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Yoongi has never been in love before, but he thinks it must be a lot like piano keys under his fingertips. Gentle pushes create sound, and with enough patience and effort, melodies form. Love, he imagines, is kind of like that too. Hesitant at first, because certain combinations don't feel right under one's touch, but beautiful once it's figured out.

As he sits at the keyboard in his tiny studio, he wonders what keys to press to create love. He wonders if love is even something that can just be conjured up, or if it's meant to be stumbled upon instead.

He loses himself in chords for a little while; tune after tune spilling from his fingers so effortlessly that he's left with a light, airy feeling deep in his chest. Love is easy, he decides.

A knock on the door- three sharp taps- sends him nearly jolting off of the piano bench. He tries to calm his racing heart, and calls out, “come in.”

He's not expecting to see Jeon Jeongguk, but Bangtan’s always had a way of surprising him. It'd only taken him a couple of months of living with the boys to pick up on their quirks, but even still, they often do things that he doesn't quite see coming. Like treating him as a friend. Like caring about his well-being.

“Hyung?” Jeongguk slowly peeks his head inside. He is the epitome of a fifteen year old- scrawny, awkward, and tiny. Yoongi gets an overwhelming urge to take care of him. To make sure he's okay, always.

“What is it, Jeongguk?” He asks, because he wouldn't be himself if he didn't have a cool exterior on all the time, “I'm busy.”

He's not. Really, he's just avoiding being stuck in a dorm with Jimin and Taehyung who, last he saw, were sprinting through the kitchen area, playing tag of sorts. He can't handle disorganisation even at the best of times, so with a pounding headache and tired limbs, he set off for the studio.

He just wants some quiet time- some peace, all to himself. He wants to take some deep, steadying breaths and desperately try to remind himself that this, all of it, is good. That it's what he's always wanted.

Jeongguk takes a step into the studio and closes the door behind him. Yoongi sees, now, that he's got food in his hands. He looks a little nervous as he extends his arms, holding the meal out to Yoongi.

“You've been in here for a long time,” he says, hands shaking as Yoongi goes to grab the food from him, “I thought you might be hungry.”

It's a nice gesture. Yoongi can't help but feel a little warm, straight down to his toes because Jeongguk had avidly thought of him. It's almost like they're friends. Like Yoongi is not socially inept, and Jeongguk is not painfully shy. For a split second, it feels like they've known each other for a long time.

“Thank you,” he says, finding his voice after a while. He sets the food down on the desk, and when he notices Jeongguk seems reluctant to leave, asks, “did you need something else, or..?”

The tips of Jeongguk's ears glow red; an endearing quality. He doesn't meet Yoongi’s gaze, instead choosing to stare down at his sneakers. He's practically swimming in a too-big sweater and basketball shorts. He looks so small . An exact representation of his age.

“Have you ever had a crush before?” He eventually asks. Yoongi almost doesn't catch it at first, with the way Jeongguk practically whispers. But then he sees his embarrassed gaze; the way he seemingly shrinks in on himself, and he knows. Yoongi has been here before.

“Sit down, Jeongguk,” he says, gesturing towards the sofa pressed against the far wall. The room is small enough that they're barely a few feet apart, “Of course I've had a crush before. Who's this about, anyway?”

Jeongguk seems to find the end of his sweater interesting, as he plays with that for a while without actually answering Yoongi’s question. But then he sighs, buries his face in his hands, and lets out a broken, pitiful groan. Yoongi almost feels sorry for him.

“Can't tell you,” he says, and then, “But he- she! But she-”

“Jeongguk,” Yoongi cuts him off with a little wave of his hand. The kid looks on the verge of imploding as he adds, “I don't care who it is, you know.”

Yoongi guesses that it's difficult, probably, to tuck one's sexuality away, to bury it so deeply that it takes more than a couple sets of hands to dig it up. He never had that issue- has been sleeping with both genders since he was old enough to know what sex was. Old enough to know that he wanted it.

But he sees that Jeongguk is trying. Sees that he's doing his best to bypass the stuttering and maybe get some actual life advice.

Yoongi is not the best person to give it to him.

“Hyung,” he starts after a moment, voice barely above a whisper, “It hurts. My chest hurts when I think about him. What do you think that means?”

He looks into Yoongi's eyes, so utterly desperate for some kind of answer. Some explanation that Yoongi can't give him because he doesn't know. Doesn't know what that feeling means, but it doesn't sound easy, like he imagines love to be. It sounds painful.

“I think,” he starts slowly, unsure of where he's going with it, but determined to try, anyway, because Jeongguk deserves that much, at the very least. He's a good kid, and as of right now, he deserves the world. He just doesn't realize it yet.

“I think,” he continues, “that you're going to cycle through lots of crushes in your life, and they'll all start to make more sense as you go.”

Yoongi isn't sure what Jeongguk wants from him; doesn't know whether to give the bitter truth: crushes don't last, or tell some comforting lie. So he does neither, instead settling for a vague bit of security, draped around his shoulders like a warm blanket.

“Thanks, hyung,” Jeongguk replies after a moment. He's smiling faintly, but his eyes look hollow. For the first time, Yoongi sees himself reflected in something other than a mirror, and his skin burns. Is this what it's like to hurt?

Jeongguk gets up from the sofa, and takes hesitant steps towards the door. His hand is on the knob when he hesitates for just a moment, so quick Yoongi almost doesn't catch it, and says, “Don't forget to eat your food before it gets cold.”

He's gone a second later, and Yoongi’s left to wonder if love really is like the flow of piano keys beneath his sure fingers, or in fact, something else entirely.

---

It's a few weeks later that Yoongi starts to pick up on the things going on around him. He's typically an observant person, choosing to stay back and watch rather than participate. But he's been so caught up in all of the preparations for their debut that he hardly picks up on Jeongguk’s odd behavior until he's walking right into it. Literally.

“Sorry,” he mumbles sleepily, knocking shoulders with the flustered looking maknae. His hair is wet, fresh out of the shower, Yoongi guesses, considering he's leaving the bathroom.

“Hyung,” Jeongguk squeaks, voice cracking. He sounds nervous , and Yoongi isn't sure why. He's too tired to wrap his head around anything but his dry throat. Right; he'd gotten up to get a glass of water.

“Why are you showering so late? It's like three in the morning,” Yoongi grumbles, rubbing at his sleepy eyes, “We've got dance practice tomorrow, you know.”

“I know,” Jeongguk nods, looking down at his feet, “I just needed a shower, but everyone else was awake earlier, and I didn't want to bother anyone-”

“Woah, stop,” Yoongi cuts him off, “You aren't bothering anyone. Shower at a normal time, kid.”

He's about to walk away, about to leave Jeongguk to do whatever the hell he does this early in the morning, when he hears the telltale grumbling of someone’s stomach. And it isn't his, so-

“Are you hungry?” He asks, glancing back at Jeongguk, whose cheeks are pink, even under the moon’s dim lighting.

“N-No,” the younger boy stammers, to which Yoongi rolls his eyes.

He grabs his hand, and tugs him along with a little, “Come on, kid. Let's make you some food.”

Let it be said that Yoongi is no chef. He can't whip up a meal out of the most random ingredients, like Seokjin can, but he is good at one thing in particular; kimchi ramyun. He makes it for Jimin a lot, and he has a feeling that Jeongguk might like to too.

The silence surrounding them is nothing short of awkward as Yoongi desperately tries to focus on cooking, but it seems nearly impossible with the way Jeongguk is hovering behind, clearly unsure of whether to sit down, or help.

“Grab the vegetable oil, will you?” He asks, to fill the awkward silence, and Jeongguk hurries off to do just that. He seems to be grateful that Yoongi’s finally given him some sort of instruction, so they continue on like that- with Jeongguk gathering ingredients, while Yoongi cooks.

The ramyun gets done relatively quickly, and Jeongguk sits at the table and scarfs it down so fast he burns his throat. Yoongi smiles a little, barely there and slightly hidden behind sleepiness, but fond nonetheless.

“When was the last time you ate, kid?” Yoongi asks, unable to recall a recent meal where Jeongguk graced them with his presence, “You've got to take better care of yourself.”

Jeongguk's face flickers, transforms into something sad for a split second, before he's staring back at his ramyun. He looks like he wants to speak, so Yoongi waits patiently. He's got an abundance of that right now: patience. Hasn't spent it all up on Jimin, or Taehyung yet.

“I know how to take care of myself, hyung,” Jeongguk murmurs after a while, “Been doing it for a long time.”

“Right,” Yoongi nods, leaning back against the kitchen counter. His arms fold over his chest, and he shifts from foot to foot as he tosses words around in his head. Tries to figure out what to say next.

“Well,” he continues, “sometimes it's okay to let other people take care of you, too.”

Jeongguk scoffs and rolls his eyes, but reddens when he catches the way Yoongi is looking at him. Raised brows, and a head tilt that makes the younger boy cower in on himself.

“Yeah, I guess,” he eventually murmurs, jumping up from the table to place his bowl in the sink. Maybe to intentionally avoid Yoongi’s hard stare. Regardless, something heavy settles in Yoongi's stomach.

So he says, “hey, come with me,” and pushes himself away from the counter. He doesn't look to see if Jeongguk is following him, but soft footsteps are audible, in the otherwise silent dorm.

The living area is a mess from earlier; Taehyung and Jimin had managed to rope Namjoon into building blanket forts with them, and so castles made of sheets and pillows had been formed, and only partially deconstructed before bed. Yoongi shoves some of the pillows aside, and plops down on the sofa. Jeongguk seems hesitant at first, but eventually settles at the opposite end.

It's quiet for a long time, mostly because Yoongi doesn't know what to say. Only knows that Jeongguk seems lonely, and he remembers feeling like that. Still something feels like that. Emptiness weighs heavy on his mind more often than not, and he wonders if such a potent feeling plagues Jeongguk too.

He's content to just sit in comfortable silence for a while because sometimes, it's the presence of another human being that helps more than actual words, but then Jeongguk's clearing his throat to catch Yoongi’s attention.

“Hyung,” he breathes, tugging at the bottom of his t-shirt. He looks infinitely smaller like this- truly an accurate depiction of a child as he whispers, “do you ever feel like you don't belong?”

And, well. Yoongi isn't sure what to say to that. His brain screams out, “ yes, yes, that's all I feel,” while his chest contorts painfully. An uneasy feeling settles beneath his skin; it picks away at him until there is only guilt, vexation and sorrow. Until there is only him, in Jeongguk's shoes three years ago, but also still there now. Just learning to hide it better.

So, with a low sigh, he says, “All the time, kid,” and leaves those words to wallow in the sharp air between them, beating and beating until Yoongi’s eyes start to feel as tired as his mind does.

He's vaguely aware of Jeongguk pulling a sheet over him as he lulls in and out of consciousness. Silence is seemingly their newfound best friend- something for them to share together. Yoongi’s chest warms at the thought of having someone to share something with . He wonders if Jeongguk feels the same way as the younger boy drifts to sleep right next to him.

---

Yoongi has never been much of a dancer. He struggles more throughout their choreographies than he's willing to admit, and quietly seethes when Jeongguk, Jimin and Hoseok seemingly pick it up on the first try. It's infuriating not to get something immediately, though he knows that that's what practice is for. He can't expect to automatically perfect a skill with hardly any effort.

Knowing that doesn't keep him from sulking, though. They're taking a short break from practicing their We Are Bulletproof pt. 2 routine, and Yoongi is starting to despise the song just as much as the dance as it runs on an endless loop around them, blasted over and over again. It drives him crazy- sends his mood spiraling, and the fact that everyone seems to be enjoying themselves except him makes his blood boil even more, though he doesn't know why.

He wants his fellow band members to be happy. Wants them to have fun with the choreography, and the songs, and all of the promoting, which seems endless at this point. He hates it when they're sad, though he certainly doesn't show it. Taehyung cried last week because he was feeling homesick, and Yoongi felt nauseous upon just hearing it.

Maybe, he thinks, the problem lies within himself. Maybe he just has trouble finding amusement out of things like this. He isn't like Namjoon in the sense that he doesn’t always see the point of everything they do, or Hoseok, who wants to be better not only for himself, but for everyone else too. Yoongi is selfish, he has always put his likes and dislikes above those of his team’s, and he hates himself for that.

Jeongguk takes a seat next to him, jarring him from his thoughts. He studies the boy- sweaty from so much practice, but still smiling. Yoongi notes that Jeongguk has slowly seemed to open up more to the others. He sometimes watches movies with Taehyung, or observes Namjoon’s songwriting process, and it isn't much, no, but it's something. Maybe the extra attention has made Jeongguk feel less lonely.

“The crew brought us sandwiches,” he says, handing a tinfoil-wrapped sub to Yoongi, “here's yours.”

Yoongi takes it, sets it down in front of him. He could have very easily gone over there and gotten it. The crew probably thinks he's ungrateful now, a brat, in layman's terms-

“Seokjin hyung says you look upset,” Jeongguk says, chewing around a mouthful of food. Yoongi scrunches up his nose, he wants to yell at him to swallow before speaking, but he doesn't get a chance to before the kid is adding, “But you look the same as you always do, I think. Grumpy.”

He's only joking, Yoongi knows this by the tiny, mischievous smile that graces his lips. Jeongguk is a tease in the worst sense, and he only seems to ever pick on Yoongi, as if he's not afraid of the repercussions or something. As if he doesn't need to be.

“But,” his smile drops, and suddenly he looks serious for a sixteen year old, and maybe a little embarrassed too, as he murmurs, “if you are upset, and you want to talk-”

“No thanks, kid,” Yoongi says, cutting him off quickly. He waves a hand, doesn't meet Jeongguk's eyes as he chooses to unwrap his sandwich instead, and tacks on, “I don't do the whole ‘talking’ thing.”

Jeongguk merely nods, staring down at his sub, but he of all people should understand. He clearly doesn’t do the whole talking thing either. Well, not about anything too serious, at least. For a moment, Yoongi is worried that maybe he hurt his feelings, when Jeongguk finally speaks up again.

“Well, we could do the whole silence thing, then,” he says, and he nudges Yoongi’s shoulder in a way that could be subconscious, but probably isn’t, “if that might help you.”

While it's true that Yoongi does prefer silence over commotion- the others have figured that out by now- he doesn't want to hold Jeongguk back from deepening his friendship with Jimin, who seemingly adores him, or Hoseok, who coddles him, or even Seokjin, who's slowly teaching him to cook. It's good that he's talking to them more, acting as a team member should. Yoongi doesn't want to take that away from him, he is about to say as much when-

He looks over at Jeongguk, who's finished half his sandwich and is studying Yoongi with an intent expression, full of poorly concealed determination. Jeongguk, who is both the shyest kid Yoongi has ever met, and a storm waiting to take hold. Waiting to rip apart buildings, and shake entire worlds. And Yoongi has always, always been selfish. So, he thinks that maybe he'll keep this little bit of disaster for himself.

“Okay,” he finally says, knee nudging slightly against Jeongguk's, and it's only then that he notices how close they're sitting- how warm Jeongguk is, pressed to his side. With a disdainful shrug, he steals Jeongguk's words right from his mouth, uttering, “Let's do the whole silence thing, then.”

And silence, he thinks, as he picks at his sandwich with Jeongguk next to him, has never felt so welcoming before.

---

Jeongguk, Yoongi has come to find out, is a relatively calm kid. Sure, he gets a little hyper when hanging around Taehyung, and maybe sometimes Hoseok, but overall, he’s quiet. He’s got a certain demeanor about him that just screams timid, and there’s something comforting in that.

He’s sensitive, too. Emotionally, Yoongi thinks that maybe he isn’t as open as he should be. He lets things get to him easily, though it’s most likely not intentional, and it’s worrying, when he breaks down to tears over a simple joke, or a few questions.

They’re sitting around, watching movies one night when it happens. It’s a rare evening off- no dance practices, or vocal lessons. The dorm is occupied with just the seven of them, surrounded by blankets and pillows and takeout. There’s hardly enough space in their living room for all of them, so while Hoseok, Namjoon, and Seokjin are squeezed onto the sofa, Yoongi, Jimin, Jeongguk, and Taehyung are left to the floor. It’s endearing, really, in the sense that both Namjoon and Hoseok had offered to give up their seat for Yoongi, but he casually refused, and claimed a spot next to the maknae.

At first, they are actually watching the movie, but some odd comment from Taehyung sidetracks them, and they go from relatively quiet to deafening loud in just a few moments.

