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It starts when someone among the five of them—the five of them being Taehyung, Jimin, Sungwoon, Daniel and Taemin begin a discussion about their seniors’ love lives.

So sue them. Their debut is imminent, and the closer the date comes the more their stress skyrockets. Gossip, particularly about their seniors—all three who were well respected veterans in the industry—helps alleviate some of these stress. Particularly when the gossip centers around their love lives.

They unanimously agree that Hoseok and Namjoon clearly only have eyes for each other. It is obvious from the way they dance around each other and the lingering, fond stares. There is not much to discuss there—though Taehyung suspects there is a betting pool among the company staff over how long it would take for them to finally get their heads out of their asses and get together.

No, the only senior whose love life remains a mystery is that of Min Yoongi.

Min Yoongi happens to be the oldest among the trio. He doesn’t look like it, since he also happens to be the smallest of the lot. The trio’s official line up puts Yoongi on stage left with Namjoon in the center and Hoseok on stage right, so it kind of looks like a mountain with a particularly steep valley on Yoongi’s side. On stage he is sweet and kind to fans and obliging enough when they hand him kitten ears to wear during fan signs, soft lips pulled into an exaggerated pout for them to photograph and squeal over.

Off stage though, he happens to be the most intimidating. Strict, professional, and all business. All of them are, but Yoongi takes it to another level. There is just something about him that makes it difficult for people to approach and speak to first, especially compared to Namjoon and Hoseok. So even if all of the trainees want to know about Min Yoongi’s love life, none of them really dare ask him about it.

But all of them are also prone to letting curiosity get the better of them, and it is only a matter of time before they decide they want to find out. Never mind the potential consequences.

Somehow the duty falls on Taehyung. He gets summoned to Yoongi’s studio—Genius Lab—one morning and his protests get overruled when Jimin, Taemin, Daniel and Sungwoon tell him “just ask him! He’s not going to kill you! Not in his own studio!”

Like that was supposed to be reassuring.

Though Taehyung cannot deny he is curious too. Honestly, if they were all cats, they would be dead.

Yoongi’s studio is a perfect metaphor for him as a person. Below the plaque that says GENIUS LAB, there is also a sign on it that says please take off your slippers, which strikes Taehyung as something only a fussy old man would do. But then Yoongi had also foregone polite social etiquette and bought a doormat of a cat with both its middle fingers up and curly script next to it spelling get out, which Taehyung is certain fussy old men would not do.

Yoongi really is like a grumpy elderly man who employs deadpan millennial humour. Taehyung has to respect that.

And yet perhaps the most extreme measure of all was the special lock he had implemented that required a passcode that only he knew. It is a huge contrast to both Hoseok’s and Namjoon’s studios, both which you can enter anytime as long as you knock first.

The cat glares up at Taehyung as he comes to a stop in front of Yoongi’s door. He sighs and rings the bell. He always did like dogs better.

The door opens almost immediately, sliding open a crack just enough for Yoongi to peer through, not unlike Gollum from Lord of The Rings hissing away at any exposure to light. His expression doesn’t change when he sees Taehyung, just tilts his head to indicate Taehyung should come in before he turns to go back to his desk.

“Shut the door behind you,” he calls.

Taehyung does as he’s told. He’s been in here a couple of times, but he can’t help but check out the room again—discreetly, of course. The interior of Yoongi’s studio is friendlier than its exterior. He has those expensive Bearbrick toys lined on shelves and on his desk, figurines of basketball players and a jersey slung over his chair, an odd contrast to the hand lotions and scented candles that take up a smaller, but still prominent space on his shelf. There is also a keyboard against the wall by his desk, something which had taken Taehyung by surprise when he had first saw it. He would never have pegged Yoongi as a pianist.

It is not a long meeting—Yoongi doesn’t do small talk like Namjoon or ask about the trainees much like Hoseok. It’s all straight to the point and business, Yoongi handing Taehyung some sheet music and telling him he needs to rerecord some of his backing vocals for their debut EP.

Halfway through their meeting Taehyung’s phone starts up an incessant buzz in his pocket. He had set it to silent before coming in but the vibrations are especially loud in the enclosed room. Taehyung doesn’t have to check to know that the messages are from the group chat with his fellow trainees to find out if he had asked Yoongi what they wanted to know. He quickly fishes it out and turns it off, peeking at Yoongi to see if he was mad

Yoongi meets his gaze and raises his eyebrows. “Someone’s popular. You might wanna turn that off.” His voice is neutral, inflectionless. Not angry, but not pleasant either, bordering almost on unfeeling.

“I did,” Taehyung says, hastily shoving his phone back into his pocket.

With his phone off, the rest of the recording pass smoothly. “Right, that’s all for today,” Yoongi says after about thirty minutes. He nods briefly at Taehyung. “Thanks for coming in.”

A phone chimes with a message just then—Taehyung panics momentarily, thinking it is his own—until Yoongi glances over at his phone on his desk and picks it up. The expression on his face softens slightly, and a tiny smile appears on his face when he sees whatever it is. Taehyung cannot help but stare. His look reminds him of his mother when she gets a message from his father. A kind of private, indulgent joy shared between the closest of people.

Could that possibly be Yoongi’s better half?

Yoongi glances up and looks surprised to see Taehyung still sitting there.  “What?” He asks blankly. “Why are you still here?” He frowns. “You should go eat your lunch. Your breaks are precious, you know.” He looks back down at his phone and begins typing out a reply, clearly expecting the conversation to be over.

Taehyung nods. He is about halfway to the door when he realises that the smile Yoongi had been wearing earlier is now back on his face. Taehyung swallows, and in one of the most foolish moments in his life—certainly up there with the time he and Jimin decided to sneak into swimming complex after closing hours—he throws all caution to the wind.  “Got a date later, sunbae-nim?” He blurts.

The words have barely left his mouth when he is scrambling to find some way to retract them—now that he has spoken them out loud it solidifies the notion that this was a really bad idea. Kind of like entering a lion’s den and asking what it is having for lunch while knowing you could be one of the items on the menu. Never mind the fact that Yoongi looks more like an extremely miffed kitten than a lion. Taehyung still does not want to find out if Yoongi’s bite is worst than his bark.

Except it is too late since Yoongi obviously heard, judging from the strange look he aims at Taehyung. “What,” he says quite calmly, which might be a good thing if it didn’t make Taehyung think of the calm before a storm.

