Hyung,” he mumbles, ambling over and pulling Yoongi into him, a warm hug. “You still - you were still buying them like this? For me?”

 

Yoongi lets out a quiet huff before gently pushing him towards the bed. Jeongguk falls into the covers easily, taking Yoongi with him, throwing the covers back until he can thread their limbs together comfortably.

 

“Yeah,” Yoongi admits eventually, after Jeongguk’s buried his face in the crook of Yoongi’s neck, breathing him in, cherry blossoms and sugar and sleep. “I was still doing that for you, bun. Just in case you decided you ever wanted to come back.”

 

His voice is quiet, a little sad, and Jeongguk doesn’t say anything, doesn’t have the energy to, but he does tuck into Yoongi’s side, lips pressed to his jaw. He can feel it when Yoongi reaches over him to turn off the lamp, his hands steady, touch sure. “I’m back,” Jeongguk whispers, hushed. He moves closer, tangling his legs with Yoongi’s, aching for Yoongi to believe him. “I’m not leaving again, hyung, promise. I love you.”

 

Yoonti turns to face him, hand finding its way to Jeongguk’s cheek even in the darkness. His eyes are earnest, voice quiet, words sincere. “I know,” Yoongi whispers, lips pressing into his throat, a butterfly kiss. “I know, bun. I never doubted that.”

 

And it’s like this, at a little past three in the morning in a bare bedroom, that Jeongguk finds his way back to Yoongi.

 

He doesn’t ever want to leave again.