“I’m only saying that this entire thing is so unrealistic!” Taehyung exclaims, throwing his hands up a little.

“No, no,” Seokjin shakes his head. “Some people don’t need vocal training, Taehyungie. Some people just have natural talent.”

“Are you saying I don’t -”

“Tae has a point, though,” Jimin cuts in. “He shows up at this girl’s house, sings to her, and she takes him back, just like that! No one’s voice is that nice.”

“Yah, Jeonggukkie’s is!” Hoseok says, sunshine smile flashing towards the kid sitting on the floor. “I bet he could win a girl over with his voice.”

Yoongi glances at Jeongguk and catches the blush that floods his face, spreading warm all the way up to the tips of his ears. He shakes his head, and absolutely refuses to meet anyone’s gaze as he picks at the threads of the blanket covering his lap.

Taehyung, who’s settled on the other side of him, nudges him with his elbow and says, “Ah, Gukkie has the best voice.”

“I do not,” Jeongguk protests, though it’s so quiet Yoongi almost misses what he says.

Jimin, persistent, says, “You have a beautiful voice, Guk! Sing something for us.”

“No,” Jeongguk says immediately, shaking his head.

But that doesn’t seem to be enough for the other boys, as Seokjin huffs and whines loudly, “Oh, come on, kid! You’re no fun. Sing us a song.”

“I don’t want to,” Jeongguk says, a little more sternly this time. Yoongi watches, sees something in him breaking as he meets the eldest hyung’s eyes, before quickly looking away.

And then it gets worse after that, as Jimin starts singing Jeongguk’s part in one of their songs, changing the pitch of his voice to try to match the younger boy’s. Taehyung giggles and joins in, and of course, Hoseok is next to follow. Namjoon and Seokjin merely laugh, and it’s all fine for a second. They’re only joking, not intentionally making fun of Jeongguk’s voice. None of that seems to matter though, as the maknae abruptly stands up from the floor and rushes to the bedroom.

The silence that fills the living room as soon as he’s gone is almost suffocating. The other boys share confused looks with one another, brows furrowing together as if they don’t understand what just happened. As if they don’t know what they’ve just done.

“Why did Jeonggukkie leave?” Taehyung asks, and Yoongi scoffs. It takes him all of five seconds to get up and head down the hallway leading towards their shared bedroom. Behind him, he hears a soft, “Where’s Yoongi hyung going?”

The bedroom door is closed when he reaches it (color him surprised), so he knocks softly, and waits for some sort of answer from the other side. For a long while, there is nothing. He feels remnants of himself at Jeongguk’s age, locked away in his own bedroom as he tries desperately to wrap his head around something that isn't music. He wants to let Jeongguk know that he understands how it feels to not get it yet, to be all too nervous to let himself shine through.

Finally he speaks up, “Jeongguk, it’s Yoongi hyung,” and though he can’t be sure, he swears he hears sniffling from inside the bedroom.

It takes a moment, but after a bit of shuffling, the door handle clicks, and the whole thing pops open. Jeongguk’s there, just peeking out of the sliver, but he doesn’t meet Yoongi’s gaze. The older man isn’t certain, but he thinks he sees his cheeks glisten when the hall lights hit him the right way. Tears are easy enough to spot out.

“Jeongguk,” he sighs, feels this weird sort of ache take over his chest, settling right where his heart ought to be, “Can I come in?”

Jeongguk seems like he wants to tell him no, but ends up deciding against it. He nods, albeit slowly, and steps aside to allow Yoongi into the bedroom.

It’s like something odd shifts between them as soon as Yoongi’s through that door. Like, everything that Jeongguk has tried so desperately to conceal behind layers of smiles and dance choreographies and late night’s spent in the practice room all crumbles, leaving him this shaking, vulnerable mess.

One second, they’re standing opposite of each other, the silence ultimately overbearing, and then the next, Jeongguk is throwing himself at Yoongi, burying his face in the older man’s chest as he lets out sickeningly heartbreaking sobs.

And Yoongi isn’t an asshole, despite what the entirety of the group may think sometimes, so he wraps his arms around the maknae as soon as he’s recovered a bit of himself, and holds onto him as tight as he can, rubbing comforting circles into the younger boy’s trembling back. In some twisted way, it feels nice to be needed like this, though that’s such a small part of him that he’s able to ignore it easily in favor of making sure Jeongguk is okay first.

“Hey, kid,” he starts, voice as calm as it can be, “breathe, okay? You’re alright.”

Jeongguk merely shudders in his arms, hiccups buried into Yoongi’s shoulder. It’s fucking difficult to get him to just calm down, though Yoongi doesn’t stop trying. He rakes a hand through Jeongguk’s hair, fingers scratching at his scalp in hopes of helping him relax.

He’s unsure of how long they stand there, clinging to each other as Jeongguk catches his breath, but eventually the maknae glances up at him with cheeks stained a pretty red. His nose, tinted the same shade, scrunches up as he wipes at his eyes.

And Yoongi feels so goddamn broken just looking at him, feels like here, right now, he wants nothing more than to wrap Jeongguk up and take care of him forever. He struggles to look after himself, and has difficulty even going about his day sometimes, but Jeongguk. He could watch over this kid for a lifetime. Keep him tucked safe under warm blankets, surrounded by music that the both of them like. He could protect him.

“Hyung,” the younger boy murmurs, as hollow as his voice alots. “I’m sorry. I-I didn’t mean to- well. I guess-”

Yoongi shakes his head, cuts him off by reaching out and snagging his wrist. Jeongguk doesn't need to apologize for being upset. He can't help his emotions.

Skinship has never been a comforting thing, not to him, but he wonders if it will help Jeongguk. As he drops his hand further and allows their fingers to link together, he thinks that all he can do is hope for the best.

The way Jeongguk squeezes at his hand like a lifeline of sorts makes Yoongi’s legs weak. He ponders just how often Jeongguk craves something like this, thinks about how much time he must waste crying alone, where no one can hear him.

He wonders if Jeongguk might've never told anyone how sad he truly is, had Yoongi not come back here in the first place.

The prospect of being so hopelessly empty all of the time is something Yoongi wishes he didn’t understand so well.

He doesn’t speak as he leads Jeongguk over to the bed, and urges him to lie down on it. The other seems reluctant to let their hands separate, but Yoongi just gives him a reassuring look and helps him under the covers.

When he’s all tucked away, blankets curled safely over him, Yoongi joins him in bed. He stays above the covers, he’s not one for cuddling, but he does let Jeongguk’s hand find his own again. Nothing needs to be said, not now. Jeongguk seems okay to rest back against the pillows, sore, puffy eyes fluttering closed.

Minutes pass, ticking through the soft in the air between them, until faint snores puff past Jeongguk’s lips. Yoongi strokes his thumb along the boy’s hand, skin so pale in comparison, and watches as he sleeps peacefully.

When he climbs out of the bed a little while later, careful enough not to stir Jeongguk, he tucks this moment close to his heart, folds it up under their rare conversations and comforting glances. And as he leaves the bedroom, closing the door with a click, and sets back out for the living room, he knows that he’ll pull it out later, unfold it, and relive it all over again.

He settles back on the carpeted floor, right between Taehyung and Jimin, and relishes in the peculiar looks they send his way.

Understanding the ins and outs of Bangtan, and all of the members’ characteristics might be a challenge for Yoongi. He’s not even near figuring out all of them, but as of a few minutes ago, he feels like he’s one step closer.

---

Between music video filmings for War of Hormone, dance practices, and constant promoting, Yoongi feels like he doesn't have a chance to just catch his goddamn breath for a second.

It all sort of builds up, bubbles hot under his skin, until he is a mess of irritation and annoyance and anger. He doesn't mean to be so harsh all of the time, but between sharing a dorm and a bedroom with seven other boys, he's a bit on edge every moment of the day. Even when it's time for a shower and he expects to be alone, there's always someone barging in on him (namely Taehyung).

It's like, everyone expects him to keep up this façade of happy, and grateful, almost constantly. If he frowns, there are a million questions thrown at him. If he says he just wants to be alone, he can't stand the worried looks they shoot his way. It's so damn suffocating.

He finally gets a break when Namjoon (bless him, really), offers to take everyone out roller skating. They're all enthusiastic, specifically Taehyung and Jimin who seem to be doing the most, as usual. They run through the little living area, bouncing off of the couch as they thank Namjoon repeatedly.

It's when Yoongi voices that he's not going, that the noise slowly dies out.

“What?” Jimin pouts, “Why not?”

“Hyung,” Taehyung sighs, jetting over to grab Yoongi's hand, “It won't be fun without you.”

Yoongi shakes his head and tugs his hand away, using it to smooth Taehyung's hair down as he says, “I don't feel well. I think I'm just going to sleep. Take lots of pictures for me, okay?”

The group seems a bit hesitant to accept Yoongi's answer, but eventually Jimin mumbles an affirmative, soft, “okay,” and they all go back to getting their shoes on, and grabbing their jackets. Seoul is chilly this time of year.

Yoongi heads back to the bedroom to rest and possibly etch out some lyrics that have been flittering through his head for a while. His notebook is right where he left it last, tucked away in the nightstand. The other boys are very respectful of his privacy, and leave it be, whether it's hidden, or left sitting out.

He falls back into one of the bunks, sitting with his back to the wall as his pen rakes across the paper. It's messy; his thoughts pour out like a steaming liquid, running everywhere. Eventually, he'll put the mess of shapes together into something meaningful.

For now, it's all nameless. Though, if Yoongi looks close enough, he sees a big, bright smile, and the sweetest bunny teeth, hidden amongst the scribbles.

The bedroom door clicks open, and he's dragged from his thoughts as Jeongguk steps into view. Confused, he puts his notebook down. He's almost positive he heard the boys leave a few minutes ago.

Jeongguk says nothing as he settles into the bunk with Yoongi, and sits so that their shoulders are touching. His fingers play with the wrinkled ends of his t-shirt and he avoids meeting Yoongi's gaze until the older man speaks up.

“Jeongguk,” he starts calm, though slightly irritated. Despite his clear adoration for the maknae, he just wants to be alone, “What are you doing here? Why didn't you go skating with the rest of them?”

Yoongi is expecting a bullshit excuse, much like the one he gave earlier. A simple, “ I don't feel well,” or, “ I don't like skating that much.”

Instead, Jeongguk huffs, “I think Jimin hyung has a crush on Taehyung.”

Yoongi blinks once, stoically, as a frown finds its way to his face. He's unsure as to where Jeongguk has conjured up this idea, or why it even matters so much. Taehyung and Jimin are the epitome of best friends, the cry together, die together type, though that isn't new information.

So he asks, “Why is that anything you should be concerned with?”

Jeongguk has never looked so deflated before, so sad, as he says, “Taehyungie is my best friend. What if Jimin takes him away?”

And Yoongi, despite being four years older and supposedly wiser than Jeongguk, has no clue what he's really supposed to say to that. Whether Jimin does have a crush on Taehyung or not is irrelevant; Jeongguk feels as if he's being pushed off to the side. That, as Yoongi understands it, can hurt.

“Jealousy is an awful thing, Jeongguk,” he eventually sighs, placing his notebook aside so that he can actually turn towards the younger boy, and give him his full attention, “Taehyung, and Jimin, too, still care about you, even if they're busy wrapped up in each other right now.”

Jeongguk nods, goes back to fiddling with the threads of his shirt for a moment. He seems a little put off, broken, even, as he glances up at Yoongi with the prettiest doe eyes.

“Do you know what it's like to consider someone a best friend, though they don't think the same of you?” He asks, torn in a way that sends a shudder through Yoongi's body, “It hurts my heart, hyung.”

Yoongi feels for him, of course, but he wonders what it's like to really have a best friend at all.

“A while ago,” Jeongguk continues, “I thought Jimin hyung had a crush on you, too.”

Yoongi swallows around the lump in his throat hard, nearly choking, and forces himself to ask, “What does that have to do with you, Jeongguk?”

He swears, swears, he sees Jeongguk's eyes flicker with guilt, anger, hot and heavy, but it's gone as soon as it appears. The silence between them is so stifling Yoongi feels nauseous, and when Jeongguk reaches out to place a hand on his knee, skin on skin due to Yoongi's basketball shorts, the older man feels his heart jump in his chest.

“You're my best friend, too, hyung,” Jeongguk whispers, gaze faltering for a quick second as he glances down at Yoongi's lips, before finding his eyes again, “In a different way than Taehyung is. I...I didn't want Jimin to take you away, either.”

Yoongi is unaware that he's been holding his breath until it's his time to speak. He exhales- shaky as can be- and places his hand right overtop Jeongguk's. Their fingers, though varying in size, manage to link together, anyway.

Everything is calm, in his heart. In his mind.

“It isn't a competition, Guk,” he breathes, squeezing his hand gently, “You don't have to compete for me.”

“Don't I, though?” Jeongguk chuckles, though it's bitter, and for the first time ever, he seems as if he's aged. He is not seventeen, with bunny teeth and warm, honey eyes anymore. He is worn-- tired. Exhausted.

All Yoongi manages is a shake of his head, before he drops Jeongguk's hand, and folds his own in his lap. Man or not, Yoongi is scared. Adult or not, Yoongi feels belittled, like a teenager again.

“Hey,” he says after a while- after the silence is too overwhelming and his chest begins to ache, “For the record, Jimin isn't my type.”

Jeongguk smiles a little, seemingly for the first time in too long, and quirks an eyebrow as if to say, ' oh yeah?’

“What's your type, then?” He asks, a sudden lilt to his voice. It sounds...hopeful.

And Yoongi hates the way something twists in his gut, something hot and familiar. It makes him feel sick right down to his core. Makes him want to bolt, to get as far away from Jeongguk as possible.

“Wouldn't you like to know?” He manages, words weak as they crack up his throat, settling heavy in his mouth, “I'm tired, Jeongguk.”

“So sleep,” the younger boy says, gesturing to the bed they're sharing. Yoongi feels as if he's being taunted, picked at, as Jeongguk adds, “Though, I think we should talk some more, hyung.”

“Actually, I'm done talking,” he gets up, taking his notebook with him as he heads towards the bedroom door. He can't be here right now, not with the way Jeongguk is eyeing him, expecting something from him.

When he feels cornered, he leaves. When he feels guilty, he leaves. When he can't breathe, he leaves.

Right now, with Jeongguk staring up at him with the widest eyes he's ever seen, filled with his own sort of terrified, Yoongi runs.

---

Yoongi learns a multitude of things in the time it takes them to film I Need U, the main being that Bangtan is a group of incredible goddamn liars.

Yoongi catches it more often than not, sees how Taehyung's eyes flicker, just for a second, when he comes back from filming a scene for the music video. He's covered in a sticky, red liquid- it's fake, of course. Yoongi tells himself that over and over again.

Namjoon asks him how the scene went, and it's a simple, “Fine.” A hushed, “It went well.” It's too quiet for Kim Taehyung, actor extraordinaire. He was so excited for this scene, for the entirety of the music video.

Now, he just looks hollow.

Yoongi catches it again in Hoseok.

It's harder to spot out this time, between sunshine smiles so bright the fucking room lights up and bubbling laughter that warms the air. Hoseok is so very good at being happy, it's a wonder he even remembers that other emotions exist.

He does well playing his part, the man in the video looking sullen- nothing like Hoseok at all. Really, it isn't until later that Yoongi sees how fucked up he seems, spacing out between scenes.

By the time Jeongguk films his solo scene, Yoongi is about ready for the entirety of this music video to be done with.

He looks broken, bruised, though that's only because of the makeup. He seems excited going into it, and everyone wishes him luck. When he returns, Yoongi wonders if that even mattered at all.

He does well to keep up a smile as the cameras are almost constantly running, but when he gets a moment to breathe, isolating himself near where they filmed the campfire scene, it's too easy to spot something wrong.

Yoongi heads over to him, sits down next to him, though he keeps his space. He's done well to do that for months now. It's easier this way. No one gets hurt so long as Yoongi stays in control of the situation.

It feels so goddamn fake as he settles down next to the maknae. Here, not so long ago, he wrapped an arm around Jeongguk's shoulder and pulled him close to his side. Here, they were happy, if only for the cameras.

The aura now is different. He sees the way Jeongguk stares blankly in the fire pit that has long since been put out. A ghost flame resides there; Yoongi imagines he can feel it, the heat licking against his skin.

“Do you think,” Jeongguk speaks up after a while, because he's always been the first to let his emotions loose between the two of them. Has always been the first to care.