Well, since he had already asked. “A date. With your girlfriend. Or boyfriend.” Because fuck heteronormativity. Also, Taehyung has heard Yoongi’s entire discography, even during his pre-debut, underground rapper days when he went by the name of GLOSS. He is not one to assume anything but Yoongi’s tracks do seem to indicate a preference for the latter.

Yoongi doesn’t respond right away. He stares at him with an unfathomable expression on his face, and just when Taehyung think he’s in deep shit, that Yoongi’s going to kick him out of the office by the butt and tell him to get out of BigHit, a smirk appears on his face. It’s the smirk he wears on stage after delivering a particular powerful rap, smug and devilish, and it actually makes Taehyung more scared.

“Sorry to disappoint you,” he drawls as he stands and grabs his wallet and phone off his desk. “But I don’t have a boyfriend. Or a girlfriend.” He bares his teeth. It is too threatening to be a smile, even for someone whose fans have taken to nicknaming as lil meow meow.

Taehyung stares at him, mouth open, until Yoongi raises an eyebrow at him and jerks his head out of the door. “Well?” He asks, in a voice that really meant leave.

“Nothing,” Taehyung squeaks, and absolutely does not run out of there.

 

_________________________________

 

The universe aligns such that the trainees come across a tipsy Namjoon at 2am in the morning in a secluded corridor of Bighit’s building. Seungwoon, Daniel, Taemin, Taehyung and Jimin are about to leave for their dorm after a long day of practice when they bump into Namjoon. He looks as if he has just returned to the company from somewhere else, frowning and mumbling to himself as he makes his way unsteadily to his studio.

“Sunbae-nim, are you okay?” Taemin asks politely, looking a little anxious, hands hovering over Namjoon as if he doesn’t quite know what to do. “Should we call someone to send you home? Bang PD? Min PD?”

“No, don’t bother them,” Namjoon says with a breezy laugh. “I’m just heading to the studio to check…on something. Duty calls! Besides,” he frowns, as though thinking hard. “B-Bang PD is overseas, and Yoongi is-is out…with his…with his…”

He hiccups and stumbles, both over his words and feet.

Next to Taehyung, Jimin perks up. “Boyfriend?” Jimin hisses excitedly to Taehyung in what he thinks is a low voice. “I told you he was lying! He’s totally dating someone!”

Namjoon snorts, overhearing. “Not boyfriend, god. He doesn’t have one.” He jabs a finger in Jimin’s direction, except he is way off, pointing at the wall on Jimin’s left instead. “He’s married. You guys! How can you not know?”

Taemin and Daniel gasps; Jimin swears, and both Seungwoon and Taehyung echo Namjoon: “married?”

Namjoon squints at them as though really seeing them for the first time. The smile slides off his face.

“Oh man,” he says, backing away slightly. “Shit. I thought you guys were the make-up artists.” He turns and walks off in the opposite direction. “Shouldn’t have said that,” he mutters to himself, uncaring or unknowing of the bombshell he has just dropped. The trainees look at each other, shock mirrored on all their faces.

“Married?” Jimin repeats, sounding both awed and disbelieving, and then follows up with what they were all thinking. “But who would marry him?”

 

_________________________________

 

All the make-up artists hired by the company are kind to the trainees, sweet and professional—but Taehyung likes Kim Seokjin best.

He thinks all of the trainees—himself included, he is not ashamed to admit it—are a little bit in love with him too. Not that it is difficult to develop a crush on Seokjin. He is gorgeous in a way that makes Taehyung wants to dedicate their entire debut EP to him (appropriate, since their title track was about first love anyway). Seokjin looks like he should be seated in the make-up chair himself in nothing but a slinky silk robe being pampered before he walks the runway at Seoul Fashion Week. Except Seokjin himself wears a lot of makeup—at least, as far as Taehyung can tell. The only makeup that Seokjin consistently wears is tinted flavoured lip gloss, which should be illegal considering god had already blessed him with the prettiest pair of lips Taehyung has ever seen. Maybe even prettier than Park Jimin’s. Maybe. Taehyung has always been biased towards his best friend.

Today Seokjin is wearing one of his favourite oversized sweaters that drapes his tall frame in a cozy manner and a pair of black jeans ripped artfully at the knees. He smiles when he sees Taehyung and the trainees file into the room, full lips accentuated by the glittery pink lipgloss he favours nowadays.

Taehyung claims the makeup chair in front of Seokjin before the other trainees can. They are filming their individual shots on set today, the one the director intersperses between the takes of their choreography. Taehyung isn’t really looking forward to it. What was he supposed to do in front of a camera by himself for three and a half minutes while he lip sings?

“Nervous, Taehyung-ah?” Seokjin asks knowingly as he expertly blends foundation onto Taehyung’s skin. Taehyung blinks up at him, startled. It is almost a little scary how well Seokjin can read their emotions.

“A little,” Taehyung sighs. “But that’s normal, right? I’m sure even the seniors were nervous filming their first music video.”

“Well I wouldn’t know about them, but I was worried my first day on the job,” Seokjin affirms. He gives a shrug, the material of his sweater straining slightly over his broad shoulders. “So yes. It is normal to be nervous on the first day of work. Even if you have a face that helps you get away with most mistakes…which I say you and I both do.” He winks, all exaggerated charm, and even though Taehyung knows it is a deliberate attempt to make him feel better it works, pulling a tiny huff of laughter out of him. Seokjin is not so much as funny as earnest. And Taehyung can appreciate his effort to make him feel better.

“Your makeup is nice today, hyung,” he says after there is a lull in the conversation. Taehyung isn’t one to fill the silence meaninglessly—but Seokjin’s lips really do look lovely, and he feels compelled to let him know. “Is that lipgloss new?”

“Thank you,” Seokjin grins. “And yes. I got it off the drugstore.” He shrugs and turns to snag a new brush from the counter. “I left my makeup bag in the airport while travelling so I brought this one. It looks surprisingly well on me, so I was saving it for a special occasion.”

Taehyung grunts in acknowledgement. There is not much he can say in response, since he is trying not to move. “Special occasion?” He asks curiously, when Seokjin turns away to fetch a sponge. A thought strikes him then, and he sits up a little straighter with a grin on his face. “Like what? A date?”

Before Seokjin can respond a familiar figure slouches up to them and sits down heavily in the chair next toTaehyung. He’s wearing a mask on his face, hair tucked into a backwards cap. Taehyung eyes the heavy-looking silver earrings on the man’s ears and the stray blonde hair that peeks out under the man’s cap before recognition strikes.