“Do you think all of this-” he gestures around them, “means anything?”

Yoongi raises his eyebrows, huffs softly. A stick sits off to his right, something they used to play in the fire with. He grabs it now, and pokes at the barren hole where light used to be. Ashes fly up into the air.

“Well, I mean, the music video has a story,” he answers after a long while. “There's meaning to it, I think.”

Jeongguk sighs, seemingly frustrated, though Yoongi isn't sure why.

“Not the video,” he explains, “I mean, this, in general. Bangtan, new albums, concerts. Constant rehearsals and fansigns and interviews. Do you think it all means anything?”

Yoongi hadn't been expecting Jeongguk to get so serious, deep in thought suddenly, though he supposes it's warranted. They've had a hell of a few days filming, and he's probably more tired than anything.

He's unsure as to how he's meant to answer this, so he keeps it simple, soft.

“I think it means we finally made it, right? After all, this is what we wanted.”

“Is it, though?” Jeongguk bites out, and when Yoongi sends him a look of surprise, of detest for his tone, adds, “How can you just be so content? It's like you've settled.”

“I haven't settled,” Yoongi snaps, because he's still working hard every goddamn day, just like the rest of them. Trying to do better, aiming for more. Never satisfied with what they've got.

“It's like, shit, don't you want something else? Something hard to come by, but easy, too. This is nothing, hyung,” he sighs, turning to look at Yoongi. There's that air of innocence surrounding him, still there, despite the fact that he's nearly an adult. It eats him up, covers him like a warm blanket. He is still so young , so foolish. He doesn't know what he's gotten himself into.

“I think you spend too much time in your head, Jeongguk,” Yoongi says, voice just as exhausted as he feels, “I think you're stuck on daydreams.”

“I think you're a liar,” Jeongguk snaps, bitter edge lacing his words. He's never spoken to Yoongi like this before. It hurts more than the older man is willing to admit.

“I think,” he continues, “that there's something you want, but are too afraid to go after. I think you're scared, hyung.”

“I think you should mind your damn business, kid,” Yoongi spits, words cold as the wind outside, chilling them to the bone.

“I'm not a kid anymore,” Jeongguk retorts, “You know that. I've been through just as much as the rest of you, Yoongi, so-”

“Don't you dare,” Yoongi cuts him off, finding his way to his feet, though his legs are shaky. For a moment, he's worried they won't hold him.

“Don't you dare compare your struggles to the hardships of others,” he points a finger at Jeongguk, enough to get him to shut up for a hot second, “It isn't a competition. You think flaunting your misfortunes makes you seem older, Jeongguk? Wiser?”

He steps away from him, takes a long stride back because he feels his hands start to shake, and this is the last thing he needs.

“It doesn't,” he tells him, sharp as ice. His eyes cut straight to the younger man's core as he says, “It just makes you seem pitiful.”

And then Jeongguk's on his feet in a second, catching up to Yoongi so fast it knocks the wind from his lungs. They're mere inches apart, though Jeongguk looms over him, so tall after all these years.

“You're one to talk about pity, hyung,” he barks, and Yoongi has never seen him like this, intimidating in every sense of the word as he jabs a finger at Yoongi's chest.

“I see the way you look at me,” he says, breathy, unsteady, “Just because I'm younger than you doesn't mean I'm stupid. It's the same way Jimin looks at Taehyung, and you see them now, they've been dating for months-”

“Jeongguk,” Yoongi cuts him off, can't listen to this. He doesn't have it in him to face this conversation head on. Not now, not ever.

“Stop treating me like I'm some little kid. I'll be an adult soon. I've just been here waiting , and you don't care-”

“Jeongguk, please-”

“You've never once cared about how I feel,” he all but yells, tears welling in his pretty eyes as he stares Yoongi down, “I've been so obvious, hyung, but all you do is ignore me.”

“Please,” Yoongi practically pleads with him to stop, breathe for a second, “I care about you, Jeongguk. I-I don't know how to show it, but I do. I always have-”

“You don't know how to show it?” Jeongguk repeats, blinking in disbelief. Tears slide down his cheeks, glistening beneath the gloomy moon as he continues with, “Maybe you'd figure it out if you did something other than feel sorry for yourself.”

“You have no goddamn idea, kid!” Yoongi screams, shoving Jeongguk away from him hard, just to get some space, “I hate myself for doing this to you. Every single day I wake up wishing it could be simpler. Wishing that I could have fallen for Jimin, Hoseok, fuck, anyone else but you.”

When Yoongi's words die out, it's like whatever fire previously formed between them dies, too. It's cold all of a sudden; a shudder runs up Yoongi's spine, and unexpectedly, he realizes he's been crying all along. Warm, wet tears glide down his cheeks, catch on his chin, and drop to the ground. He swears he sees Jeongguk's gaze follow them.

“Why can't you just let me in?” Jeongguk breathes after a long while, words caught in the air around them, “What are you so afraid of?”

Yoongi can't feel his hands, nor his legs, though he somehow still finds a way to wipe at his eyes and retreat a few steps. The past few minutes feel fake in the span of time, and his mind tells him to get the fuck out of here before a sob rips its way up his throat.

He is scared of hurting Jeongguk. Scared of holding him back. Scared of the way he feels, because surely, something must be wrong with him.

He's not sure how to tell Jeongguk that he's scared of everything without sounding fucked up, so instead, he walks away from the younger man, leaving him to wallow in the cold alone, and decidingly says nothing at all.

---

Yoongi finds solace in things that, oftentimes, destroy him.

He and Jeongguk hardly so much as speak unless they're forced to. Unless cameras are shoved in their faces. The rest of the group notices, of course, but they don't comment on it. Not at first, anyway.

It isn't until Jeongguk's eighteenth birthday that anyone actually mentions the sudden tenseness between the two of them.

It comes in the form of Jimin drinking with Yoongi late that night. They had a bit of a celebration for Jeongguk. Nothing too big, but there had been cake, and wine, too. Enough to keep the maknae sated. Everyone else had already retired to their rooms for the night- aside from Taehyung, who lies sleeping across Jimin's lap.

“So, what's up with you?” he asks, taking a swig of alcohol from the styrofoam cup between his hands, “You didn't give Jeongguk a gift. Christ, I don't even think you told him happy birthday.”

Yoongi scoffs. Since when are they required to give each other gifts for birthdays? They're long past faking any sort of niceness. The last person Yoongi bought a birthday gift for was his mother. End of story.

“Just forgot to pick something up,” he lies. In truth, he'd thought about it so much-- obsessively, even. To buy something, or not to buy something. While it's true that his interactions with Jeongguk have been minimal over the past few months, they're still friends, right? He was going to buy him something simple. A sweater, a video game, anything, but that would have, decidingly, felt a lot like lying.

And Yoongi doesn't want to be a liar.

“I'm not sure what you're waiting for, hyung.”

“What?” Yoongi asks, nursing wine in a glass cusped between his fingers, as he glances over at Jimin.

“Well,” the other sighs, one hand dropping down to card through Taehyung's hair. A habitual sort of thing, “He's an adult now, right?”

Yoongi wants to roll his eyes. What the hell is Jimin implying?

“Are you saying that, 'cause he's of age now, all of my problems are solved?” Yoongi hisses, bitter smile playing at his lips, “You saying I've been waiting for this, or something?”

“Haven't you, though?” Jimin cocks his head to the side. He's always been able to read Yoongi like an open book, “Waiting for the right time to love him.”

Yoongi scoffs.

“There's never been a right time,” he says, honest, “Don't think there ever will be, either.”

Because Jeongguk is this unstoppable thing, force piled upon force piled upon force. He just keeps going, and going, moving so fast that Yoongi can hardly keep up. There's never been a right time to latch on, a proper way to hold him tight. It's all guess work. Always has been.

Jimin sighs, shakes his head as he finishes the rest of his wine. He's so good at holding his alcohol, tipsy as of now, but still level-headed. Something Yoongi can't achieve, even when sober.

“Christ, it's so sad watching the two of you,” Jimin says, leaning forward to place his empty cup on the coffee table. He's careful not to jostle Taehyung too much, though the other man sleeps like the dead, anyway.

“You've been going in circles for years now,” he sighs, running a hand through his hair, “You think the rest of us haven't noticed?”

“Don't say it like that,” Yoongi grimaces, nose scrunching up as he finishes his alcohol. God, he needs more. Can't have this conversation until he's shit-faced, “Don't say it like I've always loved him.”

“You have, though,” Jimin laughs, and then, when Yoongi nearly cuts him off, clarifies, “Maybe not like this. But you have always loved him, hyung.”

Jimin's not a liar. He's snarky, sometimes, and maybe a little pushy, but he isn't a liar. Yoongi knows that- knows that his words hold underlying truth, and he hates it. Hates that he can't shake his head, and walk out of this situation. Hates that he can't even confront it.

“Whatever,” he grumbles. Jimin doesn't know shit, anyway. He can take his perfect relationship with Taehyung, and shove it up his-

“Jiminie hyung, Yoongi hyung.”

Yoongi's head snaps to the side. He knows that voice anywhere; could pick it out among a million others, even in the tired, sickly state that it's in now.

Jeongguk stands in the entrance to the living room, sweater practically swallowing him up, as he rubs at his eyes. He looks ill, face pale, and eyes blackened. Probably drank too much. He did go pretty hard earlier, finishing almost two bottles of wine all by himself.

“Jeonggukkie,” Jimin frowns, eyebrows threaded together with worry, “I thought you were sleeping.”

“I was,” Jeongguk nods, arms wrapping themselves around his middle, “But then I woke up, and I got sick. I-I didn't mean to-”

“Hey, hey,” Jimin quietly soothes him, small, comforting smile on his face, “That's okay. We'll clean it up in the morning, yeah? Why don't you sleep in Yoongi's bed tonight, huh?”

Yoongi turns to glare at Jimin, eyes sharp and narrowed. How the hell is he just going to offer Yoongi's bed up like that? He didn't even ask. And besides, he knows that there's tension between him and Jeongguk. It was an asshole move to do something so-

“Hyung,” Jimin hisses, soft enough so that only Yoongi can hear it. Threatening, even at such a low tone, “He doesn't feel well. Swallow your pride for the night, and take care of him. I need to get Taehyung to bed.”

He stands up, his boyfriend whining absently when his head falls off of Jimin's lap, and knocks against the couch, instead. Jimin, after a great deal of effort, manages to get him to stand up. He leads him back towards the bedrooms, murmurs a sweet, “Yoongi hyung will make sure you're okay, yeah?” to Jeongguk as he passes, and then he's out of sight completely.

Yoongi sighs. Great. He gets to spend the remainder of his night babying Jeongguk, who, now that he really looks at him, seems like he's going to burst into tears at any moment. He comes off as a child, despite his age. Yoongi's heart clenches painfully, and he can't fight the urge to take care of him- to look after him until he's happy again.

“Come on, kid,” he grunts, pushing up from the couch, “Let's get you to the bathroom so you can brush your teeth.”

Jeongguk doesn't speak- merely nods his head, and trudges ahead of Yoongi, down the hall. He flicks the bathroom light on as he enters, stumbling a bit on his feet. Definitely still drunk, Yoongi notes.

“I never want to drink again,” he pouts, bottom lip jutted out just so, as he grabs his toothbrush.

Yoongi can't help but smile a little. He turns on the faucet, grabs the toothpaste, and squirts a generous amount on Jeongguk's toothbrush. As the younger man cleans his mouth, their eyes meet in the mirror, and all of a sudden, Yoongi is not mad anymore. All of a sudden, he is thrown back to two years ago, when they could be around each other and actually enjoy it.

Jeongguk finishes up, rinsing his mouth out. He still looks a bit nauseated, face flushed, so Yoongi snatches up the tiny, bathroom trash can just incase. Can't have him puking all over the floor, again.

They head to Yoongi's shared bedroom. Yoongi shuts the door behind them, careful, so as to not wake anyone up. Jeongguk finds his way to the bed all too easily, and crawls under the warm blankets. Yoongi sets the trash can on the floor beside him, before joining him.

And then the awkwardness kicks in, as the both of them seemingly remember exactly where they stand with the other, at this point in time. Yoongi isn't drunk enough to miss the way Jeongguk's breathing shakes, though he wishes he were.

There's something about this- the dark room, Jeongguk's body so close to his own, warmth radiating off of it in waves- that has Yoongi's fingers trembling. There's an ache inside of him, big as a black hole, screaming each time he shifts, and opens it up wider. Each time he talks to Jeongguk, or catches his eyes, something else gets sucked into the blackened cavity. Eventually, there will be nothing left. No part of him that can withstand its force anymore.

It's quiet for a long while- long enough to send Yoongi's mind spiraling into something dark. Jeongguk only speaks up when the older man thinks that he's finally fallen asleep.

“Do you hate me?”

The words, breathed soft in the hollow darkness between them, makes Yoongi's stomach swim. Now he's the one who feels sick.

How could Jeongguk think that, even for a second? Despite their ups and down, despite everything, Yoongi has never stopped loving him. Not even for a second. He supposes that, recently, he's been shit at showing it.

He shakes his head, though it's too dark to tell whether or not Jeongguk actually sees it. The room is dim, but if Yoongi focuses enough, his gaze pierces straight through the darkness. The moonlight catches Jeongguk's big, brown eyes, glimmering with unshed tears. He is not eighteen, but a child again, lost in a mess that Yoongi helped him create.

“I don't hate you,” he whispers, voice gruff. He's not choked up, except he kind of is, and he's a fucking liar. He's lied to himself, lied to the entirety of Bangtan, his family, and worst of all, he's lied to Jeongguk, too.

He doesn't deserve it. Jeongguk, always sweet at heart, eyes shining with hidden happiness, and silver bell giggles, deserves much, much better than the bullshit Yoongi has spoon-fed him for months now. Years, maybe. Too long to count- to remember.

“I don't hate you,” he repeats, firmer this time. His hand, shaky as it may be, skims up Jeongguk's side, and nestles against his hip. He's small, but not in height. He's taller than Yoongi now, but he carries himself differently. Jeongguk is all soft, no sharp corners, no edges. Round like his plump cheeks when he eats his food too quickly. Curved, like the bow of his lips, which catch Yoongi's eye, even in the thick haze between them.

“Prove it then,” Jeongguk whispers, harsh, though his eyes have no bite to them. He keeps shifting, hands searching beneath the stifling blankets, before they find their way to Yoongi’s chest, and press flat there- firm, and solid.

Yoongi's skin prickles, hyper aware of how close they are, of how close they've always been, even through months of cold silence. Sweat prickles at the base of his neck; he's nervous, with the way the Jeongguk keeps inching closer.

He warns, “Jeongguk..”

“You're a fucking coward, Yoongi,” Jeongguk snarls, gaze heated, so much different than it had been just seconds ago. He smacks at Yoongi's chest, shoves himself away, “You're so scared of being happy. It kills you to think about me like that, doesn't it? Kills you to want me.”

“If you're going to pick a fight,” Yoongi hisses, voice low so as to not wake anyone, “Go back to your own fucking bed.”

Jeongguk, maybe still a little drunk, though Yoongi can't quite blame it on the alcohol, tugs the covers up to his chin, and scoots far enough away that his body heat can no longer be felt. The angers has subsided, seeped into the blankets and pillows they sleep with, to make room for something else. Sadness maybe, though that sounds stale. It’s too bland for someone as sparkly as Jeongguk.

Perhaps, in reality, it's detest, more than anything else. Yoongi's never seen it on Jeongguk before so it makes sense as to why he doesn't recognize it.

They don't speak to each other after that. Jeongguk turns so that his back is to Yoongi. The covers are pulled up so far, only a tuft of brown locks peak out. Yoongi is so overwhelmed, or broken, or something, that he finds himself unable to sleep until the sun rises.

And Jeongguk, who is snoring from the far side of the bed, cheekbones dusted in morning light, feels a million miles away.

---

The Run music video is fun; so much so, that Yoongi forgets about his problems for just a little while. They get tucked away, beneath pretty outfits and mint hair and fake smiles that he shoves on whenever any of the members are near. It’s so easy to get lost in the touch and go of it all- the chaos. He fills the cavity in his chest with Taehyung’s bubbly laughter, and Namjoon’s side hugs. With Jimin’s eye-smiles, Hoseok’s swift touches, and Seokjin’s glossy grins.

It is everything he remembers loving, and nothing he currently has. It’s his past, old memories, ripped away from him, as if someone has decided, “you don’t deserve these anymore.” And he doesn’t, in all actuality. He really, honest to God doesn’t.

Jeongguk is neither here nor there- neither close enough to Yoongi to make his fingers tingle, nor far enough away to make his bones ache. He mostly hangs around Seokjin, though he can be found binging movies in the dorm late at night with Namjoon, too. He avoids Yoongi like the plague- like he isn’t even worth the effort it takes to look at him. To meet his gaze.

Yoongi supposes that after all this time- years and years of running- Jeongguk would tire out eventually. They both would. It’s finally happened, although there isn’t any explosion. No telltale sign that there was anything to catch aflame to begin with. Instead, there is a mere snap, the sound of Yoongi’s heart as it breaks in his chest, and then, there is nothing but silence.

Everyone seems to notice, as they treat him like glass. Like something so fragile at the hands of beasts. Yoongi pretends that he doesn’t feel fucking pathetic next to his band members, and in return, they pretend like he is not selfish and suffering. It works, in a sickening sort of way. Some nights, when Yoongi finds it impossible to sleep, they even take pity on him, and coax him out for dinner, or bring him snacks to cheer him up. They try, though, deep down, they know that they probably shouldn’t.

It’s useless. Broken, jagged pieces derived of some much pretense, so many fake niceties that it makes Yoongi’s entire body tremble. He isn’t worth it. Isn’t worth the time they put into him. He can’t give any back, not a single second, and they’re aware of that just as well as he is. He is hate: stone-cold, and bitter, cutting sadness too.

He isn’t worth a bit of empathy.

His scene with Jeongguk in Run comes up a bit too quickly for his liking. They’d been given a rundown of the video ages ago, adding a bit of their own input here and there, but Yoongi had mostly tuned those meetings out. Now, it is impossible to ignore anymore. Now, Jeongguk is real, just a few feet away, staring hard at the floor as the director gives them a few tips before the filming starts.

Yoongi is no actor, but he fakes it well enough, anyway. A bit of drunk stumbling, red cup in his hand, and then Jeongguk is rushing at him, pulling him in this bittersweet hug that sends his head spinning. He goes dizzy as the younger man’s cologne fills his nose, heady and strong, just like him. It’s tight arms around his waist, and panicked breathing in his ear. Something strange, and familiar, and careful. It’s everything Yoongi has been missing this past year- skin on skin that only Jeongguk is allowed to provide. Because no one else feels the same. No one else tricks Yoongi into thinking he is alive, with just a simple touch.

He shoves Jeongguk away much too hard- takes his anger, his frustration, everything out on him. It’s childish, but he doesn’t have it in him to care. Jeongguk goes bumbling backwards, nearly tripping over his own feet. His back slams against the wall, and a very audible thump sounds as his head smacks into it. It feels too real. The way he glares at Yoongi, pained expression in his eyes, is too dark to be fake.

And then he’s recovered in a second, fist barrelling towards Yoongi, and he knows it isn’t meant to hit him, but Jeongguk grazes his jaw anyway. It doesn’t hurt; in fact, he hardly feels anything at all. But he stumbles, anyway, catches himself before his legs collapse completely. He can’t breathe. Feels as if his lungs are deteriorating, turning to black ash.

Jeongguk blinks stoically at him. Yoongi blinks back.

He pushes up, though his calves protest, shaky, as though they’re unable to support his burdens anymore. He steps towards Jeongguk, vision blurry. Grabs him by the arms, fisting at his too-expensive clothes. With the last bit of strength left in him, he throws the younger man off to the side, and watches as his ribs connect with the sofa, so skillfully placed. He hardly looks up at Yoongi, hand clutched to his side. Maybe he’s hurt.

Maybe Yoongi should care less.

The hardwood of the chair is smooth against the pads of his fingers, sanded down finely, as he yanks it up. Jeongguk is watching him, eyes careful, unreadable. Yoongi wonders if Jeongguk has just been a facade all along- a figment of his imagination, meant to bind and torture. Wonders if this- the pain that they put each other through, scraping and tearing Yoongi’s skin raw until he is merely bones- is all in his head.

Perhaps Jeongguk stopped giving a damn long ago. Yoongi should probably learn to do the same.

He launches the chair at the pretty, wall mirror, and watches with curious eyes as it shatters. The sound is loud, enough to make him reel back. He spaces out for a second, gets lost in his own mind. Glass crunches beneath his feet as he walks forward, before dropping to the ground. The director immediately calls, “Cut!” and only then does Yoongi come back to, kneecaps aching as mirror fragments slice through his skin. He’s being yanked to his feet a moment later, aching as he attempts to hold himself up. Jeongguk clouds his vision for a moment, far too close- before everything goes black.

When he comes to, Namjoon and Hoseok are leaning over him, worry clear on their pretty faces. They look ridiculous from this angle, features swollen and puffy. Maybe Yoongi’s vision is still blurred from sleep.

“Christ, man,” Hoseok shakes his head, huffing a sigh, “You had us so scared. Director said you went too hard during your scene. Messed yourself up.”

Yoongi props himself up on his elbows, glances down to see that his jeans have been replaced with loose basketball shorts. Bandages cover both of his knees. The skin around them is red, irritated, and there’s blood caked around the edges. He wants to laugh. Wishes he were dreaming, or something.

“We’re finishing the video later,” Namjoon says, gently lifting Yoongi’s legs to settle beneath of them, on the couch. He lets the older man rest them in his lap, once he’s comfortable, “the others are off filming what they can without you.”

Yoongi, not for the first time, feels as though he’s let his family down. Bangtan means the world to him. They are warmth when he can’t feel his frostbitten fingers, and breaths of fresh air when he feels like he’s drowning. They are everything to him, and he’s here, lying on some stained couch in the dressing room, unable to bend his legs without wincing. He is the picture of lost, confused, except he’s had plenty of time to figure it out. Instead, he’s spent it running. Typical of himself, he thinks.

“You freaked Jeongguk out so much,” Hoseok puffs, elbows resting on the back of the couch, as he bends over. He appears too restless to actually sit down, his foot tapping sporadically as a dead giveaway, “He like, carried you back here. Looked like he was gonna fucking cry.”

Yoongi rolls his eyes, tongue avoidant of Hoseok’s statement. Is he supposed to pretend as if he cares?

But you do, the back of his mind reminds him, you’ve always cared.

He shuts the incessant thoughts up with a pinch to his leg. Wishes he could sleep through the rest of this day. Wishes he weren’t already dreading the ride back to their dorm, sure to be filled with a billion questions coming at him from all sides.

“You could just talk to him, you know,” Namjoon murmurs after a while. He doesn’t sound like himself- wise, sure, but a little wistful, too. As if he wishes Yoongi would just get over himself, for a moment. Wishes he’d start to rationalize, “He doesn’t hate you, if that’s what you think.”

“I don’t think about it too much, really,” he lies through his teeth. He has always been so good at not caring. Or rather, pretending not to. He’s spent his entire life building up this wall- shitty, crumbling as it may be. It works to keep almost everything out. Had worked near-flawlessly until he met Jeongguk.

“The both of you are miserable without each other,” Hoseok says, hand coming down to rub at Yoongi’s shoulder. The touch calms him down much more than it should. He feels the tension leaving him in waves, “He talks about you a lot, hyung. He’s not mad anymore. He’s just tired of waiting.”

“Maybe I want him to be mad at me,” Yoongi says after a while, though he’s not sure he even means to voice it aloud. Once the dam has opened, it doesn’t seem to stop, as is the case most of the time. He blinks at Hoseok with eyes as wet as rivers, and rasps, “I’m mad at me. He should be too.”

Namjoon sighs from the other end of the couch, and reaches out to stroke Yoongi’s shin. His hands are warm, calloused from all of the writing he does. The world steadies- goes from sideways, jostled dangerously off its axis, to safe, and sturdy once more. Yoongi feels at home when he speaks.

“No one’s chasing you anymore, hyung,” he breathes, lips tugged into a smile as he draws shapes into his pale skin, “What do you have to run from?”

---

Jeongguk, as Yoongi has come to know him, turns soft when he's sleepy. And Yoongi, who is a weak man by choice, acts at these exact moments. He is still scared, but he stopped fleeing long ago, and he finally realizes that.

Breaks are rare, but they're good, and all of Bangtan seems to make the best of them. They've got a week off before their schedule picks back up again. Yoongi's got a week to sort himself out even further- a grueling task, but Jeongguk's sleepy eyes are newfound motivation.

It's early; the sun has hardly risen, and the sky is a murky gray. Most everyone is still asleep, but Seokjin is up, heating leftovers in the microwave, and Jeongguk moves to get a cup of milk, and provide sleep-filled chatter.

It's like, Yoongi's brain sent an electric jolt through his body. A bit of a tingle down to his fingertips. Like, he couldn't really be sure if Jeongguk had woken yet, but something in his stomach told him to get up and check anyway. And sure enough, the maknae is here, in the kitchen, though Yoongi stands just off to the side, too nervous to walk through the doorway yet.

Seokjin eats slouched over the kitchen table, and Jeongguk chugs an entire glass of milk so fast it spills down the corner of his mouth. Yoongi shouldn't find it so endearing, but his racing pulse betrays him.

“'M going back to bed,” Jeongguk mumbles, and Yoongi's mind screams a bunch of things about retreating, but he stands his ground. As Jeongguk exits the kitchen, Yoongi snatches his wrist.

“Hyung?” Jeongguk sounds confused as he uses his free hand to fist at his eye, a yawn climbing up his throat. He's pretty even now, although he shouldn't be- clothes all rumpled from sleep and hair sticking up at odd angles, and Yoongi's heart tries desperately to clamber up his throat.

He doesn't have a plan, or a speech punched out word for word in his head. He's not prepared in the slightest, but he's not backing down, either. He's proud of himself, in some sort of pathetic way. It's taken years to get to this point, and when he looks into Jeongguk's eyes, he doesn't ache anymore. His mind has finally accepted what his heart came to terms with long ago.

Neither of them are angry anymore. Yoongi thinks they probably haven't been for a while now. They're just tired; it's evident in the way Jeongguk carries himself, guarded, even now.

“Let's talk,” he says, though it sounds weak coming from his own mouth.

Jeongguk quirks an eyebrow, looking more than irritated as he grumbles, “Now? It's like, bedtime, hyung.”

And Yoongi really can't think of anything better to say, so he pleads, “Please, Jeongguk? Just-- It’ll be quick. I swear.”

Jeongguk doesn't look so convinced, and Yoongi is prepared to beg for it if he has to, but the younger eventually relents with a low, exhausted sigh.

He nods towards his bedroom, where they'll have just the smallest bit of privacy, and leads Yoongi down the hall. He swears, between soft footsteps, and shaky breathing, he hears his own heart jumping in his chest.

When Jeongguk closes the door behind them, Yoongi's courage gets left on the other side. His mouth feels dry, and Jeongguk is looking at him like he expects something, though Yoongi is too panicked to even meet his gaze.

“Well,” the younger pushes after a long while in thick, heady silence, “I don't have all night, Yoongi.”

He drops the honorifics, which is unusual, but it's the harshness in his voice that really makes Yoongi jolt. His cheeks go pink, from shame more than anything else, and he plops down on the edge of Jeongguk's bed. He's so close to crying that he feels sick.

“Let’s- we should, uh,” Jeongguk quirks an eyebrow at him, and his heartbeat quickens. He feels rushed.

“We should start over,” he finally manages.

“Start over?” Jeongguk asks, “How do you mean?”

Yoongi huffs out a nervous rush of air, and runs a hand through his hair. Jeongguk moves closer, takes a seat next to him on the bed, and stays silent. It seems he’s found a bit of his patience again, though in Yoongi’s peripheral, he sees the younger fiddling with his hands- a nervous habit.

He glances up, unable to meet Jeongguk’s eyes. He studies his face though- drinks in the pretty pink of his chapped lips, thick brows visible from his bed hair being swept back, and the scar on his cheek. So real , compared to what they see in magazines. This is the Jeongguk that Yoongi knows. The Jeongguk that he loves.

“I’m sorry,” he breathes, eyes catching Jeongguk’s for a second long, long enough to make his heart jump.

“I’m sorry,” he repeats. He finds that it’s easier to say when he realizes that Jeongguk isn’t going to laugh him off, “I messed up. I- Christ, I ruined us. I’m sorry.”

Jeongguk looks more confused than anything else. Though Yoongi expects him to be angry, he isn’t. Maybe he’s just tired. Yoongi is, too. He has been for a while now.

Neither of them say anything for a long while. Yoongi suspects that Jeongguk will kick him out any second to go back to sleep. At least he’s said what he had to say. Whether Jeongguk accepts his apology or not is another story.

“So, what?” The younger man murmurs, voice hollow in a sort of way that Yoongi has become all too familiar with, “You think it’s just, like, okay now?”

“No,” Yoongi’s quick to answer, because he knows. Knows that forgiveness isn’t a quick thing. He’s just grateful that Jeongguk doesn’t hate him.

“Fuck,” Jeongguk breathes, head tipped back, eyes falling shut, “You’re a mess.”

“I know,” Yoongi finds himself smiling, though his eyes glimmer with tears. He sniffles, and tries to blink them away.

“God, it took you long enough to get your head out of your ass.”

“Hey,” Yoongi pouts, elbowing Jeongguk in the side, “Show some respect. I’m still your hyung, whether you're mad at me or not.”

“I know,” Jeongguk nods, and there’s a smile behind his words, “My favorite hyung, even when I’m furious with you.”

Yoongi lets out a sharp laugh, and along with it comes the onslaught of tears. He doesn’t cry often, doesn’t have time to, with the way his mind is constantly racing. But he feels so much relief in this moment that a sob rips up his throat, catching both himself and Jeongguk off guard. The younger looks concerned for a second, before Yoongi ducks his head, and wipes at his eyes.

“I’m sorry,” he rasps. He hates that he can’t stop the tears, despite how much he so desperately wants to.

Jeongguk’s silent beside him. A warm hand slides along the bottom of Yoongi’s back, and he jumps, not expecting the touch. It’s comforting, as Jeongguk rubs over the material of his t-shirt to calm him down. It’s familiar; memories of how they used to- could still be, now- come racing back. Jeongguk’s touchy, even though he denies it. Yoongi likes it a little too much.

“Hyung,” he says after a long time, “The birds are chirping. It’s time for bed.”

Yoongi glances out the window, and through the sheer curtains sees that the sun has started to rise. He wipes tears on the back of his hand, and doesn’t meet Jeongguk’s burning gaze as he stands up. He misses the warmth of his touch as soon as it’s gone.

When he heads towards the door, Jeongguk doesn’t stop him. But he finds that this time, leaving the younger behind feels a lot more promising than it ever has.

He falls asleep on the couch in the living room, and doesn’t wake up until he hears Seokjin fumbling around in the kitchen, with the smell of bacon heady in the air.

---

“Hyung, are you serious?”

Yoongi freezes where he is, shoe half on his foot, and looks over his shoulder to see Jimin standing there, pretty lips pulled down in a pout. He’s wearing pajamas though it’s nearing noon- a rare sight in itself, though he supposes it’s not often they get a day off. Jimin’s living it up to the fullest.

“You’re going to the studio on our day off?” The younger asks, distress clear on his face.

Yoongi huffs, “I have to get some work done. There’s this song-”

“No offense, hyung,” Jimin cuts him off, voice sharp, “But I don’t care. You work yourself to death. I’m not letting you spend all day holed up in that place. It smells like ramen and despair, anyway. Not good for your health.”

He marches over to Yoongi, determined, and snatches up his other shoe, and his jacket. Yoongi’s got more shoes, but it’s the point. It’s annoying, and Jimin’s acting like a child.

“Come on,” he sighs, holding his hand out, while Jimin shoves the shoe behind his back, coat tossed over his shoulder, “Jimin, stop. This isn’t cute.”

“Shut up,” Jimin snaps, and Yoongi might be mad, if an angry Jimin weren’t so intimidating, “Why don’t you, I don’t know, go catch up on sleep? You get like two hours per night, hyung. You’re just going to keel over eventually.”

Yoongi wants to argue, but truthfully, he’s too exhausted to. Jimin’s not wrong, which is infuriating, but Yoongi chooses not to bicker, and instead, heads back to his room. He doesn’t look at Jimin, but he practically feels the smugness radiating off of him as he retreats. It’s endearing, that he cares so much, but horribly irritating, as well.