“Sunbae-nim?” He asks, surprised.

Seokjin turns to look at the man. “Yoongi-ssi? What are you doing here? You are not on my schedule today.”

Yoongi pulls down the mask that covers half his face. He shrugs, rubbing at his neck. “I was on my way to buy some pet food. Thought I’ll drop by.”

Seokjin looks unconvinced. “You came to buy pet food. All the way here. In Incheon.”

“My dog is choosy about food,” Yoongi responds without any hesitation. His eyes are narrowed, daring Seokjin to call him out.

Seokjin doesn’t look particularly cowed—which is great, because Taehyung knows he will be. It is great that there are people in the world who remains unintimidated by Min Yoongi, even if Taehyung isn’t one of them. He just rolls his eyes and turns back to Taehyung. “Sorry Tae, you were saying something?” He cocks his head to the side, as though trying to remember. “Oh yes. You asked if I was going on a date, right?”

Taehyung does not miss the way Yoongi suddenly straightens a little in his seat, gaze sharpening into a laser point on Seokjin at the mention of date. “Yeah, I just thought…since you said you dressed up for a special occasion…?” His voice trails off a little timidly, suddenly finding it difficult to talk about this with his senior around.

Seokjin does not seem to notice his discomfort, nor Yoongi’s sudden interest in their conversation. “Well,” He concurs demurely, except there is a knowing gleam in his eyes that he cannot quite seem to contain. “If you must know, I am seeing someone.”

A loud, hacking cough from Yoongi cuts Taehyung off before he can respond. Seokjin spares him a disparaging look. “Close your mouth if you must cough, Yoongi-ssi.”

Yoongi just raises one eyebrow and casts a look of polite incredulity at Seokjin. He leans back in his seat, hands clasped over his lap. It strikes Taehyung as odd. He doesn’t think it is that hard to believe that Seokjin is in a relationship.

“Sorry,” he grunts, though he doesn’t sound particularly apologetic. “I just wasn’t aware you were dating anyone, Seokjin-ssi.” He shrugs. “I’m hurt. I thought you told me everything.”

Taehyung genuinely cannot tell if Yoongi is being sarcastic or not, since his voice was as deadpan as ever. He certainly didn’t sound hurt, and Taehyung cannot recall ever seeing Seokjin and Yoongi hanging out. They seem more like acquaintances than even friends, really. He doubts the both of them are close enough to share news like that.

Well, whatever. He is more interested to hear what Seokjin has to say.

A broad grin appears on Seokjin’s face and he ducks his head, almost as if he is shy, except his voice is coy when he speaks. “We’re trying to keep it low-key,” he admits, voice pitched lower than before, and Taehyung gets a mental image of a beautiful red rose entrapping a helpless bee among its thorny stems. Taehyung is starting to think he has underestimated Seokjin a little. That man knows how to flirt.

“I see,” Yoongi says, and he sounds almost bored. “Is there anything you can tell us about him?”

“You don’t have to, of course,” Taehyung blurts, only to quail a little when Yoongi’s head snap to look at him, eyes very clearly telling him to shut up.

“It’s fine, Taehyungie,” Seokjin says brightly. “I mean. He is a famous actor, so it is likely you know who he is. He’s tall. Taller than me.” It is impossible to miss the dig about height with the smug grin he flashes at Yoongi.

To his credit, Yoongi barely reacts. "Handsome too, then?” he asks sardonically. He doesn’t bother hiding the way his eyes flicker up and down Seokjin’s form. “You’re not wearing that to your date, are you?”

Taehyung bristles because senior or not he’s not going to let Yoongi get away with being rude to Seokjin. But Seokjin remains unfazed. “Would you like to suggest something?” He asks casually.

This time Yoongi’s gaze drags up and down the length of Seokjin’s body even longer than before. He leans forward and props his chin on his fist, staring at Seokjin in a way that if Taehyung didn’t knew any better would describe as flirtatious. Except Yoongi cannot possibly be flirting with Seokjin. He was married, for god’s sake. Or had Namjoon been so drunk he had made that up? Taehyung honestly cannot tell what’s real and what’s not with Yoongi anymore.

“I’m sure you have something in mind,” is Yoongi’s bland response.

“What do you think about lace?” Seokjin asks with a saccharine sweet grin, and Taehyung frowns, surprised that Seokjin is indulging him. He cannot help but feel that he is missing something here.

“I know you think you look good in everything,” is Yoongi’s rapid-fire response. “But yes. I’m sure your date would appreciate it.”

Taehyung decides to let out a tiny cough just then, just to remind the both of them that he was still here and did not like being excluded from the conversation. He regrets it slightly when both Seokjin and Yoongi turn to look at him like they had genuinely forgotten he was there. Ouch.

“So…well…is he a nice guy?” He asks a little squeakily, hoping the question will take their attention off him.

It works. Yoongi does turn away from Taehyung to look at Seokjin instead, waiting for his answer. The question also causes Seokjin’s face to soften as he picks up where he has left of.

“Very. He is very sweet, very considerate. Always know when I need a hug or a bad joke to cheer me up, or to give me space when I need it.” His cheeks turn slightly pink and he gives an embarrassed chuckle. “Sorry, I’m getting all mushy aren’t I?”

“He sounds lovely, hyung,” Taehyung says sincerely, because he is, and Seokjin deserves someone who treats him well.

Seokjin smiles shyly and glances over at Yoongi. “Think you might know him?”

The corners of Yoongi’s lips twitch before his expression smooths out. “You didn’t give me much to work with. Most actors are tall and handsome. Still, it doesn’t matter. What’s important is that you like him, Seokjin-ssi.”

It is probably one of the nicest things Taehyung has heard Yoongi say. He supposes not even someone as perpetually grumpy as Yoongi has the heart to be rude to Seokjin after opening up like that.

“Thank you,” Seokjin tells him, eyes darting between Taehyung’s and Yoongi’s before settling to meet Taehyung’s. He leans towards Taehyung conspiratorially, and Taehyung finds himself bending forward too. “I think I may love him,” Seokjin says quietly. “I really do.”

Taehyung thinks he sees a flash of emotion across Yoongi’s face in his peripheral vision but when he glances over to check Yoongi looks as bored as ever, though his voice is thoughtful when he says, “he sounds like a lucky guy.”