He falls into bed with such ease that he's mildly surprised a part of himself doesn't try to fight it. Typically a nap here and there keeps him going, but they're short- fifteen, twenty minutes at most, for quick bursts of energy. It's different, now, when he crawls under the covers and immediately starts to drift to sleep. He can tell that his body is exhausted- that it needs this.

He dreams. It hardly ever happens. Most of the time, his mind goes stale as he sleeps. The creativity runs dry. But when the prettiest eyes he's ever seen fill his subconscious, inspiration tingles in his fingertips, and swells in his chest. He'd recognize those eyes in a line-up of a million others. Thinks about them too much for his own good.

He slowly comes to, has been for a while now. When he connects entirely with the real world, he feels a hand splayed across his chest. It makes his heart jump for a second, unsurely, before he opens his eyes and sees who it belongs to.

“Jeongguk?” He rubs blearily at one eye, vision fuzzing for a second, “Why are you in here?”

Jeongguk smiles a little, and takes his hand away. Yoongi misses his touch as soon as it's gone, and there's a sort of ache in his chest, right where his heart is. He wonders if he's imagining it, or if it really hurts.

“Jimin hyung said you've been sleeping for hours now,” the younger explains, “I just wanted to make sure that you're feeling okay.”

Kind of him. Really, it is. Bangtan knows Yoongi's sleep schedule is practically nonexistent. They know that he just catches naps here and there. He supposes it would seem weird to them, if he slept for a couple of hours at a time.

“I'm okay,” he says, propped up on his elbows.

Jeongguk looks out of place on his bed. It's been a long time since they've talked to each other because they wanted to, because things didn't feel so heavy on the both of their shoulders. It should take some getting used to, but Yoongi falls right back into. It's dangerous, the hold that Jeongguk has on his heart.

He wonders if them making up means anything to Jeongguk. Wonders if he's expecting something from Yoongi, now.

The little twinkle in the younger's eyes says no - tells Yoongi that maybe he just wants to be happy, for once.

That makes two of them.

Jeongguk stands up so suddenly it knocks Yoongi from his thoughts. He blinks once, reels himself back to reality, and then sits up completely. He's pouting, though it's not intentional. He just doesn't want Jeongguk to leave. Maybe that's selfish of him, considering he's been on the run and go for years now.

“If you need anything,” Jeongguk starts, voice genuine, “I'll be watching a movie with Namjoon hyung in the lounge.”

It sounds a whole lot like an invitation, though Yoongi doesn't want to get his hopes up.

As soon as Jeongguk leaves, Yoongi feels a sort of motivation he hasn't felt in ages. When he climbs out of bed, he actually takes the time to shower, and it doesn't feel like a chore. The hot water isn't so much a distraction as it is welcome.

Yoongi's not really a sentimental person, but as he sorts through his section of the closet and searches for clean clothes, he stumbles across a t-shirt that doesn't belong to him. It's white, with simplistic red writing. A size larger than what he typically wears. Familiar all the same.

He slips it on, and forces himself not to think much about it. Maybe Jeongguk won't even recognize it. Maybe it wouldn't matter, if he did.

Clad in the shirt and some grey sweats, Yoongi shakes out his damp hair, and heads out to the lounge. As promised, Jeongguk is there, nestled up against the corner of the loveseat, as he stares intently at a movie playing on their flatscreen. Namjoon is there, too, sitting close to the maknae. He seems mildly surprised to see Yoongi enter the room.

Jeongguk, on the other hand, doesn't spare him a glance.

Yoongi is prepared to sit in the recliner across the room, when Namjoon suddenly stands. This gets Jeongguk's attention.

“I'm tired,” Namjoon says, and Yoongi's heart leaps in this throat. He doesn't want to be left alone with the younger man. Fuck, it'll be so awkward, and- shit, he'd just rather not.

“Hyung,” Jeongguk pouts, and Yoongi's stomach lurches. He's so fucking cute .

“The movie's not even at the halfway point,” he whines.

Namjoon sighs, and makes a point to rub at his eyes. He's a lousy actor. Yoongi appreciates his effort, anyway. It's endearing, how involved the other boys are when it comes to helping fix what Yoongi fucked up in the first place.

“I promise I'll make it up to you tomorrow, Jeonggukkie,” Namjoon says, reaching out to ruffle the younger man's deep, brown hair, “I'll buy you ice cream or something.”

“'M not a kid,” Jeongguk whines, bottom lip still stuck out as he looks up at Namjoon, “You can't bribe me with food anymore.”

“So you say,” Namjoon shrugs, “But it always works. Goodnight, you two.”

As he leaves, Yoongi feels his heart jump in his chest. Fuck, what is he supposed to do now? Jeongguk has turned his gaze towards him, staring at him expectantly, and Yoongi scrambles to sit down on the couch. He forces himself as far away from Jeongguk as possible, with the arm of the sofa digging into his ribs.

“You don't mind if I watch the movie with you, right?” He asks, just testing the waters. Wants to make sure he hadn't gotten it wrong, and looked too deeply into things. He's embarrassed himself enough, already.

But Jeongguk reaffirms, “I don't mind,” and Yoongi finds it in himself to breathe easier, if only a little.

They turn their eyes towards the television, and Yoongi can't really speak for Jeongguk, but he's not paying very much attention. He's missed half of it, anyway, and with Jeongguk willingly sitting so close to him, spending time with him for the time in a while, he feels both at ease, and on edge all at once. He doesn't want to fuck up this time.

So he doesn't speak. Doesn't interrupt Jeongguk, who seems to be way into the movie. Maybe he's faking it. Yoongi has never really been able to tell with him. He's too good of an actor, when it comes to covering up his emotions. Yoongi used to be able to read him well, but time has passed, and things are different, now. Jeongguk is different.

Different, but not completely opposite to how he used to be.

He gets sleepy just as the movie is reaching its climax. Yoongi watches out of his peripheral, and tries to contain his fond smile when Jeongguk yawns, and blinks a couple of times. He's so cute. Yoongi has never found anything so fucking precious before.

It only takes a few minutes after that before he begins to doze off. His head lolls forward, eyes fluttering closed, before they snap open again, and he wakes up abruptly. He does this three times before Yoongi takes pity on him.

“Come here, kid,” he murmurs, and Jeongguk blinks over at him, confused.

“What?” He asks, yawning again. He makes a fist with his hand, and covers up his nose. Yoongi's heart aches.

“Come here,” the older man repeats, opening up his arms to Jeongguk, “I'd make a much better pillow than your hand, or the arm of the couch.”

Jeongguk merely stares at Yoongi for a long while, pretty eyes hooded as he fights off sleep. He's thinking hard about something, with his mouth popped open just slightly, and his eyebrows pulled together. He keeps glancing at Yoongi's face, as if he expects the older man to reveal some sort of catch. When Yoongi says nothing, he finally relents.

Slowly, with enough hesitance to make Yoongi's throat close up, Jeongguk scoots towards him. He's larger than Yoongi by a lot, with thicker legs, and longer arms. Even so, he curls up so small on the couch, and rests his head in Yoongi's lap.

It feels like progress, when Yoongi rakes his fingers through Jeongguk's hair, soft and precise, and the younger man doesn't jump at his touch. It feels like the new beginning that they've needed, for a long while. That Yoongi has needed, for himself.

It's quiet for some time. The movie is still playing, though it seems to be reaching its end. Jeongguk is still, mostly, but he instinctively leans in to Yoongi's touch a bit more than he even probably realizes. Yoongi doesn't mind. His fingertips massage Jeongguk's skin, and comb through his pretty hair, and he feels happiness curl up in his gut.

Jeongguk's breathing seemingly evens out for a few minutes, but then he startles a little, and blinks himself awake. Yoongi smiles, and scratches his head, and Jeongguk keens.

“Hyung,” he says after a heavy pause, voice thick with sleep, “That's my shirt.”

Yoongi freezes. He removes his hand from Jeongguk's hair, and waits. Has he gone too far already? Pushed the boundaries of their recovering friendship, with something as simple as wearing Jeongguk's clothes?

“I'm sorry,” he says, and for a moment, he thinks about pulling an excuse out of his ass. Almost says something like, “ I had no idea it was yours. It was just thrown in the bottom of my closet.

But he doesn't lie anymore, because it's gotten him nowhere. Because lying to himself, and to others, is what ripped Jeongguk away from him in the first place. He decided a while ago to embrace the truth.

So he continues, “I like the way it looks on me. You can have it back though, if you'd like.”

Jeongguk hums, sounding half asleep again, and half-heartedly reaches behind his head, in search of Yoongi's hand. The older man smiles just slightly, and places it back in his hair again. Sated, Jeongguk sighs contently.

“No,” he eventually says, arms tucked against his chest, as he nuzzles into Yoongi's thigh to get comfortable, “Keep it. I think I like the way it looks on you, too.”

He's out like a light a couple of seconds later. Yoongi lets himself grin, bright and happy in the too-much space around him, and breathes in deep. His chest doesn't feel so heavy anymore. He thinks he has Jeongguk to thank for that.

He doesn't dare move the younger man, and falls asleep on the couch, instead, with his head propped back against the cushion. He wakes up the next morning with the worst fucking ache in his neck, but he thinks it might just be worth it, when he looks down and sees Jeongguk looking right back up at him, with a smile playing at his lips.

---

They spend less time on their Epilogue: Young Forever music video than they typically do on others, but it's still nice, nonetheless. The concept is a bit different, but Yoongi thinks he likes this sort of arranged softness better than anything they've done before. It feels safe, for once.

Racing through the maze turns into a bit of a game. It's fun- the most Yoongi has honestly had in a while- and the other boys enjoy themselves too. Between tag, and bets on who can find their way out first, Yoongi finds himself laughing every couple of moments, and it's nice.

Jeongguk gets lost at one point, and everyone sort of stands around and laughs at him until he pouts, clinging to the chain link fence. They take pity on him, and Yoongi goes in after him.

“I don't have a good sense of direction,” Jeongguk says before Yoongi even has a chance to tease him. It doesn't take long for Yoongi to get to where Jeongguk is, and now, they stand about a foot apart. Yoongi tries not to smile when Jeongguk pouts some more.

“The way out is pretty easy,” Yoongi gives him a hard time because it's funny, and also because Jeongguk is so cute when his eyebrows are creased together in frustration. Yoongi relishes at the fact that he can internally call him cute without subjecting himself to any sort of guilt. He's worked hard to get here.

“Maybe,” Jeongguk begins, voice light as he walks alongside of Yoongi, trekking footprints in the loose dirt, “I pretended to be lost so that you would come after me.”

Yoongi snorts, “Bullshit. You didn't know I would be the one to come and get you.”

“You're right,” the younger man concedes, “But I'd hoped.”

As they exit the maze, Yoongi nudges Jeongguk with his shoulder, and the in return, Jeongguk gives him a pretty little smile. Things are easy between them lately. Soft conversations, upon movie venturings, upon ice cream dates. Well, maybe not dates. Trips, more like. Yoongi has the best time with him.

They take a break from filming around noon. The crew was kind enough to buy them all lunch, which Yoongi feels a bit bad about. They're often too kind to them.

He sits on a blanket haphazardly thrown down by the stylist, so that their clothes don't get dirty. Hoseok and Seokjin settle in the car that had brought them to the filming location. Taehyung and Jimin walk along a distant trail, and eat at the same time. Namjoon discusses something with their cameraman, and Jeongguk, well. Jeongguk settles beside of Yoongi on the ratty blanket.

“We haven't eaten together at a shoot in a long time,” he says as he sits down. Yoongi's unsure of how to respond to statement as true as that, so he doesn't. Jeongguk seems to take his silence for something else, and flushes, embarrassed.

“I mean, that's an oddly specific thing anyway, right?” He rushes out, and Yoongi tries to keep the corners of his lips from quirking up as the younger continues with, “Just- it hasn't been you and I, together, at a music video shoot for a long time. Not like this.”

“I know what you mean, kid,” Yoongi relents, because Jeongguk's flustered expression is more pitiful than sweet, at this point, “I missed it.”

Jeongguk takes a bite of his sandwich, presumably to shut himself up, and nods. He sits opposite of Yoongi, but definitely does not make eye contact with him again for a long while. This is the first time Yoongi has seen him so shy in years. It's not entirely unwelcome. While Jeongguk's newfound air of confidence had been attractive, Yoongi fell in love, originally, with this version of him.

They finish eating before Taehyung and Jimin even get back from their walk. Jeongguk seems hesitant to make any more conversation, so Yoongi does it for him. Rare as it is, he thinks he likes being in Jeongguk's presence now, more than he ever has. Things are a bit awkward sometimes, but he feels infinitely lighter. There aren't any secrets between them anymore.

“Hey,” he starts, nudging Jeongguk's leg with his own, “What do you say we see which of us can get to the middle of the maze first?”

“Like a race?” Jeongguk asks, eyebrows shooting up. He's never been one to turn down a challenge.

Yoongi nods, and says, “Yeah. We'll start at different entrances.”

Jeongguk smiles and agrees, just as Yoongi suspected he would. They get up and head back over to the array of chain link fences. Jeongguk takes an entrance about fifteen feet from Yoongi's own. Yoongi counts down from three, and then they start.

As competitive as Jeongguk is, he's hopelessly disadvantaged when it comes to anything having to do with directions. He can hardly remember how to get back to their dorm after a quick trip to the electronic store just a few blocks away. It's cute, most of the time, and especially so now, when Yoongi glances over to see him frowning as he does a loop of the same fence, twice. Yoongi chuckles, and continues racing towards the center.

With Jeongguk lagging behind, Yoongi lets his jog become a fast walk. No point in rushing when Jeongguk is hardly halfway to the center. He takes his time, and even occasionally stops walking to watch the younger man. Jeongguk seems to get irritated with this, and throws multiple dirty looks Yoongi's way.

He perhaps takes too much time. He sees the entrance leading towards the middle of the maze, and looks up just in time to lock eyes with Jeongguk, who's standing opposite of him, also facing the entrance. Yoongi hesitates for only a second, before he runs for it.

Truthfully, he's unsure which of them make it there first. Their shoes make tracks in the dirt as they run at each other, and stop just before they collide. Jeongguk shouts a breathy, “I win,” just as Yoongi raises his hand in victory.

“I made it here first,” Jeongguk argues, bent over slightly, hands on his knees. He breathes in deep, and Yoongi watches, mesmerized, as his chest rises and falls.

“You think so?” The older man retorts, head cocked to the side, “I'm pretty sure I got here, like, a second before you did. But I'll give the victory to you, kid. Just this once.”

Jeongguk positively beams at that, smile splitting his face wide. He looks best with his eyes crinkled, and sparkling, and his teeth on show. He looks best when he's happy. Yoongi thinks that this is how he should always be.

“So, what's my prize for winning?” He asks, standing up straight, having finally caught his breath. He leans against the fence behind him, and the sun hits him just right, casting a natural highlight over his dewy skin. Pretty. He's always been that, to Yoongi.

“I never said winner gets a prize,” Yoongi huffs after a second. Jeongguk frowns.

“Hyung,” he whines, reaching out to grab Yoongi's wrist, thumbing against the sensitive skin along the inside of it, “No fair. I won, I should be rewarded.”

Yoongi flushes, and repeats, “Rewarded?”

Jeongguk only nods. With little force, he wraps his hand around Yoongi's slim wrist, and tugs him forward, until the toes of their shoes kiss.

“Well,” Yoongi breathes, unable to hold Jeongguk's gaze because of how fucking burning it is, sharp and all-knowing, “What do you want?”

Jeongguk is quiet for much too long, as he worries at his bottom lip. Yoongi wants to tell him to quit it before he tears the skin, but he can't stop staring. It's more inconvenient than anything else. But loving Jeongguk has never exactly been easy. Not really.

He thinks he knows what Jeongguk will ask for before the younger man even opens his mouth to say it. The way his warm, brown eyes keep flicking down towards Yoongi's lips is enough of a hint, anyway, and Yoongi would have to be daft not to understand. He gently tugs his wrist out of Jeongguk's grasp, to link their fingers together instead.

“Hyung,” Jeongguk starts, voice a mere whisper as he squeezes Yoongi's hand tight, searching for a bit of reassurance. Yoongi doesn't mind providing it. He lets a small smile grace his face for a moment to show Jeongguk that it's okay. He's not afraid anymore.

“Yoongi, I want-” Jeongguk swallows past a wave of nerves, and winces as his voice shakes just a little, “I want you to k-”

“Hey!” Yoongi jumps so hard he nearly knocks his head with Jeongguk's, and quickly spins around to see Seokjin calling to them from outside of the maze, “We're about to film another clip. Get out here.”