Seokjin laughs and ducks his head shyly. “Thanks for listening.” He pats Taehyung’s shoulder. “Anyway that’s enough stories for now.” He checks his phone. “You’re supposed to be on set in five minutes, so let me do some touch-ups before you go.”

Yoongi clears his throat and uncrosses his legs. “I’ll go say hi to the other trainees,” he says. “Good luck, Taehyung. Bye, Seokjin-ssi. Enjoy your date.”

“Thanks, sunbae-nim!” Taehyung calls as Yoongi turns away without waiting for a response. He waits until Yoongi is out of earshot before settling properly back down in his chair. “He seems nicer today.” He says mildly.

“Does he?” Seokjin asks as he picks up a sponge. His mouth curls up into a smile, small and secretive. “That’s good. Now close your eyes, please.”

 

 

_________________________________

 

 

Somehow or other Taehyung and Jimin end up spilling their grievances about Yoongi to Seokjin.

It just pours out. It has been a stressful week. The company informs them there had been an error with the printing of their albums and everyone is tense, worried they wouldn’t have anything to sell by the date of the release. They hadn’t opened any pre-orders for this album, but their marketing team had conducted their research, sifting through social media sites to estimate their projected album sales based on a few choice metrics. It isn’t a huge number, but Taehyung had been satisfied with it all the same. He can’t quite bear the thought of it being messed up when they are so precariously close to debut.

Everyone else that has had a hand in their debut is also clearly feeling the edge. Even Namjoon and Hoseok seem stressed. Hoseok had been particularly hard on them during their dance practice earlier, putting them through the routine countless times and eating into the precious half an hour break they had before their vocal class. Namjoon had been sending out urgent calls and texts to the members of the group at random hours to head to his studio for last minute re-recordings. The atmosphere in Bighit was one of barely controlled chaos. 

And Yoongi, well.

The trainees had always known Yoongi can be a bit prickly. But now he’s downright unpleasant. Daniel leaves rap practice looking visibly down. Apparently Yoongi had been irritated at his rendition of a rap he had told them to rehearse and had ended the class early without listening to their whole performance.

“I spent hours practising though,” Daniel confides during their break. “I mean, I know we’re not the best. But I don’t get why he wants me to learn a new rap when we barely have time to practice all the songs we’re doing for our debut stage next week.” He darts a glance around the room and lowers his voice. “He is the worst.”

Taehyung grimaces in sympathy. Ashard as it is, there aren’t much people the trainees can talk to about their problems besides each other. Taehyung tries not to share too much of his hardships with his family, for fear of making them worried.

So when he and Jimin run into Seokjin later that night on their way out and Seokjin offers to buy them dinner, they end up telling Seokjin everything.

“He’s just impossible,” Taehyung whines. “He made Daniel learn a new rap last night—and for what? It’s right before our debut! And then he keeps offering us food when he knows we are dieting. And when we say no he looks us dead in the eye—and eats the food up! And then he keeps leaving his snacks behind so we have to throw them out. It’s making out life so hard. I don’t get why he’s doing this.”

Seokjin’s eyebrows knit together in concern. “I’m sure he has his reasons,” he says carefully. His food has long finished, but both Taehyung’s and Jimin’s are only half gone because they had been talking more than they had been eating. Not like their meals are particularly appetising anyway. Seokjin had tried to suggest they get something else at the restaurant, but both Taehyung and Jimin had dutifully, if grudgingly, stuck to their diet of chicken breast and water.

Jimin sighs, frustrated. “With all due respect hyung, you haven’t had to work with him so closely before. Maybe he isn’t like that around you, but god is he a pain.”

“Maybe,” Seokjin says hesitantly.

Jimin stabs moodily at the pieces of chicken breast on his plate and sets his fork down. “I can’t believe he’s married,” he bites out. Taehyung knows he doesn’t mean it maliciously. Jimin just didn’t take stress well, tends to let it accumulate before he snaps and expels it in vicious words he would normally never say. It also doesn’t help that Jimin really hates their diet, and the poor dinner was fuelling his bad mood even more. “Who the heck would marry him?” He glowers into the distance, and then looks at Taehyung. “Maybe he forced his partner. I wouldn’t put it past him.”

The sound of plastic hitting the table interrupts Taehyung before they can answer. It’s Seokjin, who had been picking up his cup of water for a drink before it had slipped out of his hands. Not that he had seemed to have noticed, since he is staring at both Jimin and Taehyung, eyes round with shock.

“Do you really think that?” He asked, sounding a little horrified.

It seemed a little odd to Taehyung that Seokjin would care so much—except Jimin himself doesn’t seem to have noticed this. The anger on his face fades to one of shame and contriteness. “No, sorry,” he says, though he does sound mildly sullen as he looks down. “I’m just stressed, Seokjin hyung. Sorry.”

Seokjin sighs and shakes his head, reaching for some of the napkins to wipe up the spilt water on the table. “Oh, Jimin. I understand.” He leans forward and peers up at Jimin until their eyes meet. “I admit, I am a little concerned. Do you truly think Min Yoongi is such a terrible person?”

Jimin shifts uncomfortably in his seat. His eyes flicker over to Taehyung’s in a silent plea for help. Taehyung knows what his best friend is thinking. All of them—even Sungwoon, Taemin and Daniel—genuinely want to believe in the best of Yoongi. They want to believe that he is one of those seniors in the industry who believed in tough love. Except all of them have been seeing more tough than love from Yoongi nowadays. It makes it hard to believe Yoongi wants the best for them. 

Seokjin bites his lip and shakes his head. “It’s okay if you don’t feel like answering.” He pulls back and the corners of his eyes crinkle as he smiles. “He’ll ease up soon, I’m sure.”

Usually Seokjin’s words of comfort are chosen with care, meaningful. Except now Taehyung can’t help but feel that Seokjin’s words are nothing but an empty promise.

It is not like Yoongi’s behaviour is something Seokjin can guarantee.

 

_________________________________

 

Taehyung bumps into Seokjin when he is leaving Genius Lab late one night.

“Seokjin hyung? What are you doing here so late?” He asks, confused.

Seokjin smiles briefly at him and shakes his head. “Just some stuff,” he says vaguely. “You should head back to your dorm, Tae. It’s really late.” And he hurries off before Taehyung can reply.