“Okay,” Yoongi calls back, word bitter on his tongue. He doesn't dare look completely at Jeongguk, but in his peripheral, he sees that the younger man stands with his head ducked. He seems disappointed.

He drops Jeongguk's hand as they find their way out of the maze. He tells himself it's best nothing happened right then anyway, what with the crew nearby and all. Still, he can't help the way his heart twists in his chest at what could have been. What almost was.

Another time. He makes a sort of silent promise to himself that it'll happen another time, and it'll feel perfect when it does. So long as it's with Jeongguk, Yoongi can't really see it feeling any other way.

It, as in, a kiss. He wants to kiss Jeongguk. Christ, it feels so incredible to admit that after so fucking long. He smiles so wide his face starts to hurt. Jeongguk, who is walking alongside of him, looks confused.

“What the hell are you so happy for?” Seokjin asks, though he's got a knowing sort of tone to his voice.

Yoongi merely grins wider, and shrugs. How is he supposed to say that he feels whole again, without using those exact words? Nothing comes to mind to properly describe how he feels.

So he simply says, “I'm just happy to be in good company, is all.”

Seokjin takes that answer easily, and doesn't comment on it further. As they walk over to where the others are waiting, Yoongi manages to catch Jeongguk's eyes. The younger man blushes a peachy pink, and grins so pretty that it slices through the air between them. Yoongi’s heart jumps, and he feels as if his lungs collapse.

---

Typically, when they've got time off, Yoongi plays follow the leader. He never knows what to do with himself between video filmings and fan meets, and so he auto tunes to whatever the hell the other boys do, and hopes that they don't get too annoyed with him tagging along.

At the start of a weekend off, he follows Namjoon around like a puppy. And Namjoon doesn't seem to mind at first, but then Yoongi accidentally knocks over a cup of coffee on some lyrics he'd been working on, and Namjoon shoos him out of the room with an exasperated sigh. Yoongi pouts. How can their leader really be upset when he's just as clumsy?

Next, he finds Jimin. Sweet, giggly Jimin, who sits in the kitchen with Taehyung, talking about some movie that's just come out in theaters. Both of them hardly glance up at Yoongi as he enters the room. And, usually Yoongi wouldn't mind being ignored, but he's doing this new thing where he desperately tries not to overwork himself, and he's bored. Without a pen in his hand, or his fingers on some piano keys, he feels a bit lost.

He cuts in to the two younger men’s conversation here and there, but he's really got no idea what their talking about, and after ten minutes of being pretty much ignored, he sulks out of the room. So much for hanging out with them.

In the living room are Seokjin and Hoseok. The eldest member is asleep on the couch, arms tucked under his side, while Hoseok sits on the floor in front of him, watching some old, black and white movie. They look a bit too peaceful for Yoongi to even try and disturb, so he simply walks right past them, and down the hall.

Jeongguk is nowhere to be seen throughout the rest of his dorm, which means he's most likely hibernating back in his bedroom. Lucky him, gets one all to himself. Yoongi's jealous, though he won't admit it out loud.

He knocks on the door without thinking much of it. Things between himself and Jeongguk have been fine recently. Fine, as in, stable. As in, nothing has been progressing. They've maybe gained some tolerance back for each other, but they haven't talked about things, and they certainly haven't really spent any alone time together.

Yoongi pretends not to be disappointed.

The door swings open to reveal Jeongguk in a simple t-shirt, and gray sweatpants. He's got a beanie slapped on over his messy hair, and one earbud stuck in ear. Yoongi hears a faint echoing from it.

“Hyung,” he says, seeming mildly surprised. His eyes go a little wide in the way that Yoongi loves all too much, “Uh, what's up?”

What's up. He's eloquent. Yoongi loves him. Not in that way. Well, maybe in that way. Mostly, he just loves how familiar he is. Mostly, he just wants to be near him for a long, long time.

“Can I come in?” He asks, and when Jeongguk doesn't give him a response, and instead continues to stand there dopily, Yoongi adds, “Everyone else is busy, and I'm kind of bored.”

Lonely, his mind screams. He's that, too, but he won't reveal it to Jeongguk.

“Oh,” the younger man says, nodding a bit, “Oh, sure. Come in. I'm just- uh, just listening to music. Trying to write some stuff.”

Yoongi steps into the room, and Jeongguk closes the door behind him. It's mostly clean, aside from a few shirts tossed here and there, which is more than can be said for the rest of their dorm. Jeongguk's always kept organized, so Yoongi isn't surprised. He's compartmentalized everything around him, and inside of him, since he was a kid. It's a part of who he is, and what makes him Jeongguk.

“Can I see what you're writing?” Yoongi asks, settling down on the edge of Jeongguk's bed, next to a face-down notebook. Jeongguk snatches it up fast, and shakes his head.

“No,” he says quickly, cheeks flaming, “It's not- well, I started writing lyrics, and then I got distracted and it turned into little drawings along the margins. It's dumb.”

“I'm sure it isn't dumb,” Yoongi presses, “Come on, kid, I won't make fun of you.”

Jeongguk whines and sits down next to Yoongi. He holds the notebook to his chest. Though he's bigger now, with wider shoulders, and long legs, he looks so small here, in this moment. His eyes shine as he glances over at Yoongi, and then down at the floor. He seems as though he's contemplating something.

“Fine, you can look,” he murmurs so soft Yoongi almost misses it, “But just know it doesn't mean anything special. I kind of just doodled whatever my brain conjured up.”

“Our best work comes when we aren't forcing it, Jeonggukkie,” Yoongi teases, knocking their shoulders together. He holds out his hand, and utters, “Let me see.”

Jeongguk sighs, and hesitantly passes over the notebook. Yoongi grips it tightly, spirals digging into his fingers. As he looks down at it, he feels a bit like he's holding Jeongguk's heart in his hands.

There are some messy words scribbled all over the page. Most are crossed out, but there are some good one-liners that stick firm in Yoongi's mind. What catches his attention, though, are the pictures.

Jeongguk is good at drawing. He's no Picasso, but he's still good, and so Yoongi excuses the way his mouth drops open a little when he sees a fairly accurate sketch of Taehyung and Jimin, cuddling on the couch in the living room. Beneath that is another of Seokjin doubled over laughing with his phone in his hand. Off to the right of the page is Hoseok and Namjoon, sitting shoulder to shoulder with big smiles on both of their faces.

And sprinkled between all of these sketches is Yoongi. He is everywhere. Gently sneaked into every corner of the page. A scribbled drawing of him with his back turned, playing piano. Another of him asleep on their loveseat, with his hair spread on the pillow like a halo. The third is a side profile, and he's smiling, staring out the window of some foreign building.

There are so many, and they're all so well thought out. They're not the neatest things because they're sketches, but they're fucking beautiful. They are him, through Jeongguk's eyes. Jeongguk printed Yoongi across lined notebook paper with nothing but a number two pencil, and still made him look like art.

He gently runs his thumb across one of the pictures, and watches as graphite smears across the page. Jeongguk quickly reaches down and grabs hold of his wrist. His fingers burn against Yoongi's skin.

“You shouldn't do that,” he warns. His voice is wobbling, unsteady, and Yoongi's heart aches where it resides in his chest, “Your hands will get smudged.”

Yoongi exhales shakily, eyes catching Jeongguk's big, pretty ones, before he glances down at his wrist. If Jeongguk would just slide his hand down a bit, Yoongi could link their fingers together. And they would fit so nicely , too. He's sure of it.

Not for the first time, Yoongi thinks about how easy it would be. How easy they would be. Jeongguk careful, and shy, but willing, and Yoongi is maybe even more hesitant in the sense that he doesn't yearn for heartbreak. Witnessing Jeongguk's would be even more painful than experiencing his own, so he just ignores everything that they could be. Has been ignoring it for a long while now.

But all the reluctance has only made Jeongguk ache, and Yoongi can only endure so much pain as well. He's still human, after all. He forgot that over the course of avoidance; over the game of run-and-go that he himself started. Jeongguk slowly but surely reminded him that it's okay to want, too.

And if he feels sick in the pit of his stomach, he ignores it, because the Cupid's bow of Jeongguk's lip draws his gaze, and sends him reeling, with the point of no return an arm's length away.

Jeongguk's bedroom door swings open just as Yoongi brings a hand up to the younger man's cheek. His skin is soft beneath the pads of Yoongi's fingers, and there is a persistent ache tugging at his heart. He wants Jeongguk. Wants him more now than he probably ever has, and he has finally come to terms with that.

Jimin clears his throat, and Yoongi drops his hand. Jeongguk lets out a very loud, intentionally disappointed sigh, and Jimin flushes. Yoongi glances at him, grimacing, and for all it's worth ( nothing) , he does seem sorry that he interrupted.

“Uh, Taehyung and I are going out for lunch. You two want to join?” He asks, sheepish.

Jeongguk opens his mouth as if to tell him off, but Yoongi stands up from the bed before he can get a word out. Admittedly, his mood falters when Jeongguk looks at him, confused, with his bottom lip jutted out in a slight pout. Yoongi swallows thickly, and hands the younger man his notebook back.

“Let's go have lunch with them, Jeonggukkie,” Yoongi suggests, not because he doesn't want to be alone with Jeongguk, but because he doesn't want to rush.

When Jeongguk looks as if he's about to turn down the offer with a pissy retort, Yoongi reaches up, carefully, and swipes a dark strand of hair out of his eyes. It needs a trim, maybe, but the length doesn't look so bad on him. Yoongi alots himself time to just touch, and his fingertips linger against Jeongguk's skin longer than they should.

The younger man seems to soften at this, eyes melting into something warm like honey. Yoongi swears his heart stills in his chest, as Jeongguk gives him a fluttering smile.

“Okay,” he eventually agrees, “Let's go.”

---

Filming for Blood, Sweat, and Tears is fun, as are all of their video shootings. Though the costumes are a bit hot, Yoongi likes the way he looks in his, and figures he can't complain too much. It's the usual run down: performing the choreography a billion times, filming solo scenes, etc. Repetitive, but exciting.

Yoongi's having good fun.

But he's just barely keeping it together.

Things with Jeongguk have been tense lately. Not in the angry kind of way, they're past that, for the most part, though sometimes Jeongguk still looks at him with old flames of hurt in his eyes. Yoongi usually remedies those with movie marathons, and candy.

No, things are tense in the sort of way that a rubber band pulled taut is. He spends most of his free time with Jeongguk, but it's rare that the two of them are alone in a dorm full of five other men, and so Yoongi feels like he's going to combust.

Jeongguk looks at him differently now.

He's all occasional, teasing smiles, and sparkly eyes so pretty Yoongi's heart lurches. He's warm to the touch when they fall asleep on the couch together, and cold when Yoongi spends too long in the studio, and disappears for hours at a time.

Jeongguk looks at him like he's anticipating something. Yoongi's never been good at making the first move.

But fuck if the younger man doesn't look good in the outfits for the music video. Yoongi's favorite is the black and white button down, top few buttons open so that his collarbones are on show. And the deep, red choker paired with it makes Yoongi's hands sweat. He's only got so much self control.

Jeongguk knows this. He pushes him, anyway.

On the first day of filming, they sit down to eat lunch together. Jeongguk intentionally fiddles with his choker- a tug here and there, twisting the material around his neck- and Yoongi is weak . So fucking weak for him. He shifts as he eats his food, and very adamantly does not look at Jeongguk for the rest of their break.

The second day starts off worse. Jeongguk's got a stupid, blue lollipop that turns his tongue green, and Yoongi's traitorous brain wonders if his mouth tastes sweet, like candy. It probably does, his heart supplies.

“Hyung,” he says, just before he's got to film a scene where he's lifted into the air via wires, “The crew have extra lollipops! You want me to get you one?”

“No thanks, kid,” Yoongi huffs out, purposefully not looking at the younger man because he wants so badly, and seeing his mouth shiny with spit, and slightly blue from the candy isn't helping at all.

“You sure?” Jeongguk presses, “It's blueberry. You like blueberry candy best, right?”

Yoongi doesn't have much of a sweet tooth, but he remembers telling Jeongguk that blueberry flavored things were his favorite. Christ, that was a while ago. He's endeared that Jeongguk remembers, and hates the way his stomach flips. He's wrapped around the younger man's pretty fingers.

But he thinks he'd much rather taste the artificial flavoring on Jeongguk's tongue as opposed to the lollipop, and he almost says that out loud, too, before he grinds his teeth together to keep quiet.

When he manages to calm down a bit, he utters, “I’m good, Guk. Uh- I need to talk to Namjoon about something. Catch you later.”

Jeongguk doesn't seem too affronted when he leaves, probably because he's got a scene to film for the music video anyway, and Yoongi is so, so glad to get away. His brain won't shut the hell up about how he wants to fucking kiss the life out of Jeongguk, and it's distracting. Very unprofessional.

The final day of filming proves that Yoongi is only human, after all. He and Jeongguk have been dancing around each other for too long now, and he's had enough. Except, he's shitty with taking action. That's usually what Jeongguk does. But it seems the younger man is being cautious- rightfully- and so Yoongi has to be the one to step up.

He has to. He can't take this anymore; he doesn't have an iron fucking will. All of his give a shits to give about what people would think, what his own mind would think, got thrown out the window months ago. And as he heads into the makeup trailer where Jeongguk is at end of the day, presumably getting changed out of that costume- the one Yoongi loves so much- for the last time, determination sits stony in his veins.

He knocks on the door before entering. Jeongguk calls out a quiet, “I'm in here! Just a second, please.” Yoongi doesn't wait. He barges through the door, left unlocked, and closes it behind him. His heart swoops when Jeongguk looks up from his task- unbuttoning his shirt- and throws Yoongi a big smile.

“Hyung,” he starts, “Came to change, too?”

“No,” Yoongi says. His brain yells, don't be so obvious! But Yoongi is sick and tired of beating around the bush, playing a game of push and shove to see who topples over first. He fell a long, long time ago, and he's been watching Jeongguk from his perch on the floor ever since. Waiting for the younger man to offer him a hand, and help him up.

His heart races. It yells, too, words whispered around Yoongi's ribcage like magic. It's louder- more convincing, it seems- and he decides, for the first time in forever, to just do something without thinking about the consequences.

“Jeongguk-” He begins, voice sharp, enough to make the younger man halt his movements, shirt halfway unbuttoned, and Christ - he is so pretty, all lean muscle, and big thighs, and the cutest fucking nose Yoongi has ever seen. “I need- shit, I just. I don't know-”

“Yoongi,” he frowns, eyebrows creased, “Are you okay?”

And Yoongi's heart has always been a dangerous, traitorous thing. It beats for Jeongguk; sings a little song of love and magic hour and the gold hues hidden in Jeongguk's eyes, and that's it. That's all there is, and Yoongi crosses the trailer so fast he nearly trips, stumbling a little. Jeongguk catches him, hands shooting out to grab at Yoongi's waist.

Love, his brain suggests, is a beautiful, terrifying thing.

One hand slides up into Jeongguk's pretty, styled hair, mussing it all up as his fingers grab hold of the locks, and the other rests on his cheek, thumb grazing his jawline. With a little tug, and a wild breath, he yanks Jeongguk down so that their eyes lock for a goddamn second , and then he falls. Crashes through a barrier he hadn't even known still existed.

Kissing Jeongguk is exactly how Yoongi imagined, but louder. Jeongguk is shy, at first, stunned as their lips meet. Yoongi's been holding back for so long that he throws caution to the wind, and sucks Jeongguk's bottom lip into his mouth, teeth scraping at it, searching, searching, searching. Jeongguk whines low in his throat, and tightens his grip on Yoongi's waist, and lets himself feel.

They kiss slow, but deep. Yoongi traces his tongue along the seam of Jeongguk's lips, and he opens up in no time. His mouth tastes like candy, and the lunch they'd had earlier, and something soft. Something that is so very reminiscent of Jeongguk- gentle eyes, and smiles that turn fuzzy around the edges. The younger man whimpers when their tongues press together, his hands grabbing at Yoongi's shirt just to have something to hold on too, like he's scared Yoongi is going to disappear. Is going to vanish without a trace. A year ago, Yoongi would’ve wanted to. Now, he simply can't stand the thought of leaving Jeongguk.

As he pulls away for a moment to breathe, Jeongguk's bottom lip wobbles, and his eyes fill with tears, and Yoongi's heart shatters. He keeps tugging at Yoongi's shirt, trying to get him closer, hands shaking, and it's too much. It's too much, for both of them.

“Hyung-” he starts, voice rough, “Don't- why'd you stop? Please, I-”

Yoongi shushes him gently, places his hands on either side of his face, and sweeps fingers along his pretty cheekbones. Jeongguk's got desperation shining in his eyes, and broken promises on his cherry, red lips, and Yoongi falls deeper. Harder. More in love.

“It's okay, Guk,” he whispers, standing on his tiptoes for a second, resting his forehead against the younger's, “I'm not going anywhere. We've got time. Just relax, okay?”

Jeongguk nods, albeit hesitantly, and reaches up to circle his hands around both of Yoongi's thin wrists. He holds on tight, eyes fluttering shut, and tears roll down his cheeks. Yoongi kisses them away, and watches as Jeongguk's nose stains an endearing shade of pink.

“Again, hyung,” he pleads, taking a deep, shaky breath to steady his nerves, “I've been waiting so long for you, and you just- please. Again.”

And Yoongi has never wanted to deny Jeongguk of anything, not really, but he spent so long doing just that, that he almost feels the need to make up for it. So he nods, slow, and then surges forward again, kissing him with everything he's got.

Jeongguk's hands shake as they keep their grip on Yoongi's wrists, holding on for the ride. Yoongi soothes his worries with his tongue, and licks the taste of something sweet out of his mouth. Jeongguk's knees nearly give out when Yoongi flicks his tongue over the roof of his mouth, legs swooping dangerously, and Yoongi quickly reaches out to wrap his arms around his waist, steadying him. A small gesture, to let him know that if he falls, Yoongi falls too. Together.

They break apart for good when voices get dangerously close to the trailer. Yoongi kisses Jeongguk's cheek one last time, smiles a little, and brushes a strand of hair from his eyes.

“So beautiful, Gukkie,” he murmurs, soft, low between them. “Always so beautiful.”

Jeongguk's cheeks heat up a nice scarlet color, and Yoongi's stomach twists with butterflies. As Namjoon and Hoseok enter the trailer, followed by their makeup artist, Yoongi backs off. Goes to stand by the far wall. Jeongguk finishes changing, eyes flicking up every once in a while to meet Yoongi's, and it feels like something soft, nudging at Yoongi's heart.

He sends Jeongguk one last look, something like, “ You have me. I'm yours,” before changing out of his costume, desperately trying to ignore how he can still taste Jeongguk on his tongue.

---

It's easy, to fall into familiarity with Jeongguk.

Yoongi has loved him hard for as long as he can remember, in a million different ways. Finally getting to love him the right way is simple. He feels as though he's spent years practicing for this.

At night, Jeongguk sneaks into his room, and falls asleep tucked into one side of Yoongi's bed. He's shy, even more so than he was before, and he only gives Yoongi kisses when he's asked to. He sleeps in sweats, and t-shirts, as opposed to boxers, and he flushes so pretty when Yoongi presses lips to his eyelids when they wake up together in the morning.

Nothing has been set in stone yet. They're simply getting a feel for each other, for what they've both been yearning to have. Yoongi goes slow, and Jeongguk follows his lead, and it works. It's safe.

The DNA music video is fun to film. It passes by too quickly for Yoongi to even remember much of. The set is colorful, and the boys are lively, and Jeongguk is beautiful in denim jackets, and silk button ups.

The seven of them have lunch together on the second day of filming. They sit in the backroom where the extra costumes are, four of them crammed onto a three person couch, two smushed into a lounge chair, and one leaning against the granite counters.

Jeongguk shifts in the chair, accidentally knocks his elbow into Yoongi's side. The older man huffs out a pained grunt, and nearly drops his food.

“Ouch, Guk-”

“Shit, I didn't mean-”

“Just sit on my lap,” Yoongi hisses.

He helps Jeongguk up, lets him perch on his thighs, and leans around him a little to shove food into his mouth. He barely notices the way Jeongguk stills, and five sets of eyes turn to them.

“You two seem awful close lately,” Hoseok murmurs, shrugging where he sits next to Taehyung on the sofa.

“It's quite the sight,” Namjoon chimes in.

“Are we just gonna pretend we didn't see them making out in the living room the other day?” Seokjin groans.

“God, that's embarrassing,” Jeongguk utters, just as Jimin yells, “Hyung, be quiet!” And Hoseok bursts into a fit of laughter.

Yoongi doesn't say anything. He hides behind Jeongguk, suddenly grateful to have him as a sort of barrier, and presses his forehead against the younger man's back. He thinks, for a fleeting moment, that this all feels like a dream. Jeongguk, sat in his lap, while the others tease them about how cute they are, and it's-

Well. It's everything that Yoongi has ever wanted.

They wrap up filming the next day. They'll have a week off before they go back their mandatory idol duties, and Yoongi fully intends to make their short break as breathtakingly beautiful as possible.

And, he's got something to say to Jeongguk. Something that is long overdue.

There's a lot to do in Seoul, but that sort of freedom gets snatched away when one becomes an idol. Yoongi can't take Jeongguk on dates, or even go shopping with him lest they get bombarded with fans. And he doesn't mind- not really- but it's hard , testing out a relationship with someone when said relationship has to stay hidden.

It takes nearly half of the week off to arrange, but Yoongi (with the help of Namjoon and Seokjin), manages to convince the managers to let them go to the beach. It's a secluded one out of the way, close to Busan, and Yoongi is pretty certain they won't get spotted there.

They make a road trip out of it.

The seven of them pile into an old van (their usual cars would be too obvious, so they've taken the liberty to rent one). Namjoon, Jimin, and Taehyung take place in the back, Hoseok and Seokjin in the middle seats, and Yoongi drives, with Jeongguk next to him. He's got no idea where he's going- Jeongguk is designated map reader- but with the windows down, and music blaring through tinny, worn out speakers, he's never felt so happy in all of his life.

When the drive gets a little long, Seokjin reaches into the cooler they brought along with them, and pulls out snacks. Jeongguk feeds Yoongi bits of a granola bar as he drives, and giggles when crumbs drop onto Yoongi's lap. And if his heart swells when he glances over and sees Jeongguk's eyes shining, with a smile big enough to break the universe in two, well. He says nothing about it at all.

The beach is as beautiful as it is empty. There's a person, or a family scattered here and there, but everyone is so spaced out that Yoongi's sure no one will be able to recognize them, anyway. Hoseok and Taehyung carry blankets and towels from the van, and spread them out along the sand, out of reach of the water. Seokjin grabs the cooler and disperses food. As for the rest of them?

They make for the sea.

Jimin trips over his own two feet as he barrels in, and falls as a wave washes over them. Namjoon laughs at the other's clumsiness, and gets a mouthful of saltwater in return, which has Jeongguk erupting into the cutest fit of giggles that Yoongi has ever heard.

Clad in swimming trunks and one of Jeongguk's t-shirts, he makes for the younger man and wraps arms around his waist just as a wave smacks against them. Looking down at the water makes him a bit dizzy, but he holds on to Jeongguk so tight that he needn't worry about falling over.

The two of them venture out, waist deep, hands tangled together so that they don't get sucked away by the ocean, by something, Yoongi doesn't know, only thinks that if he doesn't have Jeongguk, he doesn't have anything. And as his feet burrow in wet sand, and the smell of saltwater takes over his entire being, he brings Jeongguk's hand to his lips, and kisses his knuckles, soft.

The younger man flushes. Complains, “Didn't know you were such a sap.”

“Never really got a chance to show you, did I?” Yoongi retorts, and Jeongguk shrugs. Supposes that's true enough.

Waves roll in, splashing up to their chest. Jeongguk pouts as he gets hit in the face with an after-ripple, and Yoongi can't help but laugh. He finds himself falling just a little bit more in love with him as his hair drips seawater down his forehead.

Jeongguk glares playfully, giving Yoongi's shoulder a little shove, and whines, “It isn't funny, hyung. My hair's all messed up now.”

“So what?” Yoongi asks. “You're still cute, baby.”

“What?” Jeongguk gapes, cheeks stained red. His eyes go wide, and- yeah. Yoongi supposes they've never really used pet names with each other before. He wonders if he went too far.

“If I said something that you didn't like,” Yoongi states, “You should tell me.”

Jeongguk's immediate reply is, “I liked it. I just- it surprised me.”

“Aw,” Yoongi beams, eyes sparkling with mirth, “ Baby got surprised, did he?”

“Stop it,” Jeongguk groans, dropping Yoongi's hand. His ears are a pretty red now, too, and Yoongi's stomach swoops with how much adoration he has for this boy. “You're so embarrassing.”

“Baby's embarrassed now, hm?” Yoongi hums, laughing when Jeongguk splashes him with saltwater. “Baby, stop -”

“God, you're the worst,” Jeongguk says, but he's smiling so big his cheeks probably hurt, and Yoongi's heart shakes in his chest. “I don't know why I keep you around.”

“Because you love me,” Yoongi's heart answers. His mouth delivers the message.

Jeongguk stills. For a long while, there is only warm, ocean water splashing against their sides, and the other boys’ voices off in the distance. Yoongi's hands shake as the quiet between them cuts deep. Jeongguk's mouth flickers into a smile.

“Yeah,” he agrees, so soft his voice nearly gets drowned out under the sound of the sea. It is rippling and loud, seeking attention. “Yeah, I do.”

Yoongi closes the space between them in record time. When he kisses Jeongguk, it tastes of saltwater and chocolate granola, and the older man licks into his mouth with a fervor that has both of them breathless in a matter of seconds.

When he pulls back, Jeongguk is blinking leisurely at him. The younger man looks even prettier up close, and Yoongi's fingers itch to run along every inch of his skin. To take and take and take until there is nothing left to have.

He whispers, “I love you, too,” over the echo of a crashing wave, and Jeongguk's smile burns a brand right into his heart.

---

When they head over to America for slight promotions and talk-show performances, Yoongi and Jeongguk share a hotel room, something that hasn't happened in years, it seems. There are two large beds, but Jeongguk makes it clear that they're sharing one, as he throws himself onto the mattress, and invites Yoongi to lie down next to him.

The flight was long, exhausting, and so they'll be given a day off to catch up on sleep. As tired as Yoongi's body feels, he realizes rather quickly that his mind won't shut up because he and Jeongguk are alone, together. Alone together.

He says, “I'm getting in the shower,” and the way Jeongguk pouts is almost enough to make him stay.

“Can I join you?” The younger man asks.

And Yoongi's body sings, “yes, please!” But he shakes his head firmly, because whatever they are still isn't official, and he's trying so hard to do this the right way. To not rush into anything, especially not with Jeongguk, who is young and inexperienced and beautiful. So beautiful that Yoongi is starting to lose sight of what's right.

He leaves Jeongguk and heads into the shower with clean clothes tucked under his arm. The water warms up rather quickly, and he showers slow. Strokes himself off under the hot spray, and desperately pretends like he does not hear Jeongguk's voice in his mind, or imagine his hand wrapped around Yoongi's cock, muscles flexing as he works him to a finish. He knows it isn't forbidden anymore, knows Jeongguk is too eager, too willing, but Yoongi can't do this. He needs time, for the both of them.

When he's all clean, and the arousal in his stomach has been sated just a little, he gets out of the shower. Jeongguk usually sleeps in sweats when they lie together, but Yoongi doesn't bother, ever. Boxers and a t-shirt will always do. He lets his hair drip dry as he exits the bathroom.

Jeongguk is nearly asleep, still in jeans and a hoodie, lying on top of all the blankets. He looks so peaceful that Yoongi almost debates sleeping in the other bed just to keep from bothering him, but as soon as the younger man sees Yoongi, his face lights up, eyes all sparkly, hazed in yellowing lights.

Through a sleepy smile, and a slight yawn, he murmurs, “Come lie down with me, hyung.”

And Yoongi won't tell him no, not anymore, so he climbs in bed, above the covers, and curls up to Jeongguk's side. It's easy. They've cuddled before. Jeongguk doesn't even seem to mind the way Yoongi's wet hair soaks through his hoodie, and Yoongi would be lying to pretend that he doesn't fall a little bit more in love with him. A hand falls into his damp hair, petting at the strands. After a few minutes, it falls limp, as Jeongguk seems to be dozing in and out of sleep.

Everything is slow and quiet for a while. The sun has just barely risen here, in America. It peaks in through half-open curtains, and Yoongi watches as it makes its ascent. Jeongguk's breathing evens out, and he falls asleep completely, puffing hot breaths against Yoongi's hair. It's lovely, and warm, and normal . Yoongi likes how domestic this feels.

It must be an hour or so before he actually starts to drift off, but by that time, Jeongguk is stirring, as he mumbles something like, “'M so hungry.” His stomach grumbles as punctuation. Yoongi smiles.

“Let's order something,” he suggests.

He texts Namjoon their room service order, and their leader happily makes the call for them. Yoongi is grateful for him, sends about a billion heart emojis to him in the group chat. Their food arrives almost half an hour later, and Jeongguk sits up eagerly, wide-eyed as he stares down the array of choices.

They eat quietly, not much to say, and it isn't until Yoongi's lying back on bed, too full to move, that Jeongguk reaches for the ice cream. He devours most of it, stains his lips with chocolate syrup and whipped cream, and when he laps off caramel from the spoon, Yoongi's stomach swoops.

“You've got chocolate on your mouth, Guk,” Yoongi tells him. His throat feels too dry all of a sudden.

Jeongguk goes to grab a napkin, to wipe it off, and Yoongi catches his wrist. His body seemingly moves on its own accord.

“Come here,” he whispers.

Jeongguk cocks his head, confused, and so Yoongi feeds him something that he knows, with a hand in his hair. He tugs him down for a sharp kiss, lazy and warm, but stinging as Yoongi licks into Jeongguk's mouth. He reminds himself again to take it slow, as the taste of chocolate and caramel stain his tongue.

Jeongguk's perched on his lap before Yoongi even has time to breathe, and his hands make to grab at the younger's waist, to hold on tight, but Jeongguk rolls his hips down so slow that Yoongi melts into the mattress and forgets how to move.

He's only wearing boxers, while Jeongguk is still in jeans. The friction is good, but it's burning and his mind screams, “ too much, too much.” Carefully, he places a hand on Jeongguk's chest, and pushes until the younger man is forced to pull back. He looks confused, offended, sad, and so Yoongi kisses the worry off of his face.

“Please,” Jeongguk whispers- breathy, hot. Yoongi's hands shake. “Hyung- please. I've been waiting so long, and-”

“Not here, Jeongguk,” Yoongi tries. He wants to, God , does he want to. Jeongguk would look so pretty all fucked out, face flushed, eyes dark, and Yoongi has to will himself to calm down, lest he get hard embarrassingly fast. “Not here. Not in some hotel room. Just be patient.”

“I don't want to,” Jeongguk whines.

Yoongi asks, “Do you love me?” Jeongguk nods without hesitation.

“I love you, too,” the older man continues, hand coming up to smooth along the curve of Jeongguk's jaw. “So what's a few more weeks of waiting? We've been patient thus far, and-”

“Okay,” Jeongguk sighs. He rolls off of Yoongi, and lies with his head on the older man's stomach. Yoongi reaches down on instinct to play with his hair, and Jeongguk hums under his breath. “I do love you, hyung. A lot.”

Yoongi smiles, warm, and nods.

“I know, Gukkie,” he breathes. “I know.”

They fall asleep around noon, and don't wake up until Taehyung is pounding on their door, requesting that they all go swimming in the hotel pool. He says it's got a tiki bar, and Jeongguk grins, sleepy with mussed up hair. He drags Yoongi out of bed with promises of forever and ever twinkling in his eyes.

---

“Tell me,” Jeongguk starts, perched on Yoongi's lap as the older man leans around him to scribble lyrics into a notebook, “Something phenomenal.”

Yoongi almost doesn't hear him, immersed in tales spun by the graphite of his pencil, but Jeongguk is persistent. He wiggles a little, and gently elbows Yoongi's side to get his attention.

“Something phenomenal?” Yoongi hums, “I don't know anything worth telling.”

Jeongguk pouts, cute enough to send Yoongi's heart spiraling, and leans back against the older man's chest. He's really too big to be sitting between Yoongi's legs to begin with. He's all broad shoulders and thick thighs, and Yoongi can hardly see around him as it is. But there's something inadvertently soft about the way Jeongguk turns pliant around Yoongi. Makes his head spin a bit, if he thinks about it too much.