Taehyung frowns at Seokjin’s back. It is odd that Seokjin will be at the company at midnight, but then again it is none of his business. He shrugs and sets off, wanting nothing more than a hot shower and his bed. Maybe he’ll climb in with Jimin tonight. It’s been a long day, and he wants a cuddle.

He is about halfway out of the building when he realises he’s left his wallet in Yoongi’s studio. He sighs, turns and heads back. At least one thing he knows for sure is that Yoongi would not have left just yet. Sometimes he swears Min Yoongi is nocturnal, because the light from under his door never seem to go out.

He rings the bell, making sure to step deliberately on the cat doormat.

“Hello, sunbae-nim?” He calls out after awhile, when Yoongi doesn’t open the door right away. Maybe he had his headphones in?

He hears the faint squeaking noise of Yoongi’s computer chair. “Who is there?” Yoongi calls, voicer sharper than usual.

Taehyung sighs. “It’s Taehyung. Can I come in, please? I think I left my wallet in here.”

A long pause, and then Yoongi’s gravelly voice rings out. “Sure. Give…give me a second.”

The door opens and Taehyung is about to thank Yoongi, only for the words to die in his throat when he realises someone else had opened the door.

Seokjin blinks at him from the other side, face carefully blank. “Come in, Taehyung.”

Taehyung stares at him, confused. When he had ran into Seokjin earlier, the last place he had expected to see him would be here, in Genius Lab. What was Seokjin doing in Yoongi’s studio?

“Um,” he says intelligently.

Seokjin doesn’t offer an explanation either, just steps aside to let Taehyung enter. Taehyung’s eyes dart around the room quickly, looking for his wallet, having forgotten where he had set it. He can’t help but gulp when he notices the way Yoongi is watching him, guarded and a little wary, except something soon catches his eye and he stands and stares, wallet forgotten.

Now, no matter what other people may occasionally say about him, Taehyung isn’t dumb. His eyes flick from the unamused expression on Yoongi’s face to the carefully blank one that Seokjin is sporting, then darts back to their hands. Seokjin’s hands are devoid of any rings, but he shifts a little under Taehyung’s scrutiny, and Taehyung’s gaze latches onto the silver ring dangling from a chain around his neck. Yoongi’s hands lay on the tops of his thighs, and it’s harder to see, but Taehyung swears the ring is exactly the same as the one Seokjin wears around his neck. Everyone slowly starts falling into place. Their low-key—or honestly high-key—flirting they did in front of Taehyung the other day. Seokjin being upset about what Jimin had said about Yoongi’s partner.

It only takes him less than half a second to draw his next conclusion.

“Are you two married?” He blurts.

It’s probably really rude just how disbelieving he sounds but Taehyung has never been that good at keeping his feelings in check—something his manager keeps telling him he needs to master if he wants to become an idol.

Except that’s the last thing on his mind right now because he would never have thought—that his grumpy, stern looking producer will be married to Seokjin—Seokjin, who was so cheerful and kind he had the whole company wrapped around his finger, who listened patiently as they confided in him the difficulties of training, of missing home, who was infinitely patient when Taehyung and Jimin and the rest of their bandmates were messing around in the waiting rooms, who—oh, god.

“Oh god,” Taehyung breathes, feeling his face heat up in mortification as a sudden thought strikes him. He shoots Seokjin a wide-eyed, terrified look. “Oh my god, Seokjin hyung. I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry I—we—said that about your husband, oh my god.”

He’s just about ready to bolt from Yoongi’s studio, run back to the dorm and buy a bus ticket back to Daegu—Yoongi’s going to hate him now, he’s never gonna be able to debut and Jimin and Sungwoon and Taemin and Daniel were going to have to be a four-men show instead of the original lineup they had planned—but then he registers someone laying a hand on his shoulder. He can’t really see, since he is kind of hiding his head in his hands in mortification.

“Taehyung, relax.” Ah, it’s Seokjin, honestly the less scary of the two. Taehyung peeks between his fingers and stares up at him, noting with slight relief that he doesn’t look angry—instead, he looks very much like he’s trying not to laugh.

He steers Taehyung to the lone couch by the door and presses against his shoulder, a silent gesture for him to sit. Yoongi watches them, then sighs and scoots over squeakily on his computer chair.

“Hey, Taehyung,” he says awkwardly.

It’s actually ridiculous how Taehyung and the rest find Yoongi so scary. Right now, he’s still slightly taller than them—except for Taemin—but it’s obvious that Taehyung and Daniel are going to catch up to his height eventually (he’s not sure if he can say the same for Jimin and Sungwoon). And yet..there’s just something in the set of Yoongi’s shoulders, a fierceness in his eyes that had always been so intimidating. Him being smaller than most of the seniors in the company had done nothing to diminish the authority he exudes, and perhaps it was what made him so. Well. Frightening.

So really, Taehyung cannot be blamed for shrinking back slightly as Yoongi approaches. He really cannot.

“I want to apologise,” Yoongi says, a little stiffly, and woah, okay that had not been what Taehyung was expecting.

“For?” He asks nervously.

Yoongi licks his lips and shoots Seokjin a glance. His face betrays no change in emotion, but Taehyung sees Seokjin return a reassuring nod, and it clicks.

Yoongi is nervous. Just as much as Taehyung is, if not more.

Taehyung watches as Yoongi opens his mouth to speak, only to shut it and take another deep breath. At that, one of Seokjin’s hands come up to touch his hair, light and fleeting, but Taehyung doesn’t miss the way some of the tension seem to bleed out of Yoongi’s body. Any other time Taehyung might be marvelling at the almost silent way the both of them are able to communicate but well. His mind is occupied by other things.

Finally, Yoongi heaves a sigh and looks up at Taehyung. His eyes are apologetic.

“I made Daniel learn that new rap because you guys are gonna be promoting and you have to be ready—you never know when you go on a variety show the MCs decide they want you to perform. And you’re rookies. They are gonna be harder than you all.” He sighs again. “I offered you guys food because you should be eating. Hoseok, Namjoon and I went through the same diet years back before our debut and it was horrible. I’ll be damned if you guys have to do the same.” He glances nervously at Seokjin, and Seokjin gives him an encouraging nod. “I spoke to your manager about it and told him to ease up. I don’t know if he did but I thought I’ll make sure. And you guys kept refusing my food so I didn’t really know how to convince you guys to eat them short of, um, setting an example myself—”

He cuts himself off. Taehyung doesn’t miss the way he squeezes Seokjin’s hand, as though he’s drawing strength from his partner. “Anyway. What I am trying to say is…I’m really sorry, Taehyung. I just wanted the best for you guys but that doesn’t excuse me being so hard on you all.”

Seokjin rubs Yoongi’s shoulder gently.

Taehyung shuffles his feet nervously and clears his throat. He is not quite sure what to say. “I…well…I understand where you are coming from, sunbae-nim,” he says slowly. “I know you just want the best for all of us.”

And he believes it. Yoongi had been in their shoes before. He knows all too well how hard the life of a trainee can be. But this is Yoongi’s first time being a sunbae to a group of trainees, and it also understandable that he is still adjusting to this responsibility.Taehyung can forgive that, and he sure the rest of his bandmates could as well, if Yoongi also apologises to them and explains himself.

At his words, Seokjin smiles and mouths a silent thank you to Taehyung. Taehyung’s lips can’t help but curl up into an involuntary grin as he nods back.

Besides, someone who made Kim Seokjin fall in love with him had to be a real catch.

“Anyway, I was thinking,” Yoongi mumbles, voice lower than before—from nervousness, maybe? “I was thinking maybe you and the other trainees will like to come to our place next week. I’ll buy dinner, as an apology for being such an asshole. And you guys can meet Jeongguk.”

“Jeongguk?” Taehyung asks blankly.

He then watches in astonishment when he sees Yoongi’s face softens as he utters his next words.

“He’s our son.”

 

_________________________________

 

 

The Min-Kim apartment is situated in a expensive, quiet neighbourhood in Gangnam, all tall white buildings and tight security. But apart from that it is definitely more welcoming than Yoongi’s studio, both inside and out.

It’s messy in a lived-in, comfortable way, messy in a way only parents with young children can be. Besides the meticulous attempts to baby proof the house—corner guards to block off sharp table edges and baby gates—the mess is almost careless, absent minded. Books lie across the couch in a way reminiscent of someone trying to read too many at once. There are reading glasses on the TV console and photographs in colourful mismatched frames, all of which clash horribly with the giant Bearbricks toys looming over them like some kind of herald. On shelves safely out of the baby’s reach are small potted cactuses, and Taehyung is sure they had only been purchased because they required minimal care.

It’s odd. It’s so different from Yoongi’s studio and yet similar at the same time. His tastes are reflected everywhere, and yet the way the colours and textures and patterns clash tells Taehyung Seokjin has just as much input into this apartment as Yoongi. It’s nice. Like a metaphor for them as people. How they are so different, but they somehow still made it work.

“So, welcome, I guess,” Yoongi says, and now that he is away from the studio he looks less authoritative and more awkward, even if he is dressed more comfortably in hoodie and sweatpants as well as a pair of really ugly looking house slippers. He waves vaguely at the living room and then jerks his hand back as though he doesn’t quite know what to do, rubbing the back of his neck. “Sorry it’s in a bit of a mess.” He shoots the trainees—rookies now, since they have debuted. Taehyung still can’t quite believe it, to be honest—a conscious, lopsided grin. “Can be a little hard to get the place clean with a baby around.”

A voice calls out from one of the bedrooms. “Yoongi? Are they here?”

“It’s me,” Yoongi calls back. “And yeah, I brought the kids.” He takes a deep breath and glances nervously back at them. “Listen…I don’t think you need to know that you can’t tell anyone about Jeongguk. We want to keep him out of the spotlight and all, you know?”

“Of course we won’t,” Sungwoon hastens to assure, and everyone else murmurs their assent.

Yoongi nods, just as Seokjin walks out of the bedroom with a baby cradled in his arms.

That baby could only be Jeongguk—and Jeongguk has to be the cutest baby Taehyung has ever seen. He just seems so small—except for his eyes. His eyes are big and shiny and Taehyung knows his parents are going to have trouble saying no to those eyes when he is older, and he’s dressed in a little space-themed onesie with matching blue booties. Seokjin smiles and then picks up one of Jeongguk’s arms and waves it in the trainees’ direction. Jeongguk lets him, though he looks confused by that gesture, eyes wide as he peers up at his dad.

Next to Taehyung, Jimin makes a squeaking noise and clutches his sleeve. “Oh no, he is so cute,” he moans, sounding almost distressed. Taehyung would laugh at him, except he can also relate.

Seokjin beams and walks towards them. “Do you all want to carry him?” He offers.

He laughs again when the rookies all automatically glance at Yoongi for his okay before they do. Yoongi scoffs and nods, though Taehyung doesn’t miss the way he turns a little pink, as though embarrassed by the attention. 

They all take turns to hold Jeongguk, and Taehyung hangs back, wanting to be the last so he can carry him a little longer. The wait doesn’t take long since most of his bandmates—save Jimin—seem a little apprehensive about holding the baby. Taehyung lets out a grunt of surprise when he finally takes the baby into his arms. For someone who looks so small, he is surprisingly heavy.

Jeongguk gurgles happily. He doesn’t seem to mind being passed around from stranger to stranger, just coos and blinks up at Taehyung slowly, lashes grazing the top of his downy cheeks.

Next to him, Jimin has his phone out, and Taehyung knows he is itching to photograph this moment. “Can I?” He asks, glancing at Yoongi, who is hovering by Taehyung’s shoulder, looking faintly worried.

Yoongi hesitates for the briefest moment, then nods. “Go ahead.”

Jimin beams and snaps a photo just as Taehyung runs a gentle finger along Jeongguk’s cheek, marvelling at the way the silk-smooth skin gives under his touch. “He’s adorable.”

Yoongi chuckles and reaches out to stroke Jeongguk’s cheek as well. “You might not say the same when you were you around to hear him cry for his night feedings a few months back.”

Jeongguk coos smugly, almost as though he understands. Taehyung watches, eyes wide, as the baby’s left hand comes up and closes into a chubby fist around Yoongi’s finger.

Yoongi breaks out into the biggest smile Taehyung has ever seen, bright and gummy and hopelessly endeared. If Taehyung wasn’t so enamoured by Jeongguk he would be taking pictures, but as it is Jeongguk is clearly the star of tonight’s show. “Do you want to come back to Daddy, Kookie?” Yoongi asks in an uncharacteristically gentle voice.

Taehyung doesn’t want to hand over the baby just yet, but Jeongguk’s arms are reaching out obligingly towards his father, so Taehyung lets Yoongi takes the baby from his arms. “I think he’s sleepy,” Yoongi murmurs, right as Jeongguk lets out a tiny yawn.