“Hyung,” Jeongguk sighs, jostling the older man's notebook a little. “Just- talk to me, then. About anything.”

“I'm busy, Guk,” Yoongi huffs. He's got a chorus to write, and two whole verses to finish. He'd opted to stay in the dorm and write because Jeongguk insisted that the studio seemed a world away (though it isn't), but he's starting to regret this already. “Let me finish this, and then we'll talk.”

But Jeongguk is still young- as Yoongi often tries to forget, but can't- and impatient, and he knocks Yoongi's notebook aside. It clatters onto the floor, and Yoongi knows he's just playing around, just wants attention, but sometimes he wishes Jeongguk would grow up .

“Christ, are you serious?” Yoongi hisses. He moves Jeongguk aside, pushes him off his lap and onto the bed, and leans down to pick up his notebook. “I told you to let me finish working.”

“All you do is work,” Jeongguk retorts, “Don't you have any time for me?”

Yoongi scoffs, running a hand through his hair. “I spent years thinking about you, Jeongguk. My mind is finally at peace, and I can focus my attention elsewhere. Please don't fucking ruin that for me.”

“Oh, right,” Jeongguk spits, “Because I ruin everything for you, don't I, Yoongi?”

“I'm not in the mood for this, honestly,” Yoongi grumbles, defeated. He quickly grabs a jacket from his closet, and snags his cellphone up, too. “I'll be in the studio if you need something.”

“Sure, run away just like you always do,” Jeongguk calls after him. Yoongi's already halfway out the bedroom door. “Leave when you get sick of me, when you decide you don't like me anymo-”

“Shut the hell up, kid,” Yoongi snaps. He doesn't feel like arguing, but Jeongguk knows how to get under his skin, and that's infuriating. “If you're insecure about something within our relationship, then how about you talk to me instead of picking a fight?”

Jeongguk opens his mouth to retort, but snaps it shut soon after. He looks mildly hurt, but Yoongi doesn't have the patience to even feel bad about that right now.

“Like I said,” he continues, “I'll be in the studio. When you're done being a brat, and you want to talk, come find me then.”

He leaves before Jeongguk has a chance to argue. Today is a rare day off, and he doesn't want to spend it arguing with his boyfriend. Or, well- maybe they aren't even that. He doesn't know anymore.

He plays piano until his fingers go numb. His studio is locked up, so none of the other boys can come in except Jeongguk, who has the passcode. But he goes relatively unbothered, and he drowns everything out as he loses himself in improvised melodies. Occasionally, a lyrics comes to mind, and he scribbles that down. The finished chorus of a song describes Jeongguk, though that's not what Yoongi had intended.

He supposes, even in times like this, Jeongguk inspires him.

A yawn wracks his body, sends a wave of sleepiness over him. He could use some rest. He hasn't slept much recently (not that he normally does), but with a comeback right around the corner, days have been even more hectic than usual.

He abandons his piano, and makes to lie down on the leather couch, pushed up against the far wall. He tugs the throw blanket off the back of it, and covers up. His arm serves as a pillow, and he yawns once more, before drifting into a sort of half-sleep.

Subconsciously, he hears the door to his studio click open, but his eyelids feel as though they weigh a ton, and he doesn't have the energy to open them. There's a bit of shuffling, and someone pushes at his shoulder. Out of instinct, he scoots over to make more room for them.

Jeongguk's aftershave is subtle, but Yoongi smells it as the younger man curls up next to him. He rests his head atop Yoongi's arm, and his hair is damp, as though he just showered. A big hand curls around Yoongi's hipbone, tugging him closer, and he nuzzles up to Jeongguk's chest.

“I'm sorry,” Jeongguk whispers, voice raspy. Yoongi thinks it sounds like he's been crying. The thought has Yoongi's chest aching painfully. “I love you. I'm sorry, hyung.”

Yoongi merely hums, and presses a kiss to the base of Jeongguk's throat. He smells of spices and lemon- of Yoongi's expensive shampoo that he likes to splurge on. A small smile tugs at the older man's lips, just before he falls asleep, for real, and dreams about the prettiest brown eyes he's ever seen.

He wakes up moments, minutes, hours later, to Jeongguk's hand combing through his hair. His fingertips scratch at Yoongi's scalp, gentle as always, and for a brief second, he almost lets himself fall back to sleep.

But Jeongguk is here, in front of him, and they're fine now. They bicker a lot, always have, but they're okay. Disagreements don't mean hatred, and as long as they know the contents of each other's hearts, everything is okay.

Yoongi grumbles out a deep, sleep-filled, “Baby,” and Jeongguk hums in acknowledgment. Confirmation that he heard him. “Baby, what time is it?”

“Late,” Jeongguk answers. He hasn't bothered to move, to check a phone or anything, but Yoongi nods. Believes him, anyway. “Let's just sleep here tonight, okay?”

“Of course,” the older man says. He lets his eyes crack open, just a bit, and sees that only a small, tableside lamp is on in the studio. An amber haze is cast around them, so pretty as it turns Jeongguk's eyes honey-colored. Yoongi lifts a hand to cradle his face, thumb swiping along his cheekbone. He is so beautiful. Yoongi had always know as much, but now Jeongguk is beautiful and also his, and things are perfect. Yoongi loves him, and is lucky enough to be loved in return.

“Hyung,” Jeongguk starts, voice dropped so that it's barely above a whisper. Seemingly hesitant to break the atmosphere they've created. “You- there's something about you. My heart hurts, and you just- you're so perfect . You're so perfect that it aches.”

Yoongi's face flushes, feels hot, but the redness of his cheeks goes unnoticed underneath the dim lighting. He smiles, barely there but soft around the edges, and sneaks a hand up into Jeongguk's hair.

“Will you let me try something with you, Guk?” Yoongi asks. He's scared, for some reason, heart racing, but- this is Jeongguk. He reminds himself of that over and over again, until he's sure his heart won't forget it.

Jeongguk nods, lazily, slow , and so Yoongi leans forward to kiss him. Jeongguk's lips are dry, but plush, and they slot together perfectly with Yoongi's own. The younger man tastes faintly of something sweet, and sugary- vanilla, perhaps- and also something heady. Something that is so him , so safe and familiar. Heat curls in Yoongi's gut, possession right alongside it, and he tugs at Jeongguk's hair until the latter is gasping, opening up just for him.

Yoongi twists so that Jeongguk is pressed flat against the couch. It's a fairly big couch, but perhaps still too small for them. Yoongi makes it work, settles himself between Jeongguk's legs, their chests pressed together, as they kiss with an amount of fervor that should be draining, but somehow isn't.

Yoongi's slips his thigh between Jeongguk's legs, nudges it up just a little , and Jeongguk whines soft, noise seemingly getting stuck in the back of his throat. His movements are lazy- almost hesitant- as he grinds up against Yoongi's thigh. It's as if he thinks the older man might push him away. Might tell him no.

Not this time.

One of Yoongi's hands finds Jeongguk's hip, squeezing tight, as he urges the boy to move with a bit more conviction. It works, almost immediately. Jeongguk's hips jerk, clothed cock catching Yoongi's thigh, and he whimpers , head falling to the side, breaking their kiss. Yoongi takes the opportunity to kiss down Jeongguk's neck, hot, sticky with a thin sheen of sweat. He sucks a mark to the column of his throat, and feels his stomach swoop when Jeongguk's hips jolt of their own accord.

Yoongi's hand leaves Jeongguk's waist, and sneaks down to the front of his abdomen, instead. He rucks his shirt up, presses insistent fingers flat against the younger man's toned stomach, just to feel. He lets his hand trail further, along the fabric of Jeongguk's sweats, until it grazes over the younger man's hard-on. Jeongguk shudders , whines, and Yoongi likes the way he sounds so deliciously fucked out already. He palms at his cock, and feels it twitch beneath his touch.

“Hyung,” Jeongguk breathes, lashes fluttering, gaze burning as he looks at Yoongi. “ Ah- hyung. Please.”

Yoongi knows what he wants, what he's asking for without really asking, and he takes pity on him. Sweats are easy access, so Yoongi tugs them back enough to get his hand down them, and gently works Jeongguk's cock from his boxers. It sits heavy, red against his stomach, precome glistening along the head, and Yoongi feels as though arousal sticks like a rock in the bottom of his stomach, stifling.

He grips Jeongguk's length in one hand, and strokes him leisurely. It's dry, skin sticking to skin, but Jeongguk doesn't seem to mind as he moans, and bucks up into the circle of Yoongi's hand. It's almost unreal, seeing this happen. Yoongi has thought about this for a painstakingly long time, and now he gets to experience it- gets to make Jeongguk writhe and moan and whimper his name.

He runs his thumb along the slit of Jeongguk's cock just to watch the younger man shake. His eyes fall shut, squeezed tight, but Yoongi tuts and stalls his hand until Jeongguk opens them again. His pupils are blown, almost black, and he is beautiful. Yoongi has always known as much, but now, he is almost unearthly. Too unreal, too perfect.

“Hyung,” he says, rasps , sucking in a big gulp of air. “Your hands- fuck , they’re so nice. Your fingers are so long, I-”

“You what, Jeonggukkie?” Yoongi coaxes, stroking him faster. Precome spurts everywhere, making a mess of things, and Yoongi uses it to make the slide easier. Jeongguk shakes beneath him, hips squirming, as his back bows a little. “Tell hyung what you want.”

“Want you to stretch me open,” Jeongguk manages to choke out, words hot and stinging as Yoongi's dick gives a particularly hard kick. Fuck, Jeongguk will be the death of him. “ Please, please- been thinking about it for so long. Your fingers, long, thick inside of me, and your cock -”

“Christ, okay,” Yoongi cuts him off, has to, before he fucking comes in his pants. “I don't think I have any lube here, though. We can't- I can't fuck you without lube.”

“'S in your bottom desk drawer,” Jeongguk says. When Yoongi falters, hand leaving Jeongguk's cock, the younger man stutters. “I-I put it there a few weeks ago, just incase. Please don't be mad at me, hyung. Please- I was trying to be helpful.”

Jeongguk's eyes are so big, sparkle so pretty, and Yoongi's heart lurches. He dips forward, kisses the crease between Jeongguk's brows, and smooths a hand down his tummy.

“'M not mad, Gukkie. That’s not what I gave you the passcode to my studio for, but-”

“I know,” Jeongguk hiccups, bottom lip trembling like he's in this headspace now- one that is vulnerable and scary. “I'm sorry, hyungie, I was trying to be good.

“Baby,” Yoongi coos, nuzzling at the side of Jeongguk's neck, leaving kisses in his wake. “Baby, it's okay. You're so good. Good for hyung, right?”

Jeongguk nods, tries to steady his breathing, and Yoongi kisses his nose. It brings a small smile to the younger man's face. When he seems sated enough, Yoongi gets up, and heads over to his desk. Sure enough, in the bottom drawer beneath stacks of scribbles notebooks, is a small bottle of lube. He grabs it, and quickly returns to Jeongguk, who has kicked his sweats and boxers onto the floor.

He slicks his fingers up, and Jeongguk whines, reaching for the bottle. He adds more , until there's lube dripping down the palm of Yoongi's hand. When the older man raises his eyebrows curiously, Jeongguk just says-

“I like it wet.”

“Oh,” Yoongi breathes. He feels like he's been punched in the gut. Jeongguk likes it wet - probably likes the way it sounds when he's being fucked into, loud with the squelching of the lube. Yoongi swallows down a groan, and places the bottle off to the side.

He nudges Jeongguk's legs further apart- one haphazardly dangling off the sofa- and rubs a blunt finger between his ass. He presses against his hole, hesitating, looking for some sort of confirmation, when Jeongguk whines impatiently, and wiggles his hips as if to tell Yoongi to get on with it.

And so Yoongi does.

He pushes his finger into Jeongguk, and fucking groans because the younger man is so tight , so hot around him. It's almost overwhelming, the amount of heat he gives off. Yoongi's cock jumps, and he ruts down against Jeongguk's thigh to relieve some pressure. Jeongguk takes his finger well, abdomen tensing for a moment before he forces himself to relax, and melts into the couch.

Yoongi works him open slow, crooks two fingers into him after three, four, five minutes. He curls the digits, raking against Jeongguk's walls. His baby is so pretty; so perfect as he shakes , trembles, shudders, and grabs hold of Yoongi's shoulders to ground himself. He takes three fingers just as well, and throws his head back with a loud, unabashed moan when Yoongi finds his prostate.

“Fuck,” Jeongguk gasps, hips moving in tandem with Yoongi's fingers, “Hyung- ah, I need you now. Please, I want you in me, I want-

“Okay, baby,” Yoongi shushes him by pressing a kiss to his temple. He pulls his fingers out, watches for a second as Jeongguk's pretty hole flutters around nothing, and quickly stands to kick off his pants and boxers. He removes his shirt, too, but leaves Jeongguk in his. There's something about fucking him half-dressed that makes Yoongi's cock drip precome.

He slicks himself up quick, breathlessly, and presses against Jeongguk's entrance. It's surreal, how ethereal Jeongguk looks beneath him, sweating and panting and fucking gone already. His baby, his everything, right here , ready just for him.

Yoongi presses in slow. Jeongguk has never done this with anyone, Yoongi knows as much, and so he takes his time. Jeongguk, for what it's worth, does a very convincing job at pretending like it doesn't hurt that badly. He squeezes his eyes shut, tears prickling at the corners, and Yoongi's hand comes up to cradle his face.

“Look at me,” he urges. Jeongguk does, eyes swimming with wet tears. Yoongi kisses him soft, licks into his mouth for just a moment, before he pulls away to breathe, “You're doing so well. Taking hyung so well, baby.”

“Your baby,” Jeongguk rasps, and Yoongi nods, because of course, of course he is. “Yours, hyung- your baby. Please move, do something , please-”

“Okay,” Yoongi silences him with a roll of his hips, slow and deep and grounding. Jeongguk shudders, and so Yoongi does it again, and again, and again, until the younger man's back arches, spine bowed so pretty. “My baby, so good for me. Such a good boy, Jeongguk-”

Fuck ,” Jeongguk cries out, hips moving subtly to meet Yoongi's, “I like that, hyung. Please- say it again, say-”

“You're a good boy, Gukkie,” Yoongi grunts, arms shaking as he holds himself up and fucks into Jeongguk harder, faster, because the younger man can take it, is dizzy for it. “You're so good, baby, taking hyung’s cock so well.”

Jeongguk whimpers, nails scratching red down Yoongi's back. He slides up the couch as Yoongi pushes into him, shirt rucking up until his chest is revealed. Yoongi leans down, laps at one of his nipples, and Jeongguk sobs, body careening into Yoongi's thrusts, as he nearly curls in on himself. Yoongi holds him down with one hand, fucks him harder, and tugs at Jeongguk's nipple until the younger man squeezes so tight around his cock it's nearly unbearable.

He lets out these little noises- killer ah, ah, ah’s until Yoongi can't take it anymore. Feels so close it's almost embarrassing. He kisses him to shut him up, or to feel him, or to swallow the noises. He kisses him because he loves him, because all there is is Yoongi, and Jeongguk. The two of them against the world.

Jeongguk moans, “Close, close ,” against Yoongi's mouth, and so Yoongi angles his hips, fucks into him fast, and hits his prostate each time. Jeongguk's body winds tight, curls in on itself, and he trembles as he comes untouched between them. He makes a mess of the shirt he's wearing- splatters it white, and Yoongi buries his face in the younger man's neck as he follows, filling him up.

They've made a mess of each other, of everything , but Yoongi can do nothing but lie there. He reaches down after a long while and grabs his shirt. He pulls out of Jeongguk, slowly, and cleans come off of his hole, his thighs, his stomach. And once they're both relatively clean, with wobbly limbs and full hearts, Yoongi plops down next to him.

He curls against Jeongguk's side, as the latter runs a hand through his hair, just like earlier, when Yoongi first woke up. Nothing has changed, nothing is different, but the air feels lighter. Jeongguk leans down to leave a kiss against Yoongi's hair, and his heart stutters in his chest, weak and sputtering so quick. Beating just for Jeongguk.

Sleep hazes his movements. His tongue feels heavy in his mouth as he steals Jeongguk's words from before- a simple, “Tell me something phenomenal.”

There's a beat of silence, before Jeongguk whispers an unbothered, “I love you,” like that's all there is. All that has ever been.

It's not new, or even different, but it's theirs. And that, in itself, Yoongi thinks, is phenomenal indeed.