He holds Jeongguk throughout most of their dinner too—takeout which Seokjin plates almost apologetically, saying he had no time to cook. It is an apology that all the trainees protest as unnecessary immediately.

“I can’t imagine how the two of you do it,” Jimin tells Seokjin halfway through the dinner, voice earnest. “It can’t be easy having to take care of a baby and work.”

“My parents are a big help,” Seokjin smiles, looking shy at the praise. He watches as Yoongi continues to hold Jeongguk in his lap, smiling down gently as his son plays with an odd looking soft toy in his hands. “Yoongi’s odd hours help. He actually does most of Jeongguk’s night feedings, since he is always up late. I’m usually up earlier, so I’ll head to the studios, do makeup, and come back around lunch time to take care of Jeongguk while Yoongi goes to work.”

Taehyung glances over at where Yoongi is sitting at the table next to Seokjin. The baby looks so small in Yoongi’s hands it is almost ridiculous. But mostly it is very cute, and Taehyung can’t his eyes off them. Yoongi’s got Jeongguk cradled against his chest, one arm under his diapered bottom to support most of his weight. His other hand is rubbing up and down his back in gentle, sweeping motions, except his palm looks so big splayed against Jeongguk’s back there is not much room for him to move. Jeongguk’s chin rests against his shoulder, head tilted so that one chubby cheek is squished against the soft material of Yoongi’s hoodie. His eyes are half-closed, tiny mouth parted in an “o” as he nods off against his dad.

It is so cute Taehyung wants to scream.

“We should probably tuck him in soon,” he hears Seokjin tell Yoongi. “Do you want me to take over? You’ve been carrying him for most of the evening.”

“It’s fine,” Yoongi says, voice low so as to not wake Jeongguk up. “It might wake him up if I try to give him to you. I’ll go put him down.”

Seokjin nods and and presses a gentle kiss to Jeongguk’s forehead. “Alright. Good night, baby. Papa loves you.”

Taehyung feels like he shouldn’t be watching this—the moment, as small as it was, seemed so intimate and private. He glances away, even as Seokjin gives Jeongguk one last kiss before walking back to the living room to take a seat next to where the trainees have gathered, drinks in their hands.

“Yoongi’s settling Jeonggukie for the night,” he says as he sits down. “I think all the attention wore him out.” He flashes a smile. “You all are still welcome to stay, of course. But we have to be a little quiet while the baby is sleeping.”

“We can leave,” Sungwoon says politely. “We wouldn’t want to intrude.”

Seokjin shrugs and leans back in his seat. “It’s fine, really. We don’t have much people over, since Yoongi and I have been so busy with work lately. It is nice to have some company for once.” He straightens in his seats suddenly, a mischievous grin on his face. “Besides, Yoongi will be gone for a little while. You guys wanna hear some of his embarrassing childhood stories?”

Taehyung laughs, and everyone refills their drinks before piling on Seokjin’s couch to hear his story. Jimin tucks his legs under him and curls up by Taehyung’s side, already halfway through his new can of beer—Taehyung makes a mental note to grab another one for his best friend later, since they might be here a while.

Surrounded by the trainees whom have become his closest friends, warm and full and happy and still riding the high of a successful debut, Taehyung can’t help but let out a sigh of contentment.

This is certainly a good start to their one week break.

 

_________________________________

 

One week later

“You really wore lace?” Is all Yoongi says, somewhat disbelievingly when Seokjin steps out of his taxi.

Seokjin grimaces and sighs, tugging at the collar of the lace top peeking out from the blue shirt he had worn over it. Yoongi has to bite back a laugh. When they were dating Seokjin would never have admitted how uncomfortable the lace felt against his skin. Now that they are married, Seokjin clearly sees no need to hide his displeasure anymore.

“I know you like it and god, I know I look good in it—but lace isn’t really the most comfortable,” he says glumly. “I expect to be well compensated for this attire, Min Yoongi.”

“How?” Yoongi asks archly, a smirk playing on his lips. “You have to be more specific, Jin hyung.”

Seokjin grins and links their hands together. “Let’s save this discussion for when we are home, okay? Dinner first. Where are you taking me anyway? I’m starving.”

Yoongi tilts his head to the side, pretending to hesitate. “Well, I was planning to bring us to the seafood market, but if you think you’re overdressed…”

He breaks off into a laugh when Seokjin immediately puffs up at his words, full of indignation. “Are you kidding? Of course we’re going to the seafood market!”

Yoongi chuckles and presses a kiss to Seokjin’s cheek. “As you wish.”

He leads Seokjin down the street towards the wet market, following the pungent scent of wet fish. The place is bustling on a Friday night, packed with tourists and locals alike. Yoongi ducks his head but keeps a firm grip around Seokjin’s wrist as they make their way to their favourite vendor to purchase their dinner. Five minutes pass and then they are directed to one of their favourite restaurants to wait while their freshly purchased seafood is being prepared for them.

The restaurant is nice and warm, and the restaurant owner knows them well enough to seat them at a secluded corner of the room, where Yoongi can comfortably take off his face mask without worrying about being spotted—and the best part is the food is served to them after a short fifteen minutes, broth, rice and the crab gleaming red in the muted light of the place.

Yoongi watches fondly as Seokjin expertly de-shells the steamed crab when it arrives and plates half of it for Yoongi to eat. “Not gonna feed me tonight?” He asks teasingly.

Seokjin just rolls his eyes and shoves the plate at Yoongi. “Don’t push your luck, Yoongichi.”

They eat in comfortable silence, and Yoongi grins when Seokjin eventually does deign to feed him, fishing up some beans from their side dishes and holding up for him to eat. He doesn’t even notice when Seokjin hands him a clam to eat instead, shell and all, and very nearly spits it out.

“Jinnie!” Yoongi can’t help but whine when he pulls the clam out of his mouth with a grimace. “That was mean.”

Seokjin just grins at him mischievously but obligingly feeds him another clam—de-shelled this time, and Yoongi accepts it, mollified.

“I wonder if Taehyung eventually realised that the date I was going on last week was actually with you,” Seokjin muses five minutes later, after he’s downed his bowl of fish soup. He picks up his chopsticks and reaches for the kimchi. “I mean. Now that he knows we’re married and all.”

Yoongi huffs and swallows his mouthful of rice before speaking. “I’m honestly surprised he didn’t tell something was up right away the way you were flirting with me like that.”

“Me?” Seokjin says, with mock outrage. “Yah! If anything, you were the one flirting with me! What happened to be being discreet?”

“You started it by making up some fake boyfriend you were going on a date with,” Yoongi points out, lower lip jutting out petulantly. He knows Seokjin is weak for his pout—though, admittedly married life had strengthened Seokjin’s immunity towards his attempts at acting cute. But Yoongi is still not above taking advantage of it whenever he can.

Seokjin blinks, eyelashes fluttering innocently. “Who says he was fake? I was talking about you.”

“You said he was taller than you, among other things,” Yoongi says pointedly. “And the universe where I am taller than you is not the one you and I are currently living in.”

“I mean, I had to distort a few facts here and there,” Seokjin concedes airily. “Can’t have Taehyungie catching on. He really is smarter than most people give him credit for.” He smiles, the gentle crinkles forming at the corners of his eyes that Yoongi loves so much. “But everything else is true. Sweet. Handsome. And that I really love him.”

Seokjin used to struggle to say those words. He and Yoongi have never been the most vocal about their feelings—probably what the kids nowadays would describe as emotional constipation. Yoongi had had to say it first, a whispered I love you spoken into the space between their parted lips after a kiss, when they had been sitting in his studio, the only way they could ever get privacy then. Seokjin had been so flustered and shy—but pleased. Even if he hadn’t said it back right away.

It comes easier to Seokjin now, but that doesn’t mean Yoongi treasures those words any less.

Yoongi’s hand slides across the table to hold Seokjin’s, in the voice he uses only for Seokjin—pitched lower and softer than usual. “Well. I have it on good authority that he loves you too.”

Seokjin smiles down at their joined hands. He continues to hold Yoongi’s hand for about five seconds before he pulls away— because he needs both to eat his crab. “Speaking about you in third person is weird,” he says mildly.

They finish up their meal and then head outside for a walk along the river. Seokjin shivers. He always felt the cold easily, and almost on autopilot Yoongi wraps both of Seokjin’s hands in his, rubbing them between his own to warm them up. “That better?”

“Yes, thank you,” Seokjin sighs. He smiles ruefully at Yoongi. “I wish I had my heat packs.”

Yoongi arches an eyebrow. “I thought you always had a few with you. What was that we used to call you again? Hot pack fairy?”

Seokjin pouts. “I ran out and I forgot to stock up while I was at home,” he explains. “Think you can pick some up on your way back after you pick Jeongguk up from my parents’ place? I was supposed to get them on a grocery run, but then the trainees came over but I forgot.” He sighs.

Yoongi’s brows knit together. “Yeah sure. You can write me a grocery list and I can take Gukkie shopping while we’re at it.” He clears his throat. “You know. I don’t think I ever did thank you for suggesting I invite the trainees over. It was a really good idea.”

A delighted smile breaks out over Seokjin’s face. “I take it that they are no longer intimidated by you?”

“Well. I haven’t seen them much, since most of them are spending their time off with their families…but they did text me.” Yoongi looks pleased—adorably so, Seokjin thinks fondly. “Taehyung sent me pictures of his dog, and Daniel sent me a selfie of him and Jimin hanging out in Busan.” He sighs. “It’s nice.”

“Helps to have a cute baby on hand,” Seokjin jokes. “I say Jeongguk did most of the hard work here.”

“He really is very cute, isn’t he,” Yoongi agrees.

They had stopped at a secluded spot along the river, surrounded by nothing but the faint lights of buildings and traffic in the distance. Yoongi glances over to see that Seokjin is still watching him. He releases Seokjin’s hands from between his own, and Seokjin takes that as his cue to slip his arms around Yoongi’s neck, pulling him closer.

Yoongi tugs his mask off and lets out a pleased sigh as Seokjin’s lips meets his in a warm, gentle press. He tangles one hair in the hairs on the back of Seokjin’s head, before sliding down the back of his neck, tracing the collar of the lace shirt Seokjin has under his pale blue top.

Now, Yoongi’s mouth is familiar with many things. The harsh cadences of rap; angry swear words and merciless disses and euphemisms strung together, lamb skewers paired with his favourite whiskey, and the way Seokjin tastes and feels against his lips. So tonight, when he kisses Seokjin, he automatically notices when something about their kiss is not the same.

“You taste different,” Yoongi muses as he pulls away slightly, voice huskier than before. Seokjin can see traces of glitter from his lipgloss on Yoongi’s own naturally flushed lips, a sight which always sets off the slightest flutter in his stomach. Yoongi runs his tongue against his lower lip and raises an inquiring eyebrow. “Did you change your lipgloss?”

“I always do,” Seokjin reminds him. “I wear a different one every other day.”

Yoongi licks his lips again, not missing the way Seokjin’s eyes track the movement of his tongue. “This isn’t one of your usual ones. It is new.”

Ah. Seokjin snickers. “I’m wearing the one I wore that day when I went for my supposed date.”

He feels Yoongi’s quiet laughter against his neck, his hands sliding under Seokjin’s top and pressing against against his skin through the thin layer of lace, the heat of his hand apparent even through the extra material. Seokjin squirms. “Ticklish,” he whines.

Yoongi’s thumb comes up to swipe at his own bottom lip. It comes off smeared with dark pink and glitter. “I like this one,” he tells Seokjin, with a lazy grin.

“I figured you would. See, I perfected the formula to woo one Min Yoongi.” He cups Yoongi’s cheeks, grinning when the move squishes Yoongi’s lips into a soft looking pout. “Lure him with coffee, flavoured kisses, and give him lots of cuddles. Pet his hair. Never disturb him when he is sleeping.”

“A formula to woo me?” Yoongi drawls, mock surprised. His gaze holds Seokjin for a beat, then the corners of his lips curls up into a soft smile. “But what for? I’m already yours.”

It is his turn to snicker when he sees Seokjin duck his head, shy. He still enjoys how his words can fluster Seokjin so easily, even if they have been together for years now. “Yoongi,” Seokjin whines, though he is smiling and his finger comes out of nowhere to boop Yoongi on the nose. Yoongi laughs and catches Seokjin’s hand around the wrist.

“I love you,” he tells Seokjin.

“I know,” Seokjin whispers, adoration heavy in his voice, and lets Yoongi draw him back into a kiss.